Smitten with Savannah

Thank you to The Gastonian for sponsoring this post.

Savannah at a Glance

Where to Stay: The Gastonian
What to Do: Stroll Through Historic District & Forsyth Park, Owens-Thomas House, Shopping and Eating on E. Broughton Street
Where to Eat: Leopold’s Ice Cream, Zunzi’s, The Paris Market & Brocante

 

As many of you know, I will soon be moving from my lifelong home of Boston to make my way in San Francisco. As such, my family and I have been trying to squeeze in every drop of quality time together that we can, and as a treat my mother and I planned a girls’ road trip through the marshy, low country of Georgia and South Carolina.

Our first stop on our tour was Savannah, Georgia, a city which utterly enchanted us. The live oaks dripping with Spanish moss, the gently hued historic architecture, and the dramatic passing thunderstorms gave the city a painterly, other-worldly quality. Moreover, the people were the friendliest we’ve met anywhere, always ready with a smile, and occasionally a ghost story.

Our Stay at The Gastonian

When we first planned out our trip, I reached out to The Gastonian, voted by Condé Nast Traveler as one of the top 50 B&Bs in the world, to see if we could arrange a visit. Lucky for my mother and me, innkeeper Laura Hammond replied with the most delightful affirmative, and quickly all was settled.

Located in the heart of Savannah’s historic district, The Gastonian is comprised of two 19th-century mansions connected by a footbridge, and each building is filled with beautiful antiques. Relaxing in one’s room or in the Inn’s lobby, perhaps chatting with Inn staff or guests, gives the feeling of staying in the home of very gracious friends.

As we were unpacking our bags, we heard a knock at the door—cava and chocolates for us! All gaiety at this surprise, we curled up on our settee, sipping our wine and admiring the color palette of our grand suite (the Mary Telfair room). We loved spending time on our porch as well, which was trimmed with the lushest of planters. In the evenings, it offered the perfect spot to listen to the ambient music of cicadas and frogs.

In the mornings, we enjoyed the Inn’s included Southern breakfasts, complete with grits and biscuits. We’re still trying to figure out their secret for such perfectly poached eggs. Guests have the option of having their breakfast in the sunny communal breakfast area or on silver trays in their own room, and we greatly enjoyed both.

After breakfast, we would spend time passing through the Inn’s lovingly manicured gardens, always finding new elements to surprise and delight us.

We continued to be extravagantly wined and dined for the duration of our stay. On top of check-in bubbly and hearty breakfasts, the Inn provides guests with an array of delicious hors d’oeuvres and wine in the afternoons, followed by cakes and port in the evenings. These communal buffets offered throughout the day created many opportunities for guests to acquaint themselves, leading to many an interesting conversation.

Just when we thought our stay couldn’t be any more charming, upon returning to our room one evening, we discovered a gift of cava and chocolate covered strawberries. My mother determined that she could get used to this.

For its location, inviting interiors, effusion of delicious food, and its unparalleled hospitality, The Gastonian was the perfect place for us to stay to experience Savannah, and we certainly hope to return to it in the not-too-distant future.

Exploring Savannah

When visiting Savannah, you must devote a good period of time to exploring the city’s historic district. There is some debate as to which street is the prettiest, but we were quite partial to our own patch of East Gaston Street. It’s hard to go wrong, though, as the whole district is draped with Spanish moss and dotted by strings of parks, the largest being famous Forsyth Park.

We considered it important not only to enjoy Savannah’s historic beauty but also to educate ourselves further about the ugly side of the city and nation’s past. Our tour through the Owens-Thomas House was an important education on the living conditions of urban slavery.

Savannah is, of course, not only home to a complex history but also to a vibrant, contemporary creative scene. An easy way to enjoy this side of the city is to stroll down East Broughton Street, a central place for shops and restaurants.

Of all the shops and food spots that we visited, a few stand out. First of all, the excellence of Leopold’s Ice Cream simply cannot be overstated. We got in a 15-minute line, overheard locals rejoicing that it was so short, and waited. Once our ice cream arrived, my mother and I sat in awe. It was the best ice cream either of us had ever had. If you eat nothing else in Savannah, eat Leopold’s Ice Cream.

Other notable eats include Zunzi’s, which offers South African-inspired chicken sandwiches, and Brocante, a very design-forward café selling adorable french press coffee and sweets from all the best local shops.

For shopping, we enjoyed Copper Penny, which carries an excellent array of designer items, some of them heavily marked down. We also loved The Paris Market (connected with Brocante), a sprawling store of home and beauty products clearly curated with both a sense of taste and of fun.

All in all, our only complaint about our visit to Savannah was that it was too short!

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