Girls Gone Mild 2012: Tybee Island

This time last week, I was on Tybee. Gawd, I love that place. Reminds me of everything that is awesome in life: Beach, warm sun, sand, marshes and birds, beer, kids and “yes, Ma’am,” and fresh seafood, and my grandparents, and being a Georgian. Say what you will (and leave politics out of it), but I live in one of the most beautiful states ever. Cities and beaches and swamps and Piedmont farm fields, and pine forests and hardwood forests and wilderness and lakes and mountains. (Seriously. Name another state with both the Appalachians and a monstrously-huge swamp. Alabama, maybe?)

Georgia is who I am. I feel Georgia in my bones.

So, I was excited to spend a few days on Tybee, with my little sister and my dear friends Robin and Vanessa. They’re my “newer” college friends. You know, I’ve only known them for a little over 20 years now. [gulp] Even more exciting was the fact that neither Robin or Vanessa had ever been to Savannah or Tybee. I wish we had more time – they barely got to scratch the surface. Pretty sure they caught the bug, though. They will return. I know it.

We got in on Sunday, after an enjoyable ride down 16, the world’s most boring drive (if you don’t happen to have three of your best friends with you, doing godawful Irish brogues in Dublin, and performing their best machine gun sounds - it’s true, girls really can’t do them – which make your stomach hurt from laughing, and which put everyone’s lives in peril as you struggle to keep the car on the road because you can’t see through the tears of laughter).

Got there, and checked into our condo. (We considered a house, which i would have preferred, but the condo had a heated pool and in early March, heated pool wins out.) Then we had drinks, hit the IGA for provisions. (I could write a whole blog post on just the IGA – awesomely strange people-watching. People drink while shopping for groceries. Hysterical. Oh, and did I mention awesome? They will deliver your groceries to your door, or stock your place before you even get there.) Then we went to Sting Ray’s for dinner. It was good, and they had decent beer and they were open on Sunday and god, i was starving. This is also the moment where our trip catchphrase was born. You know: Every trip with friends has one. Todd went to Tybee a couple of years ago and came back with “Release the Kracken!” They even had their own logo:

Gratuitous Kracken photo, courtesy of Iain Stewart, because it still cracks me up.

Gratuitous Kracken photo, courtesy of Iain Stewart, because it still cracks me up.

Ours? “I don’t know about you whores, but. . . ”

As in: I don’t know about you whores, but yes. We are that classy. And then we went back to our place, drank tequila, watched The Walking Dead, and made bird statues do weird things to each other.

On Monday, we rented bikes from Fat Tire Bikes. They were so sweet, gave us an “off-season” discount, and we made friends with Joey, a former science teacher, who now works part-time at the bike shop. They also traded out my bike for me when I had an overnight slow leak. Good people.

Lisa and Robin decided to head straight back to the pool, so they piled their bikes in the back of my van, while Vanessa and I readied for a ride, by spending about an hour adjusting our bike seats (I have long legs people!) and she practiced riding in a parking lot next to the bike shop. While we did that, we heard a crash and looked out in the middle of Butler (main st. on Tybee) and there is Robin running in the middle of the road picking up a bike basket that fell out of the back of the van. Yes, my sister likes to floor it. Even when there are bikes, not tied down, in the back of my open van. This happened right in front of the bike shop, which made me laugh my ass off. *No bikes were harmed in the course of this trip. Not sure when Nessie last rode a bike, but i think it had been a while. But, you know, riding a bike is, um, just like riding a bike. It came back to her and then we hit the road and explored and looked at houses and it was fucking awesome.

Then we hit the pool! Not much better than a day sitting around a pool with friends. We also tormented my husband by texting him at work and asking him to be our cabana boy. He is a good egg, my husband. I finished The Scottish Prisoner and started reading Ready Player One.

