“Tybee Island is the low country’s best kept secret,” says recurring guest Lisa Ward. She and her husband began coming to Savannah for weekend getaways. They decided to take a drive to Tybee for a day and after uncovering this best kept secret, they would make Tybee Island their new vacation home!
Lisa and her husband, Jon, have three children, Bella 5, Sophia 3, and Nathan 1 ½. Being a family of five they love every part about what Tybee has to offer, from ecological tours with Capt. Rene to seeing miracles happen. One memorable trip Lisa learned about the Sea Turtle Project and was fortunate to witness with her daughter, Bella, a live turtle excavation. “It was the most amazing experience. That’s why we love coming here. It brings our family together in ways that visiting a local beach around Tampa can’t. We drive six hours to get away with no distractions where the beach is wide open and never feels crowded.”
Tybee seems to bring about traditions and that is exactly what has occurred with these beach lovers. They always make sure to eat out at The Social where their kids love the sweet potato fries and A.J.’s Dockside where they watch the sunset over the back river. Every trip, they collect shells and place them in a jar at home. This year, Bella was so excited to show her kindergarten class her 100 Days of School Project, a picture of Tybee covered with 100 shells. Afterward, she thought about it and turned to her mom to say, “You know we have to go back to Tybee now so we can refill our jar with more shells!”
Lisa and her family are big fans of Mermaid Cottages with debates between them on their favorites. John’s favorite is Doyle’s while Lisa’s is Tybee Tides. However, they all agree Mermaid Manor is a big hit too! One day, the Ward family has hopes to become Tybee homeowners and make what already feels like home, a reality.
“Mermaid Cottages is our extended family. I have friends who ask me all the time, ‘Why would you go to Tybee so often?’ and I always tell them, Why wouldn’t you? Our friends are all there! Mermaid Cottages goes beyond customer service and they treat you as if they’ve known you forever.” The Ward family recalls Mermaid Jan bringing them a homemade pie once and Mermaid Denise supplying little Bella with some paint brushes to put her inspirations to paper. One of Lisa’s most treasured Mermaid Cottages Memories was Jon’s birthday trip. They arrived to Tybee and decided to goes straight to the beach where they ran into Diane Kaufman, Mermaid Cottages Owner. As they said their goodbyes, Diane turned around and snapped a picture of the whole family walking away down the beach. Few days later, a birthday gift bag appeared at their cottage. Placed inside was that picture framed of the Ward family, of which now rests on the family mantle. “What a sweet surprise,” says Lisa.
As they anticipate their next trip in July, they imagine the feeling of coming over the bridges into the low country and breathing that salty fresh air and sigh of relief as they embrace the change of scenery and dream what their next adventure will be at Tybee!