Reilly Mesco gets a read on the 2nd Annual Revival Fest.
Great tunes, superior booze and delicious eats – this year’s Revival Fest, set for Sept. 20, is shaping up to be an even better event than the last. Conceived and coordinated by MusicFile Productions, the same team behind the ever-expanding Savannah Stopover Music Festival, this “modern low country hoedown” will feature a marketplace full of local and regional artists and artisans, plus a pig roast and small-batch bourbon tastings.
This all-day affair will play host to 14 Southern roots bands, nearly half from Georgia. The talent ranges from Athens-based ascending “psychedelic country” crooners, Futurebirds, to Savannah-circuit darlings, Velvet Caravan and Waits & Co.
“We continue to see this great resurgence in roots music all over the world and no one is doing it better than a lot of the up-and-coming bands from the South, so we thought it would be fun to celebrate that by doing a festival that’s 100 percent focused on Southern bands—from Mississippi Blues to Bluegrass to Americana, Southern folk and rock and everything in between,” says Kayne Lanahan, MusicFile Productions’ founder.
“People tend to think of [Americana] as music from the past,” she continues, “but so many of our best regional bands are re-interpreting it for today. We get really excited about some of the newer southern bands because they haven’t played Savannah before and it’s a great opportunity to see these bands before they explode. I think bands like Water Liars from Oxford, Mississippi, and Family and Friends from Athens are really going to ‘wow’ people.”
For people willing to go the extra mile for a perfectly Southern afternoon, there are several different ways to enjoy the festival. Regular admission to the festival costs $35, but festival-goers should consider any of the V.I.P. packages that start at $60.
“It’s not a stuffy VIP kind of thing. In fact, we’re calling it VIP as in ‘Very Important Pig.’ Art Rise will also be [hosting] vinyl spin art, and lots of new, cool local artisan vendors like King of Pops, Perc with their new cold brew coffee in bottles, and Dept. 7 East,” says Kayne. “Also new this year: Ampersand is curating all of the cocktails which are inspired by some of the bands. For example we’ll have a Dirty Bourbon Lemonade made with blackberries and basil simple syrup in honor of New Orleans’ Dirty Bourbon River Show.”
The $60 kick-off party only package is a fun addition to the regular ticket, and grants access to the all inclusive fête at the Brice Hotel on Sept. 19, and features not only an intimate showcase by Mississippi blues legend Cedric Burnside, grandson of RL Burnside, but also a specially created menu from Chef Roberto Leoci and sommelier-selected wines, craft beers and a signature Revival Fest Pacci cocktail.
The “Festival Only” package includes access to the V.I.P. lounge during the entirety of the festival, which includes private bathrooms, a private bar with libations provided by Ampersand, and priority access to the exclusive Midnight Ramble after party at The Jinx.
Or, go for the “Whole Hog” package ($120) which is, as its names suggests, all inclusive and grants access to everything, including the Revival Fest promotional CD.
Revival Fest provides a unique opportunity for Savannahians of any ages, Lanahan says. “It’s a great opportunity for people to bring their kids and for SCAD and other college students who are just getting back to town, many of them who wouldn’t currently be able to see these bands in the city’s 21-and-over music clubs,” she adds. “Plus, the venue and space are amazing. It’s really one of the coolest spots in Savannah. We have 14,000 square feet inside the Paint Shops which is industrial in feel, with graffiti walls and old train repair machines and then the grove outside is shaded and high on the hill.”
Ultimately, Lanahan loves the opportunity to host such a unique event, one that is equal parts southern comfort and low-country craziness.
“I think the sweet spot is that early evening time period when the light is just fading and you can see the Talmadge Bridge in the distance from the hill,” she says. “You hear all this great music playing and people are dancing and just having a great day.”
A portion of all festival proceeds will benefit the Coastal Heritage Society’s Tricentennial Parks.If You Go »
For our annual Best of Savannah™ party, Savannah magazine is commemorating 20 years of the Midnight legacy with a fun-loving fête you won’t forget. Join us in honoring the Best of Savannah™ with tastings and treats from these honorees and sponsors:39 Rue de Jean, Platinum Sponsor
Offering the best in classic Brasserie cuisine, 39 Rue De Jean is a refined French cafe and bar. 39 Rue de Jean emanates the characteristics of a late 1800s Brasserie, which offered Parisians hearty robust cuisine, handcrafted beers and affordable wines, in a vibrant whirl of jubilant socializing.Ele Fine Fusion, Best Asian
The Ele and the Chef Restaurant collection provide a fresh take on Savannah dining with its collection of Asian and fusion restaurants: Ele Fine Fusion as well as The King and I, Tangerine Fusion and Sushi Bar, Fire Street Food, Chive Sea Bar and Lounge, and the latest concept, the Flying Monk Noodle Bar.Leoci’s Trattoria, Best Italian
Leoci’s Trattoria offers back-to-basics Italian cuisine boasting fresh ingredients, homemade pastas, brick-oven pizzas, enticing entrees and an extensive wine list.The Olde Pink House, Best Fine Dining
Long revered for its crispy scored flounder, this elegant and fine dining establishment is a local favorite for Southern cooking and seafood.Wiley’s Championship BBQ, Best Barbecue
Wiley McCrary has been spreading the good news gospel of the Church of the Holy Smoke for 30 years. Come to Wiley’s Championship BBQ and taste for yourself why TripAdvisor readers voted it the 4th best bbq joint in the U.S.Lulu’s Chocolate Bar, Best Desserts
Lulu’s Chocolate Bar, Savannah’s favorite place to go for interesting cocktails and home-made desserts, has been attracting a following since its opening in 2007 and has since been featured in Southern Living and Paula’s Best Dishes on the FoodNetwork.Dept. 7 East, Best New Restaurant (runner up)
Dept. 7 East is a full-service bistro and wine bar focusing on Southern epicurean fare and afternoon nibbles throughout the day and into the evening. The Marché offers retail wine, meats and cheeses, house made Southern provisions and regionally-sourced dry goods.Smoothie King Downtown Broughton Street, Best Smoothie
With nutritional fruit and veggie smoothies, healthy snacks and supplements, Smoothie King’s mission is to inspire people to live a healthy and active lifestyle.Leopold’s Ice Cream
All of Leopold’s Ice Cream is made in house, one batch at a time, using family recipes handed down from the Leopold brothers in 1919. Featuring soda fountain creations and more than 20 flavors available at any given time.Foxy Loxy Café and The Coffee Fox, Best Independent Coffee Shop
Foxy Loxy is a specialty coffee shop, bakery and Tex-Mex cantina rolled into one and featuring traditional espresso beverages made with locally roasted PERC coffee.Gigi’s Cupcakes, Best Cupcakes
Gigi’s unique cupcakes are baked fresh every day with the best ingredients possible. Locally owned and operated.Jalapeños
Jalapeños‘ five local restaurants feature secret-recipe salsa, guacamole, poblanos and other “delicioso” foods and beverages.Lovin’ Spoons, Best Frozen Yogurt
At Lovin’ Spoons, create your own mix from 12 ever-changing flavors and more than 50 toppings. Cup, cone or shake, enjoy your treat in a groovy setting with ‘70s music piped in!River Street Sweets, Best Candy
Making life “sweet” since 1973, River Street Sweets specialize in handmade Southern candies including World Famous Pralines, Chocolate Bear Claws, Crunchy Glazed Pecans, old fashioned Peanut Brittle and other delicious confections.Susan Mason Catering, Best Caterer
Susan Mason Catering has developed a legendary catering business in Savannah, based on the manner of southern hospitality. The secret to a successful party is treating it like it is your own.Yia Yia’s Kitchen, Gold Sponsor
This family-owned authentic Greek shop showcasing pastry, baked goods and other foods located in beautiful Ardsley Park. Yia Yia’s, which takes its name from the endearing term for a Greek grandmother, features desserts from the famous Hellas Bakery in Tarpon Springs, Fla.
