Category Archives: Savannah Historic District Tours

Savannah Events – December 2014

Ongoing

Saturdays   Forsyth Farmers Market
Focused on food and food issues, this producer-only market (meaning all vendors have to be producing at least 75% of the products they sell) allows only food and plant vendors. Located on the Southside of Forsyth Park, come out and support your local farmers.

 Saturdays through Dec. 20th   Wilmington Island Farmer’s Market
This outdoor market sets up in the parking lot of the Islands Community Church located at 111 Walthour Road in Wilmington Island. WIFM features local farm-fresh produce, handcrafted baked goods and other edibles, jewelers, photographers and body products.

Through Dec. 26th   A Christmas Tradition
“A Christmas Tradition” brings you holiday glitz and glitter with a 2-hour performance. The theatre is transformed into a perfect holiday picture, sharing memories of the Christmas standards that you know and love.

Festival of LightsThrough Dec. 28th
Savannah Harbor Festival of Lights
A drive through light show around the Hutchinson Island Road Course, a Ferris Wheel and carnival rides on Bryan Square, Gingerbread Village inside the hotel, Pictures with Santa, Winter “Fun Zone”, holiday concessions and fabulous holiday decor around the Resort.  $20 up to 8 passengers.  $40 9-16 passengers.

5          Christmas on the River & First Friday Fireworks
It’s a holiday celebration on Historic River Street! Featuring regional arts and crafts exhibitors with holiday gifts and stocking stuffers, music, and local entertainment, with fireworks as the grand finale. Free and open to the public.

5          City Market Holiday Open House
Explore the beauty of holiday decorations including hundreds of lights and over 500 luminaria in the courtyard. Enjoy Christmas carolers, visit with Father Christmas, and sample holiday treats in the shops. 6pm – 9m. Free and open to the public.  Please bring an unwrapped toy to drop off in our Holiday Hope collection box.

6          Christmas for Kids Celebration
Bring the family to City Market for fun-filled activities including cookie decorating, making ornaments to take home, face painting, a petting zoo, photos with Father Christmas in the Carriage Tours of Savannah Cinderella Carriage, and a choir performance. Please bring an unwrapped toy to drop off in our Holiday Hope collection box. 11am – 2pm  Free and open to the public.

6          Christmas Lighted Parade
Don’t miss Savannah’s Lighted Christmas Parade, starting on West River Street at 5:30pm, traveling throughout downtown and ending at Ellis Square. The parade marks the official arrival of St. Nick, so this is one event you don’t want to miss!  Free and open to the public.

Bridge Run Collage

 

6          Savannah River Bridge Run
The 5k, 10k, Double Pump, and Kid’s ¼ Mile, this much anticipated race is always a fun run!


6   Tybee Island Christmas Parade
Everyone loves a parade! The parade begins at 1pm from the 14th Street parking lot and travels up Tybrisa to Butler Avenue, then to the Tybee Gym where children will have photo time with Santa.

11 – 24    Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens December Nights & Holiday Nights
Visitors can embark on a self-guided walking tour though over six acres of themed garden areas while enjoying holiday music and a beautiful display of seasonal lights. Stroller and wheelchair-friendly. $5.

12 – Jan. 3        Skatefest 2014
Ice skating, Savannah style, at the Savannah Civic Center.

Holiday Tour of Homes Collage

 

12 – 13  40th  Holiday Tour of Homes
Many special events are planned in conjunction with the homes tour to celebrate the 40th anniversary. 12 Homes to tour, Victorian Tea at the Massie Heritage Center, Christmas celebration of music, Hot toddy tasting, and special surprises.

16        Happy Hanukkah

 

19 – 20   Ft. Pulaski Candle Lantern Tours
Ft. Pulaski commemorates the Confederate Nog party of 1861. The long-lived tradition provides night-time tours of the historic fort by candle light and oil lamps.

20         5th Annual Savannah Reindeer Run (8k)
Savannah’s best family-oriented run event! Adults and youth are invited to run an 8K, and younger children will enjoy a kiddie race. Entry fee includes a T-shirt, food, and post-race festivities. Monetary prizes will be award to youth with most funds raised. Event includes a Kid Zone, costume contest and a “Seasons Best Cookie” contest, judged by Stratton Leopold, and Jesse Blanco of “Eat it & Like it”. Among the many prizes, winners will enjoy circus tickets to Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey.

20         Tybee Island Tour de Lights Bike Parade
Light up your bikes, tinsel up the handrails, and cruise the island for a night of holiday fun! The Tour Lights parade will begin and end at AJ’s Dockside.

21         Tybee Floating Christmas Parade
Get swept away by all of the festive Christmas lights on the water during the Floating Christmas Parade.

25         Merry Christmas!

NYE

31         New Year’s Eve in City Market
Ring in the New Year at City Market! It’s an outdoor street party and you are invited to join in the fun. Live music starts at 9pm and lasts until 1am. Free and open to the public.

31         New Year’s Eve on River Street
Ring in the New Year on Historic River Street! Don’t miss out on live music and our non-traditional “ball drop” with a Savannah twist! Countdown the final seconds of 2014 as we raise our six foot to-go cup to the New Year! The “Up the Cup” countdown will start right before midnight followed by a firework display to officially ring in 2015!

31    New Year’s Eve on Tybee
Curl up on your beach chair, or on a blanket, to watch the fireworks display from the Pier and Pavilion at midnight.

Run, Walk, Survive in Savannah!

September 20 marks the 25th Anniversary of the Heart of Savannah 5K run.

September 20 marks the 25th Anniversary of the Heart of Savannah 5K run.

