written by Connor Hayes
photo by Geoff L. Johnson
Savannah is one of those rare destinations that you don’t plan an itinerary for; simply moseying around the city offers its own rewards. At no point in the year is this more apparent than during the weekend of Savannah Stopover Festival: the city festival that prides itself on showcasing experimental and avant-garde music personalities occurs on the same weekend as the yearly international rugby tournament, meaning you’re just as likely to see rugby hooligans in kilts as art school students attending SCAD.
One of the oldest cities in the southeast, Savannah also has its fair share of history. With a beer in hand (as the historic district is an “open cup” zone), get lost in galleries like the Telfair, which features some renaissance sculptures, or the ornate architecture and art inside the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. With its British colonial heritage, Savannah’s tea rooms are legendary, with the aptly named Tea Room being this humble journalist’s favorite.
If Savannah, and to a great extent Stopover, operates under a credo, it’s the 3 “C’s”: cuisine, craft brew, and cobblestone. As modern and trendy as the city may seem to tourists, it’s down south sensibilities and dishes give it a cozy ambiance. You can’t leave without partaking in some culinary decadence in the form of inn-and-café 1794’s bourbon-glazed vanilla bread pudding, or one of B&D Burger’s mythical creations. Maybe even stay at the Thunderbird Motel, a 1950’s revival lodging with old-style Budweiser cans as room service. Combined with Stopover’s tradition of bringing innovative fringe artists to the public eye, Savannah ultimately shines at the end of the day for being a place where an old world city meets the music that will define the next year in independent music.