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Tag Archives: Tybee Island

Professional paddling guide Steve Braden gets us into the cockpit and leads us down the trail to the real Georgia.

Photography by CHRISTINE HALL

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IMG_0921 edit   Tybee might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of hanging ten, but a lively community of surfers and skimboarders helps J. Cindy Hill-Williams hit the island’s sweet spots. Photography by Leeann Ritch

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[caption id="attachment_15290" align="aligncenter" width="394"]©2015 Cedric Smith, SAV MAG 11 Well Suited:  Swimwear in Savannah is all about the accessories ... easy elegant layers we can pile on or peel off to suit the occasion. Pineapple sweater, $176 at James Gunn; statement necklace, $42 at Bleubelle Boutique[/caption]   In this coastal city, swim fashion is less about sex appeal and more about strategic style. Beach bodies are a dime a dozen, but comfy, chic cover-ups are a must for every day in the sun. Styled by Reilly Mesco Photography by Cedric Smith Model: Rashaun Rawls for Halo Models and Talent   [caption id="attachment_15291" align="aligncenter" width="576"]©2015 Cedric Smith, SAV MAG 17 Eclectic Youth:  Cosmopolitan and cool, tunics show savoir-faire, not skin.  Wristband Blues tunic, $97, and Octopus cuff, $264 at Custard Boutique.  Calypso St. Barth silk “Tepin” pant, $308 at James Gunn.  (stylist’s own earrings)[/caption]
Wrap Star
Easy, breezy, dramatic and bright, kimono scarves are a sheer delight. [caption id="attachment_15292" align="aligncenter" width="576"]©2015 Cedric Smith, SAV MAG 13 Sheer Elegance:  NikiBiki bandeau, $6, and Telescope necklace, $33 at Custard Boutique.  Printed kimono, $58 at Fabrik.  (stylist’s own bikini and earrings)[/caption]
Skirt the Issue
A full, soft silhouette flatters “food babies” and forgives sandy sprawls. [caption id="attachment_15293" align="aligncenter" width="394"]Skirt Around:  Gold bar earrings, $22, and Modern Bronze mini star necklace, $46 at Custard Boutique.  Arrowhead necklace, $58 at Fabrik.  App “Mandy” skirt, $192 at James Gunn.  (stylist’s own cardigan and bikini) Skirt Around: Gold bar earrings, $22, and Modern Bronze mini star necklace, $46 at Custard Boutique.  Arrowhead necklace, $58 at Fabrik.  App “Mandy” skirt, $192 at James Gunn.  (stylist’s own cardigan and bikini)[/caption]
Sweet Prints
Go from AJ’s Dockside to the Top Deck in light, graphic layers. [caption id="attachment_15295" align="aligncenter" width="394"]My Prints:  “Slynight” earrings, $42, and Coral Amour Vert T-shirt (around waist), $83 at Custard Boutique.  Beaded necklace, $24, and blue palm print maxi dress, $82 at Fabrik.  Bailey44 blazer, $384 at Bleubelle Boutique.  (stylist’s own sandals and shell necklace) My Prints: “Slynight” earrings, $42, and Coral Amour Vert T-shirt (around waist), $83 at Custard Boutique.  Beaded necklace, $24, and blue palm print maxi dress, $82 at Fabrik.  Bailey44 blazer, $384 at Bleubelle Boutique.  (stylist’s own sandals and shell necklace)[/caption]  

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What is the flavor of life in Savannah? 
We asked the Garden’s resident culinary muse to take our taste buds out on the town. Produced and styled by Libbie Summers  ¦  Photography by Cedric Smith Assistant to Libbie Summers:  Candace Brower Production assistant:  Anthony Lunsmann Savannah’s Libbie Summers chooses very carefully.  Like her ingredients and images, the words behind the culinary artist’s lifestyle brand, “A Food-Inspired Life,” sum up her vision with a marksman’s precision.

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How can someone grow up in Savannah and never see its beach? Wanda Smalls Lloyd explores a turning point in her life—and a sea change in local history.