In our Best of Savannah issue (September/October 2014), we set out sights the city’s hunting culture, from flint-knapped knives to what we put on our plates. Pick up the latest issue of Savannah magazine, or, better yet, subscribe, and you’ll —
→ Go on a pheasant hunt with Dan Reel and Chief, his champion Boykin spaniel;
→ Visit the drying room of “Trapper Jack” Douglas, who talks turkey about the gator trade;
→ Sling arrows with Vinson Miner, a marksman and maker whose craft is as old as time; and,
→ Get cooking with area chefs, who rely on wild game to draw out the season’s most succulent flavors.
Join Savannah magazine on the hunt.
What will it take for Savannah to become a true arts destination? Cléa Hernández collaborates with three art advocates and one editor to imagine the possibilities. PHOTOGRAPHY BY KATIE MCGEE
It’s happy hour in Savannah, and it has arrived not a moment too soon. Lightning slashes the riverfront and a torrential downpour pummels Congress Street as our cozy group watches the drama unfold safely through the floor-to-ceiling glass walls at Ampersand.
As we talk, it’s clear that something else is brewing here besides the storm; something that has been top-of-mind for artists and arts advocates in the community for a long time. With the city’s historic nod to art and commerce, the explosive creative energy generated by resident artists and students, plans underway for a new cultural arts center, and the recent strides made for public wall art by SeeSAW, why isn’t Savannah more recognizable worldwide as a bona fide arts destination the way Asheville, N.C., Chattanooga, Tenn., and Miami are?
Savannah magazine associate editor Amy Condon and I wanted to investigate, so we invited local art ambassadors to join us for a liberating round of libations and confabulation. Our eloquent escorts through Savannah’s creative landscape represent three examples of arts advocacy powerhouses operating right here on the Creative Coast, each one dedicated specifically to the advancement of the arts in our tableau vivant of a city.
“Part of the solution is synthesis, and the need to bring people together, which is what our organizations are here to address,” our guest Christen Clougherty points out, as we all raise a glass to elevating Savannah’s status.Meet Our Guests Christen Clougherty
A founding board member of ARC Savannah, Christen leverages the unifying power of her organization to serve as a platform for art advocacy, vision and action. She is a professor at Savannah State University, where many of her courses deal with the business and legal fundamentals for artists. In her “spare time” she also helms the Nobis Project, an educational nonprofit that uses service learning to promote global citizenship education.
As executive director of the nonprofit Art Rise Savannah, Clinton specializes in community building and economic vitalization through the arts in Chatham County. His lofty imperative is to build up our creative economy by supporting the value of art with programs like the monthly First Friday Art March, Fresh Exhibitions Gallery, and the Savannah Art Informer, an online local arts review journal.
A native New Yorker, Jerome Meadows exchanged his subway pass for Savannah’s underground art community in 1997. Indigo Sky Gallery, which he founded in an old ice house on Waters Avenue, works to forge key alliances between the “powers that be” and the “powers that create.” A prolific sculptor, Jerome was commissioned by the Telfair Museum in 2009 to create an exhibition called Reframing a Perceptual Paradigm, in which he juxtaposed 130 works from the museum’s collection with his own.
Is Savannah an arts destination now? If not, where are we on that spectrum?
Jerome: I feel confident in saying that the elements are here, the ingredients are here, but it’s certainly not as much of a destination as it can be.
Christen: I was thinking the same thing. All the ingredients are here, but the chef’s not in the kitchen. So now, it’s about bringing all the pieces together to orchestrate the “meal” and synthesize the visual, performing and literary arts. There are lots of layers of art happening in Savannah.
Clinton: I agree. My question is where do we focus on turning it into (a destination)? Do we focus on the marketing effort? Do we focus on the infrastructure? What is that chef’s position who’s not in the kitchen?
I think it’s really about marketing Savannah as an arts destination. As more arts appreciators come to Savannah because they are enticed by that marketing, all those elements will start to come together.
Jerome: I think it’s important when we think of any location as an arts destination to think of who we are appealing to and what their expectations are.
I was recently in Barcelona. Talk about an arts destination! And I notice that as I’m sitting in one of the main tourist spots there, the people who comprise the tourist crowd seem very different than those in Savannah. They seem much more international, having come from sophisticated cities that are also art destinations in their own way. To host a tourist crowd with that level of expectation, you really need to have your act together.
I think that’s the level of challenge we should be taking on.
Christen: It’s true. We have an enormously rich base of artistic talent that draws inspiration from the environment and history that make up Savannah. But what’s lacking is a tourist who knows to look for that base.
I often think of us as a great arts college town—which we are—but with all of the permanent artists in residence, we have so much potential to grow beyond that. Once we do, it will allow those who are here to study to gain so much more from their experience. One of the ways we will achieve that is through synthesis and discourse—doing exactly what we’re doing right now at the table.
