Celebrating St. Patrick's Day in Savannah, Georgia
Fun Fact: St. Patrick's Day originated in the United States. So, if you find yourself state-side on March 17th, make your way South to Savannah, GA for a unique St. Patrick's Day experience.
March 17th is quite possibly the most influential day of the year. Although historically, the date has been used as a reference for the death of St. Patrick in Ireland, thanks to U.S. tradition, it is the only day on which all 7.4 Billion people on Earth are transformed simultaneously. Everybody is Irish on St. Patrick's Day! But before you go celebrating the most epic day ever, you need to make sure you do it the right way. As long as you're spending St. Patrick's Day in Savannah, Georgia you can't go wrong because it's the premier Southern destination for St. Patrick's Day celebrations.
Who Is This Patrick Guy?
The tale of St. Patrick is an incredible story which begins not in Ireland but in her neighboring island of England. It was around the 5th century C.E., an age in which England was still part of the Roman Empire. As a teenage young man, St. Patrick was kidnapped and torn away from his home and his family in Britain by Irish pirates. They wanted to turn a quick profit (as pirates so often do) so St. Patrick was sold into slavery where he spent his days toiling in the fields and tending to the flocks of his new master. Who could have known then, that these trying years would be vital in St. Patrick being seduced by the culture and beauty of the land which had him in chains? These were the years that laid the foundations of his faith and which gave him the intimate understanding of the pagan and druidic cultures on the island at the time. This would make him a much more efficient apostle later but first, he had to escape captivity.
Full Circle and More
In his early 20's, while still enduring his life of Irish servitude, St. Patrick was inspired by a vision. He had become a devoutly praying Christian and later even made mention of how he would pray ceaselessly from the beginning until the end of his labors throughout the day. His vision told him that the time had come for him to quit his bondage. He was told to leave and to make his way to the coast. After he managed to escape his captors and travel safely to the coast, he found a ship there willing to bring him back to England. All along the way St. Patrick never lost sight of the faith which had seen him through his trials indeed, it was his faith which formed the solid rock for the foundation of his feats. He would be guided by his faith for the remainder of his life.
St. Patrick struggled to reassimilate himself into the Roman society from which he had been far removed for roughly half a decade. In spite of being severely behind in his traditional studies and feeling out of place, St. Patrick maintained a vice-like hold on the faith which had helped him to endure and had granted him salvation. In time, he had a second vision. In this vision, an acquaintance of his from his days in captivity named Victoricus comes to him as though from Ireland and hands him a letter. St. Patrick hears the clamoring voices of the Irish people rise up and tell him to come walk among them. The vision was so compelling and moving for him that it was all of the inspiration necessary, and he needed no second bidding. Despite protests from his family, he followed his faith and went to Gaul (France) where he entered the clergy which, considering his love of prayer, lack of formal education, and propensity for divine intervention, actually made sound sense for him to do.
For many years St. Patrick trained and studied under St. Germanus in France. Eventually, he was ordained a bishop himself and was no longer the apprentice. But his work was just beginning. Now was the time where he needed to decide what his next steps would be. Following the directives of his vision, he knew that the decision had already been made and the time had finally come for him to embrace his destiny. St. Patrick was compelled to return to Ireland and bring his Christian faith to the pagans and druids on the island. During the March of 433 C.E., he returned to the land out of which he had fled a different man bearing a new message. He was now well on his way to becoming the apostle of Ireland that we remember him to be today. St. Patrick was a man of great character who had the integrity to take no bribes himself but had also possessed the constitution to work tirelessly to build an environment where people understood the faith he believed in.
There are some fun myths surrounding St. Patrick. Two of the most common ones are that he drove all of the snakes out of Ireland and that he taught the concept of the Holy Trinity by using a 3 leaf clover. Even though Ireland most likely never physically had snakes since the waters in the Atlantic are too cold for them to swim there and there are no known indigenous species of snake there it doesn't matter because the mental image is worth its weight in gold. Anyone who can teach complex subjects easily and gets rid of snakes in the yard is someone that definitely deserves to have drinks poured in their memory. So now that you know a little bit about St. Patrick's life as a man, let's discuss St. Patrick's Day.
