From its spot in Statesboro, Georgia, Holidays Greek-Italian Restaurant has stood as a bridge over the Ionian Sea—the body of water that separates Greece from Italy—since 1991. Only this bridge isn’t constructed from beams and bolts, but instead from tightly packed grape leaves and stringy lasagna cheese. Indeed, the family-owned restaurant houses two very different culinary cultures under the same roof. The result is an eclectic spread that includes everything from ravioli stuffed with ground beef to souvlaki, or pork shish kebabs marinated in a house dressing.
A hospitable staff welcomes guests to this eco-conscious hunting and fishing resort, featured in numerous publications, including Savannah Magazine. Traveling companions can launch their lavish retreat with samples of artisanal cheeses produced on-site, a glass of wine, or a quick game of pin the appropriate tail on various stuffed wildlife while settling into a rustic lodge room. Themed quarters are decorated with the doings of local artists, and each has an entrance to the veranda, which overlooks the lustrous waters of the main lodge lake. Over the course of a two-night stay, guests can fish for free in the catfish pond, or for an additional $50 fee, for bass, blue gill, or compliments in more than 240 acres of ponds, stocked with creatures indigenous to Georgia. Aquatic hunters can even convey their catches to the kitchen to have the chef custom-prepare the freshwater fruits, or diners may simply choose from a seasonal menu comprising many organic ingredients culled from the lodge's orchards and greenhouses.
Vibrant groves of trees and gardens provide a scenic backdrop for year-round driving range practice and miniature golf at Tualatin Island Greens. At the range, 43 synthetic hitting bays (including 25 covered and 12 heated stations) look out onto a vast field with plenty of real estate for Herculean drives and accuracy-testing target areas, including a green surrounded by a moat to keep area lawn gnomes from stealing the flagstick. The range also features target flags at 20, 30, and 40 yards to facilitate short-game practice or serve as the destination for balls hit out of the practice sand trap.
Water trickles over a tiny canyon of bedrock that runs alongside Tualatin Island Greens' mini-golf course. The 18-hole course is situated in the shade of towering pines that, paired with its well-manicured gardens, instill peace of mind as players read tricky slopes and avoid obstacles such as Lilliputian ponds, sand traps, and Olympic track hurdles. Golfers can improve their par-hunting prowess past sunset, as the entire complex has lights for nighttime use. Tualatin's Island Grill is also onsite to keep appetites at bay with burgers, chicken wings, and other savory fare.
You would think that a restaurant inside one of The Hill's 200-year-old historic homes would have a menu steeped in traditional American cuisine. But that's not the case with Blue Mermaid Island Grill, which instead serves the sweet, spicy food of the Caribbean. Popular dishes include everything from guava-braised short ribs to a New World paella with chicken, shrimp, mussels, and sausage in curried rice. Chefs can prepare many menu items vegetarian or gluten-free.
Blue Mermaid Island Grill also has full bar service, including eight rotating craft-beer taps and margaritas in nine flavors. Cocktails contribute to an upbeat vibe—which landed it a feature on Food Network's Rachel Ray's Tasty Travels—as does live music four nights a week with both professional and local musicians. The indoor and outdoor dining areas are decorated with pieces from local artists, adding to the grassroots vibe and relieving owners Scott and Karen Logan of trying to pull off a major museum heist.
Monkey Love Dessert Bar & Gallery's sweet-savvy staff plate primate-themed sweets and pour cupfuls of steaming espresso drinks from their extensive menu. Culinary explorers can taste the baboon dookie, a serving of miniature peanut-butter bars drizzled in chocolate, sprinkled with banana chips, and followed closely by a note-taking British zoologist ($1.65). New York–style cheesecake greets tongues with rich, creamy vanilla ($2.95), and a slice of chocolate-heaven cake ($3.95) snuggles under a blanket of mocha mousse and buttercream icing. Meanwhile, the flavored syrups in house-specialty espresso drinks—available in 12-ounce Chimp ($3.65), 16-ounce Baboon ($4.15), and 20-ounce Ape ($4.65) sizes—bugle peppermint- and cinnamon-tinged reveilles in the ears of snoozing taste buds.
The Loft bolsters its menu of fresh, deli-style sandwiches with the hardwood accents and natural lighting of a comfortable bistro. The club sandwich throws a flavor party in patrons' mouths, inviting turkey breast, ham, and provolone to join a traditional BLT in capering around a carbohydrate dance floor made of texas toast ($6.99). The portobello flatbread brings together a freshly picked cap, mozzarella, and pesto ($6.49), and the tuna melt pairs fresh tuna with swiss cheese and piquant mustard for a flavor combination as familiar as your own face stitched onto a childhood blanket ($5.99). The grilled-chicken salad combines the juiciness of an expertly cooked chicken breast with the crispness of a house salad ($6.49).