Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Bachelorette Weekend in Savannah, Georgia

My Foreign Service bestie is getting married, so we flew to the States for the wedding and to visit our family. The timing worked out so I was able to attend my dear friend's bachelorette weekend in Savannah, Georgia. I've been to Savannah before as part of an American South road trip I took with M many years ago, but this time was completely different given the crowd and the occasion. I'm normally such a hardcore trip planner that it was such an unusual and nice experience for me to show up to a trip where someone else made the itinerary.

Longtime readers of the blog will know the importance the other N and M play in our lives from my many posts on our previous trips with them in Korea. This was N's bachelorette, and it was a blast. I hadn't met most of the other bridesmaids before, but I learned a lot about them and we all had so much fun celebrating N. We all arrived Friday night to our Airbnb in Savannah and hung out over drinks and pizza. I was the first to get there and with another bridesmaid helped the maid of honor decorate the Airbnb. This was my first time doing a full-on bachelorette trip like this, and it was so special, especially thanks to the two maids of honor: the one who attended and the one who couldn't attend but did a lot of the planning and logistics from afar.

(The theme for the weekend was Veuve before the Vows because N loves champagne. I learned in the process of writing this blog post that "veuve" means widow in French and became associated with champagne when widowed Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin changed the name of her late husband's business she decided to take over from Clicquot-Muiron et Fils to Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin, which "suggested a certain kind of respectability to the beverage… some of these beverages had gotten associated with the debauchery and wild parties of the royal courts of old" according to historian Kolleen M. Guy. You can read more about that fascinating history on the BBC website.)

On Saturday morning, we kicked off the day with a phenomenal brunch at Collins Quarter at Forsyth Park. Everything was delicious, and I was thrilled to find one of my favorite herbal teas on the menu: butterfly pea tea. To my shock, they were planning on serving the tea without lemon, when the signature perk of this deep blue tea is that acid turns it purple. The effect is so fun to watch, and they were happy to oblige my request for a few lemon slices.

After brunch, we took a delightful stroll through the farmers market at Forsyth Park. I bought a paleo cookie that was one of the best I ever had, and a kind man selling honey gifted a bottle to N for free when he found out she was getting married. Another friend, A, bought a bag of delicious, local Georgia peaches that she and I enjoyed eating throughout the weekend. Farmers markets are something I really miss living in Dubai. The closest we have in the UAE is something called Ripe Market, which has food but mostly food trucks and not a lot of fresh produce.

Then we did a pedal pub, which most of us had never experienced before, with another group who was also on a bachelorette trip. A pedal pub is not a pub itself but a vehicle powered by the pedaling of the customers and steered by an experienced conductor that you use to travel from pub to pub, where they offer special deals for pedal pub clients.

It was so much fun and we were able to get a light workout in while exploring a bunch of different places. The standout stop was Mint to Be Mojito, which has not only great mojitos but the best empanadas we've ever had. It even had a speakeasy in the back called La Aparicion that we got to experience since we were on the walking tour.

After that, we embarked on a cocktails and bar bites happy hour tour where we learned a bit about Savannah's Prohibition history and enjoyed drinks and food. I was grateful every stop had a mocktail option; I've become so used to mocktails in Dubai that I was surprised that multiple restaurants we visited had no non-alcoholic options listed. (The tour advertised itself as offering "heavy food tastings" but we felt like the portions were on the smaller end, so I would not recommend skipping a meal thinking the tour will be enough. It will not be enough for most.) We went back to the Airbnb to shower, eat some leftover pizza, and get ready for a night out.

Our evening started with Savannah Smiles dueling piano bar. Most of us (myself included) had never experienced a dueling piano bar before, but I had heard about them and was excited to go. Once we got in, I was blown away by the talent of the musicians. They were incredible pianists and singers (which I suppose on further reflection you have to be to succeed in such a heavily tip-based business where you are constantly improvising based on what the crowd demands). We could write things on napkins and take them to the stage with some cash to make song requests or insert a phrase. Of course, we had to get N and us up there for a dance as the bachelorette party. The maid of honor had brought several large prints of N's fiance M to the bachelorette and we took one of the faces on our night out, so even he made it up to the stage. (In case you're curious, we danced to Dancing Queen, which is a much longer song than we realized when we requested it. But now we have a fun memory!)

We then walked from the piano bar to the Electric Moon Skytop Lounge, a bar with a stunning view over the water. The highlight of the whole night was the Electric Moon dance floor, where people from seemingly all walks of life and all flavors of bachelorette were brought together by the most incredible DJ any of us had ever seen. We were tired from a full day of activities, but that DJ made us not want to leave. Every song and every transition was perfect. N loved it so much that she went up and got the DJ's Instagram handle so she could let her wedding DJ know that was the kind of vibe she was going for at her reception. We ended the night on such a high note.

On Sunday, we had bagels for breakfast at the Airbnb and then went to Tybee Beach for the day. Traffic was out of control but we made it there eventually. We had umbrellas and chairs reserved on the beach, and the maid of honor brought an inflatable engagement ring. We took photos, swam in the freshingly cool ocean water, sunbathed, read books, consumed an assortment of snacks and drinks we'd brought, and chatted. It was so relaxing. Even though Dubai has plenty of great beaches, we don't go often since M isn't a fan and it's a bit of a drive from our part of town. I hadn't realized how long it's been since I've enjoyed the beach until I was there. I love swimming and sunbathing and reading my book on the beach, and I managed to wear enough sunscreen that I didn't burn.

It was a bit of a nightmare trying to get food at the beach - everything was overcrowded and the wait times were very long. We decided to head back to the Airbnb, where we snacked, showered, and got dressed up in pink for our dinner at The Olde Pink House, a historic Southern restaurant. The food was so good, the portions were generous, and the ambiance was fantastic. It was the perfect choice for our final meal of the bachelorette. We decided to spend the rest of the night hanging out comfortably at the Airbnb, so we went back and changed into our pajamas and chatted and played games for hours. It is such a precious memory and I loved the chance to get to know these amazing women united in our love for N.

I already miss Savannah and there's even more I wanted to experience but didn't get a chance this time. (I'm looking at you, murder mystery book-themed tea house.) I feel so thankful I had the opportunity to come home from Dubai early enough to attend the bachelorette and meet the other bridesmaids and spend more time with N. At the same time, I missed M and S and was so excited to see them again. It's always good to come home.