John & Brenda's Excellent Tour travel blog

The canopied drive to Tybee Island

Beach, Pier and Pavilion of Tybee Island

Tybee Island Lighthouse

Lunch at the Crab Shack

Biking on Hilton Head Island trails

Sunset in Harbor Town

Old timer in Harbor Town yacht basin


May 30

We might have known...checkout time was 11:00 am but at 10:30 the housekeeping staff was waiting outside our room for us to leave. As we were leaving anyway, we packed up at our own pace and were out by 10:59:30. Again at the Holding's recommendation, we had picked up a brochure and map of Tybee Island, the beach destination for Savannah area on the Atlantic.

The first part of our 20-mile drive took us onto a route that was beautifully canopied along the sides with huge live oaks covered with Spanish moss and down the centre divider with palm trees. We also went by our first Piggly Wiggly, a regional grocery chain that is highly popular with the non-Wal-Mart crowd. The second half our drive was through broad salt marshes and salt water coastal estuaries teeming with birds and wildlife.

We also went by a number of roads named after Johnny Mercer, a local son and a name vaguely familiar in the music industry but, for the life of us, we couldn't remember any songs by him. Lo and behold, when Brenda Googled him later, we found he had written a couple of little-known ditties like "Moon River", "One More for My Baby" and "That Old Black Magic". We wondered why he never really caught on.

Our arrival in a parking spot along the shore was marred by the fact we had no change for the meter and, when I asked a guy walking by if he had change for a dollar, he gave me all the quarters he had and refused the dollar...typical of the smiling southern hospitality we have been experiencing all along (except for the housekeeping staff!). Tybee Island's beaches are typically gorgeous Atlantic seashore with a magnificent fishing pier and pavilion. The pavilion has been recently rebuilt after destruction of the original by fire some years ago. It had been a well-known stopping point for travelling big bands in the 30's and 40's and still hosts events in the evenings.

We swung by the oldest lighthouse in Georgia but opted not to hike up the 179 steps in the 29°C heat. Another Holding recommendation was to go to Tybee Island's Crab Shack for lunch. It has a wonderfully funky setting under a huge live oak tree along the edge of one of the estuaries and we had a fun lunch as Brenda got down and sticky with her fantastic peel-and-eat shrimp.

We regretfully took our leave of Tybee Island's idyllic setting after taking a picture of a beautifully verandah'ed house to e-mail to Darryl and Phyllis to continue our design campaign for their new home. Our drive to Hilton Head Island appeared to follow the coast on our map but in fact as we drove into South Carolina, it was inland through groves of pine.

Hilton Head Island is 55 square miles in area with nearly 500 miles of bike trails as well as many gorgeous golf courses. Once again, this was a Holding recommendation where they had enjoyed the paved level bicycle trails on their trip here. It's layout as you drive the main roads hides most residential and commercial buildings behind groves of trees, with the bike trails winding through them away from traffic for the most part.

The owner of the Tapas Restaurant in Savannah had recommended the Alligator Grill here for dinner and we were not disappointed. Brenda continued to exceed her previous seafood experience with scallops this time and I had an exquisite grilled duck with risotto. After our fabulous dinner, we retired early for what we planned as a long bike ride the next day.

May 31

Happy Anniversary Marc and Kathy!

Happy Birthday Shelli!

Our bike ride began in 28°C heat with moderate humidity and a slight breeze. We were grateful for the tree shade along the trail and the fact that we were off the very busy roads. Katie would have been disgusted as my man boobs soon built up a Herculean sweat mark. We quickly found that the private resort enclaves off the main roads do not tolerate the unregistered riff-raff using their snooty trails as the pleasant but firm security guards directed us back to the paths for commoners.

This was my first real physical exertion in some time and I was pleased to find that my stamina held up although I did develop a certain tenderness in the area of the function junction. We took a lunch break at the Longhorn Grill where I had a couple of compensatory pints. I tried to hide from fellow diners and serving staff that I could hardly walk as I got up from my chair and made a rather stiff and awkward lurch to the restroom. Of course, Brenda's youth and fitness level allowed her a jaunty, sprightly stroll.

We returned to our hotel with the trip computer purchased in Palm Springs showing 40 km...not a great distance for ardent cyclists but pretty fulfilling for a guy who's primary exercise is pushing 60. Brenda hit the shower while I took a dip in the pool before a well-deserved rest.

We drove into one of the private enclaves ($5 entry fee) to Harbor Town for happy hour and pre-dinner cocktails. Harbor Town is a pretty site built around deep moorage for visiting yachts. We chose a terrace bar alongside the quay and listened to a very fine singer/guitar player for an hour while we thought of our boating friends, Brian and Judy, and how much they would have enjoyed this. Our lone request of the singer was Don Williams' "I Believe in You" because his voice was so similar, but of course he didn't know it. (I ended up buying it on i-tunes when we got back to the hotel.)

After sunset, we left to buy dinner at the supermarket on the way home and dined in the hotel room. Hilton Head Island is one more place that deserves a return visit of longer duration to really appreciate all it has to offer.

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