Monthly Archives: December 2012

An Innkeeper’s Guide to Savannah


Nobody knows an area better than its innkeepers. They are passionate about their cities, and they are able to provide travelers with local knowledge that most guidebooks don’t even know about. We asked our innkeepers to share some of the best recommendations for guests who are coming to their Savannah B&Bs.

Top Things to Do

 The innkeepers at Green Palm Inn believe that one of the best ways to explore Savannah is to go on tours with local experts. If you dare, they recommend venturing out with Blue Orb Tours for their City of the Dead or Zombies tour. According to the tour company’s website, “Known as the city of lost cemeteries and the city built on its dead, Savannah has over 10,000 unmarked graves in the Historic District.”

If that’s not enough spookiness for you, the Green Palm Inn innkeepers then suggest partaking in “Dinner and a Cemetery,” a late-night tour of the famous Bonaventure Cemetery (pictured above) followed by a dinner in a private dining room with Shannon Scott, a storyteller and expert on the graveyard.  The innkeepers also encourage a venture with Sellers & Higgins Walking Tours, which promises learning about “lechery, treachery, and debauchery” on its unique tours. They also recommend exploring the city with Savannah Heritage Tours, run by Angela Sergi, who has been a Savannah tour guide for 20 years.

Park Avenue Manor recommends taking a class at 700 Kitchen Cooking School, which offers hands-on classes for all levels of experience. The innkeepers also suggest taking a ferry along the Savannah River to and from Hutchinson Island. While there isn’t much to do there, the ride provides a great view of the Savannah riverfront.

Savannah’s Bed and Breakfast Inn recommends attending events at the popular Sentient Bean Coffee Shop, such as their open mic comedy nights. They also suggest taking a tour of Ardsley Park, which features colorful and eclectic homes, and the Starland District, which is near downtown and features local boutiques, art, music, and cuisine. If you want to work off some of the Southern food you’ve been eating, the innkeepers say you can attend a free Zumba class on Saturday mornings in Forsyth Park (pictured left).

To get a true taste of Savannah, Foley House Inn advises travelers to stay at a B&B (of course!). They also recommend renting a Vespa scooter or Segway to explore the Historic District, or even taking a private horse carriage tour.  The Galloway House says visitors to Savannah should be sure to visit the farmers market in Forsyth Park.

The Presidents’ Quarters Inn recommends taking a drive down Bluff Drive on Isle of Hope, a gorgeous old neighborhood originally settled in the 1840s. Walk or drive along the street and admire the restored homes among the Spanish moss and oak trees. It also provides great views of Wilmington River. The innkeepers also suggest a visit to Oatland Island Wildlife Center, a conservation center where you can see alligators, bald eagles, bison, snakes, wolves, and more. Additionally, they recommend visiting Wormsloe Historic Site, a colonial estate from the 1700s that now serves as a living history museum.

Best Nightlife

Savannah has a vibrant nightlife with plentiful live music and lively bars. Many of our innkeepers recommend a visit to  Jazz’d, a tapas bar that features live music six nights a week, such as blues, swing, jazz, and classical vocals like Sinatra. Many of the innkeepers also encourage guests to go to the Olde Pink House Tavern for live piano music, plus Rock’s on the Roof for great views and drinks. Several of them also laud Lulu’s Chocolate Bar, a dessert restaurant with tasty treats and delicious drinks.

Savannah’s Bed and Breakfast Inn recommends a visit to The Sparetime, a bar that serves alchemic cocktails, old world wines, and craft beers. They also feature live music. The innkeepers add that many guests enjoy visiting Live Wire Music Hall.

Park Avenue Manor says you shouldn’t pass up a visit to Perch, a hip rooftop bar with a robust drink menu. They also recommend Club One and Vic’s on the River.  The President’s Quarters Inn recommends going to Kevin Barry’s Irish Pub for authentic Irish music. Green Palm Inn says their favorite live entertainment venues are  Savannah Theatre and  Savannah Smiles Dueling Pianos. Roussell’s Garden agrees that the dueling pianos aren’t to be missed.

The Galloway House recommends going to American Legion for $2 drinks, or Chuck’s Bar. Foley House Inn adds that it’s fun to go see live music on Congress Street.

Top Day Trips

Nearly all innkeepers we spoke to praise Tybee Island as the perfect place for a day trip. It’s a barrier island just 18 miles from Savannah, with three miles of public beaches. There are also over 25 restaurants, many of which serve fresh seafood.

Several innkeepers also recommend a visit to Hilton Head or Beaufort, South Carolina, both of which have plentiful beaches, golfing, shopping, and more.

As an alternative, Green Palm Inn suggests a visit to Daufuskie Island, a small nearby island in South Carolina. Since the end of the Civil War, it has been home to the Gullah, which are the descendants of freed slaves. The population has diminished, but you can still visit the island’s Gullah Learning Center to explore their rich heritage.

Where to Eat

Here are some of the Savannah restaurants that our innkeepers love.

Alligator SoulCha Bella Crystal Beer ParlorFire Street FoodFoxy LoxyGaribaldi J. Christopher’sLocal11 TenNoble FareOlde Pink House (pictured is their shrimp and grits dish with collard greens) • Sammy Green’sSapphire GrillSix Pence PubSoho South Café The Sentient BeanThe Wilkes House

Cemetery picture by Jeff Gunn


Leave a comment

Filed under Georgia, Savannah

Gina’s Hoppin’ John Soup



Ever since I was a little girl, my mom has bee telling me that if you don’t eat black- eyed peas on New Year’s Day you’ll have a bad year ahead of you. Now, when I was younger I didn’t care a bit. I was going through that awkward stage anyway—how much worse could it be? But as I got older, I learned to love that black- eyed pea tradition, convinced that my year was going to be fantastic! And you know what’s funny? I tell my girls the same thing. Who says traditions and superstitions aren’t effective?



1 small bunch (about 1 pound) collard greens
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces smoked ham steak, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red- pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups low- sodium chicken broth
One 15.5- ounce can black- eyed peas, drained and rinsed
One 15- ounce can diced tomatoes, with juices
1 cup cooked long- grain white rice
1 dried bay leaf
Dash of hot sauce, preferably
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Parmesan cheese, grated, for topping
Remove the stems and center ribs from the collard greens. Stack about six leaves on top of each other, roll into a cigar shape, and slice into thin ribbons.

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium- high heat.

When the oil is hot, toss in the ham, onion, garlic, carrot, and celery, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are tender, roughly 4 minutes.

Sprinkle in the red- pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper.

Add the collard greens, and saute until they begin to soften.

Pour in the chicken broth, the black- eyed peas, and the can of tomatoes with their juices. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes. Stir the rice into the soup to warm. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce.

Spoon into bowls, and sprinkle each bowl with Parmesan cheese.

Source: – The Neelys’ Celebration Cookbook

Leave a comment

Filed under Food, New Year's Traditions