After so much eating and museums thus far it was time for a day of exploring outside of any urban structure. It was time for getting into the car for a drive to a big historic cemetery, a fun beach town, and a civil war era fort and then come back for dinner in a restaurant made out of a resurrected Greyhound station.
To say that Bonaventure Cemetery is large is an understatement. To say that it is a cemetery well-trafficked by tourists is also an understatement. We actually ran into people in the cemetery that we ate lunch with the day before at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room – so yeah a tourist hot spot. Apparently everyone is looking for the statue that is on the cover of Midnight in the Garden of Good an Evil, but it is no longer there – they moved it to a museum because too many people were going to look for it.
We found a lot of cool statuary despite the lack of our own tour guide. There was so much and it went on for miles.
A couple hours, a couple miles, and 200 photos later we decided we probably should leave the never-ending cemetery of goth photo opportunities and head to Tybee Island for some lunch and a little beach time.
We did lunch at AJ's Dockside – a local eatery located on the more swampy side of the island versus the full-on beach side. The benefit of this location being the quietude, lack of traffic, and out-of-the-way-ness that generally pervaded.
We sat enjoying the view, the seafood baskets, the beverages, and the sounds of the loudest birds ever.
The food was tasty, the drinks were perfect and the sun was hot. We eventually made our way to the actual beach side of the island to check out the Atlantic ocean.
The beach was a nice change from those I know from Southern Florida, there was space, cleanliness, and soft white sands and no trash to be seen. The heat and breeze were appropriate to make a perfect day at the beach. If only we had swimsuits, enough sun screen and the right shoes.
We left the beach with the intention of going to the historic lighthouse – but we got to Fort Pulanski. The fort is named after the general who lead the troops in the Battle of Savannah in the Revolutionary War. It is a very well preserved fort and was a stronghold of the confederate army during the Civil War until the Union took it down with its new wall destroying cannon balls.
The fort was the home for a minute of the "immortal 600" a group of Confederate soldiers taken captive by the Union that had to survive horrible conditions through a ration-low winter at the fort (everyone, Union officers included, experienced these low rations). Meanwhile, while I was at the fort a giant eagle came to visit us – I watched it from the top of the battlements.
I also found the lighthouse we wanted to visit, but it was too far to walk with the time we had left in the park and before our reservation at The Grey. Interesting fact though, is that the water line from 1860 to today is way further away from the fort. The waterline used to be practically a stone's throw from the walls of Fort Pulanski during the Revolutionary and Civil wars, but after years of dredging and putting the sand along Tybee Island the shore grew to be quite further away from the fort and its intended area of protection.
We made our way back to the city, cleaned ourselves up and took the slightly longer walk than usual to The Grey.
The Grey is a restaurant inside a renovated Greyhound Bus Station.
All of the parts of the bus station are still there, they are just repurposed now to be part of a restaurant.
A restaurant with many yummy small plates made out of local farm to table ingredients.
The plates we chose were coursed together from heavy to lighter to savory. It appeared initially that we were going vegetable forward, but by the end there was pretty much meat in everything. The flavors were strong and solid, like the smoked collards above – huge pieces of collard greens with strong smoke throughout.
My favorite was the quail – it tasted almost like tandoori quail removing the heat but its texture was crunchy, crispy and filled with umami, but somehow still sweet. My other favorite – the cheesecake below – probably one of the top cheesecakes I've ever eaten, light cheese, and nutty crust with puffed rice sprinkled on top with a lovely presentation.
It was a good day, we went home tired, sun burnt and feeling pretty well vacationed.