Escape to Savannah Georgia to Fight Winter Blahs


I remember one dreary February weekend a number of years ago when we just needed a break, so we climbed in the car and headed South. No reservations, no plans except going SOMEWHERE.

As we headed down I-75, we decided to stop in Macon at the Fresh Air Barbeque there. It’s not the same as the one in Jackson, but it’s pretty good. Larger menu, same good food. Just a little newer…

by CTLiotta via WikiMedia Commons

After an early lunch, we got back on I-75 and hung a left where I-16 goes off, toward Savannah, Georgia’s oldest city! We drove a couple more hours until I-16 dead-ends into downtown Savannah, just a few miles from the Historic District.

We’d spent time in Savannah before, of course, once in the gorgeous Hyatt Regency, overlooking the Savannah River. The kids were younger then, and loved the fact that the light on the wall would alert them when a ship was passing. I’m not sure if the newly renovated rooms still have this feature or not – nothing in their website mentions it…

Anyway, this particular weekend, the Hyatt was out of our budget range, so we decided to check out a few others. The wonderful thing about hotels in the Historic District is that they’re actually located in historic buildings!

Maybe that sounds redundant, but it’s still amazing to me that these corporate chains can look so different and, well, OLD, when they’re actually quite modern inside, although they utilize a lot of the wonderful wood, exposed brick, and other warm touches from the original buildings.

by Deirdre via WikiMedia Commons

We decided on the Hampton Inn, right in the heart of the Historic District. As we entered the lobby, we were met with a flickering fire in the lovely brick fireplace, loveseats pulled close, just waiting for a guest to snuggle in, the aroma of just-baked cookies wafting through the room – I could feel the tension melting from my body along with the chill from the weather outside.

After we checked in, we decided to walk about a block down the street to this little hole-in-the-wall bar/grill where we had some truly fabulous pizza and a couple glasses of wine, then walked back in the mist, not really minding it any more.

The next day, we visited River Street, had lunch at the Pirate’s House, drove out to the beach for a little while, and returned to our lives in Atlanta. We’d been gone barely 24 hours, but it felt like a real vacation.

by Peter Broster via WikiMedia Commons

Another spur-of-the-moment drive years later brought us to the Savannah Visitors Center where some people were offering terrific rates at a new hotel.

We hadn’t planned on spending the night, but after checking on a reservation and making a quick call to the pet sitter, we decided to stay. They’ll give you toothbrushes, deodorant, and a comb…

It was the Springhill Suites by Marriott in another renovated building, just up Bay Street, closer to I-16. The hotel was brand new – I actually think we were the first people to stay in that room! Great location, great price, really nice hotel. And another wonderful spur-of-the-moment drive that turned into a memorable mini-vacation.

Like so many historic cities, there’s more to see and do in Savannah than you’ll ever get to. But it’s a great place to wander down River Street, stroll through the City Market, grab some ice cream at Leopold’s, stop off at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room if you’re lucky enough to be there at lunch time during the week.

by Ebyabe via WikiMedia Commons

There’s Paula Deen’s Lady and Sons, of course, and The Olde Pink House as well as Elizabeth’s on 37th. You could eat at a different restaurant every day for two or three years, and never hit them all.

As we always do, we definitely recommend you take a tour, and there are so many to choose from – trolley tours, ghost tours, walking tours, bus tours, horse and carriage tours, those devoted to specific events and celebrities.

If you enjoyed Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, you might want to take a trolley tour to see all the sights related to the book and the movie.

Or, if you’re like us and sometimes just want a break from the everyday grind, drive down, check into a nice hotel, and relax.

Next: Winter Beach Trips: Tybee Island, GA

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