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For 91 Days in Savannah – The E-Book

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Updated 2016 Edition!!

We’ve converted our three-month blog about Savannah into an exclusive e-book. For 91 Days in Savannah contains all of our articles and 195 of our best pictures, in full-color. With categorical and alphabetical indexes, locations, links to the original blog posts, and cross-references spread throughout, the e-book is a perfect companion for a trip to Savannah… and you don’t need an internet connection to use it!

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Amazon USA | UK | <a and Germany
Direct Download (PDF, MOBI, EPUB)

For just a few bucks, you can download your own copy of the book for use on your e-reader or computer, giving you access to our anecdotes and articles wherever you are, without having to connect to the internet. And, buying the e-book is a great way to support our project… take a look at some sample pages from the PDF.

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May 10, 2016 at 8:35 am Comments (34)

Some Final Images from Savannah

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Stock Photos Savannah

Five years is usually considered to be a long time, but that’s not necessarily the case in Savannah. We returned to find the city largely as we had left it. Sure, there were some new restaurants, and a few additional museums to check out … whether they were new or had re-opened after renovation. But Savannah itself hadn’t changed at all. And we like it that way. Here are some final images from our return to this beautiful and utterly unique southern city.

Our Framed Savannah Photos

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April 10, 2016 at 10:42 am Comment (1)

A Few Great Savannah Restaurants

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Eating well in Savannah isn’t a problem. There are any number of excellent restaurants to discover, from classic barbecue joints to more modern cuisine. Upon returning after five years, we compiled a list of some of our favorites. If you’re looking for good eats, you might want to give one of these restaurants a try.

Crystal Beer Parlor
Chrystal Beer Parlor

One of Savannah’s most historic restaurants, the Crystal Beer Parlor on West Jones Street opened in the early 1900s as a grocery store. It soon morphed into a restaurant and was one of the first in the country to serve alcohol after the repeal of Prohibition. That alone was enough to win it a place in the heart of Savannah, and the Crystal hasn’t become any less popular over the course of the decades.

We’ve been a number of times, and always enjoy ourselves immensely. The food is excellent… although I’ve never ordered anything other than burgers. And the sheer number of craft brews on-tap is a glorious sight to behold. Whether you eat at a booth or the bar, and even if there’s a line waiting for tables (there probably will be), we can almost guarantee you’ll have a great time at the Crystal. [Location | Website]

The Grey
They Grey Raustaurant

Set inside Savannah’s former Greyhound station, on MLK Boulevard, the Grey uses its location to excellent effect. The old ticket stands are now the restaurant’s bar, and the waiting room has become the main dining hall. But as impressive as the remodeling is, the Grey’s food is even better. I ordered up the daily special: locally-sourced oysters served on the half-shell and bathed in a delicious herb sauce. It’s not known as the cheapest spot to eat in Savannah, but the price of the lunch menu was reasonable, and the food was worth every penny. [Location | Website]

Sandfly BBQ
Sandfly BBQ Savannah

Housed in a classic old Streamliner diner on Barnard Street, Sandfly BBQ has been serving up Memphis-style barbecue to hungry Savannahians for a few years, now. It’s a small joint, so you might have to wait for a booth, but don’t let that stop you. This is wonderfully-flavored BBQ, rich and smoky, and it tastes great whether you order a platter, a sandwich or a salad. That’s right: salad. I ordered the Pulled Pork Sandfly Salad… and I think there might have actually been some lettuce leafs underneath all that meat. Just enough to make me feel “healthy.” [Location | Website]

Treylor Park
Treylor Park Savannah

It doesn’t often happen that you can dislike your meal at a restaurant, and still wholeheartedly recommend the place. But that is exactly what happened to me at Treylor Park, a restaurant found downtown on Bay Street. It wasn’t their fault that I didn’t like my meal: they had accurately titled their “Fried Chicken Pancake Tacos With Strawberry Salsa,” and it was well-made. I’m not sure why I ordered them, but it turns out that fried chicken pancake tacos smothered in strawberry sauce taste exactly how you would expect.

