Shop Locally in Savannah and Richmond Hill this Season

The holiday season is upon us. Ads for Black Friday and Cyber Monday are already vying for our attention. While you’re out please remember to shop locally in Savannah and Richmond Hill this Season!

Shop Locally in Savannah and Richmond Hill this Season

Shop Locally

As the name suggests the Savannah Bee Company is a local business that grew from a passion of bees, beekeeping and honey. Their products range from delicious honey and beauty products to pottery and gifts. An important part of their business model includes bee education and a sustainable business practices. For more information please visit their website or one of their retail locations.

Looking for some of the best chocolate in coastal Georgia? Visit All Things Chocolate and More in Richmond Hill. Specializing in truffles and cannoli, they invite you in to sample their assorted chocolates, creams, jellies, caramels and my personal favorite chocolate covered strawberries. Please note they are closed on Mondays.

All Things Georgia is located in the heart of the tourist district in Savannah – City Market. Everything they sell; handmade quilts, jams & jellies, olive oils, wines and many more items are all made or grown right here in Georgia.

The Furniture Parlor in Richmond Hill Georgia carries consignment furniture, decor items and accessories. There are plenty of unique gift options and the shop showcases plenty of decor ideas and inspiration. Please note that the store is closed Sundays and Mondays.

Looking for a piece of art? Visit the A.T. Hun Gallery owned by artist Chuck Hamilton. The Gallery boasts an eclectic collection of local and international artists in a fun and friendly atmosphere. Chuck, a fan of all things The Big Lebowski showcases a series inspired by the movie.

For a truly southern lifestyle shopping experience visit Ellas in Richmond Hill. The shop showcases decor, gifts and garden accessories.

Do you have a local shop you like to support with your holiday shopping? Please share in the comment section below.

Melanie Kramer Keller Williams Realty Coastal Area Partners
912-459-5001 Office
912-658-1390 Cell Direct Melanie Kramer Coastal Georgia Realtor

Events in Savannah and Richmond Hill November 2015

November is a great time to check out the joys of Coastal Living. Savannah and Richmond Hill are brimming with activities and holiday decorations give the area a festive feel.

Events in Savannah and Richmond Hill November

Events in Savannah and Richmond Hill November

Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Marathon and 1/2 Marathon will take place this weekend. The downtown historic and surrounding areas will be blocked off for most of Saturday morning. If you’re not familiar with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Series it differs in that every few miles a live band will be playing music to help cheer the runners on. The finish line is in Forsyth Park and will also feature live bands. For a better idea road closures please take a look at this course map.

Georgia is home to fantastic breweries and The Hopped Up on Georgia Brews annual festival is a great way to try them all. Visit River Street Saturday the 7th from 2-6pm with your runner’s bib and receive a discount on your VIP tickets.

The Savannah Food and Wine Festival is a week long celebration running November 9th through the 15th. Check out the various locations and be sure to take in this year’s newest event: The Worlds Largest Lowcountry Boil which will take place the same day as the marathon.

Savannah’s Children’s Book Festival returns Saturday the 14th from 10 until 4 in Forsyth Park.

The Boat Parade of Lights is a do not miss event on the water front. On the evening of the 28th, 35+ lighted vessels will parade the river accompanied by live music and a fireworks display.

Melanie Kramer Keller Williams Realty Coastal Area Partners
912-459-5001 Office
912-658-1390 Cell Direct Melanie Kramer Coastal Georgia Realtor

Pet Groomers in Savannah and Richmond Hill Georgia

A healthy, happy pet is often a well groomed one. We love our fur babies, so before we hand them over to someone new for grooming it is important we find someone we trust.

A professional groomer is skilled in safely handling our pets and are often the first to discover lumps or infections.

How to find new pet groomers in SavannahWhen you move to a new town you do not always have a network of family and friends to ask questions and secure referrals with.

