Southern Comfort for Christmas:
December in Savannah, GA


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You haven’t experienced Southern hospitality until you’ve spent December in Savannah, GA. Known for its rich history, variety of art, and adorable country traditions, it quickly became one of my all-time favorite places in the country and allowed me to fully explore and embrace my debutante status. Although it’s allegedly known for a number of notoriously haunted establishments, which have apparently been featured on The Today Show, Sci-Fi Channel, and Travel Channel, no ghosts or gravestones took anything away from the city’s beauty and class.

 

Christmas, Southern Comfort, Savannah, Georgia, Stephanie Ziajka, Diary of a Debutante

 

M and I decided we needed a weekend away, so we instantly agreed upon Savannah, since it’s been on both of bucket lists for years. We drove up on Friday night, and due to a busy Sunday as Miss Tampa Bay USA (blog post to come), returned home on Saturday afternoon. Although one night was nowhere near enough time to play, we seized our southern belle status and had an absolute ball. And seriously… we couldn’t have come at a better time. Although the majority of the college life was gone for the holidays, I’ve never seen a more festively-decorated town. Think Disney… but better. and cuter. and with no screaming babies.Also, for anyone who’s familiar with my affinity for the show The Office, my favorite episode is Murder from Season 6, where Michael starts a murder mystery game to distract employees for the imminent collapse of the company’s financial solvency. I’ve been saying, “There has been a murder… in Savannah!” for years. This was yet another reason Savannah ranked highly on my “Must Visit” list.
After a four hour drive, we finally arrived at our charming Bed & Breakfast hotel, The Olde Habour Inn, located on the scenic Savannah River around 10PM. The inn’s history dates back to 1812, making it one of the oldest buildings in Savannah’s historic district. Rebuilt by a local oil company after multiple fires and completely renovated in the late 80s, The Olde Habour Inn is truly a unique and elegant establishment.
 
We had our own personal and festively-dressed doorway. Seriously presh.
First thing’s first (aside from eating– that was truthfully our #1), we needed to see the Savannah River from River Street. Despite taking a creepy and potentially haunted alleyway to get to it, it was gorgeous and peaceful. A worthwhile risk, no doubt.
 
We asked the locals, and everyone recommended the historic Olde Pink House Restaurant for dinner. The Olde Pink House Restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and doubles as the Planer’s Inn, founded circa 1771. Originally built as a Georgia mansion, it once served as the headquarters for one of the Sherman’s generals during the Civil War. We were late diners (oops), but they welcomed us with open arms and seated M and me in the downstairs piano bar. The food was delicious, the drinks were flowing, and the music was vivacious. Perfect combination.
 
Ever tried Caramelized Vidalia Onion and Sweet Potato Ravioli with Savory Pecan Cream Sauce?  Ya, me neither. Do it.

Although we were elated to finally arrive at our hotel, we literally could’ve spent hours driving around looking at lights and decorations. Even at night, Savannah, especially December in Savannah, lives up to its reputation of visual refinement. After a long and laborious week at work– and with Eric Paslay (I wanna be your Friday night) in the back of my mind– M and I were ready to par-tayyy as soon as we pulled off the highway.

Playing around St. Julian Street, a strip of fun bars, restaurants, and merry nightlife. Why do I always have red eye? #browneyedproblems

Low and behond, we ended up at a random karaoke dive bar, where we sang Destiny’s Child and danced with randoms. You’re not really experiencing the true aura of the town if you don’t slow dance with randoms.

After a long night of karaoke and liquid courage, we closed down the bar (literally) and headed back to our adorable hotel suite.

Our congenial hotel served an impressive weekend breakfast, so M and I relaxed and plotted the day’s agenda while overlooking the Savannah River.

We resisted the pressing urge to get Starbucks and opted for a local recommendation called Vics on River Street to fuel up for a day of sightseeing. I had my very first raspberry latte, and cross my heart, it was delicious.

Savannah is known for being a vibrant epicenter for the arts. In almost every town square was what seemed to be a trained musician and/or vocalist performing Christmas music, and we were repeatedly assured that this was child’s play compared to the annual Savannah Music Festival. The three-week event is Georgia’s largest occasion for the arts and features all genres of music and entertainment. Even though we didn’t get to experience the music festival, the town’s art scene is truly impressive and inspiring. The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is scattered throughout downtown Savannah, predominately in historic city buildings, and the college and its students are clearly large contributors to the city’s creative heartbeat. In addition to SCAD, Savannah is home to the Telfair Museums, which are three separate buildings highlighting different varieties of art and history.

