By Renee Woodruff
July 21, 2011

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I like being away from New York as much as I like being in it. Weekend getaways are my absolute favorite and are a great way to explore new areas, spend quality time with friends and create new memories through the ever lasting desire of pushing past my comfort zone.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I like being away from New York as much as I like being in it. Weekend getaways are my absolute favorite and are a great way to explore new areas, spend quality time with friends and create new memories through the everlasting desire of pushing past my comfort zone.

Over the past few months I've been spending a lot of time in the south and have taken many side trips to explore uncharted territories. Recently, I had the privilege of toying around with my brother's girlfriend, Jaime, in sweet, sweet Savannah, Ga. It was a weekend filled with exploring, plenty of eating & drinking, shopping, conversations with the locals and even some beach time. I won't be the first to say that Savannah is an incredibly beautiful city that's organized around 21 squares with distinctive architecture, accompanied by Spanish moss hanging low from many of the massive oak trees that line the streets. While I tried losing sight of the ghost stories for which this town is known, I'd be lying if I didn't admit that there is something equally as eerie about this city with the stifling, thick humid air and the overwhelming feeling of a being locked in an era only those that occupy the graves the city sits above should know about.


Two of my favorite things to do while venturing into a new city are to hunt down the best places to nosh and to spend time exploring the various accommodations that a town has to offer. Savannah provides an especially exciting opportunity to fulfill these desires with all of its unique B&B's, modern boutique hotels and mind-blowing restaurants.

Jaime and I spent the majority of our time touring around and came up with this quick checklist on where to stay and where to eat while you visit:

Dwell: at one of these boutique hotels - Grand Bohemian Hotel on Savannah's Riverfront and Avia in the city's downtown historic district or at one of these B&B's - The Gastonian on Gaston Street, just steps away from Forsyth Park, Pet-Friendly Foley Inn facing the quiet and lovely Chippewa Square or the elegant four diamond Hamilton-Turner nestled among the magnolias and enormous oaks on beautiful Lafayette Square.


Swallow: eat breakfast at your B&B or one of the recommended hotels to get your day started, lunch with strangers sitting around community tables at the famous Mrs. Wilkes, stop for afternoon tea at Gryphon Tea Room (depending on what time of year your visit is you may want to make this an iced tea!), pick up a cool treat from Café Gelatohhh!, dine at Local Ten 11 Food & Wine, enjoy a late night cocktail and live jazz at 700 Drayton and toss back a nightcap while you sing karaoke at McDonough's Lounge (make sure to say hello to Billy, the owner!)


Now that you have your belly full and a safe place to rest your head, the next natural thing to do is shop. This art-inspired city has no shortage of stores to peruse. Shopping is something, believe it or not, that I don't usually spend a significant amount of time doing while I travel, as I'd much rather be doing something more active, like riding bikes, taking horse carriage rides, playing in Forsyth park or frolicking on Tybee Beach. But I couldn't resist popping into a few of the adorable boutique shops that line the streets of downtown historic Savannah.

Shop: Bring home Savannah local gifts from Savannah Bee Company (nothing says "Thanks for being you" like sweet honey), or shop local contemporary and affordable Trunk 13 Boutique for accessories, scarfs, dresses and shoes. Even if you aren't on the market for home furnishings you'll find much more than that in the design interiors and cafe, DC2 Design (I bought a $12 gold ring while fantasizing about having more living space in New York). Finally, don't forget to stroll through the charming four-block City Market downtown.


The advice I've provided above barely skims the surface of all of the impressive options you have when you visit Savannah. For a more comprehensive guide on where to eat, play, stay and shop, visit South Magazine's Guide. And if you're planning a weekend getaway, don't forget to read these tips before you go, so that you can de-stress, relax and actually enjoy your vacation!

Signing Off Swooning for Savannah,


PS - This was the first of many of my weekend getaways I'll be sharing with you. Bookmark this page after you finish reading if you've never been to Savannah before and are motivated to take your first trip into the deep roots of this southern town or just feel like taking a trek back to check out all of the exciting new & old attractions this town has to offer.

Renee Woodruff blogs about travel, food and living life to the fullest on Follow her on Twitter!