Best Yoga StudioThe Yoga Room
115 Charlotte Dr./ 898-0361
Editors’ Pick: Savannah Yoga Center
Best Massage TherapistAaron Holland
Editors’ Pick: Kara Riemer
Best Pilates StudioMomentum Pilates
539 E. Liberty St./ 238-0018
Editors’ Pick: Momentum Pilates
Best Fitness ClubYMCA
Editors’ Pick: DAC
Best Personal TrainerCindy Beauchamp, Islands Spine and Spa
463 Johnny Mercer Blvd./ 898-7714
Editors’ Pick: We’re too buff already
Best DoctorDr. Mary Sparkes
For Savannah’s Best Doctor, a routine day at the office isn’t in the office at all, and her day is anything but routine. Dr. Mary Sparkes is an Emergency Room physician who can usually be found in the Candler Hospital ER.
A typical 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. shift for this high-energy MD might include “heart attacks, strokes, a lot of coughing and congestion. A lot of times we won’t see anyone under age 80, with about 20 meds and a lot of complications. Probably we’ll have a resuscitation. Maybe we’ll have to intubate somebody.”
Sparkes has regular patients, often people who are low income or homeless, with few options for medical care—or care of any sort.
“We know many patients by name,” says Sparkes. “To the poor we are their primary medical care.
“We see a lot of homeless people who will make up reasons to be here to get some food and a roof. So I’ll see to it they get a meal and a roof.”
Sparkes is a principal in Georgia Emergency Associates, a physicians group she helped launch in the mid-1990’s that provides emergency care doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners to hospitals across southeast Georgia. In her off time she paints, scuba dives, and has a weakness for murder mysteries and sudoku puzzles.
Her patients’ medical and emotional well-being are Sparkes’ top concerns. “You have a make or break chance in the first five minutes if you’re going to make a connection. I won’t say I don’t have a temper, but I don’t with the patients,”
Candler paramedic Andy Lee isn’t surprised that Sparkes is the top vote-getter.
“It’s her education, her way of working, her way of treating people,” he says. “Very professional and caring. Mary is consistent. Everything she is doing is about her patient’s care.” -- (RG)
Editors’ Pick: Dr. Karen Turner
Best ChiropractorDr. Gregory Bart Wetherington
5602 Waters Ave./ 351-0005
Editors’ Pick: Dr. Kevin Brown
Best DentistRonald Smiley, DDS
920 E. 71st St./ 355-5191
Editors’ Pick: Larry Schmitz, DDS
Best OptometristDr. Judith Piros
2 E. Jackson Blvd./ 352-7941
Editors’ Pick: Dr. James Beisel
Best VeterinarianCase Veterinary Hospital
111 Eisenhower Dr./ 352-3081
Editors’ Pick: Central Animal Hospital
Best HospitalMemorial Health University Medical Center
Editors’ Pick: Memorial
Best Place to Give BirthSt. Joseph’s Hospital
Editors’ Pick: Family Health and Birth Center, Rincon
Best Tanning SalonTan-Tastic
806 E. DeRenne Ave./ 352-3111
Editors’ Pick: The sun’ll do fine, thanks
Best Golf CourseWestin Savannah Harbour
Hutchinson Island/ 201-2000
Editors’ Pick: Charlie don’t golf
Best Tennis CourtsBacon Park
Editors’ Pick: Bacon Park
Best Bowling AlleyVictory Lane
2055 E. Victory Dr./ 354-5710
Editors’ Pick: Victory Lane
Best MarinaHogan’s Marina
36 Wilmington Island Rd./ 897-3474
Editors’ Pick: Hogan’s
Best Boating DestinationWilmington Island
Editors’ Pick: Little Tybee
Best Place to KayakLittle Tybee
Editors’ Pick: Little Tybee
Best Local CoachKeith Gunn, Savannah Celtic F.C.
Keith, where are you from and how did you end up in Savannah coaching soccer?
I’m from Scotland, but I was actually born in the U.S. My studies in Scotland were primarily in the field of sports coaching. A lot of my professors told me there were more opportunities over here. I started out in New York, but couldn’t get much going up there. My sister went to SCAD and told me about Savannah. She said, “Come down here and see what you think.” I’ve been here for two years now and I’m really enjoying it.
How did Savannah Celtic F.C. come about?
I coached a couple of years at Coastal Georgia, then met David Laing. We both felt there was room for another club here, so we decided to start our own. We were really surprised at how many children we had come out for the teams.
What programs does the club offer?
We offer a school program called Celtic in the Community. We don’t charge the schools but we do go in there, because soccer’s not really offered in elementary schools here. This season I’m working with Pre-K through fifth grade, bringing in equipment and teaching the basics of soccer. I’ve also been in charge of 6 and 8 year old soccer program this season. The club soccer is obviously more geared toward development of players, with more focus on practice and games.
How have Southerners accepted soccer in their midst?
