Warning! This is a longer than usual post!
Where do I begin? One of the reasons we began this blog/website journey was to showcase different affordable beach locations and their accommodations. But I have to be honest…the main reason I started was it allows me to talk about one of my favorite places on earth-Tybee Island, GA. Tybee is only 25 minutes from downtown Savannah and a very easy drive but to be very truthful-over the past 3 years of venturing there-we never go off the island itself. Why would you?? The island offers everything a beach goer would ever want to do. In future posts I will go into more detail on the island itself but for this post I am only here to gush about some of the best accommodations to be found ANYWHERE-Mermaid Cottages! I will admit the name is what pulled me in to begin with but even the name does not do these cottages justice. One of my goals in life is to personally stay at each one of these glorious cottages and review them in detail. But for now I will stick with one very dear to my heart-Screened Inn, circa 1929.
First some history notes. Screened Inn was built in 1929 and is located on historic Ft. Screven’s Officers Row. It is only a short drive to the historic Tybee Lighthouse (another great love of mine). This particular cottage is 3 BR, 2.5 BA but conjoins The Enlisted Men’s Mess Hall cottage which boasts 2 BR and 2 BA and is also listed with Mermaid Cottages so if you need more space for larger family gatherings or wedding parties-this is a terrific option.
Screened Inn is located on the north end of the island. For those of you not familiar with Tybee, the island is basically broken down into 3 locations. The north end is QUIET! The only traffic you see are bike riders and golf cart drivers. The south end is more of where the action is. Most of the restaurants are located on this end as well as most of the commerce. There is night and day difference between the two. Mid-island is a mixture of both. The only noise on the north end is the constant music of the cicadas!
I don’t know about any of you but the minute I walk into a house, I automatically receive the feeling the house evokes. This house pulls you in a bright and warm hug and never lets go! When first approaching this house you are instantly drawn to the expansive front porch and you just know this is where you will be spending most of your time. I am VERY in tuned to the scent of a home-this cottage smells GLORIOUS thanks to the TOP NOTCH mermaid housekeeping at Mermaid Cottages. The kitchen is like something out of a vintage home and gardens magazine. I have tried repeatedly to reproduce it in my own kitchen but have failed miserably. It is completely well-equipped with everything you need including Mermaid Morning Bliss coffee which is delicious!
Each year when I arrive-I just stand in the middle of the kitchen and try and absorb all of the feelings this house emits (and then someone behind me pushes me with their suitcase and I move on). My girls immediately run to their Sand and Sea bedroom which consists of two twin beds. This room is directly off of the kitchen which is VERY handy for two teenage girls! My mom and grandmother get the master bedroom which has its own master bathroom. Mermaid Author Diane gives the bed 5 stars for comfort-my grandmother who states she has never really slept a day in her life presumably just walks the house until sun up. The other bedroom-appropriately called the “Lemonade Mermaid” due to its cheery yellow decor, is where myself and my young son sleep. This room contains a queen bed (the most comfortable bed I have EVER slept on) and a twin bed. This works out perfectly for parents who want to stay close to young children but are not brave enough to actually sleep WITH them. And where is my husband you say?? Well fortunately for me, the couch in the completely adorable living room is the “best sleeping sofa in the world” and covered in a blue denim material that “stays cool all night long” according my husband-so he therefore, chooses this over the Lemonade Mermaid room. Which is a win-win situation for me. It would not be a true vacation if I was forced to sleep in the same room as my 4 year old AND have to listen to the bear-like noises coming from my husband. See, I told you Screened Inn was perfect!! The living room as mentioned, is adorable and even has vintage women’s clothes catalogs and vintage Life magazines. I am required to do a full body search of my grandmother to ensure all of those items are still in the house before we leave!
The bathrooms (as with the rest of the house) are spotless. The temperature control is perfect and if you have ever been to any beach in the south in the summer, you know what a difficult task that is. One of my favorite memories is one where we had all just eaten a huge home-cooked seafood meal-cooked in the amazing kitchen-and were sitting out on the front porch listening to our dear friends the cicadas, when a pretty good thunderstorm came up. The power then decided to go out and let me tell you-on the north end when it is dark-it is DARK! I for one, am not afraid of bad weather but my grandmother and kids are little skittish. But even in the pitch black, we all stayed out on the porch and laughed and played shadows with the flashlight! We felt safe. Those are memories we will always have!
Where is the beach you say? Well that is the coolest part. Screened Inn has its own private entrance to the beach which is through a picturesque wooden gateway with beautiful vines overhead. The beach is a very quick, scenic and uncrowded 5 minute walk to the beach. Even my 82-year-old grandmother can do it! The beach itself is immaculate and this location is very surprisingly unpopulated. Our first year there we thought something was wrong-as there were very little people on the sand in the middle of July. We now know that is just one of the perks of the north end. I can already hear the question is everyone’s mind…how much? Well my friends, I am married to the most frugal man alive and he is the first to say “have you booked Screened Inn yet?” All of the mermaid cottages are VERY reasonable and trust me, I have shopped around. And what you get for your money is immeasurable.
In conclusion, this is my happy place. True, I do not have any others YET to compare it to, Screened Inn is where my heart is. If I ever win the lottery the first thing I will be doing is writing a blank check to the owners of this property and then backing the moving truck up to the door to remove my belongings. I also must mention Mermaid Cottages is the best rental management company I have ever dealt with. They even call to check on you after you arrive to make sure you have everything you need. Who does that anymore?? THEY do!!! This house has all of the charm and history a person could ever want. And every year when it is time to leave as I am forcibly removed by my husband with tears in my eyes, I look back and say “until next year my friend” and I can honestly say the house smiles in return.
Be sure to check out Screened Inn and all of the other cottages at http://mermaidcottages.com/. I promise you WILL NOT be disappointed!