Monthly Archives: May 2006

Circa 1880s passenger car acquired by Savannah’s Roundhouse Railway Museum

GrcarThe Roundhouse Railway Museum has been gifted a somewhat rare wooden passenger car built for the Georgia Railroad Company. It had been used as an office for many years and now will be restored over the next several years.  The Savannah Morning News reports:

It’s partially covered with shingles, sports several colors of fading paint, and has a gap in one side where a bathroom was attached, but old No. 67 is finally back where it belongs – in a railroad yard.

The 63 foot long car arrived in Savannah in December and was placed inside the Roundhouse grounds.

Tybee Island Light Station guides ships safely into Savannah River

Lighthouseoutside The Tybee Island Light Station has undergone a detailed renovation and has been restored back to its former glory.

Ordered by General James Oglethorpe, Governor of the 13th colony, in 1732, the Tybee Island Light Station has been guiding mariners safe entrance into the Savannah River for over 270 years.

Tours of the lighthouse are self-guided with volunteers on hand to answer questions.

How about a saltwater fishing excursion to coastal Georgia?

When fishing off the barrier islands in coastal Georgia for the first time or going after different species of fish than you are used to, hire a top notch charter boat skipper that knows the tidal flows and navigational charts that first time out. Fl_add

Now that you are ready to hire a good local captain for your next fishing charter while visiting Savannah, here are some points to consider. We start with the assumption that you have a half day or full day set aside, here are a few tips that should serve you well. Don’t always hire a guide on price alone. A good rule of thumb is the less expensive the captain is, the least amount of fish you will likely catch. The better captain is typically found waiting at his boat for your party of anglers to arrive and ready to cast off, not vice versa. His rods and reels are in good functioning condition for the day’s fishing. Bwcover2003

Once underway, both the captain and the mate will be quite forthcoming about where you are fishing, how they rig, and will let you hook the fish. They will make sure you want to eat the “keeper fish” you catch to begin with, otherwise they will release your catch along with any other undersized or marginal fish caught. And one final tip, even if you want to fish in your own boat, there are many captains that will hire out to come with you which is a great way to learn if you are equipped with the right tackle and instrumentation.   And if this quick primer leaves you even more confused, then peruse our roster of expert fishing guides at our fishing and boating directory on our Visitor’s Guide to Savannah and the Lowcournty or call our local favorite Miss Judy at Miss Judy’s Fishing Charters.

Hominy Shrimp and Grits do you want?

200605_flaysavannah The Lowcountry has attracted hungry travelers throughout the southeast for a century or more with exquisitely flavorful dishes including Shrimp and Grits, Lowcountry bog, "hoppin John", and Brunswick stew to name just a handful. With the recent emergence of Lady and Son’s Restaurant located in Savannah, GA’s landmark historic district as a popular national tourist attraction, a steady stream of hungry tourists seeking to indulge their new found taste for Lowcountry fare are undertaking gourmet getaway weekends in search of well prepared cuisine for discriminating palates. A recent article in Food and Wine Magazine accompanies Paula Deen’s Food Channel co-chef Bobby Flay and his wife on earlier trip this year to coastal Georgia.

Flay had first visited Savannah several years ago during the taping of his Food Network show Food Nation; in all his meals around the country, the ones here had amazed him the most. He’d been eager to come back to check out restaurants, both new and classic, that he hoped would inspire recipes for Bar Americain. March was curious about the shops; the city’s blue-chip antique stores had joined forces with new boutiques to form a downtown design district. So during a lull in the planning for his next restaurant, Bobby Flay Steak (due to open this summer in Atlantic City), and before March was to begin filming Conviction, the pair flew to Savannah for a tour.

A native New Yorker, Flay is a passionate advocate for the cuisine of the American South, and the menu at Bar Americain features a few of the region’s classics (shrimp and grits, dirty rice, barbecue) torqued up with his trademark bold flavors. When the waiter at 700 Drayton inside the Mansion on Forsyth Park set down a lovely seared scallop scented with vanilla, Flay joked, sotto voce, "Where are the grits?!"

"Now this is a chef who knows where he is," Flay remarked while eating at Gottlieb’s on Broughton St. as he tucked into a beautifully reimagined Brunswick stew, made with rabbit and wild mushrooms. Here, Flay found his grits, enriched with cream cheese and keeping company with a rack of lamb glazed with local cane syrup. He ordered one of every dish on the menu.