In the visual art world, we often work in isolation out of necessity, although many artists choose to work in collaboration for different bits of time. But that isolation makes it hard see the whole picture of the art community.You mentioned that there are a lot of ingredients in the kitchen, but no chef. Who is the chef? Does it require someone at a political level? Administrative? Community? Or do you need someone at each of those levels working in tandem?
Christen: It will have to be a collaborative effort, but one of the first steps will be education. How do you educate the artists, the public and the city officials on what the tremendous benefit is—both economically and for quality of life?
Clinton: Yes, education will open up resources to artists and the organizations that they’re working with. We don’t even know what we could be capable of with those tools at our disposal, because they currently aren’t available.
I really do believe that art can change the world—not in some frou frou way—but just in terms of better communication and health. That’s really where I see art coming in and shaking stuff up in Savannah. But it will require the whole vertebrae on the back of the “Savannah animal” to be linked and in communication. It’s still a little disjointed. We need some chiropractors to come in and give it a good massage. (We all laugh.)
Jerome: A biggie for me is sustainability. What’s different about what we’re doing now as opposed to what others have tried before? How sustainable is it? Longevity takes commitment, and it takes avoiding certain things that have proven to be pitfalls in the past. That was one of the main reasons I was excited about ARC Savannah. Unlike others who have come and gone before, advocates and leaders who represent the structure and the vision are working together.What are some good concrete examples of synthesis you’ve seen in other places that you think could help here?
Jerome: In every city that I’ve ever lived in or I’ve visited that has a robust artistic community, there’s always a very strong department of cultural affairs doing the advocating—almost like a local art czar—so that grassroots organizations and individuals have that city support.
Clinton: One of the main goals of ARC and ArtRise is to connect the creative community and relay those messages on to the administration in the political realm. We say, “Hey, we represent a sizeable population in Savannah that’s interested in seeing more public art and seeing more arts accessibility and funding for the arts.” We’re creating a voice from the public that will encourage the political side. It will be easier for the city to work with ARC or ArtRise Savannah than it will be for them to work with a lot of individual artists.
Christen: Grassroots will absolutely be the way that it will work. Where we’ve found a pattern of success within Savannah is by going the grassroots route…
Clinton: …coordinating all the advocacy into one voice, so that the political realm can hear us better. Instead of just a noisy crowd, it’s a booming, organized voice.
Christen: That also enhances our ability to disseminate information back to the artists and art advocates.
Jerome: In terms of destination and, we’re going to need city buy-in—well beyond what they are giving now. We’re basically saying that we can’t just wait for that to happen, so we’re going to do our part and hoping that they step up to the plate.
Christen: You know, there are plenty of amazing models in what other cities are doing, but we have a great model for what works here: the way different organizations work together to preserve and interact with the historic nature of the city. Let’s elevate the arts in that same direction, where you have not-for-profit organizations like the Historic Savannah Foundation working with a certain type of agenda, and then the city adds its pieces. There are all these different departments that play a variety of roles in manifesting the amazing preservation work that makes Savannah such a huge draw.
That’s an amazing benefit of coming to Savannah. You have all of this history and all of this art.
One of our goals is to build off of that. For instance, when you got to VisitSavannah.com, arts and culture are grouped together. All that history is in with the arts. We have so much of both here that we deserve to have two pages of each. That amazingly vital combination is what sets us apart from other cities. That would be our biggest selling angle.
After two hours of energizing conversation about the keys to arts success in Savannah—such as nurturing a community of collectors, determining the monetary value of art, art education, the psychology of art appreciation, and creating working studio and gallery corridors along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Waters Avenue—something becomes crystal clear: we need to keep talking.
Each one of these topics deserves further reflection and action. But coming to this realization is anything but disheartening. It means we have a strong network of artists and appreciators who want to move forward—together.
American realist—and recent Telfair Museums exhibitor—Robert Henri said, “The object isn’t to make art, it’s to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.” The consensus around the table is that Savannah will get there. For the vibrant community that lives and creates in Savannah, reaching that state will involve transformative collaborations and continuing conversation.What do you think, Savannah? Tell us in the comments. We’ll be posting more of our conversation in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.
The city’s newest craft beer brand is built on duty, honor and community. Amy Paige Condon goes to the front to get the story. PHOTOGRAPHY BY TERESA EARNEST
Former U.S. Army Company Commander Kevin Ryan balances atop a short ladder, stirring a bucketful of chopped pecans into a 15-gallon stainless steel pot. “This is my launch baby,” he says of the state-grown apricot-pecan test batch he’s mixing for Service Brewing Co.’s debut into the Savannah craft brew market. “We wanted something a little more Georgia.”
Jeff Hyatt, a retired special operations pilot, heaves another bucket and pours a mix of fresh grains and hops into the steaming pot, filling the cavernous brewing room with yeasty goodness. All the while, master brewer Dan Sartin, who graduated from West Point in 1978 and managed logistics in Germany for the better part of his military career, is moving back and forth between the 30-gallon brewing tanks to monitor the Compass Rose IPA for clarity and the 60-barrel fermentation tanks to ensure the first production of Ground Pounder Pale Ale is ready to taste.
It is. We do, and it’s only 11 a.m.
And, just as the smooth, citrusy ale begins to slake my thirst—it’s a scorcher of a day and the air boat-motor fan can only do so much—it occurs to me what an honor it is to be one of the first Savannahians to toast this trio of veterans, who have rooted their company in the same ideals that carried them through combat.
Two coins from Iraq are embedded in the cellar pad beneath the fermenters. One is Kevin’s 4th Infantry Division coin, the other is from the 1st Battalion 8th Infantry (3rd Brigade, 4th ID). They represent Kevin’s year-long tour of duty at the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003.
There are other references to military service throughout the 30,000-square-foot brick warehouse, the former Coastal Paper Co. on Indian Street on the industrial edge of the Savannah River. The still-under-construction tasting room sports two stacked cargo containers, a nod to the makeshift desert lodging Kevin and his soldiers once built for themselves.
“(We) wired everything—lights, an air conditioner and a fridge,” Kevin recalls.
The containers are freshened by a coat of light tan paint reminiscent of camouflage. Service Brewing Co.’s creative marketing director and resident beekeeper, Meredith Sutton, chose the color scheme with inspiration from Kevin’s old uniforms.
