November 12, 2010
I had to stop. I was on an adventure.
I sauntered up to the ordering window and gave the posted menu a quick look see. I saw several combinations of fresh seafood and barbeque plates and veggies, hence the pig and shrimp in the name. Smiling through the window, taking the orders of those ahead of me was a dead ringer for Jerry Garcia in a psychedelic t-shirt. Had I happened upon the travelling road show for the Grateful Dead?
Ever the active listener, I heard the other patrons rattle off their selections as the smiling man at the window informed everyone that all his food was cooked fresh to order and to please be patient. I heard someone call him Gerald. Another piece of the puzzle snapped into place.
When it came my turn I proudly announced I would be having the half dozen fried fresh wild Georgia shrimp, fried okra and sweet tea, the official cocktail of the south. I’m working toward my online degree in Paula Deen Low Country Sin and Hilarity, so if it ain’t got at least a stick of butter and a cup of mayo somewhere in the ingredients it just about ain’t fittin’ to eat. Fried it would be!
Let me just tell you it was a beautiful day and sitting outside at a picnic table while I waited for my food has never been more enjoyable. It gave me time to get a good look at that other structure at the end of the lot. What do you know? Who ever ate at an open air restaurant with a two story outhouse at one end? We’re talking high cotton here. There was an open elevator lift for those who didn’t want to tackle the stairs. Glory hallelujah! Fancy Smancy! No, I was not tempted to try out the lift. I’m a thrill seeker and routinely throw caution to the wind. Yet, motoring up to the second level facilities was not on my Bucket List.
Lucky for me my order was announced and I hungrily picked it up and plopped down at my own picnic table. Here’s your free pass to the Clue Bus. If you order the half dozen shrimp and Gerald’s doing the ciphering you’ll most assuredly end up with at least 8 shrimp on your plate. The fried okra? It was better than snuff…and not half as dusty! For you less cultured patrons that means it was good eating. In fact, it was downright fantastic. I was a happy man. Fresh seafood from the Georgia waters off Tybee and fresh vegetables from the low country. I think a choir even gave angelic praise and white doves took flight.
That was my sign. I had just had a wonderful meal at an exciting new style of restaurant and the heavens had parted. “Get thee to a sleeping chamber, post haste” rang loud and clear in my head.
Not to worry. I already knew where I was headed. This trip I would be hanging my hat at Marsh Mermaid, one of the more modern units in the Mermaid Cottages Collection. Most of the time I prefer vintage cottage living, but I knew if Marsh Mermaid was represented by Mermaid Cottages it would have to be something special. Also, I’m a confirmed beach lover and this would be my first stay on the salt water marsh. Would I like it? I wasn’t sure, but as my beloved heroine Scarlett O’Hara would say, “I’ll worry about that tomorrow. After all, tomorrow’s another day.” I had been working on several projects simultaneously, had driven through Atlanta traffic to get to Tybee and I had just eaten one of the best meals of my life. I could not care about or be bothered with anyone or anything between me and a bed.
I let the car’s navigation plot my route and within minutes I was pulling into the driveway at Marsh Mermaid. If you’ve ever stayed at a Mermaid Cottages home you already know it will feel like a home made just for you. Beautiful hardwood floors, exquisite fabrics and textures on the furniture. Decorated in the best of taste. I found a handsome bedroom at the front of the unit on the first floor, which meant the master bedroom would be at the top of the stairs. To the left was another beautiful bedroom, but the bedroom made just for me was to the right. The master. My sanctuary for the next several days. With a huge picture window overlooking the salt marsh. My window on the world.
You may have heard me rave about the beds at Mermaid Cottages before, but you’re gonna hear it again. You have never had a better night’s sleep than to sleep in a bed as prepared by the mermaids (and mermen!) on the housekeeping staff at Mermaid Cottages. The beds are lush. The linens are crisp. Everything that’s ever been wrong with the world flies out the window once you slide into those sheets and your head hits those pillows. And just look at my view from my bed! There goes that angelic choir singing again! Nighty night!
But wait! THE END has not flashed across the screen just yet. Remember. I had never stayed on the salt marsh before. Might there be another surprise in store for me? You bet! I went out on the deck to catch a glimpse of the sun setting over the marsh and I heard these Clap, Clap, Clapping sounds emanating from the marsh. What in the world?
The next day I asked several people to help me solve the mystery. “What’s all the clapping about”, I asked. They all told me the same thing. “That’s just nature,” they said. “That’s the clams, mussels and oysters closing their shells with the tide.” Oh, OK. That’s their story, but I know the truth. I now know what all the fuss is about. You see, on the back river salt marsh, as the sun slowly lowers itself until it hovers just above the water, the mussels, clams and oysters get to behold the beauty of the world they live in and give thanks for yet another glorious day on the Georgia coast. As the sun kisses the salt marsh one can hear it sizzle and then slide beneath the surface. And the oysters, clams and mussels clap and give thanks. For they know they are truly blessed to live in paradise. And they serenade me as I drift off to sleep…perchance to dream…for I know I am truly blessed to bear witness to their sunset.
It’s about making the effort. It’s about loving the adventure. It’s about the thrill of a new foodie discovery. It’s about giving thanks. It’s Cottage Cheese!