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Life Coach

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 14:19

Get some sage advice from one of Savannah’s leaders in women’s health. 

Courtesy of Carmela Pettigrew

Dr. Carmela Pettigrew

Obstetrician/Gynecologist, Savannah OB/GYN Specialists


I love the website  The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit with great information about food and products we use that may be potentially harmful.  I always refer to their “Dirty Dozen” list when I grocery shop to avoid pesticides.


I am a daily user of sunscreen, because UV rays damage DNA and can lead skin cancer.  Also, I frequently advise my patients to soak their razors in alcohol in between uses to kill bacteria, which reduces hair bumps and minor skin infections that can occur after shaving.


I don’t have a sweet tooth but I am very fond of salted caramel and I can eat an endless amount of the salted carmel macarons from Maison de Macarons. I try not to buy more than a few at a time because I will eat them all at once.  I ate 12 one time!

Brain Waves

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 13:58

Find out what makes this top-notch neurologist tick.

Courtesy of Dr. James Lindley Jr. 

Dr. James G Lindley Jr.

Neurosurgeon, Neurological Institute of Savannah and Center for Spine


I use Essential Skeleton mobile app on my iPhone every day with patients and their families.  It allows me to rotate, stretch and highlight the area of medical concern in a real and interactive way that is personal to each patient.  I’d like to think that it’s fun and educational.


I was born in Key West, Fla.  As a native “conch,” I live for the sun and heat of summer!  Busy schedules can be quite a challenge, but I believe in the ongoing pursuit of a balanced life and try to spend as much time as possible with family and friends on the beautiful waters of Savannah.  I apply SPF 70 liberally—“doctors’ orders.”


Byrd Cookie Company’s jalapeño cheese biscuits are my favorite—perfect with a cold Corona on my dock in the evening.  I also am addicted to the chocolate chip!

Open Letter: Development

Tue, 07/08/2014 - 13:12

Rents are climbing downtown as funky Broughton Street becomes “B Street,” a reimagined magnet for upscale national retailers.  Hotelier and Savannah native Richard Kessler has begun a $100 million-plus redevelopment of River Street’s west end.  Homewood Suites by Hilton stands to open on the east end in early 2015.  There’s talk of Trade Center expansion—even the rumor of a Hutchinson Island casino.  But what does all this development mean for the Savannah lifestyle?  What do we stand to gain—and lose?  We’ve invited Savannahians with differing views to tell us in their open letters.

In our final chapter of the online Open Letter: Development discussion, we hear from artist Betsy Cain, who has fought an ongoing battle for the last seven years to save the precious and fragile marsh on which she lives.

Photograph by Fritz Quadratta

This aerial image taken in May 2014—highlights our extensive documentation of the ongoing impacts to our tidal basin on Wilmington Island’s Tom Creek from a state permitted 980-foot dock that was “fast-tracked” under the Programmatic General Permit (PGP0083) in 2006 and completed in 2007.  You can see more images HERE >>

The dock acts as an artificial barricade to the seasonal, natural migration on high tides of dead marsh grass, Spartina Alterniflora, which sloughs off each spring as the new grass shoots start their yearly cycle.  This dead marsh grass is an essential nutritive component to the ecosystem of Georgia’s vast salt marshes and is a biofuel for the many organisms that make up this diverse and productive habitat.

The dock collects this wrack in such quantity and density (up to over two-feet high in some years, and every year is different), that the natural ebb and flow of tidal action in the smaller, shallower creeks is unable to dislodge it.  The wrack can stay “in residence” on top of the marsh for up to six months with some fluctuations. When this happens, the healthy marsh grass underneath is denied light and oxygen and the marsh grass dies.

Depending on the length of time the wrack stays on top of the marsh, the rhizomes or roots of the Spartina can be killed, effectively denuding the area of the one sustaining life force that is so integral to the marsh’s survival.  Once the rhizomes are killed, the destabilized mud softens and is scoured by the tides.  The creek beds then collapse and silt-in. The structural support is gone. The life force is gone.  Our tidal navigation has been impaired and our flood protection from the marsh has been compromised.