That night, we had dinner at North Beach Bar and Grill (unassuming building near the lighthouse, but great food and great servers!) And then we went to Huca Poo’s for beer. No link because damn, they need a new website. OMG, i loved this place. Not for those sensitive to smoke (you can still smoke in public places there, which is so weird, even though it wasn’t so long ago that everywhere was like that.) First of all, great bartender, Al. For the Auburn folks, he was a cross between Jared Pearce and my Mama. I don’t know how else to describe him. Red leather barstools, just like they had at The Georgia Bar, back in the day, when that was actually the place to be in Athens. Sweet seats! Pinball. People playing poker at a corner table. That ring toss game that I need to install at the lakehouse. Great people-watching. And DOGS AT THE BAR. There was an actual dog, named Zoe, wearing a plaid scarf, sitting on a barstool at the bar. God bless bars like this. I could live in one. Not kidding when I say i could put it in my top 20 bars of all time. (No, I haven’t really made this list, but i might some day.)

This place is the good stuff.

This place is the good stuff.

Tuesday, we had planned to spend the day in Savannah, but for some reason, everyone slept late and we bailed on that. So, instead, we rode bikes in the a.m. Okay, i had to get my damn tire fixed, and then i rode bikes. We ate lunch at Fannie’s On the Beach. Their onion rings are the best thing since beer. And then the girls went back to the pool and I rode my bike all by myself for a while. No pictures of that. It’s all in my head, though, and it’s all mine. And no one can take it away.

And then i think we had more time at the pool, and then we were tired and we ordered pizza in and drank some more that night. They don’t call us Girls Gone Mild for nothing.

Wednesday morning, Leelee and i got up bright and early and went for a bike ride. It was one of the best mornings I can remember having with my sweet sister. When was the last time you rode bikes with your sibling? There is a magic to it, like you are six years old again. We looked at houses, and talked, and did fashion shoots and action shots (see below) and walked on the pier and laughed.

And on the way back home, i rode past a house and saw my friend Lisa standing out in the front yard! Lisa is friends with my friend Donnie, from college. They live in Savannah, but Lisa has a landscaping company, Plan It Green Design, and she was working on one of the Mermaid Cottages on the island. She is awesome, even though I don’t know her that well. But you know, when you go skinny dipping at a downtown Atlanta hotel’s rooftop pool at 1 am on a Monday night after a Pixies show, you’re pretty fast friends. Anyway, it is a small world and it was nice to hug her neck and say hello.

Let’s see, what else? Robin and i walked on the beach a bit, and then we took Nessa and Robbie to The Crab Shack. I can’t really explain the crab shack. You will just have to go there on your own. Suffice it to say that it is extremely touristy, located down a weird mobile-home/awesome backriver home street, and it has cats, raccoons, parrots, and real live gators. Kids adore it, and adults lie if they don’t kind of like it too. Except for Robin, who doesn’t really eat seafood and was quite unimpressed. I felt a little sorry for her as I sucked crawfish heads and the eyes stared at her as she ate her ribs. I cracked shells and and slurped mussels and pretty much gave into the thrill of killing my own food as i ate it. I am a sucker for a food with a carapace or a shell or an exoskeleton. They are so fun to eat! And then we took photos with the fake gator. Fake gators are always a good time.

And on our last night, we went to the pier and it was a full moon and you could see Venus and Jupiter, i think, and the moon shined on the river. I stood on the end of the pier, looking down, watching the flow of the river make it’s way back out to the ocean. I thought about how good it feels to go with the flow of your heart and your desires, to be like the river, ebbing and flowing with the pull of the moon, and I knew that it is okay to be me, even if I change directions at the damnedest times, and with no apparent reason. I have my reasons, like the tides have the moon.

And then we went back and packed up and planned for a Kamikaze tour of Savannah the next morning. We got up, returned out bikes and said our goodbyes to Joey, and hit the road. I hate to leave Tybee – it pulls at my heartstrings so. The girls wanted to see Bonaventure, so we went there first, and spent a delightful morning walking the cemetery. It is truly beautiful, even if touristy.

And then we got REAL hangry and decided to eat on River Street, which I would normally avoid, but I thought if we had such a short time, they would want to see its cobblestone and the preparations for St. Patty’s that were already underway, and the sweet shops. OHGODTHESWEETS. There does exist, by the way, a peanut butter cup that is too big for me to finish. I didn’t think it was possible, but it is true.

The sad part is that we had to hit the road, and they never even got the chance to walk the squares, which is the true beauty of Savannah, but i am sure they will come back. I know I will. Maybe Girls Gone Mild 2013?

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