Category Archives: Books

Kid Friendly Savannah


Pirates House Restaurant where the dining amongst pirates is the norm

Pirates House Restaurant where the dining amongst pirates is the norm

Savannah in the summer has a variety of fun things to do for children of all ages when the shores of Tybee are simply not enough to keep your kids amused.  Savannah is quite kid friendly in a historic manner if one knows where to look. Our Coastal Heritage Society in coastal Georgia is a fine place to start with Old Fort Jackson just minutes away from downtown Savannah, Fort Pulaski, a little further out Highway 80 the Georgia State Railroad Museum just across MLK Jr. Boulevard south of Oglethorpe St., and the Pin Point Heritage Museum celebrating the Gullah/Geechee island lifestyle off highway 204 on the route to Skidaway Island.

Dating back to the 1820's, Fort Pulaski was part of a chain of coastal forts precipitated by the War of 1812

Dating back to the 1820′s, Fort Pulaski was part of a chain of coastal forts precipitated by the War of 1812

The recently opened Savannah Children’s Museum is located right beside the Roundhouse Railroad Museum at 655 Louisville Road from 9:00 AM through 2:00 PM Tuesday through Sunday. Open now is Exploration Station phase 1 featuring a unique 1 acre, 2 level outdoor exhibit area set in the ruins of a Central of Georgia Railroad building. Or take a run out to a fun attraction off the Islands Expressway, the Oatland Island Wildlife Center replete with nature trails throughout featuring low country hardwood forests and mashes. Along the trail in their natural habitat, you can view panthers (if they will come out of their lairs), bears as they eat their treats, eastern timber wolves, alligators, many different flying raptors, and even a non-local bison or three.

One of many onsite aircraft, circa WWII

One of many onsite aircraft, circa WWII

Military History buffs will want to take in the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum just off I-95. Be prepared to spend half a day in this air-conditioned facility where your young flyer can experience what it was like to fly a B-17 bomber aboard the museum’s interactive flight simulator. Hear the sounds of the engines and the spinning of the propellers as computer monitors reflect cockpit windows and flight controls. Other exhibits include a B-17 bomber that’s undergoing complete restoration and is on display in the Combat gallery. End your day dining with pirates in Savannah’s landmark eatery The Pirates House. Initially opened in 1753 as an inn for seafarers, legend has it that a long ago sea captain from the Robert Louis Stevenson inspired novel “Treasure Island” fame died in an upstairs room with first mate, Billy Bones, at his side. See a tunnel that’s rumored to extend from underneath the restaurant to the Savannah River where drunken seamen were shanghaied. Characters in pirate costume mill about during meal times.

The Art of Cooling Off In The Hostess City

Escape the dog days of Summer at the Jepson Cafe during their Art on Tap craft beer fest.

Escape the dog days of Summer at the Jepson Cafe during their Art on Tap craft beer fest.

As the dog days of summer reach ever higher temperatures, here is a tip to keep you both cool and informed while touring the Hostess City known as downtown Savannah. Check out an extraordinary collection of modern day renderings in the cool, cool Jepson Center while cooling off in the Hostess City. Dedicated to the always relevant art of the day, the modern Jepson Center completes their namesake’s trifecta by connecting the future with its past through unifying the museum’s three unique artistic destination sites, two of which are found on Telfair Square and the third off of Olgethorpe Square. The crown in the jewel of the Telfair Museum complex, the Jepson Center was designed by Moshe Safdie, boasts a modern 7500 Square feet striking facility that was initially opened to the public in 2006.


Moshe Safdie designed Jepson Center fronting Oglethorpe Street from the north side of the district.

Moshe Safdie designed Jepson Center fronting Oglethorpe Street from the north side of the district.

The Jepson Center is home to one of Savannah’s favorite son’s, art historian Kirk Varnedoe and the collection contemporary with his life, a mainstay of the rich collection of the museum’s holdings. Hitting the highlights on other modern era works, discerning art lovers will find art in a paper medium by some of the most important artists of the past half century. From Jasper Johns, and Chuck Close, all the way through to Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, and Richard Avedon, the museum’s diverse contemporary collection also features important works by William Christenberry, Helen Levitt, Sam Gilliam, James Brooks, and many notable Georgia artists. When you consider the Jepson hosts a variety of traveling art exhibits and live exhibitions as diverse as Flamenco Dancing

to Tibetan Monks creating Mandalas out of sand, the summer time is the right time to get out of the heat and into the cool at the Jepson.