Photographs by David Kaminsky

My husband, David Kaminsky, and I have created a response to this local eco-crisis by recruiting the help of a community of volunteers, dedicated friends and neighbors, whom we called “wrack wranglers.”

Starting after high tide, each person enters the creeks with rakes, kayaks, boats and invented wrack tools to pull the wrack off the covered marsh back into the creeks. We then escort it out by hand, pushing and swimming it out past the entire length of the dock to a larger tributary on the outgoing tide and send it on its way to be naturally dispersed to the ocean and beaches where it can help build dunes as well as supply its vital nutrients to the whole ecosystem.  This is muddy, exhausting work, yet exhilarating and rewarding to think we can stave off the inevitable if only for a little while.

A recent exhibition “Wrack and Ruin and the Creative Response” held earlier this year at the University Of Georgia’s Circle Gallery, College Of Environment and Design, showcases our ongoing documentation of the changes taking place in the marsh, our “wranglers” and our art.

Because of our own experience, we are advocating that Georgia’s recreational coastal docks, now exempt, be brought under the Coastal Marshland Protections Act not only to protect a critical natural resource that serves as the cradle to the ocean, but also to protect coastal homeowners as docks become more prolific.  We, unfortunately, are the poster children for what can go wrong.

We are not anti-dock.  Our particular points are that long docks should not be “fast-tracked” under the Programmatic General Permit and that more than the immediately adjacent property owners should be notified when a long dock is under permit consideration. We would like to see the criteria for evaluating the permits for these long docks to include not only potential impacts such as wrack accumulation, but also view-shed, need and the environmental costs to the marsh while they are being built.

All of these considerations lead to the question: why, when property owners build a dock to gain access through the marsh, which is held in the public trust, do they bear no responsibility whatsoever for any damage to the marsh caused directly by the result of their actions?  How long is too long?



Read Tom Kohler’s Open Letter HERE » Read Ben Carter’s Open Letter HERE » Read Karen Geriner Robertson’s Open Letter HERE »


Ossabaw Island

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 17:05
Subscribe today and help us save Ossabaw Island’s treasures.

For our Life on the Water issue, we’ll donate $1 to the Ossabaw Island Foundation during the months of July and August for every new, renewal or gift subscription .

Photo by Izzy Hudgins

An excerpt from “A Very Sandy Summer” in the July/August issue of Savannah magazine:

If you own a boat, chances are you’ve beached at Ossabaw.  You’ve breezed past Wassaw and across the sound, through bright, salty air, to relax on miles of pristine sand dotted with bleached tree carcasses and the prehistoric shells of horseshoe crabs.  Maybe you’ve even stood atop the sand cliffs, which a hurricane whipped up overnight more than a century ago.  But only the initiated may move beyond the beach.

“We’re sort of the gatekeepers to the island,” chuckles Elizabeth DuBose, the sunny executive director of the Ossabaw Island Foundation.  We’re aboard Capt. Mike Neal’s pontoon boat, headed from the beach to the North End Plantation—an hour’s drive across the island—and Elizabeth’s safari-esque attire makes it easy for me to imagine her with a machete in hand.  “Our mission is to make sure the land is protected and used according to Sandy’s agreement with the state: for research and education.”

Teachers, historians, artists and students from all walks of life may—and do—apply to use the island, and Elizabeth considers each application carefully.  She forwards scientific research requests to the Department of Natural Resources.  The outcomes of such research have benefited many.  Take, for example, the wild Ossabaw hog, whose high insulin tolerance may yield breakthroughs in the fight against diabetes.  The Barrier Island Observatory funnels high-tech atmospheric and geological data to learning laboratories all over the world.  And this summer, Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources’ Archaeology Division and the University of Georgia are hosting a field school, unearthing relics of ancient Native American and antebellum plantation life on the island’s south end.

“There are literally layers of civilization in that marsh,” Elizabeth marvels.  Right here on our path, I spot a pottery shard and a hexagonal silver button.

To read more about the Ossabaw Island Foundation, get a copy of Savannah magazine today.

Paddlin’ Man

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 16:03

Meet Zach Smith—Savannah’s very own prince of tides.

