The Best of Savannah

The Best of Savannah

Founded in 1733, Savannah is one of the South’s most historic cities and popular tourist destinations. What is considered the best of Savannah is largely in the eye of the beholder.

In recent decades, this thriving metropolitan area on the Georgia coast has been attracting an increasing number of retirees, thanks to the comfortable subtropical climate and affordable cost of living that includes low property taxes. 

A regional hub of cultural activities, Savannah also offers outstanding medical and professional services in a stable economy underpinned by local manufacturers like Gulfstream Aerospace. And tuition for both degree and non-credit courses at several local state colleges is free for most residents age 62 and older.

Savannah, Georgia is one of the south's most popular cities.

Best ANNUAL EVENTS

Oct. 27-Nov. 3, 2018
SCAD Savannah Film Festival
FilmFest.SCAD.edu
Eight days and nights of cinematic celebration with movie screenings at four downtown theaters, plus documentary, shorts, and animation competitions, lectures, workshops, and big-name Hollywood honorees.

Nov. 5-11, 2018
Savannah Food & Wine Festival
SavannahFoodAndWineFest.com
A full week to enjoy the historic city’s most savory traditions, with celebrity chefs, wine and spirits samplings, the Taste of Savannah main event, and the Jazz + Bubbles Brunch grand finale.

Feb. 14-17, 2019
Savannah Book Festival
SavannahBookFestival.org
The perfect Valentine’s Day weekend for book lovers! Best-selling authors are featured at ticketed functions, while Festival Saturday events—with presentations by more than 40 emerging writers—are free and open to the public.

March 16, 2019
Saint Patrick’s Day
SavannahSaintPatricksDay.com
One of the nation’s longest-running and most lively celebrations of Irish heritage and culture, a week of River Street festivities climaxes with the annual parade that winds through the historic downtown squares.

March 28-April 13, 2019
Savannah Music Festival
SavannahMusicFestival.org
The 30th annual event will bring 500 artists to town for 17 days of eclectic music, including blues, classical, country, folk, gospel, jazz, opera, rock, and much more.

Best RESTAURANTS

Savannah has become a culinary destination that offers dozens of award-winning dining venues, including these favorites:

Circa 1875
Circa1875.com
Savannah’s acclaimed downtown French bistro with domestic and Old World wines

Crystal Beer Parlor
CrystalBeerParlor.com
Fried green tomatoes, fresh seafood, juicy burgers, and craft brews on the side

Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room
MrsWilkes.com
The ultimate local-cuisine lunchtime tradition with shared seating at tables for 10

Paula Deen’s Creek House Seafood & Grill
PaulaDeensCreekHouse.com
A waterfront location for the celebrity chef’s signature Southern seafood fare

Sandfly Bar-B-Q
SandflyBBQ.com
Southern-style sauces on pork and chicken, plus beef brisket and Brunswick Stew

The Telfair Museum is among the best museums in Savannah.

BEST MUSEUMS

Telfair Museums
Telfair.org
The South’s oldest public art museum includes three sites in the Historic District: the Jepson Center for the Arts, the Owens-Thomas House, and the Telfair Academy.

SCAD Museum of Art
SCADMOA.org
The renowned Savannah College of Art and Design is home to the region’s finest collection of contemporary art and learning programs for kids, undergrads, and seniors.

Savannah Art Walk
SavannahArtWalk.com
Strolling tours of more than 20 Historic District galleries every second Saturday of the month where you can meet the artists and enjoy post-walk cocktails at the DeSoto Savannah Hotel.

Take a walk in the park in Savannah.

Best PLACES TO EXPLORE

Historic Squares and Parks

VisitSavannah.com
As one of America’s first planned cities, Savannah’s Historic District has preserved 22 picture-perfect town squares that can be toured on foot or using the free trolly service. Nearby Forsyth Park is a 30-acre oasis for bike rides and weekly farmers markets, while Bonaventure Cemetery is a 100-acre garden of ghostly delight.

Savannah City Market
SavannahCityMarket.com
Four open-air blocks in the heart of the Historic District feature scores of unique shops, restaurants, art galleries, and nightlife entertainment.
Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens

CoastalBG.uga.edu
Explore this university research center that’s open to the public on weekdays with formal gardens, bamboo groves, and events like the 25th Annual Autumn GardenFest (Oct. 26-27, 2018).

