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Savannah Inn Joins PLANET at Arlington National Cemetery for Renewal and Remembrance

June 11, 2012 by Teresa Jacobson

Repairing irrigation system Arlington National Cemetery, 2011

The owners of Azalea Inn and Gardens have a firm commitment to the military: active duty, retired and deceased, to honor their service whereever and whenever possible, and for the second year in a row this Savannah Inn joins PLANET at Arlington National Cememtery for Renewal and Remembrance on July 9, 2012. PLANET is an acronym for Professional Landcare Network, and for 16 years this organization has drawn hundreds of volunteers in the landscape and lawn care profession from  across the country. They spend the day mulching, cabling and installing  lightening protection for trees, pruning, planting, and liming and aerating more than 200 acres. Mike Jacobson is an irrigation specialist and has volunteered to oversee the installation of new irrigation products which are being donated by his employer, Jain Irrigation USA. Last year as one of the Irrigation Association (IA) volunteers Mike (known as Jake at the inn) and Teresa  worked on the addition of new irrigation components at the receiving vault, a historic building dating back to the Civil War. The volunteers and staff also upgraded the irrigation system at the columbarium, where cremated remains are interred.

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Arlington National Cemetery in Tribute to Our Veterans

August 5, 2011 by Teresa Jacobson

Savannah Inn at Arlington

Teresa and Jake at Arlington National Cemetry, Renewal and Remembrance, Irrigation Team

Last week Jake and I returned from a three-day visit in Washington DC as part of a group effort donating time and resources to the beautification of sacred ground – Arlington National Cemetery.   Yesterday we received a certificate of appreciation from PLANET (Professional Landcare Network), the sponsor for the Renewal and Remembrance project at Arlington.  This opportunity was laid before me by my husband, Jake, a member of PLANET and a Regional Sales Manager for Jain USA, a worldwide leader in the manufacturer of quality drip irrigation products for the agricultural, turf, greenhouse, nursery, industrial and landscape markets.  As you are aware there are two very important aspects of our business that we love to share with guests: our eco-friendly nature and our respect, admiration and tribute to our veterans and current members of our military service.

Immediately across from the inn’s reception desk one will find my father’s framed service medals earned during World War II as a gunner’s mate in the United States Navy and in a life-time career with the United States Air Force.  On one side hangs a picture of my paternal grandfather who at age 16 enlisted in the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force and by age 17 had been wounded at the Battle of Vimy Ridge in France and on the other side will soon be a picture of my maternal grandfather who served with the First Newfoundland Regiment (later known as the Royal Newfoundland Regiment) and fought at Ypres (of In Flanders Field fame) in 1918.  A grandchild shared a memory of the only time he could remember my grandfather speaking of the war.  “Wave after wave of our men battled to capture the hill and finally it was ours.  The very men who hours before were shooting at each other were now sharing cigarettes and pictures of family.” He remarked on the senselessness of war – one in which he lost his two best friends from childhood who had all enlisted together.  

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

“I Have Seen War … I Hate War” – FDR

Jake and I visited each war memorial and from each carried the heartache of war, the sense of loss, and yet, a feeling of pride and patriotism and reverence for the sacrifices made and endured.  We especially enjoyed the memorial to FDR and read his inspiring words and found the relevance to today and all that we face – and took faith that we would survive and emerge stronger – if we listen to the wisdom of a man who led our country through the Great Depression and WW2.
At the WW2 Memorial, we looked up my dad’s name and read his story; at the Korean War Memorial we understood a friend’s comment, “It’s haunting”; the Vietnam Memorial – a pain to my eyes and heart; Iwo Jima and the famous flag raising, and finally, the memorial to Women in Service to our Country.  I must remember to add my sister, Sharon, and my own records to the memorial and join our Aunt Petty (Theresa Scott Gleason, sister of our dad) in the memorial.
I will be a part of next year’s renewal working side by side with my husband, other veterans, and children while the sound of taps and the sharp report of rifle fire sounds throughout the day – as we pay tribute to the greatest of America’s heroes.  We also plan to participate again in B&B for Vets (see our blog post from last year) on November 10, 2011, filling our ten-room inn free of charge with veterans (and a guest) as another small gesture of our earned respect, admiration and support.  We will begin accepting telephone reservations from active duty and fully retired military on September 11 as we remember the frailty of our freedom and the courage of those who defend it.
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Azalea Inn and Gardens is proud to be a member of Better Way to Stay and heartily endorses its sponsorship of B&B for Vets campaign. 