Tibetan Monks create mandalas within the Jepson Center as art lovers look on

With that in mind, the Jepson’s popular Art on Tap series promises to be timely for the month of July. The Jepson has partnered up with Athens, Georgia brewery favorite Terrapin Beer in this rotating series of art, wineries, and breweries. Nurture your artistic side as you knock back a cool one during the dog days of summer from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the Jepson Café on Thursday, July 17th.

Memorial Day


DziadekI was 12 when My grandfather, Stanley Kiefski, passed away. A Navy veteran who was lucky enough to be on a boat returning to California shortly before Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. I may have never met him. I don't remember a whole lot of the funeral, the day, or the weather. I think it was cold. What I do remember was taps playing, guns firing, and a folded flag.  

It wasn't until I moved to Savannah that I began to recognize what "duty, honor, country", meant. More than words General MacArthur gave. It was real and whole. It has mass and body. Mass, of the many that hear the call to join our armed forces. Body, of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. 



Savannah is military. Past, present, and future.

We have:

Hunter Army Airfield, in Savannah, is home of the Army Rangers 1st Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment.

Fort Stewart, 20 minutes south of Savannah, is home of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division and is the largest military base east of the Mississippi. 

Parris Island, 40 minutes north of Savannah, is a Marine training facility turning out nearly 17,000 recruits a year.

Kings Bay Navy Submarine Base, 100 miles south of Savannah, is the U.S. Atlantic Fleet's home port for the Navy's ballistic missile nuclear submarines.

FLETC (Federal Law Enforcement Training Center) ,70 miles south of Savannah, serves as an interagency law enforcement training organization for 91 federal agencies, partner organizations along with state, local, rural, tribal, territorial, and international law enforcement agencies.

All this, combined with Savannah's amazing military history, makes it hard not to notice the non-stop effort it takes to provide our nation's freedom. 

 Just about anywhere in Savannah you can find reminders, markers, and monuments honoring Savannah's importance to the very life of this nation. A visit to Bonaventure Cemetery you can find markers to veterans of the American Revolution, Civil War, Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, and nearly every military skirmish in between. 

For those visiting Savannah interested in honoring our military, I would suggest:

Bonaventure Cemetery. Go to the visitors center for a free map to find the military plot and also the somewhat hidden plot of the dead from the Spanish American War. I can't say enough of this cemetery. It's a must do!

The Mighty Eighth Museum. Located 1 exit south of the Savannah airport on I 95. It is a fitting place to honor this prestigious group of airmen and their place in military history. 



Savannah's World War II memorial is a spectacular addition on the west side of River Street. Called "A World Apart" and shows a globe cut in half portraying the European and Pacific theaters. It features names of locals who lost their lives in that war. It's bigger than I imagined it would be, and rivals monuments in our nation's capitol. 



locals insider tip … Kevin Barry's Pub located on River Street. The second floor of this local and tourist favorite is called the Hall of Heroes and is a moving tribute to our military. I had the privilege to walk through this with one of the survivors of a little battle you may know as Black Hawk Down. He was visibly moved by this place as am I. I personally knew several soldiers that are on these walls. Can't believe they are gone. Guys I knew downtown. Drinking buddies. Friends. Immortally heroes. 


I dedicate this blog to Sgt. Mason Lewis. A friend, a co-worker, an employee. Killed in Iraq on November 16, 2007 while helping train members of the Iraqi military. Mason was the first person I knew die in Iraq or Afghanistan.  Remembering, honoring, memorializing. It's simply not enough for our bravely fallen, but it's all I can do today. I'm drinking a beer for you today Mason. 








Girl Scout Exhibition + the Charlie Daniel’s Band

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In an effort to document the many achievements of the Girl Scouts of America during their fist 100 years, the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum will have a temporary exhibit for the remainder of 2012 to raise the awareness of the GSA's many contributions during Savannah’s most renowned first lady, founder Juliette Gordon Low’s 100 year anniversary of the creation of the Girl Scouts of America. A tip of our Savannah Getaways hat to Key to Savannah’s information laden report below:

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The Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum is pleased to announce the opening of its newest exhibition, “Doing Their Part! Girl Scouts in World War II”. This exhibit has been created in honor of their outstanding wartime contributions on the Home Front. This temporary exhibit will be in place throughout 2012 in celebration of the Girl Scout’s 100th Anniversary.

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World War II era uniforms, a first aid kit, and sewing kit document their activities in war-related service projects, like Hospital, Child Care, Emergency Outdoor Aide, and Farm Aide. In addition, Girl Scouts planted Victory Gardens, collected fat and scrap metal, and operated bicycle courier services. They organized Defense Institutes, teaching 10,000 women survival skills and techniques for comforting children during blackouts and air raids. Girl Scouts also collected 1.5 million articles of clothing that were then shipped overseas to civilian victims of war.

