A Perfect Day On Tybee Island, Georgia
Susie and Stuart of The Lighthouse Inn
Every day is a “Perfect Day” on Tybee Island. Simply follow the pace of the locals. On “Tybee Time” one ambles along with no particular place to be.
Traces of history are along route Highway 80 (or the Islands Expressway from the downtown Savannah) to Tybee Island. The 20-minute drive from Savannah offers Fort Pulaski, Cockspur Island Lighthouse, shrimp boat docked at Lazaretto Creek. It’s a satisfying pause between city life and the worry-free relaxation that awaits at the Tybee Island seashore, America’s Healthiest Beach (2009, Health.com).
You can set your GPS to Tybee Light (or Tybee Beacon, first built in 1736) . Watch the ebb and tide on the North beach, the heavy-topped sea oats sway, and sea gulls glide airborne across beach shallows. Secluded, only a few people pass, giving a nod, tipping the hat, or sharing a simple wave. It’s a friendly place all around. (Our local tip: It’s polite to wave back with a smile.)
The temptation may be to keep a hurried pace. But, we caution there is no need to rush. Simply enjoy what is nostalgically Americana about this place – from exploring the colorful folk art to playing handball, sunning, or building sand art on the pristine beach. Things to do are plentiful and varied. Climb the 178 steps in the Tybee Lighthouse. Bicycle, crisscrossing the island and beach as a local. Kayak the waterways where the 1996 Olympic ® Summer Games’ champions sailed. Dance or canoodle on the Tybrisia pier, first made famous in the Big Band era. Stop in at the legendary T.S. Chu’s for forgotten necessities and infamous Doc’s Bar for a toddy.
Photograph life on the seashore for your scrapbook. Flags of Tybee are reminders of worldwide inhabitants, as are the crepe myrtles trees — a gift from the City of Savannah to then Lt. Col. George Marshall. He is the same General Marshall who is architect of the post-World War II Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe. Lunch at Breakfast Club, and dinner at Sundae Café or A.J.’s.
Life can be entertainingly lively in this seaside village. Character-rich, Tybee-style happenings offer such fun memories. Examples are the Beach Bum Parade (a water-dowsed day in May), Pirate Fest (a weekend of “Arrgh!” and “Ahoy!” in October), and Polar Bear Swim (a cold-water swim for good luck on January 1). The newly renovated historic Tybee Post Theatre is the spot to check for weekend events or mid-week wine socials.
Robert St. John writes in his Turner South publication, My South: “My South is a place where I learned to slow down in order to keep up.” “[A]nd their music the surf,” says philosopher, Henry David Thoreau. That’s the way it is in Tybee Island, Georgia.
It’s a lust-worthy pace here!
Susie and Stuart
P.S. The innkeepers advise, “Savannah makes for a wonderful day trip, too!” Or as Mammy said to Scarlett in Gone with the Wind, “Savannah would be better for ya. You’d just get in trouble in Atlanta.”