3 Days in Savannah

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Day 1

MORNING Have a light breakfast at your hotel, you’ll want to save room for lunch.

MID-MORNING Make it a design day. Start at Forsyth Park and enjoy the majestic fountain before you stroll along Bull Street to West Jones Street for some shopping.

12 NOON Get in line early (10:30-11:00 am) because you won’t want to miss family style dining at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room.

AFTERNOON After a large meal, take a walk through the Design District on Whitaker Street. Visit One Fish, Two Fish, Arcanum and No. Four Eleven.

LATE AFTERNOON Book a tour at Mercer House and enjoy the interiors (and the tiny garden) so deliciously described in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Shop the Mercer Carriage Store for goodies to take back home.

EVENING Once you’ve walked off your lunch and gained an appetite again, have a delicious urban-style meal at Local 11 Ten.

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Day 2

MORNING Have a tasty breakfast at B. Matthew’s on East Bay Street.

MID-MORNING Continue along East Bay Street and shop the Factors Walk towards City Market.

12 NOON You must be hungry again? Stop for a cheesy slice at Vinnie Van Go-Go.

AFTERNOON Dedicate at least three hours to shopping on Broughton Street.

LATE AFTERNOON Coffee time. Make it a café au lait at The Paris Market & Brocante.

EVENING Head back towards East Bay Street for a lovely meal and great views at Vic’s On the River.

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Day 3

MID-MORNING If you’ve got time for a day trip you won’t want to miss Tybee Island.

12 NOON Enjoy some fresh seafood at the Crab Shack: “Where the elite eat and shop in their bare feet.”

AFTERNOON Lounge on the beach and take advantage of the Savannah sun.

EVENING Return to Savannah for a fabulous meal at the Olde Pink House. If you don’t see a ghost there, take a late night Ghost Walking Tour.

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Savannah: Top 5 Travel Destinations

1  For low-country seaside it’s is a quick drive to Tybee Island.  Visit the Crab Shack: “Where the elite eat in their bare feet”. On your way back, stop at the entrance of Fort Pulaski and see fisherman catching trout at the Cockspur Island Bridge. If you go at dusk, you might see a herd of white-tailed deer grazing in the marshes.

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2  Seen the movie, read the book, know the story?  Tour the Mercer House in Monterey Square and you’ll enter the real-life setting of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The historic home still showcases much of Jim William’s collection of fine furniture, art and accessories.

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Mercer House

3  Looking for affordable souvenirs? The City Market has plenty. Plus  restaurants, bars, art, galleries and a little touristy shopping.

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4  If you plan to shop River Street wear comfortable shoes to navigate the cobblestone streets. Start at the top of the hill and visit the antique stores and restaurants at Factors Walk. 

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The Cotton Exchange

5  Perhaps North America’s earliest urban planning, Savannah’s squares (21 in total)  form a smart  grid and have been a backdrop to countless films including Robert Redford’s Conspirator.

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Forsyth Park

 

Savannah: Top 5 Restaurants

1  Although we can’t guarantee a ghost sighting as rumoured, at the Olde Pink House does deliver great food (try the Shrimp and Grits appetizer) and a charming atmosphere. Dine in beautifully appointed rooms and then take dessert in the  basement pub where the live music infuses the party.

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Sautéed Local Shrimp w/Country Ham Gravy & Cheddar Cheese Grits Cake

 

2   Experience southern food, boarding house style at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room. Come early and be prepared to wait in line for at least an hour (yup, it’s worth it!). Once inside you’ll sit family style at a table that’s set for 10 but ready to feed 20.  It’s all for sharing, so try a bit of everything, but save room for banana pudding. And mind your manners – return your dishes to the kitchen just as President Obama does when he visits.

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Home Southern cooking at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room

3  A long day of exploring Savannah’s  squares earns you a treat from Leopold’s Ice Cream. Try  the Tutti Frutti and you’ll understand why Johnny Mercer wrote the famous song of the same name.

4  Looking for a taste of Manhattan in the south? Then Local 11 Ten hits the spot. Start the evening with a Gin, Lime Juice and Basil cocktail  on the upstairs patio.

5   For a great view and good food, Vic’s on the River rewards. Try southern classics like Fried Green Tomatoes and Crab Cakes . 

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Crab cakes at Vic’s on the River

 

Savannah: Top 5 Travel Experiences

1  Immerse yourself in history with a visit to the First African Baptist Church, built by enslaved people in 1859. The church was once a stop on the Underground Railroad as evidenced by the drill holes in the floor, just above a four foot crawl space that runs under the church and out to the sea.

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First African Baptist Church member, Rebecca Wilson

2  If design and decorating appeal, then touring Savannah’s Historic Houses  is a must. The Owen-Thomas House is a beautiful example of English Regency architecture complete with period touches like faux-marbre (marble) and faux bois (wood).

3 A riverboat cruise on board the Georgia Queen or the Savannah River Queen transports you up the Savannah River in style.  A sail on the one-hour stern wheel riverboat replicas includes a narrated history lesson. Plan ahead because the tours have fixed departure times.

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Georgia Queen and the Talmadge Memorial Bridge

4  The Savannah College of Art and Design attracts more than 8,000 talented students each year. Lucky for us as their art works are sold in stores and cafes and at the SCAD Art Museum Bring a southern memento home.

5- In Savannah, ghost are rumoured to be friendly and very much present. We didn’t have any encounters on our visit, but if you’re dying to see one for yourself, do one of the Savannah Ghost Walks and enter some of the cities most haunted buildings at night.

Savannah: Top Décor Spots

1  If vintage and antique furniture and accessories appeals, Savannah’s a great destination. Try Jeres Antiques which has 33,000 square feet to browse in.

