Meet the Innkeepers
I fell in love with Savannah during an overnight visit on my way to Charleston for a graduation. It was May 2001 and my then boyfriend and I planned the stop to visit with my son, Nathan, a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design. I was also somewhat new to the world of B&B vacationing and enthusiastic about sleeping in a Southern mansion! I knew very little about the city my son chose for his education, which led us to hop on board the Old Savannah Tours for a 90-minute introduction. Simply stated, I fell in love – enchanted with the history, the architecture, the stories, the squares.
The next March, 2002, I married that wonderful man and together we chose Savannah as our honeymoon destination. For six days we inhaled everything Savannah, guided by our hosts at the Azalea Inn, the very same B&B we had spent the night in nine months prior. Every night of our stay was a different restaurant, and each day we indulged in walking or riding tours, delightful local luncheon eateries, focus tours that filled our hearts and souls with tales of wars, love, architecture, and even a bit of scandal. Even today some of these remain dear to us as we make suggestions to our own guests: Alligator Soul, Sapphire Grill, Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House, Architectural Tours of Savannah, and Old Savannah Tours.
We spent the following three years visiting Savannah at every opportunity, and a move from San Diego to Jacksonville, Florida made the visits more frequent. My son (and soon to be daughter-in-law) graduated in June of 2004, but that didn’t slow the pace of our visits. Savannah is infectious, a spell-weaver, a captivating soul. We couldn’t get enough of her. In late 2004, a serendipitous conversation with the owners of Azalea Inn changed our lives – the inn was for sale. In August of 2005 we passed papers on our home and business renaming her Azalea Inn and Gardens.
The passage of the years has not altered my love and passion for Savannah. If anything, it continues to grow as I share her graces with visitors from around the States and around the globe. My life has been blessed with some indescribably delightful people, laughter and tears, and the everyday satisfaction that we have shared Savannah’s beauty and grace with our guests who call this inn “home”.
Almost daily, a guest will ask me, “How did you end up in Savannah running a bed and breakfast? Was it your lifelong dream to do this?” The answer to the first question has a pretty long answer but the second is easy. “No.” Honestly, the thought of owning and running a bed and breakfast had never crossed my mind until a few years before I ended up here and even that was not a serious thought, just some abstract notion. To answer the first question would take too long so just say, there were a whole lot of circumstances that led me to this house and Savannah. If any one of them had changed at all I probably would not be here. Thank goodness it didn’t.
From the minute I arrived in Savannah I was smitten. This lovely city immediately drew me in. The same can be said for our home. After being in the house for only a few hours I was touched by its eclectic past and its wonderful friendly vibe. It just exudes a welcoming feel. I know it sounds strange to talk about a house in that manner but it is truly a living breathing thing just like Savannah herself. We spent a weekend looking at houses and exploring the city. It was a wondrous adventure. The lady Savannah had woven her spell and I was hooked. We actually made an offer on the house two days later and the owners said yes. That was the beginning of my glorious adventure as the owner of the Zeigler House and the host to its many guests.
Every day I have the honor of welcoming others into my home and introducing them to our amazing city. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing at this time in my life. It truly is a pleasure to watch guest after guest being captivated by Savannah’s charm and to hear them say they couldn’t wait to come home at the end of the day to the Zeigler House Inn. I guess the greatest gift is the guests who come back year after year to their home away from home. What could be better?