Only in Savannah, Georgia

By Caroline Martin

Savannah is the hip and trendy place to visit. Known for its historic district; which is 2.2 square miles of the oldest homes, architecture, military history, art, antiques, and rich landmarks one could ever wish to see.  One may think the Savannah is “owned” by the Savannah College of Art and Design students, and that may be – since the thirty years SCAD set foot here in Savannah only good things have happened.  Restoration, preservation, and now transformed to lure millions of people here per year.

It seems now that day in Savannah you will see the trolley tour buses going crazy, even on a Monday.  What is it with this town that has made tourism top on its income list?  We are known for the St. Patricks’s Day Parade and truly I don’t know how we fit all those people in our tiny city.  What I find simply amazing is that I can’t even go to work without tourists snapping photos of the building I work in, day and night, but why is this?

They claim Savannah is one of the most beautiful cities to visit and I couldn’t agree more. Once you are here you are lured here again and again. It is also true for me, I came to visit twenty years ago, now I’ve moved here, and I work here. A walk by the river in the old ale pubs drinking and eating and listening to the live music playing on the river by artists may just lure you here.  A ride up the river on a ferry boat may want you to stay. Perhaps it’s the pirate history you came to see, the old tunnels used to bootleg rum to the Pirate House.  If it’s architecture, you definitely came to the right place.

Many films or parts of films have been made in Savannah from Forrest Gump’s famous bench scene—in fact last year alone over 200 projects were worked per the Savannah Film Commission.  Savannah still gives carriage rides on the old cobblestone streets, or the oyster shell topped ones from the 1700’s which by the way, show no cracks as does pavement today.

They claim Savannah is one of the most haunted cities, and that may be—proof is there if you look hard enough, even during the day. One of the peaceful squares (or the many grassy parks that the original settlers reserved for the patrons of the town) you will note that the mossy fungus do not grow or hang from the trees in one particular square.

Speaking of haunting, you never know who you will sit next to at a bar or restaurant.  Stars stop here and blend in just like everyone else.  I’ve met plenty of actors and movie stars; and it’s an unspoken rule in the town to let them be—so they keep coming back.

Savannah_Paula_Deen_Wayne_Schafer

Wayne Schafer
(photo by Jay Martin)

Just last week, at Paula Deen’s I met a foodie accidentally, but on purpose. Big Fat Daddy’s owner Wayne Schafer and wife were passing through to go to other parts of Georgia and even though they somehow managed to get in with a four day reservation, they were corralled in the Paula Deen store just like the rest of us waiting for our table.

Schafer is a legendary barbecue guy who sells food up and down the East Coast, my husband met him in Virginia twenty years ago and has read his blog for cooking tips.  I suppose you can say, it is a small world after all, and my husband approached him and got some talk time—and he was welcomed to snap photos while his wife was getting him in front of Paula’s famous painting.

On this night, however, it was Paula’s fried chicken that was dinner for Schafer, not barbecue.   Schafer had been bar hopping and he and his wife complained about their cell phones not working, constantly dying or screens acting up.  (Schafer seems to live on Twitter so he was in a panicked state).

The lady at the next table told them it was due to the lack of cell phone towers in Savannah (likely story) but my husband and I smiled to ourselves while having dessert.  We know better.  We have our own opinion—it’s the ghost’s energy telling them not to take care of business and enjoy their vacation and stay awhile.  While in Savannah, everyone should enjoy it.

Whatever you do in life make it a point to come to Savannah.   Take a tour, eat at a restaurant, walk along River Street or sit in a square and read a book. Whatever you do, you will need more than a few days to do it in; this city is rich in activities. It’s one of the only places on earth that you will see old and young , famous and unknown, partying at the bars together, in perfect harmony.

Rhineharts Fried Oyster Poor Boy Sandwich

If you’re traveling to Augusta, Georgia then there is one place you must include on your itinerary, and that’s Rhinehart’s Oyster Bar.  They undoubtedly offer the best seafood this side of the Mississippi.

Craig and Amy opened this now famous eating establishment in 1983 with little more than a small refrigerator and their Aunt Nancy’s toaster oven.   Rhinehart’s moister oysters, home baked bread, and attentive, hardworking staff quickly became a hit in Augusta.  People began to tell their friends and one thing lead to another and fast forward thirty years and now they are on the map for the best seafood in Georgia.

Most Recommended Item on the Menu:  Rhinehart’s Fried Oyster Poor Boy Sandwich

My favorite item on the menu is the Rhinehart’s Fried Oyster Poor Boy Sandwich.  This delicious sandwich is made from fresh oysters that have been hand dipped in a perfectly seasoned mixture of batter and fried to a crisp and perfect golden color.  Hot and crisp from the fryer these oysters are served on home baked bread with chips and a pickle. At $9.89 it’s a down home bargain!  Top that off with an ice cold beer and most might say you’re in seafood heaven!

If you swing by on a Sunday be sure to check out their lunch special.  For only $6.77 you can choose from a flaky fried shrimp basket, frank’s special, jambalaya, poor boy -your choice, jumbo catfish, flaky fried tilapia, flaky fried shrimp or chicken finger.

Rhinehart’s Augusta GA Location

Rhinehart’s Oyster Bar is conveniently located at  3051 Washington Rd. in Augusta, Georgia 30909.  You can reach them by phone by calling 706-860-BEER (2337). You can also visit them online at :  http://www.rhineharts.com. Be sure the check out the video below it gives a really nice overview of the restaurant.