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Savannah recommendations

We are doing a two week road trip from Houston to Savannah onto Charleston then Columbia then Augusta. We feel good about all of our plans except Savannah.

We have heard that the Wormsloe Historic site is definitely a good stop. Thoughts on Bonaventure Cemetery? Restaurants are a whole other issue. Friends are giving recommendations but some reviews look iffy. Cannot do much fried food. My first choice was the Olde Pink House but they are totally booked.

We have booked a Genteel & Bard tour one night.

Suggestions for what we might be missing.

Posted by
94 posts

Did a G & B ghost tour with my son and girlfriend in December. It was fantastic and way better than another company's tour I did with my husband earlier in the year. The use of earbuds and Jovy (sp?) as the tour guide--who remembered everyone's name and used them multiple times--made it special. Husband and I enjoyed a tapas restaurant if you want something different. Enjoy!

Posted by
369 posts

Thank you so much. Love tapas. What was the name of the tapas restaurant t you went to?

Posted by
4940 posts

I loved wondering around the Bonaventure Cemetery to see the beautiful sculptures. It's good to have a car to drive in, park and walk around.

The Olde Pink House is fabulous. You might keep trying to see if they have a cancellation. They also have some tables that are available for walk-up reservations, but there were long lines for those and they're iffy.

My favorite Savannah tour was "Architectural Tours of Savannah" with Jonathan Stalcup, who has a master's degree in architecture. It's a nice mix of the different periods of history with a walk around town as he points out the architectural characteristics of each era.

Posted by
2397 posts

We loved Mrs. Wilkes Kitchen. Great experience. Also took an afternoon drive to the beach and had very relaxing lunch right on the beach but honestly can't remember the name but am sure someone else will. Immediately off 95 is the 8th Air Force Museum. Well worth several hours. It is extremely well done. Enjoy. We are heading down that way from PA to Florida to Houston to Abeline, Tx and return to PA. A long road trip.

Posted by
903 posts

In Savannah I recommend the Planters Inn for a hotel. It was stylish and comfortable and charming, with comfortable beds. Tthere is a covered parking garage very close by, and next door is the Old Pink House. We didn't get to eat there, but had a drink in the bar and heard some fine music there. And I agree that going to Mrs. Wilkes is worth the wait in line. Go early for faster entry. We toured the Mikve sysnagogue and St. James Catholic church and strolled along the waterfront. It is a nice walk in spite of the many souvenier shops. Enjoy your visit there!

Posted by
123 posts

Savannah resident here…our favorite restaurants are Elizabeth’s on 37th, Common Thread, Cotton & Rye, and The Vault. Mrs. Wilkes is excellent but heavy if you can’t do much fried food. Lines are always long. That section of town is really lovely for wandering around shops and parks, though.

Posted by
123 posts

Little Duck Diner is also a favorite for lunch and in another part of town that’s nice to wander around.

Posted by
212 posts

https://www.marshallhouse.com/ we thought this one of the best hotels we have ever stayed in. Wine is served in the Library from 5-6:30 pm. and they did have local folks in to tell you something about their fav thing in Savannah.
Obvs https://www.leopoldsicecream.com/ with peach being a huge favorite. Get a go-cup and go sit in a leafy square (we do NOT have go cups in NH, nor leafy squares).
Wicked touristy but just so fun. Since 1946, Mrs Wilkes Dining Room has been a Savannah institution. Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room provides platefuls of Southern staples including butter beans, sweet potato souffle, macaroni and cheese, and, of course, fried chicken. Mrs. Wilkes is cash only and does not take reservations.
https://welcometosavannah.com/crystal-beer-parlor-in-savannah-ga-review/ for shrimp and grits
The Grey | 109 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Savannah, GA 31401 Reservations: Available via the restaurant only,
Interesting: The Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters is located on Oglethorpe Square. Mercer House is located at 429 Bull Street in Savannah, Georgia and famous because of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil"

It is a great place to visit.

Posted by
84 posts

Skip the river cruises in Savannah. You'll be looking at docks and industrial buildings on one side. The other side is mostly national wildlife refuge; if that's your thing (it is mine), it's better viewed by driving through it on your way to Charleston.

You didn't ask but Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia in one of the top ten in the country. The renovated reptile house and aquarium reopened a couple of weeks ago.

Posted by
30 posts

Mrs. Wilkes is excellent. You can probably manage fine there even if you don’t eat fried food, as they usually have sufficiently varied options. They’re only open weekdays for lunch, though, and the line starts forming as much as a half hour before opening. The Lady and Sons offers similar Southern style fare. Take a look at the menus online to see if it’s appropriate for you.

