It’s one of those breezy, 75-degree Savannah spring days, and all you can think of is a way to get out of the office and into the sunshine. Yet once you’ve been freed from the confines of three cubical walls, you can’t quite figure how to best embrace the perfect weather.
If you are experiencing this situation at least once a week, you probably have what’s commonly referred to as “yadunnowhattodo-itis.” Don’t worry; it’s not fatal. But if left untreated, it could lead to a severe case of spring fever. The South’s Guide to Getting Out has been proven to reduce the symptoms of this debilitating condition, by offering suggestions for what to do on those irresistibly sunny days. Read it twice and call us in the morning. Oh yeah, and we are responsible for any pleasant side effects.
Start your morning off with an oceanside yoga class, and we guarantee you will have a better day. Or, at least, that’s what Ann Carroll, beach yoga instructor extraordinaire, believes. “What’s not to love? The beach is different every morning, and there’s something innately calming about the sound of the waves,” she explains. Her 7 a.m. class on Tybee Island’s north beach is popular with tourists and locals alike, and sometimes the scene is so relaxing, it’s hard for her students to tear themselves away from the Zen experience. Carroll adds, “After class is over, no one wants to leave.” So take a deep breath and do your sun salutation where it is meant to be done. To try your hand at
beach yoga, contact Ann Carroll by calling 912.704.7650, or visit www.aikyayoga.com
For some, it’s just another water sport; for Jim Stephens, owner of Underground Board Works on Tybee Island, surfing is a lifestyle, a spiritual activity and, above all, a dance. “Surfers borrow the power and majesty of a wave pulse of energy that has come from across the ocean and, for a moment, dance on the face of a wave in its dying moments,” he says insightfully. That may sound a little deep, but Stephens passion for surfing comes from 50 years of riding waves. It’s no secret that Tybee’s surf can’t compare to the 10-foot swells of, say, Hawaii, but Stephens says it’s still a gnarly place to practice your “dancing” skills. He explains, “Tybee’s small waves, sand bottom and warm water in the summer months make it an ideal place to learn.” So practice this spring in order to wow the shoebes come June. Surf’s up! Underground Board Works, 1213 Highway 80 East, Tybee Island, 912.308.1249, www.undergroundboardworks.com
There’s no better place for an après-work cocktail on a spring day than an alfresco table, and Savannah is about to get one that will blow your socks off. Rocks on the Roof, set to open in June on top of the new Bohemian Hotel at Savannah Riverfront, will feature fantastic views from River Street all the way to South Carolina. It’s a new concept from the Kessler Collection, owners of the chic Mansion on Forsyth Park. Kessler Vice President Laura Van Til hopes the ambiance, in addition to the tapas menu, will keep guests coming back. “The lighting is dramatic, the oyster chandeliers are adorned with Swarovski crystals, the patio features a large fire pit, [and] roll-up doors will open the space entirely. It’s the feeling of being on a friend’s private deck party overlooking the bustle below,” Van Til describes. Is it happy hour yet? The Bohemian Hotel will open in June at 102 West Bay Street. For more information, visit www.kesslercollection.com
When you hear the word polo, does a 3-button collared shirt come to mind? The designer clothing reference may be unavoidable, but there’s another kind of polo—one that involves horses, a long-handled mallet and traditions dating back to before the time of
Christ—that’s going on in our own backyard. “Lowcountry Arena Polo was started out of a passion for the game of polo,” explains the group’s president, Michael Rippy. No riding experience is required; the group has a polo school in Bluffton and will teach you the basics. Just show up any Saturday morning and Rippy will do the rest.
“Anytime a person is on the back of a horse, it is a good thing,” Rippy declares. So don’t worry if your equestrian skills are limited to petting zoos and pony rides. Giddyup! For more information on Lowcountry Arena Polo, e-mail Michael Rippy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stand Up and Surf
The Hawaiian name for it is Ku Hoe He’e Nalu, which translates to “to stand, to paddle, to surf a wave,” and that’s a pretty right-on description. Stand-up paddle surfing is similar to the original cowabunga sport, except you’re on your feet with a long paddle. Local stand-up paddle surfing enthusiasts Tim Malins and Stephen Palmer regularly practice this relatively new sport off Tybee Island. Palmer touts, “I was instantly attracted to the versatility of the sport. You can surf waves or lazily paddle around on flat water or sprint as fast as you can for an amazing workout.” The best part is that just about anyone can do it, according to Malins. “On flat water, it’s very easy for the average person. Probably the easiest entry level sport,” he adds. So get in touch with your inner island spirit and grab a paddle; you’ll feel the spirit of aloha in no time. For stand-up paddle boarding lessons and gear, visit High Tide Surf Shop, 405 Highway 80 East, Tybee Island, 912.786.6556, www.hightidesurfshop.com
Pickin’ in the Patch
Plump, juicy strawberries are synonymous with springtime, and the best kinds always seem to be the ones you pick yourself. Dig your straw hay out of the closet and head to the Bamboo Farm and Coastal Gardens to pluck your own right out of the ground. The Gardens contain a full acre of beautiful, budding strawberries. And here’s a special bonus: the farm will host a “Sunday Supper in the Strawberry Patch” on April 26, with country-style food, and of course, homemade strawberry shortcake. “Tours of the farm are given before supper,” says Jeffrey Webb, associate superintendent. “People can pick strawberries for $2.00 per pound.” Bring your empty stomach! For pickin’ times, contact the Bamboo Farm and Coastal Gardens at 912.921.5460 or www.bamboo.caes.uga.edu
Tour the Trees
If you’re looking for an excursion with less exertion, take a tour of the coast’s ancient trees. Start your journey on John’s Island outside of Charleston, where you’ll find a tree that is thought to be 1,500 years old. The “Angel Oak,” stands close to 60 feet high.