How to Choose a Pet Groomer

  1. A little research online and with the Better Business Bureau may uncover any issues you’d encounter with a pet grooming facility. Although some groomers may have certifications, there is no government body that registers or regulates these licenses.
  2. Evaluate and tour the pet groomer’s location. A few things to consider:
    • Is the facility well lit and clean?
    • How knowledgeable and caring are the staff?
    • Does the staff handle the animals gently?
    • Does the facility keep records on their pets, including emergency contact numbers?
    • Are there separate areas for dogs and cats
  3. If your pet gets nervous before a visit it may help to prepare him for the pet groomer by training him with a grooming routine. It will also help to quickly drop your pet off at the groomers. Emotional goodbyes tend to increase anxiety.
  4. It’s good practice to have your pet’s vaccinations up to date before leaving them with your pet groomer.
  5. Share all important information with your groomer when making the appointment, the age of your pet, any health concerns, and any special requirements.

Pet Groomers in Savannah

The Savannah Groom Room is located at 2615 Skidaway Road just off Victory Drive. Their number is (912) 341-3992 and are open 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday and closed on the weekends. Here your pet gets individual attention in a stress-free environment where they do not have to share appointments with any other pets.

Animal Resort & Spa is located at 2357 Ogeechee Rd, Savannah, GA 31415. They can be reached at (912) 234-5931. Their hours are 7:30am to 7:00pm Monday through Friday, 8am – 2pm on Saturday and 12pm – 1pm on Sunday. Along with offering grooming for dogs and cats, they also offer boarding and a daycare facility. Appointments and reservations are required.

The Grooming Center at Petsmart is located at 11132 Abercorn St, Savannah, GA 31419. Their number is (912) 925-1116 and are open 9am to 9pm Monday through Saturday with Sunday hours from 10am to 7pm. The grooming staff here are great with a variety of pet temperaments and are sensitive to your pets needs.

Pet Groomers in Richmond Hill

PawParazzi Pet Boutique is located at 11360 Ford Ave in Richmond Hill. They can be reached at (912) 756-8807. Their hours are 9am to 5pm Monday through Saturday. They are closed Sundays. Along with grooming, their shop offers the very best a pet lover can give their fur baby.

Melanie Kramer Keller Williams Realty Coastal Area Partners
912-459-5001 Office
912-658-1390 Cell Direct Melanie Kramer Coastal Georgia Realtor

4th of July Fireworks and Festivities in Savannah

There are plenty of fireworks and festivities to participate in this weekend in the Savannah and Richmond Hill Areas.

fireworks and festivitiesFireworks & Festivities

River Street Fourth of July Celebration – 4 – 10pm Live music starts at 4pm. Bring your chairs and blankets to secure your spot. Fireworks start as soon after 9pm. First Friday Oyster Roast at the Westin will follow it’s normal schedule.

Fourth of July Cruises – There are a few options to tour the Savannah River during the fireworks display. From there hours cruises offer dinner, to one and half hour cruises with snacks and open bar. Please check with Savannah’s Riverboat Cruises for availability.

Tybee Island Fireworks – Tybee Island celebrates America’s birthday July 3rd. The island fills up quickly, so plan to get there early and stay late. The fireworks start around 9:15pm. They are staged on the pier but can be easily viewed by from any of Tybee’s Eastern Beaches.

The Sand Gnats play the Charleston Riverdogs at Grayson Stadium Friday July 3rd. Doors open at 6pm and the first pitch is 7:05pm. There will be fireworks after the game.

In Richmond Hill, the 4th of July celebrations take place at J. F. Gregory Park  July 3rd from 5 – 9:30pm. The festival atmosphere includes live music, great food as well as a Farmers Market. The evening with end with the traditional fireworks display.

Happy 4th!

Melanie Kramer Keller Williams Realty Coastal Area Partners
912-459-5001 Office
912-658-1390 Cell Direct Melanie Kramer Coastal Georgia Realtor

RJ Reynolds Construction

RJ Reynolds Construction is owned by John Reynolds and Butch Reynolds – passionate home builders located here in Richmond Hill, Georgia.

