Category Archives: Coastal Lowcountry Islands and Beaches

Bacon Fest upon the cobblestones

Bacon 1Roses are red

Bacon is yummy

Roses smell nice

Put the Bacon in your tummy.

Geez, I didn’t write the ditty, another true bacon lover did! I just thought it was appropriate for the first weekend coming at us this particular September! Stand by on River Street for yet another Savannah inaugural festival, Savannah’s first ever Bacon Fest slated for the first weekend of September, the 5th through the 7th at the Rousakis Riverfront Plaza. Bacon Fest promises to be yet another great excuse to hang out in Lowcountry Savannah to taste the mouth-watering dishes of our cadre of creative local restaurateurs.

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Pork belly patrons can sample a variety of the offerings on booth lined River Street. In addition to one of America’s favorite comfort food taste-fest there will of course be a First Friday Fireworks display in the offing by our always trusty sponsor, Wet Willie’s. Count on the usual group of talented artists to march on by for our First Friday Art March but we prefer our 1st Weekend Art March.

And by the way did we forget to mention that all of the above is being put on for free?

All that Lowcountry Jazz

Kick off your pre-Labor Day weekend with some live Jazz Performances at the Lowcountry Jazz Festival

Kick off your pre-Labor Day weekend with some live Jazz Performances at the Lowcountry Jazz Festival

Another year rolling on by and another late summer/early fall Charleston and Savannah
Jazz Festival in two big time coastal destinations along the Heritage Corridor, Charleston South Carolina and Savannah Georgia coming at you one more time. Time is running short to snag your tickets for the sixth annual LowCountry Jazz Festival at the North Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center, August 28th through the 31st. This year’s opening act Bobby Caldwell promises to set the tone right from the jump on Thursday night with his long line of jazz favorites including his renowned “What you won’t do for Love”.

Make sure you secure your ticket for any of the four nights you plan to be in attendance at the Lowcountry Music Festival.

Free form outdoor jazz concerts in Forsyth Park every September

Free form outdoor jazz concerts in Forsyth Park every September

On completion of the Charleston Jazz fest, just follow Highway 17 in a southbound direction on past the outskirts of Charleston apiece until you cross the Savannah River a few hours later if you are thinking about taking in the sights and sounds of these two sister cities, Savannah and Charleston. You can always count on the granddaddy of lowcounty Jazz Festivals to take place as usual in Forsyth Park later this month. For over thirty years, the very best musicians have been delivering every jazz genre known to music lovers everywhere to be found exclusively in it’s low country habitat every September under the auspices of the Savannah Music Festival.  This year’s event runs for six nights starting September 21st and ends on September 27th and features our personal favorite, “Steady Rolling” Bob Margolin in the prime time spot on Thursday night, September 25thon the outdoor stage under the band shell at Forsyth Park.

Day and Night, free outdoor jazz concerts during the Savannah Jazz Festival

Day and Night, free outdoor jazz concerts during the Savannah Jazz Festival

Just another late summer early fall in music paradise where you can boogie like a local to our always tasty low country musical fare.

Live like a local, be respectful of your neighbors!

local 1When you live like a local on your Savannah Getaway, it should start with the same respect you likely demonstrate in your own community of origin. Simply stated, be respectful of the year round neighbors on the Savannah block you are staying in. Your Savannah vacation rental home is smack dab in the middle of local Savannahians. Hence our live like a local slogan that has served us well for the past 15 years now.

So apply the same common sense and neighborliness you employ in obeying laws and ordinances in the cities and communities you came from and you are not likely to get sideways on your Savannah vacation with year round neighbors or law enforcement! Just as in your own hometown, there are laws and ordinances that prohibit excessive, unnecessary and unreasonable levels of noise. These laws are enforced by the local police departments. Savannah is no exception when it comes to enforcing the “silence is golden rule” in the wee hours of the night.

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Over the years our guest services and reservation desk receive an ever growing number of complaints from neighbors about excessive noise levels after 10:00 PM when the noise ordinance law kicks in. While this is a small number of noisy guests for the most part, clear communication about consequences to this handful of ignoring noise ordinances make for better relationships between Savannah Getaways and their neighbors.  We will not knowingly tolerate a noise nuisance in our vacation rental homes once we have been made aware of boorish behavior that we represent for the property owners and their neighbors.