 

The Telfair Academy

 
We started at the Telfair Academy of Arts & Sciences on Barnard Street. The Academy, a former family mansion designed by English architect William Jay and adapted to an art gallery in the 1880s, houses 19th and 20th century American and European art.

 

What else is there to do in a ballroom besides twirl and sing “Beauty and the Beast?”

…tale as old as time…

This painting was entitled “Baseball Players.” My kind of artwork.

 

The Jepson Center

 

The Jepson Center was designed by internationally acclaimed architect Moshe Safdie and showcases a plethora of contemporary artwork. I’m not typically a fan of modern art, but we really enjoyed this museum. Not only did it have an entire floor for kids (ie. M and me) to play, but the architecture of the building alone was something to appreciate.

 

I know art is subjective, but I’m pretty sure I made something similar… and better… in 8th grade.

Enjoying one of the many outdoor exhibits, not only for the statues but also for this gorgeous view.
I’m not sure what the law is in your parts, but you’re prohibited from carrying around open containers of alcohol in Orlando. Savannah allows you to drink Peach Sangria wherever you want at your own discretion, and I personally find that to be a huge city attraction. Shopping outside while sipping cocktails in the heart of the South is my idea of perfection.
We stopped for a quick lunch at the Wild Wing Cafe on St. Julian Street.
 

Amen.

I need this derby hat, and I need it now. I do declare.

 

And sadly, our trip ended shortly after we spent about an hour trying on derby hats. After an elongated drive home due to unforeseen and completely stagnant traffic on i95, M and I left Savannah with nothing but the fondest of memories. Our next trip is scheduled for February and will last for a minimum of 3 full days.

 

On the itinerary for next time? A midnight ghost tour, scenic carriage ride, and a meal at The Lady & Sons, Paula Deen’s restaurant, immediately followed by a 25 mile run to make up for it.  Also, Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room, which was recently patronized by President Obama during his visit in Savannah, is on my hit list for good, old-fashioned southern cooking. I wouldn’t change hotels for anything in the world… I highly recommend The Olde Habour Inn for anyone visiting downtown Savannah. Who else has been to Savannah? What are your recommendations?

 

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14 thoughts on “Southern Comfort for Christmas:
December in Savannah, GA

  1. Meghan

    Here's my second attempt at posting!! First- Mrs. Wilke's Dining Room is the absolute best. Go and then go again! Second, I don't know what with the whole Paula Deen scandal if things are still the same, but previously people had to literally line up in the street in the middle of the day in order to get in that evening (space is limited) because reservations were like at least a 5 month waiting period. Again this could be different due to her scandal….. Not sure. My personal favorite ghost tours take place in an actual hearse and goes out to the famous Bonaventure cemetery. You can find out info about it (and other tours) on River Street and I'm sure the Inn has info about them as well. Carriage tours are fun, they're all pretty much the same just hop in an empty carriage! Savannah is a hop, skip and jump from Hilton Head Island (where I'm from) and Beaufort, SC. Beaufort is like a tiny Savannah and has an adorable downtown with shops and restaurants and is easy/fun for a day trip. That's all I can really think of now, but if I think of more fun stuff I'll comment!

    Reply
    1. Meghan

      No problem! Carriage Tours of Savannah is the kind of big company (they do historical and ghost tours but not at midnight). Also it might be worthwhile to see what sort of shows/artists will be at the Savannah Civic Center or the Historic Savannah Theatre (it's one of the oldest theatres in the US!) there are all sorts of neat little shops and boutiques on the squares the further you get back from River Street that are worth the wander as well. If y'all want an alternate night out another fun thing to do is the dinners/events on the riverboats!

      Reply
  2. Ashley

    Savannah is one of my favorite cities! I absolutely fell in love with it after visiting a few years ago. Would love to go back– especially around the holidays. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Don Davies

    Savannah is really a place one will fall in love with! They just have so many beautiful places to go to and great attractions to visit! The Pink House is one of the best restaurants in Savannah GA! I can say that since I eat there almost every year when I have my vacation there! Thanks to https://www.visitsavannah.com/article/why-the-olde-pink-house-pink I was able to get to know about it and I am really happy that I discovered the great food and dining experience they provide!

    Reply

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