Monthly Archives: February 2007

McMillan Inn chosen Top 10 Romantic Inn for 2007

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We are pleased to announce our friends Joe and Cindy Celento, innkeepers of the McMillan Inn on East Huntingdon Street have had their bed and breakfast inn designated one of the prestigious “Top !0 Romantic Inns” in the country for 2007 by American Historic Inns, Inc. and their I Love Inns websiteThe McMillan Inn is an impressively restored 1888 Italian Revival townhouse icon that is well known in this section of Victorian era structures in close proximity to Forsyth Park.  Now that they have added a carriage house overlooking their swimming pool area,Pool
there are even more amenities and ambiance available for that romantic getaway weekend in a well appointed Bed and Breakfast facility.  The I Love Inns’ write up says it all:

Gracing the heart of the historic district in Savannah, Georgia, just two blocks from Forsyth Park and one mile from the river, this Italianate Revival townhouse has been lovingly restored. Relax in the main parlor by the fire listening to the CD collection and enjoying Cindy’s baked treats and snacks. The front veranda with wicker seating is an inviting spot to gather and the courtyard boasts a cherub fountain, flower gardens and a dipping pool for cooling off on hot days. Elegant guest bedrooms at the McMillan Inn feature a romantic Victorian ambiance, period furnishings, fireplaces and lavish bathrooms. A different daily specialty entrée accompanies each gourmet candlelit breakfast in the dining room on settings of china with fine crystal and silver at the French burled olive ash table. 

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Check out the Celento’s McMillan Inn if an historic bed and breakfast experience is what you are after in Savannah’s landmark historic district.

Comprehensive Lowcountry Architectural tours of Historic Savannah and Coastal Plantations

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The Savannah College of Art and Design
will be hosting the Vernacular Architecture Forum 2007, "Savannah and the Lowcountry," March 28-31 at the Hilton Savannah DeSoto Hilton at 15 E. Liberty Street in the Landmark Historic District.  Held the same weekend as the always sold out Savannah Tour of Homes, this comprehensive round table forum is for the serious architectural heritage lover.  "With 150 buildings open in Savannah from basement to attic, and six different full-day bus tours of the surrounding lowcountry, I cannot imagine a more thorough and engaging way to understand our particular cultural landscape and its history," said SCAD architectural history professor Daves Rossell during a telephone interview.

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The forum offers architectural heritage tours spanning Georgia’s coast into South Carolina’s low country area, paper sessions discussing worldwide aspects of cultural landscapes and roundtable discussions. Participants can also enjoy catered banquets, ceremonies and dancing with music provided by local jazz and blues trombonist Teddy Adams. Conference themes include architectural and social sorting, African-American identity in a variety of areas, coastal landscapes, Creole architecture, German settlement patterns, plantations and a history of the region’s faith. For more information call 912.525.6054.or to register online for the Vernacular Architecture Forum, click on the link.

Kiss Me, I think I’m Irish

It is doubtful that an over abundance of lasses will run up to me looking for smooches during St. Paddy’s Day celebrations next month.  And no one would ever confuse my herky jerky Texas two step dancing with that of a well done Irish Reel on the one hand.  On the other hand, if there is a Celtic happening taking place anywhere in the neighborhood (that would be a 50 mile radius or so distance), you are sure to find me amongst the revelers.  58791987p1000196
The Savannah Irish Festival that took place on four stages earlier this month provided a nice kick off for a month of Celtic Celebrations.

Their 16th annual Festival was held at the Savannah Civic Center Arena in the Landmark Historic District and featured such first-time performers as the traditional band Chulrua; Celtic harpist and storyteller Dennis Doyle; the acclaimed Celtic rockers, and many more accomplished Celtic Groups. Three premier dance schools also featured their own dancersImg42
to get you in the mood for the big hoedown on March 17th.  Most of you don’t need any reminding that Savannah’s most popular day of the year, The Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, is less than three weeks away but it is always appropriate to drop a reminder here and there that party time is imminent.  For those of you that have yet to nail down your St. Patrick’s Day Savannah accommodations, we still have a handful of lodging options available. 