But I love the audacity of even having such a thing on your menu. And everything else we had at Treylor Park was delicious. Not only that, but there was a great buzz at this bar/restaurant; the place was packed when we entered, and we grabbed the last stools available. There’s a reason Treylor Park has become so well-loved. But it might not be the fried chicken pancake tacos… [Location | Website]

Screamin’ Mimi’s

Screamin’ Mimi’s has long been serving Jersey-style pizzas to the people of Savannah, but it also serves up a cool, slightly-hipsterish atmosphere in its small, family-run restaurant on Oglethorpe Avenue. Mimi and Big Lou are the proprietors, and although I’ve never heard Mimi scream, I’m pretty sure that I did after seeing the size of the supreme pizza we ordered. If a giant, delicious pizza, dripping with cheese and toppings sounds good to you, head on down. [Location | Website]

The Green Truck
Green Truck Savannah

If you’re in the mood for a great burger, go south on Habersham and don’t stop until you see a restaurant with a pale green truck sitting out front. Despite its location outside of the city center, this is one of the most popular lunch spots in Savannah. The restaurant looks a little shabby from the outside, but don’t let that prevent you from going in; the service is friendly, the menu is fun and unpretentious, and the burgers are incredible. [Location | Website]

The Collins Quarter
Collins Corner Restaurant

This stylish restaurant does justice to one of the best locations in the city, at the intersection of Bull and Oglethorpe. It was founded by an Australian and its interior is based on the popular Collins Street of Melbourne. But we sat outside on the sidewalk, to better enjoy another of Savannah’s unseasonably warm February afternoons.

During our visit, the place was packed and it took a long time for our food to arrive. We hadn’t complained, but the waiter brought us a couple beers on the house, by way of apology; this is a courtesy most popular restaurants wouldn’t extend, and we really appreciated it. The Collins Quarter has a lot of things going for it: excellent food, friendly service, a great location and reasonable prices. [Location | Website]

Huc-a-Poos

Screamin’ Mimi’s is great, but our favorite Savannah pizza joint isn’t actually in Savannah, but Tybee Island. Huc-a-Poos is a Tybee institution, beloved among locals for its giant pizzas, rock-bottom prices, and rowdy atmosphere. The deal on pizzas simply can’t be beat: you can order as many toppings as you want, and the price doesn’t change. Throw in an outdoor eating patio, hilarious bartenders, and drunken locals trying to pick up any newcomers who wander in (it’s happened to us), and you have the recipe for an entertaining night out. [Location | Website]

Savannah Cookbook

More Pics from the Crystal Beer Parlor
Chrystal Beer Parlor
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More Pics from The Grey
They Grey Raustaurant
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More Pics from Sandfly BBQ
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More Pics from Treylor Park
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More Pics from Screamin’ Mimi’s
More Pics from The Green Truck
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Green Truck Savannah
More Pics from Collins Quarter
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April 10, 2016 at 10:28 am Comments (2)

The Isaiah Davenport House

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It’s impossible to imagine Savannah without the stunning mansions which adorn so many of its squares and streets. But the city’s architectural heritage was once in real danger of disappearing completely. The struggle to save Savannah’s soul began in 1955, at the Isaiah Davenport House.

Davenport House

In the mid-20th century, Savannah was a very different place. Many of its homes stood vacant and derelict, and there wasn’t much value placed on preservation. Why maintain an abandoned old house, unique as it may be, when the valuable downtown lot can be sold for parking? From north to south, east to west, Savannah’s historic squares were coming under assault from the most hideous sort of re-development.

In 1955, when a parking company announced its plans to buy the Isaiah Davenport House on Columbia Square, certain members of Savannah’s society stood up and said, “enough.” This house was one of the country’s most important examples of American Federal architecture, and the idea that it could be demolished for yet another parking lot was too much to bear. Under the leadership of Katherine Summerlin, a group of seven women united as the Historic Savannah Foundation, and raised enough money to purchase the property. They restored the Isaiah Davenport House, and opened it as a museum in 1962.

Davenport House

And they didn’t stop there. Over the next few decades, the foundation snatched up property after property, quickly settling into a comfortable rhythm of buy-restore-sell, which allowed them to continue until over 500 of Savannah’s most notable houses had been saved from the wrecking ball.

After taking a tour of the Davenport House, it’s clear why this property was the catalyst for action. It would have been a travesty for it to have been lost. Isaiah Davenport was an architect by trade, and his house was built as both a residence for his family, as well as an advertisement for his skills. We loved our tour, which brought us into the family’s living quarters and salons. Each room has been designed to mimic an 18th-century residence, with period furniture and wallpaper copied from period patterns.

If you want to understand Savannah’s history, a visit to the Isaiah Davenport House is a must. Today, the necessity of preserving important works of architecture seems self-evident, but it’s important to remember that this hasn’t always been the case. Without the tireless work of a few dedicated individuals, Savannah would be a very different place.

