The Olde Pink House

 

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As I planned activities for my trip to Savannah, Georgia, one restaurant kept popping into my awareness…The Olde Pink House in the heart of the historic district. When I checked out the online menu and found a vegan burger, I made a lunch reservation for day three of my trip.

I’m glad I did. This property is so much more than a restaurant.

The Olde Pink House title

Why is The Olde Pink House…Pink?

There’s a reason for the name of this restaurant. The property began life as a house and the color was unintentional.

In 1771, James Habersham Jr began construction on an elaborate mansion on Abercorn Street in Savannah. The exterior of the house was made from red bricks, that were then covered with white plaster. It’s not known whether the bricks were poor quality or whether the plastering job was faulty, but the red from the bricks bled through the plaster, turning the house a distinct shade of pink.

Fearing he would be ridiculed for living in a pink house, Habersham continually painted the exterior white, as did many different owners over the years. Whenever the pink began to show through, a fresh coat of white paint was applied.

However, when the new owner of the house bought it in the 1920s, to open a tea room, she chose to not fight the inevitable. She painted the house pink and pink it has been since.

The Olde Pink House fireplace
One of many fireplaces in The Olde Pink House

The History of The Olde Pink House

James Habersham Jr was one of Savannah’s most important cotton brokers and a founding family of the city. He occupied the house until his death in 1799.

Habersham House, as it was known then, survived the Savannah fire of 1796 that destroyed 229 other properties. In 1812 the home transformed into Planters Bank, the first bank in Georgia.

After the Civil War, the property changed hands several times, becoming an attorney’s office, a bookstore and Alida Harper Fowlkes’ Georgian Tea Room.

Jim Williams, the famous owner of the Mercer House and featured in the Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil book, purchased the property in the 1940s and restored it. By 1970, the house underwent another renovation that included upgrading the foundation. Twin fireplaces were uncovered in the basement. These fireplaces were part of the original cooking kitchen and are now a highlight of the basement tavern.

The restaurant opened in the building in 1971 and continues today with the addition of Arches Bar, located on the south side and Planters Tavern in the basement.

The Olde Pink House brick fireplace
One of 13 dining rooms in The Olde Pink House

The Ghosts of The Olde Pink House

It turns out, not only is The Olde Pink House a fine place to eat, it also makes the list of haunted locations in Savannah.

The ghost of James Habersham Jr is said to appear in the restaurant, wearing his Colonial clothes while drinking an ale. He is often seen in the basement tavern, people watching as guests enjoy what used to be his home. Some have even supposedly had a conversation with Habersham, only to have him disappear suddenly.

Employees of the restaurant see Habersham’s ghost. He’s been known to straighten table settings and push chairs into place. He is also blamed for lighting candles on tables throughout the restaurant.

Other The Olde Pink House Ghosts

A friendly Revolutionary War veteran spirit visits the bar and asks visitors to raise a glass for a toast. A sobbing female ghost lingers on the second floor.

Former servants appear wandering throughout the house. Frequently patrons get locked into the women’s restroom. And children who died from Yellow Fever can be heard in the basement, playing tricks on guests or even hitting the bartenders and wait staff.

The wait staff are very happy to share ghost stories about The Olde Pink House and encourage diners to tour the house and tavern after they finish their meals.

Check out more Savannah Ghost Stories.

The Olde Pink House basement seating
Seating in the basement tavern at The Olde Pink House

Tips for Enjoying a Meal at The Olde Pink House

The restaurant is located at 23 Abercorn Street, on Reynolds Square. Reservations are required. Click this LINK to make yours. I recommend making reservations well in advance of your trip to Savannah.

There are 13 dining rooms throughout the restaurant, in various rooms of the original house. You can also dine in Planters Tavern, which is only open in the evenings.

Casual wear is appropriate for dining at The Olde Pink House although you can also dress up if you wish.

The Olde Pink House offers southern influenced cuisine and features a large selection of fish, beef, pork and chicken entrees. Crispy flounder with apricot shallot sauce is their mainstay meal. Other favorites include fried green tomato BLT and braised pork. Their signature praline basket filled with berries is the perfect way to end the meal. They also offer a vegan burger and salads. See their menu HERE.

The Olde Pink House ballroom
The Olde Pink House ballroom, where I dined.

My Experience at The Olde Pink House

I arrived ahead of my lunch reservation so I could take photos in Reynolds Square and capture the outside of the property. When I entered the foyer, I was seated immediately in the upstairs ballroom.

I enjoyed a vegan burger for lunch along with crispy onion rings and the wonderful praline basket with berries for dessert. My waiter was attentive and full of interesting historical facts about The Olde Pink House. He also shared a number of ghost stories with me and invited me to look around after my meal. Although the basement tavern was not open yet, he gave me permission to walk around there.

It was fun to explore the house, peeking into the various dining rooms. The beautiful house structures are still there, along with time appropriate antiques and art.

There were four other people in the basement tavern when I first enter that area. By the time I explored the old wine cellars, now converted to intimate dining areas, I was alone in the tavern. As I turned to exit a cellar, something smacked me hard on the forehead. I stopped in surprise and raised a hand to my head as I peered around. No one was there. Nothing hung low from the ceiling that I’d run into. My only explanation is that one of those mischievous ghost children in the basement played a trick on me!

The Olde Pink House cellar
I had just exited this cellar when an unseen force smacked me in the forehead.

Will You Dine at The Olde Pink House on Your Trip to Savannah?

I highly recommend this restaurant in Savannah, not just for the food, but for the historical importance of the property and for the fun possibility of encountering a ghost!

It’s a beautiful house to explore and the wait staff are eager to share stories as they deliver your meal and keep your glass filled.

Next time I’m in Savannah, I intend to dine in the tavern, where live music is often performed. And this time, I’ll be watching those shadowy corners for a wee trickster ghost.

Will you dine in The Olde Pink House when you visit Savannah? Or have you enjoyed a meal here?

Intimate dining room
One of the smaller dining rooms.

 

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Whit’s Fur Ye’ll No Go By Ye: Scottish Inspiration for Life

 

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One of the aspects of travel that I most appreciate is learning about a new culture. The people, the language and the customs all reveal more about a country.

Scotland is dear to my heart. I’ve visited that beautiful country more than any other. And during my visits I’ve collected a variety of proverbs, sayings and expressions that are equally dear to me.

These are some of my favorite finds, Scottish inspiration for life…mine and others.

 

Scottish Inspiration for Life title

 

Scottish Inspiration for Life

I’ve embraced my Scottish heritage, from practicing afternoon tea to wearing my clan’s tartan to adopting Scottish expressions. For sure, there are many humorous Scottish sayings, with some that cause non-Scots to scratch their heads in bewilderment.

This collection shares some of the deep wisdom from the earthy, practical people of Scotland while maintaining their unique wording and yes, their wit.

We’re A’ Jock Tamson’s Bairns

Translation: We are all God’s children, all created equal.

Jock Tamson is the Scottish term for “everyman”. No one is better than anyone else and every person has value.

This saying originated in the 19th century with a much loved Scots minister, Reverend John Thomsan. He was fond of calling his congregation his “bairns” which means children.

Failin Means Yer Playin

Translation: It’s better to try and fail than not try at all.

Some add “ye cannae win if yer no in the game”. You’ll never know what you can do if you don’t try!

Get this inspirational saying on a tee!

Scottish Inspiration for Life Royal Mile
Scottish Inspiration for Life – the beauty of the Royal Mile in Old Town.

A Nod’s as Guid as a Wink for a Blind Horse

Translation: Explain yourself well and make your meaning clear.

Make your words precise and clear and then don’t worry if some don’t understand your meaning or agree with you. You may not change people’s minds but it’s not worth the stress and hassle to argue. Say what you mean and stand by your words and then move on.

A Lie is Half-Way Roon Scotland Afore the Truth Has Its Boots Oan

Translation: Watch what you say. Bad news, lies and gossip travel fast.

Speak the truth. A lie not only catches the liar eventually, it spreads much faster than the truth. And be discerning with what you hear or read. It may not be true.

Scottish Inspiration for Life Edinburgh Castle
Scottish Inspiration for Life – Edinburgh Castle

It’s a Lang Road That’s No Goat a Turnin

Translation: It’s a long road that does not have a turn.

Don’t lose heart. Things won’t go on in the same direction forever. Even during challenging or dark times, don’t give up. Keep going. This will pass and things will get better.

Keep the Heid

Translation: Keep calm and carry on.

Everything will be okay. Don’t get anxious or upset. Stay level headed. You will get through this.

Scottish Inspiration for Life Dean Village laundry
Scottish Inspiration for Life – laundry drying in Dean Village

Yer a Long Time Deid

Translation: Seize the day and live it to the fullest.

