Dirk Hardison finds the beauty of Savannah to be in its details—the cherry trees that line Huntingdon Street and the antebellum Victorian architecture of the Mercer House. These are elements he knows inside and out—in his two decades as a Savannah resident, he has worked on preservation projects of the First Bryan Baptist Church and the 1921 Lucas Theatre. He also served as the architectural design consultant for the Historic Savannah Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes the maintenance and restoration of buildings in all nine historic districts.
Dirk knows that Savannah’s details are easily blurred from onboard a moving vehicle or traffic-dodging police horse, so he founded Savannah Rambles, where he orchestrates walking tours of his beloved city. Though the rambles are built around architecture, the city’s structural elements also serve as stepping-stones into explorations of Savannah’s history and culture. Aside from the signature Savannah Architectural Ramble—a two-hour tour that can be open, private, or extended to the five-hour grand version—the nighttime Dark Ramble meets at Tomochichi’s gravesite and slinks through the oldest streets and burial sites as Dirk recounts eerie Savannah lore.
In 1820, an upwardly mobile carpenter named Isaiah Davenport designed a 6,800-square-foot Federal-style home to live in with his wife, children, and slaves. After his death, Davenport’s wife turned the stately brick house into a boarding house, though it later devolved into a run-down tenement—until the Historic Savannah Foundation saved the landmark when it was threatened with demolition in 1955. The organization’s award-winning preservation, their very first effort, jumpstarted an organized preservation movement that spread across the entire port city.
Today, the Davenport House Museum’s rooms are filled with antique furniture from the 1820s, acquired after careful research relying on estate inventories and detailed artist renderings of long-ago games of musical chairs. These period-accurate tables and chairs join ceramics, textiles, and books to form the museum’s collection of about 500 historical items. Behind the home, where a carriage house, garden, and privy once stood, a garden designed by renowned landscape artist Penelope Hobhouse flourishes. After walking among its flowers, visitors can drop by the museum shop to pick up jams and jellies, books about Savannah, and reproductions of early 19th-century items.
Groves of oaks and georgia pines reflect off the glassy surface of strategically placed water hazards at Southbridge Golf Club?s 18-hole course, the grassy brainchild of renowned course architect Rees Jones. Soaring above the 6,922-yard layout, wayward golf balls may carom off of the dense population of timbers, nestle into the pillowy sands of deep bunkers, or sink into the abyss of ponds, streams, and lava pits that come into play on nearly every hole. Large greens await at the end of each hole, eager to befuddle golfers with breaking putts and a fast, well-maintained surface. An onsite driving range nurtures golfers relationships with their clubs, and a menu of fresh meat, seafood, and salad at the genteel diner of Vickery?s at Southbridge curbs hunger that may sap strength from drives or preempt post-round putter-jousting competitions.
Course at a Glance:
Designed by Rees Jones
18-hole, par 72 course
Length of 6,992 yards from the farthest tees
Course rating of 74.1 from the farthest tees
Slope rating of 134 from the farthest tees
Four tee options
For more than 40 years, British expats Wally and Doris welcomed guests into Wally’s Sixpence in Savannah, where Wally would talk their ears off and Doris would feed them with lunch she’d prepared in her home kitchen. In 1999, two men who considered Wally’s their favorite watering hole took it over. They renamed it Six Pence Pub, renovated the interior, and converted the menu to a full array of English and American comfort food. The success of bread bowls brimming with Guinness-stout-marinated beef tips and classic reuben sandwiches has enabled the duo to launch another two locations. Although each pub has its own menu, they all pay homage to the Queen’s country with steaming shepherd’s pies, bangers and mash, and more than a dozen sandwiches. On-tap brews, bourbon, or single malt scotches help evenings pass more enjoyably than a staring contest with a Kit-Kat clock.
Each location’s atmosphere is unique: in Savannah, diners can lounge among plants on the patio or perch at a glossy wood bar guarded by unfurled British flags. In Fort Mill, guests know they’re at the right place when they see the unmistakable cherry red of a British telephone booth outside.
Each of YMCA of Coastal Georgia's branches remains true to its lasting mission of physical and social enrichment for men, women, and kids of all ages. Staff members uphold the YMCA’s core values of honesty, caring, responsibility, and respect as they invest in their community’s children and strengthen family bonds critically weakened by overzealous games of Monopoly. They pump up adult fitness regimens with aquatic fitness and boot-camp classes, basketball courts, and personal-training sessions. They’ve also filled their fitness centers with free weights, cardio equipment, and weight machines. When they’re not helping adults trim down waistlines during Brazilian-jujitsu, cycling, and aerobics classes, staff members are getting back in touch with their inner children. They stimulate imagination, mental development, and growth as they lead children’s day camps, after-school programs, and dance classes.
Alonzo Boschulte remembers his own stage fright when he guides beginning students onto the dance floor. With years of training, he grew from an amateur to a certified ballroom teacher and professional competitor registered with the National Dance Council. At Savannah Ballroom Dancing, he strives to echo this journey by transforming total novices into confident twirlers.
Lessons in more than 15 varieties of Latin and ballroom dance occupy the school's floor space. With pupils ranging in age from 6 to older than 80, the instructors stress the importance of mixing private, group, and practice classes to expose everyone to different dance scenarios. They also laud the fitness benefits of learning to dance, which hones one's sense of rhythm and muscular strength more safely than being at the bottom of a vertical conga line.