We checked out of our Bed and Breakfast, The Goodbread Inn in St. Marys, Georgia on Friday around noon, and drove a short one hour north to Savannah, Georgia. I had not been to Savannah before, and Steve (DOS) had been, but didn’t seem to remember it at all, at least where we were staying on the Riverfront.
In just a few words description, our first impressions of arriving at our riverfront hotel in the midst of busy Savannah were “Compared to St. Marys, Savannah was like New Orleans or Manhattan!
No, not like the skyscrapers of New York, but the grid pattern and people walking everywhere, and like New Orleans, it seemed like everyone had an alcoholic drink in their hands! As we later learned on a tour we took, Savannah was one of the first planned cities in the US, and therefore used the grid pattern and had some 24 public squares, of which 22 are still standing.
As far as the drinking on the streets, open containers of alcohol are legal, but must be in a cup. It seemed a bit awkward the first few hours, but by the evening had set in, “If you can’t beat them, join them!”
In all seriousness, Savannah is a fascinating city full of history, beautiful old architecture, restaurants and pubs galore, and is a very safe and walkable city. Unlike other major cities, Savannah seemed to have a great handle on panhandling and bums walking, sleeping, peeing in the public parks and streets. Likewise, while people were partying like it was 1999, there were not overly loud and generally well behaved. It seemed like there were lots of group celebrations, for birthday party groups, bridesmaid’s groups, fraternity brothers, families, etc.
Overall, people were very orderly, and friendly, and the historic city was clean, unlike the very liberal and once nice west coast cities of San Francisco and Portland to name a couple. Those ultra-left coast cities have been taken over by the politicians and anarchist movements who have no tolerance for anyone’s opinion but their own, and let anything goes; tearing down statues – justified, rioting in the streets – justified, defund the police – justified. Fortunately the monuments in Savannah are still standing as are the beautiful architecture and even building reminiscent of slavery such as the Cotton Exchange.
Here in this former city of slavery, people seemed to respect the history while not condoning it and people of all races seemed content on living for today while not dwelling in the past which they cannot change. Savannah in fact was spared by General Sherman during the Civil War (unlike Atlanta which burned to the ground), as he thought it was much too beautiful a city to burn, and in fact called President Abraham Lincoln and offered him a “Christmas Present” in 1864 by Savannah’s surrender instead of burning Savannah to the ground.
We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Savannah Riverfront, which was not only an excellent hotel, but it had one of the best locations in town, conveniently located on the Riverfront.
Savannah is hilly in places, especially along the riverfront, and there were multi-levels of buildings and paths down to the riverfront. Some of the public and historic staircases were quite steep!
The Hyatt itself, as well as several other hotels and shopping complexes had elevators down to the riverfront level, but the main entrances might actually be on the fourth floor. We had a nice room on the third guest level, but it was more like actually level five or six, as it was a couple levels above the grand and open lobby. We saw many boats pass by out our windows, including the Georgia Queen sightseeing boat and some huge cargo ships.
During our two night stay in Savannah, we took well advantage of our premium location and valeted the car at the hotel, and didn’t use it again until we checked out on Sunday. As Hyatt Globalist members, we also enjoyed two great perks of free parking (which was $38 a day!) as well as free full breakfasts for two each day.
We ate and drank and were merry at several establishments along the waterfront area including:
Moon River Brewery (brewskis and lunch, conveniently located right across the street from the Hyatt Regency Hotel.
Boar’s Head Inn (Dinner first night, a bit noisy due to the adjacent and lively pub, but good food and service)
Churchhill’s Grille and Pub (after dinner to late night drinks on a rooftop bar!)
Another Rooftop Bar (Classy tapas and drink rooftop bar just down the street from the Hyatt)
River House Restaurant (casually elegant seafood restaurant, tablecloth, quiet, and excellent service overlooking
Riverfront. Ate indoors, but could people watch out the window as well as see the riverboats.)
And if that wasn’t enough, we explored several of the other rooftop bars in search of lunch, including the Marriott Entertainment Complex. The Marriott Entertainment Complex was huge with lots of ground level restaurants as well as rooftop bars and restaurants, and everything in between such as this giant dinosaur mock-up in the lobby.
Even though it was 3pm in the afternoon on a Sunday however, everything there was either booked up, or had an hour wait for food. It was a bit noisy anyway with the Sunday afternoon party crowd, so wisely left and went to the aforementioned rooftop bar for lunch.
We did walk back down to the Marriott Entertainment Complex on Sunday night after dinner, and it was still quite busy outdoors, with everything from a Cirque del Soloe type show to Magic acts and street performers entertaining the onlookers.
While we didn’t do the river cruise on the Georgia Queen, we saw it going up and down the river throughout our stay, with everything from sightseeing cruises, to lunch and dinner cruises.
I wanted to take the dinner cruise, but DOS thought this wouldn’t be the time to take a BUFFET dinner in these COVID times (even though we are fully vaccinated), especially after seeing some of the drunken types we saw getting off the ship.
There were also several huge and fully loaded cargo ships that sailed on the river periodically during our stay, assisted by tug boats. We had to wonder what was contained in all those cargo bins; iPhones, iPads, computers, TVs, cars? Who knows but those ships were carrying some serious cargo loads.
We did take a nice trolley tour, which was narrated, and operated similar to a Hop on Hop off bus, as it had 15 different stops throughout the city. We had a great tour driver named Arthur and he pointed out a lot of interesting facts such as movies filmed in the area we toured, the history of Savannah, the beautiful architecture, churches etc.
The tour was quite informative actually, and at some of the major stops an actor/actress would board the bus in period costume and introduce themselves in character telling about their neighborhood; i.e. gangster, business owner, mortician etc.
Here are some additional photos from the trolley tour we took, and some repeats from above as well, in a gallery format.
Finally, as all good things come to end, our quick 2 night stop in Savannah was over at a whirlwind pace, due to the nonstop walking, touring, roof-top hopping etc. We had a wonderful time, but when we do it again, we will come during the weekdays, as the weekends were quite crowded, and restaurants were full. Dinner reservations are a must!
Our next stop on Sunday is Hilton Head Island.