We are all mortal. Death comes soon enough. Don’t wait to do the things you really want to do in life. Pursue what brings you joy, with no regrets.

Lang May Yer Lum Reek

Translation: Good luck and good fortune to you, in the future.

This phrase is typically used during New Year’s as a toast to one’s health and a wish for long life. The phrase literally means “long may your chimney smoke”.

Scottish Inspiration for Life John Knox House
Scottish Inspiration for Life – John Knox House on Royal Mile

Whit’s Fur Ye’ll No Go By Ye

Translation: What’s meant for you will come to you.

This expression is my current favorite. It’s similar to the expression “what will be, will be”. I love it because the expression reminds me to stay in the flow of life and trust that what is meant for me, will come to me at the exact right time. If I stay open, then I can’t miss what’s for me. And if it’s not for me, it won’t happen. I can accept that and let it go.

This saying is on a shirt as well. I’m ordering one!

Which Scottish Inspiration for Life is Your Favorite?

I’m sure I’ll keep adding to this inspirational list. Every time I visit Scotland, I jot another one down. And when I read these, I hear them spoken, in my head, with a thick Scottish accent.

You can find more fun Scottish sayings HERE.

Which one of these expressions is your favorite?

Scottish Inspiration for Life Thirlestane Castle
I dreamed of seeing this castle all of my life. It didn’t go by me. I’ve been to Thirlestane Castle three times now.

 

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Charleston or Savannah: Which City to Visit?

 

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Are you planning a trip to the South and wondering whether to visit Charleston or Savannah first?

I’ve visited these two beautiful cities and while they are close enough to each other to plan a trip that includes both, you may prefer to do as I did and spend more time in one…and then the other.

To help you decided which city to scratch off the list first, read about their  similarities and differences.

Charleston or Savannah title

Charleston or Savannah?

Both Charleston and Savannah are considered Jewels of the South. These coastal cities boast rich, complex histories, plenty of charm, amazing food experiences and a variety of tours and activities to enjoy. And, with local airports, they are easy to get to.

Below are similarities between the two cities and how they differ from each other too. Hopefully, by the end of the post, you’ll know whether Charleston or Savannah will be first on your travel list!

Similarities Between Charleston and Savannah

Both cities, part of the original 13 colonies, have long and fascinating histories. And, they both embrace Gullah and Geechee sea island cultures.

Beautiful architecture is found in both, with each city having a very walkable historic downtown area. Charleston and Savannah acknowledge their darker histories, and today share stories of how they owe their existence to the labor of enslaved people.

Lying along rivers that feed into the sea, both cities experience mild weather that can turn quite hot and humid during the summer months. (My tip: visit Charleston or Savannah in early spring or mid to late fall.)

The people in both cities are friendly and welcoming, practicing that famed southern charm and hospitality. And both cities felt very safe to me. I visited as a solo traveler and never felt concern.

You can wander down cobblestone streets, explore museums, visit a city market and take a walk along the waterfront in Charleston and Savannah.

Charleston or Savannah pineapple fountain
Charleston has its iconic Pineapple Fountain.
Charleston or Savannah forsyth fountain
Savannah’s iconic Forsyth Fountain

Differences Between Charleston and Savannah

Charleston is a bigger city than Savannah although their historic downtown area is smaller. You can easily walk that district in a day but you won’t want to rush! I recommend at least two days in Charleston and preferably three. Because Charleston is larger, prices are slightly higher for accommodations there.

And with Savannah’s bigger historic district, it takes more time to explore. I’d recommend three days here as well, to see everything.

Charleston has its South of Broad neighborhood to wander, with narrow streets, gorgeous homes and historic churches and buildings. Savannah features 22 squares set up in a grid across the historic district. You’ll want to stroll down Jones Street as you explore the city. It’s considered the prettiest street in Savannah.

Charleston or Savannah south of broad
Gorgeous homes in Charleston’s South of Broad neighborhood.
Charleston or Savannah squares
Columbia Square in Savannah.

Getting Around Charleston and Savannah

If you get tired from all that walking, you can rely on the transportation systems in both cities. Charleston has a free hop on/hop off shuttle that covers the entire historic district. Savannah has it’s free hop on/hop off trolley system as well. Neither offer information from a guide as you wheel around the city.

I loved Savannah’s paid trolley tour that offers 15 stops throughout the historic district. Charleston offers paid guided tours as well however I don’t believe you can get on and off at different stops.

Charleston or Savannah shuttle
Charleston’s free downtown hop on/hop off shuttle.
Charleston or Savannah trolley
Savannah’s paid guided hop on/hop off trolley tour.

Which City is the Most Haunted?

According to NBC, Charleston ranks number 7 as most haunted city in the US and Savannah is number 1!

Both cities offer amazing ghost tours with stories from their complicated pasts. I enjoyed doing night time ghost tours in each city. Many of Charleston’s buildings, homes and cemeteries have hair raising tales connected to them.

However, Savannah truly can offer a ghost story about most locations in the historic district, including the squares, buildings and houses around the squares, restaurants and cemeteries.

It’s no surprise Charleston and Savannah rank in the top 10 for most haunted city. Battles were fought in both places. Diseases such as yellow fever struck down many during muggy summers. And both cities dealt with pirates!

As one who senses spirit energy, I found Savannah to be the spookier city. Charleston for sure has its haunted spots. However, it seems that everywhere you go in Savannah there is a ghostly vibe. I had paranormal experiences in both cities but they were more frequent and stronger in Savannah.

Charleston or Savannah haunted theatre
Haunted Dock Street Theatre in Charleston.
Charleston or Savannah haunted Andrew Low House
Haunted Andrew Low House in Savannah.

Charleston or Savannah for Culinary Experiences?

In Savannah you’ll find traditional southern dishes. However there are also some trendy restaurants and fairly robust vegan options. Leopald’s Ice Cream, a favorite on Broughton Street since 1919, is a must visit. They even offer dairy free ice cream.

Charleston has 10 James Beard awarded restaurants around the city. They offer traditional southern fare as well however expect to find more sophisticated offerings here. Plant based meals are easy to find in Charleston too although I couldn’t find a place for afternoon tea while I was there.

And while Charleston edges Savannah out on cuisine, Savannah definitely wins on drinks and nightlife. From pub tours to live music venues to being able to legally carry open alcoholic drinks within the confines of the historic district, Savannah makes good on their promise to get a drink into your hands as part of their hospitality.

Charleston or Savannah vegan charleston
Vegan Charleston
Charleston or Savannah vegan savannah
Vegan Savannah

Which City Should You Visit?

My answer is…both!

I visited Charleston first, due to falling in love with the city through Karen White’s Tradd Street series. (Get the first book in the series HERE.) And Charleston will always have a special place in my heart for being the destination of my first big solo trip. I enjoyed the city so much that I returned just six months later for another visit.

And I love Savannah as well. The energy is a bit different there. The city’s historic district feels more sprawled out and I made more use of the hop on/hop off trolleys. I enjoyed the 22 beautiful and unique squares and discovering the stories behind their creation. I will return to this city someday soon to explore more.

Have you visited Charleston and Savannah? And if you haven’t, which city would you visit first?

Fun Things to Do in Charleston

Fun Things to Do in Savannah

 

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Explore Savannah’s Squares

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When I researched Savannah, Georgia for my trip, I immediately discovered that the historic downtown was built around 24 squares. Intrigued, I added “explore Savannah’s squares and photograph each one” to my things to do in Savannah list.

More than just parks for recreations, these squares are each uniquely beautiful, full of historical significance and they are important components of the Savannah community.

Explore Savannah's Squares title

Explore Savannah’s Squares

The Squares of Savannah are rightly called the “crown jewels” of the city. This grid of squares across the historic district contributes historical value and beauty to Savannah.

The grid system, established by founder General James Oglethorpe in 1733, was originally designed to serve the needs of a growing city and support military operations. Troops initially used the squares for training grounds and meetings. Public buildings, churches and residential homes surrounded each square, creating natural communities.

Of the original 24 squares, 22 remain today. I enjoyed visiting each square, sitting or walking within them, and taking photos.

Here are the Savannah Squares, listed in alphabetical order.

Chatham Square

Location: Barnard and Wayne Streets

Designed in 1847

Chatham Square is named in honor of William Pitt, the Earl of Chatham. Although the Earl never visited Savannah, he was an early supporter of the colony. The square contains a sundial dedicated to African American politician Louis Burke Toomer. This quiet green space is popular for weddings and photos.

Point of interest: Gordon Row, 15 four storied townhouses, each 20 feet wide.

