Some of you may have noticed a new character on this blog recently: Andy. Funny enough, we’ve known each other since we were 18-year-old freshmen at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. We lost touch over the years, but rekindled our friendship — which eventually led to romance — when Andy moved to my neighborhood in Brooklyn.
Not surprisingly, whenever I get into a relationship I immediately get the urge to plan a trip together. Andy’s birthday was coming up, and what better surprise than a getaway? As the buyer of said getaway I needed plane tickets that were within my budget of $300 for two people round-trip. I also wanted somewhere special; you know, where when you look at its glossy magazine photos you think there couldn’t be any other place like it. Enter: Savannah, Georgia.
People warned me to stay within the Historic District for safety reasons. This made me nervous the five days I’d booked would be too much, assuming that by Day 3 we’d probably just be getting drunk by the pool. While I’ll admit there was some of that, Andy and I agreed we could have happily spent the entire week.
There’s just so much to do. And eat. And drink. Savannah’s 22 ambient squares shaded in Spanish moss beckon you to buy a frosty adult beverage to go, taking it into the square to get a buzz — yay for no open container laws! — and soak in the unique attractions of each. Picnicking is highly encouraged.#Savannah is amazing for #romance. Here's why. #getaway Click To Tweet
A Savannah Romance Stay
After grabbing a $20 Uber from the airport we entered The Brice Hotel, a Kimpton property with nods to local culture throughout. We felt at home immediately, most likely because The Brice is designed to look like a design-centric home rather than a hotel. Instead of a lobby there’s a living room with comfortable couches, a typewriter-topped table, shelves lined with books and double doors leading into a light-strung courtyard. We definitely made use of this space, relaxing with our spiked southern teas from The Brice’s nightly free happy hour, as well as the pool. Hey, we live in Brooklyn. When we have the opportunity to use a pool, we take it!
Tip: Use this link for $20 off your first Uber ride.
The Brice Hotel also made an ideal base for exploring Savannah on foot. For me, the best cities are walkable, as when you’re in a bus or cab you miss the special shops and the everyday pleasantries between locals that help make a place what it is. There are many things that make Savannah worth visiting, but for a Savannah romance there are three in particular I’d like to point out.
Idyllic Squares & Cemeteries
Savannah is very hot in the summer, and Andy and I found ourselves forever drenched in sweat. Not very sexy, but it added some definite humor along the way. It also led us to spend much time in Savannah’s many squares, cuddling up on wooden benches, running through splash pads and exploring historical monuments. Parks in themselves are romantic; but add some hanging Spanish moss and you’ve got yourself one whimsical afternoon.
This is especially true in Forsyth Park, the Historic District’s largest park at 30 acres. This is the photo you see on all the brochures, a wide lane shaded by live oaks and a large marble fountain dating back to 1858 and inspired by those found in the Place de la Concorde in Paris.
Oddly enough, the other uber romantic outdoor space is Bonaventure Cemetery, a historic cemetery that everyone is dying to get into (sorry, I had to). Seriously though. If you want a beautiful, peaceful place to be laid to rest I can’t think of a better spot. Andy and I rode our free bike rentals around (thanks, Brice Hotel!), noting the historic stones and mausoleums. Along with having that swoon-inducing Spanish moss the cemetery sits on the water for added beauty.
The most famous cemetery resident is Little Gracie, whose grave and life-like marble representation is gated, likely for protection from vandalism. Little Gracie moved to Savannah from Boston when the Pulaski Hotel hired her father. It’s said she was beloved by guests; however, at age six she caught pneumonia and died. Because of the young age and sad story, many visitors leave gifts near her grave.#Savannah is full of #outdoor experiences for couples, like... Click To Tweet
Savannah’s Haunted History
What’s so romantic about Savannah’s haunted history? I wondered this myself, at least before taking a tour with Ghost City Tours. Andy and I both expected the tour to be somewhat cheesy, but our guide Skippy — who does his own paranormal research on the side — brought the haunted history to life with stories, photos with ghostly orbs, and electronic voice phenomena (EVP) sounds. Savannah is literally a city built upon the dead, and every time I heard “little Molly” scream or about how it’s possible to get “attached” to a malevolent spirit I grabbed Andy’s hand a little tighter.
The Broughton Street Collection
While we’re currently on a horror movie streak thanks to the trip, our entire time in Savannah didn’t revolve around the dead. Aside for River Street (on the water), Broughton Street is where we spent most of our time. The Broughton Street Collection is here, a mixed-use restoration project that has renovated 37 properties — many that had abandoned 20 years ago — into retail stores, yoga studios, cafes, galleries and more.
