I have never been to the South but have always wanted to visit and soak up some of that good ol’ southern charm! This past summer we went on a seven-city road trip and one of the places I was most excited to experience was Savannah, Georgia. I’m not really sure exactly why, but I pictured it to be a charming old city with a small town vibe. I also stumbled upon this Savannah blog, Life on the Squares which got me even more excited to see this fine little city and discover all its historic squares.
Savannah Georgia Historic Squares
The city of Savannah is set up on a very easy-to-navigate grid that connects to 22 historic squares. We stayed at the historic Inn at Ellis Square which is in a great location right across from the Market Square splash fountain, perfect for the kids to cool off on a hot southern afternoon. This is also where you’ll find the Shops at Ellis Square and the popular City Market, a pedestrian-only street filled with restaurants, shopping, and outdoor entertainment.
Savannah’s Candy Kitchen
The original Savannah’s Candy Kitchen is down on River Street, but we wandered into the City Market location. “Beware of Flying Taffy” the sign says when you enter and you can feel the sugary goodness seeping into your pores the minute you set foot in this place. I think my kids thought they had officially died and gone to sweet treat heaven.
You can watch the candy makers making their famous Pecan Pralines, a popular confectionary treat in the South. They’ll give you a sample too, and when in Savannah… you must try the Pecan Pralines! There is also a conveyor belt that sends salt water taffy on a track all around the store, my kids could not take their eyes off of them and the giant barrels of taffy where they ended up.
I definitely recommend the Old Town Trolley Tour. Sure it’s touristy, but it is a great way to see the city and hear all the historic facts from a local tour guide. My daughter and I did the trolley tour together, it was a perfect way to spend a day — just the girls! The trolley tour is hop-on hop-off, so you can take your time taking pictures and visiting different city stops you want to spent more time at.
If it wasn’t for this tour I may have missed a few scenic places, like the park where Tom Hanks sits in the opening scene from Forest Gump and says “Life is like a box of chocolates,” I might not have known I could step inside the stunning Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, or I may have missed where the very first Girl Scout Headquarters was or missed hearing about the history of The Pirates House. This trolley tour not only gave me the history of Savannah but a great overview of what a wonderful city it is today too.
The Coffee Fox
Whenever I am in a new city, I always try to find the local coffee shop.The first morning I was in Savannah I stumbled upon The Coffee Fox and I went back two more times while in Savannah. I got up early and snuck out to get some work done and this was a fantastic place to wake up and work. Not to mention the coffee was fantastic! Finding a local coffee spot is also great for people watching, you can get a vibe for the place and the people that make up a city.
The very first shop I walked into was the cutest boutique, Red Clover, located on Bull Street near Chippewa Square (which is the Forest Gump film location I mentioned). This fashion gem is a mix of bohemian chic and southern sophistication. The collection of clothing, shoes, handbags and accessories are right on trend and you’re sure to want everything. But if you can’t get to Savannah, they sell online so you can shop Red Clover from anywhere!
If you stroll down the main street of Broughton Street you will find many shops and restaurants, (including the Coffee Fox) but do not miss the Savannah Bee Company and The Paris Market, both are worth taking a peek inside! The Paris Market is a gorgeous, eclectic store filled with beautiful furniture, home goods, books, gifts, toys and so much more! I could have spent all day in here browsing for treasures. The Savannah Bee Company has honey samplings daily and carries a variety of honey flavors and an entire line of bath and body products.
The Funky Brunch Cafe
The Funky Brunch Cafe, I liked it so much here I ate here twice! My daughter and I had lunch here and the Tuna Sandwich was spectacular and that is when I found out about the tables for “Make Your Own Pancakes” and so we had to come back to do that. The tables have a warm griddle center that heats up. The kids get to squeeze out the pancake mix, add a variety of toppings to their pancakes and flip them! I have never been to a restaurant that does this, the kids loved it.
If you came to Savannah for that some of that traditional southern cooking then head to either the famous Paula Dean’s restaurant, Lady & Sons – where I tried Shrimp & Grits for the first time! Or you can dine in a historic mansion at The Olde Pink House. Both restaurants will serve you all southern fried chicken, black eyed peas, mashed potatoes and grits you could ever want. Then if you have had all the fried food you can take, then go to Aroy-Jung Sushi for some fantastic sushi! Sushi in the South? I know, but this sushi was really spectacular!
The Savannah Children’s Museum
The Savannah Children’s Museum is brand new museum to Savannah and is extremely unique. It is literally built in and around the old railroad storage yard. This is an outdoor museum, so you may want to visit before it gets too hot outside. The Children’s Museum is located right next to the Georgia Railroad Museum and the Savannah History Museum. You can easily visit all three in one morning or afternoon and you can take the kids to eat inside a train car at the Whistle Stop Cafe.
There are some things worth waiting in line for and Leopold’s Ice Cream is one of them. In fact, the day we went to Leopold’s there was a line out the door and it stayed out the door the entire time we sat and enjoyed our ice cream cones. I am pretty sure this is the best damn Ice Cream I’ve ever had in my life! For real. Leopold’s is a ice cream parlor legend from 1935 and was recently re-opened in 2014. With their secret ice cream recipes and a famous Hollywood background it’s no wonder people line up around the block.
If you do one thing, you must walk down by the water at the Riverfront, we went at sunset and before we boarded the Ghosts and Graveyards tour. There are plenty of places to grab dinner and do some shopping, but just sitting by the water watching the sunset and ships passing by was enough. This is also a perfect place to go for a morning walk or jog.
The Ghosts and Gravestones tour takes you through Savannah and tells you about all the stories of paranormal activity in the area and tells the unfortunate tales of many murders that took place many years ago. Our kids were 7 and 9 and weren’t too scared but it does have some mature content.
I could go on and on about Savannah but I had to stop somewhere. The city of Savannah is just as I thought it would be, a small historic city with big time charm! Traveling as a family, this city was the perfect size with plenty to do and see, great food, unique shopping, friendly people and you can literally walk the entire city – with good shoes of course. Be sure to put Savannah on your list of American cities to see!