Country Estates / Waterfront

RICHMOND HILL

Located in Bryan County, directly south/southwest of Chatham County, Richmond Hill is about a 25-minute drive from Downtown Historic Savannah. Once a prosperous rice-producing area, Richmond Hill experienced an economic stalemate after the Civil War, when Sherman’s infamous March to Sea ended at Fort McAllister and rice production came to a halt. In 1925, the automobile (magnate) Henry Ford made his winter home here, fueling an economic and cultural resurgence. Surrounding the area where the millionaire built his home, Ford Plantation is today an elegant 1,800-acre gated community that features an equestrian center and some 400 unique homes. Throughout the Richmond Hill area are country estates, roughly 3 to 10 or 15 acres – small private stables with a rural feel but convenience of both Savannah and Richmond Hill’s developing retail environment.

Richmond Hill is also an increasingly popular choice for homeowners with families. Many people move here for the school system, the low rate of crime, the recreational and waterfront lifestyle and the easy access to 1-95. A new Farmer’s Market, a calendar of community events, including the Ogeechee Seafood Festival, and natural coastal landscape that supports recreational and commercial fishing make Richmond Hill an excellent location for families and those who want a relaxed, country lifestyle but also require shopping and other conveniences. Several tasteful developments feature three-plus bedroom homes (many are brick), with spacious lawns, possibly a pool and/or water- or marshfront view or access. Among these developments, Buckhead, Strathy Hall, and the new Waterways neighborhoods come to mind.

GUYTON/RINCON

To the west of Savannah, beginning just beyond 1-95, Guyton and Rincon, offer access to the Historic City combined with ideal country living, including lots of wonderful options for horse owners. Ranging from a few tidy acres with a lowcountry-style house and neat stable with fenced pasture area to sprawling historic plantations, this area combines horse country with established and new/innovative agricultural concerns and increased “town centers,” shopping, restaurants, health care and myriad commercial/retail enterprises comfortably near. Guyton’s historic old town center is charming. Nearby, Bloomingdale is another great option for horse owners or those who want to live in a semi-rural environment. Equestrian disciplines practiced in these areas include hunter/jumpers, dressage, eventing and western riding, with local and regional shows and associations, and trail riding/pleasure clubs.

EFFINGHAM COUNTY

In addition to Guyton and Rincon, Effingham County includes other small communities and rural expanse – all of which feature a range of equestrian properties and country estates, as well as tasteful new construction in rural and semi-rural landscapes. A mix of Georgia woodlands and fields, Effingham County offers access to Historic Savannah via several main routes, including 21, 16 and 80; these same routes lead to I-95. Effingham’s new hospital/health care complex in Springfield as well as the school system and areas of shopping, retail and commerce make this county an increasingly desirable place to live in the Savannah area.

SAVANNAH-AREA WATERFRONT PROPERTIES

Historic Savannah and the surrounding area are laced with an extensive network of waterways, many of which lead to the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean. Within a 15- or 20-mile radius of the city are riverfront properties dating from the 1700s to new construction, luxury marshfront homes with long docks extending into tidal savannah grasslands, and the collection of diverse dwellings on historic Tybee Island.

Heading south to Richmond Hill, the waterfront fingers into the landscape, creating miles of wildlife-rich ravine and tidal areas – places where homes and nature co-exist in harmony. Historic Isle of Hope, Thunderbolt, Wilmington, Dutch Island and Tybee Island extend east from Savannah, connected by a system of bridges, in a gorgeous environment of live oaks, palm trees, seagrasses and fresh, brackish and saltwater. Recreation and commercial fishing are tied to the federally protected Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary, some 16 miles offshore, and an avian flyway attracts both shore and migratory birds. The Civil War era forts – Jackson, Pulaski and McAllister – provide further protection of the natural habitat, with bald eagles, osprey and whitetail deer taking front and center stage. Outdoor sports are popular. From Savannah to Tybee Island to Richmond Hill, the coastal Georgia waterfront must be experienced to be truly appreciated.

HISTORIC TYBEE ISLAND

Only a 20-minute drive from Savannah, Tybee Island is a sandy beached jewel where residents and visitors enjoy the laid-back quality of life on an island. There’s nothing like the freedom that comes with living on a relatively small piece of land that’s surrounded by the ocean, but also has schools, restaurants, shopping and all the other comforts we require. To call Tybee Island home is to be the envy of friends and relatives, who sometimes don’t realize that islanders actually do work. After all, not everyone on Tybee is on vacation: about 3,000 people live here.

Tybee Island real estate is a mix of quaint beach cottages and traditional island housing built in the mid-century, Victorian homes, condominiums and new construction. The restored historic Tybee Light Station, the Fort Screven Historic District, and the pier and pavilion are major landmarks that dot the beachfront to the east. The Savannah River to the north and Lazaretto Creek to the south and west create a diverse ecosystem, including the marsh to the west of Tybee. From pirates hiding out to vacationers in the late 1800s through the early part of the 20th century, who came to take in the fresh air, breezes and sun, Tybee has meant a lot of things to an eclectic mix of people. In many ways, it remains as such today.