I just returned from a long weekend in one of my favorite locations: Savannah, Georgia. I love everything about Savannah: the bumpy cobblestone streets, the elegant curves of historic architecture, the canopy of twisted tree limbs and lacy moss, the funky art galleries in City Market, and the tourists strolling along the river front. Because of an annual musical event held there that my son often participates in, we get the chance to venture to this amazing city quite often. And each time I go, I discover something new.
Our first stop is always Vinnie Van Go-Go’s, a tiny pizza place on the corner of City Market. This cash-only restaurant is always packed, and for good reason – the kids talk about the pizza for the rest of the year until we can get back there again. This trip, we hit a couple of new places, as well. I’ve always wanted to visit the Pirate House and we finally made it. As the oldest house in the state of Georgia, the Pirate House is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is also supposedly haunted. This little gray, wooden structure is a maze of sloping wood floors, ancient fireplaces, hidden nooks and crannies, and a brick tunnel right in the middle of the restaurant–a hidden passageway found during renovations decades ago. My sons and I stared into the cavernous pit and wondered about its purpose…a secret treasure hideaway, perhaps? The Pirate House is a great place to visit—good food and a slightly creepy atmosphere. My son is convinced that he had an encounter with a ghost in the Pirate House. Since it is considered one of the most haunted locations in Savannah, I suppose it is possible.
Of course, the art galleries are a must when in Savannah. Bright paintings ranging from serious to silly and sculptures made of everything from wood to pottery to fragile blown glass beckon everyone from the casual browser to the serious art collector. After the galleries, we hit the funky shops that fill this little city, filled with everything from handmade local items to kitschy, touristy souvenirs. (I love them all—I can’t have enough of these little treasures.) And, of course, no trip to Savannah would be complete without spending hours browsing through antiques stores – the older and more cluttered the better. I could spend the entire trip in these little shops alone. Since my husband and sons do not share my passion for antiquing, I don’t get nearly as much time as I would like.
A 20-minute drive took us to Tybee Island. Tybee is a great location, filled with small, older homes and surprisingly few hotels. The absence of neon signs, surf shops, and gigantic hotel chains make this sleepy beach town the perfect little hideaway. The Tybee Island Lighthouse is gorgeous and well worth the trip over to the island and definitely worth the climb to the top. This historic lighthouse was originally built in 1732 and it is one of the most intact lighthouse stations in the country. After visiting the lighthouse, we ate at one of the more unique locations we’ve discovered, a sprawling restaurant complete with live alligators, exotic birds, and seriously good food – the Crab Shack.
The reason we were there was for the music, and we enjoyed the sounds of not only the student musicians gathered there, but also the street performers and live bands who regularly light up the night as tourists and residents alike stroll along the city streets, just as they’ve done since 1733, when it became the first planned city in the country. With beautiful, historic statues and a quaint Southern charm, Savannah will charm and delight you into returning time and again – and every time you’ll discover something new.