And our USA road-trip continues : we’re back today in the beautiful and mysterious Savannah, GA. Before arriving, I knew nothing of the city. It’s a great way to make every step a discovery … but it also comes with its lot of surprises!
Indeed, I’ll tell you about a rather scary night … but for now, let’s go wandering about in blissful ignorance, under a lovely sun.
First steps in Savannah
We stayed 2 nights in Savannah (which seems like a good timeframe to me) and the first contact I had with the city was enchanting. What architecture, lovely streets, public squares, parks and overflowing greenery … who could resist?
The city’s checkerboard mapping is owed to a british general by the name of James Edward Oglethorpe (who arrived in 1733 with english and scottish immigrants). It makes it super easy to locate yourself and the addresses that you want to visit.
Greenery and architecture
Jepson Center of arts
That being said, you can also choose to walk about without any particular destination in mind, which is what we did. We started around Forsyth park and headed to the Savannah river docks by zig-zagging through the streets and around the squares.
“Little” boat on Savannah river
Not much point in fixing an itinerary, just enjoy what the city has to offer and let it come to you.
Saint John Baptist cathedral
When I talked about mysterious Savannah, it’s in part because of the strange greenery that you find in the trees : spanish moss. A sort of parasite that gives a willow-like appearance to hundred year old oak trees. They are everywhere!
Each house in Savannah is more beautiful than the last: forged iron, bricks, colors, every style can be found.
Owens-Thomas House where the Marquis de Lafayette stayed in 1825
Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)
Savannah is known for its Art and Design school. The city is so perfect for artistic inspiration that I wasn’t at all surprised by the presence of such a school in the city – it’s a perfect fit.
SCAD Art’s Café
During our walk, we found this café, located in front of the SCAD, operated by students, and where you can buy school-branded merchandise (The boutique/concept store across from the café sells jewelry and decorative objects – it’s also totally worth stopping by).
Salad, panini and açai bowl at SCAD Art’s café
Food wise, I needed a break from my american burger/all you can eat diet, and the salads and açai bowls they were serving was perfect for that. Note that the innovative decoration with this english bus that’s both a kitchen and a bar!
Run Forrest run !
Fun fact, the first scene from the movie Forrest Gump (where he’s sitting on a bench and a feather falls to the ground in front of him) was filmed in Savannah, and more precisely in the Chippewa square.
The place was being renovated at the time of our visit, and the bench was moved to one of the city’s museums, but it’s still pretty fun to think that it all happened right here.
Laurie’s / Debie’s restaurant’s window
As we walked around, we also found the café (Laurie’s / Debie’s restaurant 10 W State Street) where Jenny is working when she learns that Forrest is running around the world. You can’t really recognize it, but the fresco on the window brings back memories from the movie.
A haunted town
GHOOOOOST are you here?
Savannah is known for being one of the most haunted towns in the States (or the world?) and that is one fact I didn’t know before I arrived.
You can even partake in “Ghost Tours”, organized at night, where you’re drived around the city, listening to terrifying stories about Savannah. Let me tell you I steered clear from that option!
Colonial Park cemetery
I don’t really believe in ghosts, but let’s just say I have a very vivid imagination : the slightest disturbing atmosphere can bring about anguishes, and it’s pretty easy for me to summon dancing zombies or serial killers in my mind.
A night at 17 HUNDRED 90 INN
The “welcoming” poster in the hotel reception
So here comes the bit about the night (unknowingly or with a hint of sadism?) my SO booked at the 17 Hundred 90 inn. Let me just say my SO took care of all hotel bookings for our road-trip. I was blindly trusting, and maybe I shouldn’t have been! (He said he really didn’t know when he made the reservation : YES OF COURSE NOT!).
If you followed my Instagram Story last fall, you got a taste of the atmosphere in the guest house where we spent the night (and how easily I cringe).