Take a stroll through the Savannah Art Walk to get a taste of true southern art.

Best DAY TRIPS

Tybee Island
VisitTybee.com
Just a 20-minute drive from downtown, Tybee Island features beautiful beaches, casual restaurants, the Marine Science Center, and Fort Pulaski National Monument.

Bluffton/Hilton Head
HiltonHeadIsland.org
Discover the South Carolina Lowcountry from the galleries and cafes of Old Town Bluffton to the iconic lighthouse in Sea Pines’ Harbour Town, plus top-flight golf courses.

Best MEDICAL CENTERS

US News & World report ranks these Savannah medical centers among Georgia’s best:

Memorial Health University Medical Center
MemorialHealth.com
Complete health services with the region’s only Level 1 trauma center, children’s hospital, and Mercer University School of Medicine campus.

St. Joseph’s/Candler Hospitals
SJCHS.org
Two anchor hospitals and specialty centers for cancer research, heart treatment, women’s health, and neurosciences.

Best CONNECTION

Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport
SavannahAirport.com
Upgraded passenger service facilities with non-stop flights every day from Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Newark, New York, Toronto, and Washington D.C., plus weekly/seasonal direct flights from many other hometowns.

Tybee Island is Savannah's most popular beach.

Best COMMUNITIES

The Landings
Located just a 10-minute drive from downtown Savannah, The Landings on Skidaway Island is an amenity-rich residential community for retirees and working families. About 8,500 residents currently enjoy The Landings’ lifestyle, but plenty of choice homes and homesites are still available for new neighbors. In addition to two deepwater marinas, there are 30 miles of hiking/biking trails, playgrounds, athletic fields, a two-acre community farm, and a dog park. Landings Club members have access to six on-site championship golf courses with seven clubhouse dining venues, plus three tennis centers with 32 courts, and a complete fitness facility with indoor/outdoor pools. And with 100+ special interest clubs, Landings’ residents can easily make new like-minded friends or simply expand their horizons. Check out The Landings –  thelandings.com

WaterWays
Set on 2,300 oak-shaded acres surrounded by more than six miles of pristine coastal marsh frontage near Savannah, WaterWays is a growing Georgia residential community. Traditional Southern architecture characterizes the single-family homes in four distinctive neighborhoods and new custom homesites are now available in The Enclave and Parkway South. In addition to miles of nature trails for walking and biking, WaterWays features a unique interconnected lagoon system that’s perfect for kayaking and fishing adventures. The new fitness center at WaterClub West is now open and construction is well underway on the signature WaterWays Marina. The adjacent Marina Village will be the hub of community social activity. Check out Waterways – livewaterways.com

Savannah Quarters
Blending historic charm with modern convenience, Savannah Quarters is a master-planned community with a number of residential choices. Low-maintenance town homes popular with retirees, single-family residences in a variety of floor plan styles and sizes, and large sites for custom-designed homes are all available in appealing locations. Club members enjoy their on-site recreations at the pool complex, on the Har-Tru tennis courts, and in the state-of-the-art fitness center. The club’s featured amenity is the Greg Norman Signature golf course, an award-winning design with a picture-perfect island green on the 15th hole. The golf clubhouse features fine dining and meeting space for community activities. check out Savannah Quarters – savannahquarters.com

 

Request information from these Savannah area communities:

Savannah Quarters ® - Modern Living. Historic Charm.

Savannah Quarters ® - Modern Living. Historic Charm.

Developed by SunCal, Savannah Quarters, Savannah Quarters is a master planned community ideally located less than 15 minutes from the center of historic Savannah, GA. Read More...


Waterways - Best Places to Live in Georgia

Waterways - Best Places to Live in Georgia

Waterways is a 2,300-acre master-planned community located just 30 minutes from historic Savannah, Georgia, in charming Richmond Hill. Surrounded by a 1,600 acre nature preserve, this is a place where six-and-a-half miles of marsh frontage, over four miles of winding lagoons, and more than a thousand acres of ancient oak hammocks embrace our new homes and homesites. Read More...


