Well color me happy, today we are getting a peek into the ever-so lovely city of Savannah, Georgia! Our trusty tour guide du jour is none other than designer, Lee Savage, who helms from “the hostess city of the South,” and is making a name for herself in NY as one of WWD’s Ten of Tomorrow with her architecturally inspired and red carpet worthy clutches. This Southern belle turned Manhattanite knows every thing we need to know about her hometown with its stunning oak trees, historical landmarks, breathtaking architecture, and welcoming Southern charm. Thanks, Lee, for showing us the unmissable stops in this delightful destination of Georgia. You, m’lady, are a peach.

EAT

The Grey: The best new restaurant in Savannah and a semi-finalist for the James Beard Award! Housed in an old Greyhound bus station, from which it takes its name, this restaurant offers a more modern take on traditional Southern Cuisine. Amazing cocktails! I highly recommend the “Sizzling Smokey Pig” or Pork Shank – Delicious!

Sapphire Grill: One of Savannah’s finer dining spots that offers a contemporary twist on local fare. Opened during my high school years, it remains a favorite among the locals.  I recommend anything on the menu! It’s located in Savannah’s City Market which is an excellent area for shopping and local art galleries.

Mrs. Wilkes: More of a tourist destination but quite the experience for family-style southern cooking. The line is wrapped around the corner every morning before they open! Fried chicken, cornbread, collard greens, and more – every southern guilty pleasure you can imagine! Located on the classic cobblestoned Jones Street, it is one of the most beautiful and elegant streets in downtown Savannah.

Back in the Day Bakery: The interior makes you feel as if you’ve been transported back to a retro 1940’s / 50’s kitchen.  It’s perfect for a quick lunch, coffee or sweet treats – Definitely try the Red Velvet! It is located slightly further in town on the edge of Ardsley Park, which is the neighborhood where I grew up.

Other exceptional spots for a coffee or quick bite include The Gallery Espresso, located on Chippewa Square – a favorite of local SCAD students. I also suggest heading to Collins Quarter – a new farm-to-table eatery located in the heart of the Historic District. Both are located close to all of the sites and shopping in Downtown Savannah.

STAY

The Mansion: Great hotel located in an old Victorian Mansion within walking distance to downtown Savannah. The best part of the hotel is that it’s next to Forsyth Park which is the perfect place to take a walk or just hang out.

Inn at Palmetto Bluff: Located over the Savannah River in South Carolina and is about a 25 to 30 minute drive from town.  A beautiful resort constructed in true southern style, with small cottages and tons of amenities – Locals love to visit the resort for a small getaway weekend or nice lunch.

The Brice: A newer hotel located on the Savannah River and northern border of downtown Savannah.  The Brice has more of a modern, hip vibe and is centrically located near all of the major downtown attractions.  Great area if you want to explore “River Street” – the drag along the Savannah River with plenty restaurants and shops.

SHOP

Number Four Eleven: There are a number of great shops near the corner of Jones and Whitaker in Downtown Savannah. My favorite has to be Number Four Eleven, a cute boutique that has many items for home decor and small gifts.  And in true Southern style, they offer a wide array of monograms for linens, etc.!

Satchel: A cute shop where you can customize your own handbag.  All bags are made in-house, and while they do offer some stock in the front studio, they can customize your bag to provide even longer straps!  I love to support local shops and designers, and the best part of this shop is you get to participate in the creative process!

Paris Market: An eclectic boutique based on the owner’s love of travel. You feel as if you just stepped into a European bazaar or flea market. Here you will find lots of goodies for home and self. It’s located on Broughton Street, one of the main drags in downtown Savannah for shopping and eating.  There’s also a charming coffee bar located inside for the perfect pick-me-up as you spend the day shopping.

FROLIC

Downtown Savannah: This area is laid out around 22 Squares (or small parks) that are fun to explore and spend the day! Here you will find all of Savannah’s major historic sites and museums. Ranging from the Juliette Gordon Low House (founder of the Girl Scouts) to many beautiful churches, which include Independent Presbyterian, where Woodrow Wilson was married to his wife, Ellen Louise Axson, in the side chapel.

To experience even more of local Savannah, I recommend driving out to Isle of Hope, a neighborhood located about 20 minutes from downtown where many of my childhood friends lived. “Bluff Drive” provides one of the most beautiful coastal views in town – From there, you can also explore Wormsloe Plantation, the estate of one of the first settlers from England.

Tybee Island: Savannah’s beach where I spent many summers. It’s the perfect place to spend a day in the sun or even just take a walk in colder weather.  Locals spend a lot of time on the island and there are many local restaurants here as well, including The Breakfast Club and AJ’s Dockside located on the Back River.

Images via: Clickscape, Mansion Forsyth Park, MyShabbyChateau.com, Pinterest