The Fastest Internet in Savannah

Speed test results indicating very fast internet

With an expectation that our guests need to work, stream, game, and attend school during their stay, we thought a lot about how to get fast internet and Wi-Fi for the Broughton Street House in Savannah. We use the house ourselves as often as possible. My daughter has gamed all night from the Carriage House. My son has done virtual viola lessons from the Map Room. And I have logged into numerous WebEx sessions from the Courtyard. Based on our experiences

, and some experiences we’ve had at other properties, we made a few important decisions to get the fastest possible internet.

FYI, none of the links below are affinity links. We’re not being paid to promote any internet service. Our goal is to show the choices we made, and how we hope to create the best guest experience.

Fast internet is good, but not if it runs out during your stay

We’ve experienced this before at a beach house we rented. The owners had a high speed internet connection, all was good, but on day three of our visit, which happened to be near the end of the month, things got REALLY slow. Suddenly none of us could stream. We were turning off our cameras to try and keep a decent connection on WebEx and Teams. And for the gamers, latency is not okay.

I don’t like slow internet. Tractors are actually cool.

We couldn’t prove it, but we were pretty sure we’d hit the caps on the owners internet service. For normal household, data caps are annoying, but manageable. For a short-term rental, especially in busy season when you know you’re going to have large parties, it’s just not acceptable. We were only at that beach house for a week, so we weren’t the ones that used up all that data. However, we had the misfortune of being there toward the end of the cycle. We were the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Not cool.

The Broughton Street House had a couple of options for fast internet service providers, and Xfinity offers an unlimited plan. It does cost more, but it should prevent our guests from ever having the experience we did at the beach.

It has to be really, really fast internet

We’re proud that we can sleep up to 12 in comfort. But if 12 people are checking Instagram on their phones and the TV in the parlor while someone’s got their Home Pod streaming in the Carriage House, that’s going to take a lot of bandwidth. Again, Xfinity offers Gigabit speeds. In fact, they just recently upgraded the speed to 1.2 gigabit per second, which is pretty awesome. Outside of buying a dedicated private circuit, we believe this is the fastest internet option available in Savannah.

I feel the need for speed!

Fast internet, but the Wi-Fi has to be fast, too

An interesting thing about the Broughton Street House: It’s built of Savannah Gray brick. Even some of the internal walls are brick. On top of the brick is stucco. And the walls are thick. Fast internet to the house is good

, but if the walls block the Wi-Fi signal that’s not helpful.
Lots of brick means lots of Wi-Fi challenges

We initially tried to set a single Wi-Fi router central to the home, but the Carriage House couldn’t keep a strong enough signal and the parlor was right at the edge of acceptable. Not fast is not good.

We discovered that Xfinity offers “xFi pods” that you can place around the house. The second generation of the xFi pods, in particular, are very fast and have great range. We placed multiples around the house to ensure there was no where on property you could go and not have a super strong, super fast Wi-Fi signal. To be sure it was all working, we did speed tests at various points around the house using an iPhone. We consistently measured a very fast internet speed of 600mbps or better from anywhere on the property.

The downside of these devices is that they only work with the Xfinity modem. We considered mesh wireless networks from Google, Eero, or other providers, but ultimately decided to go with getting the modem directly from Xfinity for reasons we discuss below.

Fast internet is awesome, but it has to be easy to support remotely

This was a big decision point for us. At our primary home we use a Google Wi-Fi mesh system and it’s very easy to work with. However, the Google devices (or any other third party Wi-Fi network) would require that we own our own router, which is what we do at home. For a Savannah vacation property we really wanted more than just fast internet, We wanted a “one phone call” support model. Having all Xfinity devices gives us that. If a guest ever reports that they don’t have fast internet, it’s definitely Xfinity, so that’s who you call. We’re able to provide Southern Belle all the account information so they can call Xfinity on our behalf.

It turns out the Xfinity app is actually pretty awesome for managing the account. We can see the router and all the xFi pods and check that they’re online. We can restart the modem remotely if needed. We’ve put all the xFi pods on Wi-Fi enabled outlets so we can restart those if needed, too.

