Where Savannah's spirits took us
Azalea Inn & Gardens, moderate, (912) 236-2707. Gardens are synonymous with Savannah, and the lush landscaping at this circa-1889 Italianate inn does not disappoint. Neither do any of its 10 well-appointed rooms, some with two-person tubs, private patios overlooking the pool, gas fireplaces, and more. Ask about their special biz rates.
Thunderbird Inn, inexpensive, (912) 232-2661. The name, and even the sign, suggests one of the roadside motels Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman might have stayed in on their cross-country Rain Man trek. But the Thunderbird has been reworked for the aughts and now features chic all-white linens on its pillow-top beds, free in-room Internet access, and the like.
Queeny's to Go-Go, inexpensive to moderate, (912) 443-0888. We're sold on soul food, particularly Queeny's owner John H. Baker III's flavorful fare, from the fried green tomatoes with goat cheese and roasted red-pepper sauce to the shrimp and grits with ham gravy. But don't let the name fool you; there's both indoor and outdoor seating at this former filling station.
Soho South Café, inexpensive, (912) 233-1633. At the pace a meal moves here, you might think Savannah was on an island in the Caribbean, but we prefer to think of it as having plenty of time to savor Soho's yummy menu items, like the tomato-basil bisque, meatloaf sandwich, and banana pudding. Located inside the Savannah Fine Arts Gallery, Soho South lives up to its claim, "Where food is an art."
ShopSCAD, (912) 525-5180. Kinnear mentioned the Savannah College of Art and Design, which comprises more than 50 buildings scattered throughout the historic district, but we love its fabulous boutique — featuring the work of SCAD students, faculty, and alumni — so much that we thought it was worth singling out. (FYI: Can’t make it to campus? Check them out online at www.shopscadonline.com.)
Skidaway Island Institute of Oceanography, (912) 598-2400. Just 16 miles south of downtown is an area of estuaries, marshes, and barrier islands that house this leading research institute. Tours of SkIO’s laboratories and, when it’s in port, its 92-foot research vessel, are offered on the last Friday of most months.
McQueen’s Island Historic Trail, (912) 652-6780. Lace up your jogging shoes or strap on your bike helmet for a trip along this scenic six-mile pathway, which happens to have been Georgia’s first rails-to-trails conversion.