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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!

Amazon Kindle

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)

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

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

Helicopter Tour Savannah
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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)

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)

Spanish Moss: Neither Spanish nor Moss

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I clearly remember the first time we entered Savannah, and turned onto 37th Street, where we would be living for three months. Huge oak trees canopied the street and random rays of sunlight squeezed past the Spanish moss, which hung apathetically off branches like the embodiment of sorrow. Years from now, when I shut my eyes and think “Savannah,” Spanish moss washed in sunlight will be what I see.

New Spanish Moss

Spanish moss doesn’t come from Spain. It’s indigenous to the Southeastern US, with a range between Florida, Maryland and Texas. There are a bunch of stories for why it’s named after the Spanish, but the most likely explanation is that the newly-arrived British thought this odd, mossy plant looked like the graying beards of their Spanish rivals.

And not only is Spanish moss not Spanish, it also isn’t a moss. It’s an airborne plant which takes its nutrients directly from the air. It’s actually a member of the same family as the pineapple, which is just bizarre enough to be true. Spanish moss doesn’t harm the trees it rests on, which are predominately Live Oaks and Bald Cypresses.

One of the first things we learned in Savannah was not to touch the Spanish moss, because of the red, biting bugs which live on it. Of course, this lesson was learned immediately after we had fashioned a “hilarious” moss coat for our dog, and wigs for ourselves.

I’ve often wondered to what extent the Spanish moss unconsciously influences life in the South. It fits perfectly in Savannah, creating an atmosphere of mystery and beauty, and it’s impossible to imagine the city without it.

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New Spanish Moss
New Spanish Moss
New Spanish Moss
New Spanish Moss
New Spanish Moss
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January 24, 2011 at 7:56 pm Comments (6)

Wright Square

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After Johnson, Savannah’s second square was laid out in 1733 and named after the Irish politician John Percival, who was involved in the founding of Georgia. Later, however, Percival Square was renamed in honor of Georgia’s last royal governor James Wright.

Wright Square Savannah

The marble monument in the middle of the square is to William Washington Gordon, a successful businessman and politician, who was highly-regarded among Savannah society. When he died, his influential friends suggested that the city honor him with a lavish memorial in Wright Square. “There should be no trouble”, they reasoned. “Right now, there are just some Injun bones.”

These weren’t just any Indian bones, though; they were the remains of Tomochichi, who had been buried in the center of the square 144 years prior. The leader of the Yamacraw Tribe had worked with Oglethorpe during Savannah’s harrowing first years, helping the fledgling colony survive, and the city had repaid his kindness with a burial ground in the center of one of its primary squares.

Memory-Tomo-Chi-Chi

When Gordon’s monument was erected over the bones of Tomochichi, most of the city’s citizens were outraged. In consolation, a memorial stone was placed in a corner of Wright Square, and the nearby Tomochichi Federal Building was named in his honor. Not enough, if you ask me.

There’s always something going on in Wright Square. During our time in Savannah, the northernmost bench in the square was always occupied a big old guy, singing a sort of ad-hoc blues. “Girl, you done me wrong. Girl, why you do that to me? Girl, I wish you was dead“. On our return to Savannah, five years later, he was still there… and his song hadn’t change. Man, that girl must have really done him wrong.

Location on our Savannah Map

Historical Sketch Of Tomo-Chi-Chi

Wright Square Savannah
Wright Square Savannah
Savannah Train
Greetings from Savannah
Impressive Tree Savannah
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January 20, 2011 at 7:53 pm Comments (7)

Old Fort Jackson

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In 1808, with relations between Britain and our fledgling country quickly deteriorating, President Thomas Jefferson ordered the construction of Old Fort Jackson to protect the important port city of Savannah. Named for revolutionary hero James “Left Eye” Jackson, it was ready in time for the War of 1812, but never needed.

Fort Savannah

Decades later, with the outbreak of the Civil War, the fort was quickly seized by Confederate troops. It was a powerful deterrent against the Union army who had seized Fort Pulaski out near Tybee Island, and protected Savannah from direct attack. During the war’s final days, Sherman reached Savannah and easily seized the fort. But before abandoning Fort Jackson, the Confederates destroyed everything useful inside.

