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2011 GA trip day 3 - 9/18/2011

Sunday morning we headed out intent on having breakfast at The Breakfast Club (http://tybeeisland.com/dining/brclub/Default.htm) because we didn’t discover it until our last day on the island last time, but there was a line way out the door so we went to the Sunrise Restaurant instead. There’s no website, but it’s right across the street from the Breakfast Club, a half a block away. I’m glad we did that on the weekend, because Sunrise has a weekend breakfast buffet. I had that, and loved it… there were chicken fried steak bites! Very good sausage gravy, too, though a little too peppery for me (most are). Becky went with her favorite, a bagel and some bacon.

After breakfast we walked through all the shops in South Tybee, but they are literally all the same. Hermit crabs, boogie boards, and bikinis. Becky was kind of looking for a swimsuit but we didn’t find any. We did find some goggles for me and water socks for both of us. I have a love-hate relationship with water socks because they all inevitably lose the liner in the bottom when they’re wet, and then when I walk out of the water the liner slides up the sides and annoys the hell out of me. Still, these were cute and on sale so we went for it and the liners are still intact after several uses. Score!

When we got back to the hotel we noticed some large kites on the beach, so we went to watch whoever was flying them. It was really windy and they were HUGE, but it turned out someone had just tied two big kites to the life guard stand. One was a twenty-foot-long alligator.

Kites at Desoto

We went down to check out the water and the waves were nice, but the water felt COLD to me. Becky didn’t even try because she’s usually colder than I am. That’ll be important later.

When we got back to the hotel room I called my nephews mom, Renee, and finally found out they were for sure planning to come to see us on Friday, but the more Becky and I discussed the more we thought we should go meet them partway to maximize the visit. Plus, I’d never been to Florida so we could knock off another state from our list. So we made plans to meet in Jacksonville Friday evening.

We decided to go for a drive around island with the top down and explore some of the areas we didn’t see last time we were there. We found the lighthouse but didn’t feel like climbing the stairs, saw Battery Park, which we later found out was where the Union soldiers attacked Fort Pulaski from during the Civil War. There were cats EVERYwhere on the island. There are signs up here and there saying not to feed them, that they're managed by a project.

For lunch we went to the Crab Shack (http://www.thecrabshack.com/), and we decided to sit inside but regretted it when we saw how much shade there was on the outside deck. We’d rectify that situation later in the week when we went back for dinner. Becky had deviled crab and liked it ok, but was a little weirded out by eating out of a crab shell. I had a BBQ pork sandwich and the shack crab soup, which is blue crab, cream of celery, spices, etc. The soup was amazing and set me on a quest for other awesome crab soups for the rest of the week. The BBQ was good, but I forgot how much GA BBQ sauces generally are very mustard-based, which isn’t my favorite. The meat was awesomely tender, though. And Becky's red potatoes were incredibly creamy and I yoinked more than one!

After we ate we headed outside to their little gator pond, where they have 78 baby alligators. It was a little creepy but interesting. The food drew me there more than baby gators ever would! They also had a Crab Shack shop where you could buy t-shirts and other souvenirs, but the best thing about that was there were more cats everywhere. I pet one sweet orange one and then was told by the lady behind the counter that that particular cat will rip your face off. Nice. They also have an aviary with about a dozen birds ranging from a cockatiel all the way up to Amazon Grey’s and a couple of Macaws.

Cat house at the Crab Shack

After lunch we were going to head to Savannah to look around, but on the way off the island we decided to stop at Fort Pulaski. We figured we’d get a nice picture of a monument or a memorial or something, but found it was a National Park so we paid and went in. It was awesome!

Fort Pulaski

We got there just in time to watch a video about the fort where we learned it was built by the federal government, but when South Carolina seceded from the Union, the Governor of Georgia saw what was happening and decided to take the fort. He sent the Georgia Guard down there and they took it from the – literally – two Union caretakers who were guarding it. Robert E Lee was involved in the design and construction of the fort, and he said you may as well attack the Rocky Mountains as Fort Pulaski. They really thought it was invincible, because the walls were 11 feet thick and at the time, the best land-weapon anyone had were smooth bore cannons that could only shoot about half a mile. Tybee Island (Battery Park) was the closest area that could attack, and they were three miles away. The Union forces set up on Tybee and started preparing for a siege, but they were careful to not change the landscape of Tybee which could be seen from the fort. So the Confederate soldiers heard work happening at Tybee, but couldn’t see what was going on and weren’t worried about cannon balls reaching them.