A few hundred years ago, the water was our highway.  Today, kayaks are still the best way to navigate our 378,000 acres of tidal salt marsh.  Brianne Halverson and Dan Gilbert wade into the water with a paddling pro.  Photography by Beau Kester

Zach Smith and his lovely lady friend, Colleen Heine, are best-known in these parts as half of the beloved Americana band, The Accomplices, but Zach is just as comfortable picking up a kayak paddle as he is pickin’ on an upright bass.  He’s even built his own boats.  We asked the Savannah native about his favorite way to get around.

How did your love affair with canoeing and kayaking begin?

Zach Smith:  Savannah is a fantastic place to grow up if you love being outside.  It all began with the Boy Scouts, which was really just a 10-year-old’s way of ditching the parents.  I fell in love with paddling immediately.

Did you feel at home out on the water?

There were some growing pains.  When I was about 15, my friends and I paddled out to Little Tybee.  It was perfect.  The water was flat when we headed out there to camp, but it was a completely different story on the way back.  We basically got stranded.  I’ve since learned to always check the tides before I go on a paddling trip.  And it just takes time to learn how to use the currents to your advantage.

What makes this such a great place to paddle?

Savannah has such a fantastic community of kayakers and canoers.  And it’s not just locals—there’s a huge influx of people who come in from out of town to kayak here.

It’s good place to learn because the water is so warm for much of the year.  But it’s also a great challenge because of the tide shift.  I’m not sure if everyone knows this, but we have the second most dramatic tide shift in North America, behind a place called Bay of Fundy all the way up in Nova Scotia.

Any other places you’re dying to kayak?

Alaska—which is particularly exciting because we actually get to go!  The Accomplices are playing the amazing Bearfest in Wrangell, Alaska, this summer.  Obviously, we’re going to spend a few extra days on the water.  Colleen might have to drag me back!

You have three homemade kayaks hanging on the side of your house.  Where did you learn how to build your own boat?  They’re beautiful.

Yeah, I’m pretty proud of them.  Colleen built one, too.  I spent some very special time out in Oregon in this perfect little town called Manzanita.  There’s a guy named Brian Schulz out there who builds skin-on-frame kayaks.  He teaches a week-long class, and at the end you paddle away in your own boat that you’ve built.


It’s a very early style of kayak making where the frame is covered by a material—traditionally seal skin, but now generally nylon—that is stretched over the kayak when wet.  It’s incredible.  So much lighter than a plastic or glass boat, and easier to paddle, too.

Brian is this amazing, off-the-grid kind of guy.  He really taught me to appreciate nature and the world in this way that I don’t think I could have anywhere else.  I firmly believe that everyone should experience off-the-grid living at least once.  It gives you perspective and kind of knocks you back into place.

If we’ve never kayaked before, how can we start?  You offer tours, right?

Yes!  I work at Savannah Canoe and Kayak out on Bonaventure Road and give tours and instruction most of the year.  Also, Nigel and Kristin Law, who own and run the business, are pretty much the best people in the world.

We do day trips to Little Tybee and Wassaw islands, Skidaway sunset trips, full-moon paddles, instructor certification and special training for women and kids.  And if you want to know how to make your own kayak, Brian is teaching one of his workshops here from October 26 through 31.

What’s your favorite spot to put in?

For a chance to rinse some of the salt off of your gear, there’s a beautiful, swampy paddle through cypress and tupelo trees on Ebenezer Creek.  This offers some different flora and fauna from the coastal marshes, and I enjoy gliding among the large buttresses of these beautiful swamp trees with a mirror-like stillness of the tannin-colored black water.

Make the 35-minute drive out through Rincon to the Tommy Long Landing, not far from the historic New Ebenezer settlement on the banks of the Savannah River.

What spectacular things have you seen out on the water?

We were paddling back from dinner on Little Tybee in the perfect moonlit glow and feeling, more than seeing, the waves as they pulsed underneath our kayaks.  For about a half hour or so, the bioluminescence was so intense that every stroke of the paddle was illuminated in the water and then sustained for the next five seconds or so.  Our bow wakes were streaming out a soft greenish glow, and it looked like we were paddling through a field of stars.  It’s one of those magical experiences I’ll never forget.

