Find Your Center: Where to Unwind & Recharge Along Southern Shores


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Lazy lunches on porch swings and running home for a sandwich between shifts are a thing of the past, especially in southern cities where we’ve caught up with the rest of the world. Hurried and harried, afternoon meetings become occasions to ponder when someone will invent a French press the size of a wine barrel.

Leaders of industry know burn out is unavoidable, but they adhere to a secret recipe that author and motivational speaker Scott Alexander revealed 37 years ago in his book “Rhinoceros Success”. Heads of major corporations, celebrities and fellow authors still turn to his advice for inspiration when the spiritual well runs dry.

“It's easy to charge like a rhino in the first flush of enthusiasm, but sometimes our batteries go dead and when that happens, go places,” advises Alexander. “Travel, so when you get home, you can find the same magic in your own backyard.”

Nothing throws a gracious southerner off kilter like short weekends and 10-hour work days. Fortunately, our surrounding states have a bevy of shorelines to transport weary overachievers to the water’s edge.

Here are our top picks to put the spring back in your step.


 

Lose Yourself

Restoration clears the path for new beginnings. That’s hard to do when real life comes along for the ride. Buried in electronics, too often we find ourselves adrift in a narcissistic abyss of selfies and shots of every scone we eat and silly facial expression we make. Close all the exits and get lost on purpose at these remarkable places.

 



Courtesy of Little Palm Island Resort & Spa


Our first pick to disconnect from the outside world lets you leave it all behind. Literally. Once you hop on the seaplane to Florida’s Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, the only baggage you’ll need is a bathing suit and sunscreen. A Noble House Resort, Little Palm defines what it means to abscond to a tropical paradise. Travel to the private island resort is only by boat or seaplane – and once you check into your thatched-roof bungalow suite, good luck remembering your own name, much less your cares. Those blue water, sugar sand beach pictures you longingly covet glued to your office chair come alive at Little Palm, on private beaches where lounging is the most important order of the day. And just when you think you can’t get any more relaxed, take a stroll along the crushed seashell sidewalk to SpaTerre, the resort’s spa, before an evening of French and Pan-Latin cuisines. littlepalmisland.com

 



Greyfield Inn Cumberland Island, Courtesy of Select Registry


In homage to Mother Nature at its coastal finest, Greyfield Inn is part of the Select Registry family, a collection of lodging partners that must meet rigorous standards. In the case of this Cumberland Island gem, it far exceeds even those high marks as the only commercial outfit on Cumberland Island. A staggering 18 miles of beachfront helps define why Greyfield Inn is one of Select Registry’s top picks for isolated luxury. Against the backdrop of centuries-old live oaks, shell paths lead to pristine locales dotted around the island, including the Cumberland Island National Seashore. The historic Greyfield Inn continues its intoxicating combo of Lowcountry luxe indoors, with heirloom antiques and luxury rooms. The suite to beat is the Library Suite, for its views of the marsh. Don’t miss a scrumptious gourmet picnic lunch, but be back in time for cocktail hour and a candlelit dinner. selectregistry.com, greyfieldinn.com

 



Courtesy of Haig Point


Speaking of water locked vacations, a visit to Haig Point on Daufuskie Island is to disconnect from present-day distractions and embrace the past. Accessible only by ferry and no cars allowed, guests have two lodging choices on this former indigo and cotton plantation. Spend a night in the 1873 Lighthouse and you might catch a glimpse of Maggie Comer, the ghost said to haunt the structure overlooking the Calibogue Sound. The other option is the century-old Strachan Mansion relocated by barge to Haig Point from St. Simons Island decades ago. haigpoint.com

 



Courtesy of Select Yachts


“I’m on a boat y’all…” Andy Samberg and T-Pain made this parody digital short a hit on Saturday Night Live, showcasing what the rich and famous already know: there’s no better way to escape than on a yacht. Most of us don’t share their celebrity wallets, but seaworthy travelers have discovered Select Yachts. In much the same way large groups of friends and family have made private aviation rental more accessible to the masses, comparing a week at a luxury hotel with splitting a charter fee between several people narrows the gap. Best of all, rates are often negotiable and guests can customize charters according to budget. Select Yachts is a trusted resource for travelers who have made yachting their go-to vacation choice. Staff members tour charter destinations, inspect and manage vessels, and hire captains and crews so the process is a stress-free, board-and-go scenario. For divers, this is the pinnacle of vacationing with instant access to nearshore reef and shipwreck exploration. Some of Select Yachts most requested vessels include the 83-ft. Mustang, 81-ft. Alter Ego and the 42-ft. Piggybank or Calypso sailboats, all of which sleep up to six guests. selectyachts.com