The Landings on Skidaway Island - Savannah's Choice for Island Living

The Landings on Skidaway Island - Savannah's Choice for Island Living

The Landings on Skidaway Island is a private gated community known as much for its beauty as for its personality. Located on the Intracoastal Waterway and just 12 miles from the charming and historic city of Savannah, GA, The Landings celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2012. Read More...


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Featuring Georgia’s Natural Beauty

Featuring Georgia’s Natural Beauty

Top State in 
Film Production

Gov. Nathan Deal announced film and television productions generated $9.5 billion in economic impact in fiscal year 2017, setting a record with $2.7 billion in direct spending.
320 film and television productions were shot in Georgia, including several Marvel movies, Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” and AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”

With a total area of nearly 60,000 square miles from 
the mountains to the sea, Georgia is the largest state east of the Mississippi River.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the world’s busiest airport in terms of both passenger and aircraft traffic.

Georgia's Natural Beauty Caught on Camera“The Peach State” of Georgia is no longer America’s leading producer of that sweet fruit. A more contemporary nickname for the nation’s No. 1 grower of peanuts and pecans might be “The Nut State.”
The Masters golf tournament, played every year during the first week in April, is the only one of the game’s four “Majors” to always be played on the same course at Augusta National Golf Club.

Georgia is tax-friendly toward retirees.
Social Security income is not taxed.
Withdrawals from retirement accounts are partially taxed.
Wages are taxed at normal rates, and the marginal state tax rate is 4.00%.

Historic Saint Marys on the 
Georgia coast is the second oldest city in the nation and the gateway to the pristine Cumberland Island National Seashore.

Interesting Facts

Coca-Cola was created in Atlanta in 1886 and still has its corporate headquarters in Georgia, along with CNN, Delta Airlines, Chick-fil-A, and Home Depot, among others.
Downtown Savannah, with its 22 park-like squares, numerous restored homes, and commercial buildings, is one of America’s largest National Historic Landmark Districts.
Founded in 1836, Wesleyan College in Macon was the first college in the world specifically chartered to grant degrees to women.
Athens, home of the University of Georgia, was named in 2017 by Southern Living magazine as one of the “Best Small Towns in the South to Retire.”
The Okefenokee Swamp in southern Georgia encompasses more than 400,000 acres of waterways, moss-draped cypress trees, and lily-pad prairies that provide sanctuary for hundreds of wildlife species, some endangered.

Explore Georgia Communities on ideal-LIVING.com

Lake Arrowhead

Lake Arrowhead

Lake Arrowhead is a beautiful master planned community is just 40 minutes from Atlanta, convenient to nearby Canton, minutes from the new, state-of-the-art Northside Cherokee Hospital and the premiere Cultural Arts Center at renowned Reinhardt University. The vast list of amenities includes miles of walking/hiking trails, pickle ball, championship golf and breathtaking lake and mountain views. Read More...


Soleil Laurel Canyon - Georgia 55 Plus Communities

Soleil Laurel Canyon - Georgia 55 Plus Communities

Soleil Laurel Canyon is a master-planned, Active Adult/55+ community situated in Canton, GA, just 45 minutes north of Atlanta. This gated, low maintenance community offers an array of homes priced from the $200s to the $400s and expansive amenities including a 28,000+ sq. ft. clubhouse, two pools, tennis courts, walking trails, teaching kitchen, fitness center and much more. Read More...


The Landings on Skidaway Island - Savannah's Choice for Island Living

The Landings on Skidaway Island - Savannah's Choice for Island Living

The Landings on Skidaway Island is a private gated community known as much for its beauty as for its personality. Located on the Intracoastal Waterway and just 12 miles from the charming and historic city of Savannah, GA, The Landings celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2012. Read More...


Savannah Quarters ® - Modern Living. Historic Charm.

Savannah Quarters ® - Modern Living. Historic Charm.

Developed by SunCal, Savannah Quarters, Savannah Quarters is a master planned community ideally located less than 15 minutes from the center of historic Savannah, GA. Read More...


Waterways - Best Places to Live in Georgia

Waterways - Best Places to Live in Georgia

Waterways is a 2,300-acre master-planned community located just 30 minutes from historic Savannah, Georgia, in charming Richmond Hill. Surrounded by a 1,600 acre nature preserve, this is a place where six-and-a-half miles of marsh frontage, over four miles of winding lagoons, and more than a thousand acres of ancient oak hammocks embrace our new homes and homesites. Read More...


