Savannah trip report - tried some new things

Oct 16th, 2005, 05:25 PM
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Savannah trip report - tried some new things

Just got back from a little mini-break in Savannah. Great place to celebrate a birthday, by the way

Did some things I've not done before that were really great so thought I'd share.

Breakfast at B Matthews Bakery & Eatery on West Bay (between Mulberry and Hampton Inn). Discovered this while walking on the spring Home and Garden tour. Kind of like a Paris bistro experience in Savannah . The Sunday brunch menu included a Croque Madame option AND a Biscuit and Sausage Gravy option! (made me smile thinking of the other thread). I had a great ham and swiss quiche and my friend had a wonderful breakfast croissant.

Franklin Square - For those of you visiting City Market, consider a tour of the First African Baptist church a few steps away across the square. They offer free tours and it was an amazing experience. Slaves walked 3 miles from plantation to town and built a beautiful structure by moonlight and torchlight -while also creating underground tunnels to the riverfront. We were told that it did not take 4 years to complete the structure - it took 4 years to dig and reinforce the tunnels. The talent and expertise came from building other churches in the city. The sanctuary holds the original gaslights, now rewired for electricity. The "new" pews (1904) were carved from solid pieces of wood. The original pews (250+ years old) are still used in the downstairs chapel. On the floor you will see a series of holes in the floor that look decorative - but served as airholes/ ventilation for those hiding under the church in the crawlspace as it served as a stop on the Underground Railroad. Pews in the balcony upstairs have traditional tribal markings on the end. Ask why the steps to the balcony are so steep. VERY interesting tour - free, but donations welcomed of course.

Monterrey Square - We stopped to visit the new grave of Pulaski. His bones were reinterred recently and the wreaths in the red and white Polish colors were still there. Here's a link if you are interested in reading about the mystery of his bones -

Wandered around the square for a while. Stopped by to get tour information on the Mercer-Williams house but decided to wait until later. The Gothic structure of the Temple Mickve Israel drew us in and the security guard greeted us at the door and invited us in. We decided to take the tour - and were glad we did. They have just completed a 6.5M construction project and enjoyed seeing the original synogogue as well as the little museum and exhibits. Especially enjoyed the volunteer tour guide.

Madison Square - Gryphon Tea Room and SCAD Store - Stopped by the SCAD store to do some shopping. Everything is handmade by artists from SCAD. They had the Savannah toile back in stock so wanted to check out the prices. Was a bit thirsty, so crossed the street and visited the Gryphon Tea Room for the first time. Delicious peach iced tea. Wasn't hungry enough for the full high tea, so opted for just tea sandwiches and a delicious pot of tea. Had never been in there before, but the building was beautiful and the tea was wonderful! Here's a link if you are interested in reading about the building -

Reynolds Square - Stopped by so my friend could see the John Wesley monument. Decided to make this a theme trip and visit the other John Wesley locations in the city (first sermon, parsonage, Christ Church, etc.)

Since we were RIGHT THERE and it was too early for dinner...had to stop by the Pink House tavern in the basement for a drink. Settled in on the couch by the fire...and overheard one of the specials included "gourmet mac & cheese". Quickly decided that we indeed DID have room for an early dinner. The first reservation available when we called earlier in the day was 10 pm, so asked for a table in the tavern. Once again, an absolutely fabulous meal. The Pink House has never failed me. Fabulous scallops. Wonderful She-Crab soup. Shrimp and grit cake appetizer was great. And, yes, the gourmet mac & cheese was yummy. Too full - no room for the signature praline basket/ ice cream dessert. Next time.

Walking back to the car, decided to try to see if Christ Church's door were unlocked. There was a wedding rehearsal but church official said it was okay to duck in and look at sanctuary. My Wesley fan was tickled to get a chance to see inside.

Misc - private carriage ride (birthday present), pralines, fudge and bear claws (for presents and consumation), watching saltwater taffy being made and "artists" trying to create attractive colors in the grey mass that was the root beer taffy, and can't miss shrimp at snow crab legs at Crab Shack on Tybee.

Good Hotwire rate for the Westin on Hutchinson Island. Staff was especially nice. Perfect timing both times for the water taxi over to River Street. Even so, missed the location and breakfast at the Hampton Inn. Still my favorite

The weather was perfect. Temps in the low 80's, low humidity, beautiful sunny days. When I asked about our server's accent at Tubby we discovered his home is Juan Les Pins. I enjoyed the South of France so much last summer and have been feeling a bit out of sorts that there couldn't be a big trip this year. It made me realize how lucky I am to be able to enjoy such a beautiful city just a few hours from home.

starrsville is offline  
Oct 16th, 2005, 05:50 PM
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Forgot to mention - visited the Telfair Museum on Telfair Square for the first time. A wonderful Maxfield Parrish exhibit in addition to the normal collection.

If you are looking for "The Bird Girl" - (cover of "The Book") - she's here. She's found a great home in the William Jay designed mansion.
starrsville is offline  
Oct 16th, 2005, 06:06 PM
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Oh, starrsville, thank you thank you thank you for giving me a Savannah fix! I could almost taste your food! Anything noticeably different about the mac & cheese that made it "gourmet"?? That would have grabbed me, as well!
Oct 16th, 2005, 06:17 PM
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I love watching taffy being pulled!