 



Gold Isles Marsh photo via Explore Georgia


It doesn't take a yacht to experience the astounding views along Georgia's waters. In the Golden Isles, kayakers escape to the waters of this peaceful marsh respite all year long. Top kayaking excursions include St. Simons Island, Brunswick and Blythe Island Regional Park, Jekyll Creek adjacent to the Tidelands Nature Center Boat Launch and Sea Island resorts guests of The Cloister, Lodge at Sea Island Golf Club and Inn at Sea Island. Consult charts for best times to paddle these tidal waterways, but for beginner kayakers, experts recommend making your first launch a guided kayak tour. goldenisles.com

 

 

​Best Bets for Weekend Getaways

 



Courtesy of Eau Spa


What happens when massage therapy, private cabana hosts, cupcakes and Champagne come together? At Eau Spa in Palm Beach these items are all part of the social spa concept. The après spa experience almost rivals the luxe treatments where guests sink into day beds strewn throughout a lush garden after paddling around in dipping pools. eauspa.com

 



courtesy of Beach Club at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina

 


 

Lock yourself away at the just opened Beach Club at Charleston Harbor in any of the 92 guest rooms and you’ll have a room and balcony with views of the largest marina in the Carolinas, the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier and the Arthur Ravenel Bridge. No need to leave the resort – everything is within reach. If you’re trying to evade capture or just sit quietly to ponder the great American novel, this is the place to do it. charlestonharborresort.com

 



Courtesy of Palmetto Bluff


In the sultry Lowcountry surrounding Palmetto Bluff, travelers find the east coast’s biggest remaining waterfront property and 32 miles of riverfront and nature trails. A big draw is one of the south’s finest equestrian centers. Palmetto Bluff is part conservation preserve, part AAA Five Diamond dining at the Montage Resort for an explore by day, indulge by night experience. palmettobluff.com

 

 

Feast

Only Ernest Hemingway could have described the taste of oysters in his masterpiece ‘A Movable Feast” so accurately. From shellfish to smoked pork, the southern coastline overflows with food that inspires creativity and ignites passion. These are a few of our favorite places to find your own moveable feast.

 



Gilbert's Underground Kitchen Courtesy of Amelia Island by Journey Photography


Amelia Island is taking its rightful place among storied culinary locales, gaining ground with celebrity chefs and epicures alike. Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort books up months in advance for its Fish to Fork event every May. Not surprising, since Omni hotels remain steadfast in their allegiance to regional gastronomy. (Omni Nashville shaves its country ham like prosciutto and has a biscuit bar, for example.) Chefs from around the country participate in the dock-to-dish festival against the breezy backdrop of Amelia Island’s water views. It’s an easy 45-minute ride from the Jacksonville Airport. Between meals, take a tour of the town’s Victorian architecture and finish up at Fernandina Harbor Marina. omnihotels.com/hotels/amelia-island-plantation

 



Stone crabs courtesy of kelly merritt


Come October, gourmands in the know make a mad dash to the last bastions of Old Florida for the state’s most coveted fruits de mer, succulent stone crabs. Crabbers call it the prime rib of crab and diners have precious little time to gorge on the juicy crustaceans, since they go out of season in May. Florida’s left coast is the place to beat for this culinary recharge where visitors bypass the masses and stick to the locals. At Stan’s Idle Hour on Goodland where the cook-your-catch blackened seasoning remains a closely guarded secret, don’t dress up. Your flip-flops and t-shirt are all the better to capture the river of drawn butter you’ll spill on yourself. stansidlehour.net

 



Courtesy of 5church charleston


Chef Jamie Lynch may be one of the most creative chefs ever to grace the Charleston food scene – grace being the operative word for her inventive restaurant, 5Church Charleston located in an historic 5,000+square-foot church with stained glass windows and Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” text hand-painted on the ceiling. Order the house ramen with pork belly and local rockfish. 5churchcharleston.com

 



Courtesy of 492 Charleston


492 sets the stage for local products to shine, sourced from fishermen to farmers. Chef Josh Keeler has set his masterpiece on King Street where tables brim with sharing plates. It’s a culinary impossibility to choose just one dish, but consider making the chicken Milanese with sunny side up egg, turnips and mustard part of your menu. 492king.com

 



Courtesy of the Dewberry


The Dewberry Charleston overlooks Marion Square, where owner John Dewberry has created an ideal place to grab a cocktail, fellowship with friends and make new ones. It recently opened in the former L. Mendel Rivers Federal Building after nearly a decade of tender loving architectural care. In Henrietta’s guests find a brasserie feel (think steak frites and mussels) but the restaurant also features the unexpected, like lamb with Vadouvan curry. thedewberrycharleston.com