Explore Savannah's Squares Chatham
Explore Savannah’s Squares – Chatham

Chippewa Square

Location: Bull and McDonough Streets

Designed in 1815

Chippewa Square commemorates the Battle of Chippewa in the War of 1812. In the center of the square stands a bronze statue of the colony’s founder, General Oglethorpe. He faces south to “protect Savannah from the Spanish in Florida”.

Points of interest: First Baptist Church, the Savannah Theatre and the Eastman-Stoddard House. This square is also called the “Forrest Gump Square” because this is where the bus stop scenes from the film were shot.

Explore Savannah's Squares Chippewa
Chippewa Square where scenes from Forrest Gump were filmed.

Columbia Square

Location: Habersham and Presidents Streets

Designed in 1799

This square is named “Columbia” as the female personification of Christopher Columbus. In the center is a water fountain from Wormsloe Plantation, an early Savannah settlement.

Points of interest: The Davenport House and the Kehoe House

Explore Savannah's Squares Columbia
Explore Savannah’s Squares – Columbia

Crawford Square

Location:  E Hull and Houston Streets

Designed in 1841

Crawford Square is named to honor William Harrison Crawford, Minister of France during the reign of Napoleon. Crawford was said to be the only politician with any influence over the French emperor. There is a pretty gazebo in the center of the square, which is the only one that is fenced.

Points of interest: basketball court and nearby antique stores

Explore Savannah's Squares Crawford
The gazebo in the middle of Crawford Square.

Ellis Square

Location: Bryan and Barnard Streets

Designed in 1733

Once lost to urban sprawl, this old square was restored thanks to a partnership between the City of Savannah and area developers. The restored square features underground parking and vast green spaces. It is surrounded by hotels and retail stores.

The square is named in honor of Henry Ellis, the second Royal Governor. It was once the location of the Old City Market where merchants sold crops and wares.

Points of interest: the square features a splash pad for summer fun and the current City Market is nearby

Explore Savannah's Squares Ellis
Explore Savannah’s Squares – Ellis

Franklin Square

Location: Bryan and Barnard Streets

Designed in 1791

Named for Benjamin Franklin, this square originally housed the city’s water tower and was nicknamed “water tower square”. In the middle of the square is the Haitian Monument, honoring the Haitian soldiers who fought for American independence during the Siege of Savannah.

Points of interest: First African Baptist Church and the square forms the west end of the City Market.

Explore Savannah's Squares Franklin
Franklin Square was the first square that I visited.

Greene Square

Location: Houston and Presidents Streets

Designed in 1799

This square honors General Nathanael Greene, a Revolutionary War hero who fought against the British in Savannah. This square was a central hub for the African American community.

Points of interest: Second African Baptist Church and the Cunningham House, lived in by the founding pastor of the Second African Baptist Church

Explore Savannah's Squares Greene
Explore Savannah’s Squares – Greene

Johnson Square

Location: Bull and St Julian Streets

Designed in 1733

Named for Robert Johnson, the Royal Governor of South Carolina when Georgia was founded, this square is one of the oldest in the city and it is the largest. It originally served as a commercial hub for the community. Now it is frequently inhabited by artists selling their work. The square has two fountains and a 50 foot monument honoring Nathanael Greene. His remains were placed beneath the monument in 1901.

Points of interest: Christ Episcopal Church and City Hall

Explore Savannah's Squares Johnson
I loved walking by busy, beautiful Johnson Square every day.

Lafayette Square

Location: Abercorn and Macon Streets

Designed in 1873

This square honors the Marquis de Lafayette, who aided Americans during the Revolutionary War. There is a fountain in the center dedicated to the Colonial Dames of American.

Points of interest: The Hamilton-Turner House, Cathedral of St John the Baptist, Low Colonial Dames House and the childhood home of author Flannery O’Connor

Explore Savannah's Squares Lafayette
Explore Savannah’s Squares – Lafayette

Madison Square

Location: Bull and Macon Streets

Designed in 1837

Named to honor the fourth president, James Madison, this square features a monument dedicated to Sergeant William Jasper. He fell during the Siege of Savannah in 1779. There is also a granite marker for the southern line of the British defense during the 1779 battle.

Points of interest: St John’s Episcopal Church, the Green-Meldrim House, The Gryphon and the Sorrel-Weed House

Explore Savannah's Squares Madison
The monument in the center of Madison Square.

Monterey Square

Location: Bull and Wayne Streets

Designed in 1847

Monterey Square commemorates the 1846 Battle of Monterey during the Mexican American War. A Savannah unit of the Irish Jasper Greens fought there. The square’s monument honors Casimir Pulaski, a Polish nobleman who was mortally wounded during the Siege of Savannah while fighting for the Americans.

Points of interest:  Mickve Israel Temple, Comer Jefferson House and the Mercer-Williams House, made famous by the book and film “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”

Explore Savannah's Squares Monterey
Explore Savannah’s Squares – Monterey

Oglethorpe Square

Location: Abercorn and Presidents Streets

Designed in 1742

This square is named for the founder of Savannah, James Oglethorpe. In the center of the square is a marker honoring the Moravians who arrived in Savannah in 1735, from the current day Czech Republic.

Point of interest: the Owens-Thomas House

Explore Savannah's Squares Oglethorpe
Oglethorpe Square honors Savannah’s founder.

Orleans Square

Location: Barnard and McDonough Streets

Designed in 1815

This square honors the heroes of the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812. The fountain in the square was dedicated in 1989 by Savannah’s German Society to recognize the contributions of the city’s early German immigrants.

Point of interest: the Champion-McAlpin House

Explore Savannah's Squares Orleans
Explore Savannah’s Squares – Orleans

Pulaski Square

Location: Barnard and Macon Streets

Designed in 1837

This square is named after Count Casimir Pulaski of Poland, the highest ranking foreign officer to die in the American Revolution. He fell during the Siege of Savannah in 1799.

Point of interest: Francis S Bartow House

Explore Savannah's Squares Pulaski
Explore Savannah’s Squares – Pulaski

Reynolds Square

Location: Abercorn and St Julian Streets

Designed in 1733

Named for Georgia’s first Royal Governor, John Reynolds, this square features a monument dedicated to John Wesley, the founder of Methodism and the Anglican minister to the colony in 1736.

Points of interest: Lucas Theatre and The Olde Pink House

Explore Savannah's Squares Reynolds
I enjoyed sitting in this park while waiting for my reservation time at The Olde Pink House.

Taylor Square

Location: Abercorn and Wayne Streets

Designed in 1851

Formally known as Calhoun Square, it was originally named after John C Calhoun, a South Carolina statesman and Vice President under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. It has been renamed Taylor Square in honor of Susie King Taylor. She was born enslaved and she was secretly educated by her freed grandmother in Savannah. Susie became the first black teacher to educate African Americans in Georgia and served as a nurse during the Civil War. She later opened a school in Savannah for African American children and published a memoir about her experiences with the 33rd United States Colored Troops.

This is the only square that still has all of its original historic buildings.

Points of interest: Massie School and Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church

Explore Savannah's Square Taylor
Explore Savannah’s Squares – Taylor

Telfair Square

Location: Barnard and Presidents Streets

Designed in 1733

Originally named St James, this square was renamed in 1883 to honor Edward Telfair, a three time governor of Georgia and patron to the arts.

Points of interest: Trinity United Methodist Church, Telfair Museum of Art and Jepson Center for the Arts

Explore Savannah's Squares Telfair
Benches in Telfair Square

Troup Square

Location: Habersham and McDonough Streets

Designed in 1851

This square is named in honor of George Michael Troup, a senator and governor of Georgia. In the center stands the Armillary Sphere, an astronomical device that shows the relationship among the celestial circles.

Points of interest: the Unitarian Universalist Church and the McDonough Row Houses

Explore Savannah's Squares Troup
Explore Savannah’s Squares – Troup

Warren Square

Location: Habersham and St Julian Streets

Designed in 1733

Warren Square honors General Joseph Warren who was killed in the Battle of Bunker Hill during the Revolutionary War.

Point of interest: the Spencer-Woodbridge House

Explore Savannah's Squares Warren
Pretty Warren Square.

Washington Square

Location: Houston and St Julian Streets

Designed in 1790

As you might guess, this square honors our first president, George Washington. Some of Savannah’s oldest houses reside on this square. The land was once the site of the Trustees’ Garden.

Points of interest: International Seamen’s House, The Brice, A Kimpton Hotel

Explore Savannah's Squares - Washington

Whitefield Square

Location: Habersham and Wayne Streets

Designed in 1851

Whitefield Square, also pronounced and spelled “Whitfield Square”, was the last of Savannah’s squares. It honors Reverend George Whitefield, founder of the Bethesda Orphanage, the oldest orphanage in the US. A gazebo sits in the center of the square.

Points of interest: the First Congregational Church and Victorian architecture houses

Explore Savannah's Squares Whitefield
Whitefield Square is one of my favorites.