Next, head south to Bluffton to check out a tree that is much younger, but more legendary. “Secession Oak” got its name from the role it played in South Carolina’s breakaway from the Union. Of course, in Savannah you’ll discover the 300-year-old
Candler Oak, on Drayton Street, and equally impressive Majestic Oak. “Trees are great sources of shade and cool, and it’s hard to get hot when having a picnic underneath one,” says Adrienn Mendonca with the Savannah Tree Foundation. Plus, Mendonca adds, “We’d be nothing without our avenues of oaks and swaying moss.” Get more information on the area’s legendary trees on The Savannah Tree Foundation website,
Stroll with Sea Turtles
They crawl out of the sea at night, looking for a place to lay their slimy eggs in the sand. It sounds like a horror movie, but it’s just the natural nesting habit of a loggerhead sea turtle. You can see for yourself on a nighttime “turtle walk” with a reptile professional from the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island. Your guide will lead you on a beach walk in hopes of spotting one of these impressive animals. While turtle sightings aren’t guaranteed, Alicia Marin, the Center’s education coordinator, reveals “Some lucky groups may get to see a nesting loggerhead female deposit her eggs in the sand.” Turtle walks begin in June but spaces are often filled far in advance. For reservations, call 912.635.4444 or visit www.georgiaseaturtlecenter.org
Go Up the Creek
From 1000-year-old trees to rare birds, you can spot a variety of amazements just a short drive north of Savannah. A naturalist guide from Wilderness Southeast will lead you on a three-hour canoe paddle down Effingham County’s historic Ebenezer Creek, pointing out beautiful bald cypress trees dating back more than a millennium. “Their dark, twisted trunks are suggestive of a scene from a J.R.R. Tolkien novel, and they reflect perfectly in the mirror-dark water,” describes Karen Grainey, a guide. The paddling is easy, but you may get a little more out of the trip than a pretty picture. Grainey remarks, “Visiting the trees is a unique opportunity to contemplate the passage of time and our natural legacy.” For more information on the Blackwater River Paddle, contact Wilderness Southeast at 912.236.8115 or www.wilderness-southeast.org
Take a game of Frisbee, mix in a round of golf, and you get an up-and-coming sport sweeping the Lowcountry. Disc golf is played like traditional golf except with a flying disc instead of a little dimpled ball. Jonathan Reppenhagen is an eight-year devotee of the game and touts its virtues. “Being outdoors, playing with my friends, meeting new people and challenging myself is what attracted me to disc golf,” he explains. According to Reppenhagen, most of the sport’s courses are in public or state parks. So on a beautiful spring day, it’s a great way to get a little fresh air. “I got addicted quick,” Reppenhagen admits. “But watching the disc fly through the air and hit your target is exciting to see.” Tiger Woods, take a backseat. The Savannah Disc Golf Club is always looking for new members. Visit www.savannahdiscgolf.com for more info on how and where to play.
Cruise the Barrier Island
If you’re the less-active outdoorsy type, a boat cruise might be more your style. Bull River Cruises offers tours of coastal Georgia’s salt marshes and barrier islands from the comfort of the “Island Explorer,” a 45-foot excursion vessel that seats over 40 passengers. Captain Mike Neal says the company’s signature Barrier Island Eco-Cruise is a fun, relaxing way for people to get outdoors. “Taking a boat through these waterways, going out to the barrier islands, and seeing dolphins can’t help but be great,” he says. Neal is your tour guide through this unique ecosystem and will point out wildlife, teach ecology and even pull a trawl net so guests can see the creatures living below the water’s surface. Who knows, maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two. Bull River Cruises, 912.898.1800, www.bullriver.com
Deep Sea Fishing
Grab a rod and hire a captain for an easygoing day in the sun with the possibility of a delicious, well-earned dinner. Captain Brian Woelber of One More Cast Charters has eight years of experience trolling Savannah’s waterways for the mysterious “big one.” Woelber says fishing isn’t just a great outdoor activity; it’s also excellent therapy. “The great thing about fishing or just being on the water is you are focused on the task at hand, and everything else going on in our crazy lives seems to be put on the back burner for a little while,” he claims. Savannah can be a tough fishing spot because of the fast-changing tides, Woelber warns, so be sure your guide knows what he’s doing. Contact One More Cast Charters by calling 912.308.5991 or visiting www.onemorecastcharters.com
Tags: adventure, exercise, Health, nature, Outside, sailing