Lucky Savannah partnered with a class of writing students from the Savannah College of Art and Design to dig up insider info about our beautiful city. The assignment was simple: create a digital article about anything you find fun, interesting or quirky about the Hostess City to share with Lucky readers. The result is a collection of insightful and sometimes playful articles about everything from museums and juice bars to hauntings and pole dancing (true story!). We hope you enjoy reading their work as much as we do!
By Jenna Dousi
Vacations are an opportunity to let go, to unwind and to indulge, but sometimes letting go has undesirable consequences. We’ve all experienced that dreaded vacation weight gain – returning home relaxed but not exactly rejuvenated, perhaps several pounds heavier than when we left.
While that’s fine once in awhile (we deserve it), it doesn’t always have to be that way, and sometimes we deserve better. Vacations are also an opportunity for a fresh start, for invigoration and for new energy. We can end our trips not only feeling better, but also looking better.
Good and Good for You
You might think it’s impossible to kick-start a diet or even maintain a diet while on vacation in Savannah, the city of Southern comfort food. When I first moved here, I must have gained at least five pounds within just a couple weeks of settling in. But there’s much more to Savannah than mashed potatoes and cheesy grits, and I’ve since discovered the healthy and yummy alternatives.
Savannah’s really got something for everyone, especially when it comes to food, so there are plenty of healthy restaurants around. My favorites are Kayak Kafé and The Sentient Bean. Kayak Kafé offers many light options, from spicy tofu tacos (pictured here) to colossal, fresh salads. It’s even located in the entrance to a gym, so you know it must be healthy.
“The Bean,” across the street from Forsyth Park, might look like just a coffee shop, but their menu boasts some of the best vegetarian health food in town. You’ve got to try the vegan super-bowl – a sort-of-salad full of meat-free proteins.
Ruth Arnone, a leading member of the locally based “plant strong lifestyle” club Savannah Veggies and Vegans, says, “I love The Sentient Bean. It's good, healthy, and humane.”
Now, if you want an eating experience that you can really take home (and I don’t mean in a to-go box), there’s also Chef Darin’s Kitchen Table. Chef Darin offers hands-on cooking classes that end in getting to eat the dishes you’ve prepared with your friends. You’ll leave with new recipes and new memories.
Another option is making full use of your Lucky Savannah rental’s kitchen. Head over to the Forsyth Farmers’ Market, open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the south end of Forsyth Park, and pick up some fresh ingredients. This way, you can support local food and your body. You’ll also get plenty of exercise walking around the beautiful and extensive grounds of the park.
Put the Active in Activities
Simply walking around Forsyth Park can be energizing. You’ll see everyone getting their daily exercise in, from joggers to puppy dogs, and you might even be inclined to join an exuberant game of Ultimate Frisbee. But you can up your game from just walking through the park by opting for a bike ride. The 1-mile lap around the park’s perimeter is enough to get you sweating.
Most vacationers don’t know about the other beautiful Savannah parks, with equally as much potential for activities. Check out Daffin Park for the great picnic areas, clay tennis courts and doggie play parks, or Lake Mayer Community Park for the great 1.5 mile track around the lake (or the cute baby ducks that appear every spring).
About 5 miles east of the Historic District sits 100 acres of land to explore at the Oatland Island Wildlife Center. You’ll absolutely break a sweat on the trails, but you’ll probably be too connected with nature—in the form of bobcats, wolves and cougars—to notice the workout you’re getting. Good for the body and the soul, Oatland Island is a must-see.
Another way to get fit while in Savannah is to forgo the trolley tours for a more active option – and there are plenty. With Savannah Bike Tours, you can take a guided two-hour bike ride through some of the most prominent historic spots in Savannah. There are also plenty of similar walking tours that allow you to get out there and burn some calories while taking in the sights.
“Biking leisurely with a guide was great for learning so much about the city's culture and design,” says Crissy Nettles, a tourist from Monroeville, Alabama, and a recent participant of a Savannah Bike Tour. “I'd definitely do it again.”
If you really want to turn your trip into a workout and set it to your own pace, you can choose a self-guided tour. Rent a bike from Savannah On Wheels or lace up your running shoes and try this route through the 24 squares.
This path starts at Columbia Square, passes through every other square and the Colonial Park Cemetery, and ends at Forsyth Park. You'll see everything! Plus, it's about three and a half miles, so you will burn those vay-cay calories and return home an even better version of you.