Fort Pulaski

They found out after turning down the Union’s suggestion that they surrender. The Union had discovered rifled cannons, and they could now shoot 30 pound rifled things over 3 miles, and they were able to focus their shots in a single area. They hoped to cause enough damage that the fallen bricks would fill the moat and they could just walk across, but they breached the 11-foot-thick wall within a day and a half, and the Confederate leaders saw some shells heading directly towards the powder magazine which was all the way on the other corner of the fort. By that time, they only had four working cannons left. The powder magazine held enough black powder to kill everyone on-site, so the Confederate soldiers had to use a cannon rammer and a white sheet to surrender; the pole holding their Confederate flag had been cut in two.

The commander of the Union group there declared all slaves in Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina free. I’d never heard that before! Lincoln rescinded the order and later issued the Emancipation Proclamation that we all know about, and Pulaski became a final destination on the Underground Railroad. Before the war was over, it would be turned in to a prison to house 600 Confederates including many of the Cabinet members and three Governors. Conditions in the prison were really terrible and 13 prisoners died.

Fort Pulaski Prison

As we were walking in to see the musket fire demonstration, we saw a handful of people standing around looking at the moat. When we reached them, we looked down to see an alligator in the moat and overheard the guide telling everyone that this was the little one, but, “the 6-foot one can easily get out.” We took a slightly-less-leisurely stroll the rest of the way inside the fort. We later saw a sign in the information area warning people to stay at least ten feet away from the gators. No problem.

Fort Pulaski

We sat down under the big pecan tree to listen to the musket fire demonstration and the park ranger explained that he was dressed in Union blues because they treat the fort as a Union fort one day a week, on Sundays, and Confederate the rest of the week. He told us a lot about life in the fort and about the battle I described above, about how the soldiers there used to play baseball to pass the time and that one of the first ever pictures of baseball was taken within the walls of the fort, and then he walked us through the nine steps required to fire their muskets. He explained that a proficient soldier could fire three shots per minute, and he is not a proficient soldier. He fired four shots and it did take a few minutes, but it was cool to see. After the demonstration we walked around the fort a bit but it was closing down soon, so we didn’t get to really examine anything. Fortunately, the pass we bought on the way in lasted for six days so we knew we’d come back later in the week.

When we got back to the hotel we looked for a hotel in Jacksonville where we’d be meeting Trevor, Renee, and her husband Wes. Becky managed to find a Residence Inn where we could get a two queen beds, two bathrooms, kitchen, and a sofa bed for $140. Score! Enough room for all of us in one room, which worked out perfectly.

We just chilled for the rest of the night with the TV and our laptops. I spent my computer time trying to figure out where the hell we ate last time with Becky’s friend Carrie and her family. We thought it was the Crab Shack, but once we ate there we knew that wasn’t right. I pulled out the pictures from last time and found a picture of Carrie’s baby eating a lemon, and had a corner of the menu showing. I flipped the pic over to read the menu and saw something called a BoDiddly sandwich, which sounded familiar. I looked through the menus we’d picked up in the hotel lobby and found it! It was called Coco’s Sunset Grille, and the reason we didn’t remember it was because it was called Café Loco last time!

For dinner that night we went to the Sugar Shack (http://www.tybeesugarshack.com/) for dinner. It’s an ice cream shop that also has sandwiches and other light stuff. I had a roast beef sandwich, which was pretty salty but very good. Becky had a burger and she enjoyed it a lot. We couldn’t leave without having ice cream, obviously. Becky had Snickers Ripple and I went with Oreo/mint chip. They were both really good, and while we were eating on the patio a guy walked through and asked how it was. He solicited our opinion about a few flavors and was super nice.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 20, 2011 7:47 PM.

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