Savannah, Georgia


Best Places to Retire in Georgia

Profile

Located just inland on the Savannah River, Savannah is a moderate sized coastal city that is both a modern, busy seaport and industrial center, and a magnificently preserved historic site. The Savannah MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) has a population of 285,000 and the city is 140,000. It is large enough to have the choices of a big city, yet small enough to preserve a unique charm and lifestyle rarely found in any city. http://www.savannahgeorgia.com/

Savannah was spared the destruction of Sherman’s brutal “march to the sea.” Reportedly it was saved as a “gift to President Lincoln.” Today over 2,400 architecturally significant buildings are preserved in a 2.5-mile area. This Historic District invites visitors to take a leisurely stroll through its squares, visit the riverfront to watch ships come into port, sit a while on a bench, tour some of the house museums, or browse in the downtown boutiques and antique shops. It is a place that is at once historic, serene, and even romantic — and everything is done on foot.

Savannah has all the amenities. It has outstanding health care alternatives, two large enclosed shopping malls, outlet malls, many boutiques and antique shops. It offers fine dining, music from symphonic to jazz, dozens of art galleries, outstanding live theater, and special events. It’s semi-tropical weather offers the opportunity for year-round outdoor recreation from golf to sailing, boating, fishing, or just walking the beach on one of the nearby barrier islands.

There are 16,000 residents living on the nearby coastal islands, just 20 minutes from the city. Having chosen the island environment for any number of reasons, they still share in many of the advantages Savannah offers. Tybee Island is a barrier island that fronts on the Atlantic. This low-key island with a population of just 3,000 has a three-mile-long beach with sea oat-covered sand dunes. It offers great recreation and a relaxed lifestyle. http://www.tybeeisland.com/. Skidaway Island has a population of 4,500 and offers a similarly relaxed island environment. The Landings, a unique and very private residential community on the island, offers a total of six championship golf courses, tennis complexes, swimming pools, deep water marinas, and other amenities. http://www.golfcoursehome.net/doc/communities/Community-Landings.htm

Wilmington Island and Whitemarsh Island are popular residential communities built on high ground in the salt marsh. Wilmington, the largest of the inshore islands, offers gracious seaside living in quiet neighborhoods with heavily forested lots. It has more than 11,000 residents and has been a growth area with several gated communities being developed along various tidal creeks. Whitemarsh Island is home to almost 3,000 residents.

Arts & Culture

City Lights Theater Company presents a seven-show season at the Avon Theater. It also hosts local and touring productions and stages the Savannah Shakespeare Festival each spring. (912) 234-9860

Coastal Jazz Association presents an annual Jazz Festival and promotes jazz concerts and workshops featuring local musicians and nationally known stars. (912) 232-2222  http://www.coastal-jazz.org/

Historic Savannah Theatre is on the site of the oldest continually operating theater in the U.S. The current theater was built in the 1950s and was completed renovated in 2002 with state-of-the-art lighting and sound. It seats 525 and is an outstanding performing arts center. www.savannahtheatre.com

Lucas Theatre hosts dramatic, symphonic, musical and ballet productions. The theater, built in 1921, is a beautiful movie palace. (912) 232-1696
http://www2.scad.edu/venues/lucas/history.html  

The Savannah Civic Center Arena and the Johnny Mercer Theater provide a variety of entertainment offerings throughout the year. The 2,566-seat theater hosts plays and symphony concerts. Activities held in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Arena include ice hockey games, the circus, and seasonal ice skating. www.savannahcivic.com

Savannah Music Festival, a celebration of classical music and the cultural arts, is held over a 10-day span in March with performances in historic downtown venues. Featured are winners of international competitions appearing in concert, a national vocal competition, a jazz weekend and free organ concerts. www.savannahmusicfestival.org

Savannah Symphony Orchestra presents more than 300 performances annually, including the popular Picnic in the Park extravaganza in the fall and the Arts on the River concerts in the spring. (912) 236-9536

The Trustees Theater is operated by the Savannah College of Art and Design. It serves as a venue for stage productions and movie screenings. www.trusteestheater.com

The City Market, location of the historic city market, is home to a dozen galleries. It often features musicians in the afternoons. www.savannahcitymarket.com

Fort Pulaski, named for Revolutionary War hero General Casimir Pulaski, was built in the 1830s and 1840s to guard Savannah from the sea. It has towering walls, artillery tunnels, a drawbridge and moats. It was engineered in part by Robert E. Lee and was the site of a Civil War engagement. www.nps.gov/fopu

Georgia Historical Society is a memorial to scholar William Brown Hodgson. It features an extensive library and archives. www.georgiahistory.com

Old Fort Jackson is Georgia’s oldest standing brick fort. It was manned during the War of 1812 and served as headquarters for the Confederacy’s Savannah River defenses. www.chsgeorgia.org