Osprey Cove - Georgia Private Communities

Osprey Cove - Georgia Private Communities

Located just 21 minutes from Jacksonville, FL International airport, and just a 90 minute drive to Savannah, GA and St. Augustine, Osprey Cove is a constant recipient in the "Top 100 places to Retire." Kiplinger rated Georgia as the #3 in the Top 10 Tax Friendly states for Retirees. This plush coastal community boasts 665 homes. Home buyers in search of an active lifestyle are finding the right fit at Osprey Cove with private golf, tennis, boating and fishing available year round. Read More...


Cumberland Harbour

Cumberland Harbour

Welcome to the Low-Country! Located on a peninsula bounded by rivers and ocean we are Georgia's Premier Coastal Community. Enjoy world-class amenities with pools, tennis, fitness center, parks and community docks. All protected by manned/gated 24/7 security for peace of mind. Read More...


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The Club Life

The Club Life

The Club Life | Social Networks That Can’t Be Hacked

Once upon a time, retirement communities were built around amenities like golf courses and recreation centers with pools and tennis courts. Social life revolved around the country club or racquet club or other popular activities like boating and gardening.

Today’s active-adult communities offer that and so much more. Baby Boomers still play golf and tennis (or, increasingly, pickeball), but we also like some diversity in the things we do and the connections we make. What may have begun coincidentally in some places—“You collect stamps, too?”—has become a proliferation of “interest clubs” that are changing the dynamics of community social life.

Large planned communities can have 100 or more active clubs, but every community these days has dozens of groups where you can share your writing, learn to play an instrument or sculpt a vase, enjoy sports and games from kayaking to keno, and give something back by tutoring a student or helping the needy. The bonuses are new social networks created and a quality of life enhanced.

Cresswind Active-Adult Lifestyle

Cresswind Communities: Building Relationships

“‘Relationships’ is one of the three core Cresswind lifestyle components,” says John Manrique, Vice-President of Marketing for Kolter Homes. “Clubs are a major part of creating, growing, and strengthening personal relationships in our communities.” Kolter began to develop its Cresswind brand for age 55+ homebuyers in 2010, and today there are eight communities in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. While each site was chosen to enhance active-adult options in its area and offers distinctive amenities, all began the planning process in the same place.

“We design our Cresswind communities around the clubhouse as the social and activity
center for our residents,” says Manrique. “It’s the starting point for each masterplan and then we design the clubhouse itself with a flexibility of space for future uses. Our residents are empowered to create and lead the clubs that they and their neighbors are interested in exploring together. Most have a book club and a cooking club, but we also have clubs for horseback riding, canoeing and kayaking, and even triathlon training. And we’re especially happy when they take the initiative to address a need in the area, so we’ve got clubs that lead food drives, mentor students, build homes, and raise funds for a variety of good causes.

Cresswind offers social clubs like- Art Classes“To accommodate that diversity of interests,” he continues, “we have a lifestyle director at every location to help establish new clubs, schedule events, and reach out to the surrounding community. As interests change over time, we want their opportunities to expand as well. After all, how many pickleball clubs were there 10 years ago?”

For most Cresswind residents, there are no additional dues to pay. “Access to and the full use of all on-site facilities is included with membership in the property owners’ association,” Manrique says, noting that groups like travel clubs set their own budgets for off-site adventures. And while none of the Cresswind communities have their own golf courses, most partner with local clubs that offer access and discounts.

True to the core component of “relationships” in the Cresswind communities, each hosts a monthly cocktail party or potluck dinner in the clubhouse so that new residents can meet their neighbors and find out about existing clubs and activities. Those mixers are appreciated not only by couples, but also by those who are single, divorced, or widowed. “And we recently heard from a new owner in our Cresswind Peachtree City location near Atlanta,” Manrique concludes. “She had decided to move in a few months ahead of her husband, who was finishing up his business back home. She thought it might be a lonely time, but instead was delighted to join several activity clubs and found she was busier and happier than ever. That’s what it’s all about.”

cresswind.com

Fairfield Glade Boatlife

Fairfield Glade: Amenities Abound

Located on Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau between Knoxville and Nashville, Fairfield Glade is an established community with a 50th-anniversary celebration planned for 2020. It’s also a vacation resort, which means that Fairfield Glade has amenities that include five 18-hole golf courses, a Racquet Club with indoor/outdoor courts for year-round play, and meeting facilities at the Conference Center, which is adjacent to medical services the Wellness Complex.

