A Girls' Getaway in Charleston and Savannah
Two friends, with a four-year-old in tow, want to visit plantations, go antiquing, try Southern food—and find the perfect cupcake.
Savannah's 160-acre Bonaventure Cemetery—the one in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil—is on the river and has landscaped trails (330 Bonaventure Rd.). It's a few miles east of downtown, so you'll want to drive.
"I'm a vegetarian, Michelle wants to eat Southern dishes, and Gabby will need kid food. Where can we all dine?"
Hominy Grill serves the best Southern breakfast in Charleston (207 Rutledge Ave., 843/937-0930, hominygrill.com, from $4.50). Fleet Landing has seafood, fried green tomatoes, a kids' menu, and loaner toys (186 Concord St., 843/722-8100, fleetlanding.net, lunch from $6).
In Savannah, Clary's Café makes a classic diner breakfast (4330 Habersham St., 912/351-0302, claryscafesavannah.com, breakfast from $5). At Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room, four generations have cooked family-style meals for lunch guests—on weekdays only—since 1943. Try the fried chicken, mac and cheese, collard greens, banana pudding, and whatever other dishes are passed your way. The line can get rather long, so get there early (107 W. Jones St., 912/232-5997, mrswilkes.com, $16, $8 kids under 8).
"How can we get a table at The Lady & Sons?"
Food Network star Paula Deen's iconic Savannah restaurant only accepts reservations far in advance for parties of 10 or more, but you can make a same-day lunch or dinner reservation starting at 9:30 a.m. It's wise to line up by 9 a.m. Show up later without reservations and you could face a wait of two hours (102 W. Congress St., 912/233-2600, theladyandsons.com, dinner entrées from $19).
"We've been known to travel far (and dare I say wide?) in search of the perfect cupcake..."
At Cupcake, in Charleston, the praline and red-velvet flavors rule (433 King St., 843/853-8181, freshcupcakes.com). And locals and national gourmands say Savannah's Back in the Day Bakery has some of the country's best cupcakes (2403 Bull St., 912/495-9292, backinthedaybakery.com). For a more sophisticated sweets fix, sit down for afternoon tea at the Savannah College of Art and Design's Gryphon Tea Room, which was an old pharmacy before the school's students converted it. They added a few mod touches in 2006 but left the 14 stained-glass windows, mahogany woodwork, and tile floors. Afternoon tea is from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and includes tea sandwiches, scones, clotted cream, preserves, fruit, sweets, and your choice of tea (337 Bull St., 912/525-5880, scad.edu, $15 per person).
Break up the drive between the two cities by visiting either Beaufort or Bluffton, S.C. Both are historic coastal towns loaded with character.