Inger and Jeff Latreille
~Thursday, February 4, 2021~
One of the first things we like to do when we arrive at a new spot, is immediately plan our itinerary….especially when we’re in one spot for a good chunk of time. After compiling our list for Savannah, we realized we won’t have enough time to see it all. Like most places, since we’re unsure when or if we’ll be back to these amazing locations, we feel the need to cram as much in as possible.
We thought a good place to start was the Historic District of downtown Savannah-the largest historical district in the United States. After a failed attempt in getting maps and information at the visitor center (closed), we were on a mission to find the perfect street parking spot, and had a heck of a time. We finally opted to squeeze “Hank the Tank” into a tight parking garage instead.
After getting a delicious hot coffee and chai latte at the corner Blends a Coffee Boutique, we toured the numerous oak shaded squares, including Chippewa Square. Of course we had to stop at each interpretive plaque and monument for a good daily dose of history. Churches, museums, art galleries and mansions make up this quintessential stop.
We managed to find a small, but adequate visitor center, that was open, with a kind gentleman offering maps and information. Jeff and I are still “old school” when it comes to looking at a map when touring cities such as this, especially when there are so many things to see in such a small area.
Navigating roads and routes….definitely Google Maps! We noticed the historical area is set up in a nicely laid grid pattern, where every four blocks contains a square. I think we’ll need a highlighter to check off the streets we’ve visited to stay on track. I’m completely stumped why more cities are not laid out this well.
As we headed down to the waterfront area, there were countless nifty restaurants and bars facing the Savannah River with the famous paddle boat waiting for its next cruise. The hand-laid cobblestones along River Street and others, were originally used as ballast material on the many ships that sailed into Savannah’s harbor. Parallel to River Street is a street with historical steps that lead you down into this alleyway lined with sealed off tunnels, which look more like caves or vaults. These vaults were thought to be cargo storage for the many ships that frequented this port. Another highlight was witnessing the filming of a movie called “Devotion”, an adaptation of the same-named best selling book. A local told us, filming movies in downtown Savannah is quite the norm. Who needs to build an old movie set when you’ve got the antiquated historical cobblestone streets and old brick buildings right here? What an undertaking this must be setting up all the film equipment for blocks and blocks …..carefully placed wiring, truck after truck loaded with gear, film crews, cameras and catering trucks, all with curious tourists roaming about. It was quite an attraction.
Whew, taking in all of these sites makes for one thirsty couple and doggy. Jeff had 3 breweries on his radar with today being a place called Service Brewing Co. Service is owned by Kevin Ryan, a West Point graduate and former Army commander. In 2014, he and his wife, Meredith launched this fabulous brew pub with the help of almost two dozen investors, most of them Army, Navy and Marine Corps veterans.
As we walked about 7 blocks out of the historic area to get to this place, I started to question where we were headed, void of charm but replaced with a more industrial setting. All good. Service was converted from a former paper mill warehouse with large, open roll up doors leading you to the huge bar area; very open and light and super dog friendly. Sadie took it upon herself to lap up some much needed water from the many dog bowls out front. And we took it upon ourselves to mozy up to the bar. We were welcomed by the nicest server, Patrick. Patrick from Savannah, Florida, Ohio and our hometown of Napa. What?? We could have had any server and don’t believe this was just a chance meeting. It was meant to be that we met this guy. He was intrigued about our travels, as we were with his experience living in so many places. I guess the hospitality industry has taken him all over. He met his now wife in Napa Valley where she was working in the wine industry. It was a bit surreal to be talking to someone who was just as familiar with our hometown as we were. Thank you Patrick…..you’ve just reinforced our decision to add Savannah to our list of possibilities for moving. He even went to the trouble to make us a list of all the sites and restaurants to see while we’re here. Some were duplicates that we already had on our list…..great minds think alike 😉. Nice to have a little inside scoop. His wife also works at a winery called Savannah Wine Cellar which we’ll be checking out. And it looks like we’ll be back here tomorrow for Bluegrass and taco Friday, hopefully sharing a beer with our new friend, Patrick. Oh and yes, the beer was delicious!!