Is it just me or do you, too, have a growing affinity for keepsakes that are unique and handcrafted? Maybe it’s because we live in a world of mass-produced cookie-cutter thingamabobs (and I do own lots of those), but especially when I travel, I don’t want to buy that tchotchke made just anywhere; I want to take an authentic piece of my travels home with me. If you agree, then you’ll want to bookmark this post because we’re about to show some Local Love to all things owned, grown, and for sale right here in Savannah, Georgia.
Talk about love. These guys really – really – love honey bees. Ted Dennard, founder of Savannah Bee, acquired an interest in honey bees as a child growing up in Coastal Georgia. A self-described curator of the best-of-the-best nectars, Ted was reluctant to turn his passion into a business, but after his roommate put Ted’s honey on a few store shelves, a “buzz” was created that couldn’t be denied. For a true taste of Savannah, look for the Savannah Honey variety, which is made from local floral sources. You’ll also want to treat yourself to the beauty products offered by Savannah Bee – after all, even Cleopatra herself is said to have used honey as part of her beauty regimen and everyone deserves to feel like a queen! It’s healthy, it’s local, it’s unique, and at the heart of it all Ted says, “I always want to make my mama proud.” Who doesn’t love that?
Ever tasted Oreo Cheesecake or Doritos popcorn? On your next visit to Savannah be sure to “pop” in to Savannah Rae’s popcorn and prepare your taste buds for one wild adventure. As the name suggests, this spot is a Savannah original that prides itself on using 100% real ingredients for its 150 gourmet popcorn flavors. You should definitely make time in your visit to sample Savannah Rae’s go-to varieties and their specialty flavor feature of the day. And if you’re worried you won’t have room to pack your popcorn to take back home, don’t give it another thought. Savannah Rae’s ships everywhere in the continental US so you can definitely take their unique brand of deliciousness with you.
At the west end of Broughton Street is a store that can only be described as part jewelry boutique and part gallery. At ZIA, named after its founder, Zia Sachedina, you’ll delight in jewelry creations, hand-selected from over 30 different artists from around the world. “But what about that local part,” you ask? ZIA’s Savannah location is the flagship store and the signature “Sticks + Stones Collection” is made in Savannah by Zia himself. His designs, and jewelry selections are influenced by his travels in Asia, Africa, Europe, Central, North and South America, as well as his upbringing by his Japanese-American mother and East Indian father. Whatever piece speaks to you, you’ll have a keepsake that is a reflection of Zia’s travels and a stunning reminder of your own stay in Savannah.
This shop’s salts come from around the world, but the blends are all made locally by husband-and-wife team Dave and Carol Legasse. “When you come in to our shop you’re browsing products that are all made in Georgia,” Dave says, “so when you get hooked (and you will get hooked!) you can take home a souvenir of authentic Savannah flavors and then order it online when you run out.” In addition to its exotic mix of sweet and savory blends, The Salt Table also offers customers a wine tasting bar – the only one in the entire state of Georgia that promotes only Georgia-made wines. So if you’re looking to add a little local spice to your trip, a stop at The Salt Table is a must.
Anyone here like chocolate? It’s probably one of the safest questions to ask a mixed crowd. At least one person is going to give a resounding, “Yes!” and in Savannah, you are in for quite a treat. Though not originally from Savannah, the city is lucky to have the vision and talents of Adam Turoni in its midst at two downtown Savannah locations. The first, a Chocolate Dining Room, is located on Broughton Street and the second, a Chocolate Library, can be found on Bull Street. Each location has its own open-view kitchen so that you can see the locally made confections for yourself. Everything at Chocolat by Adam Turoni is made in-house using “traditional techniques, but with a non-traditional whimsical updated approach.” Recognized by Southern Living magazine and named a Top 10 Chocolatier in North America by Dessert Professionals, you’re sure to melt for Adam’s one-of-a-kind creations.
This stop is local through and through! Located on historic River Street, the shop describes itself as, “a co-op of local artisans from Savannah and the Lowcountry” and that is a spot-on summary of all you’ll find as you browse the varied and unexpected wares that await you. From quilts to pottery, handmade jewelry to original watercolor paintings, exotic woodwork to Gullah art and more, you’ll check off unique souvenirs for everyone on your list (and you, too) as you immerse yourself among the vast Savannah-made collections.
While there’s some disagreement on the pronunciation of “pecan praline,” anyone who has sampled the treats at River Street Sweet or Savannah Candy Kitchen will wholeheartedly agree that the taste is what really matters. If you’ve never had a praline, that’s a must! In fact, River Street Sweets sells more than 30 million pralines annually. But why stop at just one item? Both shops specialize in all things sweet – confections, cookies, cakes, candy – and both got their start in historic Savannah. No wonder we Southerners are so sweet!
Long-time Savannah natives will tell you, the scotch oatmeal cookies at Byrd Cookie company are life-changing. But since this Savannah original first started in 1924, their offering of bite-sized delights has grown by leaps and bounds and includes tasty treats of both the sweet and savory varieties, as well as gluten-free recipes and 100-calorie cookie packs. With locations in midtown and downtown Savannah and the option to ship their treats for you, you can take dozens and dozens of their bite-sized flavors back home with you (and we highly recommend you do)!
Satchel is a hybrid leather-goods boutique/design studio, but that’s not all. Have a custom piece in mind? Let the “satchelettes” who work at the store help you design and create your very own custom bag, and they might even name it after you! Short on time but longing for that perfect something in leather? Try out their leather cuff bracelet that offers two leather finishes – one on each side – for a versatile piece you’ll adore for years. You should also be sure to check out their wallets, clutches, the leather koozie selection… oh, just go, you’ll see!
City Market describes itself as a mixed-used project in the nation’s largest Historic District in downtown Savannah. It encompasses a four-block area and is filled with Savannah-style restaurants (some with live music), retail stores and art. Stop by the Art Center at City market which consists of a group of working artists’ studios and is home to two dozen local artists’ exhibits, featuring both fine photography and painted works of art. City Market also hosts several special events throughout the year so check their calendar and make your plans to visit this genuine slice of Savannah life.
Are you feeling the local love? We knew you would. And we can’t wait for you to make your way to Savannah and experience it all firsthand. Oh, and a little extra room in your suitcase never hurts!