Now that’s fast internet!

High-speed but also secure internet

As much as we (okay, just Kevin actually) love to tinker with technology, security is just too important and things change too fast. We wanted built in managed security features that we could count on to protect our property and our guests from malicious actors. Since we decided to go with Xfinity equipment for the Broughton Street House, they automatically provide a security suite that implements some pretty good threat protection at the router and Wi-Fi access points. There’s some basic reporting letting you know that things are good, and the router is always up to date and secure.

The fastest internet in Savannah

The goal of all this was to be sure our guests could work, stream, and attend school with the fastest possible internet in Savannah. Our guests have told us consistently that the internet is very fast. We also use the property frequently so we can say with confidence that it works great for video conferencing. We know pretty much every AirBNB or VRBO rental says they have high-speed internet, so this won’t help us stand out in the listings. But we can say that our internet in Savannah is truly unlimited, fantastic Wi-Fi coverage, and very fast, so once they get to the property our guests should never experience some of the frustrations we’ve had at other properties.

Television in an Historic House

Choosing a Television for an Historic House

We want to provide the best television for an historic home, but television viewing angles didn’t get much thought in 1883 when the Broughton Street House was built. This post has been updated to include how it all worked out. Pictures at the bottom!

What we would now call the “living room” was a parlor. The parlor’s primary function was receiving guests. It was a formal room where a host would put their finest seating arranged to facilitate conversation. To that end, hosts would orient seating in front of a fireplace for maximum comfort of the guests. In an exceptionally fancy house there would be two parlors: the formal front, and the informal parlor in the middle. An example of this layout would be the beautiful Andrew Low house.

Owners typically closed off back rooms such as the dining room and kitchen behind doors. In a typical Savannah-style townhouse like the Broughton Street House, there are pocket doors that can be pulled shut. For dinner, preparations would occur behind the closed doors while the guests waited in the parlor. Once ready, the hosts would open the pocket doors and present a bountiful table ready for guests.

Times have changed and people expect to be able to turn on a sporting event, check the news, or binge watch a series when the weather isn’t cooperating. We get it it, we do it, too. So here we’ll discuss choosing the best television for this historic home and how we’re making it work. When you come to Historic Downtown Savannah we want you to have everything you need at the Broughton Street House.

Vacation Sometimes Need Televisions – Like Them or Not

The previous owners of the Broughton Street House had deliberately avoided over-emphasizing the television. I respect that decision. It’s difficult to place today’s giant screen televisions in a historic house in a way that doesn’t dominate the room and draw all attention to the television. At the Broughton Street House the rooms are beautiful and multi-purpose. How many times have you sat down in a living room and realized there’s nothing in your field of view except a giant electronic box? You naturally reach for the remote to figure out how to use it. We’re not going to take that route and instead we’re going to put in the best television for a historic home.

Continue reading “Television in an Historic House”

Upgrading Our Beds

King Beds are Comfortable Upgrades

When a guest (or our family) stays in Savannah at the Broughton Street House, it’s definitely about what Savannah has to offer. The city is full of amazing things to see, and incredible food and entertainment options. But at the end of the day (and sometimes in the middle of the day) you really want a place to recover. Comfort really matters, and the right bed is essential for maximum enjoyment of Savannah and The Broughton Street House. A comfortable king bed is the answer.

Daniel O’Connor built the Broughton Street House in 1883

, and the previous owners furnished this home in period furniture that perfectly captures the luxury of Victorian-Era Savannah. However, in 1883 there was no such thing as a “king” bed as we know it today. There were ‘big” beds, but these were custom.
The Great Bed of Ware (showing modern reproductions of bedclothes and hangings), Hans Vredeman de Vries, 1590 – 1600, England. Museum no. W.47:1 to 28-1931. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

King Beds

The popularity of king and queen beds really didn’t take off in the US until after World War II. Even today, a king is a king only insomuch as you know what country you’re talking about:

150 cm × 200 cm (59 in × 79 in) in the UK.

165 cm × 203 cm (65 in × 80 in) in New Zealand.

183 cm × 203 cm (72 in × 80 in) in Australia.

