Springtime in Savannah

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Posted by Cheryl-Anne Millsap on June 20, 2018, 6 a.m.

When we left Spokane, the early morning sky was the color of lead and spitting pellets of snow and ice. Hours later, when our plane touched down in Georgia and we drove into the beautiful and historic city of Savannah, even though the day there was unseasonably chilly, the difference was noticeable.

Tall live oak trees, swathed all year in Spanish Moss, already bore tender green leaves. Drifts of tall, colorful, azaleas hedges were in bloom.  Mockingbirds sang and to my delight as I stood in front of the beautiful exterior of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, flocks of Cedar Waxwings swept from one berry-laden tree to the next.

Live oaks at Wormsloe Historic Site
Photo by Cheryl-Anne Millsap

Summer in the Northwest is bright and beautiful but spring is slow to arrive here and fades too soon. By contrast, springtime in the South is picture pretty and the season can linger from March to May.

Savannah is a lovely place to lose your cabin fever. Here’s how we spent a few days there.

Sweet Dreams

First, before you even get the key to your room, the exquisitely decorated lobby library at the DoubleTree by Hilton Savannah Historic District is worth a peek. Painted deep indigo and accented with an elegant aubergine sofa and a flickering fire in the fireplace, the Cobalt Library is the perfect place to spend a few minutes going over your itinerary or taking a break before dinner.

Located just a few steps away from the bustling city market and River Street attractions, the hotel is ideally situated with large comfy rooms and excellent amenities. We will definitely stay there again.

Cobalt Library
Cobalt Library at DoubleTree by Hilton Savannah Historic District
Photo by Cheryl-Anne Millsap

Food and Drink

We were lucky to have a local (who also happens to be one of our children) as our tour guide, so when it was time to eat, our daughter took charge.

Breakfast one morning was a biscuit and grits feast at Clary’s, a landmark diner-style eatery in the bustling heart of the historic district. A favorite lunch was bratwurst and ale on the patio at Moon River Brewing (wordpress.moonriverbrewing.com).

One night we found ourselves at an unassuming but fantastic restaurant southeast of Midtown called the Howlin’ Hound, where I had some of the best flounder I’ve ever eaten. Seriously. People are tired of hearing me talk about that flounder.

On the night before we left, we took a winding path down wide alleys to a real backyard barbecue joint recommended by my daughter’s classmate, and my husband ate his fill of tasty pulled pork.

See and Do

We had more on our see and do list than we could get to this trip, but we did manage to hit some of the highlights of Savannah.

For me, the triple-treat of the Telfair Museums was an afternoon well spent. After checking out the contemporary art and current exhibitions housed in the strikingly modern Jepson Center, we moved to the elegant Regency mansion that now a museum filled with an outstanding collection of significant 19th and 20th Century European and American art.

From there we took the short stroll to join a guided tour of the Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters, where we were educated about the history of a significant Savannah family and the lives of the slaves who built and maintained the house and the lifestyle of the family in it. A single ticket admits you to all three museums and the range of art and history is well worth the price.

Ghost tours are all the thing in Savannah right now and after dark there seemed to be one on every corner. I didn't see anything more ghostly than the glow of one tour leader’s iPad as he shepherded his group through town, but I heard that many residents have a spooky story or two to share.

Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters
Photo by Cheryl-Anne Millsap

Worth a stop is Bonaventure Cemetery, the evocative setting for the book and movie “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” The beautiful, historic cemetery is filled with statues and monuments, but visitors should note: the iconic Bird Girl statue featured on the cover of John Berendt’s book has moved to The Jepson Center.

Wormsloe Historic Site is the site of Georgia’s oldest plantation, established in the 1730s by Noble Jones, one of the first settlers to arrive from England, and again is a story blending entrepreneurial vision and the bitter legacy of slavery. The long avenue leading to the house is under a canopy of arching live oak trees, planted to celebrate the birth of a child. And it’s a postcard shot in any season.

Just 18 miles away from Savannah proper is Tybee Island. With wide beach and a long pier, Tybee is the place to go for some fun in the sun and a day on the beach.