Shawndra Russell

Correspondent

  • Savannah, Georgia, USA

Shawndra Russell is a Forbes Travel Guide correspondent based in Savannah. A travel blogger for Society South and Visit Savannah, Russell has also contributed to BeerAdvocate, Travel + Leisure and Snooth, among others. Her first job as a marketing director for a group travel company led to adventures in China, Italy, Alaska, Hawaii — and a case of the travel bug. Next, she’s saving for a month-long road trip through Ireland. She loyally follows the Cleveland Browns and steals every chance she can to write and read books.

  • On July 12, 2013
    Shawndra Russell answered the question: Shawndra Russell

    What’s new in Savannah?

    Perhaps the biggest sensation of late resulted from the announcement of the brand-new Savannah Food and Wine Festival taking place November 11-17. This celebrity-filled event includes appearances by Hugh Acheson, Steven Satterfield and Chris Hastings among others. Savannah’s restaurant scene continues to grow, so the announcement of celebrity Chef Acheson opening up an Italian-inspired place in 2014 also caused quite a stir. Other notable openings include the latest from the Tran family, who own three popular Asian establishments and are taking a stab at a pure seafood experience with Chive Sea Bar—no sushi in sight. The Bier Haus, a German and Belgian joint, recently opened their doors after months of anticipation by salivating Savannahians.
    Another festival announcement by Kayne Lanahan, the mastermind behind the indie-focused Savannah Stopover, shows another area of growth for Savannah—our music scene. Lanahan’s fall Revival Fest  will focus on bluegrass and incorporate all things Southern, including food and crafts.
  • On July 12, 2013
    Shawndra Russell answered the question: Shawndra Russell

    What is the weather like right now in Savannah?

    Shawndra Russell Summers in Savannah are sultry—highs are often in the 90s and high humidity equates to vacation hair with volume, especially after the somewhat regular afternoon summer showers sweep in. Nights cool off a little, but temperatures stay in the 70s or 80s. Being outside requires staying hydrated and seeking shade, which we thankfully have a lot of due to centuries-old oaks inhabiting our 22 squares downtown. You’ll also find large outdoor umbrellas at most of the restaurants and bars, or soak up the ocean breeze at nearby Tybee Island. For up-to-date weather information, visit local news station WSAV’s website.
  • On June 29, 2013
    Shawndra Russell is now following Quia Querisma
  • On June 29, 2013

    Starting to think about blog posts for the fall...what do you want to know about visiting Savannah, Georgia? Let me know!

  • On June 29, 2013
    Shawndra Russell is now following Erika Wiggins
  • On June 29, 2013
    Shawndra Russell answered the question: Shawndra Russell

    What are the best day trips near Savannah?

    Savannah’s coastal locale makes it a great place to road trip from as the journey will include lots of watery vistas. Tybee Island is the ideal day trip, at only 20 minutes from downtown Savannah but with plenty of entertainment to fill a day. Kick things off with a diner-style, funky breakfast at The Breakfast Club, then rent kayaks to check out pristine Little Tybee. Add a leisurely bike ride that winds throughout the island and have dinner overlooking the ocean before heading to Sting Ray's or Tybee Island Social Club for live music.

    Other nearby choices? St. Simons and the other Golden Isles are peaceful and quaint, making them a nice respite for a day. Or consider Hilton Head Island, about 45 minutes away and with a dog friendly beach (at times) and lots of premier golf courses. A few celebrity chefs also have restaurants there, including Robert Irvine and Orchid
  • On June 29, 2013
    Shawndra Russell answered the question: Shawndra Russell

    Where is the best nightlife in Savannah?

    City Market has live music most days, while Congress Street is where you’ll find many of Savannah’s liveliest bars, such as dive bar The Rail Pub—voted 7th best Happy Hour in America. Jazz’d, Jen’s & Friends and Lulu’s Chocolate Bar make for great date or girls’ nights out, with cozy atmospheres and stellar martinis. Rocks on the Roof, The Sparetime, and 22 Square Bar at Andaz are all known for quality, classically made cocktails, or throw back a few beers while playing some bar sports at Dub’s Pub, Retro on Congress, or Congress Street Social Club. The karaoke at McDonough’s and Bay Street Blues is tough to beat, while those who’d rather sing along than take center stage will enjoy Savannah Smiles Dueling Pianos. Live music at The Jinx leans toward the harder rock, country or alternative, where Sentient Bean (acoustic, singer-songwriter) and Jazz’d feature softer sets. Wine enthusiasts should check out Winston’s Wine Bar or Maxwell’s.
  • On June 29, 2013
    Shawndra Russell answered the question: Shawndra Russell

    What is nightlife like in Savannah?

    Many people take advantage of Savannah’s liberal to-go cup policy, which means you can hop from place to place with a drink in tow no matter where the night takes you. Our nightlife options run the gamut—intimate date spots, raucous settings for karaoke or shouting alongside dueling pianos, and quirky live music venues. The crowd is a mix of artsy SCAD students, Savannah professionals, and fun-seekers ready to let loose while on vacation. Savannah’s music scene continues to grow, so most nights you can find a show from acoustic to country, covers to rock. One quote from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil sums up our nightlife well: “If you go to Atlanta, the first question people ask you is, ‘What's your business?’ In Macon they ask, ‘Where do you go to church?’ In Augusta they ask your grandmother's maiden name. But in Savannah the first question people ask you is ‘What would you like to drink?’
  • On June 29, 2013
    Shawndra Russell answered the question: Shawndra Russell

    What are the best bakeries in Savannah?

