Kevin and I love taking small spontaneous weekend trips that require absolutely zero planning or preparation. Sometimes it totally backfires on us (cough *our first night on Catalina Island* cough) but other times I feel like it’s the best way to truly experience a new city with no expectations or biases.
In this case, Kevin was heading to Atlanta for a work conference and Palmer and I decided to tag along so we left a few days early in order to take advantage of the free weekend. In addition to Savannah, a few places on our radar were Asheville, Rosemary Beach and Charleston. The only requirement was that it had to be a reasonable drive from Atlanta.
When we landed at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), we still hadn’t decided where we were heading. Once we got in the rental car we looked up the weather and distance to each and settled on Savannah. Neither of us had been and the forecast called for a warm, sunny weekend – exactly what we needed!
March 7, 2020 – Savannah Historic District & Riverwalk
We arrived in Savannah mid-afternoon and checked in to our hotel. Unfortunately, our room wasn’t quite ready so we dropped our bags and freshened up in the bathroom before catching the ferry to go exploring. [Note: We stayed on Hutchinson Island across the Savannah River from downtown Savannah which is easily accessible by the free Belles Ferry which runs daily 7AM – midnight every 20-30 minutes and makes stops at City Hall, Morrell Park and Savannah Convention Center. It only takes about five minutes to make the journey across the river.]
Now, before I go any further, I want to caveat that this itinerary is simply our experience and surely excludes many of the “must-see/do/eat” in Savannah since we relied heavily on our own explorer instincts to navigate the city.
Upon disembarking the ferry at City Hall, we first explored the Riverwalk scene. We grabbed to-go drinks from Wet Willies and a quick bite to eat at The Naked Dog Savannah while wandering the cobblestone sidewalks and taking in the craziness that is the Riverwalk. Transparently, I didn’t love the Riverwalk and was a bit worried we had made a mistake in our choice to visit Savannah. It had a Bourbon Street vibe and was filled with bachelor/bachelorette parties, tons of tourists and St. Patrick’s Day enthusiasts.
However, as we made our way further into the Historic District, we were instantly charmed by the flowering green Squares, ancient Oak trees draped in Spanish moss and intricate architecture that surrounded us in every direction. We spent hours simply walking around, popping into small boutiques or reading restaurant menus along the way.
A few things we stopped to see as we walked include: Broughton Street (main street with shopping, bars and restaurants), Independent Presbyterian Church, Chippewa Square (home of Forrest Gump’s famous bench), Wright Square, Madison Square, ShopSCAD (cute boutique with unique art and home goods), and all of the pretty homes on Jones Street.
Even though there were tons of darling restaurants all over Savannah, we decided on room service for dinner so we could put Palmer to bed at a reasonable hour after an early wake up call and long day of travel. [Note: If I ever go back to Savannah, I am desperate to try Flock to the Wok. I am always a sucker for Chinese food and we walked by and it smelled AMAZING.]
March 8, 2020 – Brunch & Forsyth Park
The next morning we took the Ferry back over to downtown and grabbed coffees from The Coffee Fox. Then Palmer and I strolled around looking for a brunch spot while Kevin got his haircut. We ended up putting our name down at The Collins Quarter, eclectic Australian cuisine, and Clary’s Cafe, a breakfast staple over 100 years old in Savannah. In the end, we ate at Clary’s Cafe and enjoyed the classic menu choices, friendly staff and inexpensive prices. The food was good but nothing too spectacular.
After brunch, we made our way to Forsyth Park where Palmer tried the swing for the very first time and LOVED it! The park was teaming with families, exercisers, dogs, you name it. We did a small loop of the park before heading to see Lafayette Square and the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.
On our walk back towards River Street, we decided to stop for a mid-afternoon treat at Leopold’s Ice Cream. Unfortunately, many others had the same idea so we ended up waiting in a 45-minute line. Sure, the parlor is super charming and the ice cream was refreshing on a warm day but it was NOT worth the wait, in my opinion.
From here we caught the next ferry back across the Savannah River and loaded up the car to head to Atlanta for the week!
Accommodations & State Specific Details
As you know, we did absolutely zero planning for this trip so we had no hotel accommodations booked when we set out for Savannah. While Kevin drove, I researched hotel rates and after a few initial searches, it was clear that the Historic District was the place to stay. However, Saturday night room rates in that area were crazy expensive (minimum $300 + taxes + hotel fees) and availability was super limited. I checked hotels.com, Airbnb, called pretty much every B&B and then eventually did an ‘Express Deal’ through the Priceline app and ended up with a room at The Westin.
Overall, we enjoyed our stay at The Westin. The staff was extremely gracious and went above and beyond to find us a private space to feed/change Palmer and freshen up since our room wasn’t ready when we arrived. They also gave us a clean, spacious corner room with a view of the Savannah River which was perfect for watching the cargo ships cruise by in the morning.
We didn’t take much advantage of the property but everything looked really nice. As previously mentioned, they are located across the river from downtown Savannah so you have to drive or take the Ferry across the water. Depending on the time of day (or time of year) the Ferry queue can get quite long and they only allow a certain number of people on board. I can see that potentially being a point of frustration if you wait in line and don’t get on the Ferry since they only run every 20-30 minutes.
Overall though, we had a very pleasant experience and would definitely stay there again!
To Savannah (from Atlanta): We flew to Atlanta then rented a car and drove to Savannah. In total, the drive took about four hours (including a not so quick stop for coffee).
Around Savannah: Aside from the Ferry to/from the hotel, the Historic District is extremely walkable. It is a little hilly coming up from the Riverwalk but otherwise, super easy.
Currency: US Dollar (USD)
Outlet Adapter: The standard voltage is 120 V. The standard frequency is 60 Hz. The power sockets that are used are of type A and B. Standard United States adapters.
Passport/Visa Requirements: No U.S. Passport required.
Weather: We visited Savannah in early March and the weather was mid-60’s and sunny. We learned after the fact that it’s a great time to visit because all of the flowers are in bloom and it’s not too hot and humid yet. Clothing wise, we definitely still needed light jackets but it was warm in the sun.