Midnight in the Garden of Savannah and Tybee Island

The south is like a diamond.  Even the most beautiful and precious gems usually have a dark and heartbreaking crack.

Por ejemplo, on our recent vacation we had dinner at The Olde Pink House in Savannah, Georgia.  

pink house

So pretty, right?  I was already feeling kind of swoony from walking through all the beautiful squares filled with giant Oak trees and seeing horses in the street.  I’m very old-fashioned.  Right up until I’m burping and swearing in public.  

The hostess lead us up this stairwell, which at the time was lined with employees:

stairwell

It was a little unnerving because the staff was being suspiciously welcoming, and we had just come from a cemetery.  It was unclear if we were being taken to trial for a crime we hadn’t committed, or we were being properly received.  Turns out it was the latter.  

FINALLY.

We entered the dining room that looks like this:  

I openly gasped.

I-love-you-gif-Tim-Gunn.gif.pagespeed.ce.FH0UrSrrVm

It immediately became my FAVORITE restaurant.  EVER.  

There are about 37 other rooms that are smaller variations of that one, filled with fireplaces, oil paintings and visions of grandeur.   It’s sort of like being on the Titanic but without all the pesky drowning.  I was a little bummed I didn’t know more about MY NEW HOME (in my mind) before we arrived because I totally would have worn my favorite hoop skirt and had my hair done.

hoopskirt

Of course the food was I-can’t-even-talk-about-it-without-tearing-up-a-little amazing.  

And the service was perfect.  Thank you, Brian. It’s okay that you’re from New Jersey.

Brian

Nine courses later we got some dark history.  Specifically, James Habersham received the land for The Olde Pink House from the King of England as a reward for being a giant doosh (something about slavery I prefer not to remember).  He shared the property with his sons, one of whom was James Habersham, Jr. who got greedy and turned on the King by becoming a Federalist, which broke his father’s Loyalist heart.  The King put a price on junior’s head, as kings will do when you piss them off, and then traitor-boy left to fight in the war while his wife oversaw the construction of their home. When he returned, his wife had decided she liked the mason better.

not-subtle-flirting.gif.pagespeed.ce.PwlMUAeHQd

Welcome to Colonies™, the game.

You lose.

wth.gif.pagespeed.ce.ggOAYQi-o-

The cemetery I mentioned earlier is the Bonaventure Cemetery.  We went there because Pulitzer Prize winner Conrad Aiken is buried there, AND it’s a gorgeous place to sit with dead people, like you do on vacation.

To be visited in the daytime only.

To be visited in the daytime only.

I used to hate Spanish moss because of that night I broke my toe on a drug run when I was nine but now I find it very pretty.  Enchanting even.  Particularly, when it’s over the bench that is Mr. Aiken’s tombstone.

aiken tomb

Very thoughtful of him to give you a place to sit and honor his request to have a drink with him and his parents.  They’re buried next to him.

parents

Please note the death dates.

More dark history.  No they did not die together holding in hands in a romantic train accident. His father murdered his mother in their home and then committed suicide when Conrad was 11.

Oh the gothic south.  Sure, an emotionally scarred orphan.  Let’s all drink to that.

bill.gif.pagespeed.ce.w2Ju7YHUhk

Ugggggg.

Occasionally you do come across a diamond in the rough that really IS perfect, even though it may not look perfect.  

It’s called Tybee Island.

This was our vacation headquarters, aka the safe and happy place we went back to so I could privately weep about all the loss and betrayal we found in Savannah.

awkward-hug.gif.pagespeed.ce.dARndAlOcM

The thing that makes Tybee so fabulous is that at first glance you might think these people aren’t very bright because they post signs like this:

sign

Disseminate information like this:

infohut

Drink and drive on purpose:

The original roadie bike.

The original roadie bike.

And have life-size Jenga game for a grocery store.   

IMG_8800

There’s a real risk of being buried alive in the IGA.

