Monday, January 1, 2007
Southern Hospitality Is Alive And Well
Georgia Coast/Hilton Head/CharlestonFort Sumter—Charleston, SC. The Civil War marks the darkest, most trying period in all of American history. It all began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate artillery opened fire on Fort Sumter. The Union army surrendered the fort less than two days later. Journey by boat into Charleston Harbor and experience the isolation and vulnerability that those soldiers felt when hostilities erupted. A bonus of the trip is a wonderful view of Charleston from the water. For more info, visit www.nps.gov/fosu/.
Middleton Place Plantation—Charleston, SC. Located 14 miles northwest of Charleston, Middleton Place Plantation was established as a rice-planting operation in 1741 by Henry Middleton. The Middleton family quickly rose to prominence in the Low Country and beyond. Henry went on to become president of the First Continental Congress. His son, Arthur, signed the Declaration of Independence. Subsequent generations have occupied the South Carolina statehouse and affixed signatures to the Ordinance of Secession. The Union army burned Middleton Plantation in 1865. Two decades later, the great Charleston earthquake destroyed many of the rebuilt structures. The spectacular gardens on the 60-acre plantation were restored in 1916. Visitors can now look into another era of the heritage of the Low Country. For more info, visit www.middletonplace.org.
MCI Heritage Classic—Hilton Head, SC. After the pressure-packed drama of The Masters, golfers, media and fans look forward to one of the most pleasant weeks on the PGA Tour—the MCI Heritage Classic which immediately follows the year’s first major. Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the annual event, was designed by Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus. It’s a tree-lined, quirky test that produces some of the most interesting shotmaking that fans will ever see. The list of champions includes Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Hale Irwin, Greg Norman and local favorite and five-time winner, Davis Love III. For more info, visit www.golfweb.com/tournaments/r012.
River Street—Savannah, GA. Stroll along the cobblestones on one of Colonial America’s most historic thoroughfares. When General James Oglethorpe sailed up the Savannah River from the Atlantic, he made camp here. Today, River Street is a bustling lane of art galleries, boutiques, candy shops and restaurants. History is never more than a few footsteps away. If you visit in the spring, check out the St. Patrick’s Day celebration. For more info, visit www.riverstreetsavannah.com.
The Lady And Sons Restaurant—Savannah, GA. There’s no shortage of quality restaurants in Savannah, from the kid-themed Pirate House to five-star dining on the oak-lined boulevards. But the city’s best-kept secret is out—in a big way. The Lady and Sons Restaurant, owned by Food Channel personality Paula Deen, is a soulful homage to Southern cuisine with black-eyed peas, fresh green beans, creamy cheese grits and, of course, golden fried chicken and much, much more. And then there’s dessert. Pick up an autographed cookbook on your way out. For more info, visit www.ladyandsons.com.
St. Simon’s Island Lighthouse—St. Simons Island, GA. It’s hard to imagine a time when St. Simons Island, a charming little community of artists, writers and other laid-back types, would have been considered “remote.” Of course, take away the five-mile causeway connecting it to the mainland, and it would be. The first lighthouse on this site went up in 1804 to help facilitate shipping between the mainland and the island. The Confederates later took it and burned it when they pulled out. The Lighthouse as it stands today was completed in 1872. It’s 129 stairs to the top, but the view is worth it.
The Cloister—Sea Island, GA. Over the years, the Cloister has welcomed royalty, heads of state and top athletes and entertainers to its five-mile-long private island. In 2004, the famed hideaway hosted the G8 summit of world leaders. Opened in 1928, the resort’s golf courses, beach club, spa, riding stables and restaurants provide a rare escape from the pace and pressure of the “outside” world. Such luxury comes at a price, but visitors can stroll the grounds and dine in one of the hotel’s legendary restaurants or lounges. For more info, visit www.seaisland.com.
Millionaire’s Village—Jekyll Island, GA. At the start of the 20th century, the isolated enclave of Jekyll Island was winter home to many of the country’s most wealthy industrialists. Social life centered around Millionaire’s Village, where the Vanderbilts, the Cranes, the Morgans, the Pulitzers and others maintained luxurious mansion getaways. Drift from home to home, admiring well-appointed gardens, sweeping ballrooms and magnificent views of the marshes of Glynn County, inspiration to poets for generations. The party at Jekyll Island ended during World War II, when German U-boats reportedly were spotted just off the island’s beaches. The state of Georgia later bought Jekyll Island, and the 240-acre Millionaire’s Village became a National Historic Site. For more info, visit www.nationaltrust.org.
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