193 cm × 202 cm (76 in × 80 in) in the US.

We find king beds to be essential and incredibly comfortable. When we bought The Broughton Street House all beds were queen

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, for good reason. Large beds aren’t historically accurate

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, and king beds are harder to fit into rooms when every room has a fireplace!  Despite these very good reasons, we’re upgrading our beds to a comfortable king wherever we have the option.

The Broughton Street Carriage House gets a Comfortable King Bed

First up is the Carriage House. This structure is actually *not* historical, built in the 2000’s as an addition to the original structure of the Broughton Street House. If you check the history page, you’ll see there’s strong evidence that there was a prior structure in the back of the house, but it was removed in the 1970’s.

The original bed was a lovely bed.

The original queen bed in the carriage house

The style is appropriate, it fits the room perfectly, but it’s not a comfortable king. The nightstands roughly matched the bed, and they definitely don’t fit once we got a nice comfortable king in there, so we had to change those, too.

We found the first king bed we wanted at Restoration Hardware in Atlanta, so we had to haul it to Savannah to get it to the Broughton Street House. We picked up a nightstand from a local place that resells vintage and antique items, and while I wasn’t super happy with it, it works for now. The other side we used a table from another room in the house. Overall, we had to change the look a little, but the comfort is outstanding!

Our new comfortable king bed from Restoration Hardware and a Sealey king mattress and box springs.
The fabric headboard is cozy, and the extra space of the king size is more comfortable
Two people can easily get comfortable on a king bed

I hope our guests appreciate a comfortable king bed as much as we do!

The Broughton Street House Master Bedroom gets a Comfortable King Bed

Later we found a great deal on a Pottery Barn king bed that we think is perfect for the master bedroom, bringing that same comfortable king experience to another room. Below is the original queen bed. Definitely a great bed! Just not quite a king.

The existing master bedroom is a beautiful queen bed

This is the new bed set up at our primary home, making sure everything checked out before transport to the Broughton Street House:

And finally, placed in the master bedroom to welcome our next guests.

In the second photo you can see that the bed has 4 large storage drawers underneath (two on each side). Those will be very useful for extra pillows and blankets for our guests.

It’s unlikely we’ll be able to add king beds to the other two bedrooms. There really just isn’t enough space for the larger bed in those bedrooms, and both have work surfaces we value and wouldn’t want to give up.

The Carriage House Sleeper Sofa

While we were working on getting that new king for the master bedroom, we also got a review for the Carriage House that said the Queen Sleeper Sofa was uncomfortable because you could feel the bars. Comfort is a priority, and sleeper sofas are a real challenge – we want to provide the additional sleeping, but honestly, most adults don’t enjoy sleeping on them. Still, if we can do better, we want to do better, so:

5 inches of high-quality memory foam will increase the comfort and hopefully make this the best possible experience for our Broughton Street House guests that choose to use the sleeper sofas.

A Well-Lit Home

A Well Lit Home Saves Energy

It’s a minor change, but I’m a big fan of LED lighting. When we purchased the Broughton Street House many of the light fixtures had traditional incandescent bulbs, and some halogen. Incandescent can make a beautiful soft white, so I completely understand the choice, but in the last decade LED has really come into it’s own with bulbs that are either tuned to a specific color temperature, or that are actually tunable by the home owner to reach the specific color temperature you want. We can have a well-lit home that is also very energy efficient!

One of our favorite blogs for interior designs for hosting recommends 2700k lighting, and we definitely agree. Here at our primary residence we’ve switched most bulbs to 2700k LED, with the exception of locations where I’m using open filament LEDs for an antique look. For the Broughton Street House, we’ll be using 2700k, and luckily for us Home Depot sells multi-packs at a very economical price in almost every bulb size.

Replacing Bulbs

Starting at the carriage house, there were 10 overhead canister lights in the kitchen area, living room area, and over the bed. It’s going to be easy to have a well-lit home when there are so many fixtures to work with! There are more in the bathroom, but I actually want to experiment a little further before replacing those because in bathrooms 3000k color temperature is sometimes appropriate to mimic daylight for dressing and makeup application.