 



Courtesy of Andrew Cebulka for The Darling Oyster Bar 


The Darling Oyster Bar is a Charleston staple for patrons who love the scene as much as they love the sea. Only the gorgeous food could outshines these diners with colorful shellfish towers and fresh catch artfully prepared. The usual suspects receive the Darling Oyster Bar treatment, too. Even the ubiquitous shrimp and grits dish gets elevated to new heights with crispy Brussels sprouts, country ham, fennel and a fried egg. thedarling.com

 



Courtesy of xiao bao biscuit


Xiao Bao Biscuit means Asian soul food but to Charlestonians, it’s code for ‘must have’. In a town where so many restaurants serve similar menus, Xiao Bao Biscuit presents a refreshing take on Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese, Thai and Vietnamese dishes. Do not miss the okonomyaki, a Japanese cabbage pancake, but be sure to upgrade with a helping of pork candy (crispy pork grated to the consistency of sawdust.) Chinese flavors abound in the Chao Shou Sichuan pork and shrimp dumplings immersed in a toasted chili broth.  xiaobaobiscuit.com

 

 

Fido Friendly

It used to be commonplace to leave an important member of the family behind while the rest traveled on vacation. My how times have changed. The lodging industry has taken notice, upping the ante to lure pets and the owners who worship them. Here are a few of our favorite places where Fido or FeFe can come along on your R&R.

 



Open Gates B&B photo courtesy of explore Georgia


Open Gates Bed & Breakfast in Darien, Georgia is the definition of gracious hospitality. The owners place chocolates from the chocolate factory across the street on guests' beds and Open Gates' crepes won BedAndBreakfast.com's Best Breakfast award -- but their warm welcome extends beyond the culinary kind. The Open Gates welcomes pets in their Garden Room adjacent to the carriage house. This four-legged friendly lodging option has a private entrance and sitting porch, along with a private bath, king and twin beds for spreading out. Two blocks from Open Gates' wrap-around porches through a quiet neighborhood, the waterfront beckons. At night guests can meander back from restaurants and bars just in time for a goodnight stroll. opengatesbnb.com

 



Courtesy of Sunset Reflections for Natural Retreats


In the Florida Panhandle, Natural Retreats boasts a bundle of pet-friendly Cape San Blas rental houses with plenty of room for four-legged loved ones to roam. These beachfront properties are just as luxe as their non-pet counterparts, replete with private pools and million dollar views of the Gulf of Mexico. Everyone can relax on wrap-around porches after a long day at nearby dog-friendly beaches. During doggie naps, owners can busy themselves with a tour of the 130-year-old Cape San Blas Lighthouse and climbing sand dunes. naturalretreats.com

 



Courtesy of Anchorage 1770


Anchorage 1770 owners and staff understand and appreciate the bond between dogs and their humans, honoring it with two dedicated dog-friendly rooms on their Beaufort, South Carolina property. As if Anchorage 1770 couldn’t be any more charming, canine guests are invited to be part of their Sea Dogs Program, named for Caribbean pirates who frequented early Beaufort. A 1902 article called the mansion the “finest and most elegant in town” and it still retains that title. Known as the William Elliott House for its first 100 years, it became Naval officer Rear Admiral Lester Beardslee’s home in the late 1800s. Sumptuous digs aside, film buffs flock to Beaufort for on-location tours from Forest Gump, The Big Chill and The Great Santini among other movies shot in the area. Beaufort also lures anglers for its quick access to offshore fishing. Recently, Hunting Island State Park reopened after a long recovery from Hurricane Matthew. anchorage1770.com

 



Courtesy of Aloft Hotel Jacksonville.


No one appreciates furry friends like the folks in the Aloft hotel chain. Aloft Jacksonville takes the blue ribbon for going above and beyond. Repeat guests have reported arriving to find a printed photo of their pet attached to customized goodie bags brimming with biscuits and a stuffed toy. alofthotelshub.com

 

To read more about the greatest places to eat in the Southsubscribe now or pick up the August/September issue of South magazine. 

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Events Calendar

  • Oglethorpe Mall Carnival

    Feb 20, 2020
    5:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Oglethorpe Mall

    Experience the sights, sounds and aromas of the electrifying midway with rides and games for all ages, favorite fair food and Victoria Circus...

