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Birthday Party in Savannah

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Nov 4th, 2011, 02:25 PM
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Birthday Party in Savannah

The Medicare Reunion-Happy Birthday, Balboa High School Class of '64


Who we were: The class of 64 turned sixty five this year and we decided to celebrate in Savannah. Our high school was located in the Panama Canal Zone and its alumni are spread around the world today. From as far away as Perth, Western Australia, we arrived for a few days of celebration.

Where we stayed: Our hotel was the Inn on Ellis Square. I have posted a review on TA, but in summary, it is a basic hotel with reasonably priced rooms in a great location. Staff could definitely benefit from service training and there are some maintenance issues, but all in all it was a good choice for the group.

Where we ate: Given that there were almost 100 of us there only a few meals were big group.

a. The Olde Pink House-
booked for only about twenty five of us, the evening started off on the wrong foot when they failed to locate the reservation. I had made it two weeks in advance and confirmed a week out. They did agree to seat us. We were given four tables upstairs. The room is very nice and the service was polite and polished. However from the time we were seated (a little after 7pm) and the time we were served almost 2.5 hours passed. It is true we were drinking and talking and did get some bread, but that was simply too long a wait. Much of the food arrived cold. My meal was excellent and I had no complaints about the quality, but sadly that was not the group experience. The manager did comp a number of the meals in recognition of the very slow service. I chalk this up as an off night for a good restaurant and would try it again in the future.

b. Lady and Sons-
booked in January for seventy. We still ended up with a twenty minute wait till we were ushered in to a large and extremely noisy room. A buffet was set up. The waitstaff told us about drinks and sent us off to the buffet. Our $20 tab covered drink, buffet, tax and service. Because I made the booking I was given the bill and had to collect on the spot (a little annoying, but doable). I would have appreciated a little advance warning on that point. The food is very rich and definitely provides a very ample meal. If you are a huge Paula Deen fan, this is probably a good choice. Otherwise, find a quieter spot.

c. Garibaldi's- this was a five star experience. The staff is amazing, the food was excellent and the room was a gorgeous private room which was perfect in every way. I posted a full review on TA but would suggest this as the venue for any special occasion group meal (rehearsal dinner, reception, etc). This is one very well managed operation.

A few spots worthy of special mention.

a. After our walking tour we stopped at the Gryphon Tea Room operated by SCAD. The food was very good, service polished and fast, and a beautiful room to boot. Highly recommended.
b. We wanted a quick lunch near our hotel and tried La Papillote on Broughton our day of arrival. We kept going back. The food was excellent, the atmosphere fun and friendly, and the service very quick. The wild shrimp salad and the mango crab sandwich are reason enough for a visit. The champagne cocktails were the icing on the cake. Highly recommended.
c.Lulu's Chocolate Bar was a fun stop with a lively atmosphere. Go for dessert or a drink.
d.Rocks on the Roof-fabulous view, expensive drinks. Stop by.
e. Leopold's Ice Cream-great ice cream, extremely nice staff. Worth a visit.

There were several restaurants which members of my group liked, but I did not try. Jazzd, Elizabeth's, Zunsi's and Noble Fare all got raves.

Walking Tour:

Recommended here initially by Starrs, we took Savannah Rambles with Dirk. He did a super job and the tour, which lasted almost three hours, was excellent. Our interests were more architecture and less ghosts and Dirk was an outstanding resource. Several members of my group also took the ghost tour and had a lot of fun. Halloween is quite an event in Savannah.

Our fun:

There is a fine line between costume and everyday dress in Savannah and I can't say I was absolutely sure on which side of the line some of the people we saw fell. Halloween was in the air and definitely set the mood for the weekend. Our costume party spilled out on the street and we had quite a good time joining in the Savannah party too. Savannah is a perfect place for a reunion because so many of the activities are within walking distance of the historical district. A rental car isn't needed to enjoy the town.

Thank you to the many Fodorites, especially Giovanna and Starrs, who gave me suggestions which I provided to my classmates. While we tried out a number of them, we have enough left over for a return trip!
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Nov 4th, 2011, 04:10 PM
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Oh, I am so glad it went well and I love your reviews. I'm surprised about the poor service at the Pink House and am glad the manager comped some meals to try to make up for it. I've had corporate events at the Pink House for years and service has always been stellar. It's great to hear that Garibaldi's did it right. It IS a lovely venue.

I'm putting La Papillote on my to-do list. I'm going down in a couple of weeks and I hope to check it out. I'm glad folks were happy with Dirk's tour. I'm going to give him a call to see what he can come up with for a 3rd visit tour. His expertise is amazing (IMO) and he offers it without pretention - which I find is often rare. You visited several of my favorites and found some new ones that I'm going to check out soon. First stop = Lulu's
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Nov 4th, 2011, 07:24 PM
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Thank.you. It was a great trip!
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Nov 4th, 2011, 08:28 PM
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Oh, I want to go back to Savannah after reading your report. I enjoyed reading your report so much. It sure helps with planning an itinerary. What a shame you has such slow service at Pink House, but it sounds like Garibaldi's made up for it. and it didn't dampen your spirits.

How wonderful that your class has stayed in touch and still comes from so far away.
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Nov 23rd, 2011, 09:12 PM
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I finally got to hear about the reunion trip and I'm so happy you had such a good and varied trip. Also pleased some of what I sent you came in handy. Sorry it ook me so long to get to your report. Savannah is a beautiful and interesting city. We loved our visit there.
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Nov 24th, 2011, 12:20 AM
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That sounds so great! I hope to head to Savannah in January for a day or two and will plan to hit Garibaldis!
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Nov 24th, 2011, 04:35 AM
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irecommend, Garibaldi's was wonderful, but if you are only looking for a light lunch or a coffee, consider La Papilote. We loved it! Enjoy.
Thank you so much for all the suggestions, Giovanna. I had your trip report printed out to share with my classmates.
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