On September 20 at the T intersection of Bull and Gaston Streets at the  northeast side of Forsyth Park (facing toward River Street), all of you sports enthusiasts, young and old who plan to be in Savannah this coming weekend, can participate and in the 25th annual trifecta, Savannah style, for young, old and the cured, at the Heart of Savannah 5K run, 1 mile Survivors walk, and the quarter mile kid’s fun run.

Warm up in Forsyth Park as you get ready to participate in this weekend's 5K Savannah run.

Warm up in Forsyth Park as you get ready to participate in this weekend’s 5K Savannah run.

Read the whole article below in it’s entirety from a recent edition of The South Magazine. Nobody does it better than our live like and work like a local friends at the South Mag when it comes to providing the inside skinny on what’s coming down in Destination Savannah from one day to the next!

“Join the YMCA of Coastal Georgia for the 25th Annual Heart of Savannah 5K September 20, 2014. Come for the race and stay for a fun family style YMCA party! This year’s event will feature a 5K Run, 1 Mile Survivors walk and a FREE 1/4 mile kid’s run. All of the proceeds from the event will support the Y’s newest program, LIVESTRONG at the Y, a free 12 week program, to help cancer survivors regain their physical and mental strength after treatment through exercise programs specifically for cancer survivors. This year’s event will feature a 1 Mile Survivor’s Walk to celebrate life and hope.

The race will start at 9:00 AM in the northeast corner of the park on Gaston Street and wind around the park and then down Bull Street through Savannah’s historic squares down to Johnson Square and back up Bull Street to the Park. After the race, a YMCA style party will be held with activities like Zumba in the park, Health Screenings, Inflatables for the kids and so much more! Bring the family; there will be something for everyone!

For more information and to register”, go to the YMCA of Coastal Georgia location, Fleet Feet Sports Savannah ($5 off coupon for all 5K participants) or visit the local Savannah YMCA website. Remember to include the time and date!

Kings Road and Dixie Highway via Savannah

Later this month the Embassy Suites Historic Savannah will host an unusual conference in downtown Savannah for all our road warrior friends out there, at least those that have a love of the spur of the moment road trip.  September 26 through the 28th is when this interesting conference is slated to be held.

embassy sav. 1

The 2014 Preserving the Historic Road Conference, partnered with the National Scenic Byways Foundation, will provide a diverse and comprehensive conference program, which will include enlightening educational sessions, and informative mobile workshops to unique sites (featuring some great shrimp, grits and barbeque). The combination of these events will let you experience southern road culture, history and local issues that tie in to the national, and global, perspective of historic road identification and protection.

As the Preserving the Historic Road Conference literature indicates there are a number of reasons for serious “on the road again” enthusiasts to be in attendance (if for no other reason than to dazzle your friends and fellow travelers with your arcane knowledge of our southern road systems).

embassy sav.2

Upon founding Savannah in 1733 General James Oglethorpe organized the now famous squares as military parade grounds among the residences, businesses and churches of the capital city of the 13th Colony. Beyond Savannah, American Indian roads transformed into colonial trade routes, such as the King’s Road, and were later used during the Revolutionary and Civil wars. These same roads evolved into the highways of the modern era, providing the lifeline between growing industries and the bustling Port of Savannah. These same roads further enticed travelers to southern vacationlands via the Dixie Highway and the Atlantic Coastal Highway (US 17). So journey on down with your fellow road enthusiasts and enjoy some fine southern hospitality!

Exterior - Dusk

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.

bacon 3

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.

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.

Dog Days 2

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.

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

Military_branches

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:
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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. 

Ww2savmemorial

 

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. 

Mason

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. 

 

 

 


 



 

 

 

Boys of Summer

IMAG0476_BURST015It’s springtime in Savannah! It’s just a glorious time to be here. With our St. Patrick’s Day event, Savannah Music Festival, pro golf visits, endless flowers in bloom, not to mention PERFECT

WEATHER! Springtime also brings one of my favorite Savannah activities …
Savannah Sand Gnat baseball!

2407839335_977e74687b_zThe history of the Sand Gnats in Savannah dates back to 1904! Historic Grayson Stadium , the Savannah Sand Gnats home, was constructed the year Marilyn Monroe and Andy Griffith were born, 1926. A year that saw the first flight over the north pole, the first transatlantic phone call (from London to NYC), and the passing of Annie Oakley 

After a hurricane leveled much of the original structure in August of 1940, a rebuliding effort began on the stadium in 1941 spearheaded by it’s namesake, Spanish-American War veteran, General William L. Grayson. Though the United States entry into World War II delayed the completion of the metal roof, play continued during the 1941 season as the rebuilding progressed.

Joe-jackson

Historic Grayson Stadium, like it’s home of Savannah, has seen history and made some along the way.
It has had legends such as Shoeless Joe Jackson, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Jackie Robinson play on it’s turf. It also saw the South Atlantic League color barrier break in the with Al (Izzy) Israel and Junior Reedy in the 1953 Opening Day line up.

Since 1996 the Savannah Sand Gnats have placed 62 players into “the show” (the major leagues)! It’s what I love about seeing minor league ball. The chance to see someone play that, in a few years, will be building a hall of fame resume.

The opening day game for the Gnats this year is April 4th and the regular season runs into September. That gives us plenty of opportunities to enjoy a day at the park. Different days mean
different things at Grayson and my favorite, “Thirsty Thursdays”, appeal to many Savannahians need for beer and drinks. Nearly every night features some sort of promotion including many nights of fireworks! Enjoy a day at the park during your visit! Watch the future visit the past during the present!

(insider tip) Bring bug spray!
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Evidently actual sand gnats enjoy warm still nights and baseball fans of Savannah. Also, enjoy the antics of Gnate the Gnat! of sports BEST mascots! Gnate has his own Facebook page and has been featured on ESPN!