I found it surprising that a lot of parents have actually moved their kids into soccer because they feel American football is just too rough for them. But I do try and promote the fact that soccer is definitely not a game for sissies. It can be quite physical and competitive. We’ve really surprised a lot of people with that. Most of all we want to show people it’s a cool sport, one that’s played the world over.
How long will you stay in Savannah?
Well, I just got married so I guess you could say I’m bound to U.S. soil (laughs). Savannah’s really grown on me -- that’s something I’ve heard happens a lot to people who come here. And the club’s just starting to set off, so that’s something I’ll definitely stick around for. -- (JM)
Best Local Sports TeamSavannah Sand Gnats
Grayson Stadium, Daffin Park/ 351-9150
Editors’ Pick: Savannah Ultimate Disc Society
Best Bike ShopBicycle Link
22 W. Broughton St./ 233-9401
211 Eisenhower Dr./ 355-4771
Editors’ Pick: Bicycle Link
Best Sporting Goods Store
Best Outdoor OutfittersBass Pro
Savannah Mall/ 961-4200
Editors’ Pick, sporting: Bass Pro
Editors’ Pick, outdoor: Half Moon Outfitters
Best ParkForsyth Park
Editors’ Pick: We don’t care as long as you remember there’s a leash law in this city
Best Hair Stylist
Best ColoristWade Calhoun at Salon 67
604 E. 67th St./ 352-1967
In Wade Calhoun’s ten-plus years as a hair stylist/colorist, he’s shied away from developing a signature “Wade” look.
“I don’t believe there’s anything that is ‘in’ or ‘out,’” says Wade. “Each person is an individual canvas.”
The former owner of Spike and Pixie’s Salon has been part of the Salon 67 team for a year. His background includes traveling up and down the east coast as a “performing artist” for Redken in hair and cosmetic shows, demonstrating color and styling techniques to other hair professionals.
Wade is the top vote getter in two related categories—best stylist and best colorist. It’s difficult for him to separate the two functions. “What I cut goes with how I color, and how I color goes with what I cut.”
Wade has cut Wynn Martin’s hair for the past three years. “When I left the military I needed a new way to do my hair,” says the pharmaceutical sales rep. Wynn’s wife Allison has been Wade’s client for about six years. “We consider him a friend,” say Wynn. “We’d do anything for him and he’d do anything for us. We trust him.” -- (RG)
Editors’ Pick: Nancy Luckey
Best Hair SalonB Street Salon
418 E. Broughton St./ 443-0043
Editors’ Pick: B Street
Best Barber ShopThe Barber Pole
110 Bull St./ 234-3831
Editors’ Pick: Barber Pole
Best Day SpaVanilla Day Spa
1 E. Broughton St./ 232-0040
Editors’ Pick: Vanilla
Best Tattoo ShopCalifornia Tattoo
23 E. DeRenne Ave./ 352-8288
Editors’ Pick: Black Orchid
Best Piercing ParlorPlanet 3
1702 Abercorn St./ 236-7772
Editors’ Pick: Planet 3
Best Pet GroomingPetSmart
11132 Abercorn St./ 925-1116
Editors’ Pick: Cats groom themselves, actually
Best Novelty StoreSunset Novelties
10419 Abercorn St./ 961-5455
Editors’ Pick: Sunset
Best Nail SalonGolden Nails
4741 Waters Ave./ 353-7040
Editors’ Pick: Pecking at a computer keyboard all day keeps ‘em oh so shiny
Best Wedding PlannerTricia Windom
A lot has changed in the world of weddings since Tricia Windom became a wedding planner 19 years ago.
“Girls are marrying later now. They don’t want to go back home to get married where mom and dad’s friends are,” says Windom, who has coordinated every detail of over a thousand weddings. “Because they are older they are helping to pay for it so that gives them a little more say so.”
Being the bride’s confidant and negotiating between divorced parents, helping select invitations and ordering the cake—all this is part of Windom’s job description.
“A lot of times I need a degree in psychology,” says Windom. “I end up being the one the bride can confide in when the parents are bickering, or when the dad’s new wife is trying to plan things because the dad is paying for it.”
In 1993 Windom co-authored the book “Planning a Wedding When Your Parents Are Divorced.” “Seventy percent of weddings need that book—it’s either the bride’s parents or the groom’s parents.”
Paula Deen and her son Jamie Deen are Windom’s most famous clients. “I’ve known Paula for years, from when she was The Bag Lady,” says Windom, who always knows when the Food Network airs the Paula Deen wedding TV special.
“My phone starts ringing and they want to know where Paula got her dress and what was the song at the wedding. Well, the dress was made for her and the song was written for her.”
Windom has organized weddings “in almost every church in town, in every synagogue in town, and lots of squares!” For outdoor weddings, the biggest concerns are the weather and the gnats.
“Last week I walked around with a can of bug spray. The ladies would raise their dresses and I would spray their legs. You just do whatever needs to be done.” -- (RG)