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In the last minute Savannah Vacation News department, if you are coming to Savannah this weekend,  Check out the free Charlie Daniels Band concert in Forsyth Park and celebrate Earth Day, Savannah Style, all day long in Forsyth Park and celebrate Earth Day, Savannah Style, at the same time.

The Living History of Savannah’s Historic Forts


A recent Retirement Magazine listed Savannah Georgia as one of the top eight places to retire for the history lovers among that generation. The folks at the Where to Retire Magazine included Savannah at the top of their illustrious list of other well known Historic Sites along with Charleston S.C., Chattanooga, Tenn., and Fredericksburg, Virginia to name a few of the better known historic destinations. The common denominator of these destinations are their roles of witnessing important battles and conflicts that shaped American History as noted in their national and state parks on the outskirts of these historic cities.

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Savannah has witnessed a series of skirmishes and battles over the years starting with the arrival of the Spanish and their claiming of Creek Tribal lands for the Spanish Crown and subsequent attempts to convert the indigenous inhabitants to Catholicism. As the article relates below, if it works for retirees looking to live in Savannah, it works even doubly so for visitors to Historic Savannah.

Although it lasted only 30 hours, the Battle of Fort Pulaski changed the Civil War and military history. Now it’s that legacy and the memorable setting on the Georgia coast that attract retirees to volunteer at the national military park outside Savannah. Now it is that legacy and the memorable setting on the Georgia coast. For historians, the battle is notable because it demonstrated that masonry forts couldn’t hold up to a barrage of from rifled cannons. Unfortunately for the citizens of Civil War Savannah, in the end the Confederate garrisoned fort quickly fell to the Union forces. Downtown Savannah has itself has no shortage of appeal or history. The Hostess City, founded in 1733, is well known for it’s squares lined with Spanish-Moss covered live oaks amidst hundreds of restored architectural landmarks.

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Oh, and by the way, Savannah’s storied past is just a small part of what makes us a perennial top 10 destination year after year. Watch the Savannah Convention & Visitor's video below to learn more:

The Savannah Black Heritage Festival

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The 23rd Annual Savannah Black Heritage Festival kicks off its celebration on February 1, 2012, and will continue through Thursday, February 16th with a smorgasbord of festival events. Each year, the festival presents programs and activities in the performing and visual arts for every age and every interest in school settings and in the public domain. A strong commitment to family and fun are featured in Low Country Savannah in the traditional Black History celebratory month of February.

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This year’s event is no different with a strong emphasis on Black cultural activities including dance, music, visual art exhibitions international and local in scope, culinary arts activities, crafts workshops and much, much more. Plan to be in attendance on the gala Grand Festival Day on February 11th in Savannah’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Center from morning on into the evening. The theme of this year’s festival is Journey’s, Passages, and Transitions.

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Attend the 23rd Annual Savannah Black Heritage Festival and enjoy the rich cultural contribution of Black Americans in Coastal Georgia’s Destination Savannah. Plan your trip around the posted schedule and secure your free tickets online as some events require these seating arrangements. The Festival is sponsored by the City of Savannah and Savannah State University.

Celebrate Black History, Winter 2012

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If researching your West African roots is your idea of time well spent on a getaway road trip worth taking, the lowcountry roads that run through coastal Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina may provide just the fact filled glimpse into daily life in Colonial era America that will set you free. The 30 mile wide swath of the Gullah Geechee Corridor that extends from Wilmington, North Carolina all the way down to St. Augustine, Florida is the ticket. Visiting historic districts like those found on Daufuskie Island or Sapelo Island's Hog Hammock in Low Country Georgia alone features a weekend to "live like a local" in a rich cultural environment of living the unpretentious good life among nature's bounty.

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Look in on the official website that points the way to the black history lover along the Heritage Corridor below:

Due to their isolation during the 17th-19th centuries, the population, known as Gullah in the Carolina's and Geechee in the Georgia, and their descendents, were able to develop distinctive speech, styles of dress, and architecture, in addition to self-sufficient farming and fishing traditions that distinguished them from other groups in the region.

Visit Historic Savannah in both January or February to take part in the Martin Luther King, Jr. celebrations during Dr. King's birthday and his National Day of commeration. Weekend dates are filling up fast during both months, so don't delay if booking your Historic Savannah Black History vacation rentals during the Annual Savannah Black Heritage Festival is something you had in mind.

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The 23rd Annual Savannah Black Heritage Festival kicks off its celebration on February 1, 2012, and will continue through Thursday, February 16th with some pre- and post-festival events. Each year, the festival presents programs and activities in the performing and visual arts for every age and every interest in school settings and in the public domain. Fun and family are emphasized through out the celebration.