What kinds of creatures have you encountered?

Probably my most incredible animal encounter happened on a trip down the Georgia coast toward Sapelo Island.  We were in an area between the New Teakettle and the Mud River, when all of a sudden our group was paddling among a pod of about 30 to 40 bottlenose dolphin.  They were everywhere!  We just stopped and enjoyed watching them.  They’re so majestic.  It was breathtaking.

In the Drink

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 12:41

Photography by Izzy Hudgins

We’re on a mission to discover Savannah’s signature cocktail—and we need your help.

Local mix masters (see Where and When to Taste below) will serve tasting flights of our four finalists—all selected from submissions by Savannah magazine readers.  Each flight will come with a score and commend card that you’ll fill out and leave with your bartender.  The results will be announced in Savannah magazine’s September/October issue.

When you hit the bars, let us know!  Take a picture, tell us which drink was your favorite, and share it with us on Twitter or Instagram. #Savsignaturecocktail #SavMagCocktailQuest  You may find yourself in the next issue of Savannah magazine—and win a bottle of Savannah Bourbon’s premium Savannah 88.

Where and When to Taste » B. Tillman Restaurant and Bar at Byrd (beginning July 7)

5 p.m.-Close, Wednesday-Saturday; 12:30-3: p.m., Sunday Brunch, 6700 Waters Ave., 721-1564

Local 11 Ten and Perch

6-10 p.m., Sunday-Wednesday, 1110 Bull St., 790-9000

The Public

6-10 p.m., Sunday-Wednesday, 1 W. Liberty, 200-4045

Soho South

6-10 p.m., Sunday-Wednesday, 12 W. Liberty, 233-1633

Tybee Island Social Club

11:30-Close, Monday-Thursday, 1311 Butler Ave., Tybee Island, 472-4044

The Contenders

Meet the final four.  (With these recipes, you may just want to host a tasting party of your own!  CLICK the Cocktail Quest Scorecard to download it NOW.)

Johnny’s Ginger Julep

A spicy ode to our huckleberry friend.

  • 0.5 ounce of Peach Schnapps or a teaspoon of peach shrub (an infusion of fruit, sugar and acid; can be purchased or made at home)
  • Several fresh mint springs
  • 0.5 ounces Verdant Kitchen Ginger Syrup, or more to taste
  • 2.5 ounces of bourbon
  • A slice of fresh peach, to garnish
  • Crushed ice

Instructions:  Place peach shrub in the bottom of the glass, or pour in Peach Schnapps.  Add mint sprigs and gently bruise with muddler.  Add crushed ice and top with ginger syrup, then bourbon.  Gently stir and garnish with an additional mint sprig and place peach slice on the rim.

Honeysuckle Vine

A sweet-sour blend that recalls the scent of a Savannah summer.

  • 1 Tablespoon Savannah Bee Co. Tupelo Honey
  • 2.5 ounces 88 Premium Bourbon (or any good bourbon)
  • Splash freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Splash club soda
  • Fresh mint

Instructions: Mix the honey and bourbon in a double shot glass.  Fill the glass with ice, then add the orange juice and club soda. Garnish with fresh mint.

Savannah Gray Brick

An effervescent, citrus-infused sip in honor of the city’s building blocks.

  • 1.5 ounces vodka
  • 4 to 6 ounces grapefruit juice
  • 1 teaspoon blood orange syrup
  • Splash of club soda
  • Twist of lime
  • Lots of ice

Instructions: Mix all ingredients together and serve in a tall glass or plastic tumbler.  You can also substitute the blood orange syrup with blood orange soda, skipping the club soda.

40 Acres and a Mule

A rye nod to our city’s historic first move toward equality.

  • 2 ounces rye whiskey or bourbon
  • 4 to 6 ounces ginger beer (preferably Fentimans)
  • Squeeze each of lime, lemon and orange slices
  • Lots of ice

Instructions: Mix all ingredients together and serve in a tall glass or plastic tumbler.  Perfect on the beach for a game of bocce, cornhole or horseshoes.




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