Wanderlusting: Tybee Island
“Exploration is really the essence of the human spirit.” ~ Frank Borman
Shockingly it was only ten when we left Surf and Song, but it felt like it was noon time. Our next adventure was taking place at Tybee Island Light Station and Museum at Fort Screven.
I have a love affair with lighthouses. The stoicness they represent as they stand against the battering of storms and the guidance they give to sailors is symbolic to my life in many ways. I was incredibly excited to explore this one which was originally built during Colonial times.
In fact the Tybee Island Lighthouse which was commissioned by Georgia Colony founder General James Oglethorpe (sidenote: His name reminds me of a character out of Harry Potter…I swear it is a wizard name!) in 1732, has been rebuilt three times, due to storms and the partial burning by Confederate soldiers.
At one hundred and forty-five feet tall, it is Georgia’s tallest, as well as oldest, lighthouse. It is open to visitors to not only view, but actually go in and climb the 178 steps to the top.
Excitedly, yet also filled with trepidation as someone who does NOT do heights, especially when windy, we made the climb to the top which showcased gorgeous views of Tybee Island.
I’ll admit it was not as bad as I had anticipated, and I actually walked all the way around the platform, though I did hold the railing the entire time. It was my “Oh shit” handle.
Fort Screven and Museum
After we made the trek up to the top, we were able to go into some of the small cottages that the lighthouse keepers and military personal use to live in.
One of them was still preserved as it would have been in the early 1900s, and gave great insight to what it was like to man the lighthouse. It was not an easy task, especially in a time when modern technology had not come into being yet.
Adjacent to the lighthouse is Fort Screven which was built in 1899. It is a very tiny fort and most of it is unfortunately closed off to the public.
One small battery was taken over by the historical museum in conjunction with the lighthouse and it has been turned into a museum giving visitors a vivid tale of the colorful and sometimes scandalous history of Tybee, which included piracy.
After spending a few hours at the lighthouse we drove to Cockspur Island which sits between Tybee and Savannah.
Located there is Fort Pulaski National Monument. Concerned about British invasion after the War of 1812, construction for Fort Pulaski was ordered by then president, James Madison. It was named after a former Polish commander who fought along side General Washington during the Revolutionary War and was constructed out of tabby, a mixture of concrete and shell.
It saw much action in the under hundred years it was in operation, and played a pivotal role during the Civil War as the Union was able to gain command from the Confederacy in what was the Siege of Fort Pulaski and helped turn the tide of the war in the Union Army’s favor with the control of shipping in and out of Savannah. Despite repairs, you could still see where the Union Army bombarded the fort and did damage to the walls.
One amazingly cool aspect to this fort is that it has a moat that goes all the way around the fort with access only being through draw bridges and hidden underground tunnels. It also had an actual prison, that held hundreds of Confederate soldiers during the War.
I was like a kid in a candy store. I have a love affair with old forts and this is one of my favorites that I have visited. Not only was very little off limits in the fort itself, the rich history made it an intriguing place to explore.
The only downside to the trip was that due to Irma, the island sustained quite a bit of damage, so many of the walking paths that go along the outside of the fort and around the island were closed due to repairs. With so much to explore in the actual fort itself, it really did not matter.
Tybean and the Pier
After the walking we did, we were ready for a second round of coffee at the Tybean and to poke around the shops at the center before we made our way to the more touristy side of Tybee where there is a pier and more shops.
The pier was stunning with a huge covered pavilion in the middle of it. It was quite windy, but that did not stop me from enjoying the sound of the ocean nor the gorgeous Georgia views.
I collect sweatshirts from many of the beach towns I visit and of course I needed one from Tybee so we went into a couple shops until I found the perfect one.
With dusk approaching, it was time to pay adieu to Tybee and head to our next Island.
Have you ever been to Tybee? What was your favorite thing to do?