To the right of the central hallway is the opulent dining room where guests are seated at an 1820 Sheraton dining table acquired from the Marshall Fields estate, Chelsea Plantation, in Beaufort. Here, visitors can enjoy a hearty breakfast prepared by Dr. Wall from plantation recipes passed down from Savannah and Charleston families and served on elegant china. The Stephen Williams House's signature breakfast is the Bride's Breakfast; an egg and sausage casserole served with fresh fruit, croissants, and Madeira jelly that is made on the premises. Juice and coffee are served from a handsome 1810 Baltimore Sheraton sideboard that had once been in the Mercer House.

If you prefer, you can eat in the brick and limestone garden. Like everything else at the Stephen Williams House, reconstruction of the garden was thoughtfully and accurately carried out. An architecturally interesting wall encloses the tranquil space containing old plum and sycamore trees. A carved lion gently trickles water into a goldfish pond below. Sitting in the garden chairs in this soothing atmosphere is a Zen moment I highly recommend for the weary sightseer.

Individual guest suites vary in size and configuration but all are uniquely and exquisitely decorated with lush fabrics, antiques and reproductions. Frette bed linens, waffle weave robes, thick Portuguese towels and Bronnley bath products are provided. There is a nightly turndown service complete with chocolates on the pillow. The staff is unobtrusive and yet Dr. Wall appears, as if he can read your mind, when you want to ask where to shop, dine, sightsee, or experience Savannah nightlife. He can even help those who want to venture off the beaten path to absorb the city's folklore or, perhaps, eavesdrop on the yarns and stories that give Savannah its enchanting patina.

However you choose to experience all that Savannah has to offer, the Stephen Williams House is not to be missed. It truly is, as the Historic Savannah Foundation claims, an absolute treasure.

The Stephen Williams House   128 West Liberty Street, Savannah, Georgia 31401  912-495-0032

Reprinted with permission from "n the magazine of naples" february 2004