Forsythe Park Fountain, Savannah

Savannah is so beautiful that the dead never truly depart—James Caskey

Savannah, Georgia has quickly become one of my favorite cities to visit. It is a soft summer breeze in a world of urban storms.

This lovely southern US city has no tall skyscrapers, instead a few tall church steeples and a gold dome are the dominant pinnacles, much like many European cities. There are lots of Spanish moss, cobblestones, so much history, great food, many parks and respites and one really lovely fountain in Forsythe Park.

This fountain, perceptively called The Forsythe Park Fountain, has an interesting history. It was erected in 1858 after being ordered from a catalogue (thinking what a bad day that delivery guy endured). It is modeled after a French fountain in a central park to be gathered around. In fact there was a wedding going on the at the time we were there.

The Forsythe Park Fountain is definitely a destination in a destination city.

I guess you noticed the daisies were in bloom.

Character’s Famous BBQ

Barbecue sauce is like a beautiful woman. If it’s too sweet, it’s bound to be hiding something.—Lyle Lovett

So we tested fate on our recent vacation to Port St. Joe, Florida…

We decided to drive through Georgia, north to south, not a short haul. Now normally, I wouldn’t hesitate to drive through Georgia, but at that time there was a gas shortage…or so we heard. But MapQuest said it would be a lot less time on the road than going through Alabama. And when my kidneys and bladder have to filter four cups of coffee and some sweet tea before 8:00 AM, the stopping time adds up. So Mrs. Big Surf said, “With all of your pee breaks, the odds are one of those gas stations will have gas.”

I was perplexed as we entered Georgia on I-75. For a state that seemingly had no gas, the folks were driving as if gas was in abundance. It does take more fuel to drive 90mph than 65mph, right? Someone seemed delusional here. Surely it wasn’t the media??

My worries would be calmed when we found Character’s Famous BBQ in Adairsville, GA.

From the time we pulled into the gravel parking lot, I knew this would be good. With BBQ joints, the less pretentious the better. It was obvious that the emphasis was on the food here. The ambiance was simple and clean but the aroma was so intoxicating.

OK so going back to the quote from above, there was nothing being hidden here, just good flavor from the sauce with a good balance of sweet and tang and a little heat. The helpings of the pork were more than enough. The sides were delicious. I had potato salad and slaw. They even served a piece of delicious pound cake with the meal.

Part of the wall art at Character’s Famous BBQ was a poster of Muhammed Ali. Of course being from Kentucky, I approved.

But alas, the stop in Georgia that gave us the most angst was in Rome, Georgia, but nothing to do with gas, of which we found plenty (however the Missus did not allow me to drive 90).

We pulled into a Krispy Kreme. From here the next few minutes are a little fuzzy. I heard the voice through the speaker say, “We are out of glazed.” I didn’t know how to respond. I had never actually heard that sentence at a Krispy Kreme in all my born days. Surely the speaker had a short, or we had driven into an alternate universe through the black hole of the unlit HOT DONUTS NOW light. Mrs BS had to throw the last cup of coffee from my half-gallon Contigo in my face to bring me out of my stupor. We ordered a dozen chocolate for the grandkids, and their parents, and Mrs. BS, then headed south, all the while Big Surf was in a state of denial over the glaze.

If you happen to find yourself driving through or past Adairsville, GA. on I-75 slow down and stop in for a wonderful meal at Character’s Famous BBQ. They got nothin’ to hide.

Big Surf Daddy’s Seafood Bender…Tybee Island and Savannah, Georgia

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Unlike wine or water, or even Coca-Cola, sweet tea means something. It is a tell, a tradition. Sweet tea isn’t a drink, really.  It’s culture in a glass.—Allison Glock


Big Surf Daddy is most at home on a southern beach and lately, Tybee Island is becoming his favorite southern beach.

This was my second visit to the laid-back island beach community just a short drive from Savannah, Georgia.  The beach is wide and the food is good.  And nothing gets me off the beach, except to eat.

This was a good eatin’ week for Big Surf.  There are many good restaurants on Tybee and in Savannah.

Savannah is on many travel lists as one of the top cities in the US.  All you have to do is go there to see why.  It is easy to get around. Most of the historic center of town can be seen on foot… unless it is one of those Georgia summer days when it feels like you could fry a green tomato on your head.  Then you can take one of the many wheeled tours about town.

Savannah is a graceful and charming southern lady with a sheepish grin that makes you wonder what she is hiding.  Tybee Island is her less sophisticated younger cousin that wants to skip class today and hang out with her friends.

To me it is a perfect beach vacation spot, laid back and not too crowded and though Tybee isn’t known for world-class restaurants, many are very good.  You can find those world-class restaurants in Savannah.

After all, all Big Surf Daddy needs is a beach and good food. And both are available on Tybee Island and in Savannah, Georgia.