Ellis Square Construction on pace for Spring 2008 Debut

As we round third base for what promises to be a robust spring high season in 2007, we here at The Visitor’s Guide to Savannah and the Lowcountry are eagerly anticipating a final completion date of spring 2008 for the restored Ellis Square.  As we have blogged about in other posts in our Savannah Buzz blog, the Ellis Square project promises to be the most tourism friendly square of Savannah’s 23 squares.  Designed to replace the 50 year old decrepit City Market Garage Acf55bc
after their lease expired a few years ago which had in turn replaced the original Ellis Square, city planners expect to restore the luster back to the City Market/Ellis Square complex and then some on completion of this ambitious $30 million project.   Now that water drainage problems and crumbling edifices of adjoining buildings have been stabilized, the project is moving full steam ahead to bring back to life one of the Savannah historic district’s original six squares.

On completion, Ellis Square will serve the historic district well as a planned mixed use venue for large events with an 1100 vehicle underground parking garage underneath Ellis SquareAerial_jan07
along with a Visitor’s Center, kiosks, and public restroom facilities among other amenities.  The much needed ten acres of additional parking space will go a long way towards easing a challenge for tourists and local Savannahians alike in this strategically important area within the district.  So while you are visiting with us this coming high season, stick your head in the door at any of our brother and sister Shops on Ellis Square hospitality industry businesses and take advantage of the “pardon our construction discounts” on goods and services being offered while we are in hard hat mode amidst the Ellis Square construction project.   

Natural Habitat for Endangered Species along Coastal Georgia’s Heritage Corridor

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The Heritage Corridor that runs through the low country of coastal South Carolina and Georgi
a is well known to savvy travelers as the go to destination for the best in getaway weekend excursion.  Blessed with many historic 18th century colonial towns such as Charleston and Savannah as well as an impressive roster of local artists in their respective southeast Atlantic beachfront communities, more and more eco-tourists are spending their vacations amidst flora and fauna that they seldom get an opportunity to commune with in their metropolitan inland homes. 

The ecologically diverse Lowcountry habitat while evaporating at far too rapid a rate still hosts a handful of endangered species in the Atlantic Ocean, lowcountry swamps, barrier islands, and coastal forests that are found in this part of the world.  In coastal Georgia alone there are seasonal reports of frequent sightings of Loggerhead and Leatherback Sea Turtles, Peregrine Falcons, Bald Head Eagles, (both raptors have rebounded from the endangered species lists in recent years), and even an occasional sighting of the elusive Florida Panther,Framed_print
Manatee, and Northern Atlantic Right Whale (mothers are typically spotted moving north with their newborns in a migratory pattern this time of year).  The very habitat that feeds our booming nature loving eco-tourism industry also serves the needs of a wide variety of wildlife in our myriad slash pine-saw palmetto woodlands and oak-pi.jpgne woodlands within the maritime forests of our barrier islands.  With spring right around the corner, you could do a lot worse than checking out some of our primitive campgrounds in coastal Georgia for your own eco-tourism adventure getaway.

Trading Spaces has made two appearances in the Lowcountry

The popular TLC show “Trading Spaces” was in the Hilton Head area to shoot an episode in mid-January 2006 and has also visited East  Jones Street in Historic Savannah, GA.

“Trading Spaces” gives a budget, professional designer and carpenter to two neighbors who have 48 hours to redo a room of their choice. On this show, the better you know your neighbor the better off you will be. The neighbors, with the help of the professional designer, will choose paint color, flooring, window treatments and accessories for each other.

Savannah pilgrims, The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist awaits your arrival

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According to the National Catholic Register, Savannah’s Diocese is leading the way for Catholics across the country in three separate categories.

It’s vocations awareness week – but most Catholics aren’t aware of which dioceses are having successes with vocations. The list might surprise you. Dioceses such as Boston, Chicago, Newark, Philadelphia and St. Paul/Minneapolis continue to have the largest ordination classes, in part because of their larger Catholic populations.  When the number of seminarians is compared with the total number of Catholics in the diocese, however, a very different list emerges – one that shows that the greater number of priests per capita are coming from the Midwest and the southern United States. And of course that is where Savannah’s Diocese comes in.