Location on our Map
Davenport House Museum – Website

Rent A Car In Savannah

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April 7, 2016 at 10:47 am Comments (0)

Savannah from the Air with Old City Helicopters

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With its squares, mansions, oak trees and Spanish Moss, Savannah is a gorgeous city when you’re standing on the ground. But how does it look from the air? To find out, we got in touch with Old City Helicopters, who invited us out on a sunset tour. Soon enough, we were zooming along the Savannah River, looking down upon the city from above.

Helicopter Tour Savannah

It was a late afternoon when we showed up at the airfield, adjacent to the Savannah-Hilton Head Airport, and the sun was just beginning its slow descent. Our pilot, Matt, described the tour we’d be taking: over Forsyth Park, around River Street and City Market, and then out toward Tybee Island. We’d return west toward the airfield just as dusk was settling in.

The company’s bright yellow helicopter is a frequent sight in the skies above Savannah, zipping over the city like a giant, benevolent mecha-bee. It’s a Robinson R44 copter, which seats four people and can travel at speeds of 150 miles per hour, although Matt assured us that we’d be going a lot slower than that. After all, the point was to see the sights, and not to zip across the city as fast as possible.

Helicopter Tour Savannah

Savannah’s logical layout is really apparent from the air, where you can see all the squares and better appreciate the city center’s grid-like pattern. There aren’t many tall buildings in downtown Savannah; the Hilton and the Cathedral of St. John are probably the most prominent. From above, Savannah looks quaint and peaceful; and more like an overgrown village than a real city… which is also how it feels from the ground, I suppose.

Soaring over the city was fun, but we enjoyed the remainder of the trip even more, when we got away from the downtown and into less populated land. The coastal waterways of Savannah look entirely different from the air. When you’re in a car, it’s impossible to see the twisting paths which snake through the marshland or appreciate the ecosystem’s true complexity.

We flew past the Tybee Island Lighthouse and Fort Pulaski, and then made our way back to the home base. Along the way, we flew over the port, which is much bigger than I had realized, and saw the International Paper Factory. This is the source of the infamous “Savannah Stink,” but with its lights on at dusk, the factory itself is quite pretty.

Old City Helicopters are a relatively new outfit in Savannah, but have quickly become popular. They offer a number of packages, from the Sunset Tour we did, to one which reaches all the way to Hilton Head. If you’re insecure about flying, you can try out their quick Discovery Tour, which provides views of the western end of Savannah for just $39. Matt was an excellent guide, friendly and knowledgeable, and we had a blast flying with him in the speedy yellow bee.

Location on our Map
Old City Helicopters – Website

List of Savannah Hotels

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March 31, 2016 at 6:00 pm Comment (1)

The Rowdy Fun of River Street

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Say you’ve got a lady companion on your arm. She’s a fine lady, dainty and demure, and you wish to take a romantic stroll along the river, and perhaps even muster the courage to steal a furtive kiss on the cheek. Good sir, stay away from River Street! Now, on the other hand, if your lady is a party animal, partial to the occasional belch, and already a drunken mess at 3pm, then head on down. You guys are going to have a blast. And I bet you get more than a kiss on the cheek.

Savannah River Street

River Street is Savannah’s party central. When the sun goes down and the lights go on, this is where the action is, drawing locals and tourists alike to its riverside bars and restaurants. But it’s also a party during the day, especially on weekends, as people encouraged by Savannah’s liberal open container laws, stumble up and down the cobblestone street.

But you don’t have to be intoxicated to enjoy River Street’s charms. When the sun is out, this is a fun place for anyone to spend the afternoon. There are some decent shops, historic sights, and the restaurants aren’t all tourist traps: Vic’s on the River is legitimately good, and we had a great time shucking oysters at Bernie’s, where the price per bucket was a bargain.

Savannah River Street

If all that’s not enough, you also have the view of the Savannah River, upon which you’ll probably see some big container ships making their way upstream to the port. Should you feel like getting out on the water yourself, you can take a river cruise on a steamship. Big tourist boats leave frequently from the street-side dock.

But the best thing to do on River Street, is to grab a couple to-go cups, sit down on a wall somewhere, preferably with a view of the Talmadge Bridge, and watch the people come and go. You’ll see all sorts of characters on River Street, getting into all sorts of drunken situations. It’s great fun and maybe, if the sun is going down and the mood is right, you’ll be able to steal that kiss, after all.

Location on our Map

List Of Savannah Hotels

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March 26, 2016 at 12:57 pm Comments (0)

Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room

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Mashed potatoes, fried chicken, collard greens, mac and cheese, blackeyed peas, green beans, stuffing… and could I get more of that sweet tea? Uncle Chuck, could you pass the noodle salad and cabbage? Boy-oh-boy, Grandma, you really outdid yourself this Thanksgiving!