[caption id="attachment_13522" align="aligncenter" width="576"]Associated Press Associated Press[/caption] Tybee Island is one of my favorite places in the world.  But it wasn’t always so. For my African-American peers and me, Tybee was taboo. When I grew up in Savannah in the 1950s and 1960s, Savannah Beach, as it was known to us then, was off-limits.  My parents and the parents of my friends used to warn us away from the island as if was a forbidden fruit.  “Just don’t go there,” they would say, and implicit in the order were Jim Crow laws that segregated the races.  To this day, decades later and after the “wade-ins” of the Sixties, I still don’t know if there was some law on the books that said “Negroes” could not ride onto the island, or if our elders just knew that going there might mean peril to our physical being. I left home for college and pursued my journalism career elsewhere, so the first time I saw Tybee Island in daylight was in March 1997, the day after we buried my mother in Laurel Grove South cemetery, the traditional black resting place.  Her demise had come soon after the doctor told us she would not survive the cancer.  Her funeral was even quicker—my mother’s wishes.  She planned the brief, elegant services herself. The day after the funeral, I told my husband that I wanted to go see the ocean.  I wasn’t sure why; I just had a feeling that walking along the sea would put me just a few miles closer to God and I had so many questions about why I was left motherless before my 50th birthday.  I was angry, depressed, sad, yet somewhat relieved that her physical misery was over.  I was also curious about the place my family had once tried so hard to keep me away from. And maybe I was feeling just a little guilty.  True, I’d never actually seen Tybee, but I didn’t exactly obey my parents, either. [caption id="attachment_13523" align="aligncenter" width="576"]Associated Press Associated Press[/caption]
A Ride into Darkness
On my prom night for Beach High School in 1967, the first and last thing my family said to me before walking out the door was, “Don’t go to the beach.”  Later that night, my date told me his parents said the exact same thing.  And the same came from the parents of the couple we were double dating with that night. All four sets of parents warned us.  So what did we do?  We drove to Tybee after the prom, just to see what the mystery was all about. We didn’t count on the fact that the island was pitch dark at night.  We could hear the ocean but we could not see a thing, and we were scared as heck when we got out there.  Our fears were buttressed by the race stories we were hearing from across the South—stories of lynchings, beatings and arbitrary jailings had us so afraid that all we did on Tybee that night was change drivers and head back home. Since my date had driven us out to the island while the other couple “made out” in the back seat, we traded places—and activities—for the return trip.  To put it delicately, my eyes were closed, so I missed the warning lights from the police when they pulled us over.  White officers made our driver get out of the car and walk the white line on Highway 80.  None of us had been drinking as far as I knew, but I was surprised to learn that our friend didn’t have a license to drive.  He was arrested, so my date drove us home. I never told my parents about our detour down U.S. 80. [caption id="attachment_13524" align="aligncenter" width="576"]Associated Press Associated Press[/caption]
A Place for Us
For African Americans in Savannah, beach paradise was elsewhere. My social centers as a child were the segregated Girl Scout troop hosted at St. Matthews Episcopal Church, the West Broad Street YMCA where we learned social graces in “charm school,” and Second Baptist Church, the historic congregation founded by slaves and free blacks in 1802.  Before I was born, my grandfather was a deacon and Sunday school superintendent at Second Baptist; my aunt played the piano and my grandmother was an active deaconess.  Even today, the Oper Walker Guild, founded in honor of my grandmother, is still a service organization in that church. When our church went to the beach, we made the four-hour commute to and from American Beach, on the southern end of Amelia Island in Florida.  Settled and built by Abraham Lincoln Lewis, CEO of the Afro-American Insurance Company, as a retreat for his company’s employees, American allowed us to enjoy the water free of racial intimidation.  It was a long bus ride—a sacrifice of time considering the Atlantic Ocean was also just 15 miles from our church’s front door on Savannah’s Houston Street. Hilton Head Island was another oasis for black families, especially the few elite families from Savannah who built houses along one or two streets at the entrance to the island many years before the big resort corporations “discovered” it.  On Hilton Head, we had Collier Beach and Singleton Beach, “black beaches” where we had our own pavilions and shorelines for running into the surf, listening to the Sixties sounds of Motown and holding Saturday night dances. My best friend Virginia’s family had a house on Hilton Head and her family invited me to join her there many weekends during our high school years.  We would pack up the car on a Friday afternoon, drive over with ample food supplies and return Sunday night.  It was a joyous weekend of freedom from Savannah’s oppressively hot, humid summer days.  I remember sleeping with the windows open at night and enjoying the breeze from the surf down the street.
In Daylight
So, on that day in 1997, when I went to Tybee Island to reflect on the loss of my mother and think about how I would move forward without her, my husband drove slowly.  Together, we took in the island’s quaintness and serenity.  We made our way down Butler Avenue, admiring the eclectic and colorful beach architecture, the tropical landscapes and the laid-back lifestyle.  We parked on the south end of the island and walked along Tybrisa Street past the shops and restaurants.  We strolled the length of the big pier to look at the water—which, even in early March, gave us a feeling of warmth and peace.  Here we were, just a few miles from where I grew up on Savannah’s west side, and yet we were a world away. My husband, Willie, quickly learned the locals-only fishing spots.  We soon gravitated to vacation rentals along Chatham Avenue and the Bull River, where most of the houses have their own docks, and the views and fishing are unbeatable.  I came to love solitary walks along the shoreline of the South Beach, or sitting at dawn in one of the beach-side swings, watching the sun come up with a cup of coffee in hand. Tybee became a place of celebration for us.  We chose the island as the site of our anniversary getaways each May.  During the next 12 years, we first rented small condos and, later, beach houses, inviting friends to joins us. Willie and I relocated to Savannah permanently in 2013.  And just the other day, our daughter asked us where we would spend our vacation. “Vacation?!” I exclaimed.  “We don’t need to go anywhere!” Times change.  Tides change.  And, thankfully, so do people.