Wright Square

Location: Bull and Presidents Streets

Designed in 1733

This square is named for Sir James Wright, Georgia’s third and last colonial governor. The monument in the square honors William Washington Gordon, an early mayor of Savannah who established the Central of Georgia Railroad. A large boulder marks the grave of Tomochichi, the Yamacraw Chief who welcomed General Oglethorpe and the first colonists to the area.

The square is also the site of Savannah’s most infamous hanging, of Alice Riley who supposedly murdered her husband. Her ghost is said to haunt Wright Square.

Points of interest: Lutheran Church of the Ascension and Old Chatham County Courthouse

Explore Savannah Squares Wright
Explore Savannah’s Squares – Wright

The Two Lost Squares

Liberty Square, located at Houston and McDonough Streets, was designed in 1801. It was named to honor the Savannah patriots “Liberty Boys”.  They set the stage for Georgia’s involvement in the American Revolution. The square was paved over during the construction of the new Chatham County Courthouse.

Elbert Square, located at Houston and McDonough Streets, was designed in 1801. It honored Samuel Elbert, a Revolutionary War hero and Georgia governor. A small grassy section of this square remains. (See photo at end of post.) The remainder disappeared under the Savannah Civic Center and its parking lot in 1974.

How many squares have you seen?

I loved my daily strolls, finding the beautiful and interesting Savannah Squares. One could dedicate half a day to finding all of them at once. However, I planned my four days in Savannah around the squares, visiting them and points of interest in the area and eating at restaurants nearby.

The Illustrated Map of Savannah that I used has all of the squares clearly marked and I used that map frequently to keep track of where I was. (Read my post on my other blog: Walk with a Map.) Set up on a grid, the squares are not hard to find. Once you discover one, you can map out the rest.

How many of the squares have you seen?

Elbert Square
What remains of Elbert Square

 

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Best Picture Nominations 2024

 

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With the Oscars airing on March 10, 2024, it’s officially awards seasons! And for me, that means watching each of the nominated films before that magical night. I love watching these movies, which are typically very diverse. This year is no exception.

Here are the best picture nominations 2024, with a brief synopsis of each.

Best Picture Nominations 2024 title

Ten Best Picture Nominations

Ten amazing films are nominated this year. Three are foreign films. Four are based on true stories. All kept me engaged. Some made me laugh out loud. Some brought tears to my eyes. And one caused my blood pressure to raise!

Here they are, as usual, in the order that I watched them.

Barbie

Rated PG-13  Run time: 1 hour 54 minutes

Screenplay by Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach. Directed by Greta Gerwig. Nominated for 8 Oscars.

Stars Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Issa Rae, Kate McKinnon and America Ferrera.

Barbie and Ken are having the time of their lives in the colorful, perfect world of Barbieland. Barbie feels especially proud about the impact she’s surely had on young girls, showing them that they can be anything and go anywhere they desire. However, when they go to the real world, they discover the perils and joys of living among humans. And Barbie is discouraged to learn that her impact is not as great as she thought.

Fun fact: Barbie is 23% larger than everything in Barbieland to mimic the disproportionate scale that real Barbies and Barbie activity sets are produced in.

Barbie is streaming on MAX and available to rent on Prime HERE.

Best Picture Nominations 2024 Barbie
Best Picture Nominations 2024 – Barbie

Maestro

Rated R  Run time: 2 hours 9 minutes

Screenplay by Bradley Cooper and Josh Singer. Directed by Bradley Cooper. Nominated for 7 Oscars.

Stars Carrey Mulligan, Bradley Cooper, Sarah Silverman and Matt Bomer.

This film chronicles the lifelong love story of conductor-composer Leonard Bernstein and actress Felicia Montealegre. The complex story spans 30 years as Leonard reaches great heights in his career all while his marriage and homelife struggles.

Fun fact: Bradley’s interest in Bernstein started with watching Tom and Jerry and Bugs Bunny cartoons and observing them conduct. He asked Santa for a baton when he was eight years old.

Maestro is steaming on Netflix.

Best Picture Nominations 2024 Maestro
Best Picture Nominations 2024 – Maestro

Poor Things

Rated R  Run Time: 2 hours 21 minutes

Screenplay by Tony McNamara, based on the novel by Alasdair Gray. Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. Nominated for 11 Oscars.

Stars Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo and Willem Dafoe.

This fantasy tale is about the growth and evolution of Bella Baxter, a young woman brought back to life by Frankenstein-like scientist, Dr. Godwin Baxter. Hungry to discover the world, Bella runs away with slick lawyer Duncan Wedderburn, on an adventure across continents. (Warning: Bella has matured without prejudice or inhibitions. Therefore, there is a LOT of sexual content in the film.)

Fun fact: Mark Ruffalo felt he was too old to play the role of Duncan Wedderburn. He writes, “To play that character, to do all the physical comedy and the language, and to make the arc that he made, it was so crazy and so exciting. It’s one foot on a banana peel and the other in a grave.” Mark is nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

Poor Things is currently playing in theaters across the US.

Best Picture Nominations 2024 Poor Things
Poor Things

Oppenheimer

Rated R  Run time: 3 hours

Screenplay by Christopher Nolan, based on the book “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer” by Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin. Directed by Christopher Nolan. Nominated for 13 Oscars.

Stars Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon and Robert Downey Jr,

This is the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer and his sometimes reluctant role in developing the atomic bomb. And it is the continued tale of his trial for supposed ties to communism while he struggles to come to terms with changing the history of the world.

Fun fact: Matt Damon was on a break from acting, as a promise to his wife, with one condition: if Christopher Nolan called, the break was off. Nolan offered Damon the role of Leslie Groves and the break went on hold.

Oppenheimer is available to rent on Prime HERE and has returned to theaters across the US.

Oppenheimer
Best Picture Nominations 2024 – Oppenheimer

American Fiction

Rated R  Run time: 1 hour 57 minutes

Screenplay by Cord Jefferson, based on the novel “Erasure” by Percival Everett. Directed by Cord Jefferson. Nominated for 5 Oscars.

Stars Jeffrey Wright, Tracee Ellis Ross, John Ortiz, Erika Alexander and Sterling K. Brown.

Monk is an author, frustrated by culture’s obsession with reducing people to stereotypes. He is especially fed up with those who profit from Black entertainment that relies on tired tropes. To prove a point, he writes his own “black” book, under a pen name, and finds himself in the heart of hypocrisy when the book is a huge success.

Fun fact: most of the fictional book titles of the Literary Award finalists are the names of bands whose members were friends with Cord in middle school and high school.

American Fiction is playing in theaters across the US.

Best Picture Nominations 2024 American Fiction
American Fiction

Killers of the Flower Moon

Rated R  Run time: 3 hours 26 minutes

Screenplay by Eric Roth and Martin Scorsese based on the book by David Grann. Directed by Martin Scorsese. Nominated for 10 Oscars.

Stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons and John Lithgow.

When oil is discovered in 1920s Oklahoma, on Osage Nation land, the Osage People become wealthy. The sudden wealth attracts oil companies, friends of the People and foes. Osage people begin to die mysteriously as violence, greed and conspiracy surround a family of four Osage sisters and their elderly mother.

Fun fact: the investigation into the happenings in Osage County was the first by the newly formed Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), headed by J. Edgar Hoover.

Killers of the Flower Moon is steaming on Apple+ TV or available to buy on Prime HERE.

Killers of the Flower Moon
Best Picture Nominations 2024 – Killers of the Flower Moon

The Holdovers

Rated R  Run time: 2 hours 13 minutes

Screenplay by David Hemingson. Directed by Alexander Payne. Nominated for 5 Oscars.

Stars Paul Giamatti, Da’Vine Joy Randolph and Dominic Sessa.

A cranky ancient history teacher, unliked by students and faculty, is chosen to remain on the campus of a boys’ school over the holidays with those unable to join their families. After a few days, only one holdover remains, a troubled young man whose good grades but bad behavior threatens him with expulsion. The teacher, the boy and a cook, who just lost her son in Vietnam, form an unlikely family for Christmas. Mishaps ensue along with the real journey of learning to understand each other…and themselves.

Fun fact: on the day the scene was shot of the boy calling home, the actor flubbed the take because he didn’t know how to use a rotary phone. It had not occurred to anyone that he had never used one before.

The Holdovers is streaming on Peacock or available to rent on Prime HERE.

Best Picture Nomination 2024 The Holdovers
The Holdovers

Anatomy of a Fall

Rated R  Run time: 2 hours 31 minutes

Screenplay by Justine Triet and Arthur Harari. Directed by Justine Triet. Nominated for 5 Oscars. The language in this film is French with some English. English subtitles are available.

