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.

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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.

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.

1 x Land, 1 X Sea = Savannah Fireworks Display

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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.

Calling all Savannah Mudders

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Here at Savannah Getaways, we have always tried to live up to our Live Like A Local philosophy that has served us well over the past fifteen years.  We like to think that along the way of offering exceptionally upscale vacation rental facilities at the most affordable rates to be found in downtown Savannah that rate out at a 4.70 rating on Flip Key, we must be doing something right. Here is a slight change up on that theme. How about “run through the mud with the locals” on the annual JCB sponsored mud run coming up later this week?

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Now that the cooler spring weather has subsided, it’s time for some of our more sports minded travelers to get out and get dirty in some low country mud. Bring your family and friends and spring into the summer vacation season along with some of our local Savannahian most enduring runners.

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For all those runners that come to Savannah for our Rock and Roll Marathon and 5K Savannah River Bridge Run as a for instance, what could be more unique than becoming a Savannah Mudder during this coming weekend’s mudfest? There is still a little time left to sign up for this unique event.

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June 7th was the kick-off date for the month long Telfair Museum’s exploration of the influence of New York on their permanent collection. The museum’s Savannah’s summer calendar of events  reveals New York Accents features a number of fine art objects, many of them decorative in nature dating back to the early 19th century through the current era. The cost of admission for this important show is $12 to review any single site or enjoy your own trifecta by visiting all three locations in close proximity to each other in Savannah’s landmark historic district off Telfair Square (section four of our points of interest map), Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Jepson Center for the Arts, and the Owens-Thomas House (section two points of interest map, east of Oglethorpe Square) for only $20.

New York Accents images

New York Accents images

While downtown Savannah is a popular destination for a multitude of reasons, don’t miss out on the artistic and cultural aspects of the Hostess City if gaining perspective on the shaping of a coastal city is important nourishment for your low-country visit, the Telfair serves up some of the tastiest fare in the district in that regard.

 

The Telfair Home back in the day

The Telfair Home back in the day

In fact the Telfair Museums are always a good place to visit every trip to Savannah as they continue changing up their artistic offerings throughout the seasons. Calendar year 2014, although halfway over, promises to be an even better year than a stellar 2013. Over the past fifteen years, Savannah Getaways has specialized in providing accommodations that allow you the traveler, to live like a local. We have some pretty good tips on where the more discriminating locals are likely to hang out as well.

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Memorial Day

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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. 

 

 

 


 



 

 

 

Port City

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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! 

It’s always GOLF season!

I remember as a child, watching The Masters
Masterson the television with my family in Pennsylvania. It was as much an art and nature spectacle as it was a sporting event. It was nearly impossible for us in central Pennsylvania to comprehend a place so green, so lush, and so fully in bloom anywhere in North America, seeing as we were still very much stuck in winter.

 

 

5tt56y66yThis is the primary reason I moved south nearly 20 years ago. I have zero interest in ice skating or skiing. I lived less than 10 miles from a ski resort and never went skiing there. ZERO INTEREST. I fish. I golf. I do neither in the snow. I often get asked why I moved south and my number one answer is, "golf year round".

There is just something about being out on the course, any time of day, any day of the week. Like so much of Savannah, golf here is so laid back. Probably because of the fact that we can play year round, we don't have tee times that start at 5:30am, and we don't have 5 months out of the year where our courses are closed.

Between Savannah and Hilton Head there must be thirty plus golf courses open to the public, all within a 45 minute drive of downtown Savannah!
Savannah is the home of many "firsts". Here is one many don't know. It's the birthplace of golf in the United States!
Savagolf
The Savannah Golf Club started in 1794! Civil war fortifications on the property were left in tact as part of the design of the course. Unfortunately this is a private course, but there are so many public and "semi-private" courses to choose from in the area.

For quality courses close to downtown, your best bets are The Club at Savannah Harbor, Wilmington Island Golf Club, and Southbridge Golf Club. Other good choices in the Savannah area include Henderson Gold Club and Crosswinds Golf Club.

For a little longer drive out of Savannah, the Bluffton/Hilton Head area is a virtual mecca of golf. While there are great choices on Hilton Head itself the best deals are located "off island" in Bluffton. My absolute favorite course in the area is Hilton Head National. Located Off island it rivals the quality of any of the semi-private resort courses on Hilton Head for much less money.

Insider tip: Use Golf Now to book your tee time. It's free to use and can save you over 50% on tee times.

The quality of golf in the Savannah area is recognized by the PGA Tour and the Champions Tour by back to back tournaments here in the area. The PGA's RBC Heritage visits Hilton Head the week after The Masters and the following week the Champions Tour visits Savannah with The Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf. This is a great time to be here as many of the professional golfers play both tournaments and stay in the area for both weeks. (Many can be seen in our restaurants and local watering holes)

Alligator-golf-ball-300x200With our warm climate and plethora of great golf courses, Savannah is a great place to visit for thegolfer and golf fan any time of year. While playing, keep an eye out for alligators and bald Eagles during your round. They can be found around the area year round!

Some local golf trivia:

PGA Tour Pros Brian Harmon and Gene Sauers hail from Savannah.

The movie The Legend of Bagger Vance was filmed in parts of Savannah.

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.

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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!