BUT, it turns out they are very smart and crafty people who are just dumbing it down for the tourists so they can have the place all to themselves.  In January it’s a quiet locals-only paradise that looks like this:

IMG_8596

But we would not be thwarted.  We were vacationing alone this time and were determined to see more of the island.  Note:  the last time we were here (July) we had two children with us and we left the house exactly two times in seven days.  Once to go to the beach, which at that time was overrun with screamy kids and exhausted parents dragging wagons of buckets and broken dreams behind them, and once to eat dinner at a place I can’t remember because that’s what kids do to your brain.

We were rewarded for our tenacity when we were exchanging “are your affairs in order?” glances at each other in the Jenga-IGA.  The other brave shopper cheerfully suggested we go to the Social Club.

We went.  Y’all?  That place will is one of the coolest places in the history of ever.  Like a beach house and Paris got together and made a baby.

photo credit:  www.10best.com

photo credit: http://www.10best.com

Dinner was fabulous and we were enjoying hanging out with no responsibility for a minute when one of the owners, Sarah, came over and introduced herself.  Here we are two hours later:

me and sarah

We went back the following night because that queso is no joke, and we met Sarah’s husband and co-conspirator, Kurtis:

kurtis

And Mayor Matt (he’s not really the mayor, mostly):

matt

Super cool beach kids laying low right?

Wrong.

After four days of leaving their restaurant only to sleep and be devastated by Savannah, Sarah and Kurtis invited us over to their exquisitely renovated house, which they did themselves, to meet some of their friends.  Not only are these two running a restaurant and bar, Sarah is a hot-shit interior designer, and Kurtis and his brother are Columbia Records stars (when Kurtis isn’t busy creating giant oil paintings, building furniture and being a culinary wizard).  Their buddy Jason produces many of the music festivals you see in Savannah, Scott is a fancy photographer, and Barry was Paula Dean’s agent right up until she started behaving like a complete jackass last summer.

Naturally I saw fit to demonstrate how I awesome I am through the medium of dance:

baby-dance.gif.pagespeed.ce.OmQRd0lf-i

That is not really me.  But I did pick up the new nickname Flashdance Rabbit.

Cue the exit music.  Not only are the locals of Tybee super talented, they’re genuinely awesome humans you will look forward to seeing again.

And that, is a rare and perfect gem.

We are vacation champions.

napoleonyes

__________________________________________________________________

Notes from me to you:

a) I am not a journalist – everything I said about the dead people in this post is hearsay.  I was on vacation and couldn’t be bothered to fact-check.

b)  This post is not sponsored by anyone except my own glorious self.  If you go to any of the places I mentioned and announce that I sent you, they will politely charge you full price and you will have a fantastic time.

c)  Party with that.  It’s Tuesday – hell yeah.

Comments

  1. Gurl…you got a way with words. And the added Gifs ain’t too shabby either. Very nicely done. Would you write about sports please so that I can publish your stuff. Thank you.

  2. Thanks for the post. Its a good read with superb pictures. You may find my book useful. http://www.5thingstodotoday.com/buy-book/

  3. I’m still mad I haven’t been to Tybee yet. It’s so close to me!

  4. Love it! We actually looked at Tybee Island as a possible destination last summer, but for some reason didn’t go. I think all the places must have been booked. Bummer, it looks like we missed out on some good times. Look at you all makin’ friendly with the cool kid locals! That kidless shit right here? That’s my kind of vacation!

    • Yes I remember use bantering about that in the comments section of famine other post or twitter! Y’all should go – I think you’d love it. Maybe half your vacation with kids and half without? Or all without and y’all can party like rock stars : )

  5. Hanging with the locals is one of the best parts of vacationing!

  6. I have been to Tybee often. Loved your article. Spot on. But really Jason is the Mayor. 😉

  7. I wanna go!! And I particularly like the cup holder on the bike. Reminds me of Key West and the drive through drink place I used to frequent.

  8. Love to see people rave about home. Thanks!

  9. 1. Can you teach me how to communicate through said medium of dance?
    2. Is Mayor Matt single?
    3. Does his right hand have an opposable thumb? Did it get cut off in the photo or a freakish accident? I’m not picky, I’m just asking.
    4. Do you say y’all in real life? I fucking LOVE that.