2  It’s likely you intent to tour the Mercer House, but if time is short, at least make time to visit Mercer House Carriage Shop. Take home a copy of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil or go big and purchase the Bird Girl statue replica that graces the cover of the book.

3  When you’re shopping on Broughton Street, be sure to pop into 24e and  DC2 Design for contemporary furnishings and accessories.

4 Madame Chrysanthemum is the scented laboratory of florist Michelle Mikulec. The garden shop has great displays and vintage style treasures to take home.

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Madame Chrysanthemum

5  Alex Raskin Antiques claims they are the most interesting store in Savannah and we agree. Located on Bull Street, the old house turned store has architectural salvage, furniture, mirrors, accessories and more.

Savannah: Top 5 Food Experiences

1  Take tea at the Gyphon Tea Room and you’ll nibble on tea sandwiches and scones in a turn-of-the-century pharmacy with original stained glass ceiling and wood panelling. . Fresh salads are also worth digging your fork into.

2  Save some dough by sharing a New York style pizza at Vinnie Van Go Go in the City Market.

 The Pirate’s House may have been the drinking spot back in the 18th century, but it’s still a top watering (and dining) spot. There are fifteen separate dining rooms and a resident ghost, Captain Flint (made famous in Treasure Island) who is said to appear in the Captain’s Room.

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The Pirate’s House

4  Sure, fresh seafood is plentiful in Savannah, but if you love crab take a 20 minute drive to Deposito’s Seafood Restaurant (recommended by interior designer Lynn Morgan). It’s the locals’ secret spot, so shhh, we didn’t tell you.

5   Beautiful exterior window displays will likely draw you into The Paris Market on Broughton Street. Shop the French inspired wares and then enjoy a café au lait before you resume your walking tour of Savannah.

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The Paris Market

Savannah: Top 5 Design Stores

Author Susan Sully spent a day with Dabble and shared her favourite shopping spots.  As Savannah’s design scene is really a combination of coastal, West Indies and southern country style we’re sure you’ll find plenty to love.

1 Paris Market & Brocante is two floors of European charm. Furniture, art, accessories and antiques are acquired by owner Paula Danyluk who shops the globe.

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2  It’s easy to find something you love at One Fish, Two Fish, located in the Design District (near Mercer House and Mrs. Wilkes),  Jennifer Beaufait Grayson’s store has an eclectic mix of new and painted furniture, bedding, bath, books and jewelry.

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 3  The ultimate coastal store is No. Four Eleven. In addition to a disciplined nautical theme, the store specializes in monogram linens and vintage finds.

4  Shop  Savannah College of Art and Design’s shopSCAD for painted canvasses, photography, sculptures, jewellery, clothing and more. Buy a piece of art and who knows, it might be worth millions one day!

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5  Interior design duo Sim Harvey and Phillip Harvey are the masterminds behind Arcanum, the spot for furnishings and antiques.

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Savannah Gallery

Sweet Home à la Savannah

  • LEFT: Southerners revere hospitality, according to interior designer Lynn Morgan. Her historic Savannah row house clearly has its own open door policy. RIGHT: The foyer’s gilded Federal style mirror keeps a watchful eye on the well-appointed living room.
  • Sunlight pours through dramatic six-over-six, double sash windows, filling the gracious living room with an inviting warmth.
  • The kitchen’s beadboard, painted in pale blue, extends from the countertop upwards and into the glass display cabinets, providing a subtly colourful backdrop to dishes on display. To ground the busy kitchen and its painted surfaces, Lynn introduced dark stained, oak countertops.
  • Playful green upholstered chairs with white, contrast piping gather round the painted dining table.
  • Lynn’s fondness for Caribbean colour finds its way into her sun-filled master bedroom. A crisp white coverlet, cashmere throw and downy pillows provide the layers of comfort required for sleeping. The bedroom walls are painted Benjamin Moore’s Mountain Mist.
  • Adjacent to sleeping quarters is a gracious dressing room, separated by glass doors. The frosted panes soften filtering sunlight.
  • High-gloss white paint draws attention to the handsome baseboards and trim throughout, especially when contrasted with the matte finish used on walls.

Set in Savannah’s historic oak-lined district, the Greek Revival row house was originally built in 1853, likely a family home for a successful shipping magnate. Determined to strike her own pose with the redecoration project, Lynn Morgan was unencumbered by the home’s luminous past.

Instead, she created a thoroughly American interior by hitting the proverbial “refresh” button. Rather than rely exclusively on French and English antiques, the designer incorporated found pieces, painted furniture and humble garden elements, creating an easy, welcoming mix. Lacquered white furniture, saturated colour and bold graphics infuse the public spaces with joyful energy.

Striking pattern is used strategically to create interest in key areas—most notably the checkerboard floor pattern in the kitchen, the bold stripes in the dining room area carpet and the blue zigzag ottoman in the living room. Subtle pattern, like the beadboard in the kitchen and the sisal area carpet in the living room, creates texture and provides a foil to glossier finishes.

Dabble Savvy: Use a dark lampshade, like the royal blue bedside lamp with a narrow opening at the top and wider opening at the bottom, to force light onto the surface of a good book (as seen in the Master Bedroom).

Lynn’s Style Tips

Keep it simple. Glamour and sophistication go hand in hand with simplicity. Lynn suggests removing something from every finished room.

Mix it up. Texture and depth are byproducts of contrast. Mixing finishes—lacquered trim and matte walls, sisal carpets and high-gloss wood floors—enlivens a scheme.

Be an original. Don’t feel compelled to follow the past. Be fearless and set a contemporary tone that speaks to you personally.

Paint it white. For striking architecture or furniture with great bones, a coat of paint is transformative.