The Best of Savannah

Best of Savannah: Health, Recreation and Beauty

Best Yoga Studio

Savannah Yoga Center

Kelley Boyd's studio - where she is assisted by a corps of very able instructors - holds a full schedule of different types of yoga for different types of folks, in a beautifully renovated space.

Runner-up: Savannah Power Yoga

Best Massage Therapist

Lenny Resnick

This former massage therapist with the Washington Redskins brings with him a wealth of experience at deep tissue, Swedish, light touch, and sports massage.

Runner-up: Tracy at Perfect Touch

Best Pilates Studio

Best Fitness Club

Lava 24 Fitness

Broughton Street has a health club (again), with a full slate of equipment as well as tanning and massage. They open at 5:30 a.m. weekdays. Get your butt down there!

Runner-up, Pilates: Momentum Pilates Studio

Runner-up, Fitness: YMCA

Best Physical Therapist

Ian Young

This rising star at Spine & Sport will straighten you out. Literally.

Runner-up: Mike Parsons

Best Personal Trainer

Tie: Janet McCarthy (YMCA) & Nathan Mikeska (Spine & Sport)

When you absolutely, positively, need someone to motivate you to do things you might not really want to do.

Runner-up: Mark Lebos

Best Local Sports Coach

Chief Geronimos

The spiritual leader of the Savannah Derby Devils gets the girls cranked up for every rollicking bout of rink mayhem.

Runner-up: Donald Chumley, SCPS Football

Best Hospital

St. Joseph's/Candler Health System

With several marquee treatment centers, such as the Telfair Hospital for Women, St. Joe's/Candler took the top spot this year.

Runner-up: Memorial Health University Hospital

Best General Practioner

Dr. Paul S. Bradley MD

The award-winning founder of Ourlife promotes wellness and preventive medicine strategies for local residents and businesses.

Runner-up: Dr. Ben Watson

Best Nurse

Kristi Dees

This Armstrong Atlantic grad works in the operating room at Memorial Health. She begins work toward a nurse practitioner degree at Georgia Southern in the fall.

Runner-up: Terry Shehan


Dr. Carmela A. Pettigrew MD

Dr. Pettigrew is known for her pleasant and knowledgeable attitude towards mothers-to-be.

Runner-up: Dr. Glen Scarbrough

Best Midwife

Jill Whitfield

This grad of the Medical University of South Carolina nurse midwifery program practices at the Birth Center in Effingham County.

Runner-up: Ann Carroll

Best Chiropractor

Dr. Bart Wetherington

Based on Waters Avenue, this expert is a repeat winner in this category.

Runner-up: Todd Titus

Best Dentist

Dr. Stephanie L. Skinner DMD

This friendly tooth doctor practices on the Southside to excellent reviews.

Runner-up: Greg Abbott

Best Eye Doctor

Donald L. Watson OD

A longtime repeat winner in this category is back on top of the pack.

Runner-up: Elizabeth Miller

Best Psychologist

Dr. Susan B. Lamb

One of Savannah's most beloved practitioners, Dr. Lamb's office is downtown.

Runner-up: Kevin Winders

Best Cosmetic Surgeon

Dr. William H. Dascombe MD

Bill Dascombe is well aware of the stereotypes about plastic surgeons: that they only cater to strippers and the otherwise very vain.

"But think about someone who's lost their nose from skin cancer," he points out. "Or a child who's been injured."

Indeed, about half of Dr. Dascombe's practice involves repairing the face after a bout with skin cancer -- something that's very common in these ultra-UV climes.

As for those hypothetical strippers, Dascombe -- who's been practicing in Savannah for 17 years -- says his typical female patient seeking reconstructive surgery is aged 25-50 and has had several pregnancies.

"They've breastfed, they're devoted mothers, and they just want to restore their body to the way it was when they walked down the wedding aisle," he says.

His goal is to "improve things that were created abnormally and try to improve things that are unhappily normal and try to make them better."

In addition to facial surgery and breast augmentation, Dr. Dascombe does a lot of tummy tucks, arm tucks and side tucks -- mostly for people who've lost a lot of weight.

"These are very successful people with a lot of personal discipline," he says. "They come in after having lost maybe 100 or 150 pounds and we have to tuck a little skin."

Dr. Dascombe says he's humbled to receive the readers' nod in this inaugural edition of the category, pointing out that there are many other excellent cosmetic surgeons in Savannah also doing good work.

He's especially excited to be in the field he's in because of the enormous strides going on.

"We're able to do things now that we couldn't even imagine doing five years ago," he enthuses. -- Jim Morekis

Runner-up: Dr. Ron Finger

Best Veterinarian Clinic

Case Veterinary Hospital

A true family business, Case Veterinary has served Savannah's pets and pet owners for 100 years running.

Runner-up: Central Animal Hospital

Best Hair Salon

Color Boxx

Savannah's most happening salon has moved to Broughton Street and is still cuttin' up like always.

Runner-up: B Street Salon

Best Hair Stylist

Renata Duran

This charming favorite at Park West Salon has a huge fan base.

Runner-up: Nikki Friedhoffer Edwards

Best Colorist

Nikki Friedhoffer Edwards

This repeat winner in this category works in all colors at Color Boxx.

Runner-up: Wade Calhoun

Best Nail Salon

Golden Nails

Full service just the way you want it on Waters Avenue.

Runner-up: Spa Bleu

Best Barber Shop

The Barber Pole

A touch of old Mayberry in downtown's bustle - except with really rockin' haircuts!