Where to Enjoy St. Patrick's Day
If you are South of the Mason Dixon line and the month of March is slightly more than halfway through, Savannah, Georgia is where you should go to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Savannah is a city that is a historic landmark for many reasons in its own right. The way that the entire city comes together from March 17th to March 20th to celebrate truly makes you feel the sense of community in this breathtaking southern city mixed with that sense of levity which only comes when beer, the color green, and leprechauns are combined. It's not just an "experience" it is a festive awakening. Everybody's Irish during St. Patrick's Day celebrations and Savannah knows how to throw a party of epic proportions.
When it comes to St. Patrick's Day there are plenty of compelling reasons to make Savannah your choice destination. If you're a history buff, then you'll probably appreciate that as far back as 1733 Savannah was still around, even though back then, it was just a fledgling town. That's right, Savannah, GA is so old, that it is one of the original 13 colonies and is consequently, the oldest city in Georgia. Apparently, with age does come wisdom because not only did Savannah become the first state capital of Georgia but Savannah's beautiful downtown is also one of the largest U.S. National Historic Landmark Districts. It is in a word: magnificent.
Curious about the cuisine?
Foodies rejoice because Savannah is a place that will leave your taste buds tingling. Even though you're most likely all about the cabbage and hash (and beer) during St. Patrick's Day, you still deserve to enjoy a bouquet of sumptuous smells and fantastic flavors as well, right? Of course, you do! You will have options galore in Savannah when it comes to finding great eats. Not all of them will be based on Irish cuisine but the food selection in Savannah is utterly superb. People rant and rave about how delicious their food is when they've had a satisfying meal and in Savannah there will be no shortage of scrumptious delights.
Lady & Sons Image Courtesy of Rory Finneren
Experiencing some good ol' Southern cooking the way it's meant to be absorbed in all its grandeur means being graced with Southern charm while enjoying southern hospitality in addition to the meal. When you take a seat at Lady & Sons you'll definitely feel all three elements homogenize beautifully. At Lady & Sons, you can try a taste of Paula Dean's legendary Southern cooking. Be careful because you might get addicted! Just remember, each pound you gain is a pound of pleasure.
Image Courtesy of Leopoldsicecream.com
No matter where you decide to eat, make sure to save some room for a sweet treat at Leopold's Ice Cream. Founded in 1919, Leopold's has mastered the art of malt shake flavor over decades of experimentation. Their art of decadent creation gives Savannah an added feather in its cap. The malts and ice cream flavors at Leopold's will blow you away!
Image Courtesy of Pixabay
You have to wash all that food and dessert down with something right? If you check out Southbound Brewery and Mata Hari, a speakeasy-themed bar, you'll leave Savannah full, happy, and with lots of fun stories to tell because on St. Pattrick's Day, the bar is often the best seat in the house.
Head to the River!
As wonderful as the regular Savannah food and cocktail establishments are keep in mind that this is a massive festival. Often, it is the festival vendors who steal the spotlight! During St. Patrick's day, one of the best places to find those vendors is on the famous River Street. Who knows, you might get lucky and run into a leprechaun while you're there. Just keep in mind that this isn't an anarchistic day of revelry... there are some rules.
Sure you can drink while walking around but if you want to keep partying and having a good time then you better keep all alcohol in paper, plastic, or styrofoam cups. Glass bottles are prohibited on the street and you better make sure that you are only carrying one drink at a time and it's not in that super big gulp cup you got from a random gas station. If you're going to carry alcohol publically, the limit is 16 ounces. Now, as excited as you may be to get there early and to avoid the lines as best you can, don't try to treat St. Patrick's Day in Savannah like it's Black Friday at Best Buy. You are not allowed to camp out in the Savannah squares overnight. Actually, the Squares are restricted until the morning of the parade. Look on the bright side, you can forego the sleeping bag and don a green wig instead.
