This is the story of an unforgettable weekend at the 2013 Savannah Stopover Festival.
The sun was shining, the birds were chirping and I was on cloud nine when I arrived at my Savannah home for the weekend, The Azalea Inn & Gardens. Upon entering the Inn, I was greeted by Innkeeper Shannon, owner Teresa and the “assistant innkeeper” Joey, a Yorkie Terrier the size of my fist. This delightful team of women (and a canine) was as cheerful and welcoming as the yellow exterior of the historic inn. After receiving a tour of the bed and breakfast, I was shown to my room – a spacious area painted in traditional Savannah colors with a large bed, fireplace, balcony and enormous bathtub. After a quick siesta, it was time to head to Forsyth Park to see Athens-based band of Montreal, kicking off my weekend of concerts at the Savannah Stopover Festival, a four-day event that attracts bands on their way to Austin for SXSW.
Honestly, to call it a concert would be an understatement. It was a full-on theatrical performance complete with psychedelic projections, a plethora of costumes and a wrestling match between two guys wearing unitards. After having my mind successfully blown by of Montreal, I was onto my next Stopover shows, including raucous performances from Sun Club, Sun Country and Stop Light Observations. After several hours of rocking out, I was ready to crawl into my plush bed and rest up for Saturday’s adventures.
I enjoyed a breakfast feast of quiche, grits and homemade biscuits (courtesy of Azalea Inn & Gardens) before jetting off to explore Savannah by trolley. With 15 stops as well as on and off privileges, the Old Town Trolley Tour was the perfect match for my travel needs. While on the trolley, our guides regaled us with Savannah facts, including the pineapple tradition, the story of “Big Duke” and the tale of how the Olde Pink House turned pink. Off the trolley, I was able to experience Forsyth Park in all of its spring splendor, complete with blooming azaleas and green fountains (in honor of St. Patrick’s Day), the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and its stunning stained glass windows, the federal-style Isaiah Davenport House and the Jepson Center for the Arts‘ “Offering of the Angels” exhibit.
I refueled at Leopold’s Ice Cream shop with a big scoop of chocolate chip ice cream before beginning my second night of Savannah Stopover shows. I spent the next several hours hopping from venue to venue seeing one great band after the other, including Country Mice, Cheyenne Mize, Yip Deceiver, Whaleboat, The Whigs and my personal favorite, Ponderosa. When 1 a.m. rolled around, it was time for me to hail a pedicab and head back to my B&B for one final night of Savannah-induced slumber.
On Sunday morning, I packed up my things, said goodbye to the Azalea Inn & Gardens staff and headed to Tybee Island for a couple hours by the sea. As I dug my toes in the sand, I reflected on everything I had experienced in one short weekend — history, popular music, culinary delights, Southern hospitality, island life – and then began checking the calendar for my next opportunity to stopover in Savannah.
See my full photo/video gallery from my trip Savannah here.
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Lauren Cleland is the voice of Explore Georgia on social media. She loves ice cold sweet tea, anything peach flavored, channeling Scarlett O’Hara in her daily life and sharing the wonders of her beloved Georgia with all of you!