Thursday, July 30, 2015

Girls Trip 2015: Savannah

I spent the last five days in Savannah with five of my girlfriends, and it was AWESOME. I haven't gotten away by myself since Jennifer's bachelorette party in New Orleans three years ago! I have been dying to start an annual girls trip since college, but someone was always getting married or having babies, and let's face it... we were all poor. But this year I was not taking no for an answer.

We started planning it in January and quickly decided on Savannah. Only one of us had ever been, so it was a first for many of us. Each year we will go to a different place (think wine country, Nashville, Boston, Asheville, Charleston...). It'll be a chance for us to be ourselves instead of someone's mommy, wife, teacher, speech therapist, coach, accountant, lawyer, counselor, marketing guru, or public relations specialist. It will be a time to relax, decompress, rest, and giggle. It'll be the best medicine we get all year.

At the airport EARLY

Kayla, Amanda, and I left from Laurel at 5:45 Wednesday morning. We flew out of Jackson at 9am and made it to Savannah that afternoon. The first thing we did was go to the wine store 3 blocks away, then we waited on Kim and Lauren to arrive from Oxford (they drove). While we were waiting, we decided to look over our itinerary and make appointments for the spa and any dinner reservations we wanted. When I walked into the kitchen to grab my agenda, I found two little fairies decorating the dining room.

Those little stinkers bought my favorite cake (strawberry), had personalized wine glasses, balloons, banners, photo props... and it made me feel really special because I haven't had a birthday party in about 18 years.

Shortly after their arrival at 4pm it started FLOODING, which we later learned was typical for Savannah. We got an afternoon thunderstorm nearly every day. Kayla and I braved the storm and headed to the Kroger just a few blocks away where we stocked up on essentials.

That night we went to The Olde Pink House and had the most delicious meal. We all got something different and shared, but I think I speak for everyone when I say the best thing on the table was the house specialty... cornbread muffins made from scratch. Next time I go, I'm not ordering anything. I'm just going to gorge myself on those muffins. Holy cow. By the time we were on after dinner cocktails, Mac arrived! Then our group was complete.

The Olde Pink House

Thursday morning we ate breakfast and headed for Tybee Island. There we climbed nearly 200 steps to the top of the Tybee Island Lighthouse. Let me tell you something... 200 steps doesn't seem like a lot, but when there's no air ventilation and you're climbing a spiraling staircase in 120 degree heat... it's a lot.

The view from the top was beautiful! We saw little communities, the Tybee Island Museum, the beach. After we looked at the other historical sites nearby, we headed for the beach. We lazed in the sun for a good while, then we went to Sundae Cafe for lunch.

After lunch we drove back to the city, parked the car, and did some walking around. We did some light shopping at some nearby shops, then we did some sightseeing. Savannah is known for its squares. There are 22 squares, and we hit nearly all of them in our 4 day stay. 

Lafayette Square

We visited The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, which was breathtaking. I'm always amazed at the artistry and the craftsmanship of cathedrals. That is some serious dedication to paint such detail.

We stumbled upon Leopold's, which was on our "must do" list. We were tired and overheated, but we stood in the long line and waited for what we now know is the best ice cream in the USA. Nay, the world. I couldn't decide, so this feisty little 12-year-old brings us menus and tells us his favorites. As soon as he said their Girl Scout specialty of the season was "Savannah Smiles" made with lemon custard and Savannah Smiles Girl Scount cookies, I was sold.

After Leopold's, since we were still hungry (ha!), we stopped next door at the macarons shop since Lauren had never had them. It was the most delightful little place! And the salted caramel was religious.

That night we went to Jazz'd Tapas Bar for live music at tapas. When I walked in, I thought they were playing a Frank Sinatra record but it wasn't a record. It was an extremely talented gent singing into an old microphone, and he sounded like butta. We feasted on a million different tapas before turning in for the night.


Friday we went on a walking food tour. I loved this experience so much because our guide took us to places we would've never gone to otherwise. We went to several hole in the wall type places and venues that were off the beaten path. Our first stop was The Pirate House, and from the looks of it you would think it was a place with mediocre burgers and seafood. Ohhhh but it wasn't. There we had THIS. Fried chicken with warm honey glaze served over lettuce and pecan salad. Holy yum.

Next we went to a little hole-in-the-wall barbecue place called Wall's BBQ. It was a little ole granny who made the most tender sandwiches and served 'em up just like homemade barbecue ought to be served... on styrofoam plates.

Our third stop was at 17HUNDRED90, where they served us a crab salad crostini. At this point I was already full, so I only had a bite.

My favorite thing about this tour (besides the obvious) is that our tour guide was so knowledgeable and didn't let us pass one single building without telling us its history.


Greene Square

We passed the cutest little duck family!

Columbia Square

Our tour guide Irene told us that SCAD had bought all of the old theaters (there are several... like the one by Leopold's) and restored them, which is so awesome.

