Tybee Island: Going Back in Time
By: Travel and Adventure Blogger Cathy H. Burroughs
As you leave Savannah and head over the bridge to Tybee, in nineteen miles, you feel you’ve time-traveled back to the old fashioned beach town of another era. Try not to miss the appealing beach resort – at once funky and honky tonk, laid back and whimsical. And you’ve got to – at least once – try a themed hotel. We did, and it was a real adventure. You truly feel you’re starring in a sensual, romantic, fun and wildly evocative movie or a protagonist in a somewhat torrid and passionate romance novel.
Fuel Your Fantasies at The Atlantis Inn on Tybee Island
The imaginative and theatrical Atlantis Inn was voted best place to stay by readers of the Tybee Breeze twice. The inn features room after room of every possible variation from the exotic movies of the 30’s and 40’s – all with other-worldly themes – from the erotic Moulin Rouge to our underwater ancient Atlantian Poseidon’s Palace. In our palatial submerged palace, we climbed the three tiered mountain to our platformed bed encircled with curtains, revitalizing ourselves in the ensuite hot tub. With a full grown statue of Poseidon and décor from a dream, we will not forget our once-in-a-lifetime night at Tybee’s Atlantis Inn. A lark – a romantic, carefree, adventurous escape – this completely original inn is nothing short of unforgettable!
From the Sublime to the Even More Sublime Tybee History
It’s good to hobnob with locals and make friends with folks who are in-the-know for invaluable insider tips on where to go. One such friend suggested two not-to-miss island eateries. The first, a roadside joint where the food is literally cooked out of a truck with some makeshift netting and picnic tables – Gerald’s Pig and Shrimp. The other – Sundae Café was once an ice cream and sandwich shop. Still in a strip mall, the cafe is now converted to a gourmet restaurant. This is an essential stop for the most discerning connoisseur. Who would have thought we would find such elevated culinary experiences here?
In the case of Gerald’s Pig and Shrimp (and yes, he’s catered for some of Hollywood’s top directors when they were in town), expect to swoon at some of the most delectable fried shrimp (the batter – the secret is in the batter!) and bar-b-que you may ever experience. Yes, the atmosphere of this stand is unexpected, and one you may not think you should try. But trust us, you really should. Do not miss this spot in all its funkdom. Tell Gerald we sent you.
As for the Sundae Café (no, it is not open on Sundays), do plan on making a reservation. This little known hole-in-the-wall is actually quite lovely and surprisingly intimate on the inside – and may just be Tybee’s best kept secret. Sans reservation, we sat at the bar with the restaurant’s inscrutable bartender/general manager who said we could not go wrong with anything on the menu including divinely-inspired martinis. He couldn’t have been more right. We went for the local fare: Oysters Rockefeller topped with shrimp, smoked bacon and creamed collard greens and finished with tasso hollandaise; Bacon wrapped and crab stuffed jumbo shrimp, Boursin mashed potatoes, sauteed okra and tomatoes and creole mustard romoulade. My cohort had crab cakes with tomato marmalade and low country risotto, and we both finished it off with a Key Lime pie. All of this washed over us with inordinate delectability of unimaginable dimension.
Let me simply say this: This was one of the finest meals I have ever had. Get thee to Tybee before The Food Network discovers these cooking geniuses and you’ll have to wait longer for a table than for The French Laundry. Reasonable at night, lunch is the deal of the century with specials at $8. You may even make a Paula Deen sighting here, as word has it, even she eats here as often as she can. Check out the Island’s beaches, nightlife and The Breakfast Club where both guests and regulars alike often start their day.
There’s lots of history here as well – the Pulaski Fort and national park, the Lighthouse and The Maritime Center. We didn’t have time for them all, but spent a delightful and perfect half day wandering the moats, mazes and underground tunnels of this work of engineering brilliance that reminded us of one of the most painful and divisive periods in American history – the Civil War.
For your historical journey, do bring comfortable walking shoes, a bathing suit and plan on spending many blissful days and nights discovering this gem of a city and its adjacent beach.
History, beauty, art, music, mystery, shopping, nightlife, golf for some, beach bumming for others, and some of the most gifted culinary artists and restaurateurs ever. And, of course, the secret ingredient. It’s in the fried green tomatoes and batters but also the mystical indigo Haint Blue paint with a touch of lime. This 100’s year old paint color illuminates the shutters, porches, doorways and trim of Savannah’s houses and keeps us all safe from ghouls, ghosts and disembodied spirits – buttermilk! You can never go too far wrong with buttermilk, y’all.
Experience the Treasure of the South with us as we head north up to Savannah…