Stars Sandra Huller, Swann Arlaud and Milo Machado Graner.

A woman is suspected of her husband’s murder after he falls from an upper balcony in their home. The couple’s son, who is partially sighted, is the primary witness. The film follows the investigation and resulting trial and the straining of the relationship between mother and son.

Fun fact: an instrumental version of 50 Cent’s P.I.M.P, featuring Snoop Dogg, opens the film as the first character to appear is a dog named Snoop.

Anatomy of a Fall is available to rent on Prime HERE.

Anatomy of a Fall
Best Picture Nominations 2024 – Anatomy of a Fall

The Zone of Interest

Rated PG-13  Run time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Screenplay by Jonathan Glazer based on the book by Martin Amis. Directed by Jonathan Glazer. Nominated for 5 Oscars. The language in this film is primarily German, with English subtitles.

Stars Sandra Huller, Christian Friedel and Freya Kreutzkam.

Commandant Rudolf Hoss and his wife Hedwig build a dream life for themselves and their children in a spacious house with a lovely, extensive garden. The wall of their garden is shared with Auschwitz Concentration Camp, during the Holocaust. The film tightly focuses on the family and their seemingly idyllic life. Life…or rather death…within Auschwitz is never seen. However background noises of shouting, screams and gunshots remain constant throughout the movie as does the distant sight of smoke and fire pouring from the camp chimneys.

Fun fact: a much longer score was recorded for the film but the director decided to do without music for most of the movie, relying instead on the sounds of the off screen horrors occurring in Auschwitz.

The Zone of Interest is playing in theaters across the US. The indie theater, Bookhouse Cinema, made it available in my town.

The Zone of Interest
Best Picture Nominations 2024 – The Zone of Interest

Past Lives

Rated PG-13  Run time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Screenplay by Celine Song. Directed by Celine Song. Nominated for 2 Oscars. The language in this film is English and Korean, with English subtitles available.

Stars Greta Lee, Teo Yoo and John Magaro.

Childhood friends Nora and Hae Sung are separated at age 12 when Nora and her family immigrate to Canada. Twelve years later, Hae Sung uses social media to track down his old friend, who now lives in New York City while he remains in Seoul. Although they share a strong connection still, the friends agree to stop talking to each other so that they can focus on their lives and careers. Another 12 years pass before Hae Sung finally makes the trip to NYC to meet Nora again. She is now married. They spend a week catching up and discussing fate, connection and love.

Fun fact: writer/director Celine Song kept the actors Greta Lee and Teo Yoo separated as much as possible so that their scenes together, when they finally meet again in person, felt authentic.

Past Lives is available to rent on Prime HERE.

Best Picture Nominations 2924 Past Lives
Best Picture Nominations 2924 – Past Lives

My Prediction

What a selection of films. Barbie took me back to my childhood. I laughed the most during American Fiction, Poor Things and The Holdovers. And I teared up over scenes in Oppenheimer, Killers of the Flower Moon and Past Lives. Maestro, Oppenheimer, Killers of the Flower Moon and The Zone of Interest are all based on true stories.

And the Zone of Interest caused my blood pressure to spike. When I realized where the family lived I felt the telltale pressure build in my head. That was a first for me. My blood pressure eventually settled back down. I think it is an extremely important film to see. We must never forget what happened then and what can happen again unless we are vigilant.

The Holdovers turned out to be my favorite film. It is a feel good movie that shows personal growth among the main characters. That’s my favorite type of film.

However, I predict Oppenheimer will take home the Oscar for Best Picture. It’s a weighty, complex film, with excellent character development. Another possibility is Poor Things for its crazy outrageousness.

How many of these Best Picture nominated films have you seen? Which film do you predict will win?

 

 

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Solo Travel to Savannah

 

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Savannah, Georgia is a beautiful, historic city full of southern charm. It landed on my travel list immediately after my first trip to Charleston, as there are similarities between the two cities.

I enjoyed checking this destination off of my list last fall.

Have you wondered about solo travel to Savannah? Wonder no more! I have all the info about exploring this city on your own.

Solo Travel to Savannah title

Preparing for Solo Travel to Savannah

As with any solo adventure, begin with research.

What are the best areas to stay in? Does the city have a historical downtown? What activities are most important to you? What public transportation does the area have? Do you want to take any tours?

I started with a notebook and Google. In researching the best accommodations, I looked for a unique hotel in the historic district. A map, either online or a paper version, was valuable for pinpointing the accommodations and seeing what’s of interest in the area. I also read hotel reviews and blog posts by other solo travelers who have visited Savannah, to see what they recommend.

Hotel Indigo perfectly fit my needs. You can read about this fun hotel HERE.

Once I knew where I was staying, I made a list of activities I wanted to experience, tours I wanted to take part in and restaurants that offer vegan options. I booked three tours before I traveled. And carried my list of intended activities and restaurants to try with me.

Solo Travel to Savannah hotel indigo
Solo Travel to Savannah – Hotel Indigo was perfectly located

Safety Tips for Solo Travel to Savannah

Is Savannah safe for solo travelers…and especially female solo travelers?

The simple answer is yes! I found the city very safe and never felt afraid or uncomfortable, exploring on my own.

Use the following safety tips for your solo adventure to Savannah.

Know the City

Use the map to get familiar with the streets, squares and landmarks near your hotel. I took my fave illustrated map of Savannah with me. Although I had practically memorized it before I traveled, I still studied it every night as I planned the next day. Actually walking in the city helped me to clarify what I could see on the map.

I selected my hotel based on its location to River Street and the historic district. And I chose the restaurants based on their location to the hotel.

I took an Uber from the airport to the hotel. My driver asked if I was traveling alone or meeting someone in the city. When I shared I was a solo traveler he gave me some advice. “Stay within the historic district and DO NOT cross Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard and you’ll be just fine.” And he was right. I was.

Solo Travel to Savannah river street
River Street was half a block from my Indigo Hotel.

Make Use of Public Transportation

My first day in Savannah, I rode the hop on/hop off trolleys. These tours are valuable for two reasons. They provide historical insights about Savannah and they give a wonderful overview of the city. The hop on/hop off trolleys cost a minimal amount. You can pay to ride for one day or up to three. One day is usually enough for me.

The rest of my stay in Savannah I explored on foot. Or, if time was tight and the distance I needed to cover was great, I rode the free trolley that Savannah provides. My illustrated map included these trolley routes. I also picked up a schedule from the visitor center.

I didn’t require a taxi or Uber while in Savannah, until my ride back to the airport. However, I’ve used these to get back to my accommodations after dark in other cities.

Solo Travel to Savannah hop on hop off trolley
Solo Travel to Savannah – making use of the trolleys

Give Yourself Plenty of Time to Get Where You are Going

Speaking of time, give yourself plenty to get to your activity, tour or restaurant, especially when walking.

I did a trial run, walking to the location for a night time ghost tour. I wanted to make sure I arrived on time to board the tour bus. But also, I wanted to be familiar with the route since I’d walk back to the hotel in the dark. Familiarity eases fear and reduces stress so note landmarks. And I arrived early for my lunch reservation at the Olde Pink House so that I could explore Reynolds Square and take photos without feeling rushed.

Solo Travel to Savannah olde pink house
I enjoyed lunch at the Olde Pink House.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings at All Times

Awareness is important. I’m not talking about paranoia here. Rather, use common sense and your other senses to stay aware of your location and what’s nearby and who is nearby.

Keep your head up as you explore, rather than head down with eyes on your phone, unless you are using GPS. Note landmarks and read street signs. Also, obey any signage that you see.

If something makes you nervous, move away from it. Carry a cross body bag with your phone tucked into it or an under the jacket security bag.

If you are out after dark, walk in well lit areas and join a group of people walking in the same direction, if possible.

My only after dark activity was the ghost tour. I familiarized myself with the location of the start and stop point, which was on River Street. I walked back to my hotel completely at ease. River Street is busy in the evenings so it is well lit with many restaurants and shops lining the street. Because it is 40 feet lower than Bay Street, where Indigo Hotel is located, it’s necessary to climb stairs to reach the upper street. Thankfully, on a trolley ride, the driver “just happened” to point out an outdoor elevator that goes between River and Bay Streets. It was well lit at night and kept me from having to climb steep stone steps in the dark.

Solo Travel to Savannah river street
Solo Travel to Savannah – River Street

Trust

For me, trust is a big part of solo travel. Thoughts are energy and what we think draws more of the same. I trust that all will go well and that I am safe. And I do not allow myself to give in to fear.

I have a couple of wonderful examples of how trust and following my intuition helped me in Savannah.

My first morning, as I walked to the Visitor’s Center to catch the hop on/hop off bus, I approached MLK Jr Boulevard. I remembered what my Uber driver said. Suddenly I felt I should turn left at the corner rather than walking on to the boulevard.