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A family celebration summons sweet memories of the bride's childhood summers on Tybee's sandy shores.  By Judy Bean  |  Photography by Jade and Matthew McCully

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Surfing Tybee's waves uplifts children with autism and their families. Ride the curl.

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Beyond the beach-fare standards, a Tybee Island chef reveals his true heart in chalk.  Amy Paige Condon shakes off the sand and pulls up a chair.  » Photography by Beau Kester

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Interior designer and preservationist Jane Coslick seasons a new Tybee cottage with ageless summer style.  Allison Hersh kicks off her flip-flops and steps inside. »  Photography by Richard Leo Johnson

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The Tybee Bomb produces terrifying tentacles in a new film made in, about and by Savannah.  With jellyfish season bearing down on the Coastal Empire, Annabelle Carr goes behind the green screen.

It’s impossible to talk to writer Pat Longstreth and director Rob McLean and not walk away with a list of movies to watch.  I might actually check out Hobo With a Shotgun, the Rutger Hauer vehicle that, I’m told, “lives up to its name.”  Its colorfully campy violence, Rob explains, is similar to the esthetic and attitude of his and Pat’s new short film, Hellyfish. [caption id="attachment_5352" align="aligncenter" width="576" caption="Rob McLean directs the cast of Hellyfish on Tybee Beach. Photograph by Bob Jones."][/caption]

“We generally just tell people that Hellyfish is Jaws meets Shaun of the Dead,” Rob says.  “We borrowed many of our camera angles and stock characters from monster movies and beach horror.”