 

McLendon Hills Banner

 

“Our monthly fees are a fraction of what you’d pay for most other homeowners associations with amenities we have,” says Fairfield Glade’s director of marketing and events, Mary Jo Paige. “We use a ‘pay-as-you-play’ model where our residents and members get a reduced rate for what they actually use. Guests pay a different rate and those fees help to keep member dues low.”

Fairfield Friends of the Trails The abundant facilities are an obvious draw, but a half-century of experience has taught Fairfield Glade that interest clubs are the heart and soul of community life. “We have more than 50 different active clubs today,” says Paige, “representing just about everything imaginable. In addition to our golf and racquet clubs, we have groups for fishing, birding, cycling, chess, softball, card games, quilting, kayaking, photography, and writing, to name just a handful. And since all are organized by our residents, new ones are created every year. In addition, we have an events team that plans and manages more than 130 community events every year.

“We’re especially proud of our spirit of volunteerism that supports charitable activities,” Paige continues. “The Fairfield Ladies Club is one such organization with nearly 500 members. And Fairfield Glade hosts our “Get Involved Expo” every year, where over 40 local non-profits can inform our residents about their good work and recruit new volunteers.”

Fairfield Glade KayakingPaige also cited an example of a Fairfield Glade interest club that has, literally, branched out into the surrounding area. “Years ago, a group of residents started a ‘Friends of the Trails’ club to promote hiking and trail building within the community,” Paige says. “Today we have more than a dozen great hiking trails in Fairfield Glade, which the club members maintain.” Many Fairfield Glade residents have gone on become “Friends of the Cumberland Trail,” putting their experience and enthusiasm to work in establishing what’s well on its way to becoming a 200-mile Tennessee trail.

Regular items on the Fairfield Glade schedule are the newcomers’ events that acquaint recent residents with available clubs. “Our residents come from all over the country and bring with them a diversity of backgrounds and interests,” says Paige. “Our activity clubs get and keep them engaged socially and, most importantly, having fun.”

fairfieldglade.net

Compass Pointe, Grand Lanai Amenities Center

Compass Pointe: A Club for Every Interest

Compass Pointe is a master planned community on the North Carolina coast near Wilmington that offers residents an impressive amenities package and membership options.

The Compass Pointe Golf Club features a centerpiece 18-hole course that opened for play in 2016. Membership also includes access to the nearby 27-hole Magnolia Greens Course. The separate Grand Lanai Amenities Center is open to all, with a recreational lawn out front for bocce ball, a central building with flexible meeting space, a resort-style pool, a new indoor pool and lazy river, tennis/pickleball courts, and a wellness center with fitness facilities.

Compass Pointe Interest ClubsAmanda Marks is the Vice-President of Operations at Compass Pointe. “All property owners pay a monthly association fee for access to Grand Lanai amenities, plus common areas like the dog park, walking and biking trails, and lakes and ponds for kayaking and fishing,” she says. “Residents can also enjoy our golf course and restaurant on a ‘pay-as-you-go‘ basis or they can choose a full golf membership plan, which gives them unlimited play, access to members-only events, and significant food and beverage discounts.”

While new members are joining the golf club every month, community clubs that meet at the Grand Lanai are growing, too. “We now have more than 30 active interest clubs at Compass Pointe,” says Marks. “They’re all formed and run by residents. Our tennis club is huge with more than 250 members and our bocce club has 200 participants. We also have clubs for for everything from gardening, bowling, and knitting to card games of all kinds and Bible study. One of our more unique new clubs is ‘Professionals Without Walls’ for residents who work remotely and benefit from the interaction and networking opportunities.

Compass Pointe Cooking Club“Giving back to the community is a big theme at Compass Pointe,” she continues. “For instance, we have groups that raise money for breast-cancer awareness and volunteer at local community theaters and animal-rescue centers. We also have a very active Veterans Club that organizes patriotic events and fundraisers, and our Culinary Club awards a scholarship every year to a local student studying to become a chef.”

