New Years in Savannah

Earlier this year Peter and I were invited to spend New Years in Savannah, Georgia by our good friend Drew. Since Drew moved from Florida to Pennsylvania in the 6th grade, I’ve been fortunate enough to spend every Thanksgiving with him and his family. However, Peter had not seen Drew for more than 10 years. They were good friends in elementary school but failed to stay in touch. Well they finally had a wonderful little reunion and would probably say that not much has changed.

Peter and I had planned to do the 5.5 hour drive Friday evening and arrive in Georgia late that night. However, we had a last minute change of plans when Peter’s boss invited us to a blues concert Friday night in Ybor. Slightly stressed out but supportive of Peter, I agreed to leave early Saturday morning instead. Sleepy but invigorated by a good concert, we left at 9am, arriving in Savannah a little after 3pm. While Drew’s friends and girlfriend took a nap, the three of us took off to explore the town and find some food. It was pretty hot as we were walking but thankfully cooled off down by the river. We found an nice little restaurant on the river and chatted it up while enjoying the beautiful views and Southern hospitality. Savannah has a neat policy allowing open containers on the streets, meaning you can buy a beer and walk around without any fear.

Reunited at last.

Of course a massive ship carrying Chinese cargo pulled into the river. The sunset was absolutely gorgeous despite the intensely industrial ship.

Once it got dark, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for New Years dinner and fun. After falling behind from a quick nap, Peter and I met up with the group at a neat restaurant called The Distillery. I had already met Drew’s girlfriend, Julia, and was introduced to Dave and Monica, all F&M grads. Our dinner was finished off with some shots which indicates where the night was headed. I do not drink regularly but figured New Years is as good of a time as any to indulge just a little.

We then walked downtown to a quiet little bar with a live band which got exponentially louder with our entrance. We ended up hanging out there till midnight, ringing in the new year with champagne and ripping open a garbage bag of balloons over our heads.

The F&M group.

Dave distressed while telling his story of working with 4 other Daves on his research team.

After celebrating for a little we rushed outside and down to the river to see the fireworks. I saw maybe 4 fireworks through the trees when the show ended. Major fail. Slightly saddened, we brightened our spirits by heading down to the riverside to some other bars. This part of the night got a little hazy with briefly losing Peter and Drew, looking for a bathroom and finding ourselves in an elevator, and somehow getting into a hotel bar. Eventually we made our way back to our hotel and found Dave who had disappeared for about an hour. Debauchery continued in the hotel room while we microwaved mini pizzas and Peter burned his hand. Happy New Years?

What a random but fun night. We were actually in bed at a decent hour, however my stomach and head were not exactly feeling awesome. We chose to sleep in and miss brunch for a few extra zzz’s which was an amazing decision. At 11am we finally made it out and greeted the chilly day with weary eyes.

Happy Hanukkah?

I literally stalked this woman to get a good picture since I had my standard lens instead of a zoom lens. This lady was dressed in stark white, holding up a leather bound book with JESUS written in large letter upon the cover. Whenever anybody passed, she would raise up her arms and the book as it to praise the Lord. Only in the South…

While Julia, Dave, and Monica headed back to bed for a post-brunch nap, Drew joined us on a walk back to the river for lunch. On the way I admired the old buildings and historic integrity of Savannah.

We eventually found an awesome restaurant and indulged in some good ole Southern seafood. I saw shrimp and grits on the menu and just had to try them. It was surprisingly really delicious (probably because of the cheese). We also ate a good deal of fried crab, oysters, and shrimp. Vegetables are severely lacking in Southern restaurants. Boo.

After filling our bellies, we decided to hit up the many famous town squares of Savannah. They are basically just parks but have beautiful, sprawling trees and of course, war memorials.

We also passed the Savannah College of Art and Design which seems to add a quirky artistic flare to the architecture and design of the city.

Of course there were horse drawn carriage rides and tours everywhere. These horses were massive. I’m surprised there’s not more Budweiser here.

Our last stop was a cemetery full of famous generals, state politicians, and victims of an epidemic in the 1700s. I loved the large trees draped in Spanish moss.

What I loved most about Savannah was its walkability and historic charm. We explored the entire city by foot and were able to really experience the beautiful architecture and history of the area. The river was especially charming with its cobbled streets, elaborate stairways and bridges, and interesting restaurants and shops. And Savannah is only a 5.5 hour drive from St. Pete!

At about 3pm on Sunday, Peter and I hit the road, arriving home about 9pm. It was a perfect weekend getaway, short and sweet, with friends old and new. Thanks for the invite Drew! (totally did not mean for that to rhyme)

Happy New Year! I still cannot believe it is 2012.

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