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A Lowcountry Visit: Savannah and Hilton Head

May 1, 2013

Hi friends! I hope everyone has been enjoying their emergency brownies. Last week my husband and I ran away from work and other life responsibilities to take a little tour of the Lowcountry – namely, Savannah and Hilton Head Island. I’ve been in Virginia for over a decade now, but I was born and raised a northerner, so the deep South is still a bit of a mystery to me. Pictures of those beautiful spanish moss-covered trees drew me to Savannah, and with the opportunity to explore nearby Hilton Head Island as well, I couldn’t say no!

Note: If you’re not interested in my vacation photos, skip to the bottom where I’m giving away some awesome free chocolate!

First stop, Savannah, Georgia! Savannah is such a beautiful city. There are tree-filled squares all over the city (22 in total!), historic buildings and monuments everywhere you turn, and the lovely Savannah river flowing through the middle of it all.

SavannahSavannah - Forsyth Park

We worked up a good appetite exploring the city and it’s history, then headed to the most highly recommended restaurant in all of Savannah, The Olde Pink House. Guys, this place lives up to the hype. The atmosphere, service and food were all some of the best I’ve ever experienced! Our server was great at making recommendations, including suggesting that my husband add a scoop of vanilla ice cream from dessert to his stout – beer float! Like I said, basically a genius. He nearly passed out from delight.

The Olde Pink House
The Olde Pink HouseThe Olde Pink House

Of course, I can’t go anywhere without finding chocolate and while The French Broad Chocolate Lounge will always be my first love, Lulu’s Chocolate Bar in Savannah is pretty great too! When I saw the double chocolate peanut butter pie in the glass case, it was love at first sight. I ate the whole darn thing.

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie @ Lulu's Chocolate Bar

On the way to Hilton Head, we stopped to take in the sights at Savannah National Wildlife Refuge. It was gator city in there! We must have seen more than a dozen of them sunning themselves that day. There were also tons of wading birds. This nature lover geeked right out.

Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

When we arrived in Hilton Head, I was surprised by how green it was. I’ve never been to an East Coast beach town with so many trees! Gorgeous. I also loved how pedestrian / bike friendly the island was, with paved trails so prolific we were able to bike over to breakfast one morning. It was bliss. The perfectly executed eggs benedict at Palmetto Bay Sunrise Cafe didn’t hurt either!

Eggs Benedict @ Palmetto Bay Sunrise Cafe

There was also a large Forest Preserve and another Wildlife Refuge nearby that we enjoyed exploring.

Pinckney National Wildlife Refuge

Pinckney Wildlife Refuge

Sea Pine Forest Preserve

In addition to the natural beauty, there is so much great food is available in Hilton Head! Food Network chef Robert Irvine’s restaurant Eat! came highly recommended and the food there did not disappoint. We went on tapas night so I got to try a variety of dishes. They were all good, but I highly recommend the short rib gnocchi – it was to die for! We also visited former Next Food Network Star contestant Orchid Paulmeier’s restaurant One Hot Mama’s. We saw her running around and she’s just as cute as she was on TV! Her place is known for BBQ, but I was in the mood for tacos so that’s what I ordered. No regrets. Her tacos were among the best I’ve ever had! Last but not least, Neo was our other favorite Hilton Head restaurant. Neo is a farm-to-table restaurant that boasts 90% of it’s menu is sourced within 90 miles. That would have been enough to sell me on the place, but then I spotted the Holy $#!t BBQ Pork Nachos on the menu and couldn’t resist. They are worthy of the name!

Eat! Fried Green TomatoesOne Hot Mama's TacosNeo Holy $#!t BBQ Pork Nachos

Giveaway!

We have a winner! Congratulations MonicaD! Please check your email to claim your chocolates!

sucre winner

Now don’t worry. I wouldn’t just disappear for a week and then make you suffer through all of my vacation photos without throwing in a little something for you too. Southern sweets shop Sucré has generously offered to give one of my very lucky readers their special 15-piece Indulge Chocolate Collection!