“It’s a design choice,” she says, “but also something that has a story behind it that is well-connected to Kevin and his experience in Iraq. (We want) to create a space that is warm, welcoming and patriotic.”
To that end, Meredith, also a well-known metal smith and jewelry maker, has called upon a number of local artists to design patriotic-themed tap handles for the one-keg specialty brews. There will be a corkboard wall, where veterans can post patches from their units, creating a constantly changing installation. A chalkboard will invite all comers to answer the question, “How do you serve?”
That’s a question the company responds to daily. A portion of Service Brewing Co.’s profits will support national, regional and local charities that help returning veterans. The 200 Club, Honor Flight Savannah and Healing4Heroes are among those that will benefit.
Service Brewing Co.’s Tasting Room opens Sept. 13.
CEO, Service Brewing Co.
To truly live a life of service, you must … recognize that there will always be a need for people to come together to help each other.
My philosophy for life can be summed up in … a pint of beer. It needs to have clarity, be done well, and not be too overwhelming.
To spice up your life … test yourself by doing something you never thought you could do.
I love the smell of … fresh hops.
The perfect pairing for our IPA is … honey-glazed grilled chicken and char-grilled peaches.
It’s the zombie apocalypse and I’m hoarding … Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Cheetos!
My party playlist includes … Deer Tick, Alt-J and MJ.
My guilty pleasure is … dark chocolate.
The secret to the perfect pour is … a good glass—you can smell and taste the difference. Don’t accept a shaker or a chilled glass.
The theme song for my job should be … “One Piece at a Time” by Johnny Cash.
My most creative ideas come when I … am just about to fall asleep and don’t have a piece of paper handy.
I wish more Savannahians would … support public art. We have a huge community of artists with so much to share.
I never leave home without a … plan.
I’m addicted to … gadgets.
I’d give my last $5 for … a Snickers—they really satisfy.
The five people at my dream dinner party include … Meredith Sutton and my family; they are all I need.
When I arrive at the Pearly Gates, I hope St. Peter serves me … a Rally Point Pilsner.
Apparently, I can’t say it enough in this era of blurred lines: There is no pay to play in Savannah magazine.
Our advertisers support ethical content and choose to align their brand messages with our authentic cultural identity. That’s something worth considering—if, like many Savannahians, you tend to let your values influence your purchasing decisions.
Thanks to the support of many wonderful locals, the editorial pages in your hands are the product of curiosity and community spirit, not bribery or backscratching.
That includes this issue’s Best of Savannah™ reader poll, a straightforward popularity contest that depends entirely on your choices. No one on our staff may influence the outcome. We simply eliminate duplicate ballots and tally up your votes.
This year, we’ve added editors’ picks in an effort to highlight the movements and makers that are enhancing the Savannah lifestyle. Those choices were influenced by our own observations, enthusiasm and educated guesses about what impassions our community of invested Savannahians. Nothing more.
To round out this Best of Savannah™ issue, we started out by looking at the concept of “the best” from many different story angles, among them competition and pursuit of excellence. In particular, the city’s traditions of hunting, automobile racing and artistry captured our imaginations—you’ll see why—and we explored those topics thoughtfully, by unraveling the stories of numerous local characters.
I’m proud of the work we do at Savannah magazine, and I see us getting better at it every day. Nothing makes us happier than a good story. And nothing crushes us like the assumption that our stewardship can be bought or sold.
Your trust is important to us, and we work hard to earn it. That’s why ideas are the only editorial currency.
Shady streets and squares: yes, please. Shady transactions: no, thank you.
Now, what’s your story?
Tradition and trend. Highbrow and down home. And, infamously, good and evil. We’re wicked with a wink, angelic with an attitude; equal parts eerie and elegant.
For our annual Best of Savannah™ party, we’re teaming with Sebrell Smith Designer Events to celebrate the contrast that lies at the heart of our city’s character. We’re commemorating 20 years of the Midnight legacy—and kicking off the 25th year of Savannah magazine—with a fun-loving fête you won’t forget, filled with decadent treats.
Join us in honoring the Best of Savannah™—naughty, nice, noir.
presentThe Good & Evil Garden Party
Thursday, Sept. 18
7-9:30 p.m. ¦ Charles H. Morris Center ¦ 10 East Broad St.
Tickets $30 in advance/$40 day of the event
Get your tickets TODAY »Many Thanks to Our Sponsors Premier
39 Rue de Jean
Official Wine Sponsor: Barefoot Wine & Bubbly
In Any Event
John Davis Florist
New Arts Ensembles presents Velvet Caravan & The Train Wrecks
Psychic Readings by Virginia Lane
Sebrell Smith Designer Events
Stage Front Production ServicesGold
Dr. Claudia Gaughf, Chatham Skin & Cancer
Herb Creek Landscape Supply
Institute for Personalized Medicine
Old Savannah Tours
Pride Pools & Spas
Savannah Christian Preparatory School
Savannah Morning News
Savannah Riverboat Cruises
Southeast Spine Care
Yia Yia’s Kitchen
YMCA of Coastal Georgia
Special thanks to GPB, Seventh Heaven Antiques, Culver Rug Co., Teresa Earnest and Measure.
Georgia-born Chad Darnell on why Savannah is still the best place to make a movie.
By J. Cindy Hill, GPB, Special to Savannah magazine
Filmmaker and Georgia native, Chad Darnell, first came to Savannah nearly two decades ago, researching the topic of spirits and hauntings for a Turner Broadcasting production. He went on to cast movies and television series in Atlanta, Savannah and in Los Angeles, which is where he met a young producer, Megan Murphy, who was moving to Savannah to work for Medient, a new studio that would be based here. Darnell had written a feature film script set in his “favorite city in the world” and suggested she read it to get familiar with her new town.
Cut to: 10 months later. During Georgia’s “snowpocalypse” of January 2014, Murphy calls to ask if Darnell’s script is still available because Medient wants it to be the first film they produce in their new city. With production set to begin in September, Darnell sat down to talk about how he has come full circle from someone standing at the gates of Bonaventure Cemetery asking about ghosts, to returning to town with his first big feature film production about the spirits and spirit of Savannah. Listen in HERE »
Your dream day starts right here with the latest issue of Savannah Weddings magazine.
Discover the secrets of Southern charm through 10 real-world “I Dos” that will enchant you. The Fall/Winter 2014-15 issue of Savannah Weddings magazine is on newsstands now and until Feb. 1, 2015.
Get inspired HERE »
Meet the talented teens with soaring voices that hit the high notes.
First up: Gabby Lauretti—singer, songwriter, avid Tybee Beach-goer … and future folk star. Read all about Gabby HERE »
One Woman Band
Regan Bowers, regular Social Club performer, aspiring physician’s assistant and Savannah sunset lover is strumming her way into the vibrant 912 music scene. Read all about Regan HERE »
Tessa Morris, one half of the Teen Voice leader duo, hard-core music traditionalist and Junk 2 Funk fashion muse, is getting her powerful pipes performance ready. Read all about Tessa HERE »
Liana Moseley, world traveler, tea-time connoisseur, and burgeoning history buff is on stage ready to take the city by storm. Read all about Liana HERE »
Sisters Helen and Kathryn Savidge offer their burgeoning creativity, finish-each-other’s sentences charm and All-State championship expertise to the Savannah stage. Read all about the Savidge sisters HERE »
How can someone grow up in Savannah and never see its beach? Wanda Smalls Lloyd explores a turning point in her life—and a sea change in local history.
Tybee Island is one of my favorite places in the world. But it wasn’t always so. For my African-American peers and me, Tybee was taboo.
When I grew up in Savannah in the 1950s and 1960s, Savannah Beach, as it was known to us then, was off-limits. My parents and the parents of my friends used to warn us away from the island as if was a forbidden fruit. “Just don’t go there,” they would say, and implicit in the order were Jim Crow laws that segregated the races. To this day, decades later and after the “wade-ins” of the Sixties, I still don’t know if there was some law on the books that said “Negroes” could not ride onto the island, or if our elders just knew that going there might mean peril to our physical being.
I left home for college and pursued my journalism career elsewhere, so the first time I saw Tybee Island in daylight was in March 1997, the day after we buried my mother in Laurel Grove South cemetery, the traditional black resting place. Her demise had come soon after the doctor told us she would not survive the cancer. Her funeral was even quicker—my mother’s wishes. She planned the brief, elegant services herself.
The day after the funeral, I told my husband that I wanted to go see the ocean. I wasn’t sure why; I just had a feeling that walking along the sea would put me just a few miles closer to God and I had so many questions about why I was left motherless before my 50th birthday. I was angry, depressed, sad, yet somewhat relieved that her physical misery was over. I was also curious about the place my family had once tried so hard to keep me away from.
And maybe I was feeling just a little guilty. True, I’d never actually seen Tybee, but I didn’t exactly obey my parents, either.A Ride into Darkness
On my prom night for Beach High School in 1967, the first and last thing my family said to me before walking out the door was, “Don’t go to the beach.” Later that night, my date told me his parents said the exact same thing. And the same came from the parents of the couple we were double dating with that night.
All four sets of parents warned us. So what did we do? We drove to Tybee after the prom, just to see what the mystery was all about.
We didn’t count on the fact that the island was pitch dark at night. We could hear the ocean but we could not see a thing, and we were scared as heck when we got out there. Our fears were buttressed by the race stories we were hearing from across the South—stories of lynchings, beatings and arbitrary jailings had us so afraid that all we did on Tybee that night was change drivers and head back home.
Since my date had driven us out to the island while the other couple “made out” in the back seat, we traded places—and activities—for the return trip. To put it delicately, my eyes were closed, so I missed the warning lights from the police when they pulled us over. White officers made our driver get out of the car and walk the white line on Highway 80. None of us had been drinking as far as I knew, but I was surprised to learn that our friend didn’t have a license to drive. He was arrested, so my date drove us home.
I never told my parents about our detour down U.S. 80.A Place for Us
For African Americans in Savannah, beach paradise was elsewhere.
My social centers as a child were the segregated Girl Scout troop hosted at St. Matthews Episcopal Church, the West Broad Street YMCA where we learned social graces in “charm school,” and Second Baptist Church, the historic congregation founded by slaves and free blacks in 1802. Before I was born, my grandfather was a deacon and Sunday school superintendent at Second Baptist; my aunt played the piano and my grandmother was an active deaconess. Even today, the Oper Walker Guild, founded in honor of my grandmother, is still a service organization in that church.
When our church went to the beach, we made the four-hour commute to and from American Beach, on the southern end of Amelia Island in Florida. Settled and built by Abraham Lincoln Lewis, CEO of the Afro-American Insurance Company, as a retreat for his company’s employees, American allowed us to enjoy the water free of racial intimidation. It was a long bus ride—a sacrifice of time considering the Atlantic Ocean was also just 15 miles from our church’s front door on Savannah’s Houston Street.
Hilton Head Island was another oasis for black families, especially the few elite families from Savannah who built houses along one or two streets at the entrance to the island many years before the big resort corporations “discovered” it. On Hilton Head, we had Collier Beach and Singleton Beach, “black beaches” where we had our own pavilions and shorelines for running into the surf, listening to the Sixties sounds of Motown and holding Saturday night dances.
My best friend Virginia’s family had a house on Hilton Head and her family invited me to join her there many weekends during our high school years. We would pack up the car on a Friday afternoon, drive over with ample food supplies and return Sunday night. It was a joyous weekend of freedom from Savannah’s oppressively hot, humid summer days. I remember sleeping with the windows open at night and enjoying the breeze from the surf down the street.In Daylight
So, on that day in 1997, when I went to Tybee Island to reflect on the loss of my mother and think about how I would move forward without her, my husband drove slowly. Together, we took in the island’s quaintness and serenity. We made our way down Butler Avenue, admiring the eclectic and colorful beach architecture, the tropical landscapes and the laid-back lifestyle. We parked on the south end of the island and walked along Tybrisa Street past the shops and restaurants. We strolled the length of the big pier to look at the water—which, even in early March, gave us a feeling of warmth and peace. Here we were, just a few miles from where I grew up on Savannah’s west side, and yet we were a world away.
My husband, Willie, quickly learned the locals-only fishing spots. We soon gravitated to vacation rentals along Chatham Avenue and the Bull River, where most of the houses have their own docks, and the views and fishing are unbeatable. I came to love solitary walks along the shoreline of the South Beach, or sitting at dawn in one of the beach-side swings, watching the sun come up with a cup of coffee in hand.
