Savannah’s just a big ol’ speakeasy, isn’t it?
A guest of ours said the line above not too long ago when I was describing how one of my favourite locations used to be a...
Bob McAlister, creator of Savannah’s Bed & Breakfast Inn, was an entrepreneur and a man of vision. Moving here in the mid-1970’s to become the Budget Director for the City of Savannah and being a lover of history, he purchased and began to renovate 117 West Gordon (which was in terrible shape) one room at a time. The B&B began with just one room and through the years the Inn grew as he acquired additional buildings in Gordon Row. The row houses were built in 1853 in the Federalist style and Bob and Mary have tried to maintain the ambiance of that period mixed with modern day amenities.
Sadly Bob died in November of 2015, but he left a wonderful legacy. His service to the City of Savannah as Budget Director included winning national awards for his outstanding budget presentations. He served as Chief of Staff for Mayor Susan Weiner, and later became a lobbyist for Chatham County, the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum and Nurse Practitioners. He believed passionately in serving the community and making a difference.
Bob’s local entanglements included the Coastal Scottish Heritage Society, St. Andrews Society, the St. Patrick’s Day parade committee, Leadership Savannah, the Navy League, Coastal Heritage Society, the Board of the Georgia International Maritime Trade Center, the Board of the Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless and the Downtown Neighborhood Association.
But that is the ordinary stuff, and Bob was anything but ordinary! He had the amazing ability to talk to anyone about anything and actually know what he was talking about! His ability to absorb information, process it and share it was phenomenal - one of the things that made him such a wonderful friend and conversationalist. He relished discussions of history, cultures, politics and various religions. Being an avid reader, he amassed a personal collection of over 10,000 books. He was featured on Book TV in June of 2011, “A Tour of Bob McAlister’s Private Book Collection.”
Political strategizing was a subject he excelled in and he was often “the Go To Man” for local and state candidates and politicians. Sitting in the courtyard at the Inn, smoking a cigar, and chatting with friends was an ideal afternoon well spent. He is missed by the many whose lives were fortunate enough to be touched by his.
Bob often said that the smartest thing he ever did was to marry Mary Watson, his best friend and world traveling companion. Mary was Director of the Rape Crisis Center for 32 years, retiring several years ago. Involvement with the gardening and decorating at the Inn has always been her “therapy” and now she is much more involved since Bob’s passing. Their daughter, Holly, assists with breakfast and is “mother” to the Inn kitties.
Mary and the staff hope that you will feel at home and enjoy the friendly, family atmosphere at the Inn.
Mary McAlister tending her charming courtyard gardens.