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Saturday, February 12, 2011
Pizza, Paula, and Paris
Now that we’ve fortified ourselves at The Bayou, let’s head toward the heart of the Historic District. Savannah is considered America’s first planned city because General Oglethorpe laid the city out in a grid pattern with Squares bisecting the streets. There were originally 24 Squares; we have managed to preserve 22. These Squares form the backbone of Savannah’s downtown area and, to me, are what make the city so fabulous. I won’t have time to go into detail about our Squares today, but if you’re interested follow my blog and join my newsletter because I’ll be blogging and writing about them soon!
Now, about that post title. While I think of Savannah as lush green Squares, Spanish moss, and massive Live Oaks, for many, Savannah is synonymous with, Paula Deen. I’ll take you up Whitaker St. to West Congress but it isn’t The Lady and Sons restaurant I want to point out. When I visit W. Congress, I head to Sweet Melissa’s Pizza directly across from Ms. Paula’s place.
My heroine in Ring of Lies, Ivy Michaels, mentions that she misses Sweet Melissa’s and Leopold’s (more on that in a sec) when explaining why she wants to move back home. Unfortunately, that scene didn’t survive editing, but we can still visit! What makes this place so great? The humongous pizzas and the affable owner, TC. In the wee hours of the morning, when the bars let out, Sweet Melissa’s is packed with people; the line snakes out the door and down the block! The wait is made bearable by conversation with TC; he stands outside chatting but also encouraging the young college and kids and military personnel. I love how he remembers them and asks about their families, their studies, or deployments; I consider him an unofficial ambassador of Savannah. The pizza is awesome too!
Now that we’ve gorged on pizza, let’s do some shopping. Anyone up for browsing in Paris? Well, the Paris Market, that is! I love this shop. The windows are always dressed to impress and the merchandise doesn’t disappoint when you venture inside. Once, I was browsing around with my mom and came across this display of nose shapes carved in wood. They were mounted on blocks of wood and I thought, “How cool, I’ll get a couple and use them for bookends.”
Wrong! They ranged in price from $200.00-$700.00, each! That is when I realized The Paris Market is a combination of antique flea market finds from France and new products, like toiletry items and trinkets. The noses where actually molds from the Renaissance era. They were used to construct the Venetian carnival masks. How cool is that?
Since $700.00 bookends are out of my price range, how about we stroll further down Broughton Street? This is the Historic Districts main shopping area. The street is lined with eclectic local shops, franchises like Gap and Marc Jacobs, and restaurants. A local favorite is Leopold’s Ice Cream.
Leopold’s is owned and operated by Leopold Stratton, the Hollywood director of films like Babe and Mosquito Coast. The décor is part fifties soda fountain and part Vintage Hollywood. Movie posters of Mr. Stratton’s flicks line the walls and a juke box is filled with 40’s and 50’s classics. They also make the best ice cream, ever and feature specialty flavors throughout the year that tie in to Savannah. One flavor I’m dying to try is Huckleberry, created to honor famous Savannah native, composer, Johnny Mercer of Moon River fame.
Around the corner from Leopold’s is the Lucas Theater, renovated and at one time owned by actor, Kevin Spacey. Mr. Spacey saved the Lucas after falling in love with its charms while filming Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Speaking of films, Savannah is a very big draw for film makers. Robert Redford has filmed several movies here; The Legend of Bagger Vance and most recently The Conspirator. Something to Talk About with Julia Roberts was made here and the English pub on Bull Street is where her character berated her husband for cheating on her, while standing in the street wearing a nightgown! Of course, the most famous film made here would have to be Forrest Gump. The bench Tom Hanks sat on while waiting for the bus was placed in Chippewa Square.
Savannah is a hoppin’ little city and we have a lot of ‘cultural’ events to offer. The Savannah Book Festival comes to town in late February and beginning in March, upwards of 150,000 people will invade our city to party on River Street. We have the second largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade and gathering in the country. March also brings the Savannah Music Festival and the Annual Tour of Homes to town . October brings the Savannah Film Festival . It draws huge crowds of both regular and ‘famous’ folks.
Since Savannah’s St. Pat’s festivities feature prominently in Ring of Lies, I’ll be partying on my blog and FB FanPage on March 17th. You should plan to attend because I’ll be giving away some great prizes that reflect the essence of Savannah; Key Lime Cookies, Palm Roses, and whatever else that strikes my fancy while I’m out and about downtown!
Here’s the link to join my FB FanPage and here is my blog.
Next stop, Forsyth Park. We’ll bask in the sun and meet a few people who make Savannah such a great and interesting place to live. You’re not tired are you? Just a few more blocks ..., you’ll make it!