Sucré Indulge Chocolate Collection

Sucré is located in Louisiana and they sell everything from macarons to chocolate gift baskets. They even have some great Mother’s Day chocolate collections!

To enter, leave me a comment below and tell me: What do you love about the deep South? If you’ve never visited the Southern US, tell me what you’d like to see most or your favorite place to vacation!

And now for the fine print…

US residents only. One entry max per person, per day please. I reserve the right to disqualify anyone who doesn’t follow the rules. Contest ends Sunday, May 5th, 2013 at 5pm EST. One lucky winner will be selected at random. Winner will be emailed, posted here on the blog, and announced on Twitter. In the event that the winner does not respond within two days, a new winner will be selected. Disclaimer: Sucré is not paying me or compensating me in any way for this giveaway.

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49 Comments
  1. Angela White permalink
    May 1, 2013 12:22 pm

    FOOD! WEATHER!

  2. Kim Porter permalink
    May 1, 2013 12:26 pm

    I have never been to the Deep South but would LOVE to go to Savannah, Georgia one day to see the historic buildings and to eat some delicious Southern food!

  3. May 1, 2013 12:26 pm

    The kind, gracious people in the south… also fresh Georgia peaches.

  4. May 1, 2013 12:27 pm

    What a GREAT ESCAPE – loving your post – great captures!!! I grew up in Fort Lauderdale/Miami area – been through parts of Georgia and Louisana and would really love to go back to see it as an adult. Happy Day:)

  5. May 1, 2013 12:27 pm

    My favorite southern city is Charleston, South Carolina. I had the best fried green tomatoes there. I plan to return to visit my friend this September. I also had the best grits and shrimp dish there. I filled my southern soul with gospel music at the large zion church in town. Your pictures were beautiful and your trip sounded great.

  6. May 1, 2013 12:38 pm

    I’ve never visited the South before. If I ever get a chance to go, I am going to eat like a starving kid. I love the southern flavors… bbq, cajun, spicy…

  7. Kim Wolke permalink
    May 1, 2013 12:38 pm

    If I were to visit the deep South, I’d be intrigued to check out the architecture and the food. I’d also like to attend a church service at a rural church.

  8. May 1, 2013 1:08 pm

    I grew up on Alabama’s Gulf Coast and love the seafood and utter lushness of the flora. So much biodiversity. Can you tell I’m a little homesick? I live in Colorado these days and long for the wind and waves of the Gulf of Mexico.

  9. May 1, 2013 1:10 pm

    Well, I’m a deep southerner myself, and yes, there is definitely still some mystery to it to me too. But I love Savannah and Hilton Head- My sister lives in Savannah and we have vacationed to Hilton Head many times in my childhood. Now I live in the mountains, and the southern appalachians are my favorite thing about the south, but I also love GRITS and SWEET TEA!

  10. Katie permalink
    May 1, 2013 1:17 pm

    I’ve never been to the South, but I have big dreams in Alabama! A good friend of mine lives in Mobile, and told me all about her town’s tradition at Fort Mims. Basically, there was a massacre there in 1813, where the native Creeks defeated the villagers in the fort. Nowadays they reenact it, and it just sounds… awesome! Full of fake blood and laughing children. It sounds like a southern dream!

  11. Jen permalink
    May 1, 2013 1:30 pm

    I love southern hospitality and the at-home feel. Also a huge fan of southern food!

  12. May 1, 2013 1:38 pm

    i could never pick just one thing to love about the south! if i must, though, i’d go with the general friendliness of just about everyone. such warmth, in more ways than one!

  13. May 1, 2013 1:50 pm

    Great photos! That wildflower photo with the butterfly is just wonderful. I’m always sad I lived in Savannah before I took up photography because there are so many lovely things in that city and the surrounding area to take pictures of.

    I’ve lived all over the deep south since birth so it would be easier to say what I don’t like (the weather!). I’d have to go with the food (duh!) and the scenery. From the beaches of Mississippi, Alabama and the Carolinas to the mountains in Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia you can see pretty much the whole spectrum of beautiful scenery within a 1 or 2 day’s drive.