    Savannah is known for a lot of things—its beauty, history, squares, and to-go cup policy to name a few—but you’ll hear many tour guides describe us as a “Sweet City” too, and Lulu’s Chocolate Bar is one of the sweetest you’ll find. Rich, decadent cheesecakes, tarts, and brownies get more attention than their huge dessert martinis—quite a feat! Goose Feathers Express Café and Bakery shows that not all baked goods are created sweetly. You’ll find stuffed croissants, savory quiches, and an assortment of fresh bagels and pastries. Back in the Day Bakery released their first, and very popular, cookbook last year, but even if you can imitate some of their tasty treats, recreating their just-baked bread used for their hearty sandwiches is almost impossible. Lastly, Foxy Loxy Print Gallery and Cafe and sister spot The Coffee Fox provide several vegan choices and their tough-to-keep-stocked kolaches.
  • On June 29, 2013
    Shawndra Russell answered the question: Shawndra Russell

    What are the best neighborhood restaurants in Savannah?

    The best neighborhood restaurants provide great food, a unique, inviting atmosphere and a source of pride for the locals who frequent them. One of my favorite places to take out-of-towners is Crystal Beer Parlor—a former speakeasy that has retained the old-school feel and has a huge menu. The darling of SoFo is Green Truck Pub, a tiny farm-fresh burger spot that keeps locals wrapping around the building day after day. Those looking for a higher-end experience can’t go wrong at Elizabeth on 37th, housed in a 1900s mansion and the answer many Savannahians offer when asked about their favorite dinner destination. And if you want breakfast or to satisfy a sweet tooth, the popular Back in the Day Bakery will hit the spot—owners and husband-and-wife team released their first cookbook in 2012, putting Back in the Day in the global spotlight. Nearby Butterhead Greens is one of my favorite neighborhood lunch spots, with daily lunch combination specials, an infused water of the day, and a daily locally sourced soup. Plus, their Senor Guapo is one of my favorite sandwiches in Savannah.
  • On June 29, 2013
    Shawndra Russell answered the question: Shawndra Russell

    What are the best day trips near Savannah?

    Savannah’s coastal locale makes it a great place to road trip from as the journey will include lots of watery vistas. Tybee Island is the ideal day trip, at only 20 minutes from downtown Savannah but with plenty of entertainment to fill a day. Kick things off with a diner-style, funky breakfast at The Breakfast Club, then rent kayaks to check out pristine Little Tybee. Add a leisurely bike ride that winds throughout the island and have dinner overlooking the ocean before heading to Sting Ray's or Tybee Island Social Club for live music.

    Other nearby choices? St. Simons and the other Golden Isles are peaceful and quaint, making them a nice respite for a day. Or consider Hilton Head Island, about 45 minutes away and with a dog friendly beach (at times) and lots of premier golf courses. A few celebrity chefs also have restaurants there, including Robert Irvine and Orchid
  • On June 26, 2013
    Shawndra Russell answered the question: Shawndra Russell

    What are the best neighborhoods in Savannah?

    At times, people debate the names, borders, and divisions of neighborhoods in Savannah, which makes it challenging to talk about. However, the truth is, Savannah is pretty much divided into two areas: Historic Downtown, and Everything Else. Harsh but true. However, part of that “everything else” is the emerging SoFo (South of Forsyth Park) area—quickly being recognized as the creative hub of the Hostess City. SCAD students and young professionals live here, and the First Friday Art March events encourage everyone to come out and support the local galleries. Some of Savannah’s best neighborhood dining is also in SoFo, such as Green Truck Pub, Foxy Loxy Café, and Local11ten (soon to be joined by celebrity chef Hugh Acheson’s new endeavor, tentatively titled The Florence).
  • On June 26, 2013
    Shawndra Russell is now following Savannah
  • On June 26, 2013
    Shawndra Russell answered the question: Shawndra Russell

    What are the best parks in Savannah?

    Savannah’s largest and best park, Forsyth Park, marks the end of the Historic District. This urban playground has a 1.1 mile sidewalk loop frequented by runners, bikers and pet owners that stays shaded thanks to the huge oak trees lining the exterior loop. Inside, ultimate Frisbee, rugby, and volleyball teams play pickup while SCAD students sprawl out on blankets to study and work on their tan simultaneously. Forsyth is also home to many free concerts, a weekly Forsyth Farmers' Market and several festivals, and one of the most photographed landmarks in Savannah sits in the middle—the Forsyth Park fountain, where the water is dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day. Arguably, Savannah’s 22 squares are also amazing little parks, each with their own defining characteristics like unique fountains, statues, and beautiful foliage.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Shawndra Russell answered the question: Shawndra Russell

    What are the best neighborhoods in Savannah?

    At times, people debate the names, borders, and divisions of neighborhoods in Savannah, which makes it challenging to talk about. However, the truth is, Savannah is pretty much divided into two areas: Historic Downtown, and Everything Else. Harsh but true. However, part of that “everything else” is the emerging SoFo (South of Forsyth Park) area—quickly being recognized as the creative hub of the Hostess City. SCAD students and young professionals live here, and the First Friday Art March events encourage everyone to come out and support the local galleries. Some of Savannah’s best neighborhood dining is also in SoFo, such as Green Truck Pub, Foxy Loxy Café, and Local11ten (soon to be joined by celebrity chef Hugh Acheson’s new endeavor, tentatively titled The Florence).