Sounds like you had a wonderful trip, starrsville! What a nice way to spend a birthday

Gourmet mac and cheese, yuuuuuumy!
seetheworld is offline  
Oct 16th, 2005, 06:20 PM
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I'm so glad you enjoyed your tour of Temple Mickve! Aren't they wonderful? Sounds like a wonderful trip.
atlswan is offline  
Oct 16th, 2005, 06:25 PM
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Bonniebroad, I'd pulled a recipe to make for my friend, but it had different cheeses than what they served at the Pink House. The 4 cheeses there were Asiago, Parmesan, White Cheddar and Sharp Cheddar. The waitress said equal amounts of each, but the recipe I found had varying amounts of 3 cheeses.

She told me that if I wrote the Pink House they would send me the "real" recipe. I need to do that
starrsville is offline  
Oct 16th, 2005, 06:31 PM
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Starrsville, that sounds like the Patti La Belle recipe that I've used a couple of times ... you can play with the different cheeses, depending on what you like, and it's got muchos 'buttah'!!! I'm sure I would have enjoyed your entire dinner at Pink House, AND your tea!
Oct 16th, 2005, 06:43 PM
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Bonnie, did a search for Patti's recipe and found this. Is it the right one? Sounds good, but I just hate cooking with Velveeta...
starrsville is offline  
Oct 16th, 2005, 06:56 PM
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Yes, starrsville, that's it! I had the same reservation when I read the recipe (I have her cookbook), but Velveeta gives a wonderful creaminess to the mac & cheese. I always get a zillion compliments when I make that one.
Oct 16th, 2005, 10:29 PM
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Happy Birthday starrsville,
When we were in Savannah in June (04) we were so happy to spend time in Telfair..1- it was such a relief to be in out of the heat & humidity..2- we were almost the only people there, it was a pleasure to sit and look at those paintings and be alone with them
I liked the huge painting - Black Prince of Crécy - wonderful painting.
I really like Maxfield Parrish, lucky you!
Scarlett is offline  
Oct 17th, 2005, 12:06 PM
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Hi starrsville,
It sounds like you had a lovely time in Savannah and I have noted your highlights and plan to do the same activities when I get there. However I wonder if you know of a less expensive hotel. I checked the online rates to the Hutchinson and after I picked myself up off the floor I thought I better find somewhere in an more affordable ( for me) range. I don't know the South, I have never been to Georgia and seldom to the USA. I can't tell you how I have been looking forward to this trip and since I only have 3 days I must make every nickle count and every experience memorable.
bebopper is offline  
Oct 17th, 2005, 01:58 PM
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My favorite place to stay in the Historic District is the Hampton Inn. I stayed at the Westin on a rate booked on Hotwire.

If you are looking to economize, you can stay in Midtown in one of many chain hotels on Abercorn and drive into the historic district. I often stay at the LaQuinta there.
starrsville is offline  
Oct 18th, 2005, 03:33 AM
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Thought of another nice option in the midtown area (about 4 miles from the Historic District) via Abercorn -

I really like Homewood Suites and there's a nice new one in the area -
starrsville is offline  
Oct 18th, 2005, 04:20 AM
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Thanks for report and some new ideas - even though we go to Savannah a few times a year (son at SCAD), we are always looking for new ideas.

I second suggestion if one needs to save some money to stay in "Midtown" area. While our favorite big hotel is Hampton Inn Historic District, we have gotten some decent rooms for 1/3 the price in "Midtown" - which is a strange name since it is not a midtown area at all but a divided highway with chain stores and strip malls - absolutely no character but a way to save some money to spend in decent restaurants instead.
gail is offline  
Oct 18th, 2005, 06:39 AM
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What a wonderful trip report! You've given me some new ideas when we return . I remember the House and Garden tour- the docents from the Episcopal church, who were in each home, when the crowd became too big, would close the door, and have you wait outside, until those inside had left. They were dressed to the "nine's", all young and with the wonderful Savannah accent (think Paula Deen)- and the men in our group just melted!!!
capecodshanty is offline  
Oct 18th, 2005, 08:37 AM
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Thank you so much for your tips. Okay, Now I am getting really excited!!! I have booked my flight, my car rental and now finally my hotel. Thanks to you'all ( I can't wait to hear those accents for real)) I found a really good deal on Hotwire for the Holiday Inn in Midtown. Now, I do know I am not staying at a graceful old lovely in the historic district but I want to spend my time and money where it counts and jut put my head on the pillow at night.
We have a car so travel will be easy, does anyone know of any DO NOT MISS experiences outside of Savannah? Preferably south.
bebopper is offline  
Sep 13th, 2006, 02:03 PM
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I was searching for a recipe for dinner tonight and found this old TR.

bebopper, how was your trip? Are you still visiting Fodorville?
starrsville is offline  
Sep 13th, 2006, 02:23 PM
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starrsville, I'm so glad you topped this; I had somehow missed it the first time around and now I know that I MUST do the First African Baptist church tour. I think I've seen most of the other churches in Savannah, but that sounds fascinating. Thanks for the tip which I am going to remember for my next weekend there.
dsquared is offline  
Sep 13th, 2006, 05:21 PM
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Thanks for topping - what a great trip report! We've been thinking about where to take a couple long weekends this fall and I think you've just helped us decide on one of them!
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