Except for the forts and some of the Garden of Good and Evil attractions, Savannah’s attractions are clustered close by each other in the historic center of town, which is attractive to stroll. There are 2-3 days worth of things to see, mostly historic museums and houses and churches. It’s well worth researching.

Posted by
369 posts

Thank you everyone. I know that so many people suggest Mrs. Wilkes, but I don't think it will work for us.

We might try to do the Pink House Tavern or arrive early and see if we can get in.

Our accommodations are set. Thank you for your recommendations. Staying in a refurbished church turned into an Airbnb/lofts.

Posted by
4476 posts

I agree with Charlie about Riverbanks Zoo. We've been to the Zoo in San Diego, but Riverbanks is still our favorite for its more intimate size. We lived in Cola for 25 years and I remember that the long-term zoo director, Satch Kranz refused to call animals cute, but even he admitted he couldn't help using that word when Riverbanks got the koalas. I also love Congaree Swamp National Park, which is also near Cola.

Posted by
3821 posts

Take Highway 80 to the east of Savannah to Tybee Island for a day trip. Visit the lighthouse and its museum. There are several good restaurants to be found there. Our favorites are below. Both have grilled and boiled seafood plus salads, to keep it light.
Fried foods are on the menu.
This is a casual atmosphere beach community. You can walk on the beach after visiting the lighthouse, then visit one of the restaurants wearing shorts and a T-shirt.

A.J.'s Dockside Restaurant, 1315 Chatham Ave., for great grilled mahi, crab cakes and peel-and-eat boiled shrimp.
http://ajsdocksidetybee.com/
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g35328-d437203-Reviews-A_J_s_Dockside_Restaurant-Tybee_Island_Georgia.html

The Crab Shack, 40 Estill Hammock Rd, Tybee Island, GA:
https://www.thecrabshack.com/
known for their clam chowder, crab legs, peel-and-eat boiled shrimp and more.
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g35328-d436975-Reviews-The_Crab_Shack-Tybee_Island_Georgia.html

Posted by
3821 posts

P.S. To avoid fatty meals when eating in the downtown restaurants, ask them to put no gravy on your food, that you want it "on the side". That way, you can add a little if you like or none.

A friend of mine from California once said "To make any food Southern, just add gravy."
Which is kind of sickening to me. But the fact is, many dishes come with gravy poured all over. There you have tons of fat and calories, just in case you're avoiding that and fried foods.

When you see fried foods on the menu, ask if you can have your order grilled instead. Fish, chicken, whatever. Most restaurants in Savannah or Charleston will do this for you. You just have to ask.

Don't rule out a big salad with boiled shrimp or grilled mahi or salmon on top. Delicious, and most restaurants in Charleston have this on the menu.

Posted by
7906 posts

I live on St. Simons Island about 80 south of Savannah. Yes, southern food does have a lot of fried foods and mean dishes with gravy.
However, our restaurants in south Georgia are in the 21st Century and we have Chines, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean, Greek, Italian, French, Mexican and Mediterranean. Also, on coastal Georgia there are many seafood restaurants. Fresh wild Georgia shrimp is wonderful and you can get it steamed, fried, grilled or boiled. Also, local fish like flounder, grouper and red snapper is wonderful and you can ask for other than fried. The same with chicken, you can get fried or BBQed or roasted.

The restaurants that I dine at rarely serve gravy on anything. One that I like had great crab cakes or shrimp, but you can order turkey with dressing. Also, if you want southern, you can get chicken fried steak with gravy, but I never eat that stuff.

Posted by
355 posts

We just came back from our first trip to Savannah and I can’t imagine not having included Bonaventure cemetery.

We had originally planned to do it as a tour but the torrential rain sidelined that plan. We couldn’t leave without seeing it though so stopped there before heading to the airport for our flight home. We wandered around and even downloaded the audio tour app but it wasn’t great. We saw a tour group and asked if we could join them and it made all the difference.

Other highlights of the trip are the Plant Riverside area and JW Marriott lobby; Williams Mercer House tour, dinner at Vic’s on the River (by the window in the bar during the piano playing), the American Prohibition Museum, wandering the beautiful squares, Graveface Museum and the po boys at Huey’s.

Enjoy that gorgeous city!

Posted by
84 posts

Rebecca, a genteel belle once told me, "I'm from the South. If we can't fry it, we stick it in Jell-O."