Runner-up: The Barber Shop

Best Day Spa

Savannah Day Spa

A touch of loveliness, true luxury, and state-of-the-art techniques in a beautiful building on Oglethorpe Avenue

Runner-up: Spa Bleu

Best Tanning Salon

Tan-Tastic Tanning

Offering both UV and spray tanning, this growing business has several locations, two in Savannah and one in Statesboro.

Runner-up: Palm Beach Tan

Best Piercing Parlor

Planet 3

One of Savannah's most beloved small businesses is now in the Thomas Square neighborhood next to Sammy Green's.

Runner-up: Black Orchid Tattoo

Best Tattoo Shop

Black Orchid Tattoo

Now in an awesomely restored building on Victory Drive near Starland, Black Orchid continues to set the local ink standard.

Runner-up: Anonymous Tattoo

Best Outdoor Outfitters

Half Moon Outfitters

This Charleston-based regional business offers the responsible outdoorsperson just about everything they'll need.

Runner-up: Bass Pro Shop

Best Golf Course

Crosswinds Golf Club

With a well-regarded 18-hole course and a nine-hole Par 3 course, Crosswinds is holdin' it down near the airport.

Runner-up: Westin Savannah Harbor

Best Tennis Courts

Bacon Park

Run by the city and funded by you, the taxpayer, this perennial winner in this category is the state-of-the-art of the sport in Savannah, with 16 lighted hardcourts and a full slate of league activity.

Runner-up: Forsyth Park

Best Bowling Alley

AMF Victory Lanes

Not your granddad's bowling alley, with lots of shiny fun stuff for the younger generation to enjoy. And beer!

Runner-up: Frames and Games

Best Marina

Hogan's Marina

Full-service, highly professional facility on Turner's Creek.

Runner-up: Isle of Hope

Best Hiking Trail

Skidaway Island State Park

Where else can you see ospreys, woodpeckers, Confederate earthworks, a native American shell midden, and an old moonshine still while you get some exercise?

Runner-up: Fort Pulaski

Best Local Pro Team

Savannah Sand Gnats

Now playing in a tastefully restored Grayson Stadium, the Gnats are fresh off a great showing in the Sally League last season.

Runner-up: Savannah Derby Devils

Best Local Club Sports Team

Savannah Derby Devils

Roller derby is all the rage, people. And we do mean rage. Our maidens of mayhem are so popular they've moved their bouts to the Civic Center downtown.

Best Local College Team

Armstrong Atlantic State University Tennis

One of Savannah's best-kept secrets is the fact that Armstrong Atlantic State University has a couple of awesome tennis teams.

And by "awesome" we mean AWESOME.

AASU women have won the Division II national tennis championship four times - including an amazing three-peat from 2008-2010. That's Chicago Bulls and LA Lakers territory, folks.

Men's tennis is right behind them, with two national championships under their belts.

In 2008, the men's and women's team both won national championships in the same year.

Coaching both squads is an affable Englishman, Simon Earnshaw, who took over the AASU program in 2000 after a stretch at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville.

What is the secret of this smallish program at a smallish university in a smallish city in the little old Peach Belt Conference?

"There are several important factors," explains Earnshaw. "On the women's side especially, there isn't that much player development nationally. We're supposed to be tennis coaches, not tennis managers."

Earnshaw says that while AASU is at a distinct disadvantage in money and facilities, an emphasis on continuing the development of players throughout their scholarship period - as opposed to just recruiting the best players they can find -- is key.

"Tennis isn't like other sports," says Earnshaw. "You can't just be good for 45 seconds at a time. You have to be consistently better on average than the other players."

And plus, there's this: Nothing succeeds like success.

"Tennis is a very small world, and word of mouth spreads very quickly," he says. "We're getting much more well-known as word gets out about how good we are."

Now, we know what you're thinking: Division II isn't such a big deal, you say. Not nearly as big a deal as Division I.

That's certainly true in marquee sports like men's football and basketball, where one glance shows an enormous, galactic difference, in both size and athleticism, between D-I and D-II players.

Not so in smaller sports like tennis.

"There's much more parity between Division I teams and the top Division II teams in tennis," explains Earnshaw. "Our top three women, for example, could easily play in the SEC or ACC."

Indeed, Earnshaw says all of his men were recruited at some point by D-I schools. At times when AASU has played against D-I teams like Clemson, they win as often as they lose.

As for Earnshaw himself, he was bitten by the racquet sports bug early in life, courtesy of his squash-playing mum.
He came to the South for the same reason Englishmen have left England for centuries: The weather.

"Even though we have the largest tennis tournament in the world, England just isn't conducive to tennis" he says. "When I was growing up there weren't all the indoor facilities they have now. It can be really dismal." -- Jim Morekis

Runner-up: Georgia Southern football

Best Local High School Team

Calvary Baptist Day School Baseball

On the night of our Best of Savannah Awards Ceremony, the Cavaliers play Savannah Christian in the third round of the state baseball playoffs.

Runner-up: Savannah Christian

Best Running/Walk Event

Enmark Savannah River Bridge Run

Thousands of folks come out to enjoy - not to mention participate in - this fun annual race each December.

Runner-up: Shamrock Run

Best Sports Event of the Year

Savannah Hockey Classic

This unique college round-robin tournament features several regional teams everybody around here knows and loves. Or hates, as the case may be.

Runner-up: Enmark Savannah River Bridge Run









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