Looking and Lingering in Savannah, Day 1

by Natalie Lo
Looking and Lingering in Savannah, Day 1

Savannah is a city meant to be experienced slowly. It’s a city where you are meant to linger, under a canopy of Spanish moss in one of the many public squares (and thanks to the city’s open container policy) with a drink in hand. Coming from New York City, we took a little time to adjust to this rhythm.

A few days in, we were spelled, basking in the warmth of Savannah’s sunny days and Southern hospitality.

We visited Savannah in April, when the air is crisp and fresh, free from the heat and humidity of the summer months. While we could have seen the major sites in three or four days, we took in the city over the course of twelve days. By stretching our stay, I could feel what it’s like to be a true Savannahian. While we visited nearly all the historical homes, museums, and city squares, and ate at dozens of the city’s fine restaurants and cafes, what follows are the standouts.

I love cities with a good mix of bookstores, coffee shops and restaurants. In this, Savannah doesn’t disappoint. On one corner of Madison Square stands the E.Shaver Bookstore, an expansive space divided into cosy sections. Mia and Ethan worked on the communal puzzle and took several turns at the public typewriter, leaving several haiku-like notes on the cork board. I had a cup of tea at the in-house cafe.

The Gryphon, also on the square, is a former apothecary turned restaurant housed in the 1926 Scottish Rite building. The interior evokes the building’s past with ornate stained glass panels, carved mahogany bookshelves, and original wooden apothecary drawers. The food is classic and delicious, featuring salads, sandwiches, entrees, and a full selection of coffee, tea, and specialty drinks, such as the Hong Kong Cucumber Cooler The check comes tucked away in a novel, a charming tradition I later saw at other Savannah restaurants.

In this same square, you can browse ShopSCAD, a colorful boutique filled with beautiful leather products, jewelry, artwork, and home decor. All the artisanal products in the store was designed by a Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) student, alumni or faculty member.

My visit to the Juliette Gordon Low house channeled my inner girl scout. Juliette Low is the founder of the Girl Scouts, which was her American interpretation of the Girl Guides of England. Girl Scout troops make regular pilgrimages to honor their founder. Unlike other historical homes, her home is filled with her own artwork, including her sketches, sculptures of her niece and an iron gate she monogrammed for her parents.

To end the day, we had a delicious meal at Public Kitchen & Bar, a restaurant serving locally sourced Southern dishes in a smart, mid-century modern space. Public offers an eclectic array of cocktails and has a varied menu to please most palates.

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