    Also, since you loved Savannah and Charleston, your next vacation should be to New Orleans! You’ll love it there.

  14. May 1, 2013 1:51 pm

    Reblogged this on O LADO ESCURO DA LUA.

  15. May 1, 2013 1:58 pm

    Lovely photos! The one of the flower field with the butterfly is just fabulous.
    I was born in the south and still live here. The slower pace, the friendly people…I think it’s something I tend to take for granted…Definitely don’t care for the heat, but when we get enough rain the greenery and flowers are gorgeous.

  16. Jan R permalink
    May 1, 2013 2:02 pm

    Haven’t been to Savannah, but looks beautiful!

  17. Nick Porzio permalink
    May 1, 2013 2:19 pm

    The manners…yes ma’am, yes sir…holding the door for a lady. It reminds me of a kinder gentler time.

  18. Bridget B permalink
    May 1, 2013 2:28 pm

    Everything! The way spanish moss provides a beautiful back drop and shade on a muggy summer day. The soul food and the seafood, nothing says summer like a low-country boil! The historic architecture that has been carefully preserved and provides pops of color throughout downtown Savannah & Charleston…I could go on for days!

    I live in Denver and I can safely say the mountains don’t have anything on the Atlantic! Proximity to the beach is key!

  19. May 1, 2013 3:17 pm

    Georgia native here… love me some shrimp and grits. The Boll Weevil Cakery in Augusta, GA has the best shrimp and grits I’ve ever had, and then there’s the dessert case for afterwards!

  20. Katy permalink
    May 1, 2013 3:36 pm

    I’ve never been to the deep south, except as a drive through to somewhere else. I’d love to visit though for the beautiful scenery and the food.

  21. LaurenN permalink
    May 1, 2013 3:41 pm

    I can’t say I’ve ever been to the deep South, but after reading your post, i’m pretty sure I just want to go there to eat!

  22. Makayla Froehlich permalink
    May 1, 2013 4:21 pm

    My love for the south would have to be the fried chicken and collards, but my favorite place to go is Kansas City for the bbq

  23. Nikki permalink
    May 1, 2013 5:42 pm

    I’ve never been to the south but I’ve always wanted to go to Savannah to see all the old buildings(and to try the biscuits!)

  24. May 1, 2013 6:01 pm

    I’ve never been to the deep south. We just got back from a trip to the east coast (Washington, D.C., Plymouth, and Charlottesville, VA) and I would really like to go back to D.C. There’s just so much to do!

    I can’t say I really have one particular spot that I want to go to (maybe back to China) – I just want to see everything!

  25. Barb permalink
    May 1, 2013 6:09 pm

    The teas at old plantations

  26. May 1, 2013 6:10 pm

    I live in the deep south. The hospitality is the best thing. And then the fragrance of magnolia wafting through the air in the summer.

  27. Meryl permalink
    May 1, 2013 6:17 pm

    I like the warmth and friendliness of the residents.

  28. Louis permalink
    May 1, 2013 6:18 pm

    The people are very considerate, polite, friendly, and helpful.

  29. bikgrl permalink
    May 1, 2013 7:11 pm

    Real fried okra. Not the battered stuff most restaurants serve. And sweet iced tea to wash it down with.

  30. Maria permalink
    May 1, 2013 8:08 pm

    Love, love Savannah and Charleston, S.C. too. Love the biscuits, grits and delicious shrimp. Both cities have so much charm and grace. I belong in the South away from the snowy depressing winters up North.

  31. May 1, 2013 8:22 pm

    I am from and currently live in Augusta, Georgia and was married in Charleston. I LOVE everything about the South. The beautiful landscape, the delicious food, the wonderful manners and hospitality… the rich culture.. really what is not to love?

  32. May 1, 2013 9:26 pm

    I love the weather. Seriously. I love being warm.

  33. Elin permalink
    May 1, 2013 9:42 pm

    I’m actually going to visit for the first time this summer and I cannot wait for the food!