This guy was playing in one of the squares. Notice he's not a homeless person begging for tips. He's a legitimate violinist in nice clothes playing for the pleasure of the community. Obviously he had his case open so I'm sure tips would be nice, but he was just so delightful!

After feasting on a sandwich from a walk-up spot

Awesome iron gate we saw on our tour

Shrimp skewers from an asian fusion place

Lastly we walked down the old cobblestone streets to River Street where we tasted fresh pralines at Savannah Sweets Kitchen. My kids would have LOVED that store.

When the tour was over, we walked back to our cottage and changed clothes for our spa day. We each had a massage and a few of us had the most amazing facials. So relaxing.

That night we went to Rocks on the Roof for a light dinner and drinks. The sunset was lovely, but it was crowded and overrated in our opinion. Afterward we went to LuLu's Chocolate Bar for chocolate martinis and dessert. 


Saturday brought SHOPPING. And lots of it. We started off with coffee and a light breakfast at The Coffee Fox, then we started on the far end of Broughton Street and worked our way forward. We hit Kate Spade, Lilly Pulitzer, Banana Republic, Gap, J.Crew, Loft, Zia, Nourish, The Salt Table, Paris Market, Tervis, lululemon, Fabrik, and finally Savannah Bee Company where we tasted (and bought) the most incredible honey. Somewhere in the middle of all that we had lunch at The Flying Monk Noodle Bar, and it was so good.

Edamame Dumplings

Spicy Tuna Tartare Tacos

Crispy Duck

Some kind of amazing noodles

Fried bread

Another noodle bowl

NaNa Noodles (my favorite!)

The Loot

After shopping for 8 hours (no, that's not a typo), we were hot and tired so what else were we to do but head to Leopold's. This time I got two scoops of Savannah Smiles. Man, I wish they shipped.

After unpacking all of our goodies, we ordered two giant pizzas and stayed home for the evening watching videos and giggling like teenagers.

Tomato Basil & Ricotta... SO. GOOD.


Mac had to leave us Sunday morning, so we were down to five for our last day. We drove out to Wormsloe Plantation and drove under the canopy of trees. It was a whole mile of live oaks dripping with moss and history. This is the same place Jenny told Forrest to "Run, Forrest, Run!" So of course we had to reenact it.

Next we went to the Bonaventure Cemetery which houses over 50,000 graves. It is seriously beautiful. And seriously big.

We were famished after the cemetery and plantation, so we went to B. Matthews for a late brunch. We feasted on shrimp and grits, homemade biscuits and gravy, crab cake benedict, and an apple, walnut, and bourbon chutney waffle with hot syrup.

Since Savannah allows to go cups, we grabbed 5 mimosas to go and hit the streets for City Market. We stopped in several shops (mainly just for the free air conditioning) and listened to live music outside. We found a gallery where artists paint inside a studio and also sell their art. We, of course, fell in love with all the Wormsloe paintings... until we saw the price tags. Yowzer.

The City Hall. Laurel's looks a little different.

We were all pooped and not that interested in City Market, so we headed back to the car and went on a driving tour. We had planned on going to the Forsyth Farmers Market on Saturday then having a picnic in Forsyth Park with our goodies, but we opted for shopping instead... so we drove by Forsyth and saw the mansion, parts of SCAD, and the most beautiful hospital I've ever seen. Then we went back home for much needed showers.

On our last night, Lauren did everyone's makeup and Amanda did everyone's hair. We all gussied up and had a very late dinner at Garibaldi's (after a photo session with props, of course).

We had the most delightful waiter who was so knowledgeable and also very funny. I love a meal where you can relax over a span of two hours and just enjoy the company and the delicious wines. I had the duck, and it was the best I've ever had. I was only sad I couldn't finish it all. We lingered and lingered because I don't think any of us wanted to go back to the cottage and pack. In fact, at one point we all looked at each other and questioned if anyone would even realize if we stayed an extra day. I decided that my husband (at home with the two children) would most DEFINITELY realize.


Monday morning we managed to get five people's luggage into the back of Lauren's Jeep. And just so you understand how tight it was... Lauren alone packed six bags. Amanda and I cooked breakfast for everyone since we had tons of eggs and fruit leftover. It was back to Whole 30 and back to the real world.

Whole 30 breakfast

Headed home!

My top five favorites were 1) Leopold's 2) The Olde Pink House 3) Garibaldi's 4) B. Matthews 5) Shopping. Wow... four of those are all about food. I also really loved the spa and walking everywhere. The wine shop and the grocery were both within 5 blocks. We walked for three hours on the food tour. We walked to almost every restaurant. It was really nice to be in a place where walking was encouraged.

We had the most awesome trip. My only complaints are that it was entirely too short and it will be entirely too long until next year. I miss you girls already! Especially Amanda, whom we discovered is basically me with a better life. #same #GirlsTrip2015Savannah


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