Dispatches from Savannah

Per one of my last postings, I finally made it to check out Savannah, Georgia, and it was a success. I’m already planning a trip back when the weather is warmer because as much as I enjoyed strolling around Savannah in a sweater and vest, you could tell this is a city to be thoroughly enjoyed almost entirely outdoors with shorts and flip-flops. 

Savannah was a reasonably easy trip from Asheville. It’s a four-hour and twenty-five-minute drive (six on the way home due to faulty GPSing…#blessed), a pretty straight shot on major highways most of the way. We left around eight and were sitting down for lunch by 12:30, and I consider any weekend trip where I don’t have to wake up ungodly early and can be getting lunch at a reasonable hour a win. 

I had a massive list of places to see in Savannah, and only a fraction got checked off. That being said, I have nine recommendations, as well as one dinner option you could feel free to skip (or not, I’m not in charge of you, after all). 

Savannah Recommendations

Mad Cat Tours True Crime Pub Crawl

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this tour. I’ve been on really fun ghost/crime tours and really bad ones, and $35.00 is definitely on the low side, price-wise, but this turned out to be a lot of fun. 

Since I mainlined Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil prior to my Savannah journey, I was a bit more in the mood for true crime than ghosts (even though I’m one of the many people sort of souring on the true crime craze we’ve been in the past couple years). This specific tour (they also have ghost tours and non-pub crawl true crime tours) took you around the Savannah historical district to, I believe, the sights of 5-6 different crimes, as well as stops at 4 Savannah bars (you take your drinks to go). We essentially had a private tour which allowed for many questions, and I can safely say Savannah’s reputation as a city where weird shit happens certainly seems reputable. I’d happily go on another one of Mad Cat’s offerings (or find another dark history slanted tour) next time I’m in town. 

Tybee Island

I can see Tybee Island being a big draw when it comes to living in Savannah, as you can leave downtown and be on the beach in about twenty minutes (clearly, I have yet to learn about the traffic situation in the summer). It’s definitely a cheesy beach town in the vein of the Jersey Shore, which is to say, exactly what I love. The town was essentially shut down during my visit (which makes sense for early February), which meant I could only sample so many places, but that was fine. There is something about a half-shut-down beach town during the off-season I dig. We stopped at three places (along with strolling the very cold beach), and I’ll recommend two. 

  1. Back River Brewery: A recently opened, very laid back, second-story brewery with solid beer and even better merch (I’m now the owner of a new, what I’ll dub, very 80’s-dad-style Back River Brewery neon pink tank top). 
  2. Sting Ray’s Seafood: This is 100% an overpriced tourist trap largely comprised of fried seafood. That shouldn’t be held against it, and in fact, is what you want at the shore, right? What really made Sting Ray’s great was their fried oysters, which are of the full-bellied variety that essentially pop when you bite into them, something I haven’t had since moving down south. 

We visited one more seafood place for some beers and oysters, which I can’t recommend because the oysters came un-iced, and so semi-warm, which…is gross. Did I still have 5-6 because I hate wasting money? Absolutely. I also found a pearl in one of them. 

The Rail

I’m sure real Savannahians and “in the know” travelers avoid this type of place, but I loved it. They have free fried chicken on Thursdays, karaoke every night at nine (though our last night there—a Saturday—definitely had an earlier karaoke), and dollar hot dogs. A plus? No one took karaoke seriously.

Sorry Charlie’s Oyster Happy Hour

One thing I deeply miss living in Asheville is a good old buck-a-shuck (dollar oyster happy hour for the uninitiated). There’s nothing super special about Sorry Charlie’s, but they have $1.00 oysters M-TH 4-6. I had 22. No regrets. 

Walk Down Bull Street

One of my favorite parts of the trip was just walking around the city. It’s truly picturesque. The walk I enjoyed the most was down the historic district’s Bull Street, which cuts through several of the city’s squares (including the one housing The Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil murder house) and ends at Forsyth Park, which is worth walking around.

Sixpence Pub

My first-ever introduction of Savannah was as Scranton’s biggest rival for the third biggest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the country (allegedly, they trade back and forth depending on the year), so it felt pertinent to pop into at least one Irish pub. Sixpence Pub sits right on Bull Street, had a very nice outdoor seating area, and poured a proper Guinness (which isn’t a dealbreaker for me, but something I nonetheless appreciate). I’d stopped here just after brunch (coming up in the next section), so I didn’t eat, but the food looked and smelled good. 

Treylor Park

For brunch, I had chicken and waffle tacos. I think that’s enough said.

The Peregrin Rooftop Lounge

We spent far too much time here Saturday afternoon. As much as I love the concept of a rooftop bar, all too often, they’re overpriced and generic. Peregrin Rooftop Lounge wasn’t cheap, but its multi-level astroturfed terrace felt like it was doing the opposite of convincing you it was fancy. The views were incredible and a big bonus? People watching if you like people watching terrible (seeming, of course) people.

Cotton and Rye

Cotton and Rye was one of two big dinners in Savannah and was glorious. I had the fried chicken thighs with mac and cheese and homemade pickles, and not only was it good, but reasonably priced. I also had a peanut butter/jelly pie for dessert, which was two thumbs up.

Savannah: You Can Skip

The Grey

The Grey was the second of two big dinners and was…lackluster. The whole conceit of the place is that it’s in a refurbished Greyhound Bouse Terminal, which…fine…cool, but not necessarily warranting $38.00 for four scallops I could close my fist around. Like Asheville Restaurant Week, The Grey, I think, just isn’t for me. 

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