Monthly Archives: November 2006

Amerindian shell rings in Lowcountry sea islands popularity on the rise

As our version of American History tells us, European explorers “discovered” North America and the Caribbean island areas over 500 years ago. The indigenous inhabitants that have come to be known as American Indians had actually lived in relative harmony with their environment for thousands of years prior to our European ancestor’s arrival. Today, scant evidence of their once having thrived in the coastal Lowcountry areas M9140 has all but disappeared with the exception of occasional shell rings or “middens” as archeologists refer to these deposits of utensils, pottery shards, bones, and other assorted artifacts, evidence of where tribal peoples once went about their business as they conducted their daily lives. Not much more than a garbage dump, modern day Americans have largely ignored or misunderstood these scattered shell deposits. According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, coastal Georgia’s largest shell ring is more than nine feet high and three hundred feet in diameter and found on Sapelo Island:

Native Americans occupying the coastal zone of Georgia created these features during the latter part of the Late Archaic Period (4,200 to 3,000 years ago). Shell (mostly oyster) makes up a major part of the rings, but also located in the middens are the remains of many different plants and animals that native groups used for food and medicine. M9189

In recent years, eco-tourism friendly boat charter professionals have made it a point to identify some of the better hidden areas found in our coastal waters throughout South Carolina and Georgia for their clientele that have a new found interest in poking around in this ancient garbage heaps. On a recent trip to Daufuskie Island from Hilton Head Island our gracious host Captain Blair WillisPage3_1  of Live Oac pointed out a couple of different shell ring middens and allowed as how their popularity were on the up tick with many of his day trip charters that provide for a completely different vacation tour experience.

A massive oak grows in it – Lowcountry John’s Island that is

Angel12 Every now and again coastal development companies can preserve a way of life like the remaining remnants of the Gullah culture has enjoyed for the past few hundred years as well as create an environmentally friendly development. Hopefully this will be the case on rural John’s Island where plans were recently announced about a new development which will eventually grow to 285 multi-family homes. At the center of this development will be the famous Angel Oak Tree.

Angel Oak Park, just a short drive from Folly Beach, South Carolina is home to "the oldest tree east of the Mississippi." The Angel Oak is a live oak Angeloak01 and a member of an old world family of oak trees native to the Lowcountry area throughout the Carolinas and Georgia – this particular grandfather is located in close proximity to Charleston. Although the age of the 65 foot tall Angel Oak has long been reported to be in excess of 1400 years, the actual age has never been scientifically substantiated. Live Oaks are not usually tall trees but are noted as having massive canopies that are exceedingly wide, in this case in excess of 17,000 square feet! Only in the very oldest specimens, like the Angel Oak, do you find massive limbs, heavy by the weight of the years, resting gracefully on the ground. In the greater Charleston area, many people mistakenly believe the name "Angel Oak" refers to a type of Live Oak, but actually this name comes from Martha and Justis Angel who were owners of this property generations ago. If the many beaches of coastal South Carolina and the historic city of Charleston is your idea of a second vacation home, this new development just might be the ticket.

Selecting the right Real Estate Resource in coastal Georgia

My wife and I (principals of Savannah Getaways) have had a presence in the Savannah, Georgia real estate market for the past eight years. We have purchased, managed, and sold coastal Georgia real estate investment properties. During this time, it has been our good fortune in our opinion to work with the best real estate professionals in Savannah when it comes to buying and selling historic district properties – some of which can be found in our Visitor’s Guide to Savannah and the Lowcountry under our real estate heading. Recently we decided it was time to cash in one of these properties and wanted to be sure we chose the right real estate firm to represent our interests in selling this particular townhouse as the market is going through some changes all across the country as well as Savannah proper.

After speaking with several other real estate firms, we finally decided to list our property with Lori Judge of Judge Realty Company. Lori had launched her own company just a few years ago and has quickly established herself as the up and coming “go to” Real Estate Company for real estate investors like ourselves as well as those merely looking to relocate to Savannah with their full range of services. Lori and her husband Lou are heavily involved in historic property renovations within the district, transforming fine old homes back to architectural masterpieces. Ext2ga These two understand the local market conditions and offer invaluable insights into customizing purchases to one’s real estate needs.

In spite of a tricky market, Lori advised us on what we needed to price our property for a quick sale when we listed our historic district townhouse. She then turned around and delivered a contract within just a week or so of listing our property! 27_04 This was stunning to us as many similar historic district properties were sitting unsold for months at a time. In our opinion Lori was the difference between our making almost a 60% gross profit in a few short years on our real estate investment or it sitting unsold for months at a time due to our not understanding the going rate for real estate investments within the district. For those real estate investors among you unfamiliar with the Savannah real estate market looking for the consummate professional, we strongly recommend you give Judge Realty Company an opportunity to serve your real estate needs.

