While it’s not my first time to Savannah, it was my first stay at Tybee. Tybee is adorable! Now if your idea of a beach vacation is to walk on the beach, tan, go up a lighthouse, drink and eat ice cream, we have found a vacation spot for you. That said, if you prefer water slides, putt putt, golf courses, tennis courts, swimming pools and fine dining restaurants, keep looking. You will be miserable. Fortunately, we weren’t miserable. In fact, we loved it.
It didn’t hurt that Savannah is a 25 minute ride away, which fixes the fine dining problem. The rest of those things ain’t problems, at least in our book. Maybe the swimming pool, but if you stayed at a hotel instead of a house, you’d probably be OK.
So, thumbs up and down on the following:
Mermaid Cottages: thumbs up
We went to spend a little time with my parents over my daughter’s spring break and my mother found a rental place online. We ended up at this little house built in 1930, so amazingly cute. Whoever owns it had all these very sweet pix of their young girls on the beach in white dresses, so properly southern beach. My room was called the Starfish room and had some nice starfish touches in it, but not enough to be obnoxious. Bella’s room had two twin beds with grass skirts! Silly. TWO bathrooms in this teeny house, a very nicely equipped kitchen (even had spices and coffee and tea and sweeteners, wow.) My poor sister only has ONE bathroom in the house that they live in full time! (They have three kids too.) And, it was right on the main street, around the 700 block, which happens to be pretty damn close to right smack in the middle of the island (which is only like 3.5 miles long.)
Tybee Social Club: thumbs up
Not a lot of choices on Tybee for dinner. When you look it up on Yelp, you get 20 places and one of those is really a description of the whole island. And the reviews on most of those places is iffy. A menu for this place was at the cottage and we were pleased. They had “tacos” which by tacos they meant “nice fillings in a flatbread folded in half.” (This was OK.) Our waitress was a very sweet high school student getting ready to take a year off to work at an organic farm, then go to college. The kid and I, with our new diet, had the shrimp tacos (very good, could have used more shrimp, but what was in there was tasty) with veggies. My mother enjoyed the meal enough that she declared a desire to go back the last night. She kept talking about the duck taco, but ended up with the steak. Bella and I tried the veggie taco and thumbs up on that one! A very yummy tangy pesto sauce on roasted veggies is always a winner.
IGA: thumbs down
Very few choices at this teeny beach grocery store. The yogurt, for example, gave three options: Yoplait, Activia, generic. No natural peanut butter. Limited produce. Your best bet? Buy in Savannah before you get there.
The Beach: thumbs up
Nice beaches, mostly void of social clubs and the like. There is one spot that has that sort of thing and it’s OK, the pavillion. They have a good pier that you can walk out on, about 15 stores that qualify as your tacky beach souvenirs/bars/ice cream spot. Not much to see, but if you wanted that, go to Myrtle Beach already.
Marlin Monroe’s Surfside Grill: thumbs kind of up
This is OK. The tilapia I had was solid to be certain. The fried plantains were super sweet plus they came with an even sweeter dipping sauce. And I like sugar! My mother had a solid chicken dish but it was waaaay too much to even consider eating all of it. The black beans that came with the fish were … nothing exciting. I don’t even remember what Bella got, to be honest. It’s part of a hotel and so for a hotel restaurant, excellent. Even decorated in massive faux beach and very relaxed. But otherwise, eh. We did enjoy drawing on the paper table clothes.
The Breakfast Club: thumbs up
Well, if you’re going vegetarian, it’s OK. They make a lot of their own sausage, etc so if you like meat, add this to your list. I went with the veggie omelet which was not bad. The eggs were good, but the veggies were only OK. YUM grits to be sure. Kid got an amazingly good pecan waffle. But the real piece de resistance? My father’s Chicago burger. It was the size of a small child’s head, with a very large piece of meat sandwiches between some sort of onion, green pepper cheese mix and put on a roll that could be used as a flotation device. He ate half, stuffed full. The guys two tables down were laughing at him. Definitely a local place with a lot of character.
Lighthouse: thumbs up
Interesting place! We didn’t get to see as much of the grounds as I would have liked, but we did manage to go up all 178 stairs. Windy up there! Apparently this played a role in the Revolution AND the Civil War, although it’s been rebuilt. It was burned by the Confederates when they realized they were going to lose, so the bottom 60 feet are original, the rest rebuilt. And the view is amazing. You can see Hilton Head Island. I bet you can even see it better if you brought your glasses. Lots of cool artifacts too.
Sugar Shack: thumbs down
Bella and I walked all over the place and she needed a break after 2.5 miles (wimp) so we stopped here. Ick. I got the key lime pie, what a disappointment. So much so I didn’t even bother to finish it.
