Flight Paths: Escape to Savannah

Chirped by Tina

Just before the COVID-19 craziness really started to set in, my hubbie and I flew (gasp!) down to Savannah, GA to meet up with some friends we hadn’t seen in ten years. (As a side note, there was no shortage of travelers and no sign of masks in either the Philadelphia or Savannah airports the first weekend of March. I did notice we weren’t the only ones sanitizing our immediate area on the plane though!) Since that weekend, our kids’ colleges decided to send everyone home for “remote learning” while they assess the situation. Our status as empty nesters has been revoked! Luckily, reading our blog comes with no risk of contagion. We’ve got a whole backlog of projects and adventures to tell you about! So let me start by sharing some highlights from our long weekend escape to Savannah…

I started this post before the schools, restaurants, wine stores, and everything else started shutting down here in PA and around the US. We’re now embracing social distancing! I liked one sentiment that I read, to the effect that we’ll never know if we overreacted to this pandemic, but we will definitely know if we under-reacted… For the sake of our parents, grandparents, and immuno-compromised friends and neighbors, why not err on the side of caution and stay home? We’ll try to focus on some make-at-home projects in upcoming posts, but for now, please indulge me while I celebrate this recent trip to Georgia, that occurred just before the “spit” hit the fan…

Perry Lane Hotel

Long weekend escape to SavannahWhat a gorgeously appointed hotel, right in downtown Savannah! The decor is eclectic but elegant. Our suite offered little touches like a small cloisonné panda and a framed family letter addressed to “Sweet Pea”. The Perry Lane features a fantastic restaurant (Emporium Kitchen & Wine Market) where we dined our first night and morning in town. On nice days, it also has a rooftop bar (Peregrin), with amazing views of the city – and live music on occasion. It was chilly last weekend, so we enjoyed pre-dinner cocktails in the cozy Wayward bar instead, with quirky paintings, suspended motorbike, and antique tchotchkes galore. Much of the hotel’s artwork is by young local artists – you’ll see SCAD’s* influence all over Savannah! Other hotel perks include the heated rooftop pool, in-room spa services, fitness center, super-friendly concierge and valet services, and… it’s dog friendly! (We did not bring the blog dog, however.)  *Savannah College of Art and Design

Savannah Architectural Tour

Long weekend escape to SavannahArranged through our helpful concierge, our walking tour with SCAD graduate and Master of Architecture Jonathan Stalcup was amazing. Jonathan is a bottomless fountain of information on all things structural and historical in Savannah. He literally wrote the book! We were amazed by the variety of building styles that have been preserved and protected since James Oglethorpe laid out his plan for the original settlement in 1733. Jonathan can dive deep into the details, or present a comprehensive overview, depending on the interest and attention span of his audience. (-; As an added bonus: outdoor walking tours allow plenty of room for social distancing!

The Greening of the Fountains

Long weekend escape to SavannahHad no idea this was a thing, but in Savannah, they take St. Patrick’s Day very seriously by “greening” the fountains, starting with this one in Forsyth Park. Their famous parade, one of the biggest in the world, has been cancelled this year due to concerns about spreading the corona virus.

The Olde Pink House

Friday night we met up with some local friends for dinner at the Olde Pink House. Originally the Habersham House, it got its colorful name when the soft local brick started bleeding through the plaster, giving it a tropical tint. (Speaking of bleeding, it’s also supposed to be haunted, like many of the old historic buildings in Savannah!) The delightful menu includes Lowcountry favorites like She-crab soup, and tons of fish, shrimp, lobster and scallop dishes. Fear not, there are also great pork, beef and poultry options if you’re not into fish! I decided to brave their signature “Crispy Scored Flounder” with apricot shallot sauce, grits and collard greens. I’d definitely recommend letting your waiter demonstrate how to flip the fish away from the bones if you’re new to eating whole fish – I got a few bones in my first bites before I got a lesson. I even sampled the “Georgia potato chip” – the crunchy fried tail of my fish, according to our server. Several of my dinner companions ordered the stuffed grouper special, which was delicious! Since it was a special, not a regular menu item, I’m having trouble finding a detailed description of the dish, but it looks to have had shrimp and a pesto sauce of some sort involved in its presentation! (-;

If you saved room for dessert, I highly recommend the key-lime cheesecake and dense chocolate torte as well!

Pro Tip: Pack your flat-heeled shoes! Savannah’s uneven old streets are not a great place to wear spiky heels, particularly after a few glasses of wine… I’d forgotten to pack dress shoes, and borrowed some heels from my friend – against the advice of the local couple. Luckily I only suffered a skinned knee – we saw another woman spill headfirst on the sidewalk earlier in the day!

Kayaking Tour of the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

Long weekend escape to SavannahAnother excellent expedition arranged by our concierge was a kayaking tour with Outside Savannah. It started with a 20 minute boat ride along the Savannah River and into the Carolina Lowcountry salt marshes. We docked on a private island and took a short nature hike along a raised boardwalk. Then we embarked on a leisurely kayaking tour through coastal creeks and marshes. As a wannabe-birder, I thrilled to the many pelicans, cormorants, herons, ducks and shore birds around every bend. Our naturalist guide, Rob, was great at spotting and identifying birds, sometimes just by their call in the tall grasses. We also encountered bottlenose dolphins, oyster reefs, and my favorite: a Great Horned Owl, with owlet, nesting on a high platform on the way back! (By the way, I just checked the website, and these tours are still being offered, with additional sanitizing measures in place to keep everyone safe as they enjoy the great outdoors!)

Dinner at a.lure

One last great meal in the Lowcountry before heading home to PA! Our Saturday night delight was at a restaurant called a.lure. Forgot to get many photos, but our meals were terrific, and the venue had a slightly more casual atmosphere than our evening at the Olde Pink House. I thoroughly enjoyed my Crab Cakes (with passion fruit tartar and mango chow chow) and Low Country Boil. One of our friends ordered their famous a.lure meatloaf, made with filet mignon and foie gras. It did not disappoint!

Long weekend escape to SavannahOur quick getaway at an end, we headed back Sunday morning to the lovely Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, just a 20-minute taxi ride from our hotel. If you’ve never been, be sure to check out the beautiful city of Savannah once we get through these times of self-isolation and quarantine. In the meantime, hope you enjoyed this vicarious visit! May you all stay healthy and enjoy some quality time with your immediate family. With this post complete, I think it’s a good time to break out a new jigsaw puzzle… 😀

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