Lowcountry Estate Auctions – Antiquing through the Heritage Corridor

We know many of you antique aficionados can’t resist bidding on E-Bay and other online auction web sites. For my money, however, it is hard to beat the excitement of an old fashioned estate auction sale where unique antiques and family heirlooms accumulated over the years are sold off to the highest bidder. And the Lowcountry of coastal Georgia/South Carolina has their fair share of this type auction. Just across the Talmadge Memorial Bridge in Hardeeville, South Carolina is a very active auction house that specializes in upscale estates in both neighboring Hilton Head and Savannah as well as European antiques bought in specifically for auction at a 13,000 square foot facility. 06_auction_billjacob2

Antiquing through the many shops and specialty stores throughout the Heritage Corridor is already a popular pastime for many of our tourist shoppers on their excursions to Savannah. Many of these collectors keep an eye open for hard to find treasures here in the low country. Just makes sense to bid against local collectors and antique store keepers in their quest for inventory for the many antique stores referenced above. Looking to combine a sight seeing trip to coastal Georgia with one of the local weekend auctions during your next getaway weekend in Savannah? Consider Bennie’s in Hardeeville for your weekend auction.

North Atlantic Right Whales make annual return to coastal Georgia waters

The little understood and once believed extinct North Atlantic Right Whale is in the early stages of it’s return to a 25 mile wide swath of ocean that lies between Brunswick, north of St. Simons Island, Georgia to Jacksonville, Florida. These coastal waters running parallel to the Peach State and the Sunshine State are the only known calving grounds of this highly endangered species of whale – an estimated 300 – 350 whales remain. Several coastal North American environmental groups such as the excerpted Provincetown Coastal Study Group article below are committed to raising awareness of this unique species of whale as well as protecting their known habitat. Right5

Large broad flukes help push the rotund body through dense patches of zooplankton, even with the extra drag the open mouth. Paddle-like flippers increase maneuverability for feeding and social behaviors. Not built for speed, right whales have no dorsal fin on the back. Dense colonies of these invertebrates color these patches tan or white. Because the callosities do not change over the lifetime of the individual, the pattern can be used to identify individuals.

Seasonal movements are still poorly understood but, generally, they move between rich summer feeding grounds and warm winter calving grounds. During summer and fall most of the population feeds on different banks in Southeast Canada such as the Bay of Fundy. "Courtship groups" are also seen at this time. During November and December right whales almost disappear with a few scattered reports coming from far flung areas such as Jeffreys Ledge off Northern Massachusetts and offshore of Cape May, New Jersey. Whale1 By late winter and early spring, two distinct aggregations appear: calving females off southern Georgia/northern Florida and non-calving animals feeding (Mayo, 1998) off the Massachusetts coast (Cape Cod Bay, Great South Channel and Nantucket Sound).

If boating in these waters over the months between now and early spring, pay close attention for these hard to spot mammals that blend in with well with this environment. Unfortunately, they fall prey to commercial fishing line entanglements every calving season, already. In fact commercial grade shipping in excess of 300-gross tons Cboat are required to report Right Whale sightings.

Pigging out on the River – Thanksgiving with the Savannah Riverboat Company

The instant you board River Street’s historic Riverboat Cruise you will be transported up and down the Savannah River Harbor and one of the east coast’s most active ports past impressive dock facilities and their imposing container ship traffic. The 400 passenger Savannah River Queen and the 600 passenger Georgia Queen Savannah2 are triple-decker stern-wheel vessels that offer a variety of different tours and cruises all through the harbor as many tourists already can vouch for.

This Thanksgiving, plan to participate in a culinary adventure of sightseeing and dining while you enjoy coastal Georgia’s natural splendor along our active harbor. Looking for an attraction that allows you to experience Savannah’s River Street Acfacfe and active harbor the natural way, look no further? This is an authentically unique Thanksgiving Experience that will be remembered for years to come. Don’t miss Thanksgiving on the River aboard The Savannah Riverboat Thanksgiving Cruise. Have a happy and joyful Thanksgiving with family and friends as all of the staff here at Savannah Getaways trust you and yours will have an easy and safe return home!

Savannah River Bridge Run ranked as Best Running Event in December

Prestigious Runner’s World Magazine named this year’s Savannah River Bridge Run Event the race of the month, lifting Savannah’s popular winter sports event into an even higher orbit. In other news, this year the Savannah Convention and Visitor’s Bureau will join Enmark in hosting the ENMARK Savannah River Bridge Run on the first Saturday in December, December 2. Bridge_4 Talk about a value added weekend day trip to coastal Georgia! This year’s event just like last year’s event will be an ambitious one with the Kid’s Run slated to start at 8 a.m. followed by the 5K run and Double Pump start at 8:15 a.m. on Hutchinson Island; to be finished by the grueling 10K which begins at 9 a.m. on Montgomery Street in front of the Chatham County Courthouse. The new event that was installed this year for the serious runner is the Double Pump. In this event, participants can run the 5K and then immediately participate in the 10K for three tongue-hanging trips over the Talmadge Memorial Bridge over the Savannah River.