    • Hahaha girl you’re a trip! Yes. I can totally teach you the medium of dance. At 1am on a Saturday night. Mayor Matt was not wearing a wedding ring – you’re up! He has all 10 fingers and they are all perfectly normal. Hooray! Of course I say y’all – I grew up in SC. Eight years in LA couldn’t get rid of it – it’s here to stay : )

  10. Oh girl. I’m more of a St. Simon’s girl (and Sea Island if I can sneak past the gatekeeper). We like Tybee, but during the season it’s the Waffle House of the Golden Isles!

    • Totally, but I’m from Myrtle Beach so I’m used to that haha. The off season is far superior I agree. I haven’t been to St. Simons but I would like to check it out!

  11. Another brilliant post Molly. And the Savannah reference from our previous exchange makes absolute sense now! Particular highlights:

    1. The use of y’all. As a Brit, you have no idea how sexy I find this;
    2. The Emma Stone GIF;
    3. The dancing baby GIF;
    4. The line ‘because that’s what kids do to your brain’; and
    5. Not so much a highlight given what happened. But my mother’s birthday is Feb 27th.

    Till next time x

    • Aw man, this is so nice I don’t even know what to say. THANK YOU! I love your blog – you’re awesome. This is a huge compliment – you made my day : ) Happy Early Birthday to your mom – crazy that it’s the same date!

  12. I have been to all those places except the restaurant! Instead, we went to the boardwalk, had some frozen liquor drinks and watched the insult comic buskers. Plus, we went to the center of town and saw some art, and I took pictures of all that.

    Savannah is my wife’s favorite city.

  13. Oh Molly – You know I MUST see you dance now you little Flashdance rabbit. Sounds like an amazing trip and I’m glad the jenga IGA was not your undoing

  14. Love it. We have friends in Savannah to whom we owe a visit (sans children.)
    And I have to say, I read all day in the hopes of finding the quintessential phrase that will live with me for the next few days: parents dragging wagons of buckets and broken dreams behind them. You’ve said so much in such a few short words. Sigh.

    • Aw man, I don’t know how I missed this. I just discovered a slew of “pending comments.” What is wrong with me? I’m such a tech jackass it’s amazing I haven’t deleted my entire blog by mistake. Thank you for this lovely compliment! XO

  15. I NEED to vacation with you, because I want all of this to happen to me. RIGHT NOW. Of course you know how to find out dark secrets, stumble into the greatest restaurants, and become best friends with the greatest people in town!

    And that beach, its stunning. STUNNING.

    I’ve had my eye on Savannah for my a long weekend trip for years and this just put it right up to the top of the list. I’m thisclose to packing the car and leaving right now.

    • We need to make this happen. Can you imagine the trouble we would get into together? Hahaha I’m already laughing and we haven’t even left yet. Seriously I think you would love both of those places – for real. The beach is packed in the summer but in the winter it’s perfect : )

  16. Moving after my son graduates in June and I finish up business here. Moving for the pleasure and then a job. Or a job and then pleasure. Whichever comes first. Trying to make contacts and friends( networking) for the move.

  17. deweydecimalsbutler says:

    The dancing toddler gif made me laugh. Also, there is a local guy at Tybee by the name of Captain Edwin Longwater – can’t make that shit up. He acts like a local minister and marries folks who come to the island. He’s a piece of work. I’m thinking most of the locals probably know about him. Odd bird and definitely worth a tale or two of his own.

    • Oh that name is perfect! We will definitely run him down next time we’re there. I mean like find him not run him over with a car or anything. Sounds like he does have some tales. Thanks for chiming in!

