MESDA Journey: Savannah & St. Marys

November 3-7, 2023 Savannah and St Marys, GA

MESDA Journey


Join us for a behind-the-scenes look at Georgia’s Sea Islands and one of the the Lowcountry’s most iconic cities.

Savannah’s iconic squares beckon as we enjoy special access to important collections and explore hidden gems in the city founded by James Edward Oglethorpe in 1732 and immortalized in the book Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil. Heading south, our tour will take us to tabby ruins, on the water to explore some of Georgia’s Sea Islands, and to charming St. Mary’s City, where entertainment at one of Georgia’s premier decorative arts collections awaits. Participants will benefit from the guidance of MESDA’s Chief Curator Daniel Ackermann, as well as the expertise of site curators and specialists.


Full registration for the MESDA Journey is $3,500.00 per person, which includes a tax-deductible $500.00 donation to MESDA’s Conservation Fund.  A deposit of $500.00 per person is required by July 15, 2023. Frank L. Horton Membership required to join trip. Single supplements of $500.00, when applicable, will be added to the final invoice.

Register here!


(Subject to amendment)

Friday, November 3

We will meet in Savannah, Georgia, where we will check into the elegant accommodations at JW Marriott Savannah Plant Riverside District–located in a restored and converted 1912 power plant. After settling in to our home away from home in the heart of the historic district, we’ll make our way to an opening garden reception and exclusive tour of the Davenport House Museum, a stately, federal-style home built by Isaiah Davenport in 1820. After exploring the house’s extraordinary architectural features, including an elliptical staircase and special plasterwork, we’ll celebrate our first night in Savannah with a classic, southern dinner in the historic district.

Dinner included
Overnight in Savannah, Georgia

Saturday, November 4

Our day begins with a thorough exploration of downtown Savannah’s historic district with Dr. Elyse Gerstenecker, Curator of Historical Collections at Telfair Museums. We’ll explore the Telfair Museum, home to an incredible collection of Southern Decorative Arts ranging from 1820-1875, and the Jepson Arts Center where we will tour a  special exhibit of iconic local woodcarver Ulysses Davis’ work. We’ll also explore the exceptional 1819 Owens-Thomas House. No antiques-oriented visit to Savannah is complete without a visit to the Mercer-Williams House made famous by Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. We will finish the day with a splendid evening and cocktail reception at a special private artist’s residence and collection.

Breakfast, lunch, and heavy cocktail reception included
Overnight in Savannah, Georgia

Sunday, November 5

We begin by venturing to Jerusalem Lutheran Church, established in 1733 as part of New Ebenezer (shown on this rare map in MESDA’s collection).  We will examine the church’s intriguing architecture, taking note of the Salzburger-made clay bricks that make up the church’s facade. Afterwards, we’ll embark on our journey to St Marys and the Sea Islands with stops along to way to explore some of the oldest tabby buildings in the United States. We’ll continue our journey to St Marys where we’ll check into the charming accommodations at the Spencer House Inn. We’ll close out the day with an unforgettable lowcountry dinner at a special St. Marys private residence.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included
Overnight in St Marys, Georgia

Monday, November 6

Our time in the Sea Islands will continue with a stunning journey by water to Cumberland Island, Georgia’s largest barrier island, where Nathaniel Greene and Thomas Morrison Carnegie built expansive homes. Lace up your walking shoes as we explore by foot one of the nation’s least developed islands and the Dungeness Estate Ruins–the 35,000 square foot former estate of the Carnegies. After venturing back to St Marys via ferry, we will enjoy a delicious, southern closing dinner at a private St. Marys residence.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included
Overnight in St Marys, Georgia

Tuesday, November 7

In the morning we will depart the Spencer House Inn and travel back to Savannah.

Breakfast included


Trip Cost

$3,500.00 per person, based on double occupancy for 4 nights.  This price includes a fully tax-deductible $500.00 donation to MESDA’s Conservation Fund, detailed below.

Departure and Return

The MESDA Journey will depart and return to:
JW Marriott Savannah Plant Riverside District
400 W River St
Savannah, Georgia 31401
Participants are responsible for costs associated with getting to and from the departure and return site.


A deposit of $500.00 per person is required at registration.  Reservations and deposits are taken on an “as received” basis until July 15, 2023.  You will receive confirmation from MESDA once your reservation has been processed.  Please do not make irrevocable transportation reservations until you receive your confirmation.

Single Supplement

If you prefer single-room accommodations, a supplement of $500.00 will be added to your final invoice.

Final Payment

You will be invoiced for the balance of your registration fees.  Your final balance will be due by August 15, 2023.


A donation to MESDA’s Conservation Fund is required for participation in the MESDA Journey and makes up the down payment.  This gift is fully tax deductible and helps to provide needed conservation attention to MESDA’s decorative arts collections.


The proposed itinerary is subject to change as necessary.


This trip is limited to a maximum of 20 participants and requires a minimum of 14.  The trip will be cancelled if under-subscribed and registration fees will be refunded.  If interest exceeds the maximum, we will organize and maintain a waiting list on the basis in which registrations are received.  This is a strenuous trip.  We regret that we cannot be responsible for those who need assistance.  By registering, you are certifying that you do not have any mental, physical, or other condition of disability that would create a hazard for yourself or other participants.  MESDA reserves the right to decline anyone as a participant on this trip should the person’s health, actions, or general deportment impede the operation of the trip; the rights, welfare, or enjoyment of others; or the standing of MESDA.

Included in the Trip Cost

4 nights hotel accommodations, 4 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners, and 2 private receptions; private coach transportation; local guides; admission to museums, historic houses, and gardens; and gratuities for professional guides and coach driver.

Not included in the Trip Cost

Transportation other than that specified in the itinerary, alcoholic beverages other than when provided, personal expenses, and trip insurance are not included.

Cancellation and Refunds

If you must cancel your reservation, you are urged to do so as soon as possible in writing to MESDA.  All cancellations are subject to a $100.00 administrative fee.  Deposits are non-refundable after May 31st, 2023.  Cancellations arriving by August 1, 2023 will receive a 50% refund.  Cancellations arriving by September 1, 2023 will receive a 25% refund.  There will be no refunds for cancellations received after September 1, 2023.  MESDA STRONGLY ENCOURAGES ALL PARTICIPANTS TO PURCHASE TRAVEL INSURANCE TO PROTECT AGAINST CANCELLATIONS.


If you have any questions, please contact Melissa Bertram:
[email protected]