A Small Southern Road Trip
John and I received an invitation to a coed baby shower in Orlando on March 9. So we turned the trip into a mini southern vacation! We seriously needed a break after our move. We flew to Orlando on Saturday morning and attended the baby shower that night. The shower was good times and it was so fun to see our friends prior to their new arrival. The next morning, our vacation really began.
After visiting our friends’ home Sunday morning, we hit the road in our rental car and drove about 35 minutes to EFG Orchids in DeLand, Florida. Because of my orchid addiction, we like to visit orchid greenhouses on our travels whenever possible! The place had lots of beautiful orchids, along with other plants, and we spent awhile wandering and marveling. And I didn’t even realize until I saw this pic of myself that I had worn the perfect shirt for blending in:
I was super excited to find a few Zygopetalums, my favorite type of orchid:
After the orchid visit, we drove about three and a half hours north to Savannah, Georgia and checked in to The Marshall House, a historic (and supposedly haunted) hotel on the main drag downtown. I attended college in Atlanta, a four-hour drive from Savannah, yet I never visited! But I had always heard good things so I was excited to finally see the city.
The hotel served as a hospital three different times! If any building is gonna be haunted, it’s this one. The hotel hallways certainly gave off vibes of The Shining and The Stanley, which inspired the book (we stayed there in 2016). I half expected to see creepy twin girls holding hands down at the end:
Spoiler alert: we experienced nothing spooky in the hotel during our stay. Bummer…or not? 😛
We chose a room located off the second floor verandah, which was a nice spot to sit outside and relax:
The Marshall House offers a wine and cheese reception with entertainment on weeknights, which we definitely took advantage of. They also have a really good breakfast buffet, included in our room rate. Bonus!
We didn’t arrive until about 4pm, so we settled in to our room, grabbed a glass of wine from the reception, and enjoyed that on the verandah. The weather was perfect! Then we walked over to the The Pirates’ House, where I had made us a dinner reservation.
This is my attempt at looking like a pirate….#NAILEDIT.
As with most places in Savannah, this restaurant is allegedly haunted. It’s a tourist trap and pirates give tours throughout the space while you’re dining there. I had low expectations for the food. But it was seriously amazing….starting with these incredible hot-out-of-the-oven biscuits. They came with a side of honey butter and orange marmalade, and they were OUT OF THIS WORLD. Crispy on top, flaky, sweet, and melt-in-your-mouth on the inside. I’m literally still thinking about them.
I had a fried green tomato BLT salad, and John had pecan fried chicken. Everything was super delicious! I would 100% eat at The Pirates’ House again.
After dinner, we wandered around because the weather was so amazing. We found ourselves on River Street, a cobblestone road along the Savannah River with all sorts of touristy restaurants, bars, and shops. Eventually we settled on grabbing drinks at Rocks on the Roof, a rooftop bar at the Bohemian Hotel—it was the perfect night for doing so.
The next morning, we had a delicious free breakfast in the hotel atrium and decided to simply wander around town. Savannah is absolutely beautiful at this time of year. We strolled through several squares, many of which had fountains running with green water prior to St. Patrick’s Day. Apparently Savannah is known for its MASSIVE St. Patty’s Day festivities, and we were glad that our trip didn’t coincide with the holiday.
We of course made our way to Forsyth Park, probably the best-known large green space in town:
The Forsyth Park fountain was also spewing green water:
The weather was perfect again! We unintentionally picked a wonderful time of year to visit Savanah. The temperature was very comfortable and dry, and all the azaleas were in bloom but the pollen and bugs weren’t bothering us. Amazing!
We basically chilled a bunch on Monday after our morning exploration. In the afternoon we wandered up and down Broughton Street, one of the main shopping drags in town. We played games in the lobby and had took advantage of the wine and cheese reception while listening to a harpist. Then we headed to Treylor Park for a tasty dinner. Afterward, we grabbed a drink at The Fitzroy, but we were worn out so we called it an early night.
The next morning, we had hotel breakfast again, then drove 20 minutes to the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens. We had done a little research on things to do in and around Savannah, and of course if there are orchids nearby I want to go see them! The garden has a lovely orchid greenhouse that we spent quite some time in, chatting with the orchid grower who was tending to the plants. There were so many beautiful orchids in bloom!
After our botanical adventures, we went back to the hotel and I just chilled while John rented a bike and went out on his own to explore. In the afternoon I did a little shopping on Broughton Street because it was so incredibly nice out.
Tuesday night we had a dinner reservation at Elizabeth on 37th, a fine dining spot located in a beautiful mansion in Savannah’s Victorian district:
Everything about our dinner there was wonderful, from the cocktails to the wine, food, service, and ambiance. The cuisine is “coastal Southern” so it was seafood heavy, but they had one vegetarian dish on offer: a fresh pasta with veggies in a light Parmesan cream sauce. It was super good!