  • GratiTuesday Program with Liz Massey

    Feb 25, 2020
    12:00 PM - 1:30 PM @ Savannah Power Yoga

    Gratitude! What is it good for? Our general well-being!   Studies now show that the practice of gratitude actually enhances our immune systems....

  • Nature and the Arts: Botanical Art and Illustration

    Feb 25, 2020
    6:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ One Hundred Miles (OHM), Savannah Office

    Nature and the Arts: Botanical Art and Illustration Tuesday, February 25th • 6:00-8:00 pm OHM Savannah Office - 2424 Drayton Street, Savannah,...

  • Confident Complexion – Love Your Skin at Bluemercury!

    Feb 13, 2020
    11:00 AM - 6:00 PM

    The beauty of makeup is that you’re in control of when and how you wear it—whether it’s to enhance, conceal or simply not to wear it at all....

  • 2020 Tak Argentinis Valor Awards

    Feb 27, 2020
    6:15 PM - 9:00 PM @ Charles H. Morris Center

    Join us as we honor some of the area’s most courageous first responders at the 2020 Valor Awards. Awards are presented to law enforcement, fire...

  • 2020 Tak Argentinis Valor Awards

    Feb 27, 2020
    6:15 PM - 9:00 PM @ Charles H. Morris Center

    Join us as we honor some of the area’s most courageous first responders at the 2020 Valor Awards. Awards are presented to law enforcement, fire...

  • Second Annual Royal Flush Casino Night

    Feb 27, 2020
    7:00 PM - 11:00 PM @ Savannah Station

    Roto-Rooter Plumbers of Savannah will present its Second Annual Royal Flush Casino Night on Thursday, Feb. 27, benefiting the Coastal Empire...

  • Run Free Trail Run

    Feb 29, 2020
    7:30 AM @ Hunting Island State Park

    Join us for our inaugural Run Free Trail Run on February 29, 2020 at Hunting Island State Park. Choose from the 5k, 5 mile, or 10 mile option - or...

  • ESPN Diabetes 5K Race

    Feb 29, 2020
    8:00 AM

    Join us as we help build awareness, education and support for locals fighting Diabetes through this family friendly Run/walk event. A little...

  • Red Cedar 5k Race

    Feb 29, 2020
    9:00 AM @ Red Cedar Elementary

    The 9th Annual Foxes Trot 5K, a family friendly race, will be held on March 9, 2018. This annual event has now become a student project,...

  • Forsyth Farmer's Market

    Jun 29, 2019
    9:00 AM - 1:00 PM @ South end of Forsyth Park

    The Forsyth Farmers’ Market vendors offer a variety of local goods including seasonal produce, eggs, honey, pastured meat, bread, cheese,...

  • 17 Gun Salute Sporting Clay Benefit Tournament for SD Gunner Fund

    Feb 29, 2020
    12:00 PM - 6:00 PM @ 17 South Rod and Gun Club

    The 17 Gun Salute Sporting Clay Benefit Tournament will be held at 17 South Rod and Gun Club to benefit the SD Gunner Fund. There will food...

  • “Does the Earth Really Orbit the Sun? Thinking Scientifically vs. Believing What We See”

    Mar 04, 2020
    7:00 PM - 8:30 PM @ Savannah Country Day School

    Savannah Country Day School's Faculty Explorations lecture series continues with a lecture by Science Department Chair Adam Weber. About this...

  • Savannah Antiques & Architecture Weekend

    Mar 05, 2020
    6:00 PM - 6:00 PM @ Various Locations, Downtown Savannah, Georgia

    The Annual Savannah Antiques and Architecture Weekend is a three-day series of presentations, tours, appraisals, a glittering gala, and a cocktail...

  • First Fridays in Starland

    Jun 07, 2019
    6:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Starland District

    First Fridays in Starland celebrates local business, art, and food in Savannah’s coolest neighborhood! Join us every First Friday of the...

  • The McCartney Years

    Mar 06, 2020
    8:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    Hailed by the original Beatles promoter as "The Best on the Scene," The McCartney Years is a period-true, technically stunning and explosive live...

  • Chick Fil A Benefitting Young Life 5K

    Mar 07, 2020
    6:30 AM @ Savannah Harbor Golf Club

    Rise and Run with Chick-fil-A at the 4th annual 5k and 1 mile youth event benefiting Young Life Savannah. Bring out your Cow Costume a make it a...

  • Coastal Home & Garden Show

    Mar 07, 2020
    9:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Crystal Coast Civic Center

    Turn all of your home and garden dreams into reality at the 32nd Annual - Coastal Home & Garden Show. With over 12,000 Sq Ft of exhibits , this is...