Today Savannah, GA is home to one of the largest St. Patrick's Day parades in the U.S. For you that means it's a very good idea to find a spot well in advance that allows you a good vantage point. In the past, the parade has been scheduled to begin around 10:15 a.m. before going through Savannah's downtown. Although sometimes they have a real time parade map that can give you details, for specifics on upcoming parade details, the best bet is to contact the Savannah Parade Committee directly.
firstname.lastname@example.org or at 912-233-4804
A Special Viewpoint
Image Courtesy of Pixabay
If you don't feel like carrying folding chairs all day and tussling with people for various views of the parade then you'll really appreciate renting bleachers! Whether you are flying solo, with friends and family, or are part of a corporate event, renting bleachers can be a convenient solution. The best part is that when you rent bleachers you give yourself the opportunity for a raised vantage point that will let you see over the heads of the thousands of people who flock to Savannah for the St. Patrick's Day Parade.
A Quick Tip
People can't camp outside of the parade route a couple days ahead of time to snag the prime locations anymore. This really evens the playing field. Just keep in mind that if you want to grab the best spots be prepared to be there from 6-7 a.m. Also, don't forget that a lot of locals have traditional favorite perches so you are better to err on the side of arriving earlier than you think you need to. If the parade hasn't yet started and you don't mind a lack of shade, go to Broughton Street over by the East side. It's a good place to see all the floats and cars and marching folks go by.
Where to Stay
There are many places that you can rest your head, but there is a certain knack involved in finding the place to stay which best fits your needs. No matter where you decide to rest you'll be able to enjoy one of the most notable features of Savannah: Southern Charm. Here are 3 really great examples of the incredible buffet of Southern culture that you can find when you travel to Savannah.
Azalea Inn and Villas
This romantic inn offers a unique Savannah experience. For starters, It's located in the Historic District which makes it just a short walk from a lot of various attractions. The Azalea Inn and Gardens offers some really nice touches for their bed and breakfast guests such as bathrobes, complimentary water that will help quench your thirst after a day of exploring) and a three-course breakfast. If this already sounds too good to be true then give yourself a minute because there's more...
This is the place to stay if those pricey spots boasting about their locations don't appeal to you but affordable and luxurious rooms are more your scene. The Oglethorpe is not in the heart of the action downtown but rather, is a stone's throw away (about 6 miles or so) nesting in outside of the bustle. The Oglethorpe Inn & Sweets is just half a mile away from a great shopping area called the Oglethorpe Mall. This mall boasts having over 150 stores! It's also right across the street from the delightful Savannah Shopping Center which makes getting any forgotten toiletries or conveniences super simple. In addition to providing a free continental breakfast and free parking, the Oglethorpe has a majestic three story garden atrium and a location that is quite convenient.
The Foley House Inn
This is the place to stay if you have a pet and love a great breakfast. Imagine waking up to cuisine such as Fruit-Filled French Toast Wraps, Grits with Goat Cheese and Chives, or Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Sautéed Apples. These are just some examples of the made to order style meals they have available for your enjoyment. Once you're there ask the staff about the Foley House Inn's history because it's a place with an interesting story to tell.
To Party Bus, or not to Party Bus...
This isn't your old school bus with the kid in the back who always tried to trade you the worst things in his lunch for the best things in yours. This is a much different beast. Consider this, taking a break from being in control of the entire trip is sometimes the way to go. If you really want to just let loose and throw some of those pesky responsibilities out of the window (like parking etc.) and since St. Patrick's Day in Savannah is such an absolutely amazing experience that it's easy to have sensory overload if you're constantly trying to figure out the next item on the itinerary, wouldn't it be nice to have someone else do all the driving (and part of the planning)? Enter the party bus. With a seat on the party bus, you'll be getting around Savannah while you enjoy yourself and take in all that the beautiful city and wonderful people have to offer. From March 17th until March 19th there is a St. Patrick's Day Party Bus option is twelve hours of embracing the festive spirit of St. Paddy's. Yeah... there are fun pub crawls, great food, and partying (surprise) involved but no matter what don't forget to wear green!
A View From the Street
An example of St. Patrick's Day in Savannah, GA
While in the midst of your St. Patrick's Day festivities, if you decide to tip one back, please drink responsibly. Savannah has many resources to help ensure you have a great time and stay safe. Cheers!
Unless otherwise stated, images are courtesy of freeimages.com
This article was written by: