Monthly Archives: March 2007

Coastal Lowcountry Museum plans birding tour in coastal S.C.

Children3 The monthly birding tour is being organized for mid April by the Coastal Discovery Museum’s Manager of Natural History. This early morning two hour tour will be led by Carlos Chacon, a long time Manager at the Lowcountry Museum, who will guide bird enthusiasts through the maritime forest at Fish Haul Park and out toward the salt marsh to view many of the area’s indigenous birds on April 18th. You can expect to see many wading birds, as well as those who take cover in and among the live oaks. Possible birds that will be observed include: double-crested cormorant, willet, tri-colored heron, northern mockingbird, savannah sparrow, sanderling, white ibis and northern flicker. 0017

Seaoats Carlos will bring a spotting scope, but you should plan on bringing binoculars as well. And of course it is recommend wearing comfortable walking shoes, have some bug repellant handy along with sunscreen, and some bottled water. Those of you with a birding field guide are welcome to bring it along as it would be helpful, but is not mandatory. This excursion is limited to 14 participants. The cost is $20 per person. All interested birders should call the museum at 843-689-6767 ext 223 to make your reservation. Located less than 45 minutes away from Savannah’s Historic District, this eco-birding adventure in lowcountry South Carolina is worth the effort to move around in a coastal Maritime Forest/Salt Marsh Barrier Island environment in search of our fine feathered friends.

Blues Great Bonnie Raitt to perform at Johnny Mercer Theatre

Currently touring Australia on her Souls Alike Tour through mid April, Bonnie Raitt Bonnie_raitt will bring the tour to the southeastern USA in late April with live appearances in Charleston, Savannah, and Athens, Georgia. This accomplished Blues Diva is scheduled to play the Johnny Mercer Theatre in Savannah’s historic district on Wednesday, April 25th with guest performer Jon Cleary. Snag those tickets while they are still available music lovers as Ms. Raitt puts on a memorable in person show. Doesn’t get much better than this – catch one of the premier blues performer’s of our time performing in the Hostess City in the Landmark Historic District during the spring high season. How’s that for an extra added treat for a long weekend getaway in Georgia’s First City?

Historic Wooden Floor Restoration completed at Savannah Roundhouse Museum

By blending both old and new building construction techniques at the Roundhouse Museum, a dedicated group of Savannah College of Art and Design Students demonstrated they had the right stuff in this impressive museum restoration project. As the last wooden block was tapped into place,Savannahnow157838223
it became apparent that the six month completion of a masterful restoration of the wooden floor of the Coastal Heritage Roundhouse Museum will be heralded as a showpiece project for years to come.  Only a handful of such floors exist any where in the world according to a recent Connect Savannah article:

Day by day, the Roundhouse Railroad Museum is carefully being restored. It is a massive project, one requiring skill and extensive knowledge of historic preservation. Virtually everything is done in a way that preserves as much of the original structures as possible. Originally designed to soak up oil and cushion the workplace, the floor is a tangible link to the days when rail cars and locomotives were pulled into the Roundhouse for inspections and maintenance. The new blocks are made of Southern yellow pine. Each one being about the same size as a brick The Coastal Heritage Society, which manages the site, has put together a 30-member preservation team comprising mostly Savannah College of Art and Design historic preservation graduates and students. Coastal Heritage Society Marketing Director Michael Jordan says the complex is unique. “It was started as one large complex,” he says. “At the time, it was revolutionary to build it all at once.” The Roundhouse Railroad Museum today is the most extensive historic railroad district in the world. It has been named a National Historic Landmark.

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Combine history and railroading on your next visit to coastal Georgia.
  Check out the Roundhouse Museum just off Battlefield Park.

Chef’s Cooking Classes all the rage in Savannah’s Historic District

Downtownsavannahhistoricdistrict Just around the corner from Historic Savannah’s premier Chef, Paula Deen of Lady and Sons and Cooking Channel fame, Kitchens on the Square offers cooking classes for tourists and locals alike for virtually any discerning palate. With cooking school classes running a pricey $250 or so per session for Paula’s classes, the rates for The Shops at Ellis Square member Kitchen on the Square are very affordable at $50 per student. Ranging from traditional lowcountry fare such as shrimp and grits or tasty crab cakes to the most elegant cuisine served in Savannah’s many fine restaurants, this two hour course is sure to inform amateur chefs of every persuasion.

Recently Executive Chef Christopher Hewitt, Executive Chef of one of these renowned restaurants, The Olde Pink HouseImagesb1529113scharming_place in Savannah, has agreed to prepare a unique combination of seafood and meat AKA Surf and Turf Savannah Style in his first class at Kitchens on the Square scheduled for every Thursday in April of this spring high season. The first course is Lump Crab Hushpuppies with Spicy Remoulade followed by Tarragon Marinated Lamb Chops with Pineapple Pecan Relish and a Gratin of Green Beans and Shallots. White Chocolate Creme Brulee with Raspberries finishes this glorious meal. Additional Thursday night classes (6:30 to 8:30) will feature preparation of equally delicious themed meals of seafood or pork dishes throughout the month. So check out the schedule of planned classes and make your arrangements to join Christopher or some of the other accomplished chefs for the month of April. As always, Home Savannah Getaways will assist our guests in making reservations to attend the class of your choice based on availability.

Whoop Dee Do, Whooping Cranes return to Okefenokee Swamp

Small_logo Big news for birders and bird lovers surfaced last week concerning the return of the whooping crane to their native habitat that has sorely missed this almost extinct species of crane for close to a hundred years. Online News Service Red Orbit reports the return of a pair of Whooping Cranes to the Okefenokee Swamp that straddles the Heritage Corridor in lowcountry Georgia and Florida.

For the first time in nearly a century, there has been a confirmed sighting of whooping cranes in the Okefenokee Swamp. Richard Urbanek, senior project biologist for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, said two of the endangered birds were confirmed in a remote area in the 436,000-acre swamp on Feb. 19 in an area known as Sapling Prairie. The two birds have likely spent all winter in the swamp, but Urbanek said researchers involved with the project to reintroduce the birds to the wild aren’t certain. George Constantino, manager of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, said his staff plans to determine if the whooping cranes are still in the swamp sometime this week by using a helicopter to fly over the area where the two birds were last seen. Refuge employees will bring an electronic monitor that should be able to detect the tracking devices that were put on the birds before they were released from captivity, he said.

If the two whoopers did spend the winter in the swamp, which is half the size of Rhode Island, they will likely return to the Okefenokee next year and for years to come, Urbanek said. "Most birds, once they pick an area, they come back each year," he said. If the birds’ radio signals are detected this week, it will help determine when the two birds were released by the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership to the wild.

Big_georgia The Okefenokee Swamp provides Just one more reason for all our bird watching friends to return to coastal Georgia’s Colonial Coast Birding Trail.

Dating back to1562, Seven Flags have flown over Port Royal

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As one of the official website‘s for Port Royal, South Carolina points out in the paragraphs below, there have been seven different flags that have flown over this Lowcountry Port City north of the well known Marine Base on Parris Island.  Or said a different way on the official city website, “The Birthplace of American Civilization, Established 1562 – Older Than Our Nation, As New As Tomorrow”

Seven flags have flown over what is now the Town of Port Royal, since Columbus discovered America in 1492. The first landing at Port Royal was by the Spanish in 1520. Port Royal got its name from when Capt. Jean Ribaut led a group of French Huguenots in 1562. On what is now Parris Island, the French expedition built a fort named Charles Forte in honor of King Charles IX. Philip II sent a Spanish squadron to destroy the French colony of Port Royal. The first English flag raised over St. Helena Sound was by Capt. William Hilton who sailed from Barbados. Hilton Head Island was named in his honor.

