US trip, part III: Tybee Island and Savannah, Georgia

While I was at my parents’ place in Atlanta earlier this month, we decided to take our first family vacation in over a year.

My parents had been fully vaccinated, but I’d only had one dose and my brother was too young, so we wanted to go somewhere that wasn’t too crowded. We settled on Tybee Island, not far from the city of Savannah in southern Georgia.

Because Savannah is on the border between Georgia and South Carolina, we also took a brief detour up to Charleston, South Carolina. But it was so crowded that we didn’t get out of the car, and instead just did a drive through the city! I thought it had a nice vibe, though. Sunny, warm, breezy, with rows upon rows of lovely historical homes. There were a lot of tours on horse-drawn carriages.

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Coming back from South Carolina, we passed by a small town named Switzerland, haha. Apparently it was founded by Swiss immigrants a few hundred years ago. The history of Swiss migration to the US includes some fascinating stories, such as that of the town of New Glarus, Wisconsin. Back then, when Switzerland wasn’t so rich, poor villages pooled together money for a couple of people to go to the United States and find land in order for the whole town to go over and start a new life in America. They were ultimately able to build a Swiss community in Wisconsin and even send money back home when there was trouble. I would love to do more research into this subject.

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After a long day of driving, we arrived at Tybee Island in the evening. Even though it’s technically an island, it is connected to the mainland through roads and bridges. The more touristy side of town is on the eastern side of the island, but we stayed in a rental on the western side, which was quieter and more private.

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The cul-de-sac of our rental house.
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The beach house had a closed deck with airy white drapes. I slept in here for the first night, but the bed was not very comfortable, despite its enticing appearance. This is more suitable for afternoon naps. Makes me wish I had a sunroom at home.

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View from the back porch!

The back of the house led to a marshy beach that is semi-private for the residents of several neighborhoods along the coastline. It was totally in a natural, pristine environment: no lifeguards, no businesses, no umbrellas and beach towels. The shore was littered with glistening jellyfish that had been washed up by the tide. In the evenings, the tide was so strong that it all but swallowed the beach.

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At sunset, we watched dolphins dance in the waves and cargo ships pass by in the distance.
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We also went to the North Beach on the other side of the island, which was way nicer but also much more crowded with vacationers.

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Directly across the street from this house (where I took the picture from) was a Mexican restaurant flying a big Mexican flag alongside an American one….

I should also mention that mask usage was much higher than I’d expected. Almost every business we passed in Georgia had a sign on the door requiring masks, and from what I could see, customers complied. We ate at a restaurant near the beach where all servers were masked, and customers could only remove their masks if they were sitting. At rest areas in South Carolina and Georgia, the vast majority of people also wore masks when they entered the public restrooms.

We also did a day trip to Savannah, which is actually not on the coast. It’s a bit more inland and only has a river. I hadn’t been to Savannah since 2002, when my fifth-grade class went on a three-day trip to Skidaway Island to celebrate our graduation from elementary school. I remember it as being such a fun trip! We slept in bunk beds, ate so much seafood and saw whales from our boat. Even though the tour guide asked us to help preserve the natural habitat by not removing anything from the island, I stole a sand dollar from the beach. Shame!

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Savannah is a lush, leafy town humming with creative energy and historic elegance, and would make for a great trip post-pandemic… especially for foodies!

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On the way back to Atlanta, we made a brief pit stop at Wormsloe Historic Site to drive through 1.5 miles of oak trees.

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And that’s it! Probably my last trip back to Georgia in a very, very long time, so I made the most of it.

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