She Crab Soup. Red Rice. Low Country Boils. 16 Historic Squares. Forsyth Park. Low tide. Black and White Lighthouse. I will hit the high points because I’d have to write a novel to capture all of it otherwise.
If you can stay in the Historic District, do so. Spend the money. It’s so much easier.
Also, go to the Visitor’s Center and get a day pass for parking in garages and on the street. So much easier. No feeding meters. Plus the little elderly ladies that work there can mark the exact spot you’re looking for on a map upside down and finish your sentences for you. They know their stuff.
Say please and thank you. Say excuse me. Smile. Use your manners. I have encountered almost nothing but politeness and graciousness from every person here. Give it back to them.
When they offer you sherry and cracked black pepper for your She Crab Soup, take it. Both add an extra layer of flavor to perfection. We found a Mississippi girl working at The Olde Pink House who happened to be our server. When she found out we were from Hattiesburg, her accent got thicker as if to say, “Ahhhh, I can talk normally to HOME FOLKS!” She is from Crystal Springs and recommended another version of She Crab Soup at the Crystal Beer Palace. Awesome.
Ask for ghost stories. Every inch of ground is haunted. There are stories. Ask for them.
Bring bug spray. (I did and a couple of ladies from Cincinnati were just as glad as we were that I packed it. When I offered them bug spray, she wanted to know where we were from. “Oh,” she said when she heard MS, “then you’re prepared for the situation!” I told her everything bites down here. She said, “I guess so!”)
Talk to people. There are wonderful stories all around you and you won’t know them unless you share yours. I told an employee of E. Shaver Bookstore about my love of The Lady Chablis because of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil as I was buying a copy of The Lady Chablis’ autobiography. I received the following story in reply, “Well, you know she was in here just a few days ago. We had a woman who wanted a personalized autographed book and I emailed her about it. She came in, dressed to the nines as usual, but was just a little scaled down. Not quite as flashy as she normally is. She autographed the books, leaned over the counter toward me, put a hand to her mouth and stage whispered, “Now, don’t go telling anybody I was in here incogNEGRO.” I also learned there was no chance of my running into her in Savannah as she now lives in South Carolina.
Do not eat at a chain. This is a regular Road Trip rule for me but if you don’t follow this anywhere normally, this would be the area of the south you DO NOT want to be eating a McDouble in when there is a hand formed Bison Burger waiting for you with home fries and a local brew.
When they tell you that they’d be happy to show you around the place when you’re finished with your meal, take them up on it.
If you’re eating in the Historical District and staying in the area afterwards with no driving, two words for you: Go Cup.
Allow Breathe Time. I had to cancel some of the events I had planned and tours I had scheduled because I wanted time to savor the sites I did visit. Because of Breathe Time, I heard the bells of six different churches/temples/synagogues strike the six o’clock hour on Monday evening as I was taking a photo of the statue of Mr. Oglethorpe. Because of Breathe Time, I noticed tiny white Confederate Jasmine blooms curled around 150 year old wrought iron railings at The Olde Pink House.
Fourteenth Street is where you want to be on Tybee for picnics. There’s a pavilion with restrooms and plenty of tables. Bring quarters for the parking meters. A short walk over the dunes to the edge of the water and lots of shells down past the rocks on the south end of the island. There are signs that say “Danger: Stay Off Of The Jetties!”. I pointed out the signs to Waylon and told him I didn’t know what a jetty was so how was I supposed to stay off of it? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jetty That would be the rocks that I mentioned previously. We walked all around them. Oh well.
Wear comfortable shoes. You’re a tourist. Everybody around you knows that even if you don’t have a camera in one hand and map in the other. Don’t wear stilettos to the River Walk. As our oddly Irish sounding Pirate Server told us at The Pirate House, “When you have a few alcoholic drinks in ye, you can’t walk straight anyway. You add stilettos and cobblestones, well, you’re lookin’ fer trouble.” Amen.