The Yemassee War involved the Yemassees, Creeks and Choctaws66413431fycc15dd
. The town of Beaufort was almost totally destroyed. What little remains of Fort Frederick may be seen near the U.S. Naval Hospital in Port Royal. Capt. Barnwell revolted the British attack on Port Royal. Fort Lyttleton was built on the site of the old Scotch settlement of Stuart Town and was commanded by William Harden. Harden organized a voluntary artillery known as the "old B.V.A.", which is now the 1055th Transportation Company. This unit has seen service in every war the U.S. has known and is the 5th oldest military company in America. During the Civil War the Town of Port Royal was spared from destruction due to the occupation of the Union troops. The only evidence of war was the wounded who were collected and treated in the City of Beaufort. When General Sherman came through some three years later burning and pillaging, he spared the little historic town.

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Combine history and breath taking scenic beauty with a visit to coastal South Carolina
on your next vacation along the Lowcountry Coastal Corridor with a trip to Port Royal, S.C.

Plans unveiled for new historic district “shop until you drop” options

Recent plans reported in the Savannah Area Business Report fleshed out plans for a mammoth luxury shopping districtThis planned shopping district will lie due east of “River Walk” that currently ends at the Savannah Marriott and will ultimately result in a comprehensive mixed used historic district extension plan on completion after 2009.P_srl

The Shops at Savannah River Landing will blend select national retailers with one-of-a-kind boutiques and restaurants with lofts built above, according to Ron Pfohl, a managing member of Forum Development. "This is an incredible opportunity on prime riverfront property in historic downtown," said Pfohl. "The Shops at Savannah River Landing give us the opportunity to create a new front door to the city. We’re excited to be part of an overall vision to expand downtown Savannah for the first time in more than a century."

The Shops retail district, like Savannah River Landing, will be developed with respect to General James Oglethorpe’s original 1733 plan for Georgia’s oldest city by placing emphasis on pedestrian-friendly design and architectural integrity as a natural extension of the downtown Historic District, he added. Savannah River Landing will also include two hotels, riverfront homes, condominiums, lofts, townhomes, dining and Class A office space with an estimated total build-out cost of approximately $800 million. Building construction is slated to begin later this year on the entire development, with the retail portion set to open in 2009. Land preparation began several months ago. The development includes 11 mid-rise buildings and approximately 850 residential units with about 1.6 million square feet of residential space. "Savannah River Landing will bring a wide range of in-town living options to the city," said Pfohl.

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Stay tuned to our Savannah Buzz forum as these exciting plans continue to unfold in the next 24 months.

Dolphins, Ferryboats, and Twisted works of Art, Oh my!

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Here’s an idea.  Head out to Bluffton’s Old Town Docks just off Calhoun Street and for the price of $10, you can catch a 15 minute or so ferry ride out to Palmetto Bluff, an upscale resort destination on the South Carolina side of the Savannah River Basin down the May River.  While undertaking this day trip, enjoy the mini eco-tour ride through coastal South Carolina waters teeming with dolphins and the occasional circling osprey overhead.  And if that is not enough,Aboutus_pic_location
you can watch a Carolina artist apply his own unique twist to Nature out on Palmetto Bluff once you arrive (at least through the end of this month). You are sure to be struck by the surreal outdoor art work of tree sculptor Patrick Dougherty who’s creations of “braided tentacles of wood” now numbers in triple digits on three continents according to a recent Hilton Head Island Packet article

Dougherty’s medium is not clay, but tentacles of wood braided together like sets of slender, arthritic fingers that are carefully crossed and clenched. If Mother Nature could gnarl tree trunks into sky-high Rorschach inkblot tests, odds are they’d look like Dougherty’s willowy work.  "That" is the kind of mammoth sculpture that has made the artist world-renown. In the last decade,20061129_big_work_tifmedium
Dougherty has built more than 100 of his structures in the United States, Europe and Asia. The Island School Council for the Arts and Palmetto Bluff have partnered to bring Dougherty to Bluffton to install one of his atypical sculptures from March 5-30. The nonprofit council invited Dougherty to the Lowcountry to introduce southern Beaufort County students to a new, high-caliber artist, according to council member Karen Davies.