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This noisy neighbor complaint has become such an issue in the historic district of Savannah, real or perceived, that some of the ward captains have raised a clamor within the 31401 zip code to such an extent, that the city is now reviewing local ordinances with an eye for making sure that the quality of life is the same for our Savannah guests and true Savannah locals alike. These new laws, in part intended to keep rowdy revelers tamped down on their visit, will likely go into effect in the next few months. So be apprised, for those of you that are coming to town to party down, our rental homes are not for you. While the posted images within this blog are reflective of something more akin to drunk and disorderly in the district, you are out of line if the police have to be called out to remind you to keep it down, this is not to be confused with what we mean when we speak of “living like a local”.

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“We know from experience that nearly all of our guests DO act like good neighbors while in Savannah.  We truly appreciate that and welcome you to Savannah, our serene Hostess City.”

Lucky 7th Savannah CraftBrew Fest

Swigging with 5000+ beer lovers

The beer will be flowing freely on Hutchinson Island this coming pre-Labor Day weekend as the seventh annual Savannah Craft Brew Fest get’s well under way. If past coastal Georgia craft brew fests are any indication, you can expect 5,000+ cold brew lovers to raise tasting glasses in approximately 30 days as they seek their favorite brewery product line at this popular tasting event.

As a past spokesman said in years past from the Savannah Convention and Visitors Bureau “I think as long as the weather holds out for this up until now highly successful Savannah Craftbrew Fest, great crowds will continue to come in increasing numbers to what is becoming a great Savannah Tradition year after year.” Check the video below to see remind you of why it is you likely want to be in attendance.

Plan your Savannah weekend getaway if you expect to be there for the kick-off of this year’s Saturday event on August 30th. Last chance to receive 20% off (save $10) on the price of admission to this 150 brewery beer tasting event, so buy your tickets online today before the end of the day on July 31st, 2014!

Dogs Rule on River Street

Rousakis Riverfront Plaza located at 115 East River Street is the appropriate rally point for the Dog Days of Summer on River Street the first weekend in August. Just steps away from all the River Street and City Market attractions you will likely come to visit, why not bring that furry kid along with you and spoil them rotten along River Street with doggy treat after doggy treat on the one weekend you can count on this year that will most definitely go to the dogs.

Dog Days 1

Local Savannahians know how to embrace all the seasons in our top ten destination (or 29 most surreal locations to visit if you prefer) with a variety of festivals.  So of course August’s First Friday Weekend (one of twelve throughout the year) on River Street will be one that our two legged and four legged guests can enjoy together. The Savannah Waterfront Association has quite a Dog Days of Summer throw down planned for August 1-2 at Rousakis Riverfront Plaza on historic River Street along the northern border of downtown Savannah fronting the inbound and outbound ship laden Savannah River.

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Don’t know about our First Friday Fireworks Weekends along the Savannah River? River Street will be bursting with culinary delights of every description for all our foody loving friends from some of historic Savannah’s most accomplished eating establishments for your traveling palate. And we don’t forget your favorite furry friend’s less not overly discriminating foody needs either.  Many of the booths will have doggy bags available mostly because Savannah is a doggone good dog loving town to hang out with your dog in. Your family and friends want believe you on your return? Then document your Dog Days of Summer sojourn with that very special pooch at the photo booth!

Forest Gump on an undersized shrimp boat?

Forest Gump on an undersized shrimp boat?

Dog Days of Summer paws off on Friday, August 1 at 4:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. and starts back up with much wagging of the tail on Saturday from 10:00 am to 10:00 p.m. First Friday Fireworks as presented by Wet Willie’s begin at 9:30 p.m. on Friday. Like all First Weekend Celebrations, this event is free and open to the public. One thing for sure, you never know what you will find on River Street with your kids, furry or otherwise!

 

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.