For the carriage house we’re just replacing the bulbs , not the can lights themselves. For the main house, especially the kitchen, we may choose to replace the cans for that flat, one-piece look.

The original bulbs were 65W each, and we replaced 10 of them in one shot.
The original bulbs were 65W each , and we replaced 10 of them in one shot.
The new bulbs are the same size, tuned to 2700k, and just under 10 W to operate.

A Well-Lit Home Actually Saves Energy

So we achieved our goal of a well-lit home

, but there’s more. LED lights last longer than incandescent light by far, usually 12,000 hours or more compared to 1,000 hours. So, less maintenance and less waste. Even better, they are more efficient. You might not realize just *how* much more efficient, though. In this case, we replaced 10 65W bulbs that burn out every 1,000 hours with 10 9.5W bulbs that should last 12,000 hours. Using an average Georgia power cost and because Home Depot sells these things in multipacks that bring the cost down to around $2 each, replacing these bulbs pays for itself in about 2 weeks.

Over the course of a year we save roughly $937 based on energy savings and bulb replacements. Not only will the Broughton Street House be well-lit, it will be energy efficient as well!

It’s definitely worth the time to get out the ladder and make the swap. Over the course of the next several months we’ll be replacing all incandescent and halogen bulbs throughout the Broughton Street House. It reduces cost, reduces heat produced by the bulbs, and reduces the maintenance we have to do over time. Most importantly, the Broughton Street House will be well-lit. Energy savings, efficiency, and a better guest experience.

A Safe Garage in Downtown Savannah!

A Two Car Garage in Downtown Savannah

One of the features we love about the Broughton Street House is having two car garage in Downtown Savannah with carriage house apartment over the garage. While it’s not part of the historical structure of the house, having secure parking right in the North Historic District is incredibly convenient. The lane behind the house is tight, so it’s not easy to get a large vehicle in there

, but we’ve parked Cathy’s Palisade there and it felt great knowing that it was safe, nearby, and we didn’t have to go move it on certain days to avoid the street sweepers. One thing we learned for sure – it’s much, much easier to back into the garage than it is to pull forward into it. That lane is very tight!
The Two Car Garage and Carriage House at Broughton Street House

Manual Garage Doors are a Challenge

The previous owners had never installed garage door openers. This meant the only way to securely enter the property was through the front door.  But it also meant that if you went out for a day trip to Tybee you had to pull the car out, drive to the front, go back through the house and lock the garage from the inside, and then back through the house and to your car. Obviously, if you have two people it’s much easier, but not ideal.

Garages Provide Convenience and Security

We decided to put in door openers, with keypads on the outside of the door. We change the codes on the keypads on a regular basis for security, but we don’t provide the remotes (heck, I lose them frequently myself). Big shout out to the folks at Precision Garage Door of Savannah for the great installation. Precision installed the openers and controls super fast and I’m very happy with how it turned out. Our guests will have the ability to easily open the doors from behind the property by entering the provided codes. We think this convenience makes the property more enjoyable and secure. Having a safe


, convenient garage in downtown Savannah is a rare luxury we’re proud to provide.

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Vacation Coffee in Savannah

Vacations in Savannah Start with Coffee

The Broughton Street House is in downtown Savannah. When I vacation in Savannah I want coffee. Coffee is important to me.

If I’m working I start the day with cup of coffee as a catch up on anything that happened overnight, and then create my plan for the day. Early morning is generally the only time of the day that I’m not in a WebEx or Teams meeting or responding to something that’s come up. But in the morning, I’m in control of my own schedule. A cup of coffee is essential.

If I’m on vacation at the Broughton Street House I may wake up a little later, but my morning coffee is still my companion as read through the news, do a little online shopping, or check through my emails. I generally wake up before anyone else in the family, and I do not like waking up and immediately heading off to an activity, preferring a quiet, calm start to set the tone for the day. This is Vacation Coffee.

So when I think about what I want at the Broughton Street House, I know for sure I want vacation coffee. But how do I want to prepare that coffee? So many choices! At home I have a Nespresso, a Keurig, a grinder and French press, a stove top espresso pot, and a drip coffee maker in the attic, you know, just in case. I also have a nice burr grinder.