“The south is very religious,” said Father Tim McKeown, vocation director for the Diocese of Savannah, Ga. “We’re about 3 percent to 4 percent Catholic, but there is a strong Christian ethos. I think that certainly helps.” Roman Catholics account for only 3 to 4 percent of the population in southern Georgia. But the Diocese of Savannah appears to be doing not only a better job of producing new priests but they are enjoying a greater number of new converts than all but one of the 176 dioceses across the nation. "Savannah, on all three criteria, hit a grand slam," said Brian Saint-Paul, editor of the conservative Catholic magazine Crisis. "They should be justly proud of their efforts, because they’ve really done some good work." According to the Official Catholic Directory’s 2006 statistics, the Diocese of Savannah ordained five men in 2005, putting it at second in the Top 10 list of dioceses with the most ordination per Catholics.

Looking for a southern Catholic getaway in an historic cathedral within Savannah’s landmark historic district on Lafayette square?  Savannah has that covered as well.

An Evening with Groucho coming to the Hilton Head Arts Center tonight

The Arts Center on Hilton Head IslandGroucho1 keeps cranking out the very best in the way of off Broadway entertainment here in the Lowcountry. Tonight is no exception with their Evening with Groucho offering of legendary comedian Groucho Marx. Actor Frank Ferrante, who has portrayed the comedic icon for 20 years including Off-Broadway Shows, brings Groucho to life in this critically acclaimed show which the Today Show described as “brilliant.” Mastering his loose-limbed physicality and rhythmic delivery, Ferrante recreates some of Groucho’s most famous routines, including the pith-helmeted “Captain Spaulding.” Be sure to catch this hilarious performance by the “greatest living interpreter of Groucho Marx’s material”.

Additional offerings at 46_4 The Arts Center includes Neil Simon’s Tony Award winning play The Odd Couple running through March 4th as well as a performance by Broadway’s original Dreamgirl, Jennifer Holliday. Those loveable New York bachelors, Felix Unger and Oscar Madison, are back slinging zingers and rapid-fire one-liners in this hilarious play by Broadway’s King of Coemdy, Neil Simon.

                                                            

And Dreamgirls diva Jennifer Holliday brings her powerful, soulful voice to the Wallace Theater for one incredible evening of music on March 12th. Hailed by the New York Times as “a singular talent” and “the singer with a mountainous pop-gospel voice,” this mega-talented Broadway star first made headlines as the lead in the musical Your Arm’s Too Short to Box with God. The hits just keep on a coming with our low country one two punch of off Broadway performances in both Hilton Head and Savannah. Plan an off Broadway Lowcountry getaway weekend as we enter into the spring high season.

First African Baptist Church, a religious icon in Savannah’s Historic District

As reported in the Savannah Morning News recently, The First African Baptist ChurchPoi18_1  is not only the oldest black church in the country, it is also thought to be a part of the historic underground railway that moved African American slaves on to freedom in the northern union states in the antebellum Old South Heart of Dixie.

Tourists can sample some of the richest black history Savannah has to offer at First African. The church was organized and established by former slaves and is one of the first black Baptist churches in America. The intricately crafted building, adorned with beautiful stained glass, was constructed by skilled free and enslaved black members in 1859. But what intrigues the masses is the church folklore and oral history about the church’s role in the Underground Railroad. "There are nine patch-quilt patterns in the ceiling, which signify a safe haven. There are holes in the floors with a pattern that is a spiritual symbol in Africa, 36 spread evenly throughout the floor," said church historian Karen Wortham. "And a second wooden floor was built beneath the church floor, and under that there are tunnels that lead to the river."

147016826 Make it a point to visit The First African Baptist Church on your next historic getaway trip to Savannah. These historic tours are conducted six days a week at 10:00 AM, 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM and by appointment. Savannah has many opportunities to learn more about the important contributions made by African Americans to Lowcountry culture. In close proximity to Franklin Square adjacent to City Market, this historic old church was literally part of the heart beat of the historic district in 1800′s Savannah.