The registration fee is $22 until November 19, $26 from November 20-30, and $30 on December 1. There is an additional fee of $5 for participation in the Double Pump. For our more athletic visitor’s to the historic district, just follow the link to sign up for that all important combination getaway/sporting event that you know you will want to participate in the first weekend in December.

Attend Chef Joe Randall’s Cooking School and put a little south in your mouth

Here at Savannah Buzz and our rapidly growing Savannah News Channel, we always try to keep our ears to the ground while kicking up rabbits in hopes of identifying a variety of unique Savannah Getaway experiences for our many paid guests and other Savannah bound web site browsers to undertake on their visit’s to Lowcountry coastal Georgia. When it comes to a unique experience in our Hostess City, cooking schools are all the rage at the moment.5  This brings us to a not only unique but a very affordable cooking school being offered by Chef Joe Randall, chef extraordinaire. With his forty years of cooking experience, Chef Joe brings an abundance of expertise to creating culinary masterpieces.4  As his web site indicates, He has been offering local Savannahians and tourists alike an opportunity to enhance their southern cooking skills.

I preach the gospel of authentic Southern cuisine to all comers. The success of the school is a credit to my great love of southern cuisine and the city of Savannah. And also what I have done to share the heritage and southern culture with visitors from all over the world. For over 5 years, I’ve shared my passion for Southern food and culture with the Savannah metropolitan region and beyond, and one day I’d like to share it with you. Let Chef Joe Randall’s Cooking School put a little south in your mouth, and joy back into your kitchen. It is my undying devotion to my heritage and the cuisine of the south and my love of sharing it with others that has made the school so successful and me truly joyful.

Meetchef220 Enjoy creating tasty dishes in the Kitchen? Crave southern cooking? Coming to Savannah in the near future? Check out Chef Joe’s Randall’s Cooking School as a one of a kind Low Country Getaway Culinary Experience.

Are our Tybee Island Cottages becoming an endangered historic landmark?

The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation released its 2007 list of 10 Places in Peril in the state today, and one of these ten endangered areas is Tybee Island’s trademark cottage on stilts. Tybee Island’s raised cottages were first constructed in 1923. These cottages are the most prevalent building type on Tybee, representing nearly 25 percent of the historic resources on the island.

Scaledimage Unfortunately, development is putting immense pressure on these historic resources, view sheds and open spaces of Tybee Island, according to the Trust excerpted in part from a recent Business Report Article. The major problem is developers are buying lots, tearing down or moving historic buildings and constructing duplexes, condominiums or larger beach houses. Tybee Island passed a local preservation ordinance and drafted design guidelines in 2000, but no local historic districts have been designated. In order to protect the island’s historic resources, historic districts and design guidelines need to be enacted, say the Trust’s representatives. Through Places in Peril, the Trust has an action plan built around encouraging owners and individuals, organizations and communities to employ proven preservation tools, financial resources and partnerships in order to reclaim, restore and revitalize historic properties that are in peril.

Rounding out the top ten sites on the Trust’s 2006 list included: the Terrell County Courthouse in Dawson; the Auburn Avenue Commercial District in Atlanta; Andalusia, the home of Flannery O’Connor, outside of Milledgeville; Hartwell Downtown National Register District; Pasaquan, an internationally acclaimed visionary art site in Marion County near Buena Vista; U.S. Highway 17, the gateway to Historic Brunswick and the Golden Isles;Tanker_in_marsh  the former Hawkinsville High School; Ponce de Leon Apartments in Atlanta; City Mills in Columbus; and, the Cowen Farmstead in Acworth.

History, Music, and plenty of good eats along the Heritage Corridor

Last weekend’s Blues and BBQ Festival at the Roundhouse Museum featured a perfect synergy of historic preservation, artistry, and good eating coming together along the Heritage Corridor in lowcountry Georgia. The Roundhouse Museum is the oldest and largest existing nineteenth-century railroad operations complex in the countryPoi48  – dating back to it’s1850 origins. Thirteen of the original structures remain today, a compelling study of the Central Railroad which handled freight, passengers, maintenance, and manufacturing at this single location. Last Veterans Day weekend-Friday and Saturday, November 10-11-the air over downtown Savannah was filled with the sounds of great blues music and the smell of slow-roasting barbeque, as the Coastal Heritage Society hosted its 11th annual Blues & BBQ Festival at the Roundhouse Railroad Museum.

If you missed this preservation fundraiser, make it a point to visit this landmark museum on your next coastal Savannah visit to the landmark historic district just off of Martin Luther King Blvd. This complex is owned by the City of Savannah and has been operated since 1989 by the Coastal Heritage Society. Five of the buildings house permanent exhibits, including the roundhouse with its operating turntable. Railroad loving enthusiasts can see steam and diesel locomotives, rail cars, steam-powered machinery, model railroads, and a 126-foot brick smokestack with privies around its base.Privies  This museum is located in a highly significant area of the historic district in close proximity to the Visitor’s Center as well as a Revolutionary War Battlefield.