In addition, Compass Pointe has organized a Singles Club for residents who appreciate companionship when attending Wilmington-area events. “Clubs are such an important way for people to make friends, especially when they’re new residents,” Marks says. “In fact, that sometimes happens before they move in: When our agents tour prospective buyers around on Sunday afternoons, they always stop at the rec lawn where the bocce club plays. Many times our guests will join right in and that’s how they make new friends who may soon become their neighbors.”

compasspointenc.com

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Making Connections, Breaking Barriers

Making Connections, Breaking Barriers

Women’s golf associations add to quality of life for all

“Our team-play formats enhance our goals of fellowship and fun on the course,” Gail Wickstrom said, a member of one of Dataw Island’s Women’s Golf Associations, “and we’ve found that our flighted groups help to create a circle of friends.”

Ever since the popularity of golf spiked in the 1990s, there have been more women on the fairways and greens than ever before. Many women who took up the game then now find themselves enjoying the bliss of grandparenthood and a more relaxed schedule with full-time employment behind them.

Ever since the popularity of golf spiked in the 1990s, there have been more women on the fairways and greens than ever before. Many women who took up the game then now find themselves enjoying the bliss of grandparenthood and a more relaxed schedule with full-time employment behind them.

For many such women who retire to a community with one or more courses, joining an established women’s golf association is a natural portal to improving their games and making new friends. But, in addition to personal health benefits and social networking, being a member of their club’s all-female golf group also makes them a part of our nation’s gender equality movement.

It may be hard to imagine today, but there was once a time in the not-too-distant past when women golfers at both public courses and private clubs were limited to less desirable tee times and permitted to hold events only so long as they didn’t conflict with the men’s schedule. Women’s golf associations formed to pool their numbers and clout to do away with those “traditions,” thus putting the game on an equal footing for all. The result has been gender parity at nearly all private clubs and a legacy that future female players will hopefully appreciate.

Thus, in communities large and small across the nation, women’s golf associations continue to be an important quality-of-life asset, creating new connections and dispensing with outdated norms.

The Landings on Skidaway IslandThe Landings on Skidaway Island

The Landings is a sprawling Georgia retirement and residential community that covers much of the high ground on Skidaway Island, located just east of historic downtown Savannah. Among the more than 8,000 homeowners are young families just starting out, multi-generational households, and retirees from most states in the union, plus a number of foreign countries.

Golf is the featured recreational amenity at The Landings, as might be expected in a community with six on-site championship courses crafted by some of the game’s most gifted designers. The Landings Club is the membership association for community residents who play those scenic layouts and is home to the largest women’s golf association among all private country clubs in America.

Founded in 1974 and with a current membership of around 450, the Landings Women’s Golf Association (LWGA) has provided a model to be emulated by scores of similar groups, especially in establishing that all-important standard of equal course access.

Women’s golf at The Landings Club employs a three-tier approach. The informal “Farm Team” program is designed for women who are new to the game or maybe only played a few times a year before retiring. Staff professionals at the club offer instructional classes and players are grouped with those of similar skills for low-pressure rounds.

The Landings Nine-Hole Women’s Golf Association (L9GA) is the next step for former “Farm Team” players and new residents for whom a Thursday morning half-round of fun competition best suits their schedules. Members of the LWGA are lower-handicap golfers who often fill up two of the Landing’s courses for their Tuesday morning flighted tournaments, among other monthly competitive events. And a “buddy system” gets newbies at each level right into the swing of things.

Gail Wickstrom is a Chicago-area native who currently serves as Chair of the LWGA Board of Directors. “When you’re as large a group as we are,” she said, “you might arrive for your first event and there are 100 women milling about and you don’t know any of them. So we assign a ‘buddy’ who meets the new member at the course, introduces her around, and generally makes her more comfortable with the group’s various programs and benefits.”

And while LWGA members certainly look forward to the special tournaments where individuals vie for the lowest scores, weekly competitions and most other events emphasize camaraderie. “Our team-play formats enhance our goals of fellowship and fun on the course,” Wickstrom said, “and we’ve found that our flighted groups help to create a circle of friends.”

