10 Jun 2021
Savannah is busting at her belle-gown seams with talented artisans, so there's no excuse for leaving Savannah without an awesome souvenir. Here are the best made-in-Savannah gifts that are sure to please.
Full disclosure: I’m a last-minute airport souvenir shopper. Hence, the mugs and magnets. For that, I apologize because I do a lot better — and so should you.
I asked my friends what Savannah-centric gifts they like to share (outside of the key chains, ceramic sculptures of the Tybee Lighthouse, or a backscratcher made from an alligator hand).
I love food. And I especially love a food that reminds me of a place. Luckily, Savannahians are known for producing copious amounts of edible goodness that are specific to the region. We’re known for our pralines and pecans, so those are no-brainer gifts. Swing by River Street Sweets or Savannah Candy Kitchen, and they’ll hook you up. And they give samples!
Byrd Cookie Company’s four locations make it easy to snag some iconic Key Lime Coolers that my daughter — a Savannah native — will shed actual tears for (I’m a Scotch Oatmeal girl myself). Byrd has been in business for more than 90 years, which is a testament to the fact that they make a damn good cookie. And did I mention the samples?
Look, the Bird Girl statue is nice and all, but she doesn’t really translate on a T-shirt (creepy). And let’s just agree that any screen-printed shirt with flip-flops is off the table (‘80s creepy). If I’m going the T-route, I like a baby-soft graphic shirt from The Coffee Fox or Sweetwater Brewing Co.’s Drink Local Georgia Tee. The latter isn’t specific to Savannah, but the only time you won’t see me wearing mine is at my daughter’s parent-teacher meeting. Because…well…you know…
For the classy crowd, my friend introduced me to Lake Pajamas. These Pima cotton PJs are like sleeping in a silky cocoon that you never want to metamorphose out of. Running between $68 and $108, they aren’t cheap. But nothing good ever is. (Except free samples. Those are decidedly awesome.)
It’s no secret that Savannahians know how to drink. Turns out, we also know how to brew. Service Brewing Co. (Ground Pounder!) and Coastal Empire Beer (Tybee Island Blonde!) both produce impeccable flavors that can be purchased in the city’s favorite form: “to-go.” Most grocers, including Whole Foods and Parker’s Gourmet Market, carry the six-packs, but a trip to the source is always worth the pilgrimage. Can’t fly with liquids? Opt for the T-shirt or coaster and assure your loved ones how good your beer tasted.
A brother from another brew mother is PERC Coffee. As a native of the Pacific Northwest, coffee is in my DNA, which is why I can assure you that nothing Starbucksian could ever measure up to the quality of PERC Coffee, made right here in my adopted city. Again, a visit to the source is an interesting off-the-beaten-path trip. But you can always pick up a bag of beans at Foxy Loxy or Whole Foods.
You can’t take dinner from The Pink House home with you (or at least you shouldn’t try), but you can cook like a Savannahian. Drop into the Paula Deen Store after hitting their Southern buffet and you can get a signed copy of any book written by Paula and her sons. Another Southern-cooking saint, Mrs. Wilkes, has a book of traditional recipes offered daily in the restaurant. If BBQ beckons your flavor buds, check out Wiley’s Championship BBQ on Whitemarsh Island and their book that “preaches the gospel of the Church of the Holy Smoke.”
For culinary creatives, check out any of the titles by producer, artistic director and food stylist Libbie Summers who often extends her talents beyond the borders of her Savannah, having been featured in magazines such as Vogue, Bon Appetit, and Better Homes and Gardens.
Nourish Natural Bath products takes the best scents of Savannah and turns it into a product that you can soak and moisturize in. Their Bath Fizzie balls look like scoops of sherbet and come in local flavors like “Savannah Garden,” “Southern Magnolia,” and “Savannah Pecan,” making for the perfect Savannah souvenir.
Salacia Salts have gone national, but the products blended from Southern botanicals, essential oils and 100% pure Atlantic and Dead Sea salt launched right here in Savannah in 2012 and it’s packed from recycled wine bottles I likely drank from. Many local boutiques carry Salacia products, including One Fish Two Fish and Lucky’s Market in midtown.
The city is teaming with artists, thanks in large part to the creative influence of the Savannah College of Art and Design. The ShopSCAD boutique gives visitors a taste of the extensive talents of SCAD’s grads in the form of paintings, prints, jewelry and more.
Kobo Gallery is an artists’ cooperative near City Market and feature more than a dozen local artists working in a variety of mediums and selling their wares for a wide range of price points.
Low Country Luxe has cornered the market of Southern fragrance. While founder Natalie Evans has gone national with her products and has been featured in media outlets such as O, Southern Living and InStyle Home, she remains close to her Georgia roots with scents like “Moonshine,” “Sea Grass” and “Live Oak.”
The Paris Market and Brocante a Savannah boutique and cafe you simply do not want to miss. Inspired by a love of world travel and a quirky design style, get lost in the details of all the store has to offer. The upstairs is filled with local jewelry made by Savannah artisans, retro style candy sold by the pound, art and design coffee table books, and an adorable kids clothing and toy section. Don’t forget to wander downstairs where you can find Paris Market’s famous Savannah Candle; a statement souvenir with a subtle smell of Savannah’s spring flora that will surely have you wishing you were walking through these historic streets long after you have gone.
Do it all.
What’s Savannah’s one-stop shopping for hostess, birthday, anniversary and thank you gift? The Savannah Bee Company. They get a category all their own because they literally have it all: delicious honey (no, really, you can’t imagine), comfy T’s and all-things honey-infused, including chocolates, coffees, teas, bath products and candles, just to name a few. And they might just be the happiest workers you’ve ever seen. Really, there must bee something in that honey.
Step inside the Gift Shoppe by Polka Dots, a quaint boutique off of Broughton Street, to find Savannah maps, Savannah postcards, drink koozies for our open container law, puzzles and even embroidered Savannah pillows! It’s a one-stop shop as its name suggests.