When in Rome…. Or Tybee.

When in Rome…. Or Tybee.

Tybee Lighthouse

A few years ago on an episode of “No Reservations”, Anthony Bourdain took his viewers on an incredible culinary tour of Rome.  And in usual fashion he provided the names of the establishments he visited along the way… except for one.  Dining al fresco and surrounded by the locals who frequent this particular café, he savored the very Roman dish known as Cacio e Pepe.  And he also very decidedly announced that he would NOT be giving the name or location of this café in fear that it would be ruined by throngs of tourists.

It just so happens that my husband and I were travelling to Rome the very next year.  So of course we wanted to have the same Cacio e Pepe that Anthony had gushed about.  With some investigative internet research I was able to find all the information I needed and a plan was set.  We were so excited at the prospect of experiencing authentic Roman fare in the company of local Roman people.

The day finally came and we arrived…   and were promptly seated…   next to two college kids from Minnesota who had also seen episode.  Uh-oh.  I began to glance around, noticing the many day bags prevalent amongst tourists.  So much for being in the company of locals.   We did have the Cacio e Pepe, as did everyone else, and it was sublime.  Yet I can’t help but wonder if it was the same as Anthony’s, or had it changed because the word got out.

This leads me to Tybee… an unexpected segue, I know.  Five thousand miles from Rome but my sentiment is the same:  I don’t want it to change one bit.

Tybee Island is a special slice of Americana that is hard to come by these days.  The minute I arrive I am transported to a bygone era that occurred before I was even born.  I immediately search the dial for an oldies station that seems appropriate for this place.  I get lost in the easy ways of a town that loves a parade and celebrates the sunset like there may not be another.  Tybee is simply good for the soul and one of the best places to unwind and recharge.  Time just moves slower here.

Tybee embraces its’ past and present equally.  Modern bridges get you there by car– but old fashioned beach cruisers are a favorite for getting around.  Cell service, wi-fi, and cable are a plenty– but sitting on a porch or a beach swing is a preferred way to relax.  Great restaurants and fun shops provide meals to be remembered and trinkets to be treasured– but so will fishing and beach-combing the beautiful Atlantic.

This island seems completely unfazed by the modern notion that beach communities should consist of McMansions squeezed together to form a solid line along the shore.  Here, preservation is key and cottages are king.  And I can tell you that these are some of the cutest cottages you’ve ever seen.  If you don’t believe me, just take a look at the selection on Mermaid Cottages.com.  You’ll want to move right in to every one of them!

Tybee Island is a place I hope will never change.  It’s also a place that I can’t stop telling people about.  It’s just too special not to share.  So while you’re drooling over the cottages on the Mermaid Cottages site, do yourself a favor and book one and plan a trip.  Settle in, get on Tybee time, and enjoy.  And by all means, don’t try to change it.

Cacio e Pepe - Roma

Cacio e Pepe – Roma