Georgia On My Mind: Savannah Style
…I have been learning to trust those middle of the night “wake me ups.” Yesterday, I woke up to a bird chirping a song I heard before. Not sure if “before” meant five days ago, or five minutes ago; for the song was also in my dreams. Tonight, I popped up out of my sleep again. Only this time to the tune of crickets. Normally I would go back to bed but I noticed both nights shared more than a song…I woke up at the same time. Only one question left to ask. What is on my mind?
Savannah, Georgia is on my mind. Weekend getaways. Family fun. Miracles. As much as I love to travel, my mode of transportation preference is by air. The older I get, I conclude it is connected to my excitement and my patience level. GET ME THERE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE: I want to explore! I already live in Georgia and Savannah is about 4 hours away from start to finish…I have spent half that time getting through security at the airport. Road trip it is.
We left on a Saturday afternoon. There was only one goal: to see my niece. She was on a field trip and we went to support her. We arrived with four hours to spare before her arrival time, leaving us with the perfect amount of time to check in, eat and explore the city. Joy!
My mom picked the perfect location: the riverfront. Not only did this make for gorgeous views in a historic setting, but we both love walking and were close enough to everything to tool around town until our feet said “no more.” We have rules to eating when traveling, and that is to try our best to dine somewhere new and/or at a restaurant we can’t find at home. Don’t get me wrong I love seeing businesses in multiple locations, but as a food lover, half of my reason to travel is to experience all the food this world has to offer!
We chose a place called Savannah Taphouse. Formerly home to the Avon Theater located on Broughton Street the owners turned into an upscale sports bar. “Bringing Hoppiness to Savannah,” their take away menu reads. The atmosphere is relaxed and comforting. When you walk in, there’s a bar to the left and table seating is available on two floors. We opted to eat upstairs, which was nice because we got to see everything! It was a Saturday night, right around 7:00 pm and we beat the night crowd but still got to enjoy the restaurant while it was full of hustle and bustle. There are 30 tv’s inside (including 6 80″ screens!) and 40 taps and over 100 bottled beers available. We weren’t there for either of those reasons, but I found it pretty cool to be able to come back specifically to sample beers and talk sports. I also liked that my mom and I were there to enjoy one another’s company and were able to have a conversation over 30 tv’s without feeling like we had to scream at each other. Score!
What brought us to the restaurant was our salad craving. After walking a few blocks around the city, we came back to the taphouse because you can build your own salad. You choose your salad base (romaine or mixed greens) then select 5 toppings. There had to be about 30 items! You could add meat or more toppings for an additional price, ranging from grilled chicken to blackened Mahi. Then you can top it with one of their house made dressings. My mom had mixed greens, with broccoli, black beans, tomatoes, roasted peppers and corn…I had a side salad with the Peppercorn Parmesan dressing and nachos with chicken on top. We also had spinach artichoke dip, that came with pita chips sprinkled with cracked black pepper and salt. Fresh. Hot. Huge portions. Creamy dressings. Lots of cheese on my nachos. Friendly staff & prompt service. Delightful. I’ll be back for sure, and have already decided I’m having the Santa Fe Burger with a beer.
I had already devoured the dip and dug into my Mom’s salad before remembering I had a camera on deck from sightseeing. Below was my meal. The nachos are bigger than my face and make for a great appetizer that can actually be shared. I know I needed help.
After we ate, we had good intentions of walking a few blocks. The streets were full of people! The buildings lit up! The air was filled with lovely humidity that reminds you that you are in the south, but not quite as sticky as my last visit- for my curls stayed. The horse and carriage rides added a sweet charm to the city, as did the excitement from the couples walking past us. I could feel the breeze from the river and smell the food from all the restaurants on the way back to the hotel. The city of Savannah had opened its arms and welcomed us. Helllloooo Summertime.
Hello comfortable bed with covers so fluffy, I melted into them. Needed to rest up for whatever the next day with my niece would bring.
Sunday started at 6:45 am…breakfast in the hotel. Buffet style, omelettes & waffles cooked to order. I ate everything but the two, but if given enough time I would have. Fresh fruits, sausages, French toast, grits, potatoes, yogurt and more grits graced my plates. My mother had her fruits and a nice bowl of oatmeal with fixins’. I had not done my usual hotel tour the day before (where I roam the hotel and plan how make use of all the amenities) so I did not know this view would be joining us for breakfast!
Mid afternoon found us at Old Ft. Jackson. It was about ten minutes from the hotel and another 10-13 minutes if we wanted to make our way on over to Tybee Island. We grabbed some snacks and stayed on the fort. It was a beautiful day, and I was able to capture a history lesson and a few pictures while there before my niece and her crew arrived! When they came, we joined them for a different tour of the fort and learned about the history of the Girl Scouts. I was impressed and the girls were happy. The tour ended with a canon being fired. Neat-O.
After the tour, we all went to eat at a restaurant called The Pirates’ House. This building has quite a bit of history to it, dating all the way back to 1733. It was here that Trustees Garden (the first experimental garden in America) was located. In 2016, it is here you can dine on southern specialties while enjoying an atmosphere that has been preserved to reflect its past. A few of the crew can be found dressed as pirates and there is a nice sized gift shop upstairs totally worth checking out. My niece had a ball up there!
Since we dined as a large party, we were in a private room and the food was served buffet style. Fried chicken tenders, grilled salmon, salad and sides such as mac’n’cheese, green beans and corn was served. Mom and I ordered off of the main menu and without discussion, ordered the same meal: crab cakes with a remoulade sauce and a strawberry spinach salad topped with candied pecans, goat cheese and a light vinaigrette dressing. Very good.
The restaurant is walking distance to the river, so we all hung out sightseeing, laughing and souvenir shopping. My niece and her troopwere walking the river front for the views, but also in the direction of their hotel. Once we figured that out, mom and I stopped halfway and walked back to our car. The time had come to part ways and for us to head back home. What better way say goodbye than to have ice cream with my niece! (We were right in front of a candy store called Savannah’s Candy Kitchen.) Perfect. Both had sugar cones and two scoops of gelato. She had a scoop of raspberry and a scoop of lime…I had a scoop of raspberry and a scoop of mango. Since she skipped away waving, that ought to explain how good it was.
I did take photos along the way, and will share a few below. Out of respect for my travel companions who don’t love the selfie movement the way I do, I save those shots for our scrap book. I am so thankful we got to share these moments together and my niece hugged me and asked, “Are you going to blog about this? If so, don’t forget to mention this gelato!” She knows me well.
A toast: to family, adventures and miracles. Oh and to the midnight jolts out of bed, reminding me to get up, Gooooo, write & repeat.
The Smitten Chef