Immediately I spotted a kiosk for the hop on/hop off trolley! It was stop number three and it turns out it was located a block and a half from my hotel.

And on my last full day in the city, I enjoyed a long walking tour of Bonaventure Cemetery. The tour guide picked up guests at their hotels, which is a wonderful service. After the tour, I knew I wanted to see the last few Savannah squares on my list. I also knew those final three squares were far from my hotel. As the tour guide headed back into Savannah from the cemetery, he turned to me (I was riding in the front of the van with him) and asked if he could drop me off somewhere other than my hotel.

Wow! I felt so grateful. Tim dropped me off close to one of the squares and from there I easily found the other two AND had time for a leisurely walk down beautiful Jones Street.

Solo Travel to Savannah whitefield square
Whitefield Square was one of the last squares that I saw.

Don’t Hesitate to Go and Do

Just because you are traveling solo, don’t miss out on activities, tours and dining out. Go alone. It boosts confidence to set out alone, eat alone or join a group tour as a solo.

People talked to me on the hop on/hop off and the ghost tour and I talked to them. I got invited to join a table of ladies for a meal so I didn’t “have to eat alone”. I thanked them, assuring them that I enjoy dining alone.

A woman, or man, who dines alone or goes to movies and other activities alone can accomplish anything! Trust me. And go do the thing you want to do…alone.

Solo Travel to Savannah meal for one
Meal for one at the Olde Pink House.

Savannah is Safe for Solo Travel

If you are thinking of a solo trip to Savannah, I encourage you to go for it! Do your planning, follow the safety tips, trust that all is well and that you are capable and then, have fun. Go see what you want to see and do what you want to do.

Take lots of photos. And as with any travel, have a contact person at home that you stay in touch with, so your family knows you are doing well.

Do you have any questions about solo travel to Savannah? Ask in the comments below.

Solo Travel to Savannah

 

Vegan? Check out Vegan Eats in Savannah

 

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Word, Symbol and Song for 2024

 

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With this new year comes a major shift for me as I say “thank you for all you taught me” to 2023’s Year of Alignment and hello to a new word, symbol and song for 2024.

After more than 20 years of embracing a new “year of” on January 1, I’ve come to deeply appreciate both the process of receiving the word, symbol and song and also for how important these things are in guiding me the next 12 months.

This is Year of Openness. And I’m excited…and yes OPEN to what 2024 brings.

Word Symbol and Song for 2024 title

 

Year of Openness Theme

I read a book last year, during a time when alignment was at the top of my awareness. It’s called Outrageous Openness. I loved it and I’ve read it several times.

Last fall I felt drawn to the title, as a clue to this year’s theme. “Is it OUTRAGEOUS?” I asked over and over. Because, as I’ve shared many times, the word, symbol and song are given to me, rather than me selecting them. I pay attention to synchronicities and repetition for clues.

As much as I hoped my word for 2024 was Outrageous, it was not. No synchronicities or repetition confirmed that. Instead, I finally realized there was another word in the title. Perhaps it seemed too common of a word and I initially overlooked it. I asked, “Is it OPENNESS?” Yes. Yes. The confirmations came quickly and continuously.

Openness is defined as a trait that includes being open minded, creative and insightful. Open people tend toward variety and diversity, new experiences, curiosity and are often highly perceptive. I’ve already learned that openness is considered one of five core personality dimensions that drive behavior. I’m excited to learn more about that this year.

Word Symbol and Song for 2024 open
Word Symbol and Song for 2024 – exhibiting a state of openness

Year of Openness Symbol

In the last couple of years, as part of my daily practices, I often stand with my heart area open…head tipped back, arms raised and out to the side, shoulders back. I also adopted using American Sign Language for several affirmations and they also beautifully express a sense of openness.

My symbol for this year is a pair of hands, open with palms turned upward. They represent openness to give and receive, openness to let go and openness as well to invite in, openness to surrender to the flow of life.

Open hands also represent truth, kindness and generosity. They remind me that I am not clinging to anything or grasping tightly in fear or want. My symbol also serves as a reminder that my mind, heart, arms and life are open also.

Word Symbol and Song for 2024 open hands
Word Symbol and Song for 2024 – open hands

Year of Openness Song

As is typical, the song came to me last. I first heard my song via Amazon Music. I frequently let my Echo Dot select songs randomly, usually in a particular genre. “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield played most of the way through before it suddenly caught my attention. Did she just sing about living life with arms wide open?

I love Amazon Music because I can ask Alexa what song is playing. I looked up the lyrics and played the song again.

During the next week “Unwritten” played in my presence several times, popping up in unexpected places like my Instagram feed. I began to hum it unconsciously and wake up with it playing in my head. I knew this was THE song for 2024.

Listen to “Unwritten”:

My Year of Openness

Using my word, symbol and song for 2024 as guideposts, I look forward to navigating the year, open to all that comes to me.

I’ve already created a new vision board and added to my daily affirmations and mantras. I listen to my song at least once a day. And I am alert. When my word or symbol or song show up in my life it’s a tap on the shoulder to pay attention.

Today is a good example. These words caught my eyes:

Faith is a state of openness or trust. In other words, a person who is fanatic in matters of religion, and clings to certain ideas about the nature of God and the universe, becomes a person who has no faith at all. Instead, they are holding tight, but the attitude of faith is to let go and become open to the truth, whatever it might turn out to be.

The word OPENNESS jumped out at me. I’ve read those words several times and I know there is a message there for me, a confirmation that I am journeying in the direction I’m supposed to journey in.

I am open…open to possibilities and opportunities, open to learning new things and growth, open to traveling to new destinations, open to helping others, open to give, open to receive in all ways.

I am living life with my mind, heart, arms and hands wide open.

Do you have a word for 2024?

Word Symbol and Song for 2024 travel

 

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The Vinchester Inn, Hermann Missouri

 

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After deciding when to visit Hermann, Missouri for the first time, my next step in planning this road trip was to find the right accommodations. As you might know, from reading my posts, I prefer a unique place to stay, something with a story connected to it, if possible.

I found it!

The Vinchester Inn, Hermann Missouri, not only provided an ideal place from which to explore the town, it has a lovely backstory. Hermann hosted a movie crew last December, for the filming of A Christmas Vintage, available to watch on Prime. This sweet inn could easily be the subject of a Hallmark Movie as well.

The Vinchester Inn title

The Vinchester Inn Details

This cozy inn, featuring 11 rooms and an event center, is located at 129 East 3rd Street in the heart of Hermann’s historic downtown. There is a parking lot behind the inn, with entrance into the main level. And parking is available on 3rd Street as well. Entrance from the street is on ground level with a flight of stairs to the main level above.

There are rooms available with king sized beds or two extra long full sized beds. Plus there is an accessible room with a queen bed. Three rooms come with a balconies that overlook 3rd Street.

Amenities include:

50” TV with DirectTV

Beekman 1802 bath amenities

Mini-fridge

Bistro table with chairs

In-room controlled heat and AC

Free Wi-Fi

Indoor, secure bike storage

Guest laundry

Filtered water (bottle filler in lobby)

Rooms are simple, clean, modern, and highly functional. While the inn has some of the most reasonable rates in town, the traditional hotel experience is elevated with plush linens and thoughtful details.

The Vinchester Inn exterior
The Vinchester Inn – 3rd Street entrance

The Vinchester Inn Story

In March 2018, sisters Hannah, Lindsey and Madison inherited the property from their dad, Rick Hessler.

According to the sisters, their dad Rick will always be the heart and soul of the inn. When he was innkeeper, Rick loved meeting and talking to new people, patronizing Hermann’s many pubs and wearing his lederhosen during Oktoberfest.

He designed and created his own original alpine-style hat many years ago, using a grey herringbone fedora, old twine and pheasant tail feathers. In honor of him and his love for Hermann, his daughters created replicas of his signature hat and started selling them around town. A new Hermann tradition was born. Guests can pick up a hat in the lobby to accompany them on winery tours. It is sure to add to the fun.

In 2021, Hannah and her husband Miles moved to Hermann to become the full time owners/operators of The Vinchester Inn. They can be spotted walking their pup, Nellie, or found at one of their other properties in town: The Schiller House – a Bed & Beverage House, The Fancy Pheasant General Store and Evergreen, a cocktail bar.

The Vinchester Inn hat
Rick’s hat and his photo, in the inn’s lobby.

What I Appreciate About The Vinchester Inn

Greg and I enjoyed a wonderful overnight stay in Hermann, at The Vinchester Inn. In no particular order, here’s what I appreciate about the inn.