New York City Tradition in Savannah

July 14, 2011 by Teresa Jacobson

Shortly after breakfast on July 5, a family from New York City staying with us for four days, inquired if they might use our grill, conveniently located poolside, for an afternoon cookout – a July 4 family tradition that they had to forego while on vacation.  Before I could answer, they threw in a bribe – I was invited to dinner!  Never one to turn down food, and most especially food I don’t have to prepare, I enthusiastically gave permission.  (We have all the basic fixings for any guest who wants to use our grill from salt and pepper to paper plates).   Smiling broadly, Jason and Sandy, and daughters Claire and Nicola, immediately proceeded to invite everyone at the inn to join them around 4 in the afternoon for a barbeque!

Work kept me busy till just after 5:30 and as I toured the last check-in through the backyard and pool area, I was surprised to see my New York family and six other guests gathered around the grill and table, laughing, eating, drinking, and encapsulated with plenty of good cheer.  Once free, I quickly joined the party, helped myself to an ear of corn, and watched amusedly as “Chef Jason” cajoled the last check-in, a couple from Kentucky taking a slow and meandering drive home from Gulfport, Mississippi, to join us.  We quickly grabbed chairs off the nearby decks and made room round the table.

Grilled corn was slathered with butter, while burgers and dogs were joyously consumed.  Jason was the grill commander deftly turning the pork, chicken and steak kabobs over the heat assisted by his youngest, Nicola.  Sandy made sure each new arrival had a drink (white or red wine, or beer) and quickly shooed the children to make room for the adults.  The other guests came and went, on their way to dinner, but a core of us stayed despite the heat:  Sandy, Trevor, Claire and Nicola from NYC (though Sandy and Trevor are from South Africa originally), Patric and Charles from Ohio (celebrating eight years together), Matthew and Allison from W. Virginia (on their honeymoon),  Melissa and Patrick from Illinois (also honeymooners), and Kim and Greg from Kentucky (celebrating his return from Afghanistan).

Soon Scott West, Jason and Sandy’s Savannah connection and the person who referred the family to our inn, arrives and has gifts for the family and one for me!  We passed the delicious Byrd Cookie Company treats around for all to taste, and I snuck inside to fill my tumbler with the Inn’s special Dreamcicle Lemonade (with a dash of Vodka) which I also shared around the table.  Claire and Nicola entertained us (quite beautifully, I might ad) with songs they had learned from several Broadway shows and musicals as well as some songs of the old South, including a song of freedom from slavery!  This prompted a lively discussion around the table, as I am sure you can imagine!  As the evening’s laughter grew and life stories were shared, Jason and Greg left to purchase more beer and wine.  It was at this point that I realized I had better excuse myself as breakfast duty was on my plate for the morning.

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It is moments such as these when guests find kindred spirits and the feeling of family permeates the evening that I realized how blessed I am to do what I do.  There is no doubt, Azalea Inn and Gardens bed and breakfast is a better way to stay*!

*“better way to stay.” is the grassroots campaign of the Professional Association of Innkeepers (PAII) dedicated to helping travelers discover the B&B experience.

Azalea Inn and Gardens Bed and Breakfast, a Savannah, GA Bed and Breakfast

Savannah Inn Cultivates a Garden of Eating – Part 2

April 14, 2011 by Teresa Jacobson

Garden of Eating

What an exciting concept – a small Savannah inn cultivates a Garden of Eating! The same historic bed and breakfast that began a recycling program two years before the city did is breaking new grounds – literally.  Azalea Inn and Gardens has teamed up with local farmer, Adam Mentzer of Adam’s Farm to develop a high-yield square-foot garden in the urban locale of historic Savannah’s former garden district.  In the 2005 commissioned research of 217 E. Huntingdon Street it was discovered that the grounds on which our Inn is located were once part of the original 5-acre garden plots given to each new settler in James Oglethorpe’s Savannah colony.

Several consultations later, Adam presented the innkeepers with a design, a budget and a plan.  Construction began on March 5, compost was hauled in on March 18 and planting commenced on March 24.   Jake designed and installed the irrigation system over the course of those few weeks and completed the installation and hook-up on April 9.  The garden is springing to life with seeded crop pushing leaves through the soil and seedlings taking hold and growing.

We opted for a variety of produce to grace the raised beds installed throughout the small plot area choosing many varieties of tomato (Brandymaster Pink, Morning Light yellow, Cherokee Purple, Amana Orange and Supersweets), members of the squash family (cucumber, gourd Cucuzzi snake, 8-Ball Squash, Zucchini,  and two forms of eggplant), the melon family (Galia, Athena, and other curcurbits),  peppers including Aristocrat and Anastar along with Ancients, several beans (Kentucky blue pole and purple and yellow bush beans) and a variety of root crop from scarlet queen red turnips to fennel and carrots and potatoes.

We also threw in some strawberry varieties for good measure and a bed dedicated to herbs.  Finally, a customer of Jake’s, a blueberry farmer, had given us four plants and we were pleased to see they were beginning to put forth fruit.

We are excited to see how our garden grows and the delight we anticipate in the eyes and on the palates of our guests as they enjoy the bounty of “Our Garden of Eating” at our inn.

Mom, I Will Love You Forever – A Tribute to Mom Contest

April 10, 2011 by Teresa Jacobson

The boys my mother nutured - grandsons Joshua and Nathan

Mom, I will love you forever.” is the subject line in an email I received from my son once upon a time, and is part of the  inspiration for this Tribute to Mom contest.

Years ago, perhaps six, my youngest son, Joshua, sent me an email for Mother’s Day in which he shared with me a glimpse at his life as my son, and the influences I had in making him the man he had grown into, and his words, his loving words, still brings on smiles and tears together – he was all of 23.  He has since married and is the father of two decidedly beautiful girls. 

A few years after this, and before I had granddaughters, my oldest son, Nathan, asked what I wanted for Mother’s Day, or maybe it was my birthday??  No matter now, but what I wanted was a grandchild.  I don’t mind telling you that I was fairly relentless in my pursuit of being “Gram.”  As usual, he sighed as he told me no, they weren’t ready.  I reminded him that I didn’t raise such a wonderful man, a loving husband, to not leave an imprint in the world – he is the kind of person who should be a dad.  I think this was the time that he told me I can’t ask that question anymore because I made my poor little daughter-in-law uncomfortable.  

What did I get that year? – My second choice on my short list of two.  He began to write a story about growing up as my son, his poignant memories of the loss of his family when his dad and I divorced, the love my brothers and sisters showered on him and his brother, my mother, the first Gram, and her love and influence on all of us.  In the fourth grade he wrote an essay about the one person he would like to keep alive forever.  “She has brownish gray hair and a little bit of wrinkles on her face and hands.  She has happy green eyes and she is my Gram.”  There is more to the tale he wrote, a special tribute to one of the strongest women in his life;  I read this story at my mother’s funeral.

My mother and four of her daughters

Today, I share these stories with you because I challenge you to create a tribute to the mother in your life and share that tale with me.  You may share it on this blog, or send it to me privately at  On Mother’s Day the staff at Azalea Inn and Gardens will pick one special story to share with its readers and the writer will win a 2-night stay at our inn complete with all the “fixins”, wine and hors d’oeuvres, gourmet breakfast, nightly home-baked dessert and the loving company of our ambassador, Joey the Yorkie! 

This giveaway ends at midnight on May 6, 2011. (May not be combined with any other specials, packages, or deals; taxes are the responsibility of the winner.)

Welcome to Our Garden of Eating – Part 1

April 5, 2011 by Teresa Jacobson

[singlepic id=172 w=320 h=240 float=left]I spent a bit of yesterday trying to take pictures of our garden… of eating… but found that the pictures were not inspirational.  I squatted close to buds peeping from the grounds, noting the similarities between melon, squash and eggplant spouts.  Beans, whether purple bush, yellow bush or Kentucky Blue, were equally difficult to differentiate.  Thankfully, our consultant farmer, Adam, gave us a layout of the gardens.  But still… my excitement at planting produce for use in the inn was not being magically translated to these flat images.  I needed to be reminded of why we had undertaken such a large project for our tiny urban footprint.

[singlepic id=170 w=160 h=120 float=right]I pulled pictures of last year’s bounty, and it short-lived existence, which produced the desired effect.  I remembered.  I can now compare our minimalist garden plot of last year to Azalea Inn and Garden’s new mini-mini farm situated in the tight space that comprises the long narrow building lots of the downtown historic Savannah and the incorporation of the old plot in a new and more productive way.  Last year’s “Let’s give it a whirl” garden yielded an abundance of tomatoes (Sweet 100’s, Big Boy, Pink Brandywine, to name a few),  fragrant basil, tarragon, sage, dill, chives, garlic chives and lavender, a tiny crop of green peppers, one lone stalk of asparagus, scallions, and near the end of summer, six cantaloupes of varying sizes.

[singlepic id=171 w=160 h=120 float=left]We put our largesse to good use: roasted cherry and yellow teardrops tomatoes for Eggs Pomodoro, chopped herbes into everything imaginable, used up the bell peppers in two batches of Confetti Potatoes, left the asparagus for next year (hopefully), and served the cantaloupes proudly mixed with watermelon and topped with a ginger-lime syrup (house made, of course).  We were quite frankly sad to turn the earth over at the end of the season and return to buying produce.