The Many Ways to Prepare Coffee

I love the Nespresso system. It makes a great tasting cup of coffee, and if you opt for the Nespresso Vertuo line you can have full, rich cups of coffee or intense, bold shots of espresso, depending on your mood. But you won’t find Vertuo pods in the supermarket, and even the original Nespresso pods aren’t always available in the expressions that a guest might want, so if I went that route I’d have to make sure the house is stocked with Nespresso pods at all times, and if we ever ran out we’d leave the guest in the lurch, and I never want that.

A French press cup of coffee is probably the best cup of coffee ever. And they’re super easy to make, if you’ve ever done it before. It is a multi-step process, though. For a great cup of coffee you’ll want the coffee ground properly. You’ll want your water heated to 200 degrees. And you have to let the coffee steep in the press. It feels like that would be asking too much of a guest to get a decent cup of coffee.

So then there’s drip and Keurig. They’re both super easy, fast, and supplies are readily available at any supermarket, convenience store, or Target. This seems like the right way to go, and it’s what I see most hosts doing. I often pack my own K-cups to make sure I’ve got a coffee I know I’ll like. So at the Broughton Street House, we’ll have drip and we’ll have Keurig.

Shopping for Coffee Makers for a Vacation House

I like to use systems and patterns to limit my choices

, otherwise I get overwhelmed. So I read this article from 1chicretreat exploring the effects of blue, so for the purposes of this exercise let’s choose blue! We may not stick with it, but it will give me something to get started.

The Moccamaster KBG 10-Cup Coffee Maker

I’ve never used one of these, but dang they look cool. The reviews are solid and I love the sturdy, retro appearance. It doesn’t look too difficult to figure out, so I’m thinking this might be a winner. Even if it doesn’t make the first cut, I’m going to keep my eye on this one.

Keurig K-Select Navy Single Serve Coffee Maker

This is a bit of a cheat, as I actually have this coffee maker at home. I love the “Strong” brew feature, and the reservoir is big and easy to use. It’s quick to make a cup of good (not amazing, but good) coffee. I keep Peet’s Major Dickason’s nearby and I know that a good cup of coffee will be a stress free experience. I know this one, though. If you want quick, reliable vacation coffee, this is a strong contender!

Smeg Drip Coffee Maker in Pastel Blue

I want to like this one so much. What a lovely drip coffee maker and I can see myself smiling every morning as I walk into the kitchen to make a pot to take with me out to the courtyard. I have a SMEG toaster that works well and looks amazing and I’m just sure I would love this. However, the reviews note that it’s difficult to add water to the machine, and that gives me pause. If I wake up late and really, really need that first cup of vacation coffee in Savannah, I’m not going to mess around with something that’s hard to use.

Nostalgia 12 Cup Blue Coffee Maker

At first glance, I like it. But reading the reviews there’s apparently quite a bit of plastic. It’s on my list, but I’m not sure about this one. I don’t just need cute, I need durable. Sorry, reliability issues cannot impact my vacation coffee.

Mr. Coffee Programmable 12-Cup in Arctic Blue

It’s not super fancy

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, and I actually don’t need the programmable part, but the blue is cute. The reviews indicate a few problems with filling, but it has a heating pad to keep the coffee warm and I like that idea. If you’re going to have vacation coffee in Savannah, it should stay hot!

Chantal 28oz Ceramic French Press Coffee Maker

I know, I said I wasn’t going to go the French press route at the Broughton Street House. But this one came up in my searches and I really liked it. The details of the handle, with the little thumb grip to help you meter out the pour, the double lines in the ceramic to add interest to the otherwise smooth surface. French presses are durable work horse coffee makers. Maybe this one belongs in the cabinet, just in case. You probably can’t have too many ways to make vacation coffee in Savannah!

Final Call for Coffee

Well, in the end we decided not to go with blue after all. We found this machine at Best Buy (they have the color exclusively) and we thought the copper would complement the Victorian style of the house and go really well. Quick, convenient and easy to use: The best vacation coffee in Savannah.