By Tara Bursey
Established in 1733, Savannah is the oldest city in Georgia; a port city alive with shadows of the past. Attending the 2016 TSA Symposium will allow you to experience this intriguing city firsthand, which is known for its arts and culture, architecture and folklore.
Here’s a handy list of Savannah landmarks to pique your interest in “The Hostess City.” This rough guide will give you a sense of places to see and experience in between sessions at the Symposium…as well as places that deal in the bare essentials most textile conference-goers can’t go a weekend without (read: yarn and coffee!).
Savannah is home to Savananah College of Art and Design (SCAD), a massive post-secondary institution that offers undergraduate and graduate programs in visual arts, performing arts, fashion, design, architecture, museum studies and teaching with off-site campuses in Atlanta, Hong Kong and France. The school boasts twelve galleries in Savannah, and a number of SCAD’s 67 historic downtown buildings were restored by the school. The school’s Fibers department is one of the largest in the country, and offers BFA, MA and MFA degrees.
Essential museums in Savannah include the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum, a required stop considering the theme of 2016’s TSA Symposium. Founded in 1966, the Maritime Museum includes a permanent collection of models, art and maritime antiques as well as a historic home and gardens. The Telfair Museums are a must– they include the Telfair Academy, Owens-Thomas House, and the Jepson Center, an excellent contemporary art gallery with a permanent collection, rotating exhibitions and an interactive children’s gallery.
For fans of the paranormal, Savannah has been well documented as America’s Most Haunted City. The non-fiction book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil– famously set in Savannah– tapped into the city’s gothic atmosphere and undercurrent of magic and mystery. While in Savannah, catch one of many local Ghost Tours in the Historic District, or visit one of the city’s three renowned historic cemeteries: Bonaventure, Colonial Park and Laurel Grove.
Savannah’s Historic District is one of the largest of its kind in America. It is known for beautiful eighteenth- and nineteenth-century architecture and green spaces. The Squares of downtown Savannah provide insights into 18th century urban planning. Architect John Massengale has called Savannah’s city plan “the most intelligent grid in America, perhaps the world.” This plan lives on today in the form of the city’s 22 iconic squares that are home to fountains, monuments, churches and other examples of historic built heritage.
Savannah has a long history of textile production. Silk and indigo were among its earliest exports, and its moderate climate afforded it perfect conditions for growing cotton for centuries. Today, Fabrika and Measure: A Fabric Parlour are two of the city’s most popular haunts for textiles. Knitters can get your fix of yarn at The Frayed Knot. Folklorico is a much loved shop full of folk art from around the world, including many items of the textile persuasion. ShopSCAD is a gallery-retail space associated with the Savannah College of Art and Design where you can buy unique handmade goods from Fiber Department alumni.
Soul Food and Good Brew (Hot and Cold)
Coffee Fox and Foxy Loxy are popular downtown spots for quality coffee and snacks. The Moon River Brewing Co. serves up a selection of craft beer brewed on the premises as well as quality pub grub (while rumoured to be one of the most haunted sites in the city!), and is conveniently located mere minutes from the location of the TSA Symposium!
For tasty treats, check out Leopold’s Ice Cream, Zunzi’s for hearty sandwiches, Ye Olde Pink House for an elegant sit-down meal, Kayak Kafé for casual Mexican-inspired food and excellent vegetarian options, and one of Savannah’s many Southern/Soul Food restaurants.
See you there!