On a drive from Savannah to Tybee, or Tybee to Savannah, besides the speed limit signs, do you really give any notice to other signs along the way?
On an overcast day, I was admiring the sky. Aside from the marsh grass showing signs of having taken a rainy beating, little was evident that there was a thunderous downpour in the wee hours of the morning.
On this beautiful day something pushed me to search for something new, something I had not noticed before on this familiar drive along the Georgia coast from Savannah to Tybee Island. What would I see different today?
About this time I had crested the Lazaretto Bridge.
How had I missed that sign before — “Historic Tybee Lighthouse Causeway“? “What was that about?” I wondered.
The history buff in me was now curious. So, of course, I checked out that back story when I returned home. The back story: House Resolution 1461 identifies, “the portion of US 80 from the end of Lazaretto River to the end of US 80 on Tybee Island, in Chatham County, is dedicated as the Historic Tybee Lighthouse Causeway.”
The Resolution recognizes the Tybee Lighthouse’s “long and storied history along the Georgia coast,” the fact that it has “saved the lives of many desperate seafarers in search of a safe port”.
That sign gives notice of an authentic part of Tybee Island’s and Georgia’s heritage, right there, on the highway sign. I began to feel that I was finding bread crumbs to history! Of course, now I was paying closer attention to more than speed limit signs. **Note: Don’t forget the 35 mph signs, and adhere strictly, too!
Korean War Veterans Memorial Highway. Georgia Senate Resolution 720 honors Georgia’s Korean War veterans by dedicating U.S. Highway 80 through Georgia the “Korean War Veterans Memorial Highway”.
The back story: At the time of the State of Georgia’s official Resolution, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Nevada, and Arizona had already dedicated the portions of US 80 within their borders in honor of the veterans of the Korean War.
“Hundreds of thousands of men and women served in the Korean War and over 34,000 died and over 100,000 were wounded in combat,” the Resolution states. On Tybee Island the highway continues along Butler Avenue to Tybrisa Street, where a monument reads:
“End of U.S. 80 | Tybee Island | Korean War Veterans Memorial Highway | Dedicated 4/7/08 by the Republic of Korea and a Grateful Nation”.
I had found a lot, traveling only a few minutes. But by now I was on a quest, giving uncommon attention to the official billboards along the roadway.
I began to feel more appreciative and respectful to those whose life’s work was patriotic, noble, and difficult. I was eager to enjoy Tybee Island’s resort life and beach community experiences; and, if only in my prayers, these sign posts reminded me I should thank a few more people than the folks I would meet during my journey to Tybee Island today!
When I was a youngster on a family beach outing, we called this place “Savannah Beach“. My parents would tell us about their trips to the island when it was accessible only by boat or train.
Today my outing was a smooth car drive for work; yet the easy socializing, and the enticement of coastal Georgia food always make my journeys seem more like pleasure trips when I head east from Savannah to Tybee.
After a wonderful lunch savoring my favorite — fried Wild Georgia Shrimp — it was time to say goodbye to the ever-smiling Susie Morris (innkeeper at Lighthouse Inn), make my U-turn, and accelerate my pace again mingling in city life. (That is always a struggle!)
Westbound now, I sought out more of the ‘new’ sign posts along the Tybee to Savannah road. There was another, right at the foot of the Lazaretto Bridge!
“The Immortal 600” Memorial Highway. Who were they? The sign was near Fort Pulaski National Monument, just across from the Lazaretto Creek Boat Landing. I discovered that stretch of US Highway 80 honors Confederate prisoners, officers in the American Civil War (1861-1865).
The back story: Confederates had placed 600 Union soldiers in the city of Charleston, attempting to force a halt to Federal bombing in that key southern city. Union officers retaliated, placing 600
Confederate officers on beaches near Charleston to deter Confederate fire.
Following the outbreak of Yellow Fever in Charleston, “The Immortal 600” Confederates were shuttled to Fort Pulaski, under Union control at the time.
I have just added Fort Pulaski to my bucket list! Aren’t you curious, too?
Reminder: On September 24, 2011, there is free entrance to Fort Pulaski National Monument, as with all national parks.
Slip away to Lighthouse Inn on Tybee Island and its five miles of flat, Atlantic Ocean beaches, Low Country cuisine, southern hospitality, cottage comforts at Lighthouse Inn, and the ease of happening along onto something new, just about any beautiful day year around! Rain is beautiful on the beach or cycling in it. And, a bundled-up walk on Tybee beach trumps knee-high in winter snow any day!
Peaceful fun on the Georgia coast at Tybee Island can be a skip, run, pedal, mosey, snooze, or stroll. Just expect that the easy life, southern storytelling and Georgia coast heritage are only some of the reasons you will yearn to return again and again to Tybee Island!
NOTE: The Coastal Regional Commission of Georgia’s shuttle running from downtown Savannah to Tybee Island has scheduled pickups at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. every day from the parking lot of the Savannah Visitors Center at 301 MLK Jr. Blvd. The shuttle costs $3 and stops on Tybee at the Tybrisa Street and Strand Avenue roundabout and at North Beach near the Tybee Island Lighthouse. For more information, call 866-543-6744.
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For more information:
Lighthouse Inn, a Tybee Island beach house inn
Historic Tybee Beach Bed and Breakfast Cottage, Celebrating 100 Years!
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16 Meddin Drive | Tybee Island | Georgia | USA 31328
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