Food & Wine Escape in Savannah
1Toast to your epicurean escape at Circa 1875, an upscale pub and restaurant oozing with classic Parisian charm. Wine lovers will appreciate an extensive selection of Old World varietals, and bartenders do an excellent job with classic cocktails.
2From Circa 1875, it's a short stroll to Alligator Soul, whose inventive, always-organic cuisine boasts a masculine, Creole flair: think fried frog legs, foie gras, and duck-fat French fries. There are plenty of exquisite options for vegetarians, too, and sweet-toothed guests won't be able to resist desserts like speckled chocolate-chip cheesecake.
3Wind down the night with a PBR at Pinkie Master's, one of Savannah's most legendary dive bars. As the story goes, Georgia native Jimmy Carter declared his bid for presidency here, with a framed photo of him on the wall, amidst other random memorabilia.
1Fuel up for a long day of exploring at Goose Feathers Café with breakfast staples like eggs Benedict, grits, and an enticing selection of quiches, all delivered in a fast, friendly manner. For a sweet start, the bakery churns out delectable fruit-stuffed croissants and signature Whoopie pies.
2Right around the corner is the Paris Market, whose artful offerings include plenty more than Parisian goodies. Stock up on sophisticated souvenirs such as lavender soaps, dainty jewelry, home décor, and candles sourced from such exotic spots as Florence, London, Holland, and Belgium.
3You're probably still full from breakfast, but your next stop is to pick up a picnic lunch at Parker's Market, a gas station and convenience store where fueling up takes on a whole new meaning. The store's selection of "urban gourmet" includes delectable Low Country favorites like mac-and-cheese and she-crab soup at the hot counter (browse the daily menu online ahead of time), while aisles overflow with a surprisingly international selection of culinary goodies and an excellent wine selection.
4Both movie and history buffs will enjoy a stop at the stately Mercer Williams House Museum on Monterey Square for a glimpse into one of Savannah's most eccentric characters. Built for the great-grandfather of songwriter Johnny Mercer and later restored by antiques dealer Jim Williams, a real-life character from the book-turned-movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil who was eventually acquitted in three murder trials. Tours ($12.50 for adults) are held throughout the day.
5From the Mercer House, amble over to Forsyth Park, a 30-acre oasis in the midst of the city's historic district, and spread out with your picnic lunch under the canopy of stately, Spanish moss-draped oaks. In addition to a farmers' market, the park also occasionally hosts live music concerts, and on St. Patrick's Day, its majestic fountain is dyed green.
6After lunch, stroll (or hop in a pedi-cab) to the Starland Design District, where eclectic art galleries and studios run by current and recent art students at Art Rise Savannah feature constantly-rotating exhibits by Savannah's up-and-coming artists. Just around the corner, pop into the aptly named Back in the Day Bakery for cupcakes—in flavors like red velvet and lemon-coconut—that have inspired a cult following among locals (tasty sandwiches are available, too).
7After an afternoon nap, it's time for a Southern staple: pre-dinner cocktails. They're mixed to perfection, along with the romantic ambiance, at Planter's Tavern, a cozy, dimly-lit bar located in the basement of the Olde Pink House (which also happens to be your stop for dinner). Excellent live jazz and potent cocktails may be tempting enough to stay put for the night, and you can do just that, as dinner is served here, too. The main dining room upstairs draws a more gussied-up clientele to feast on some of Savannah's finest cuisine: think lump-crab hush puppies, fried lobster tails, and ravioli stuffed with caramelized Vidalia onion and sweet potatoes.
1Start off your Sunday with wholesome, hearty fare like stuffed French toast and creamy grits at Clary's Café, a cheerful longtime favorite among locals and visitors alike. For a post-breakfast stroll, the beautiful Layfayette Square—one of 21 squares throughout Savannah—is right around the corner.
2Hop in the car (or take a cab) to Bonaventure Cemetery, the lovely final resting place of hundreds of souls, including Conrad Aiken, Johnny Mercer, and other legendary residents. The cemetery no longer houses the famous "bird girl" statue from the cover of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, but its serene, Spanish moss-cloaked oaks and riverside setting make for a hauntingly beautiful stop nonetheless.
3For your final meal in Savannah, dig into piles of fresh shrimp, blue crabs, and Low Country boil at Desposito's (3501 Marye Street (912) 897-9963), an unassuming seafood shack just a short drive down the road in the tiny village of Thunderbolt. Mingle with locals as you shell the sweet crustaceans, served up on piles of newspapers (though the chili, when it's on the menu, is excellent too). Cheap beer rounds out the meal: Toast to your gastronomic journey — and your next visit to this Southern culinary epicenter.