Tybee became a place of celebration for us. We chose the island as the site of our anniversary getaways each May. During the next 12 years, we first rented small condos and, later, beach houses, inviting friends to joins us.
Willie and I relocated to Savannah permanently in 2013. And just the other day, our daughter asked us where we would spend our vacation.
“Vacation?!” I exclaimed. “We don’t need to go anywhere!”
Times change. Tides change. And, thankfully, so do people.
Local singer-songwriters get into the spirit at Trinity’s Thursday Night Opry.
City Hotel‘s mandolin maestro, Cory Chambers, joked nervously that the bluegrass band wasn’t used to playing to a crowd that actually listened to them, so accustomed they are to providing background music to the clink of glasses and piercing thrum of conversation in some of Savannah’s bars and restaurants. But the crowd that came to the Trinity United Methodist Church last Thursday night did just that—listen—with presence and awareness … and no small amount of toe-tapping against the hardwood floors.
The sanctuary of the 1848 church on Telfair Square lends itself to the soaring voices and roots melodies that mark the monthly Thursday Night Opry series, the brainchild of Trinity’s musical director, Jared Hall, an accomplished musician in his own right. Monthly, he invites a trio of local bands to perform acoustic sets before a single microphone—in the tradition of Nashville’s family-friendly Grand Ol’ Opry. They end the evening by sharing the stage and the accolades.
On this night, CUSSES had to cancel because of health concerns over lead singer Angel Bond’s voice. They were missed. But, City Hotel’s down-from-the-mountain pickin’ and American Hologram‘s tender harmonies filled the space with songs from their respective upcoming albums, gospel standards, and a rousing, unexpected and delightful rendition of Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA.”
Now that’s what faith should sound like. Photography by Jon Waits
Get some sage advice from one of Savannah’s leaders in women’s health.Dr. Carmela Pettigrew
Obstetrician/Gynecologist, Savannah OB/GYN SpecialistsClick>>
I love the website EWG.org. The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit with great information about food and products we use that may be potentially harmful. I always refer to their “Dirty Dozen” list when I grocery shop to avoid pesticides.Care>>
I am a daily user of sunscreen, because UV rays damage DNA and can lead skin cancer. Also, I frequently advise my patients to soak their razors in alcohol in between uses to kill bacteria, which reduces hair bumps and minor skin infections that can occur after shaving.Crave>>
I don’t have a sweet tooth but I am very fond of salted caramel and I can eat an endless amount of the salted carmel macarons from Maison de Macarons. I try not to buy more than a few at a time because I will eat them all at once. I ate 12 one time!
Find out what makes this top-notch neurologist tick.Dr. James G Lindley Jr.
Neurosurgeon, Neurological Institute of Savannah and Center for SpineClick>>
I use Essential Skeleton mobile app on my iPhone every day with patients and their families. It allows me to rotate, stretch and highlight the area of medical concern in a real and interactive way that is personal to each patient. I’d like to think that it’s fun and educational.Care>>
I was born in Key West, Fla. As a native “conch,” I live for the sun and heat of summer! Busy schedules can be quite a challenge, but I believe in the ongoing pursuit of a balanced life and try to spend as much time as possible with family and friends on the beautiful waters of Savannah. I apply SPF 70 liberally—“doctors’ orders.”Crave>>
Byrd Cookie Company’s jalapeño cheese biscuits are my favorite—perfect with a cold Corona on my dock in the evening. I also am addicted to the chocolate chip!
Rents are climbing downtown as funky Broughton Street becomes “B Street,” a reimagined magnet for upscale national retailers. Hotelier and Savannah native Richard Kessler has begun a $100 million-plus redevelopment of River Street’s west end. Homewood Suites by Hilton stands to open on the east end in early 2015. There’s talk of Trade Center expansion—even the rumor of a Hutchinson Island casino. But what does all this development mean for the Savannah lifestyle? What do we stand to gain—and lose? We’ve invited Savannahians with differing views to tell us in their open letters.
In our final chapter of the online Open Letter: Development discussion, we hear from artist Betsy Cain, who has fought an ongoing battle for the last seven years to save the precious and fragile marsh on which she lives.
This aerial image taken in May 2014—highlights our extensive documentation of the ongoing impacts to our tidal basin on Wilmington Island’s Tom Creek from a state permitted 980-foot dock that was “fast-tracked” under the Programmatic General Permit (PGP0083) in 2006 and completed in 2007. You can see more images HERE >>
The dock acts as an artificial barricade to the seasonal, natural migration on high tides of dead marsh grass, Spartina Alterniflora, which sloughs off each spring as the new grass shoots start their yearly cycle. This dead marsh grass is an essential nutritive component to the ecosystem of Georgia’s vast salt marshes and is a biofuel for the many organisms that make up this diverse and productive habitat.
The dock collects this wrack in such quantity and density (up to over two-feet high in some years, and every year is different), that the natural ebb and flow of tidal action in the smaller, shallower creeks is unable to dislodge it. The wrack can stay “in residence” on top of the marsh for up to six months with some fluctuations. When this happens, the healthy marsh grass underneath is denied light and oxygen and the marsh grass dies.
Depending on the length of time the wrack stays on top of the marsh, the rhizomes or roots of the Spartina can be killed, effectively denuding the area of the one sustaining life force that is so integral to the marsh’s survival. Once the rhizomes are killed, the destabilized mud softens and is scoured by the tides. The creek beds then collapse and silt-in. The structural support is gone. The life force is gone. Our tidal navigation has been impaired and our flood protection from the marsh has been compromised.
My husband, David Kaminsky, and I have created a response to this local eco-crisis by recruiting the help of a community of volunteers, dedicated friends and neighbors, whom we called “wrack wranglers.”
Starting after high tide, each person enters the creeks with rakes, kayaks, boats and invented wrack tools to pull the wrack off the covered marsh back into the creeks. We then escort it out by hand, pushing and swimming it out past the entire length of the dock to a larger tributary on the outgoing tide and send it on its way to be naturally dispersed to the ocean and beaches where it can help build dunes as well as supply its vital nutrients to the whole ecosystem. This is muddy, exhausting work, yet exhilarating and rewarding to think we can stave off the inevitable if only for a little while.
A recent exhibition “Wrack and Ruin and the Creative Response” held earlier this year at the University Of Georgia’s Circle Gallery, College Of Environment and Design, showcases our ongoing documentation of the changes taking place in the marsh, our “wranglers” and our art.