Savannah’s Best Haunted Restaurant!

Pink House Night 1
I had forgotten how elegant The Olde Pink House could be until we staged a weekend Family Reunion last month to Destination Savannah and the exquisite cuisine was clearly everybody’s favorite. While I have blogged about the Pink House as far back as five years ago, this article I just came across put the Olde Pink House thing on my radar again. The below was written by Historic Savannah Tybee Georgia on Facebook and is also shared in it’s entirety in our Savannah Vacation News channel:

A Colonial Ghost at The Olde Pink House

One of the few 18th century homes to survive the Great Fire of 1796, The Olde Pink House is perhaps Savannah’s most elegant restaurant. It is also her most haunted. The mansion was built in 1771 for James Habersham Jr., a successful rice planter and shipping baron. Unlike his father James Habersham Sr. who remained loyal to the British Crown, Junior used his wealth to help finance the War for Independence. In fact secret meetings of the Sons of Liberty were held in his home here on Reynolds Square to plot the arrest of the Royal Governor.

Pink-house flounder

Habersham lent his elegant home to the colonial freedom fighters much the way he still lends it to visitors today…presiding proudly as its gracious host. Witnesses have reported seeing an elegant looking man dressed in colonial attire in the downstairs tavern. His appearance being so clear that they merely thought him to be a staff member dressed in costume. Upon leaving the restaurant they notice the painting hanging in the foyer to be the same gentleman they just saw strolling about the tavern. Perplexed, they inquire about the gentleman’s identity only to be advised that the man in the painting, James Habersham Jr., has been dead for two hundred years.


Why is the house pink you might ask? It’s because the original bricks beneath the plaster facade, intended to make the house look more elegant, have bled through over time. And though we’re not sure the gracious Mr. Habersham would approve of the whimsical color, we Savannahians believe she is quite pretty in pink.

Dueling You Tube Videos for 15 G’s


A recent video created for You Tube by the Savannah Convention and Visitor’s Bureau does an excellent job of capturing the essence of our Top Ten Vacation Destination, Savannah’s Landmark Historic District. Typical of the Hostess City, some of our locals have a tendency to throw stones at those that are paid to promote Destination Savannah as doubtless some if these videographers believe they could create a better online offering here in the Creative Coast. As the Savannah Morning News reports in the excerpt below, a lot of fun was had by the cast during the production.


General James Oglethorpe’s statue in Chippewa Square faces south in tribute to his prowess in defending the new colony of Georgia from the Spanish. On Wednesday, Oglethorpe took an extended break from guard duty, at least on YouTube. Visit Savannah brought the statue “to life” for its first promotional film developed exclusively for the video-sharing website. The clip portrays Oglethorpe coming down from his pedestal to lead a dancing Conga line of tourists and locals through the Historic District he designed.


More than 100 locals appear in the video, which was shot in one day earlier this year. “It’s very clever because some see history as boring, and Savannah is not boring. It’s a living history museum,” Wood said. “The video shows off how fun the town is without sacrificing our dignity. We’re not a theme park, and we don’t want to be. The video strikes a balance.”


But the locals didn’t think so much of the video and as a result, you too can receive a grand prize of $15,000 if your Destination Savannah Video does as well as the one paid for by the Savannah CVB based on a recent television news report.

Paula Deen’s Dinner Theatre?

Hard Hearted Foyer

Yo, Dinner Theatre enthusiasts, Listen Up! Savannah Vacation News announces an interesting new concept in Destination Travel Entertainment to the Low Country’s Favorite Landmark Historic District. Sorry Charleston with your The Holy City branding but this announcement would be for The Hostess City in coastal Georgia’s First City, Destination Historic Savannah.

Hard Hearted Paula+Deen

Savannah’s Foody Diva, Paula Deen has combined with the ensemble cast at Hard Hearted Hannah’s Playhouse to deliver Paula's highly trafficked Lady & Son's venue where dinner guests can be forewarned about Savannah’s worst Tour Guide in their tongue in cheek, “There’s a Bomb on Trolley 409” play. While Savannah Getaways will readily admit some of our off Broadway creations will never make it to The Big Apple, would not be confused with some of our other Savannah Playbill Shows, we also recognize that here in the magnificent land of Magnolias, we southerner's wrote the book about marching to our own drummer as millions of annual visitors prove year after year by happily marching along with us as well.


So leave your sensibilities at the door, bring your plastic pink flamingo yard ornament inside with you while “styling” on your next downtown Savannah getaway down south. Snag your online reservation right’cheer despite the mixed reviews of famous Savannahian’s through the ages.

There's a Bomb On Trolley 409! from Thunderfuel on Vimeo.