Katherine Crew came to The Landings from Atlanta and got involved about a year after moving in with the L9GA, which itself has around 170 members. They play as teams, too, and Katherine especially appreciated the overall health improvements for their members. “One of our trainers from our fitness center comes [over] before we tee off to lead a stretching class. Everyone loves it!” she said. “Getting out on the course on a beautiful Thursday morning, having fun with some great ladies, and playing a nine-hole game of golf does wonders for your health. It certainly does for your well being, as we all have fun and there are always lots of smiles when we’re done.”

In addition to social events like luncheons and dinner dances, both of the women’s golf groups at The Landings serve as conduits to volunteer opportunities and fund raising for local charities. The L9GA sponsors a big tournament every October that’s open to all club members—even men—and raises money for the Kid’s Cafe, an after-school meal program for children in the Savannah area at risk of hunger. The LWGA has raised more than $700,000 in the past 13 years for cancer research with their annual Golfing for a Cure Tournament, while smaller events benefit local military families in need, the Second Harvest Food Pantry, and the holiday-season Empty Stocking Fund.

Making connections with new Landings friends and within the wider Savannah community are laudable accomplishments, but these groups take it one step further by breaking down barriers. “This is one of the most vibrant women’s golf associations that you can imagine, and very welcoming to all,” said Wickstrom of the LWGA. “No one here cares what you did for a living or how much money you made or what kind of house you live in.” And the L9GA’s Crew echoes that sentiment: “There’s no status quo with us.”

Dataw Island Dataw Island

Located just up the coast in the South Carolina Lowcountry near the historic town of Beaufort, Dataw Island is a private residential and retirement community smaller in size than The Landings, but second to none in the quality of its golf. Both of the Dataw courses—Tom Fazio’s Cotton Dike and Arthur Hills’ Morgan River—are award-winning designs that have been recently renovated and have hosted numerous sanctioned amateur tournaments.

While Dataw Island Club members enjoy a variety of top-flight amenities, the Dataw Tennis Center was named in 2017 by the U.S. Tennis Association as one of the top four facilities in the country—golf is the most popular outdoor recreation.

“We have very active golf programs for both men and women,” said Director of Golf Dave Britton. “It is not uncommon for couples to move to Dataw Island where the husband is already a golfer and the wife is completely green, maybe even never having swung a club, and SHE ends up playing as often or even more than he does!”

The club’s flexible membership structure and access policies have certainly contributed to that growth in women’s golf participation. Dataw offers “al la carte” cafeteria-style membership plans that are renewable on an annual basis, allowing members to expand or change their choices as their lifestyles, interests, and schedules evolve. All members, regardless of plan, have access to the club’s golf practice facilities, can take part in free instructional clinics designed for new players, and may tee it up on the courses six times a year before joining a golf membership program. “This approach allows future golf members to get their feet wet before fully diving in,” Britton said.

Women golfers at Dataw Island Club, like their counterparts at The Landings Club, can then either move on after a learning period or jump right in to one of two golf groups. Or, like Celeste Nalwasky, a past president of the Dataw Island Women’s Golf Association (DIWGA), they can participate in both the 18-hole and nine-hole groups. She helps to coach new players and enjoys the casual fun of nine-hole outings but keeps her low-handicap skills sharp by playing in most of the competitive 18-hole tournaments.

“We were all beginners once,” said Nalwasky. “Golf is a fantastic way to get connected and to stay active.” Making a positive contribution to the local community is one way to establish those links: Among other charities it supports, the DIWGA recently raised more than $12,000 for cancer research at a single event.

Making new connections within the Dataw community and breaking down barriers are also major benefits of DIWGA membership. “One of the biggest drivers for golf participation is the social and welcoming climate that our members have for one another,” Britton said. “Making introductions and helping members get plugged into groups, whether you are seeking competitive play, a social group, or laughs and lagers, there are enough groups available that new members don’t have a hard time ‘fitting in’ as we hear sometimes can happen elsewhere. Perhaps most important to new members is that our existing members are very gracious and welcoming, regardless of your personal background or skill level on the course.”

thelandings.com

dataw.com

Dataw Island - Golf Communities in South Carolina

Dataw Island - Golf Communities in South Carolina

There is a place off the South Carolina coast, near the charming town of Beaufort, where nature and luxury share center stage. Shaped by the Intracoastal Waterway and a rich Southern history, the gated golf community of Dataw Island is a pristine parcel of 870 acres waiting to be discovered. Read More...