So the next time you hear that old Lowcountry joke when your server asks you "hominy shrimp and grits do you want?" The correct answer would be, just keep it coming until I tell you when enough is enough.

Great galloping seahorses, check out Skidaway Island Sea Aquarium

The University of Georgia’s public saltwater aquarium located on Skidaway Island display organisms typical of the various habitats that are found along the coast: the tidal creeks of the salt marshes, the ocean beaches, and the open waters of the continental shelf including "live bottom" areas such as Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary. Fourteen exhibit tanks hold 200 live animals that represent approximately 50 species of fish, turtles, and invertebrates found along the Georgia coast. Aquarium

Museum display cases on the upper level exhibit fossils of sharks, giant armadillos, whales, mastodons, wooly mammoths dredged from the Skidaway River. Native American artifacts dating back to the "Guale" era of Georgia’s prehistory are also on exhibit, as are sea island grass baskets crafted by the Gullah residents of Sapelo Island. This area is also used as an exhibit area to display photographs and paintings by local artists. Seahorse4

And while you are there by all means, check in on the herd of seahorses that the aquarium staff has become steadily more proficient in maintaining the survivability rate with every new season with their ever increasing herd of sea ponies. These creatures are the real crowd pleasers at the aquarium as they whir and dart around in their tanks snapping their snouts forward to gulp down tiny crustaceans as they come floating by. Native to Georgia waters like all the other aquarium residents found here, the lined seahorse is the only one of the 35 variety of seahorses world wide to be found here.

Savannah History Museum

To get a true feel for Savannah’s rich history take a tour of the Savannah History Museum. Some of the exhibits include nineteenth and twentieth century women’s fashions, the Forrest Gump bench, one of Johnny Mercer’s Oscars, canoes from the 1800s and weapons and military uniforms.

ShmThe Savannah History Museum is housed in the old Central of Georgia Railway passenger shed, a National Historic Landmark built in the 1850s and 1860s. The railway used the building until 1972. In 1984, a historical attraction called The Great Savannah Exposition opened in the building. The Coastal Heritage Society took over operation of the successor to the Exposition, the Savannah History Museum, in 1990. The museum is now home to more than 10,000 artifacts– the largest collection of artifacts in the entire coastal community.

The museum is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Prices are $4.00 for adults, $3.50 for military and seniors and $3.00 for children 6-11.

The Three H’s of Top Ten Vacation Destination Travel

My friend and colleague, Whip Triplett, recently wrote an insightful article relative to why it is that Savannah, Georgia remains high on traveler’s radar in a recent Savannah Morning News article. As chairman of the Savannah Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Whip was instrumental in putting together Savannah’s latest branding campaign.

"Savannah Est. 1733" responds to the most recognized feature of Savannah: Our history. All market segments appreciate and are attracted to Savannah because of its history and heritage. The new creative strategy is visualized by a blend of unique destination images anchored by the brand name carved in weathered stone.

The vibrancy of the images together with the emotions evoked by the solid foundation present our natural beauty, stunning architecture, charming people, youthful energy and robust community in ways that do not dilute the attraction of history and heritage. Travelers come not for a trip to the past, but to visit a city where cosmopolitan and contemporary styles mesh and are elegantly merged into a unique and special community.

Branding Savannah as “Georgia’s First City” has been effective and has served our Eastern Seaboard tourist destination well over the years. Playing off of this well known brand in Lowcountry Georgia with the Savannah Area Convention and Visitor Bureau latest branding campaign of “Savannah Est. 1733” leverages the three H’s that tend to be main reason that guests continue to flock to Savannah’s historic district, our History and Heritage along with the prerequisite world class Hospitality industry that is in place to serve our guest’s diverse travel needs while visiting our historic city is positioned to attract even greater numbers of national and international travelers in the years ahead. Petergordon

Whip Triplett manages the DoubleTree Hotel in the Historic District and is chairman of the Savannah Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Two Charleston based Restaurant chains target Savannah Diners

Two Charleston based Restaurant chains targeted Savannah diners with openings of two new restaurants this earlier this year with Sticky Fingers on Abercorn Street being the first to come online. If messy food washed down by your favorite amber beverage is your idea of good eating, then Sticky Fingers will be high on your list of new restaurants to try out while visiting Savannah. And later in the month of June you can add Wild Wing Cafe to your list of City Market eateries to check out. Opening_team_2

