Travel Plan Idea – Spring Break in Savannah, Georgia

It’s springtime in the South and time to get away from the daily grind of going to work in the miserable winter weather which many of us have experienced this year. What better place for fun and relaxation than Savannah in the Spring? We often think of Spring Break as something only the younger crowd enjoys, but in Savannah it can be much more than a wild party scene. You will have a wonderful mini vacation in a milder climate with exciting things to do, numerous good hotels and restaurants, interesting old mansions, and a lot of history.

Day One – Arrive Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport early afternoon and take the courtesy shuttle to the Mansion on Forsyth Park, an exceptional, luxurious boutique hotel in the historic district. The district itself is laid out in multiple squares named after famous people or events in keeping with the original plan made by British General Oglethorpe in 1733. If you’re a pet owner, as are many visitors to Savannah, the Mansion does allow dogs up to 40 lbs ($150 non refundable cleaning fee). Located a short distance from various attractions in the historic district, the interior decor of Italian marble and Venetian columns adds charm and appeal to the Mansion. The hotel offers concierge service and numerous amenities in elegant guestrooms, as well as the Poseidon Spa/fitness center, a rooftop lounge with live entertainment, a wonderful art collection, and the excellent Drayton Restaurant onsite. Restaurant Hours: 7-10am, 11-2pm, 5-10pm. Room Rates: Avg $295/dbl.
Spend the afternoon strolling through the beautiful gardens beneath the hanging Spanish moss on live oaks in Forsyth Park. From the famous cast iron fountain at one end and the Fragrant Garden for the Blind to the various monuments and neighboring Victorian mansions, the Park is one of Savannah’s main attractions. Magnolia Hall/Inn is of particular historical interest as the birthplace of poet laureate Conrad Aiken and temporary residence of author John Berendt, while writing Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Have dinner tonight at Sam Snead’s Oak Grill & Tavern, highly recommended by other travelers. Enjoy a cocktail or a glass of wine in the casual, comfortable atmosphere, visit the various rooms featuring Sam’s golf memorabilia, and choose from a varied selection of appetizers, entrees, and desserts on the menu.
Prices: $20-$30. Hours: Mon-Fri, 11am-11pm, Sat, 5-11pm, Sun, 11-9:30pm.
Mon-Fri Happy Hour – 4:30-6:30pm.

Day Two – Places to Go

After breakfast, join the Old Savannah Tours minibus for a nonstop 3-hour tour through the Victorian District, Thomas Square, the Beech Institute, and Victory Drive. Lunch at Johnny Harris’ restaurant is included in the tour (recommend BBQ and mud pie for dessert).
Prices: Adult – $41, Child – $26. Hours: Mon-Sat, 9-2pm.

Reservations for dinner tonight at Paula Deen’s Lady and Sons’ restaurant, a landmark and tradition in Savannah offering the best in Southern cooking. Stop in at her store next door to find cookware, cookbooks, and other Paula items while waiting for dinner. Menu includes fresh seafood, chicken, and steak pot pies. Try fried green tomatoes or grits with your meal and don’t forget sweet tea. Enjoy a delicious dessert such as banana pudding, peach cobbler, or pecan pie.
Prices: $20-$30/entrees. Lady’s Southern Buffet (all you can eat): $17.99.
Hours: Mon-Fri, 11am-9pm, Sun-11am-5pm.

Day Three – More to Do (see Concierge for map & directions)

Begin a leisurely day with a visit to the Savannah History Museum inside the Visitor’s Center to view artifacts and exhibits from 1733 to the present. The museum houses memorabilia from Native American cultures, the Revolutionary War, Johnny Mercer, and Forrest Gump. Hours: Mon-Fri, 8:30-5pm. Sat-Sun, 9-5pm. Admission: Adults – $5, Children Under 6 Free.

Next stop, the historic Davenport House on Columbia Square built in 1833 and carefully restored for a public museum. The museum houses archaeological artifacts and a collection of ceramics, books, textiles, and household items portraying domestic life in Savannah in the early 1800’s.
Daily Tours. Hours: Mon-Sat, 10-4pm. Sun, 1-4pm. Admission: Adults – $9, Children, 6-17 – $5.

Lunch at the SoHo South Cafe, recommended for nice atmosphere and good, inexpensive food.

Splurge on dinner tonight at The Olde Pink House, next door to the Planter’s Inn on Reynolds Square, an 18th century mansion with outdoor dining and live entertainment in beautiful surroundings. Gourmet menu includes sushi, oysters on the half shell, and lobster, duck, pork, and steak entrees.
Hours: Mon-Sun, 5-10:30pm. (Lunch – Tues-Sat, 11-2:30pm) Prices: $31-$50.

Day Four – Tybee Island

Plan a day in the sun on Tybee Island (weather permitting). Stroll down to the south end pavilion to see the dolphins, visit the Marine Science Center (open 7 days, 10am-5pm), and look for gifts and souvenirs at Seaside Sisters. Fannie’s on the beach is a fun place for lunch.
Shuttle service to/from Tybee Island – $3/pp, one-way. Hours: 7 days,10am, 12 Noon, 2, & 5pm. Last return service – 7pm, Fri & Sat.

Return to the Mansion to rest and dine in tonight with gourmet cuisine at the Drayton.

Day Five – Spend Money

Start the day by going to Narobia’s Grits & Gravy for a hearty Southern style platter of anything you like from French toast, eggs, and grits to sausage, biscuits, and gravy. Inexpensive. Open 7:30am. After a great meal, it’s time to shop. Savannah has the usual malls and large department stores, but it’s more fun to shop for collectibles and unique items at the smaller shops and boutiques in the historic district and the Riverstreet Market Place. One Fish Two Fish has everything from painted furniture and home accessories to apparel, jewelry, and gifts. Look for handmade crafts and original artwork at the Village Craftsman, and visit Paris Market & Brocante on Broughton Street for French items. ShopSCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design) for paintings, photographs, handmade jewelry, and pottery. Go to Iona’s Gallery and Great Finds on Abercorn and Congress for paintings, home decor, and jewelry.

Lunch at Huey’s on the riverfront – have a shrimp or oyster po boy or fried green tomato muffuletta with a slice of praline cheesecake for dessert .
Prices: Sandwiches – $8-$12, Dinner – $14-$30.
Hours: Mon-Thurs, 7am-10pm. Fri-7am-11pm. Sat-8am-11pm & Sun-8am-10pm.

Return to the hotel, put away shopping bags, and relax at the Poseidon Spa before dinner tonight at the popular Pirate House on Broad Street. Highly recommended for excellent food and service, the Pirate House is one of the oldest historic spots in Savannah. The extensive menu includes a variety of appetizers and features large platters of shrimp, oysters, crab, and other seafood, prepared Creole or Southern style. Order a rum cocktail and enjoy the ambiance of the Pirate House.
Prices: $30 or less
Hours: Dinner, 4:30-9:30pm. Lunch, 11am-4pm.

Day Six – Leaving Savannah today, you’ll remember Spring Break this year as a pleasurable fun-filled week (or longer) of experiencing real Southern hospitality and reliving some of the history in one of our nation’s most fascinating cities.

Getting there – Most major airlines fly into Savannah/Hilton Head International, about 7 miles from downtown. Cheap and reasonable airfares available. Driving to Savannah, or renting a car at the airport is another option.

Sharon L Slayton

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