  34. May 1, 2013 10:17 pm

    I love the Georgia and Carolina coast cities and beaches. You were there at the perfect time, too—before the humidity and mosquitos take the thrill out of it. I can practically smell the ocean.

  35. May 1, 2013 10:43 pm

    What I love most about the South is our hospitality. The food (like BBQ, sweet tea, peach cobbler, and more) is great, and the warm climate is delightful. But traveling to other parts of the country really make me appreciate how genuinely sweet and polite most southerners are.

  36. stacey permalink
    May 1, 2013 11:14 pm

    I normally do NOT like other peoples vaca photos but yours not only include nature… sites and restaurant BUT pictures of the food. You take great photos and yours do not include weird shoulder or strangers behinds!! Your blog made me want to visit. East coast so very doable by car and sounds very laid back though not sure Id want to bike to breakfast! Thanks for sharing! Love the tree lined street!

  37. Pam permalink
    May 1, 2013 11:34 pm

    I adore being in the Southern US because I am always warm and the humid air makes my hair curly. But what I love most about the Deep South is Banana Pudding! Bless your heart!

  38. Kaitlin Sickle permalink
    May 2, 2013 1:46 am

    The pies…

  39. May 2, 2013 6:37 am

    What a great trip!

  40. angel white permalink
    May 2, 2013 6:40 am

    FOOD! Beaches! Sun!

  41. Libby Kincheloe permalink
    May 2, 2013 11:09 am

    Daffodils and narcissus and tulips in the spring!

  42. Shari permalink
    May 2, 2013 11:37 am

    I love the warm weather

  43. May 2, 2013 12:21 pm

    I love Hilton Head and Savannah, I visited both as well, I loved the beach in Hilton Head we rented a House in Palmetto Dunes, we rented bikes and rode all over…Was surprised that during the week people go to bed early…very quit there are night unless we didn’t find the right spots :)
    Absolutely loved Savannah, we ate at Paula Deen’s, we ate at the cafe featured in the Movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and we to see it too, loved the waterfront area, ate there too, loved all of the historical spots, we took a haunted tour at night too, that was a so much fun, I think the best place we ate was at Mrs. Wilkes’, family style, she was there and it was awesome…God Love Her!!!! :)
    Next time I would defiantly said in Savannah longer :)

  44. Michelle Cronk permalink
    May 2, 2013 6:03 pm

    I’ve visited the south many, many times. My favorite spot so far are the bayous outside of New Orleans. The hidden restaurants where we they throw a mound of spicy crawdads on a brown-paper covered picnic table and leave bowls full of melted butter for dipping…yum! As kids, we spent our vacation days trying to catch those same crawdads in their mud condos using deli meat on a safety pin attached to a string. Never did catch many. Those bayous and restaurants were also shaded by moss-covered trees. I can understand your love of that moss, thinking of it makes me wish I was there right now. Thank you for sharing your vacation photos. Savannah is one place I have not been but have always wanted to. Soon.

  45. May 2, 2013 6:39 pm

    I am a transplant to the South from the East Coast and I love living in the South. The first thing I noticed when I moved to Texas almost 14! years ago was how friendly and welcoming people are. Texas has some of the best Tex-Mex food and the BBQ is also fantastic. The live oaks and big Texas skies are beautiful too. Thank you for hosting such a delicious giveaway!

  46. Celeste O permalink
    May 3, 2013 10:04 am

    I’ve never been south. I think the food is what I’d like to try.

  47. MonicaD permalink
    May 3, 2013 10:41 am

    I went to school in the South (Athens, Georgia) though I am from Virginia and now have transplanted myself to the West. I love the people’s Southern accents. How could one be unfriendly with that sweet twang in their voice? I automatically think someone is kind with that Southern accent…

  48. Sonia permalink
    May 5, 2013 12:31 pm

    I love chocolate and your photos. They e inspiring me to travel

  49. Angela permalink
    May 5, 2013 6:26 pm

    SNIFF SNIFF :-(

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