Seaside Sweets: thumbs way up
They could say they are the world’s best gelato and I would believe it to be true. Caramel that looked gooey and yummy in a frozen treat? Wow. Gelato running over with nice big chunks of chocolate. And! a delicious mango sorbet. Plus, a selection of candy by the pound, which I am a sucker for each and every time. I know I should never eat it, but man I adore candy.
And that actually sums up what we did on Tybee. Not a ton to do, but I ran twice and we walked our feet off, which I always enjoy. We also spent a little time in Savannah. Now I’ve spent some time there and boy I love that town. A little funkier, a little hipper than Charleston. I highly recommend spending some time in downtown, so much fun. However, we never go north of Bay Street. River Street is a tourist trap. Here’s what we got to do in Savannah for this trip:
Zunzi’s: thumbs up
This was my insistence that we eat here. I ate here three times when I was in Savannah for the UCDA conference and it’s really hard to find a bad place to eat in this town. It’s a little take out spot with about 7 tables sitting at the edge of the parking lot. I went with the falafel (wishing I’d done vegetarian curry oh well) and it was still delicious. Kid had “something like pizza” which was a pita pizza that they created on the grill. Mom had the gyro. Everyone was happy. If you go during lunch, expect a long line, but it’s worth it.
I didn’t actually need any books, but this is a unique little spot and we always have fun. We were looking for vegetarian books, but they mostly had cookbooks. Still, we got talking to someone in the store whose daughters ended up switching and she said they are all healthy and look amazing, so that was fun.
Wild Fibre: thumbs up
A very small yarn store, but they sell good stuff. They seem to be an Alchemy brand shop, which is this really expensive and beautiful yarn. I ended up getting a summer pattern with a nice Blue Sky Cotton yarn. The owner is a sweetie and expressed disappointment that we were leaving. We’d be unable to come back and knit together.
Home Run Video and News: thumbs up
Bella found a plethora of Sonic comic books, which was a thrill. They are filled to the gills with all sorts of nerd fun, from videos to books to comics. (Not so much news, not sure that’s in the name.) And the guy manning the counter was nothing like the comic book guy from the Simpsons.
The Book Lady Bookstore: thumbs up
Imagine a used bookstore in an old space. This is it, down to the musty old chair and the books stacked on the staircase going to nowhere. Books are shoved in every nook and cranny here. New unique titles? E. Shavers. Rare or used? Definitely here.
Broughton Street: thumbs up, way up
One of my very favorite streets anywhere, period.
Savannah Bee Company: thumbs up
Free taste testing! And it worked, we bought honey.
Nourish: thumbs up
Handmade soap flavored with your traditional rosemary and lavendar, etc to chocolate or hippie soap or even local Savannah beer soap. They make about 90% of what they sell in there. The things they aren’t making are things like the Badger foot cream.
Paris Market: thumbs up, way up
The upstairs is fun, sure. You can get some funky candy or a coffee, lots of books, letterpress cards and jewelry and the like but the downstairs is nuts! You probably didn’t realize that you wanted burned out flash bulbs or old Zippo lighters or slides or photos or hot press type.
Clipper Trading: thumbs up
Fun place, lots of fair trade imports. Some really nice, expensive Asian pieces too.
Civvies: thumbs up
Definite retro vibe to this consignment store.
Primary Art Supply: thumbs up
Nice, kind of pricey, art supplies as well as a selection of snarky merchandise from favorite vendors such as Accoutrements, Blue Q and Knock Knock. My mom is not an artist and even she approved of this store. Bonus! Next to Civvies.
24e: thumbs up
Fun funky home decor store in a great space. Love the exposed brick wall in the middle of the front of the upstairs, with the mural still on it.
Firefly Cafe: thumbs eh
I used to adore this place. LOVED it, would go way out of my way to go. And it is out of the way too. But this time? It just felt … different. The menu seemed shorter. The only options for pescatarians were either sold out or salads. It was still a good salad but … it’s lost the charm for me.
Wright Square Cafe: thumbs up
We haven’t tried the cafe, but I was less than thrilled by what I saw in the cafe. Nice collection of chocolates and truffles though! Worth the stop. Still, had I been closer (and not with an 11-year old?) Lulu’s Chocolate Bar! That is divine.
Mable’s Cupcake Emporium: thumbs up
Yum! And they are not so huge either. They are what a cupcake should be: a nice little treat. I got the banana nut with vanilla frosting and it was gone in a matter of minutes. Bella got the Mable with buttercream frosting, which she heartily approved. Mom got chocolate with strawberry, also good. They make 800 cupcakes in the off season, more like 1,000 during high season. Once they are sold, they close up shop.
This is only what we visited this time. Savannah is an endless treasure of great places to discover.
What did I miss? Any excuse to go back people!