Hold on a second. You’re not my grandma, these aren’t my relatives… and this isn’t Thanksgiving! Oh well. Hey stranger, pass the rutabaga!

Mrs Wilkes

Sorry, Paula Deen, but Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room is Savannah’s most famous dining establishment, with a history that stretches back to 1943. That’s when young Sema Wilkes bought a boarding house at 107 West Jones Street and began serving family-style meals to her clients. Her reputation grew quickly, and soon enough, people were lining up outside the door to get a taste of her famous home cooking.

Throughout the decades, the lines have never died down, even after Mrs. Wilkes’ passing in 1995 (today, her granddaughter runs the show). The restaurant accepts no reservations, so be prepared to wait. The line starts forming around 11am, and the doors open a half hour later. Groups of ten are seated around the table, so you’ll almost definitely be eating with a few strangers. But that’s the idea — you get to meet some people, hear some stories and share some of your own.

Mrs Wilkes

It really is like Thanksgiving, but without the drama usually inherent in family gatherings. Maybe this woman sitting next to you is feuding with her daughter-in-law. Maybe she’s homophobic. But you wouldn’t know, because here in Mrs. Wilkes, such topics don’t come up. You can exchange niceties with her, and inquire politely about where she’s from. And then you eat, eat, and eat some more. There were at least two dozen bowls on our table and everything is delicious. Chow down as much as you want, and don’t worry about things running out: at the end of the meal, our ten-person table had barely put a dent in all the food that had been served.

Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room is a quintessential Savannah experience, and even though the line may seem daunting, believe me that it’s worth the wait. This is an experience you’ll be remembering for a long time… even in November, when your real grandma serves up a decidedly inferior Thanksgiving meal. It’s unfair to compare, though, because nobody does this style of home-cooked feast better than Mrs. Wilkes.

Location on our Map
Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room – Website

Savannah Cookbooks

Mrs Wilkes
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March 13, 2016 at 6:18 pm Comments (0)

For 91 Days in Savannah

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Savannah Travel Guides

Brrrrrr! One of the main reasons we chose to move to the Deep South was our aversion to winter, but our three months in Savannah were marked by freezing temperatures. Still, between November, 2010 and the end of January, 2011, we had an incredible time in one of America’s Southern jewels. “Picturesque” doesn’t even begin to describe Savannah — the squares, the houses, the Spanish moss, the cemeteries. The city is a photographer’s dream come true. But our stay of three months gave us a chance to look deeper, past Savannah’s superficial beauty and into its strangely compelling culture. Hipster art students, a historic black community and an aging aristocracy are three of the main groups which intermingle daily in Savannah.

Savannah Blog

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the highlights during our 91 days in Savannah. For more, check out the comprehensive list, or start at the beginning of the blog and read about our journey in the order we experienced it!

Eating and Drinking

The juxtaposition of the words “Savannah” and “Food” will almost always bring to mind the toothy smile of Mrs. Paula Deen. Visiting her famous restaurant, The Lady & Sons, is certainly an experience, but not necessarily the best dining opportunity in the city. We much preferred the haunting, historic Olde Pink House, with the best flounder I’ve ever tried. Our favorite meal, though, was at Chef Jerome’s Old School Diner. Though it’s a bit of a drive outside the city, Chef Jerome’s hospitatlity makes it worth the effort. Savannah is famously a drinking town, with a wonderful law allowing open container. But if you’re looking for the quintessential bar experience, don’t pass up Pinkie Master’s: the best dive we’ve ever been to.

Squares & Cemeteries

Perhaps Savannah’s most famous aspect is its twenty-four historic squares; unique in the USA. Besides being gorgeous, they serve the purpose of slowing down traffic, and giving citizens plentiful places to relax. Our favorites were the tranquil Columbia Square, historic Greene Square and bizarre Troup Square. But all 24 are worth a look. Savannah is also blessed with three fascinating cemeteries. The Old Colonial Cemetery, populated with settlers and people from the city’s early days, is smack in the middle of downtown. Right outside town, you can find Laurel Grove — callously split into a richer white and poorer black section. The most famous, though, is the tranquil Bonaventure Cemetery, which must be among the most beautiful resting places in the entire country.

Museums, Houses and Art

Savannah is at no loss for great ways to spend your day. It’s famous for its historic houses, saved from demolition by a group of determined (and well-heeled) citizens. Top of our list was the Andrew Low House. Great museums included the Ships of the Sea in the Scarborough House, and the Telfair Academy, a small fine arts museum on Telfair Square. For history, you can’t do better than the fascinating First African Baptist Church on Franklin: definitely the most interesting church tour we’ve ever had! And Savannah is a haven for artists — especially with the overwhelming presence of SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design), but we made sure to meet some non-SCAD artists, such as Jonathan Porier of Drayton Glass Works.