  18. Please add me to yours and Pinot Ninja’s next vacation! Please!!!

  19. You’re awesome! Ya’ll, reading Mollytopia is almost as good as going on vacation!

    • Aw, thanks lady! Big love to you. Not the polygamy kind but like a big regular hug. Not that I’m judging – lookit it’s America (or Utah anyway). I’m glad we’re not in Utah. It’s too cold there for me right now. Never mind. Thank you! XO

  20. awww it’s out. You found mom/dad’s secret beach hideaway spot. They are huge, HUGE fans of Tybee Island. They’ve been going for some odd 16+ years now. Once you go and meet the people, you become family as you can tell from your experience. XOXO – Bacon

  21. Mayor Matt says:

    Molly,
    It was a pleasure to meet you and Mike both. As your unofficial mayor, I am granting you a key to the City of Tybee Island. Thanks for your kind words and tell all the single ladies you know (cue Beyonce) to come on down. Y’all come back soon!

    • Hooray it’s Mayor Matt!!! Look in the comments – one gal is already interested in you : ). Hope to see you again soon – y’all are the best – thanks for making our vacation so fun! XO

      • Mayor Matt says:

        I appreciate women who drink bourbon. You are one of those women. On a side note, I’ve read your other posts and laughed my ass off. Don’t ask why I know about the American Doll, but I laughed my ass off. See y’all next time!

      • Hooray Mayor Matt! I’m stunned that you know about American Girl. WHY????

        We’re totally ready to come back and visit. We need some more of y’all : )

  22. Random thoughts:

    I think I’d feel more at home at The Olde Punk House Bar & Grill.

    There’s nothing wrong with being from New Jersey. My daughters are from New Jersey and they seem kind of normal. I’m from Cleveland. That’s a much tougher row to hoe.

    Who can eat nine courses! That’s crazy! Or are you speaking in metaphor?

    Nobody knows how to do graveyards like the south. Don’t you agree?

    “Heat” kills? Like when someone is “packing heat?” is that what they mean?

    • You should totally open the Olde Punk House – I’ll go! There is nothing wrong with being from NJ – he apologized for it because he’s working in Savannah – said NJ was too fast for him haha. Definitely no on nine courses – it just felt that way. We were there so long it seemed like I should send for my things, which I wanted to do anyway because it’s my destiny to live in that house : ) Definitely agree that southern graveyards are the best and heat does kill. Unless you’re from the south and used to it. But “heat” like gun heat will absolutely kill you, or at least leave a lasting impression.

  23. This is better than any journalist could do! What a vacation filled with dead people, people living, eating, breathing and eating some more. I’m sold! 🙂

  24. This post was a wild ride.
    Well done!

  25. what is your name ? Are you a boy or girl ?👨👩
    Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2014 18:27:27 +0000
    To: ainanazlah.afinddey@hotmail.com

  26. Why is spanish moss allowed in cemeteries? Why? Beyond creepy. Though you know you spoke straight to my heart by hanging out with dead people while you were on vacation.

  27. Loved your post, Molly! Having been to all the places you mentioned with the exception of the Social club (which looks like it rocks!), I could not have said it better (or even as well) myself.

    We rented a huge house in Savannah a couple of years ago in October for our Outlaw long weekend and Bonaventure was one of the highlights, along with copious amounts of gorgeous architecture, great music, amazing food, and festive beverages. To further define Outlaw: my husband’s siblings and their spouses, 5 couples in all. Big southern fun for most of them, who reside up north.

    You should definitely check out St Simons if you haven’t been…also crowded in summer, but awesome in the off season.

    • Oh man your Outlaw weekend sounds amazing! What were your favorite restaurants? I definitely want to check out St. Simons – everyone raves about it : )

      • Well, Molly, the Outlaws include a couple of serious gourmets, so we ate out only a couple of meals, and at small local restaurants, nothing fancy or famous. We do, however, enjoy pre-meal cocktails with a view, and I would highly recommend the Rooftop Bar at the Bohemian hotel. River view and excellent people watching, even off season. As I am reflecting, my friend who lives in St Simons is also a fab cook, so I couldn’t even name a restaurant there to recommend. I guess I should color myself lucky, right? 🙂

      • If you have room for one more in your crew I’m applying. Yes – color yourself lucky indeed!

      • 🙂 Noted!

  28. You know, you could’ve made your way home via Charleston so we could have hung out for a little while. I realize it would have taken you a bit longer. Loving your website and all of its craziness! Hope to see you very soon. So proud of you!

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