Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of Sidney and I dating. Wanting to celebrate the milestone in style, we decided to go on a trip. We chose historic Savannah, Georgia, to commemorate a very special year.
A four-hour drive from Myrtle Beach, we left home early on Saturday morning. By 11 a.m. we rolled into Savannah. The first thing we noticed was the beautiful Spanish Moss that grows wildly throughout the whole city. The unique vegetation literally hangs down from everywhere, including the roadways. You drive the streets and you have a green ceiling with Spanish Moss growing above you.
We drove straight to the historical downtown area. Upon parking we checked out a couple stores, including one gem where I had the pleasure of sampling many different kinds of tupelo honey. We then strolled into the visitor’s bureau. With such an old and important American city, we wanted to receive the best possible introduction to Savannah and we thought no better way to do that than with a tour. Although the center pulled at me with several different haunted tours, we decided to go on an open-air trolley excursion. We bought our tickets and off we went.
The 90-minute tour conducted by Old Savannah Tours took us to 16 stops across the beautiful downtown landscape. Our tour guide, Omer, did a wonderful job explaining every detail about Savannah history. We had the joy of seeing amazing 300-year-old mansions, famous cemeteries, the busy waterfront street, the oldest African-American congregation in the nation, a couple other notable churches, and the amazing different squares of Savannah.
Ah yes, the squares! Downtown Savannah is characterized by numerous different green park/garden areas called squares. Each one is vibrantly beautiful and named after a hero from the 1700’s. In the middle of each square you will find a statue of its namesake and more often than not a fountain. Sidney and I had an affinity toward the one square that happened to be named after a battle instead of a person, Chippewa Square. You see, this was the area where all the “Forrest Gump” bench scenes were filmed. Later in the day we went back to the square and took a photo and pointed out spots that we recognized from the movie.
When the tour ended, we went and enjoyed a snack. We visited the Moon Brewing Company where we sat out on the restaurant’s patio. It was a magnificently gorgeous day in Savannah and the area was filled with other folks like us wanting to take advantage of the prime people watching opportunities and nourishing sun rays. Sidney and I enjoyed a plate of nachos and a couple beers. Because Savannah allows for people to consume alcoholic beverages out on the streets, we ordered a couple of to-go beverages.
After our time on the restaurant’s patio, we hit up the Colonial Cemetery. As someone who adores graveyards, I almost couldn’t contain my excitement in this one. Most everyone buried on the grounds died in the 1700’s. Many of the tombstones you couldn’t even read because time had completely swept away the epitaphs. A good portion of the deceased rested in underground crypts. These burial arrangements sometimes contained up to 40 family members. A family representative would be responsible for taking the bones of older family members and placing them in a large bucket so newly deceased members could be laid to rest in the space that was once occupied by an intact body. You could sense the history while walking on the grounds.
Once we left the cemetery we looked at other sites around Savannah. Needing to check in at the hotel and get ready for the night, I made sure we made one last stop before doing so…we paid a visit to the fifth best ice cream parlor in the world. Called Leopold’s, the 1919 shop was recognized as one of the best on the planet in 2011. Obviously other tourists knew about this distinction as well because we spent about 30 minutes outside of the shop in line. Once we got in I had a scoop of a flavor called Chocolate Peanut Butter Chippy and Sidney had a milkshake. While my ice cream was very good, I have had better before.
We stayed in a hotel about 15 minutes away from downtown. Like most of Savannah it was old yet charming. We checked in and showered and then headed back to the historical area. As night fell we strolled down the waterfront street. We went inside The Peanut Shop, a store solely devoted to peanuts! They had a Hot Sriracha flavor that I wanted to purchase but as the store was closing for the day, I decided not to. I plan to see if I can order a can online.
For our anniversary dinner, we ate at Paula Deen’s own restaurant called Lady & Sons. Sidney had been looking forward to eating here all trip and it did not disappoint. Specializing in Southern fare, the place was packed with passionate Paula Deen fans. When our name was called we took an elevator to the third floor of the restaurant. We had the option to indulge in a buffet stocked with Southern staples but we didn’t want to hate ourselves so we ordered from the menu. I had the chicken pot pie while Sidney had shrimp. While we waited, a staff member came over and gave us each a hoe cake and a cheddar jalapeno biscuit. The hoe cake was a little slice of heaven and the biscuit was heavy and fresh. Our entrees both tasted great, but boxes were needed.
We walked out of the restaurant and into the Savannah evening, a time in the city immortalized by lyrics to a Tim McGraw song. We would make it back to the hotel later that night, concluding a wonderful day that capped a wonderful year with my beautiful girlfriend. For the way that Savannah marked this special occasion for Sidney and I, the city will always have a special place in my heart. Don’t Blink.