What’s not to love?  But even if you’re not a fan of either genre, you’re likely to know someone in the Hellyfish cast or crew. “We cast and filmed everything locally,” Pat tells me.  “I mean, the sea captain really is one—Captain Gary Hill from Bull River Dolphin Tours.  And we found some really talented young actors, like Abraham and Liberty Lebos.”  Muse Arts’ muse JinHi Soucy Rand looks intriguingly unrecognizable in her character makeup as “Wise Fisherwoman” in early film stills. [caption id="attachment_5353" align="aligncenter" width="576" caption="Hellyfish writer-producer Pat Longstreth sets a scene. Photograph by Bob Jones."][/caption] But of course, it’s Pat’s storyline that first captured my attention: radioactive jellyfish wreak havoc on Tybee Island.  If you’ve ever had a perfect August beach day ruined by one of those squishy little devils, you understand my interest. “I find jellyfish fascinating,” Pat agrees.  “They’re beautiful but dangerous.  I respect them as predators.  They’ve evolved little over time, but they’re still able to survive and inflict crippling pain on the rest of us.  It’s about time someone did a horror movie about jellyfish.” But Pat got the idea for Hellyfish from history, not marine biology. “My dad called me up after watching a History Channel special about the Tybee Bomb,” Pat recalls, referring to the Mark 15 hydrogen bomb that was lost in Wassaw Sound in 1958 after a mid-air collision between two military planes.  “It was the first time I’d heard of the bomb.  I sat on the beach, and this story started coming together in my mind.” Although the infamous bomb remains disarmed and self-contained by all accounts, in Pat’s storyline it’s responsible for a Godzilla-like reaction that leads to the jelly-based “drowning, squishing, dismemberment and electrocution” of many familiar Savannah characters. [caption id="attachment_5355" align="aligncenter" width="576" caption="Movie-making magic: shooting against a green screen to allow CGI effects of radioactive jellyfish to be added later."][/caption] The actors did all their own stunts, which meant Lillian McCotter—who plays a set of triplets and thus appears more than any other actor in the film—had to overcome a crippling fear of real-life sea creatures. “As luck would have it, we did most of our filming during horseshoe crab mating season, so there was a lot of excitement,” Pat laughs.  “At one point, we were filming, and this giant horseshoe crab started sneaking up on Lily.” But the biggest danger of the film may have been the overconsumption of cheesy puffs, when extra/underwater cameraman Mehmet Caglayan’s dismemberment scene required him to stuff his face with the extruded orange snacks for take after take.  (Pat and Rob worked with Mehmet on the National Geographic Savannah Ocean Exchange.) The actual dismemberment—as well as the giant jellyfish that crushes the Tybee Pier—had to happen in digital effects, which Pat now designs for a living in L.A. “We even brewed a digital storm to create a sense of foreboding in the sky,” Rob recalls, emphasizing that every aspect of the project was intentional.  Jaws fans will even recognize some pointed allusions to the original 1975 movie. [caption id="attachment_5356" align="aligncenter" width="576" caption="A harrowing scene from Hellyfish."][/caption] Filmed over 15 days in September and January, the 14-minute film will double as a pitch for a feature-length version.  But for now, the labor of love is an entry in the 2013 South by Southwest festival, the sensory smorgasbord of cutting-edge music, film and interactive media that takes place every March in Austin, Texas. Savannahians who contributed to the movie’s Kickstarter fund are already reaping their benefits, including T-shirts, action figures and—for the right donation—their very own “kill scenes” featuring donors being creatively slaughtered by a digital jellyfish. “We couldn’t have made this film without the people of Savannah,” Pat tells me.  “And our partnership with Meddin Studios and SCAD got us more than $100,000 in equipment for free.”  The result is a film whose production values far outweigh its budget. Meanwhile, Pat and Rob are noticing a disturbing new trend that might make their film more relevant than they imagined. “Jellyfish are causing problems all over the world as their migration patterns are changing,” Pat observes.  “They’ve been clogging filtration systems at power plants, in some cases forcing them to shut down.”  The proliferation of jellyfish, which scientists ascribe to climate change and rising sea temperatures, is also disrupting the food chain by robbing small fish of their food supply and poisoning the catch of Japanese fishermen. So far, here in Savannah, they just hurt like heck. But Hellyfish might be closer then we think.
Here's a sneak peek of that massive, gelatinous monster tearing up Tybee Island this summer.
 

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