Because of our own experience, we are advocating that Georgia’s recreational coastal docks, now exempt, be brought under the Coastal Marshland Protections Act not only to protect a critical natural resource that serves as the cradle to the ocean, but also to protect coastal homeowners as docks become more prolific. We, unfortunately, are the poster children for what can go wrong.
We are not anti-dock. Our particular points are that long docks should not be “fast-tracked” under the Programmatic General Permit and that more than the immediately adjacent property owners should be notified when a long dock is under permit consideration. We would like to see the criteria for evaluating the permits for these long docks to include not only potential impacts such as wrack accumulation, but also view-shed, need and the environmental costs to the marsh while they are being built.
All of these considerations lead to the question: why, when property owners build a dock to gain access through the marsh, which is held in the public trust, do they bear no responsibility whatsoever for any damage to the marsh caused directly by the result of their actions? How long is too long?
Read Tom Kohler’s Open Letter HERE » Read Ben Carter’s Open Letter HERE » Read Karen Geriner Robertson’s Open Letter HERE »
For our Life on the Water issue, we’ll donate $1 to the Ossabaw Island Foundation during the months of July and August for every new, renewal or gift subscription .
An excerpt from “A Very Sandy Summer” in the July/August issue of Savannah magazine:
If you own a boat, chances are you’ve beached at Ossabaw. You’ve breezed past Wassaw and across the sound, through bright, salty air, to relax on miles of pristine sand dotted with bleached tree carcasses and the prehistoric shells of horseshoe crabs. Maybe you’ve even stood atop the sand cliffs, which a hurricane whipped up overnight more than a century ago. But only the initiated may move beyond the beach.
“We’re sort of the gatekeepers to the island,” chuckles Elizabeth DuBose, the sunny executive director of the Ossabaw Island Foundation. We’re aboard Capt. Mike Neal’s pontoon boat, headed from the beach to the North End Plantation—an hour’s drive across the island—and Elizabeth’s safari-esque attire makes it easy for me to imagine her with a machete in hand. “Our mission is to make sure the land is protected and used according to Sandy’s agreement with the state: for research and education.”
Teachers, historians, artists and students from all walks of life may—and do—apply to use the island, and Elizabeth considers each application carefully. She forwards scientific research requests to the Department of Natural Resources. The outcomes of such research have benefited many. Take, for example, the wild Ossabaw hog, whose high insulin tolerance may yield breakthroughs in the fight against diabetes. The Barrier Island Observatory funnels high-tech atmospheric and geological data to learning laboratories all over the world. And this summer, Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources’ Archaeology Division and the University of Georgia are hosting a field school, unearthing relics of ancient Native American and antebellum plantation life on the island’s south end.
“There are literally layers of civilization in that marsh,” Elizabeth marvels. Right here on our path, I spot a pottery shard and a hexagonal silver button.
To read more about the Ossabaw Island Foundation, get a copy of Savannah magazine today.
Meet Zach Smith—Savannah’s very own prince of tides.
A few hundred years ago, the water was our highway. Today, kayaks are still the best way to navigate our 378,000 acres of tidal salt marsh. Brianne Halverson and Dan Gilbert wade into the water with a paddling pro. Photography by Beau Kester
Zach Smith and his lovely lady friend, Colleen Heine, are best-known in these parts as half of the beloved Americana band, The Accomplices, but Zach is just as comfortable picking up a kayak paddle as he is pickin’ on an upright bass. He’s even built his own boats. We asked the Savannah native about his favorite way to get around.How did your love affair with canoeing and kayaking begin?
Zach Smith: Savannah is a fantastic place to grow up if you love being outside. It all began with the Boy Scouts, which was really just a 10-year-old’s way of ditching the parents. I fell in love with paddling immediately.Did you feel at home out on the water?
There were some growing pains. When I was about 15, my friends and I paddled out to Little Tybee. It was perfect. The water was flat when we headed out there to camp, but it was a completely different story on the way back. We basically got stranded. I’ve since learned to always check the tides before I go on a paddling trip. And it just takes time to learn how to use the currents to your advantage.What makes this such a great place to paddle?
Savannah has such a fantastic community of kayakers and canoers. And it’s not just locals—there’s a huge influx of people who come in from out of town to kayak here.
It’s good place to learn because the water is so warm for much of the year. But it’s also a great challenge because of the tide shift. I’m not sure if everyone knows this, but we have the second most dramatic tide shift in North America, behind a place called Bay of Fundy all the way up in Nova Scotia.Any other places you’re dying to kayak?
Alaska—which is particularly exciting because we actually get to go! The Accomplices are playing the amazing Bearfest in Wrangell, Alaska, this summer. Obviously, we’re going to spend a few extra days on the water. Colleen might have to drag me back!You have three homemade kayaks hanging on the side of your house. Where did you learn how to build your own boat? They’re beautiful.
Yeah, I’m pretty proud of them. Colleen built one, too. I spent some very special time out in Oregon in this perfect little town called Manzanita. There’s a guy named Brian Schulz out there who builds skin-on-frame kayaks. He teaches a week-long class, and at the end you paddle away in your own boat that you’ve built.Skin-on-frame?
It’s a very early style of kayak making where the frame is covered by a material—traditionally seal skin, but now generally nylon—that is stretched over the kayak when wet. It’s incredible. So much lighter than a plastic or glass boat, and easier to paddle, too.
Brian is this amazing, off-the-grid kind of guy. He really taught me to appreciate nature and the world in this way that I don’t think I could have anywhere else. I firmly believe that everyone should experience off-the-grid living at least once. It gives you perspective and kind of knocks you back into place.If we’ve never kayaked before, how can we start? You offer tours, right?
Yes! I work at Savannah Canoe and Kayak out on Bonaventure Road and give tours and instruction most of the year. Also, Nigel and Kristin Law, who own and run the business, are pretty much the best people in the world.
We do day trips to Little Tybee and Wassaw islands, Skidaway sunset trips, full-moon paddles, instructor certification and special training for women and kids. And if you want to know how to make your own kayak, Brian is teaching one of his workshops here from October 26 through 31.What’s your favorite spot to put in?
For a chance to rinse some of the salt off of your gear, there’s a beautiful, swampy paddle through cypress and tupelo trees on Ebenezer Creek. This offers some different flora and fauna from the coastal marshes, and I enjoy gliding among the large buttresses of these beautiful swamp trees with a mirror-like stillness of the tannin-colored black water.