  • ELLA Foundation’s Charity Lee to Host Book Signing at The Foundery Coffee Pub on March 7

    Mar 07, 2020
    1:00 PM - 3:00 PM @ Foundery Coffee Pub

    WHAT:  Charity Lee Book Signing Event. The ELLA Foundation founder and Executive Director Charity Lee will sign copies of her powerful new memoir...

  • Foundation for Educational Excellence’s Annual “Jewels & Jeans” Event

    Mar 07, 2020
    6:00 PM - 8:30 PM @ Hilton Head Beach & Tennis Club

    Join us at the Foundation for Educational Excellence’s annual “Jewels & Jeans” event on Saturday, March 7 from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at Hilton Head...


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Scenes of the South

2020 Southern Coast Heart Ball

The American Heart Association held its annual Southern Coast Heart Ball on Saturday, February 8th at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort and Spa. Guests enjoyed a cocktail reception with a silent auction, dinner and program, and dancing to end the evening. All proceeds went to the Open Your Heart campaign.

4th Annual Hearts for Healing Gala

Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center held its Fourth Annual Hearts for Healing Gala on Friday, February 7th at the Tybee Island Wedding Chapel. Guests enjoyed gourmet dining, dancing, and a silent auction. All proceeds from the auction benefitted the Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center's program for individuals with disabilities.

IDC Benefits the 200 Club of the Coastal Empire

The LeClerc Family owners of IDC (International Diamond Center) in Savannah 349 Mall Blvd held a benefit to support the 200 Club of the Coastal Empire on Thursday, February 6th from 5:30pm to 8:00pm. Guests enjoyed light food and drinks, while bidding on several silent auction items, including autographed footballs and helmets donated by Anthony Lanier II.

Royce Learning Center Annual Low Country Boil & Oyster Roast

The Royce Learning Center held their annual low country boil and oyster roast on Saturday, February 1st. Guests enjoyed mingling over the seafood selection. Royce Learning Center meets the needs of children and adults with learning differences and literacy needs through its unique programs.

Dining in the Dark 2020

The Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision held its annual Dining in the Dark event on Saturday, January 18th at the Embassy Suites Downtown Savannah. Guests were served a four-course meal in complete darkness by the Savannah Metro's SWAT team. Dining in the Dark serves to raise awareness about vision loss.

January Brews for a Cause

South magazine in collaboration with Southern Eagle Distributing hosted their monthly Brews for a Cause on Thursday, January 16th at the Savannah Taphouse in a successful effort to raise money and awareness for the Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision. The night featured delicious appetizers by Savannah Taphouse and a range of flavored Bud Light Seltzers provided by Southern Eagle. These events provide good food, fun entertainment, refreshing drinks and most importantly – raise money for a great cause! Be sure to be on the lookout for our next Brews in February!

Ford Plantation's Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting for Silk Hope

The Ford Plantation celebrated the completion of its two new Silk Hope model homes on January 10, 2020. The Silk Hope project is limited to 53 homes, on beautiful lots of buyers’ choosing amongst old oaks and a Lowcountry marsh setting. This member-backed project is the first new for sale residential development at The Ford Plantation in more than fifteen years and represents the final phase of home development to be offered. The Silk Hope community is the product of a collaboration of some of the world’s top residential architects and landscape designers and has been modeled to capture tranquil European village and Lowcountry architecture.

Mat Best Signs his New Best-seller at Nine Line

Veteran, entrepreneur and author Mat Best met fans and signed copies of his new book “Thank you for my Service” Thursday Dec. 12 at Nine Line Apparel. Best’s best-selling authorial debut chronicles his service as a U.S. Army Ranger. Best's Black Rifle Coffee co., partnered with Nine Line Apparel, has shops on River st. and off route 95 on Ft. Argyle rd.

Victory Antiques and Engel & Völkers' Holiday Party

Dickey Mopper and his team at Engel and Völkers celebrated the season at their annual holiday party on Wednesday Dec. 11, with a special appearance from the jolly fellow himself, Santa Claus. Mopper and company, celebrating alongside the crew of Victory Antiques, showed off the newest Engel and Völkers office at 1650 East Victory Dr. in Savannah.

Good Times Jazz Bar & Restaurant's 2nd Anniversary Celebration feat. Lady Leah

Jazz lovers celebrated Good Times Jazz bar's second anniversary on Nov. 8 and 9 featuring jazz vocalist Lady Leah and the culinary stylings of Good Times' chef Joe Randall, the dean of southern cuisine. In 2017 Randall teamed with Danielle and Stephen T. Moore to create one of the city's smoothest spots, a confluence of culture and taste fit for the soul of Savannah.