Savannah, Ga., is a haunting beauty. Walking through the neighborhoods, you can imagine oil lanterns and Tiffany lamps illuminating the huge windows, parties spilling out onto the two-story porches that wind around the house.
Savannah is very hot, but it is also very shady. Looking up, huge live oaks reach from curb to curb, covering everything with a leafy canopy. Dripping from every limb like old cobwebs is Spanish moss. Spanish moss everywhere! I love it – the soft sage color, the way it sways in the breeze like seaweed – it cultivates an other-worldly feel in this already spooky city.
It’s no wonder General Sherman gave it to Lincoln as a Christmas present, then burning down every other city on his merry march. The town is organized around many pretty green squares, where old trees and fountains offer relief from the heat.
The famous Bonaventure Cemetery (anyone read “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”?) looks like a scene from “Interview With a Vampire,” as my mom pointed out.
And then there’s the food. To beat you to the punch, no, I did not eat at Paula Deen’s restaurant. I just can’t justify standing in line for three hours to eat a stick of butter. So instead I bought pecan-pie flavored chapstick at her store and called it a day.
The seafood in Savannah was wonderful – if you ever travel there, try Garibaldi‘s, which is near The Lady & Sons restaurant (Paula Deen). After oysters on the half shell, I ordered the seared scallops served over country-ham risotto. Goodness, it was good!
I don’t have any pictures from our favorite meal at Elizabeth on 37th, but let me just say it is a MUST. Set in a renovated old mansion with food prepared using local ingredients and herbs from its own garden, this is one of the most memorable dinners of my life. From service to flavor, it was superb.
Another day, we had an afternoon snack at the Olde Pink House, which is supposed to be haunted. We ordered cocktails and the “Southern Sushi,” which was shrimp and grits rolled in a nori wrapper and then deep fried! Yes, it was good.
There is a small, but growing, population of hipsters in Savannah. We enjoyed a few breakfasts at organic cafes where art-school kids served us bold coffee in recyclable cups. I felt right at home.
Cafe 37 was where we had the fontina and ham crepes served with a fresh-greens salad:
And my organic lox-bagel with cream cheese, capers and red onion. This might be the best lox bagel I have ever had. So soft and buttery. Fresh and delicious.
Lox bagel with cream cheese, capers and red onion
All said, I would declare Savannah a wonderful and romantic place to visit. Great parks to jog around, great places to eat and a little bit of history and mystery. I recommend renting a suite in one of the old homes near Forsyth Park, where you will have your own little porch to relax with a Hendricks gin & tonic…