Make the 35-minute drive out through Rincon to the Tommy Long Landing, not far from the historic New Ebenezer settlement on the banks of the Savannah River.What spectacular things have you seen out on the water?
We were paddling back from dinner on Little Tybee in the perfect moonlit glow and feeling, more than seeing, the waves as they pulsed underneath our kayaks. For about a half hour or so, the bioluminescence was so intense that every stroke of the paddle was illuminated in the water and then sustained for the next five seconds or so. Our bow wakes were streaming out a soft greenish glow, and it looked like we were paddling through a field of stars. It’s one of those magical experiences I’ll never forget.What kinds of creatures have you encountered?
Probably my most incredible animal encounter happened on a trip down the Georgia coast toward Sapelo Island. We were in an area between the New Teakettle and the Mud River, when all of a sudden our group was paddling among a pod of about 30 to 40 bottlenose dolphin. They were everywhere! We just stopped and enjoyed watching them. They’re so majestic. It was breathtaking.
We’re on a mission to discover Savannah’s signature cocktail—and we need your help.
Local mix masters (see Where and When to Taste below) will serve tasting flights of our four finalists—all selected from submissions by Savannah magazine readers. Each flight will come with a score and commend card that you’ll fill out and leave with your bartender. The results will be announced in Savannah magazine’s September/October issue.
When you hit the bars, let us know! Take a picture, tell us which drink was your favorite, and share it with us on Twitter or Instagram. #Savsignaturecocktail #SavMagCocktailQuest You may find yourself in the next issue of Savannah magazine—and win a bottle of Savannah Bourbon’s premium Savannah 88.Where and When to Taste » B. Tillman Restaurant and Bar at Byrd (beginning July 7)
5 p.m.-Close, Wednesday-Saturday; 12:30-3: p.m., Sunday Brunch, 6700 Waters Ave., 721-1564Local 11 Ten and Perch
6-10 p.m., Sunday-Wednesday, 1110 Bull St., 790-9000The Public
6-10 p.m., Sunday-Wednesday, 1 W. Liberty, 200-4045Soho South
6-10 p.m., Sunday-Wednesday, 12 W. Liberty, 233-1633Tybee Island Social Club
11:30-Close, Monday-Thursday, 1311 Butler Ave., Tybee Island, 472-4044The Contenders
Meet the final four. (With these recipes, you may just want to host a tasting party of your own! CLICK the Cocktail Quest Scorecard to download it NOW.)Johnny’s Ginger Julep
A spicy ode to our huckleberry friend.
- 0.5 ounce of Peach Schnapps or a teaspoon of peach shrub (an infusion of fruit, sugar and acid; can be purchased or made at home)
- Several fresh mint springs
- 0.5 ounces Verdant Kitchen Ginger Syrup, or more to taste
- 2.5 ounces of bourbon
- A slice of fresh peach, to garnish
- Crushed ice
Instructions: Place peach shrub in the bottom of the glass, or pour in Peach Schnapps. Add mint sprigs and gently bruise with muddler. Add crushed ice and top with ginger syrup, then bourbon. Gently stir and garnish with an additional mint sprig and place peach slice on the rim.Honeysuckle Vine
A sweet-sour blend that recalls the scent of a Savannah summer.
- 1 Tablespoon Savannah Bee Co. Tupelo Honey
- 2.5 ounces 88 Premium Bourbon (or any good bourbon)
- Splash freshly squeezed orange juice
- Splash club soda
- Fresh mint
Instructions: Mix the honey and bourbon in a double shot glass. Fill the glass with ice, then add the orange juice and club soda. Garnish with fresh mint.Savannah Gray Brick
An effervescent, citrus-infused sip in honor of the city’s building blocks.
- 1.5 ounces vodka
- 4 to 6 ounces grapefruit juice
- 1 teaspoon blood orange syrup
- Splash of club soda
- Twist of lime
- Lots of ice
Instructions: Mix all ingredients together and serve in a tall glass or plastic tumbler. You can also substitute the blood orange syrup with blood orange soda, skipping the club soda.40 Acres and a Mule
A rye nod to our city’s historic first move toward equality.
- 2 ounces rye whiskey or bourbon
- 4 to 6 ounces ginger beer (preferably Fentimans)
- Squeeze each of lime, lemon and orange slices
- Lots of ice
Instructions: Mix all ingredients together and serve in a tall glass or plastic tumbler. Perfect on the beach for a game of bocce, cornhole or horseshoes.
Our annual Health Supplement is the key to feeling your best.
From Savannah’s community-minded answer to the healthcare crisis and the uplifting story of one local woman’s race toward wellness to profiles of area doctors, our annual Health Supplement gives you the tools to make informed decisions. Click on the image below to get the latest »
Notice something different about your magazine?
It’s just another step in our 25-year evolution.
If you’ve been paying attention over the last few years, you’ve noticed our steady commitment to authenticity. Breathtaking imagery that captures the real Savannah. People-oriented narratives with an “only in Savannah” feel and a discerning view behind the seen.
Like you, we live at the tide line of preservation and progress. As flows the city, so flows the magazine.
Over time, we’ve overflowed our own format—things got to looking and feeling a little overcrowded—so we’re expanding now to give you the same breathing space the city gives you.
Imagine our hometown without Oglethorpe’s famous squares—or without our breathtaking expanses of marsh and water. That’s the kind of luxury we’re infusing into this Life on the Water issue—and every one to come.
At Savannah magazine, authenticity is our luxury. The stroll, the sip, the spicy sea breeze. The wry wink and the knowing nod.
It’s not a dramatic departure; that would be unfair to our readers and untrue to a city and a magazine that have endured so much with elegance.
We know who we are.
We’re a luxury item, especially in this day and age. You come to us for a curated escape from the chaos of daily life. We edit and interpret today’s barrage of digital messages. We seek the currents of culture behind the headlines. We offer an instant vacation from the mundane.
At Savannah magazine, authenticity is our luxury. The stroll, the sip, the spicy sea breeze. The wry wink and the knowing nod.
We know—and you know—that our city has something utterly unique and precious to offer the world.
Our mission is to preach the gospel of the inimitable Savannah lifestyle.
Now go get baptized in that sweet, salty water.To Subscribe NOW, CLICK HERE >>