Friday was Folly Beach day, the day I walked on the second longest pier on the east coast of America. But that was Friday.
On Saturday, we headed to Tybee Island Beach located on the easternmost point in Georgia. I had drooled over some pictures one of my daughters had taken there and vowed to visit the site at some future point. That time arrived Saturday around high noon.
After Folly, I wasn’t expecting to be that impressed. My weekend mission was to see and take some photographs of Folly’s pier for a future beach book of photographs, so anything after that was gravy, in a manner of speaking. Folks, I was absolutely overwhelmed with Tybee Beach. Crossing the Lazaretto Creek Bridge, surrounded by salt marshes on both sides, was a precursor to awe-inspiring vistas beyond.
Before setting foot on the beach, we rode around and around and around trying to figure where and how to park. We could see that there were parking meters everywhere (even at Arby’s where we considered getting a snack), but we had no change to put in them.
“There must be something we don’t know,” I said. “Everyone else has figured this parking thing out, and so can we.”
“Well, I wish somebody’d tell me,” he said, jerking the car to an empty spot on a side street.
Slamming the door behind him, my husband jumped out to take a look at one of the parking contraptions. It looked like a meter but was actually a device that delivered tickets for two-hour blocks. He slid the debit card through and thankfully saw that we had two full hours to stroll about and make some discoveries.
We finally found a parking spot in the half-mile long parking lot and headed towards the ocean with all of the other day-trippers. It was low tide, and the strand was wider than any beach I’d ever visited. Naturally, I had to experience the strand in a more personal way, so I took off for a walk to the left of the pier. The sand was hard and packed. The water was warm. The beach goers were reading, sleeping, chatting, eating, staring out to sea, and watching their children play in the surf.
These are the same kinds of things they do in Myrtle Beach, I thought. So what’s so different?
I never came up with an answer to that, but I think it had something to do with the way people parked their cars and then walked in what seemed to be swarms to the beach. The beach was so wide that probably twelve to fifteen “layers” of people lounging on chairs and lying on towels were stacked between the ocean and the dunes. And did I mention that several dozen people were actually camped out beneath the pier? It’s that wide and that long!
After getting my feet wet in the ocean, known as “the pond” to Tybeeites, I walked up the steps to the Walker Parker Pier. Located at the end of Tybrisa Street, the historic pier has picnic tables, a snack bar, music, and restrooms in its pavilion. According to the signs, the pavilion is a popular spot for musical performances, dances, and other events.
We walked the length of the pier, gawking, stopping for photo ops, and interacting with various strollers. We met a young couple celebrating their fifth anniversary who had left their four children behind with grandparents. When I asked the young mother if she missed her children, she giggled and showed me a bagful of souvenirs for them. And then there was the couple from VA who was leaving on a Caribbean cruise the next day. We snapped their picture, and they returned the favor.
It’s Wednesday now, four days since the Tybee Island visit. No matter how stressful, busy, sad, or upsetting future days might be, I hope I can recall the ocean breezes, the wide sandy beach, the people hiding in the shade beneath the pier, and the roar of “the pond,” and know that somewhere there’s a beach where all is right with the world.