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Just another serene morning on Tybee Island.

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I love the morning reflections off the water.

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Normally, I am not a morning person, but I made an effort to watch the sunrises from our balcony on this trip.

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The Cockspur Lighthouse was built in 1855 and stands 46 feet high.  It survived a Civil War battle and is now part of Fort Pulaski National Monument.

Now that we have all those annoying beach scenes out of the way, lets talk about food and sweet tea.  I love sweet tea in the south and I had it with most of the evening meals. I’m’ sure there are some who ask, “Why not every meal?” I have no answer for that.

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I bought some real good shrimp for a low country boil from Scuba Steve’s Seafood Market on Tybee Island.

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Good coffee and friendly service at Tybean Art and Coffee Bar .

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AJ’s Dockside Grill, has sunset dining and great food.

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The crispy scored flounder with sweet chili glaze at AJ’s Dockside Grill  may have been the best meal I had all week.

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My wife had the crab stew and shrimp and grits at AJ’s.  Both were very tasty.

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Current Kitchen and Cocktails serves very high-caliber food on Tybee Island.

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I am still thinking about these turmeric mussels at Current Kitchen and how delicious they were. I want to desperately repeat this dish somehow.

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The fish taco’s at Current Kitchen are made with mango salsa, chipotle, and avocado. I enjoyed these very much.

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My wife had Snapper Risotto at Current Kitchen. It looked good and tasted good.

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The Sundae Cafe on Tybee Island is another high quality restaurant with excellent food.  The exterior in a small strip center may be off-putting to some, but don’t let that dissuade  you from going here to eat.  I enjoyed this restaurant a lot.

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One of the highlight dishes for the week was the Seafood Cheesecake at the Sundae Cafe. You need to taste this at some point in your life unless you are allergic to seafood, then I would avoid it.

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I can never get enough bisque of any kind and this seafood bisque at Sundae Cafe did not disappoint me.  So rich and tasty.

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Southern Oysters Rockefeller at Sundae Cafe.  Oysters, shrimp, smoked bacon, creamed collard greens with tasso hollandaise sauce…what could be finer in this diner?

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This dessert was a special for the night at Sundae Cafe, the four of us shared it.  It had a doughnut, apple, ice cream, caramel, and topped with whipped cream.  So decadent.


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Pearl’s Saltwater Grille was a good find.  It is a little out of the way but only a twenty-minute drive from Tybee Island and downtown Savannah.

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The view from our table at Pearl’s Saltwater Grille.

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You can’t go south and not eat fried green tomatoes.  Pearl’s Saltwater Grille has excellent fried green tomatoes and hush puppies.

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Sophisticated southern dish of parmesan and herb crusted grouper with lump crab meat served over roasted orzo and finished with Chardonnay butter and for a little touch of the south, collards on the side.  I loved this dish at Pearl’s Saltwater Grille.

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Savannah she-crab soup at Pearl’s Saltwater Grille was rich and creamy and full of crab, so it had to be good.

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Jimmy’s Seaside Sweets is a great stop for gelato and candy.




The gold dome of Savannah’s City Hall.

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Statue of Johnny Mercer, one of Savannah’s most famous residents.  He was a prolific song writer.

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Very entertaining street musician.

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We stopped in Savannah’s Candy Kitchen in City Market, a must-stop when walking in historic downtown. Get some pralines.

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You can’t pass up Paula Deen’s Store.

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This vase on this table in Goose Feathers Cafe caught my eye in the afternoon sun.

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This is the coolest door.  The honey is pretty good also at Savannah Bee Company.

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We didn’t go in here but I loved the sign.  Later I found out that I should have gone in here for some good oysters.

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Jazz’d is a really good tapas place.  I highly recommend this place for food but especially if Trey Gurley is singing Sinatra that night.

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Oysters in the half shell at the River House . I had been reading a book by M.F.K. Fisher called Consider the Oyster,  so I was in the mood.  The River House is in an old cotton warehouse building on River Street.


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After spending the afternoon in Savannah, we ate at The Olde Pink House. This is an elegant restaurant in an old mansion, built in 1771, in historic downtown Savannah.

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Beautiful decor in the Olde Pink House.

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Of course an appetizer of fried green tomatoes and my only salad of the week. The Olde Pink House knows their way around this southern delicacy. It was a good start to the meal.

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I can’t begin to express how delicious the flavor of these sautéed jumbo scallops in herb butter at the Olde Pink House.  They were plated with mixed beans and mashed potatoes. It was like eating at home, if your mom was a world-class chef and you lived in a 250 year-old pink mansion.


The east coast of the United States has some wonderful beaches for a vacation, but for my experience on Tybee Island and the nearness to Savannah, this Georgia location is hard to beat.  Pour yourself a tall glass of sweet tea and you are almost there.