Easy Check In and Check Out

We stayed at the inn midweek. I booked our room online through this LINK. Before arrival I received an emailed guide for our stay that contained everything we needed to know about checking in and checking out. I received a phone number in case I had any questions.

Texts before arrival provided more details about checking in.

The key to the room was in an envelope on the counter in the lobby. And when we checked out, we simply popped the key back in the envelope and dropped it into a box on the same counter.

Speaking of the lobby, there’s a nicely done coffee/tea bar there with a Keurig, an ice machine and a filtered water dispenser. These items are all complimentary. There’s also a selection of snacks and cold beverages in a refrigerator that are available for a small fee. The honor system is used. You drop the money into a box and take your items.

I made cups of hot tea for myself. And we filled our metal water containers a couple of times at the dispenser.

The Vinchester Inn lobby
Coffee, tea and distilled water available in the lobby of The Vinchester Inn.

Very Comfortable Room

Our double room with a balcony was so comfy and clean. The decor was simple yet cute, with framed photography featuring Hermann. The bed linens were luxurious and the bed wonderful to sink into at the end of a day of exploring the town. I don’t normally sleep well, the first night in a new location, but I did this night!

The tv is a SmartTV. I accessed my Prime Video account so that we could continue watching a British series we started at home.

The mini fridge was handy for keeping leftovers chilled. I also appreciated plugins next to the beds, for charging cell phones, and reading lights mounted over the beds.

And the bathroom was large and exceptionally clean, with a hair dryer, enough towels for two days and toiletries.

The Vinchester Inn room
Charming Vinchester Inn double room.
The Vinchester Inn bathroom
The Vinchester Inn bathroom. It also contains a tub with shower.

The Balcony

I loved the balcony with our room and made sure to book one of the rooms that had one. The weather was mild while we were there and it was fun to sit out on the balcony. In late afternoon, as the sun set and before we went to dinner, I lit the tabletop oil lamp and watched the dancing flame.

View two of the room.
View of room looking toward balcony door.
The Vinchester Inn balcony
Loved The Vinchester Inn balcony.

Bistro Table and Chairs

I enjoy having additional seating available, besides the bed. The balcony held a small table and two chairs. And a bistro table and twin chairs provided seating inside. Our room also contained an upholstered chair.

A hanging light in the corner, above the bistro table and chairs, made the area cozy.

Bistro table and chairs
Bistro table inside with two chairs.

Recycling Bins

I love an accommodation that employs eco friendly practices. The Vinchester Inn encourages recycling with bins placed conveniently outside the back entrance.

The Vinchester Inn recycling bins
Recycling bins at The Vinchester Inn.

I Highly Recommend The Vinchester Inn, Hermann Missouri

We enjoyed a wonderful stay at The Vinchester Inn. I look forward to a return visit to Hermann, hopefully next spring or perhaps for Oktoberfest. When we return, I’ll stay at The Vinchester Inn again.

If you visit this charming town, I highly recommend a stay at the inn. You won’t be disappointed!

For more info about The Vinchester Inn, click HERE. 

And for things to do in Hermann, check out this POST.

Vinchester Inn selfie
Enjoying the balcony

 

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Explore Charming Hermann MO

 

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I just realized something this week. I’ve created a new travel tradition, staying in a different town or city every December. The last three years I’ve stayed in three different cities…Springfield, MO, Edinburgh, Scotland and now, Hermann, MO, enjoying the seasonal decor and holiday spirit in each destination.

Although I’ve visited the first two locations before, the third destination carried the thrill of being new to me.

Come explore charming Hermann MO with me and see why you will want to add this small town to your travel list.

Explore Charming Hermann MO title

Charming Hermann MO

Hermann is a small town tucked into the Missouri River Valley, in the heart of wine country. Known for its vineyards, wineries and breweries, this German town with red brick buildings and a variety of shops, restaurants and bars offers visitors plenty to do and see.

Hermann was founded in 1837 by Germans from Philadelphia, with the goal of creating the “heart of German America”. Here the founders hoped to continue traditional German culture and establish a self supporting community built upon farming, commerce and industry. The town is named after Hermann der Cherusker, a Germanic leader who defeated the Romans in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD.

The early settlers discovered that the area supported the growing of grapes and vineyards and wineries clustered around the town, as a result. The Prohibition shut down Hermann’s thriving wineries, however they revived in the 1960s.

Today Hermann has seven wineries in the area that produce one-third of Missouri’s wine. Designated in 1983, it is one of the first federally recognized American Viticultural Areas.

Explore Charming Hermann MO vineyard
Explore Charming Hermann MO – vineyard near the historic downtown area.

Explore Charming Hermann MO

You can spend a weekend in Hermann….or a week…and find plenty to explore in the area. I recently spent a couple of days there and look forward to a return visit.

Wineries and Breweries

The vineyards and wineries contribute to the town’s tourism, due to winery and brewery tours and tastings. Wineries to visit include Stone Hill Winery, the largest in Missouri, Hermannof Winery located on First Street in town and Adam Puchta Winery, the oldest continuously family owned winery in the US. It’s been owned and operated by the same family since 1855,

Local wines and brews are offered at Hermann restaurants, so it is easy to sample a variety.

And you can participate in the Hermann Wine Trail, riding trolleys to each of the wineries for wine tastings.

Explore Charming Hermann MO hermannof winery
The Hermannof Winery is in town, at the east end of First Street.

Restaurants and Cafes

For a small town, population 2185 in 2020, Hermann offers a wide variety of choices for meals. From cozy breakfast spots, like Ainsley’s Place to pubs such as the Corner Tavern to large restaurants like Tin Mill Restaurant you can find great food and drinks here.

Hermann is a very walkable town, with the historic district a five block by four block area. Greg and I parked our car at Vinchester Inn on Third Street and walked to nearby cafes and shops.

We enjoyed our first meal in town at 4th Street Pizza. Happily, they offer vegan options, from salads to pizza to pasta.

Explore Charming Hermann MO restaurants
Explore Charming Hermann MO – there are a variety of restaurants in town.

Walk the Town

My favorite activity in any town is to explore on foot. Hermann’s architecture and historic sites are so beautiful and interesting. On the historical tour that we took, we learned that the houses and buildings are made from brick because red clay is plentiful in the area. All the Colonial and Federal Style red brick buildings add continuity and great charm to the town.

From our comfortable inn (watch for an upcoming post on Vinchester Inn) we branched out, walking up and down the streets. For December, the weather was perfect. I enjoyed taking a LOT of photos and I loved the Christmas decor and lights throughout town.

Hermann boasts a variety of shops as well. We popped into several while we explored. My favorites on this trip: Blondie’s Toy Shop, Buy the Book Etc, Missouri’s Trading Post, Old Vine Kitchen Emporium, The Olive Branch and Ralph and Millies.

Explore Charming Hermann MO architecture
Beautiful example of the architecture in Hermann.
Explore Charming Hermann MO shops
Explore Charming Hermann MO – a cute shop on First Street with a “husband waiting area”.

Museum and Historic Tours

I always seek out a historic tour when I visit a destination for the first time. Hermann offers the Deutschheim State Historic Site Tour. One gets a glimpse of German life in the town in the mid 19th century and learns about the founding of Hermann with an extremely knowledgeable guide.

We started in the Julius Hundhausen 1890 house and then toured Pommer House, with its attached violin and piano shop, both built in 1840. And finished the two hour tour with the 1840s Strehly House with its attached winery and basement printing press. Hermann’s first German newspaper was published weekly here. Tours are offered daily from April – October and Thursday through Sunday, November – March.

Museums include the City of Hermann Caboose Museum, the Hermann Fire Company Museum and Historic Hermann Museum and German School. Most of the wineries and breweries offer tours of their facilities as well. And Hermann Farm’s mission is to educate the public on the significance of Missouri’s winemaking heritage.

Explore Charming Hermann MO tours
The Pommer House and garden.

Hermann Riverfront

Nestled along the Missouri River, Hermann relied on that wide, flowing river to survive during its early settlement years. Today the riverfront offers a place to picnic or play or sit in benches and watch the river roll by. There are public restrooms here and a covered pavilion with picnic tables.

Explore Charming Hermann MO riverfornt
Explore Charming Hermann MO – riverfront

A Christmas Vintage

Last year, actors and camera crews and directors descended on Hermann, to film a movie. The quaint town provided the perfect backdrop for the story that involves two competing winery families.

A Christmas Vintage released a couple of weeks ago, on Prime. I watched the movie before visiting Hermann and had fun walking around locating where scenes were shot. We enjoyed talking to the inhabitants of Hermann about the movie too. Many locals served as extras in the film and actual shops and restaurants were used.

The community theater is showing the movie this weekend. I would love to see it on a big screen.

If you can’t make it to Hermann now…watch A Christmas Vintage to see just how cute the town is.