RJ Reynolds Construction

Home is a little word that holds a tremendous amount of emotion. RJ Reynolds Construction is lead by a deep passion to ensure that each and every home they build is personally crafted to fit your life. And that you never feel as if one of the biggest purchases you’ll make in life is a cookie-cutter. Living by their tag line, Your Home. Our Passion., John and Butch offer a great new-construction home experience that is as stress free and hassle free as possible; and an end product that will display their care and craftsmanship and reflects your wants and needs.

Owners of JR Reynolds Construction

Savannah Natives John Reynolds (left) and Butch Reynolds (right)

RJ Reynolds offers unique features you often will not find anywhere else, such as:

  • multi-tiered tray ceilings that include perimeter lighting
  • high-end entrance ways
  • quality flooring and premium name brand paints

These details bring an extra level of customization to your home. Looking for ideas for your dream home. Browse through the Reynolds gallery of work for inspiration.

For more information about RJ Reynolds Construction Homes please contact Melanie Kramer at 912-658-1390 or

Melanie Kramer Keller Williams Realty Coastal Area Partners
912-459-5001 Office
912-658-1390 Cell Direct Melanie Kramer Coastal Georgia Realtor

Summer in Savannah – June

With Memorial Day behind us and the last school bell rung we can officially say the unofficial start to summer in Savannah is upon us.

And summer is the perfect time for making memories with the family. Here are a few family friendly events to put on your June calendar.

summer in savannah june 2015

Summer in Savannah

June 5-7 marks the 2nd annual Savannah Blues Weekend on Riverstreet. Local restaurants and catering companies share their best from the smoke pit while southern blues and smooth jazz fills the air all weekend. Check the website for the entertainment schedule.

June 6th the Exchange Club of Richmond Hill will host the Annual Kid’s Fishing Derby. Celebrating its 25th year, the fishing derby is free and open to children 15 and under. Check the website for admission forms and information

Enjoy live original music? The Savannah Songwriters have been hosting an original in the round format at Johnny Harris for the last few years. First Friday of the month Johnny Harris opens their round room to local and touring songwriters sharing their original music and the stories behind the songs. Check the website for the entertainment schedule.

June 16-17 Sesame Street Live visits the Savannah Civic Center celebrating friendship, cultural similarities with lots of singing and dancing. Visit the Civic Center’s website for more details.

Friday on the Train is hosted every 3rd Friday through the summer at The Station Exchange in Richmond Hill. This is a free community event. Bring your lawn chairs or blankets and enjoy the entertainment, food and fun. Next event is June 19th. Check their Facebook page for more information.

June 20th marks the return of Movies in the Park. Every third Saturday in June and July at Memorial Park on Tybee Island a family friendly movie is projected on the side of the Tybee Gym. Check the website for details.

Come for a visit and want to stay longer? Whether a permanent move or a vacation home, I’d love to help find your dream home!

Melanie Kramer Keller Williams Realty Coastal Area Partners
912-459-5001 Office
912-658-1390 Cell Direct Melanie Kramer Coastal Georgia Realtor

Savannah Major Employers

Although we are known for our port, tourism and health systems, Savannah’s Major Employers cover a variety of industries.

savannah major employers

Savannah Major Employers

With a new confidence in the job market, the percentage of people relocating for work in the US is on the rise (35% in 2013).

In Savannah Major Employers such as Gulfstream employ upward of 4500 and Memorial Health Medical Center and St. Joseph’s/Candler employ 8900.

Military related employment includes civilian personnel on the bases and can employee between 2000 – 5000.

Retail stores, such as Walmart, Kroger and fast food giants such as McDonalds also fall into the higher employer category, while Target and Publix employee 2000 respectively.

For more information on top employers in the area please visit The Savannah Area Chamber. The Champer shares a breakdown of manufacturing, non manufacturing and educational industries on their website.

If you are relocating to the Savannah / Richmond Hill area I’d love to help you find your perfect coastal empire home. Please contact Melanie Kramer at 912-658-1390 or

Melanie Kramer Keller Williams Realty Coastal Area Partners
912-459-5001 Office
912-658-1390 Cell Direct Melanie Kramer Coastal Georgia Realtor

St Patrick’s Day in Savannah Georgia

It’s hard to miss St Patrick’s Day in Savannah. Even school is out that day!

