"Down South" may not be the first place you’d think of when planning a wellness getaway, but Savannah certainly doesn’t disappoint travelers wanting to mix travel with health. Sure, their open container laws promote imbibing and you can chow down on calorie-rich comfort food; but look beyond these indulgences and you’ll find numerous opportunities to nourish your body and soul. The best part? All of the below activities can be done via walking/cycling — no car necessary! Almost all are in the very walkable Savannah Historic District.
If you’re the type of person who finds going to a new yoga studio nerve wracking, Dancing Dogs Yoga leaves you calm from the moment you walk in. There’s no pretension here; just people wanting to better themselves through wellness. Plus, classes often weave in community — like helping the person next to you hold a pose — and humor (impromptu gangnam style dance moves, anyone?). If you’re feeling philanthropic, a number of their classes are donation based, with proceeds benefitting the Yoga Peace and Prosperity Project helping at-risk Savannah youth receive yoga teacher training.
Beetnix Savannah Juice Bar — conveniently located in the same space as Dancing Dogs Yoga — offers a delicious journey into health through raw vegan superfoods. And if you think you’ll simply be snacking on veggies and hummus, think again. Along with cold-pressed juices, smoothies and nut milks you can indulge in quinoa bowls, gluten-free oatmeal laced with fruit and agave, and fresh salads. Don’t miss the hearty "Warrior One" bowl featuring a blend of organic dragon fruit, banana and strawberry topped with homemade raw almond butter, hemp granola, banana, strawberry, cacao nibs and an optional agave or honey. Yum!
There are so many reasons to make honey part of a regular diet aiding digestion, boosting your immune system, providing allergy relief, soothing sore throats and more. That is why when visiting Savannah a stop at the experiential Savannah Bee is in order. The shop features shelves of delicious bee product edibles and beauty products like beeswax salves, body butters and lip balms in flavors like Key Lime and salted caramel. If you’re in the mood to get buzzed, their mead tasting bar in the back offers five samples of this fermented honey libation for $7. Make sure to also enjoy the free samples of locally harvested honeys with notes of lavender, rosemary and palmetto, or whipped varieties laced with cinnamon and lemon. Tip: If the Tupelo Honey is out you must try this, as White Tupelo Trees grow for only two weeks per year in the area. If you’re visiting March through mid-October ask to see their bee garden!
Want to continue the healthy tastings? The nearby Ancient Olive features over 55 extra virgin olive oils and Italian balsamic vinegars to sample.
Yes, you read that right. While in many cities the cemetery isn’t a place you typically hang out (unless you’re hosting a séance), Savannah’s Bonaventure Cemetery is actually a tourist attraction. It’s recommended to rent bikes and cycle the 4.5 miles from the Historic District — especially as much of the journey is through leafy green neighborhoods. Once at the cemetery you can cycle its 160 acres and ride down Spanish moss and live oak shaded paths, admiring the beautiful architecture and stones with notable names like American songwriter Johnny Mercer and author Conrad Aiken.
While you work up a sweat you can also take in some folklore. One stone with a story is Little Gracie, a little girl who passed away from pneumonia in 1889. Many visitors to the cemetery have claimed to see the ghost of Little Gracie playing around Savannah’s Johnson Square.
Cemeteries not your thing? Forsyth Park is a gorgeous 30-acre park in Savannah’s Historic District that’s perfect for biking, walking and playing.
No wellness trip would be complete without some spa pampering. While Savannah has many great spas, one of note is Spa Bleu, where curative organic and all-natural ingredients are woven into sumptuous treatments. Picture a Honey & Mango Enzyme Wrap (infused with Savannah Bee honey!), a Raindrop Aromatherapy Massage featuring 12 organic essential oils and a Purifying Probiotic Facial infusing a Probiotic and Hungarian Mud mask. They also have multi-treatment packages — as well as a private Couple's Suite for romance packages — for those wanting the all-out wellness treatment.
Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.
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Jessica Festa is a full-time travel writer who is always up for an adventure. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia and doing orphanage work in Ghana. You can follow her adventures on her travel websites, Epicure & Culture and Jessie On A Journey. You can also connect with Jessica directly on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, or follow her epicurean adventures on Facebook and Twitter.
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