After dinner we were stuffed and grabbed a glass of wine at 45 Bistro next door to our hotel before calling it a night.
On Wednesday morning we decided to take in some local culture at the Savannah College of Art and Design Museum of Art. The museum is fairly small but had some really cool exhibits. My favorites were the below fashion pieces by Carla Fernández, but everything at the museum was interesting. Especially an unsettling interactive performance art piece called “On View” by Ania Catherine and Dejha Ti.
After the museum we did a repeat of me chilling in the room and John exploring by bicycle. In the afternoon I headed down to River Street to shop a little more.
We ate an early dinner at Carlito’s, which was the only disappointing meal of the trip for me (I didn’t think the food had any flavor). Then it was time for a Historic Grave Encounters Tour! There was no way we could leave Savannah without taking a ghost tour. We picked a trolley tour because it was shorter than some of the walking tours and it had good ratings on TripAdvisor.
Dearly departed Nurse Nancy served as our guide and regaled us with stories of deaths at historic locations around town as the trolley took us on a tour. Cities love to say they’re the most haunted in the U.S., and Savannah is no exception. The tour ended with a visit to Telfair Academy, where we heard stories of Mary Telfair (pictured in the portrait below) wreaking havoc on anyone attempting to drink alcohol in her former home after her death. The Telfair Academy building is beautiful and has a gorgeous atrium with artwork on display, so it was nice to be able to see that collection.
We got to peek into a couple side rooms of the Telfair mansion on the way out…below is the dining room. Beautiful, and no ghosts to be seen.
After the tour we went to The Collins Quarter for a drink and ended up staying for awhile, chatting with the staff as they were closing up for the night. They had really interesting wines—John tried one from Croatia—and we were sad that we only discovered the place on our last night in town. When we told our server we had eaten at The Pirates’ House, he told us he’ll never go there. He said his friend used to work there and one night had to go down into a basement hallway and came out terrified and crying. He said something…manifested in the hallway and attacked him. !!!! CHILLS. I’m glad we heard that story days after dining at the place.But the food was so good that I’d go back and take my chances.
We had one final breakfast at our hotel before packing up and driving a few minutes outside downtown Savannnah to Bonaventure Cemetery. This place is a must-see for visitors to Savannah! The weather was utterly perfect and the cemetery only had a couple small tours running while we were there, so it was nice and quiet. The Spanish moss dripping from the trees and the bright, blooming azaleas make for a lovely resting place:
Here’s another one of my favorite shots from our visit:
We didn’t spend a ton of time at Bonaventure, but it was a really nice way to end our visit to Savannah. From there it was time to drive a couple hours to Charleston, South Carolina!
Once we checked in to the Charleston Marriott I decided to rest in the room and John went out to get the lay of the land. We only had one night in town but wanted to scope the city out for a potential future trip.
One of John’s co-workers recommended Trattoria Lucca so I made us a dinner reservation. It turned out to be walking distance from our hotel so we had a lovely stroll there. We started with the restaurant’s signature appetizer, warm cauliflower sformatino, which was delicious! I had the cacio e pepe, which was a tad salty but still very good. The place is cute and had great service and drinks as well.
We asked our server to recommend a spot with good wine that we could check out after dinner, and he suggested Vintage Lounge on King Street. The wine bar was within walking distance so we headed on over. It turned out to be a really nice spot with lots of interesting wines. We stayed for one glass of wine before taking a Lyft back to our hotel. I’d definitely go back to Vintage Lounge and try more of their wines!
A four night stay in a haunted Savannah hotel yielded no ghost encounters. Yet, one night in the Charleston Marriott and our TV turned itself on in the middle of the night!! It was probably an issue with the remote batteries, but hey, you never know…
We didn’t have a whole lot of time in Charleston on our last day so we just hung out in the hotel room until it was time to head to the airport. Annoyingly, our flight was delayed by a couple hours…but that ended up not being the worst thing because we got to see sunset from the plane:
I’d be remiss if I didn’t share the souvenirs I brought back home! I bought a fuckton of pecan pralines (and some salt water taffy) from River Street Sweets in Savannah. John isn’t into this type of sweets so they’re alllll mine, muuuuahhahahahaha:
I bought a jar of wildflower honey and a lip balm (not pictured) from the Savannah Bee Company:
I also had to buy a Savannah shot glass for my collection, of course. And I recently broke my favorite coffee mug so I had my eyes peeled for a good replacement. This cute illustrated downtown Savannah mug was exactly what I was looking for!
We had such a great time on our mini Southern road trip! Four nights in Savannah were plenty, but we certainly weren’t bored or running out of things to do. We missed out on a bunch of activities like riverboat cruises, Tybee Island, and touring some of the historic buildings around town. And there are tons of other restaurants we didn’t have time to try. After getting a tiny taste of Charleston we definitely want to return for a longer trip. Apparently they have a great food scene there as well.
I always love coming home after a trip, but I do miss Savannah already!