Savannah is home to a wide array of historic architectural styles — Federal, Romanesque Revival, Italianate and Greek Revival, to name a few. You’ll still get that historic feel, but with interesting storefronts every two feet woven in. Some not-to-miss experiences with your beau:
- Taking a hot yoga class at Dancing Dogs Yoga Studio. Andy and I took the 9am class (hey, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, together). We then refueled at the onsite Beetnix Savannah Juice Bar with cold pressed juices and an organic “Warrior 1 Bowl.” This healthy and delicious dish featured organic pitaya topped with their homemade raw almond butter, hemp granola, banana, strawberry, cacao nibs and honey. Side note: I would be so healthy if I lived near this shop.
- Savoring free olive oil and balsamic samples at The Ancient Olive. They do cooking classes too, from ceviche to Cuban food with mojitos and beyond.
- Trying the 150+ homemade popcorns at Savannah Rae’s Gourmet Popcorn. We bought four flavors, and sampled about 10 (it’s free to try!). Some of our favorites were a caramel cheddar blend called “Rae’s Best,” creamy cucumber dill, red velvet cake, ranch hot wings, margarita and chocolate maple bacon. If you want to get uber romantic get the red velvet cake popcorn and pair with some bubbly.
- Eating and playing at The Funky Brunch Cafe. I’ve seen Giant Jenga and board games before, but hopscotch? Definitely a fun way to end a date in the onsite beer garden. While not on Broughton Street, Moon River Brewing Company was also great for this with giant Connect 4 and face-in-the-hole boards.
- Visiting France through The Paris Market. Focused on The City of Love, the design-centric boutique makes you feel like you’re in a rich Parisian friend’s home with beautiful place settings, sumptuous body products, fashion-focused coffee table books and unique jewelry. They also had an odd bowl of cicada carcasses for $0.75 each. I’m not sure if people in Savannah use these as table decorations, but it gave us a great business idea (Hey, let’s find a bunch of dead cicadas and sell them to The Paris Market for $0.50 a pop!). All joking aside, it was a really great shop.
Tip: Stay safe on the road with Clever Travel Companion Pickpocket-Proof Garments.
A City On The Water
What really added to Savannah’s magic was the fact it sits on the 301-mile Savannah River. I
think I may have definitely stated this a few times above, but guys, there are no open container limitations in Savannah! No need to spend $100 on a meal to enjoy the water views. Simply head into one of the many bars on River Street — or better yet, River Street Liquor for a budget-friendly bottle — and sip it on the water.
Andy and I did this our first night when we were too tired to really “go out” and felt it was just as romantic as our evening at the famous Olde Pink House. Well, almost as romantic; definitely go to The Olde Pink House, too. And get the BLT Salad. You’re welcome!
If you’d rather have a waitress and enjoy a nice cocktail, the Bohemian Hotel’s Rocks on the Roof rooftop on the Savannah River is a relaxing escape from the tourists below. As it was a hot we refreshed with some cava. Cheers!
Savannah is full of amazing things to do. For the full list of what we did while in this magical city, click here. Also check out the video below made by Andy using clips we took along the way.
Budgeting Information: Unless you’re okay with CouchSurfing, it will be hard to really do Savannah on the super cheap due to the hotel prices. That being said, there are many free things to do in Savannah like wandering the squares, taking free walking tours, savoring free samples on Broughton Street and taking a free first time Latin Dance class at Salsa Savannah. For food you can of course grocery shop or live on $5 Subway sandwiches, but if you want to enjoy a mix of low key and nicer restaurants I’d suggest allotting at least $40 + tip and drinks per day per person.
Costs for some of the paid things to do in Savannah mentioned above include:
- Dead of Night Tour with Ghost City Tours: $29.95
- Famous & Secret East Side Food Tour: $56.95 including food
- Dancing Dogs Yoga Class: $20 drop-in rate (though they offer other packages)
Recommended Tours: Along with the things to do in Savannah mentioned above, a few tours to check out include:
- Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Ticket: $26.75
- Bonaventure Cemetery After Hours Tour: $35
- Civil War Walking Tour of Savannah: $19.99
Currency: US Dollar
Getting Around: As mentioned above, walking and biking are the best ways to get around Savannah.
Packing Essentials: Along with your clothing — again, bring extra garments as you’ll sweat a lot — I recommend:
- Aromaflage Perfume/Bug Spray In One
- Vigilant Personal Alarm
- Poncho / Travel rain jacket (it rained on us a few times)
- Travel umbrella
- DSLR Camera + lenses
- Day Pack
- Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum (for a moisture boost after baking in the sun)
- Sun Bum Paraben-free Sunscreen (I buy the large and squeeze into TSA-friendly bottles)
- Scarf Shawl (was great for chilly restaurants and impromptu picnics)
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