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One of my newer traditions is vacationing in historic southern American cities during the peak of summer’s heat and humidity.

Last July I found myself in Charleston, SC where countless culinary and architectural temptations distracted me from the 100+ degree heat…and from the biography of Andrew Johnson I was reading.

This year I visited Savannah, GA, rich with humidity and spanish moss, which also provided an abundance of diversions. The city’s 22 historic squares took all the energy I could muster during the day while amazing destinations like 700 Drayton and Lulu’s Chocolate Bar consumed my evenings.

(James) Madison Square, Savannah, GA

Johnson Square, Savannah, GA

Sherman’s Headquarters, Madison Square, Savannah, GA

And who knew we would bump into Christina Ricci grabbing a “to go” order at the Jazz’d Tapas Bar?

Despite my best intentions, however, Arthur Walworth’s two-volume biography of Woodrow Wilson was hardly touched.

It’s worth noting (and entirely coincidental) that Woodrow Wilson married his first wife, Ellen, in Savannah in 1885. After she died in 1914, Wilson remarried. And after that second marriage he honeymooned at The Homestead (in Virginia) which is another of my favorite vacation spots.

But the most surprising aspect of this trip was that the proprietor of The Olde Savannah Inn (where I stayed) had one of the best collections of presidential biographies I’ve seen! Authors from Ambrose to Schlesinger including Berg, Brands, Chernow, Caro, Goodwin, McCullough and dozens of others. Truly home-away-from-home!

Now, back to that Woodrow Wilson biography…