1 x Land, 1 X Sea = Savannah Fireworks Display

Savannah 1

As Hurricane Arthur works it’s way north to the Outer Banks off coastal North Carolina, we can celebrate the passing of this hurricane season’s first weather event with a fireworks display on Tybee Island tonight and Downtown Savannah overlooking River Street on Friday evening. Well, maybe we are being a little disingenuous as both these two annual 4th of July celebrations were already in the works. The Tybee Island Pier will get a jump on July 4th tonight with their Dark Thirty Fireworks Display, at approximately dusk around 9:15 PM. While the fireworks display will be staged on the pier, this impressive display is easily viewed from any of Tybee’s eastern beaches.

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Meanwhile, a mere 20 minutes away by car, the Savannah Waterfront Association will be hosting their annual Fourth of July festival all weekend long beginning the next day on Friday, July 4th and continuing through Sunday, July 6th along historic trolley car line over cobblestone paved River Street. Viewing the fireworks on River Street is a long standing “live like a local” Savannah tradition that everyone turns out to see, be they local residents or visitors to the Hostess City. And Savannah and Tybee Island both do the many fireworks displays that provide throughout the calendar year right! The Fourth of July Celebration and Fireworks Extravaganza will kick off Friday, July 4th at 4pm on Rousakis Plaza. As usual, some mighty fine live musical bands will be performing on the Arbor Stage with special performances from Those Cats at 6 PM followed by The Hypnotics at 8 PM. œThese bands are local favorites This year, the Hypnotics will be performing a patriotic set during the fireworks to compliment the fireworks extravaganza. Those viewing the fireworks away from the Arbor Stage can also tune into Y100-WXYY-FM for more patriotic tunes during the fireworks display.

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The festivities will continue on Saturday featuring another live performance for guests to dance to from the Radio Birds at 8pm. Festival Hours are 4-10pm on Friday, 10am-10pm on Saturday, and 10am-5pm on Sunday. Regional artisans will be set up along the plaza displaying a variety of handmade works for festival goers to browse through. Let’s review: Tybee Island Pier tonight on July 3rd starting at 9:15 PM. And River Street Savannah starting on Friday afternoon, July 4th 2014 through Sunday afternoon July 6th , 2014 – Friday, July 4: 4-10 p.m., Saturday, July 5: 10 a.m. 10 p.m., Sunday, July 6: 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Port City

Plano-de-la-Ciudad-y-del-Puerto-de-Savannah-en-el-Condado-de-Chatham-Estado-de-Georgia-Estados-Unidos-AD-1818-10607

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Spending anytime along River Street or even Tybee for that matter you will see some really amazing ships! Savannah is, just as it was during it's inception, a port city. I'm not sure James Oglethorpe (Savannah's founder) would have guessed his little city would become the fourth busiest port in the country. The very foundation of Savannah's infrastructure is rooted in shipping!


Cobblestones

 

 

Many of the cobblestones found in coastal towns, like those that line River Street, were brought from Europe! An empty ship does not sail well. It's too buoyant and gets jostled around by wind and waves too much. The ships coming from Europe were mostly empty as they were coming to bring the riches of America back to europe. Before leaving Europe the ships ballasts were lined with cobblestones. When the ships arrived to our fair city the stones were removed from the ships and then the vessels were loaded with goods to be sent back. It's hard for me to imagine, in this age of instant news and communication, the excitement an incoming ship would bring to the settlers of Savannah. Friends, loved ones, supplies, news? All reliant on wind and current to get here. 

Waving-girl-statue-savannah-ga--large-msg-118045199508Savannah has lent its name to several historic ships. Most notable are the SS Savannah (the first steamship to cross the Atlantic) and the NS Savannah (the first nuclear-powered cargo-passenger ship). These historic ships are dwarfed by what comes to the Savannah ports these days. Ships like the Roma and the Figaro, both at 1100 feet long, make the twenty plus mile long trek up the Savannah river to our port.  They are here for a few days and are gone again. Where are they heading next? I don't know, but they are an important part of Savannah's past, present, future, and are always welcome to our little city. 

Local tip: The north beach on Tybee, Fort Jackson, Fort Pulaski, and of course our historic River Street are all great vantage points to see ships coming in and out of Savannah. Being on River Street is absolutely the best spot and gives the observer a sense of the size of these ships. 

 
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The Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum is a great visit for those interested in Savannah's maritime history! 

Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

The winter doldrums are upon us. That stretch of time, from the excitement of the fall/winter holiday seasons until St. Patrick’s Day (our unofficial start to spring), where Savannahians can get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Savannah and its neighboring towns are dotted with community parks, state parks, and many different parks managed by the National Wildlife Refuge System.  Within 40 miles from downtown Savannah are 5 National Wildlife Refuges. They are; Pinckney Island NWR, Harris Neck NWR, Tybee NWR, Wassaw Island NWR, and Savannah NWR.

 
Welcome SignSavannah National Wildlife Refuge is free for all to enter though our four legged family members are not allowed. It is located about 7 miles from downtown Savannah, and was founded on April 6th, 1927 on what was a rice plantation started in the mid to late 1700’s. Inside it’s nearly 30,000 acres you will find a new visitors center, miles and miles of cycling/walking trails, and Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive. Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive is a 4 mile drivable loop, open daily from sunrise to sunset, that makes wildlife viewing accessible to all from the comforts of their own vehicle. It features many pull off areas as it winds through tidal creeks, lowland hardwood swamps, and freshwater impoundments utilizing earthen dikes from the original rice plantation.
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Gator       Warm winter days are my favorite time to roam the refuge. These days are prime for seeing alligators, the refuge’s most popular guest! On a warm day, particularly after a cold front has blown through, it is not unusual to see over 30 alligators during your visit. In addition to alligators visitors can see migrating waterfowl, wading birds, song birds, turtles, raccoons, osprey, bald eagles, owls, other birds of prey, deer, fox, coyotes, and bobcats. The cooler months of winter also provide relatively bug free outdoor enjoyment, though I would suggest taking some bug repellant with you.

I would definitely suggest stopping by the new visitor’s center located at 694 Beech Hill Lane.
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It is open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 4:30 pm and is closed for all federal holidays. It features an exhibit area with historical information about the area and its wildlife, a gift shop with everything from tee shirts, hats, posters, toys, and many books on birds, nature, and local history.
Visitor Center II
Upon request the visitor’s center also features a very well done short film on the refuge system and on the Savannah refuge in particular.

The refuge is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy nature at your own pace. Whether you are nature nut like me, a photographer, a bird watcher, looking for some fresh air, or a quiet picnic spot Savannah National Wildlife Refuge is well worth the time.

Labor Day Weekend in Savannah

It’s hard to believe it’s already September and that the
lazy days of Summer will soon be turning into crisp Autumn nights.  The kids have gone back to school, and the
days are already starting to get a little shorter … but we still have one more
weekend to celebrate Summer and there will be plenty to keep you outside and
busy this holiday weekend!

Beer Fest

The Savannah Craft Brew Fest is in
full swing all weekend with tastings and seminars throughout the day, where beer
connoisseurs (and novices) will have more than 45 breweries to toast, taste and
try. 
The fest wraps up on Sunday with the Rhythm & Brews Concert at the
International Trade & Convention Center (just across the Savannah River)
where you can bring your blankets and enjoy one last sultry, Savannah, Summer
night.  Check out their website for all
of the details and times.
If you’re not a beer drinker, that’s ok – grab a glass of your favorite
concoction (a Wet Willie’s perhaps) –
and spend the afternoon dancing on River
Street
.  Free and open to the public,
there will be arts, crafts, music and entertainment for all ages.

Midnight Garden Ride

Don’t be surprised when you see 100’s of bicyclists riding through town on
Saturday night; it’s the 4th Annual Midnight Garden RideAnother
family fun event, this 10 mile ride through Savannah’s downtown streets
benefits the Savannah Bicycle Campaign and their on-going effort to make
Savannah a safe, bicycle friendly community. 
Riders will be in costume and the event concludes with a concert in
Telfair Square with Atlanta based, Ponderosa.

 
Looking for something a bit more low-key to celebrate the last days of
Summer?  Then head out to Tybee Island for a weekend of sun and
fun.  Kick back and stay cool with the ocean
breeze while you listen to music at the Pier and Pavilion.  Savannah favorites, The Swingin’ Medallions will take the stage at 7pm on Sunday and fireworks
will follow at dark.
No matter how you choose to spend the holiday weekend, Savannah Getaways wishes
you a safe and happy Labor Day Weekend!