Savannah/Tybee Island Vacation - Circa 2018 - The Johnson Family
Updated: Oct 30, 2018
In planning our third trip to Savannah and Tybee Island, we unanimously agreed it would be fun to pretend we were Slow-vanna locals instead of tourists. And that is exactly what we did - we left our worries behind, slowed to a snail's pace, and enjoyed every magical moment of this historic city on the beach.
Thanks to Tybee Vacation Rentals we were able to rent a small cottage just 2 blocks from the beach with easy access from the 10th Street pier. The cottage was walking distance to Tybee Market and most importantly, Tybee Island Social Club. Tybee Island Social Club is one of our favorite restaurants on the island. The calm atmosphere and Parisian-inspired decor are the perfect place to unwind after a long road trip. After dinner we took the short stroll to 16th Street - the main pedestrian drag on Tybee Island lined with more restaurants, snacks, and shopping. Wet Willies sounded great after our large meal; we got our frozen island cocktails and made our way to Tybee Island Pavilion and Pier to watch the sunset before walking back to our 1940s cottage to relax for the rest of the evening.
Local Tip: Did you know Tybee Island and Savannah are open container towns? Now you do! You can ask your server for a to-go cup - or a 'traveler' as the locals call them - when you leave your restaurant or bar. It makes pub crawling so much easier and shopping fun.
The second day of our trip we were on a mission to explore Historic Savannah and take in a few famous sites. Now, before you say, "I thought you were treating this trip like you were locals? Well, even locals need to check out their city's tourist hot-spots to get the full view of what their city has to offer. Right? And since we were on a recon mission to learn about our future home, exploring Historic Savannah was mandatory.
First stop - Forsyth Park & Fountain
"Forsyth Park is the largest park in the historic district of Savannah Georgia. The park covers 30 acres of land just south of Gaston Street and north of Park Avenue. Perhaps the most well known feature of Forsyth Park is the large fountain that sits at the north end of Forsyth Park. The fountain was built in 1858. It resembles a few other fountains found around the world, including fountains found in Paris and Peru. All around the Forsyth Park Fountain are benches. Every year on St. Patrick’s Day the City of Savannah dyes the water in the fountain green. The ceremony when the water is died is a popular event attended by hundreds, sometimes thousands of local Savannahians."
We rather enjoyed walking through Forsyth Park. Most of the park is shaded by old oak trees draped in Spanish moss. There are benches everywhere so we were able to just sit and watch the locals and tourists alike stroll by at a leisurely pace. I now understand why Savannah has been nicknamed Slow-vannah. It's just so calm.
Second Stop - The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
The history of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is long and detailed. "The first cornerstone of Cathedral was laid on November 19, 1873. A fire destroyed Cathedral in 1898. The rebuilt Cathedral was dedicated on October 28, 1900, by Archbishop Sebastian Martinelli, apostolic delegate to the United States. Under the direction of Father G. F. X. Shadewell, Cathedral was redecorated and murals were installed. The stained glass windows, executed by the Innsbruck Glassmakers in the Austrian Tyrol, were installed in the Cathedral around 1904. Christopher Murphy, a noted Savannah artist, planned and directed a firm of artists in the painting of the murals. The refurbished Cathedral was formally re-opened in May 1912."
I can honestly say, I've never seen anything more glorious. My mouth literally fell open as I entered the church. It took a few moments to regain my composure and realize I needed to take some photos of...well...everything. There is so much to take in; the details on every surface are breathtaking. The Cathedral is not to be missed when visiting Savannah and I am sorry it took us until our third trip to visit this architectural masterpiece.
Local Tip: Directly across from Cathedral is a precious little coffee shop. It was hot and we were hungry, so we made a beeline for it. Mirabelle Cafe is a casual-chic daytime destination known for its gourmet waffles, pastries & specialty coffee drinks. I enjoyed a tasty Iced Chai Latte while my son devoured the gourmet waffle.
It's a beach trip...so we spent the entire last day of our trip at the beach. I've been banned from adding photos of my child on the beach for this blog post so here is a cute little crab instead. But, I've got a great story he cannot ban from me from telling.
Dolphin sightings are common on Tybee Island Beach. Sharks are not as common but they do frequent the island. The locals will tell you, "Chances are if you see a dorsal fin in the water, it's a dolphin." That advice seemed reasonable to me but try convincing my 15 year old son of that. He was wading chest deep in the ocean when a dorsal fin crested the water no more than 5 feet from his face. Obviously, panic ensued! Luckily I was sitting on the beach and was able to see the hilarious event unfold. He frantically swam for shore screaming, "Shark, shark!" The entire time I was waving my arms trying to get his attention to tell him it was a dolphin. He made his way to the sand and by the time he reached me he was white as a sheet. Trying to calm him down, I explained that I had seen the dorsal fin crest the water and it was definitely a dolphin, due to the curve of the fin that sharks do not have. He wasn't buying it. Needless to say, beach day was over.
As we woke the next morning knowing it was time to head back home, we were sad but a little less sad than normal as we had already booked our next vacation for less than a year away - April 2019, to be exact. We enjoyed one last walk on the beach, took our time getting ready and straightened up the cottage before we loaded up our gear and headed off the island. We made a pit stop at Starbucks as we approached the interstate, again in an attempt to pretend we were locals instead of tourists. In all honesty, I'm pretty sure we were not fooling anybody. See you soon Savannah...very soon!
Want more vacation tips? Read Johnson Family Tybee Island Vacation - Circa 2012 blog post too.
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