Roundhouse Railroad Museum has the oldest, most complete antebellum railroad repair facilities in the U.S. It has a 130-ton diesel locomotive on a turntable, the roundhouse and a 125-foot brick smokestack. www.chsgeorgia.org

Tybee Marine Science Center has aquariums with species indigenous to the area, a touch tank and displays of sharks, whales, turtles and seashells. They also conduct discovery walks on the beach. www.tybeemsc.org

University of Georgia Marine Education Center and Aquarium features 50 species of fish and invertebrates found in the local environment, all housed in a 12-tank aquarium. A nature trail and picnic area face the nearby Intracoastal Waterway. www.uga.edu/aquarium

There are many museums in the Savanna area. Some are listed below:

Andrew Low House, the home of Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low. http://www.andrewlowhouse.com/

Beach Institute was established by the Freedman’s Bureau (circa 1837) to educate newly freed African Americans. It is an exhibit hall for African-American art and a site for cultural events. Davenport House, constructed between 1815 and 1820, is a Federal-style structure featuring delicate plasterwork, fine woodwork, cantilevered staircase and ionic-Tuscan columns. www.davenportsavga.com

King-Tisdell Cottage is a restored 1896 Victorian cottage, now a museum highlighting the contributions of African Americans to our nation’s history. It contains art objects, documents and furniture.  http://www.kingtisdell.org/

The “Mighty Eighth Air Force” Heritage Museum serves a living memorial to those who served in the Eighth Air Force, which carried out strategic bombing on Nazi Germany during World War II. It features memorabilia, equipment and a simulated ride on a B-17 combat mission. It also has a well-stocked library and art gallery, chapel and Memorial Gardens. www.mightyeighth.org

The Savannah History Museum features artifacts and displays depicting Savannah’s history and a video presentation details the founding of the colony to the present. It also exhibits the S.S. Savannah, a 1890 Baldwin locomotive, a cotton gin, and an Oscar awarded to local son, Johnny Mercer.
http://www.chsgeorgia.org/shm/calendar.cfm?ThisCal=10-21-2009

Ships of the Sea Museum is at the Scarborough House in the Historic District. It features maritime models and antiques. The house was built for the owner of the Savannah, the first steamship to cross the Atlantic. www.shipsofthesea.org

Telfair Museum of Art houses a collection of 18th and 19th century American paintings, decorative art, traveling exhibitions and historic period rooms. www.telfair.org

Tybee Island Lighthouse and Museum features this 154-foot tall structure and keeper’s cottage, exhibits and gift shop. The museum has exhibits showing what the island was like from Colonial days through World War II. www.tybeelighthouse.org

Live Oak Public Library – http://www.liveoakpl.org/

Recreation

There are 15 major recreation centers in the area offering sports and recreation activities of nearly every kind. There is tennis, archery, golf, putting greens, driving ranges, lighted baseball, softball, football, soccer, and playgrounds, swimming pools, fishing piers, picnic areas, pavilions, outdoor showers and camping, walking, hiking, jogging trails, and more. http://www.normal.org/Gov/ParksandRec/Facilities/SavannahPark.asp

Savannah/Chatham County is a virtual paradise for those who want to spend time on the water. There are 420 miles of navigable waters twisting through almost 87,000 acres of tidal marshlands, giving boaters and fishermen a lot of space to putter around in. The area offers inshore and offshore fishing opportunities for saltwater anglers, and rivers and creeks for sportsmen who prefer to wet their lines in fresh water.

There are several golf courses in the area.
Bacon Park Golf Course – (912) 354-2625
The Club at Savannah Harbor – (912) 201-2233
Crosswinds Golf Club – (912) 966-0674
Henderson Golf Club – (912) 920-4653
The Lost Plantation – (912) 826-2092
Southbridge Golf Club – (912) 651-5455
The Woodyard at Savannah Quarters – (912) 631-2280

Education

Armstrong Atlantic State University (AASU) offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in more than 75 programs in the arts, science, education, health, and the school of computing. It also offers weekend and evening classes. Enrollment is 6,000. www.armstrong.edu

Savannah State University (SSU) offers 22 degree programs through the colleges of science and technology, business, liberal arts and social sciences. It also offers a Masters in Social Work, Masters of Science in Urban Studies, Masters in Public Administration, and a graduate degree in marine sciences. Enrollment is 2,500 students. http://www.savannahstate.edu/  

Georgia Southern University offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs in 135 majors, including liberal arts and social sciences, business, education, health and human sciences, graduate studies, information technology, and science and technology. It enrolls 15,000 students. http://www.georgiasouthern.edu/

Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is a private college offering Bachelor of Arts, Masters of Architecture, Masters of Arts, and Masters of Fine Arts degrees in animation, architecture, architectural history, art history, broadcast design, fashion, fibers, furniture design, gaming and interactivity, graphic design, historic preservation, illustration, interior design, media and performing arts, metals and jewelry, painting, photography, industrial design, sequential art, video/film and visual effects. Enrollment is 5,800. www.scad.edu

Savannah Technical College offers more than 50 certificate, professional diploma and Associate degree programs in fields ranging from automotive technology to surgical technology, and from marketing to computer information systems. Enrollment is 3,600. www.savtech.org

Senior Programs

“Club 55” is an activity center for seniors and one of three large-scale local programs offering a variety of services geared toward keeping older adults healthy, socially active and well-informed. (912) 236-0363)
http://www.savannahchamber.com/relocation-retirement.php

“Care 65,” a free seniors program, is offered by St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System. Referrals are provided. (912) 352-4405  http://www.sjchs.org/

Community Care Services is a state Medicaid program that provides community-based services as an alternative to nursing home placement. Eligibility must be determined and there are no fees if SSI eligible. Other situations may require cost sharing. The office serves Bryan, Bulloch, Chatham, Effingham, Long, Liberty, Glynn, McIntosh and Camden counties. Services include health care at home, the emergency response system program, personal care homes, help with light household chores, home delivered meals and respite for caregivers. (912) 353-5001 or (888) 698-2984.

The Greater Savannah Coalition on Aging is an organization of long-term care providers in Chatham, Bryan and Effingham counties. It includes representatives from nursing homes, personal care homes, home health agencies and other senior agencies. The organization helps develop programs to improve the quality of life for area senior citizens, and it sponsors outings called ”Senior Safari.” It also has begun studying the health of seniors in the Savannah area. ( 912) 352-9240

Memorial 55 Plus is a free seniors program at Memorial Health University Medical Center that incorporates activities, referrals and education for people 55 and older. It also works with caregivers. (912) 350-7587
http://www.memorialhealth.com/

Senior Citizens Inc. is a non-profit service that enables seniors to live in their homes for a longer period of time. The agency offers such services as laundry, cleaning, bathing, yard and home maintenance, errand transportation, meals on wheels, companions and sitting services. They also provide activities at their Bull Street building and at neighborhood centers throughout Chatham County. The agency has a support group for caregivers and operates an all-day adult day care center. (912) 236-0363

Tidelands Aging Services hosts a twice-monthly support group for caregivers, family members and friends of people with Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementia. The agency welcomes calls from caregivers who are caring for elderly people with other ailments. (912) 351-3590

“Coastal Senior” is a free monthly publication with a circulation of about 30,000. It is targeted toward active seniors age 50-plus in South Carolina and Coastal Georgia. It focuses on senior issues pertaining to lifestyles, health, elder rights, travel, computing, and area senior-specific events. http://www.coastalsenior.com/about.html

Hospitals

Memorial Health University Medical Center is a 530-bed tertiary medical center serving a 35-county area. It is also a teaching and research hospital affiliated with the Medical College of Georgia and Mercer University School of Medicine. Specialties include a Cancer Institute, Children’s Hospital, Rehabilitation Institute, a LifeStar helicopter ambulance unit, and a Trauma Center. www.memorialhealth.com

Candler Hospital, an affiliate of the St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System, is a full-service acute care hospital offering both primary care and outpatient services. Programs include pediatric acute-care, day surgery facilities, wellness programs, cancer care, sports medicine, diabetes and pulmonary medicine. www.stjosephs-candler.org

St. Joseph’s Hospital, founded by Sisters of Mercy, is an affiliate of St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System. It is a full-service acute care facility with services in heart care, neurology, and orthopedics. Special services include cancer care, bloodless surgery, gastroenterology, diabetes, wellness programs, multiple sclerosis, and sports medicine. It is affiliated with the Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL, and Neumours Children’s Hospital in north Florida. www.stjosephs-candler.org

Georgia Regional Hospital at Savannah is a mental health hospital providing psychiatric care to the mentally ill. It has 150 beds and emergency receiving 24 hours a day. (912) 356-2011

Airport

Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport – http://www.savannahairport.com/

Weather

http://www.wunderground.com/US/GA/Savannah.html

Newspaper

Savannah Morning News – http://www.savannahnow.com/

Property Taxes

http://www.chathamcounty.org/assessor.html

State Taxes

http://etax.dor.ga.gov/

Chamber of Commerce

http://www.savannahchamber.com/

State Aging Agency

http://aging.dhr.georgia.gov/portal/site/DHS-DAS/

Distances

Wilmington Island – 11 miles
Skidaway Island – 15 miles
Tybee Island – 18 miles
Hilton Head Island, SC – 34 miles
Charleston, SC – 106 miles
St. Simons Island – 84 miles
Jacksonville, FL – 139 miles

« Back to the Georgia Index
« Back to the State Index