Of course St. Patrick’s Day celebrations tend to extend the full month of March in Savannah. From turning the fountains green to celebrations on River Street to family fun afternoons, March is a wonderful time to visit Savannah. Did I mention the azaleas are in full bloom and color is everywhere. If you’re done with winter white, now is the time to see the Hostess City in all it’s glory.

St Patricks Day Parade in Savannah

St Patrick’s Day Parade

The Parade is held on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th (rain or shine) and will start at 10:15 and run til about 2:30.

2015 marks our 191th year of celebrating Irish culture.

The parade starts on Abercorn Street near Forsyth Park and heading toward the River turns right on Broughton Street, Left on East Broad Street, Left on Bay Street and then left to run back up Bull Street.  This map may help orient you to the route.

The parade features local businesses, the Clydesdale Express and many military, and public service bands, and Veterans so be sure to bring your red lipstick.

Many roads will be closed leading up to the parade. Plan accordingly. Most of the parking garages offer parking from $5 – $20 a car, but those fill up quickly. Often you’ll be parking a few (to many) blocks away. Think comfortable shoes.

Bleachers are available along Bay Street, by the Colonial Cemetery and by the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. $25 per seat ($30 the day of the parade).

Our famous squares turn into a bit of a carnival / tail gate environment. Some family’s have put up tents on the same spot for decades, so it can be difficult for first timers to score a spot in a square. I recommend bringing a portable chair and scouting out a space. Note: don’t plan to get around this by camping out in the squares. No one is permitted to set up until 6am.

Remember you can carry open alcohol within the historic district – last year those participating needed to purchase a $5 wrist band within the festival area. No word on that this year. You will need to bring plastic cups or containers as glass is not permitted on the streets.

Please pick your designated driver now – taxi’s can be difficult to track down toward the end of the parade.

To stay up to date on the parade like their Facebook page or Twitter feed. You’ll find lots of great information about the route, parking and updates on who is participating.

Erin Go Bragh!

Melanie Kramer
Keller Williams Realty Coastal Area Partners
912-459-5001 Office
912-658-1390 Cell Direct

Melanie Kramer Coastal Georgia Realtor


Haunted Homes in the Savannah Area

Stories of Haunted Homes in the Savannah area are as common as front porches. The number of successful ghost tour companies operating in the area are a testament to the number of people interested in hearing them. This time of year many people come in numbers to take an evening stroll, trolley, horse drawn carriage or even a hearse around town in hopes of catching a glimpse of Savannah’s haunted history.

Haunted Savannah

Many homes, bed & breakfasts, hotels and restaurants share the tellings of paranormal experiences. It’s not surprising. Savannah’s history, with it’s massive fires, yellow fever epidemics and cemetery foundation is prime real estate for ghost stories.

Sometimes you got to commune with the dead.” Or so says Minerva in ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’.

Haunted Homes in Savannah

Hampton Lillibridge House: 507 East St. Julian Street – Built in 1796

Jim Williams, of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil fame and a well-known Savannah restoration expert purchased the home in 1963 and had it moved to its current location. During the restoration process many of the workers reported hearing voices, laughing and footsteps. Although Jim reportedly dismissed the presence of any paranormal activity within a few weeks of moving in he had an exorcism performed on the house.

Sorrel Weed House: 6 W Harris St – Built 1836

The Sorrel Weed House is one of Savannah’s largest homes and like most homes on tour in the area comes with stories of figures in the windows and disembodies voices. My favorite is that of a women in black walking the courtyard. This home was also featured on Ghost Hunters during it’s first Halloween special on SyFy channel.

Laura’s Cottage: State Street

Laura’s cottage is a rustic vacation rental in Savannah’s historic district. I heard first hand from a couple about their experiences while staying there. Although they never felt nervous they were aware this was going to be a vacation like none other. Within a few hours of arriving, the couple were sitting on the sofa reading the stories of past visitors to the cabin when the deck of cards their young child had been playing with, cut it self, the top half hovering for a split second before hitting the floor. Throughout the month they would misplace small items only to have them show up somewhere unexpected. And one night they were woken by the voice of a women singing. Would they stay there again? “Absolutely” they said.