Day Trips

Savannah is wonderful, but can feel small after awhile. Luckily, the surrounding area is rich in opportunities for great day trips. Top of the list is Tybee Island, where you can enjoy the beach, go on a dolphin tour, or do something more active like kayaking. Also nearby is the fascinating Wormsloe Plantation. Further afield, the artsy town of Bluffton, SC is a treasure trove waiting to be dug into. It’s also worth hunting down the historic town of Ebenezer… a window into the past.

Of course, this is just a sample of what we experienced during our three months in Savannah, Georgia — feel free to peruse the rest of our articles at your leisure. And make sure to follow us on the blog, Facebook or Twitter as we move on to other cities and countries!

Useful Savannah links: Hotels, B&Bs and Inns, Car Rentals, Book Tours Online

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May 26, 2011 at 9:41 am Comment (1)

Thanks for the Memories, Y’all!

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This might be a city which moves slow, but our three months here flew by at a breakneck pace. Savannah had been a friendly, wild and unforgettable place to temporarily call home, and we couldn’t have hoped to have chosen a better city.

Good Bye Savannah

After spending almost a decade in Europe, I had been excited to get back to the USA. And though I might have been returning home, I’m originally from the Midwest, so the deep-fried Southern charm of Savannah would be something totally new to me. From November to January, we kept busy; twenty-two squares, late-night partying on River Street, day trips to South Carolina, kayaking at Tybee Island… and of course, a whole lot of great eating.

Savannah’s Victorian district is lovely, as is the nature which surrounds the city. And the history of the city is fascinating, from the colonial days, through the Civil War and Civil Rights Movement, up into the present day. But more than all that, what we’ll most fondly remember are the people. The eccentric and gracious people of Savannah are far and away its best quality. We’ve never felt so welcomed by a city’s residents, as we did in Savannah, and we made some friendships here that I’m confident will last our whole lives.

Savannah is a special place, and we were sad to leave. But our travel bug was itching, and the next stop on our slow-moving world tour was already calling: Buenos Aires, Argentina. Steaks, tango, Evita, gauchos and pizza, all packed into one of the world’s most amazing cities. It’d be quite a shift from the easy southern charm of Savannah… but we could hardly wait to get going.

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January 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm Comments (10)

Reynolds Square

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At the top of Abercorn Street is Reynolds Square, originally laid out in 1734 as Lower New Square, but renamed in honor of the Royal Governor John Reynolds.

John Wesley

A stern statue of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, dominates the center of the square. The British preacher arrived in Savannah on an invitation from Oglethorpe, to be the new city’s religious leader. He soon found himself in trouble, involving himself romantically with a young woman, only to later refuse her communion after their affair came to an end. She brought suit against him, but he fled to Britain and never returned to Georgia. The statue strikes an imposing figure, with Wesley forcefully clenching a Bible that looks small in his over-sized hands. He looks like the jerk he probably was.

The northeast trust lot of Reynolds Square was originally home to the colonial filature, where silk from the experimental Trustees Garden was be spun. The garden’s planters spent a lot of time in around Reynolds Square, and the names of the surrounding buildings reflect that fact. The Planters Inn is a 200-year old hotel on the southwest side of the square and the tavern on the bottom floor of the Pink House is called Planters Tavern.

We walked about Reynolds Square somewhat wistfully. Three months ago, we’d started with a list of 22 squares to explore and document, and this was the last one. When we’d began this project, I was worried that it would be too repetitive; I mean, how different can twenty-two square-shaped plots of land be? But each of Savannah’s squares has its own personality, from the monumental to the placid, and its own history. It was a true pleasure to get to know each, individually.

Location on our Savannah Map

All 24 Savannah Squares

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Reynolds Square
Horse Carriage Tour Savannah
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Lucas Theater Savannah
Planters Inn Hotel
Christ Church Savannah
Little Boy Sitting
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January 27, 2011 at 2:57 pm Comments (2)

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For 91 Days in Savannah - The E-Book Updated 2016 Edition!! We've converted our three-month blog about Savannah into an exclusive e-book. For 91 Days in Savannah contains all of our articles and 195 of our best pictures, in full-color. With categorical and alphabetical indexes, locations, links to the original blog posts, and cross-references spread throughout, the e-book is a perfect companion for a trip to Savannah... and you don't need an internet connection to use it!
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