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Why nowhere in America compares to Savannah

Right now, Cheryl at the Back In The Day Bakery is taking orders for her Thanksgiving cakes. There are three types: apple, bourbon, or spiced pumpkin, and everyone in Savannah wants one.

At her famous bakery and cafe in this historic southern town, Cheryl is famous for the lightness of her crust and traditional pastries. People line up for their banana pie, peach tartlets, and cornbread.

Perhaps most famously, their cookies made by the hundreds every day. There is no equivalent to this southern staple in British cuisine; the closest is a tasty bun, but it’s not even close.

Elegant: The Forsyth Park fountain is one of the most visited attractions by visitors to Savannah

Elegant: The Forsyth Park fountain is one of the most visited attractions by visitors to Savannah

“Cookies are the croissants of the South,” Cheryl explains. They are more complicated than you think and they keep me busy every day.

People eat them at every meal, with a main dish, slathered with pepper jelly as a snack, loaded with bacon and eggs for breakfast. I like them best with a slice of Cheryl’s cheese casserole, something so delicious I had to buy a copy of her cookbook to learn how to make it. It’s a dash of casual genius, like so much of Savannah.

This great prewar city is the oldest in the state of Georgia. About 100 miles north, its older sister Charleston gets all the plaudits for being a foodie and tourist destination, but I’d say Savannah has so much more to offer.

It’s slow, sophisticated, friendly, and unlike anywhere else in the world. Its historic center is divided into 22 garden squares, each with its own identity. Oglethorpe Square is named after the British general who founded Georgia in 1732, a statue of John Wesley stands in Reynolds Square, and the famous Forrest Gump bus bench is in Chippewa Square.

The city is “slow, sophisticated, friendly and unlike anywhere else in the world,” says Jan Moir of the Daily Mail. Pictured is a carriage ride through downtown

The Back In The Day Bakery is a popular place to buy Thanksgiving cakes, like spiced pumpkin (above)

The Back In The Day Bakery is a popular place to buy Thanksgiving cakes, like spiced pumpkin (above)

The Back In The Day Bakery is a popular place to buy Thanksgiving cakes, like spiced pumpkin (above)

Azaleas and roses bloom beautifully, but the stars are the oak trees covered in Spanish moss. It is as if a dressing room armed with bales of moss and instructions to make the city appear even more gothic and beautiful is dispatched each night.

The trees also provide pleasant shade in summer, when temperatures are fierce. In fact, the heat is one of the reasons why dog ​​bins are buried in the ground in squares; Press a pedal and a small hatch opens, where you can tuck your bag of poop. You probably didn’t come here to read this, but it’s the kind of detail I like.

My friend Bea and I will be staying at the lovely Perry Lane Hotel, sharing a double room with two queen beds with fresh linens and a marble bathroom with Byredo toiletries. Byredo! we screamed, excited.

The modern and elegant hotel has a rooftop bar with views of the city and the river, a magnificent restaurant and comfortable sofas in corners where you can order an iced coffee or a donut: three types of nuts served with pots of salted caramel and chocolate. . sauce.

The Savannah Theater is just around the corner, one of the oldest in America. Oscar Wilde appeared there, and when we visit him, Menopause The Musical plays. If you think we don’t take a million photos of ourselves posing next to the neon menopause sign, you would be completely wrong.

How we love Savannah! We spend happy afternoons doing antiques, as the Americans say, often at Two Women And A Warehouse. Sometimes we go to the marshes in the tidal zone around the city; perhaps for lunch on one of the islets with their picturesque names. One sunny day we drink rosé on the Island of Hope, which, as Bea says, sums up our lives.

Even if visiting a cemetery isn’t high on your vacation list, the 160-acre Victorian-style Bonaventure Cemetery is a must. Perched high on a bluff overlooking the Wilmington River east of Savannah, it’s so hauntingly beautiful it almost makes a girl wish she was dead.

The Savannah Theater is one of the oldest in the United States and has hosted some notable artists, including Oscar Wilde.

The Savannah Theater is one of the oldest in the United States and has hosted some notable artists, including Oscar Wilde.

The Savannah Theater is one of the oldest in the United States and has hosted some notable artists, including Oscar Wilde.

There are avenues of great old oak trees, while the light bouncing off the river over the white marble tombs makes the place throb with a southern Gothic atmosphere. I’ve wanted to come here ever since I read about it in John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, a slightly fictional true crime story about a local man tried four times for murder.

I am not alone. Since its publication in 1994, the number of tourists has exploded.

Here is buried local hero Johnny Mercer, the man who wrote many songs on the American songbook. He specified a marble bench at his grave, so that people could sit and enjoy the views over the canal that inspired one of his hits, Moon River.

Leopold's is an ice cream parlor almost unchanged since its opening in 1919 and where the tutti frutti flavor was invented

Leopold's is an ice cream parlor almost unchanged since its opening in 1919 and where the tutti frutti flavor was invented

Leopold’s is an ice cream parlor almost unchanged since its opening in 1919 and where the tutti frutti flavor was invented

From the Perry we can walk to almost anywhere downtown. On hot days we take refuge in Leopold’s, an ice cream parlor practically unchanged since its opening in 1919 and where the tutti frutti flavor was invented. In the evenings we stopped by the Artillery bar. Customers are advised that flip flops, tank tops, pumps, throws or Budweisers are not allowed.

We are in the South and standards must be maintained. I love that rigor and the bar’s ‘minitinis’: half a martini, for a little boost. It is so civilized.

There are many good restaurants in Savannah, but my favorite is The Gray, located in a converted 1930s Greyhound bus station on the outskirts of town.

Its Streamline Moderne exterior is intact, and on the inside, chef Mashama Bailey blends her Georgia roots and New York upbringing in dishes like turnip bisque, roasted quail, and cracklin ‘red pea pancakes. The bus station was once segregated, like most of the south. It seems like a triumph against the sins of the past that Mashama, a black woman, is now in charge.

The difficult history of the region cannot be ignored and no one tries these days. Ten miles south of Savannah is the Wormsloe Plantation, where visitors gawk at the 1.5-mile avenue of oaks but wince at a farm that once used slaves to tend rice and corn crops.

Back in downtown Savannah, the First African Baptist Church remains a place of worship, but is most notable for being the hiding place for escaping slaves on their dangerous flight to freedom and the north. There was hope, even then. And there is something else that makes this place so special.

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