The Mystique of Savannah vs. the Luxury of Hilton Head

Savannah and Hilton Head are the perfect duo for a week in the South. While Hilton Head offers the view of the rich and retired, Savannah with its lush trees and dripping Spanish moss, offers a peek into the old South. Only an hour apart by car, you can easily see both places on a weekend or weeklong getaway.

Savannah- The mystery

“I recall my fleeting instants in Savannah as the taste of a cup charged to the brim.” — Henry James

Few locales have enchanted us like our visit to Savannah. Although our stay was  brief, the impression it has left on us is long-lasting. Savannah packs a powerful punch for types like us, who love places steeped in history, impressive art, and architecture offerings. But the best part about Savannah is the food! Savannah is truly the crown jewel of the Low Country. It’s best to start with what most folks know about the town. The city was the setting for “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” a book penned by John Berendt.  The book was transformed into the big screen in an adaptation directed by none other than Clint Eastwood.  The book (movie) highlight the best and seedy underbelly of the place. Many of the places featured in the book are now tourist traps luring those, like us, toting the book from square to square. Fortunately for you, the novel has long since fallen off the best seller lists, so the good news is Savannah is slowly sinking into the lesser known finds. A word of warning to you “Book Toters.”  The “Bird Girl” statue that adorns the cover is no longer situated at the cemetery outside of town. It now is one of the exhibits at the Telfair Museum of Art. The Museum is a must see. So what is on the must see list?

Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace (The birthplace of Girl Scouts)

Mercer House Carriage Shop & Museum

The Telfair Museum of Art The Davenport House

The Cockspur Light House

Owens Thomas House (For La Fayette lovers like us, this house hosted the Marquis de La Fayette on his visit to America.) It also has the coolest staircase that crosses over the house. For real.

Dining

The Olde Pink House

We asked our concierge if he had one night in Savannah, where he would eat. He suggested the Olde Pink House. Situated in a historic home, the Olde Pink House is like stepping back in time and the food is just as authentic. Yes, the house is really pink! If you like crab and seafood, this is your kind of restaurant. Dessert is always on our list when we eat and the Olde Pink House’s handcrafted praline cup filled with ice cream with a hint of raspberry sauce on the side still haunts Luci’s dreams.

The Olde Pink House on Urbanspoon

Mrs. Wilkes

Simply put, Mrs. Wilkes is an institution and is a must eat in Savannah. The restaurant is only open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. We got there at 10 a.m. to wait in line and it was worth it. Guests sit family style so if you don’t like people, you’ll struggle with the seating. We sat next to a family who drove to Savannah from New Jersey. The menu is all southern cook’n all the time. We ate fried chicken, corn bread, mac and cheese and any other carbo-licious, fattening item that was served to us. Go here. Your tummy will thank you. Your waist will not.

Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room on Urbanspoon

Hilton Head-Playground of the rich and retired

The best place to start our review of the Island is on the links (man lingo for golf courses.) The Hilton Head Island area is one of the nation’s foremost golf meccas. Is it any wonder that Golf Digest readers named Hilton Head Island No. 10 on its list of the world’s best golf resorts? Some of the very best holes in golf lie just a stones throw from each other. There are a number of affordable golf packages you can purchase on-line. The packages bundle a number of different course over a few days. It is perfect. One word of warning…if the ball goes in the “drink,” follow the words of John Lennon, “let it be” (see croc warnings). Another strong appeal to Hilton Head is its sandy beaches and warm water. Yes, the water is warm! For us west coast dwellers, warm water is the best! Hilton Head sports 11 miles of soft sand and gentle lapping waves. While Mike golfed, Luci walked the beaches. If you are up for adventure, one of the best pastimes it taking out an ocean kayak. We signed up for a bay tour that highlighted the flora and fauna and a bit of the history of the Island. We also saw dolphins jumping in the waves.  In addition, to wildlife, we  saw some of the massive secluded mansions. Really cool! Just make sure that your camera is waterproof. For lodging-we highly recommend Hilton Head vacation home rentals. Why not live like the locals? There are so many affordable options, there is a place to fit any budget.  The nice thing about this option, is candidly, we never really found a restaurant that we loved.  The self cater option lets you cook on your own. (See saving money! Yay!) Take on the mystery of Savannah then relax in the sun and sand of Hilton Head.  The perfect combination.

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