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And you might recognize his handy work from a 1998 decoration on the side of an historic district SCAD facility beside the Police Department on Habersham Street in Savannah.  Talk about an affordable eclectic day trip!

William Jay impacted the Landmark Historic District unlike any other architect

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William Jay
’s impressive body of work in the Greek Revival Style is in great evidence throughout the landmark historic district of Savannah  This Englishman, born, bred, and trained was apprenticed to well known London architect, David Roper, until about 1814. This training was to be crucial in creating his signature style for Jay prior to leaving London for Lowcountry Savannah in December 1817 to undertake the building of a house for Frances Bolton Richardson. And this initial work for the sister of his brother-in-law, Reverend Robert Bolton, and her husband, Richard Richardson led to the commissioning of Jay to build the Branch Bank of the United States in Savannah. After this Jay was off and running as he built mansions for other prominent Savannahians including William Scarbrough, Alexander Telfair, Robert Habersham, and Archibald Bulloch a veritable who’s who of old line Savannah names. He also erected a lavish pavilion for President Monroe’s May 1819 visit to Savannah as well as the Savannah Theatre in 1818.

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Jay also maintained an office in Charleston, and continued to work there and in Savannah, erecting a number of signature structures among them the William Mason Smith House and the Joseph Turpin Weyman House. Jay became the first architect appointed to the South Carolina Board of Public Works. He built a Gothic Marine Villa on Sullivan’s Island, and founded the South Carolina Academy of Fine Arts with Joel Poinsett, Samuel F.B. Morse, John Cogdell, Charles Fraser and others. Undoubtedly his sister’s Anne Jay Bolton marriage to Savannahian the Reverend Robert Bolton was instrumental in attracting this accomplished British Architect to antebellum era Savannah and the surrounding lowcountry.

Live from Savannah, the St. Paddy’s revelers restlessly await Parade

113912147_0c29457d7a Ah Yes, Savannah’s Saint Paddy’s Day Parade 2007 will commence shortly. This year, the tradition falls mid weekend as the parade carries us into Sunday. But first a little Irsh history to be shared on this annual early spring "party hearty" rite of passage courtesy of the planet’s premier party animal people, those wonderful Celts from across the sea. This Palm Beach Post excerpt is appropriate in describing today’s all thing’s Irish historic underpinnings:

Among these nomadic tribesmen, a bard, or poet, was considered the equal of a king. Under their justice system, known as the Brehon Laws, only three crimes were punishable by death. They were murder, rape and failure to give hospitality to a bard or a minstrel. As for the warrior part of the description, it came about through the adventures of a band of daredevils called "the wild geese.” For 800 years, just about every generation in Ireland staged a rebellion against English rule. And when the revolts failed, the leaders had to flee, and many of them joined the armies of France, Spain and Austria, all enemies of Great Britain.

On St. Patrick’s Day 1765, the Spanish ambassador to the court of Vienna gave a grand ball to which only persons of Irish birth or descent were invited. There was quite a crowd. The ambassador himself was named O’Mahony, and among the leaders of Spain attending that celebration were Gens. O’Donnell, McGuire, O’Kelly, Brown, Plunkett and MacEligott. One officer alone, Peter DeLacy of County Limerick, served during the 18th century in the armies of France, Poland, Austria and Russia, where he commanded a regiment of Siberian infantry.

So enjoy this ‘You Tuber’s" stroll down River Street while we feel sure normalcy will return to Savannah’s Historic District later next week (well sort of) but in the interim, Erin Go Bragh! And is there any mystery as to why this was not posted on time during the weekend?