There are so many to choose from and haunted homes aren’t just located in the historic district of Savannah, Tybee Island, the Plantation in Richmond Hill and many of the surrounding areas are rich with hauntings and spirits.

So if you, like my friends visiting Laura’s Cottage, are looking for something a little extra special with your next home purchase I’d be happy to find it for you.

Melanie Kramer
Keller Williams Realty Coastal Area Partners
912-459-5001 Office
912-658-1390 Cell Direct

Melanie Kramer Coastal Georgia Realtor

A Better Cost of Living in the South

I’m often asked about cost comparisons between the Savannah, Georgia area and the north east, “Is the cost of living really that much better in the south?”

We touched on the cost of living when we discussed buying a second home in the area…

the cost of living is much lower here. When compared with Newark, New Jersey for example the overall cost of living in the Savannah area is 31% lower*. The cost of housing alone is 58% lower* than Newark. Generally speaking if you’re living on $120,000 in New Jersey you could maintain your lifestyle in Savannah with $82,818.

A better Cost of Living

Breaking Down the Cost of Living in the South

What makes the Richmond Hill / Savannah area so desirable?

Along with the beautiful weather, beaches, and 2nd biggest St. Patrick’s Day festival in the country – we also boast an excellent cost of living.

Forbes lists Savannah’s cost of living to be below the national average and considerably lower than the New England, New York and New Jersey area.

Looking for a home in the Savannah area often means getting more for less.

What does this mean to your pocketbook?

In basic terms, everyday items are a little bit cheaper here. notes that both kinds of liquid fuel trend below the national average. The price of gas in the Savannah area averages 1.2% below and the price of coffee averages 3.5% below.

With a longer warmer weather season than our friends in the north east our energy and utility costs run about 5.3% lower than the national average.

Health care and dental costs are also lower. You may also find other self-care costs such as getting your hair styled will save you a few dollars too.

The Richmond Hill / Savannah area can help stretch your retirement dollars too, all while providing the benefits of a top tourism destination – great hotels (for visiting relatives), world class events and a variety of outdoor activities.


A tax friendly town can be a crucial deciding factor when planning a relocation or retirement. Georgia does have a state tax on each home you purchase, but what makes it such a great option for retirees is that Social Security benefits are not taxable income and the state also offers exceptions on other types of retirement income.

Check with your accountant for tax information that will relate specifically to your needs.

Property taxes in both Chatham and Bryan Counties are assessed based on 40% of the fair market value of the property. A $240,000 home would have an assessed value of $96,000 for taxing purposes. The final tax bill will be based on the property and any exemptions available. For example, there is a senior citizen discount on property taxes.

Generally speaking, factor in approximately 1% for Bryan County yearly property taxes and 1.5% in Chatham and Effingham Counties for easy round numbers.  All three counties use a mileage rate which equates to about these percentages.  That means you could buy a $200,000 house in Bryan county and the property taxes are $2,000 per year even if you have no senior citizen discount.

Further, if you buy a home in the suburbs of Bryan County (Richmond Hill, GA), your 1% tax bill INCLUDES your waste bill for weekly curbside service, your yearly fire department dues (no separate bill), and your biweekly curbside recycle service (you do not have to sort).  Those “extras” that are included in themselves save you a few hundred dollars each year!

There is no better example than my own:  3.5% home mortgage for 30 years, 1% property taxes on my home, no fire department dues, no waste monthly bill, approximately $45.00 each month for my water useage, no sewage bill, a local electric company ( which equates to $9.50 to $11.00 per KWH used.  There are no yearly vehicle emission tests in Georgia.  There are new vehicle purchase taxes and a yearly $25.00 car tag fee.  Not a bad cost of living at all!

A better cost of living equals a great quality of life.

Please call or email me today for more information or questions about your relocation needs!

Melanie Kramer
Keller Williams Realty Coastal Area Partners
912-459-5001 Office
912-658-1390 Cell Direct

Melanie Kramer Coastal Georgia Realtor
*statistics pulled from