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Dates: Mar 26-29, 2019

Route: Drove from Ashburn, VA.

Of all the cities in the American south, Savannah is by far the most surprising in all it has to offer. Coming off Highway 16, we entered at the edge of the downtown and immediately felt like we were in a city in Europe. Majestic old oak trees with flowing Spanish moss lined the street and there was an immediate feeling of a slow, relaxed pace of life. We found parking near Chippewa Square and decided to get some coffee and walk about with our golden boy, Gnocci. As luck would have it, the beautiful, old-world style coffee shop, The Gallery Espresso happened to be just off this square. Set in a warm and cozy space inside a building from the 1850s, this is one of our favorite places in Savannah. We sat outside on this warm spring day and just savored life over great coffee. People here are very friendly and having an adorable golden retriever with us meant we made many friends that morning. After coffee, we set off to explore the area and were mesmerized by the number of beautiful squares that were about. It seemed that no matter which street we took, we ended up at another square. Each one is filled with lush tress and old-world iron or steel sculptures and we really felt like we were in Europe somewhere. One street that bears mention is Jones Street which has beautiful houses of colonial architecture. We just spent time wandering about and finally ended up at the massive Forsyth Park. It contains a 150yr old fountain that is one of the most photographed in Savannah and built after the French ideal of having a central public garden in any city. We finished the afternoon with a pint at The Six Pence Pub which is off Chippewa Square, where we parked.

The next day we went back to The Gallery Espresso and after another excellent breakfast of coffee and cake, we started by going back to this beautiful church we had seen the day before. Adorned by two gleaming white and blue spires, the beautifully restored Cathedral of St. John the Baptist stands tall. Dedicated in 1876, it’s signature French-gothic architecture and stunning stained-glass window wall makes this a must-see attraction. And yet another reason why this city feels so much like Europe. After exploring the cathedral, we set off to explore the waterfront. We started near the Waving Girl Statue and just walked along the boardwalk that runs along the Savannah River. There are many restaurants and bars along the boardwalk and this is a great place to people watch. A local tour company also operates cruises on the river, and we saw their massive Georgia Queen riverboat which hearkens back to the colonial days of paddle-driven riverboats.

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After a quick lunch, we decided to drive to see two of Savannah’s best known sites. We started with the Wormsloe Historic Site which is a sprawling former plantation and contains the oldest standing structure in Savannah. Just upon entry is a long driveway lined with massive oaks on either side, whose sweeping branches creates a stunning mile-long archway. There are several trials to explore different sections of the plantation and also a museum. The main trail ends at the Isle of Hope where you can get a glimpse of the Skidaway River. The second site we went to is the Bonaventure Cemetery which is hauntingly beautiful and the most famous in Savannah. Of Southern-Gothic architecture, this outdoor cathedral and sculptural garden lets you transcend time and will capture your imagination with a combination of death and beauty.

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Tybee Island

We decided to take a break from the city and go visit this barrier island that is about  a 30 minute drive from Savannah. There are five miles of public beaches and all were relatively empty when we went. This is a typical beach town with a laid-back attitude and friendly people. Upon entry to the island at the northern end, there is a beautiful lighthouse, one of the nation’s oldest and built in 1736. This is also a good place to part and walk to the beach. In the southern end, there is a pier and pavilion along with a nice stretch of beach. We spent the day here but went back to Savannah for dinner as the local restaurants were normal beach fare.

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