The next newest restaurant to date in Savannah’s historic district by June, the Wild Wing Café will bring a sports bar ambiance to the old Malone’s location in City Market and offer a variety of chicken wings, hamburgers, onion wings, and buckets of beer. Boasting sixteen other café locations, fundamentally scattered throughout the southeast, the Savannah café location will be the chain’s largest single restaurant to date with a planned 100 – 150 employees required to operate this strategically placed facility. Providing a family friendly atmosphere for the many day time tourists in City Market with a shift over to sports bar clientele after 10:00 PM or so is a “perfect fit” for the locale according to a City Market spokesman. WWC plans on keeping up the old Malone’s tradition of live music performed by various bands outside their restaurant store front. 1270461city_marketsavannah

Moving further south down Abercorn Street, yet another Charleston based restaurant chain, Sticky Fingers has been operational in the old Shoney’s Restaurant located on that bustling stretch of suburban Savannah through fare. Featuring ribs and barbecue in the Memphis tradition of barbecue, Sticky Fingers (named for the classic Rolling Stones song and album by the same name) also features live music by area jazz and blues bands. This recently opened restaurant maintains the same basic format that the other fifteen Sticky Fingers restaurants provide which has made this fast growing chain a favored destination for barbecue aficionados in Savannah already.

Boomers chase the Sun seeking a change in latitude for changes in attitude

Blufftonpark3 Jimmy Buffett had it right, those changes in latitude can bring on those changes in attitude. Temper that dynamic with the prudent plan to live within one’s means and a fiscally responsible retirement plan that is also good for the sould emerges. Blutton, South Carolina has much to offer retiring boomers to fit the above criteria. Located in the heart of downtown Bluffton, the traditional neighborhood designed community of Bluffton Park creates “front-porch” living and a real sense of community. The May River Collection offers floorplans ranging from 1,231 to 1,710 square feet starting in the $150s. The community is within walking distance to shopping and dining in Bluffton, and a short drive to schools and major roadways. Calhounwaterfront

Bluffton is geographically situated 30 minutes from Savannah, GA, Hilton Head Island, SC and Beaufort, SC. Don’t see anything of interest here, then check out the Coastal Collection at Bluffton Park. Same price range of well done town homes and freestanding homes in close proximity to Bluffton’s historic district of "Old Town", these homes range in price from the 150′s to the 180′s. Now where else are you going to find that kind of price range with such lowcountry lifestyle amenities as boomers plan for fixed income living within the next decade that comes in at such an affordable price range? Bringing about changes in attitudes can also include the "feel good" component of making the right investment.

Preserving the Gullah Tradition on Sapelo Island

Challenges along the Lowcountry Heritage Corridor – Preserving the Gullah lifestyle while limiting development to these pristine island destinations along Georgia’s coast dating back to pre-colonial 1732. The National Park Service may just have the answer. M8793

Five years ago, the National Park Service initiated a study of the Gullah-Geechee heritage within those barrier island communities that these unique clusters of people live along the Georgia and South Carolina coastal corridor with their own 200+ year old tradition. “We want to explore all aspects of this group that became part of our nation’s history,” according to one Park Service official source. “Ultimately the study might identify new additions to our National Park Service so we can share the Gullah-Geechee story with all Americans.” Betty2t

And what a story it is. For more than two centuries, these West African descendants that embody their ancestors rich heritage of spirituality and artistry have lived in isolated coastal conclaves passing down their oral African culture and traditions from generation to generation. Today, these traditions are under assault as the outside world threatens to absorb this rich culture as bridges and roads have opened up the same once pristine areas to the rampant land development that is taking place up and down the eastern seaboard. Resorts, subdivisions, and strip malls are rapidly replacing family farms. Montage

Park Service officials went on to say “unless something is done to halt the destruction, Gullah-Geechee culture will be relegated to museums and history books, and our nation’s unique cultural heritage will lose one of it’s richest and most colorful pieces. Family Cemeteries, archaeological sites, and fishing grounds are being paved over or put off limits by new owners and familiar landmarks such as stores, churches, schools, and houses are being demolished or replaced with new structures."

As a consequence of all of this, The National Historic Trust has placed those Gullah-Geechee coastal communities on their most endangered list in what we not only support here at Savannah Getaways but trust proves to be an effective strategy in saving the historically significant low country heritage of this highly adaptive and diverse culture.