The Landings on Skidaway Island - Savannah's Choice for Island Living

The Landings on Skidaway Island - Savannah's Choice for Island Living

The Landings on Skidaway Island is a private gated community known as much for its beauty as for its personality. Located on the Intracoastal Waterway and just 12 miles from the charming and historic city of Savannah, GA, The Landings celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2012. Read More...


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Footprints  | Use Solar Systems in 2019

Footprints  | Use Solar Systems in 2019

Solar is smarter in 2019.

 

SOLAR SYSTEMS 2019

How They Work and How Much They Cost

This is an especially good year to consider upgrading with a residential solar-power system for two reasons: the cost has never been lower and the 30% federal tax credit starts to disappear in 2020. Understanding how solar systems function will help you to determine the desirability of that investment.  

How Solar Works

Every rooftop solar system has four essential components and an optional fifth.

Solar panels have photovoltaic (PV) cells that turn radiant energy from the sun into direct-current (DC) electricity. Each standard-size panel is 65 by 39 inches (5.4 x 3.25 feet), weighs around 40 pounds, and is typically rated for output at 300 watts. To install an average-size residential system that produces six kilowatts (kW) of electricity, you’ll need 20 panels covering an area of 500 square feet and weighing about 1,000 pounds with mounting hardware. All-weather panels are durable for at least 25 years. Rain removes most grime, but annual inspections may include professional cleaning.

A mounting system secures that half-ton array to the rooftop. Most roofs can handle the weight, while older ones may need reinforcement, but this is definitely not a DIY job. Ideally, the roof has a pitch of around 30 degrees, is unobstructed by trees, and faces south because east-west orientations can be about 15% less productive.

An inverter converts that DC electricity into the standard alternating-current (AC) that powers electrical devices. A performance monitor tracks how much electricity is being produced and used. Data is displayed on a wall unit and can be transmitted to an off-site service accessible online or with an app.

 

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The performance monitor also keeps tabs on excess electricity being fed back to your local utility because you’re not off the grid yet, nor do you really want to be. Instead, it’s a two-way street: you’re both a producer and consumer as part of a net-metering system. For every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity you generate but don’t immediately use (typically during the afternoon), you get a credit for sending it out on the wires for redistribution where it’s needed. Those credits are cashed in when you’re producing less than you’re using (morning/evening peaks, all night long and during inclement weather). There’s also an annual cycle of summer production versus winter usage. This ebb and flow results in either a credit surplus that can be carried forward according to utility policy or a deficit requiring a small power bill that’s far less than what you’re paying now on the one-way street of consumption only.

So why can’t you just keep all the power you create, use it as needed, and get entirely off the grid? With current technology, electricity is much cheaper to produce and distribute than it is to store. Hence, the optional component of your system: solar batteries. Until there are major breakthroughs in storage capacity, current batteries serve as little more than emergency back-ups and can add 50% to your total price.

HOW MUCH SOLAR COSTS

The good news is that the declining price of solar panels plus a growing number of competing installers have combined to make residential solar-power systems more affordable than ever. As an example using nationwide averages, the 20-panel/6-kW system described above has a gross cost today of around $20,000, including all equipment, permit, and installation charges. Deduct $2,000 for the rebates offered in many states, subtract the 30% federal tax credit from that subtotal and another $1,000 for state credits where applicable, and you’ve got a bottom-line cost of just $11,600.

OK, that’s a big chunk of change, but consider this: you’re paying $100 or more a month for electricity now, which is $1,200+ a year or more than $30,000 over 25 years. But, if your system hits the sweet spot of producing roughly the same amount of power that you consume annually in a net-metering system, your monthly bill will be $0—a total savings of about $18,400. And, several recent studies have shown that a residential solar system can raise a home’s market value by up to 4%; for a $300,000 property, that’s an increase of $12,000 on day one. If you can’t afford the entire up-front cost, there are financing options and even leasing plans. But, under current law, the 30% federal tax credit available in 2019 will decline by 4% each year in 2020 and 2021, expiring altogether for residential solar in 2022 unless the program is renewed, which is ironic because rooftop solar systems are renewable-power sources that enhance American energy independence, create skilled jobs, and may help to save the planet.

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