Explore Charming Hermann MO movie
A Christmas Vintage was filmed in Hermann last year. it’s available to watch on Prime.

Festivals

Throughout the year, Hermann offers festivals that are fun for the locals and bring in visitors.

March

Wurstfest brings together professional meat processors from all over Missouri. Activities include amateur sausage making competitions, kraut making classes, German music and dancing and the famous wiener dog races.

April

For the Hermann Antique Show, antique dealers around the world gather to bring the best in country antiques.

May

Maifest is an old fashioned celebration of spring and Hermann’s German Heritage. Enjoy parades, music, singing, dancing and good food. Children play games and participate in Maypole dances while visitors explore beer gardens and the outdoor market.

June

The Hermann Garden Tour features private gardens. And the Hermann Plein Air Festival takes place this month as well.

July

Freedomfest celebrates the 4th with food booths, games, parades and music at the riverfront.

August

Experience the Missouri Bourbon Festival hosted by Copper Mule Distillery and the Hermann Blue Oval Rally to show off Model A Fords to Mustangs.

September

Hogshead Smokefest, an annual charity event, features an amateur BBQ competition.

October

Every weekend in October Hermann hosts Oktoberfest with German Heritage, good food and good beer, wine and music. The Arts & Crafts Festival takes place mid October as well. And at the end of the month is the Witches & Wine Festival.

November – December

And for the six weeks leading into Christmas, Hermann celebrates the season with German holiday traditions. a parade, Christmas markets, Carriage Rides and many other holiday events.

Explore Charming Hermann MO park
The Hofgarten where one of the Christmas Markets sets up on the weekends.

Have you heard of Hermann MO?

I think you will agree, Hermann MO is a fun town to explore. The peak season is March through the end of October with special holiday events in December. January and February is considered the off season, allowing the town to rest and prepare for a busy time ahead.

With all of the festivals, there’s something for everyone here. And in between those festivals, the town itself offers a beautiful setting for a weekend getaway.

Check out the Visit Hermann website and then let me know what you’d enjoy most in this charming little German town.

Explore Charming Hermann MO cask
Wine cask from the 1700s.

Enjoy Edinburgh in Winter and Springfield MO

 

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Hotel Indigo Savannah

 

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I first stayed at a Hotel Indigo on my first trip to Scotland. My cousins and I started our exploration of that country in Glasgow and we were all impressed and pleased with our accommodations.

When planning my recent trip to Savannah Georgia, I searched for accommodations in the historic district, within walking distance of River Street. When Hotel Indigo Savannah popped up, I knew I had found my place to stay. And, it was steps away from River Street and the riverfront.

Discover why I appreciate this hotel so much and see my favorite amenities.

Hotel Indigo Savannah title

About Hotel Indigo

Hotel Indigo, a part of IHG Hotels & Resorts, is a chain of boutique hotels scattered around the world. Because this brand typically locates in neighborhoods at the heart of cities, Hotel Indigo offers lots of distinct personalities.

Hotel Indigo prefers to repurpose an existing local building, keeping the original architecture as much as possible while celebrating the stories and traditions of the people in the neighborhood.

You’ll find inclusive environments, art from local artists, ingredients sourced from local producers and events that partner with the community they are part of.

Rooms are comfortable, with plush bedding and elevated touches. Bathrooms are roomy with walk-in showers and well lit vanities and mirrors. They also offered community rooms for creativity, collaboration and celebration and bars and restaurants for gatherings over drinks or meals.

Complimentary wifi, 24 hour business centers and 24 hour fitness centers make a stay here perfect.

Hotel Indigo Savannah lobby
Hotel Indigo Savannah lobby

Hotel Indigo Savannah

Since each Hotel Indigo is unique, the one in Savannah looked very different from the one in Glasgow, although both offer comparable amenities.

Known to locals as the Grand Lady on the Bay, the Hotel Indigo Savannah building originally belonged to 19th century merchant Simon Guckenheimer. The warehouse stored dry goods and some of the South’s best products such as canned peaches and tobacco. During the 1940s and 50s, a grocery store and the city’s first coffeehouse occupied part of the first floor.

This charming boutique hotel is located in the heart of the historic district, on the corner of Bay and Barnard Streets. River Street and the river front are steps away along with City Market, Ellis Square and many restaurants, bars and shops. Learn more about the hotel HERE.

Hotel Indigo Savannah exterior
At night lights illuminate the artistic panels on the hotel.

My Favorite Hotel Indigo Savannah Amenities

I carefully research accommodations before I travel, so I had a good idea of what to expect at Hotel Indigo Savannah. I was not disappointed.

These are the amenities, in no particular order, that I especially appreciate about this hotel.

Location, Location, Location

As a long time realtor, I know the importance of location. And as a female solo traveler, who explores on foot, I knew I wanted a hotel located in Savannah’s historic district, close to the riverfront, restaurants and squares.

Hotel Indigo Savannah ticked all those boxes. The riverfront really is just across Bay Street. And I could easily walk to squares, restaurants, shops and stop number three for the hop on/hop off trolley and stops for Savannah’s free trolley system.

Using my Illustrated Savannah Map each evening, I planned out where I wanted to go the next day and did not have any issues at all getting around.

Hotel Indigo Savannah desk
Hotel Indigo Desk where I studied my map every evening.

Extremely Comfortable Room

I booked a premium double queen room that included a mini fridge and a coffee/hot tea maker.

Up on the 4th floor, I had a great view toward the riverfront. I found the bed super comfy and the room and bathroom pretty and most importantly, clean.

I only turned on the large screen tv twice. Interestingly, when I turned it on the second time there was a show on about…Savannah! Because I was there in October, the show highlighted Savannah’s haunted reputation.

The sink is located in the room across from the bathroom. I loved the lighted mirror. A hairdryer, ironing board and iron and toiletries are included. My first morning there I discovered that the hair dryer didn’t work. A call to the front desk resulted in a new hair dryer delivered to my door in minutes.

Hotel Indigo Savannah room
Very comfortable Hotel Indigo Savannah room.
Hotel Indigo Savannah bathroom
Walk in shower in the bathroom.
Hotel Indigo Savannah vanity
I loved the lighted mirror. At night I could turn it to nightlight.

Dog Friendly

Hotel Indigo Savannah is dog friendly, allowing pets to stay in the rooms.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure if this was going to be a good thing or a bad thing, especially when I first walked into the lobby and saw MANY dogs with their humans.

However, I can happily say that I never heard a dog bark or shared an elevator with one even. Perhaps all guests with dogs are grouped on the same floor. In the lobby pup snacks are available along with fresh water.

Hotel Indigo Savannah dog friendly
Hotel Indigo Savannah welcomes guests AND their dogs.

Free Business Center

I didn’t fly with my laptop and it turned out I didn’t need it. However I was glad to know that Hotel Indigo Savannah provides a business space with computers if a guest needs one. That is such a convenience.

Hotel Indigo Savannah biz center
Convenient biz center off of the lobby.

Restaurant, Bar and Cozy Seating Areas

Hotel Indigo Savannah makes get togethers easy with its restaurant and bar, Five Oaks Taproom. Taking inspiration from the building’s days as a grocery store, the taproom’s booths resemble wooden crates.

They use locally sourced ingredients and drinks, serving only brews from Georgia. Beyond the taproom, attractive, comfortable chairs are grouped to encourage lively conversations or a place to enjoy a snack while reading a book.

Full confession. I stayed SO busy during my time in Savannah that I only took photos in this space before heading up to my room after full days. In the evenings, this space was alive with people enjoying drinks and meals.

Hotel Indigo Savannah seating area
Such a fun gathering place in Hotel Indigo Savannah.

Outdoor Gathering Area

You can take the fun outdoors at Hotel Indigo Savannah. Reached from the interior, this outdoor space holds high top tables and chairs. Surrounded by flowers and plants it is a great place to enjoy mild temperatures while having a drink.

Again, I never utilized this space, but I liked that it existed. Outside this area are benches for waiting for an Uber or a pick up from a tour guide. The attendant on duty always offered me free cold bottled water if I exited the building this way.

I also appreciated the water container in the lobby, for filled water bottles. And a small store right off of the lobby made it easy to grab bottled drinks, a snack or a toothbrush.

Outdoor space
Pretty outdoor space.

Have You Visited Savannah?

If you are planning a trip to Savannah, I highly recommend this unique hotel.

Checking in and out is a breeze. And the staff is helpful, attentive and quick to respond.

I look forward to a return stay at Hotel Indigo Savannah and discovering more of this brand’s locations in cities I want to visit.

Need help planning a trip to beautiful, historically rich Savannah? I’d love to arrange your travel. Fill out this form and I’ll be in touch!

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Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.