In early March of  this year, we attended a “Met Your Makers” dinner at the local “earth-to-table” restaurant, Cha Bella, to meet the producers /growers of all things nurtured by the earth (or nutured in loving hands of dairy farmers and artisan bread craftsmen) and used at the restaurant.  There we met Adam Metzger of Adam’s Farm, the young up and coming hydroponics producer of all things vegetable for use at Cha Bella.   Adam was more than willing to take on an urban garden project in historic Savannah, as long as we were willing to get dirty too.

Part 2:  Design, build, plant.   Coming soon.

Thanksgiving Dinner at Azalea Inn and Gardens B&B

November 27, 2010 by Teresa Jacobson

Thanksgiving Dinner in Savannah 2010

Hosting Thanksgiving dinner at Azalea Inn and Gardens Bed and Breakfast in Savannah GA this year was a blessing with the return of old friends (John and Regina, John and Stella) and the welcoming of new ones (David and Peg, Thomas and Barbara).  Though this year’s group was the smallest of the six we have enjoyed in the past, the smaller size allowed Jake and I to relax and enjoy the meal with our guests in a way that felt more like a family dinner.   The conversations throughout the evening were diverse, free-flowing and wonderful, laughter rang abundantly throughout the night.  For 2010, we were delighted to include wine pairing as part of the menu as a surprise for our dinner companions and I do believe it was a hit!

It has been a wonderful year and we are grateful for its bounty. We are thankful to the staff, Kimberly and Kolin, who worked extra hard and long to prepare all the food we enjoyed and to Catherine for volunteering to work on Thanksgiving making serving and cleanup easier.  We are thankful to our guests for daring to break tradition and share dinner with strangers – though certainly strangers no more.  We are thankful for another year of prosperity.  We are thankful to have a future to look forward to – perhaps next year you will be amongst our new friends, or returning as one of our old friends.

Book your next holiday at our Savannah Georgia Bed and Breakfast or give a Gift Card for Christmas to a friend or loved one.

Wine I like my job.

September 16, 2010 by Teresa Jacobson

Here I am again.  I’m sure you sympathize with my plight – experiencing two wine trade shows in 10 days – tasting more wines than I have fingers or toes – being solely responsible for sampling and eventually purchasing the wines upon which Azalea Inn and Gardens must rest a portion of her reputation.  Sigh.

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Savannah Innkeeper Vacation in Newfoundland’s Bonavista

August 5, 2010 by Teresa Jacobson

The continuing tale of innkeepers, Teresa and Jake of Azalea Inn and Gardens of Savannah, Georgia, as they take you on vacation with them!

As we headed to Bonavista Peninsula, we had our second moose sighting – a cow and two calves along the TransCanada Highway about 20 minutes outside Gander. It was quite apparent there was something to be seen as cars were pulling over on both sides of the roads and folks were pulling out cameras. We joined the tourist frenzy and at the moment we stopped the car they bolted into the tree line and the only evidence of their passing was the swaying of the surrounding vegetation. Continuing on our way, we arrived in Trinity late afternoon, swinging south to Dunfield. A relatively narrow road led the way along the steep edges of the bay dipping down into a small village of no more than 20 homes, and our final destination, Rolling Hills B&B, the beautifully restored family home of Ed and Maggie. Ed grew up in this quaint town and once retired was anxious to return to the peaceful ways of his hometown, where family, fishing and hunting were still a way of life and no doors were locked against your neighbors.

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Azalea Inn and Gardens in Newfoundland

August 5, 2010 by Teresa Jacobson

Savannah Georgia Innkeepers, Teresa and Jake of Azalea Inn and Gardens, continue their journey through her mother’s homeland.

Days 5 and 6: Grand Falls, my mom’s hometown

We arrived early afternoon slipping off the TransCanada Highway at the Lincoln Road exit.  I could not for the life of me remember the street number of my grandparents last home together, but I was able to recognize landmarks and before we knew it I was hollering at Jake to “turn here!”  The home my mom grew up in burned down many years ago and my grandparents built a small ranch in its place which looked the same though perhaps a bit worn down. Have you ever noticed that once you root yourself in a place you left so long ago that suddenly you know you are ”home?”  I still needed a map, however, to find my way round as the Grand Falls of my childhood, or even the one I last saw 13 years ago had changed too much.  Nearby was a hotel and I knew the owners knew my
mom’s family. As is typical of Newfoundlanders, the owners were only too happy to provide us with a map of the town and clear directions to the homes of several aunts and uncles as well as to both the Genealogical Society and the Legion Hall where I would be sure to find some family history, pictures and artifacts. Next we found our way to the place we would call home for the next two nights, the Carriage Inn Bed and Breakfast, located only 2 km from the home of my mother’s brother, Bill, where the rest of my siblings would gather either later that evening or in the morning before the service for mom.

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