During the check-in, nothing unusual to report, the place is rather old fashioned, but clean. We are welcomed by a very friendly receptionnist (maybe he was smiling too much?? haha!). And then I see this paper pinned on the wall : the hotel is supposed to be haunted by 3 ghosts, most notably “Anna in room 204, who jumped out the window (or was pushed by her husband) following a heartbreak.”
“People have noticed weird occurrences during their stay : sheets that are pulled back during the night, objects change places …” Gaaaaaa! My reason tells me it is just contributing that local beliefs and that these are just legends, but truth be told, I’m terrified.
Especially when we get to our room 402 (204 to 402, it’s just a matter of switching numbers, amiright?!) The victorian style would have been totally nonthreatening HAD I ONLY NOT just read these stories of weird phenomenons.
That being said, mirrors in front and next to the bed (not Feng Shui at all), the curtains that sway slightly because of the air conditioning (or an evil spirit?), a lamp with an unstable light beam, broken WIFI (…a blogger’s nightmare!)…
The friendly and smiling receptionist helps us out with the wifi, but after having toyed with the box, announces that nothing more can be done, still smiling (=the constant smile is getting scary!). I give up on the wifi, but let my SO know that I’m not speding a second alone tonight.
I follow him to the bathroom on every occasion and even follow him under the shower (where I lather him in soap, lest he try to leave me by myself … who is the psychopath here? hahaha!)
I didn’t take any pictures of the bathroom, sorry, but imagine it a soft green color, with a closed shower (scary-yet again!), a bathtub and a direct access to the street through a door with blurred glass (oh so terrifying).
All of this led to me not sleeping a wink during the night (maybe 4 to 5 minutes tops), holding on to my SO for dear life, who was sleeping like a baby (or devil?) beside me. I was awake, but my eyes were shut tight the whole time, to be sure I didn’t come across a vision of some kind in the mirrors or see sheets raising from the bed …. in anycase, saying I was tense would be an understatement, but I somehow survived.
We’re laughing about it now, and the hubby now flaunts that he got me to experience something incredible (meh!) but I would still not recommend this for sensitive or over-imaginative souls.
I know I may have been a tad ridiculous, but it’s clearly not the type of night I want to re-experience! Also, breakfast wasn’t particularly satisfying, if that can weigh in your decision not to book, hahaha!
A couple of addresses in Savannah
During the course of this long post, you may have noted a couple of interesting places for food or culture. I’ll list them here with other addresses :
FRIEZE shop (1 W Jones Street) a decoration shop where I found my clay birds here.
ART’S Café SCAD (345 Bull Street) Café, boutique (next to the Gryphon café)
SCAD MUSEUM OF ART (601 Turner Blvd) Museum which purpose is to inspire SCAD students and to attract tourists and art lovers
JEPSON CENTER OF ARTS (207 W York Street) contemporary art, paintings and sculptures
E. SHAVER BOOKSELLER (326 Bull Street) A pretty little library like you could find in Notting Hill : I found a a book with illustrations about Wes Anderson movies.
LEOPOLD’S ICE CREAM (212 E Broughton Street) Best ice cream shop in Savannah, that goes back a whole century. Be prepared to wait.
ROCKS ON THE RIVER (102 W Bay Street) : Brunch or breakfast: eggs Benedict with a great shrimp & grits (a south specialty – it’s a sort of oatmeal).
On the other hand, I would not recommend (in my opinion) : Lady & Sons : I had read somewhere it was the perfect place to enjoy some good southern food, grandma/homemade style. But I think our vision of “grandma style food” differs : the buffet was cheap-cafeteria style, and the food too greasy.
I hope you enjoyed this narrative of my Savannah experience. I know I may have been a tad (just a tad) extreme in my haunted hotel experience, but you can’t take the scaredy cat out of me, what can I say!
In any case, I hope it won’t discourage you from visiting the city, which is beautiful, and makes me want to come back. Next time in an un-haunted hotel though!! (English translation by Marine)