So Fort Jackson hasn’t seen much battle in its 200-year history, meaning that despite its age, it’s remarkably well-preserved. Just a few minutes from the city center, it’s a cool place to spend an hour and relive history. It was purchased by the Coastal Heritage Society in 1920 and completely restored in the 70s. Today, tourists can visit a museum in the fort’s rooms and witness a daily cannon firing.

Old Fort Jackson is less interesting than Fort Pulaski, if only because it never participated in any battles. But it’s much closer to the city, so makes a great option if you’re short on time and are itching to get into an old fort.

Location on our Savannah Map
Old Fort Jackson – Official Site

The Forts That Defended America

Visit Savannah
Old Fort Jackson
Savannah Fort
Fort Jackson Canon
Canon Stuffer
Savannah Rifle
Savannah Office Space
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Fort Jackson Savannah

Map of Savannah

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January 19, 2011 at 6:04 pm Comments (4)

Ellis Square

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Laid out in 1733, Ellis Square has the distinction of being one of Oglethorpe’s original four squares, along with Johnson, Telfair and Wright. It also has the distinction of being the most singularly ugly of all Savannah’s squares.

Ellis Square

In 1954, before the historic preservation movement really got going, Ellis Square was sold to business interests that demolished it and built a parking lot. It’s actually an ironic twist, that Ellis Square might be sold off and lose its dignity. Before the Civil War, this was the site of Savannah’s slave market. Karma can be tough.

The parking company’s 50-year lease ended in 2004 and Savannah wasted no time in redeveloping the square. But from an aesthetic viewpoint, there’s little doubt they did a poor job with the development. Perhaps they wanted something more modern and daring, but Ellis has none of its siblings’ charm. With plain cement in a circular shape and a total lack of vegetation, most tourists don’t even realize they’re in one of Savannah’s most historic spots.

The chintzy tourism zone of City Market sprouts off to the west of Ellis Square, where a statue of Johnny Mercer leans happily against his fire hydrant, And Paula Deen’s The Lady and Sons is nearby. But unless you’re desperate for a bench to stretch out on, after consuming too much greasy food, there’s not much reason to spend time in Ellis.

Location on our Savannah Map

Listen more to Johnny Mercer

Savannah New
Mercer Statue
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January 13, 2011 at 6:17 pm Comments (6)

Monterey Square

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One of the most beautiful squares in Savannah is Monterey, named in honor of the Mexican-American War’s 1846 Battle of Monterey. With a memorial to Casmir Pulaski in its center, classic buildings surrounding it, and more than its share of local lore, Monterey is one of our favorites.

Monterey Square Savannah

The most famous house on Monterey Square is the Mercer-Williams House, where Jim Williams shot Danny Hansford dead, as detailed in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Clint Eastwood’s movie adaptation was filmed on location here, instantly making the Mercer-Williams house the most well-known in all of Savannah. Contrary to popular belief, Johnny Mercer never lived here, although it was his family that built the house.

Monterey Square Savannah

Across the square is the Congregation Mickve Israel, the only Gothic synagogue in America, with one of the oldest Jewish congregations in the USA. Oglethorpe’s colonial Georgia had welcomed Jewish immigrants with open arms, and some of the city’s original settlers were Spanish and Portuguese Jews fleeing Catholic persecution. One of them brought a handwritten copy of the Torah, known as a Sefer Torah, which is still used today for special occasions.

Just as the statue of Oglethorpe is in Chippewa and not Oglethorpe Square, the obelisk honoring revolutionary war hero Casimir Pulaski should probably be in Pulaski Square, but it’s a magnificent tribute regardless. Pulaski was Polish, and played a major part in the American Revolution, helping develop our nation’s nascent cavalry. He died in Savannah, and the city has pulled out all the stops to honor him: an obelisk, a square and even a fort out near Tybee Island.

Location on our Savannah map

The Music of Johnny Mercer

Monterey Square Savannah
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Monterey Square Savannah
Savannah Squares
This is Savannah
Walking Winter Tour
I love Savannah
Pulaski Monument
Casimir Pulaski
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Pulaski Statue
Hell Gate
Jewish Monterey Square
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Savannah Photographer
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Arabic Savannah
Savannah Haus
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United Community
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January 6, 2011 at 6:12 pm Comments (6)

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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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