1. Survive a St. Patrick’s Day.
Wake up by 4am to cook a messy plate of bacon and scrambled eggs, throw back shots of Jameson, and make your descent downtown for the biggest clusterfuck of the year. Yes, it’s the largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the United States, but it’s not the parade that you look forward to. It’s the one million people pressed together within a few streets wearing green, ironic tees draped by cheap beads and stained by even cheaper beer that gets you going. This green sea triggers a reaction in your brain that leads you to a pub at 11 that morning, sloshing back two ibuprofen with an Irish car bomb and powering through to the next bar like a goddamn staggering hero.
There’s even the rare phenomenon of drinking yourself sober. This means that the body has had so much to drink that alcohol no longer has any effect. It’s experienced by the true heroes of St. Patrick’s Day — the warriors who make it to nightfall.
2. Completely relate to Widespread Panic’s “Up All Night.”
Which is about Savannah, by the way. If you’re here long enough, sunrises will become sunsets — so you’ll understand that this is not a lifestyle limited to just the drunkards, partiers, and geekers. Savannah could also be known as the city that doesn’t sleep, but that wouldn’t be fair.
She loves her beauty rest — it just happens to be in the mornings.
3. Eat yourself sober at Parker’s Market Urban Gourmet.
It’s not gas station food. It’s gourmet gas station food. Plus, you’ll most likely run into everyone you just bid a drunken farewell to at the bars. At Parker’s you’ll feel like you’re right back in the mess of Congress Street, just with brighter lights, more artisan cheeses, freshly baked croissants, and pomegranate chocolate bars. But who really wants that at 3:30 in the morning after hours of drinking? Get the food bar to slam your Styrofoam to-go box with greasy hash browns, soggy cheese grits, and a chicken biscuit slathered with sausage gravy. Sure, it’s sloppy. But it’s gourmet sloppy.
4. Have a secluded religious experience inside the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.
Tourists in Savannah are drawn to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist like there’s some sort of Catholic gravitational pull. In order to be inside alone, you’re going to have to go at the brink of dawn. In other words, sit on the front steps and wait for the doors to unlock. This may only allow 30 minutes of solitude in the cathedral before people file in for morning service and tourists come to test their camera’s flash capabilities. But until then, the only echoes you’ll hear will be from the priest positioning offering trays and placing fresh candles in Baroque style candlestick holders while light breaks through the stained glass.
Maybe it’s religious intent to form a stronger spiritual connection, or inspiration stemmed from a love of French Gothic architecture — or maybe it’s coming down from a night of tripping on acid and you wound up in the cathedral barefoot. Either way, a silent St. John’s will connect you to something, whatever that may be.
5. Find an excuse to drink even more rum at the Tybee Island Pirate Fest.
Juggling pirates, rum, magicians, puppeteers, weaponry demonstrations, rum, parades, toddlers in Captain Jack Sparrow attire, rum, the beach. Rum. Need I say more?
6. Get the shit scared out of you at Grove Point Plantation.
Driving down Grove Point Road is the closest you’ll come to entering a time warp. After all, it is where the original Cape Fear was filmed as well as where Black Beard once had a slave compound.
There are no houses at the end of the road — just marshland absent of any life besides a stray alligator. The giant wrought iron gate with “GROVE POINT PLANTATION” in bold letters is enough to satisfy many searching for a cheap thrill. But if you’re a more-intense thrill seeker, you can hop the gate and walk the swampy, half-mile walk to the old slave houses.
Instagram it, observe the ectoplasm thing that’s smeared across the photo, and get the hell out of there.
7. Be a pedicabber.
Nothing says ‘detox’ better than sweating out the previous night’s debauchery by hauling around a bunch of fat tourists on a bike taxi service for tips.
8. Feel like a little kid again at SCAD’s Chalk in the Park.
Savannah College of Art and Design has their annual Sidewalk Arts Festival in Forsyth Park every spring. Some are depictions of the inner turmoil an art student struggles with to make rent while others are of Grumpy Cat and Elvis Presley’s head on a bee’s body with the caption “BEE-VIS.”
No matter the art, the festival will leave you holding a plastic cup of PBR and reflecting on your own chalk-art abilities, which are probably limited to smiley faces and maybe a penis.
9. Rent a haunted house.
You haven’t truly lived in Savannah if your experience is vacant of ghost stories. Maybe it’s the famous book-turned-movie “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” Maybe it’s the fact that a huge chunk of the city is built atop mass graves from the Yellow Fever. Or maybe it’s because we have a huge pile of skeletons hidden in our closet — AKA, under Forsyth Park. Whatever it may be, Savannah is a spooky place. How else would we have worked our way up to the second most haunted city in America? (Don’t get too cocky, N’awlins).
Savannah prides itself on historic preservation. This means that if a house is in the Historic district, chances are — surprise! — it’s a historic house, complete with lanterns on the front porch as well as old ironing boards in the kitchen that inevitably have a ghost behind them.
Just don’t be a dick. If the spirits are acknowledged and paid respect, they’ll normally end up being a pretty okay, yet nonetheless creepy, roommate who doesn’t share any rent.
10. Furnish your haunted house with the gems you found alley shopping.
Savannah is comprised of the grid system. This means after every road is an alleyway. And when I say alleyway, I mean a long strip of available free shit that can furnish your said haunted house. It’s like dumpster diving — but better.
Couches, kitchen islands, rugs that only smell kind of like cat piss, brand new entertainment centers, artwork thrown away by perfectionist art students, kitten coffee mugs, steel wall hangings, shower caddies in the shape of whales, a grill that doesn’t work — really, it’s like striking a poor, 20-something’s gold mine.
Soon you’ll figure out a method to your alley shopping, such as which ones have better stuff as well as which nights you should hit up certain alleys. You may even make some friends in the alley shopping community. Just be discreet about it. If pulled over by the police, you’ll be hammered to admit you’re only lurking through alleys because you’re high on pot or bath salts.
11. Bitch about how toxic this town is.
“I dunno, man. I need to get out of here. It’s like a black hole of drugs and working in fine dining.”
12. Bitch about how other places aren’t toxic enough.
Living in Savannah will make you carry a type of arrogance — like you’ve conquered a toxic relationship, leaving your less fortunate comrades in a pit of despair. But it’s not long ’til you realize most other places are either too dirty, too clean, too structured, too basic, too boring, or too fake. Savannah, on the other hand, is a beautiful woman with a dirty face. She makes you love her too much but is stingy with the love she returns.
If you ever break ties with her, you’ll soon find that your heart is still tangled in a bed of Spanish moss on wet cobblestone streets. Sure, she’ll fuck you over, but she’ll do it in the most beautiful way possible.