Sunday, May 29, 2011

We bought what?

On our first trip to the Cottage we were excited and nervous! We are conservative average everyday people and we had just done something totally out of character of us! We now owned two homes. One in Virginia and one on Tybee Island which is seven hours away! We were concerned about the distance but we Loved the combination of Savannah being 15 minutes from our beach Cottage. It is the best of two completely different worlds. Savannah is steeped in history and has an amazing arts community. It is one of the most walkable cities in the United States and the 31 squares with spanish moss dripping from the live oaks are just breath taking. These green squares transition you from one mini neighborhood to the next. They are filled with flowers and art and I would be content to spend the day just sitting on one of the many benches and observing the goings on. A couple of first observations from the week we spent in Savannah. The people in the shops, restaurants and just on the street were all extremely friendly, helpful, and delightful. I always thought that Virginia was known for southern hospitality. I have to admit that Savannah is much better at showing vistors that true southern hospitality. The other thing I noticed was that the young people on the street in Savannah looked and acted differently. They all exhibited a sense of style that I don't see here in Virginia. I am sure this is in part due to Savannah being the home of SCAD the Savannah College for Art and Design. The campus is actually spread through out Savannah which has had a positive impact on the city. These young people may be biking to class in jeans...but they look different. I started noticing that while a young lady might be on a bike she would have on some type of nice shoes...pretty flats or leather throngs with decoration. She would have a scarf artfully arranged and other accessories to give her a put together look even though she might be in jeans. It isn't unusual to see the young ladies in skirts and dresses either walking or biking and again they always seemed to have that put together look. The young men also had mastered the look...shirts with collars turned up and shoes and sunglasses, and often hats that gave them a very current and attractive look. First I fell in love with Savannah...then we spent a day kayaking on Tybee Island...that is what pulled us down the slippery slope to purchasing the cottage on Tybee.

The Kayak trip from Tybee Island to Little Tybee Island was awesome. We met our guide John early that morning at Sea Kayaks of Georgia and he explained that we had an extremely high tide and that our trip needed to be planned carefully since the tides can rise and fall 9 feet! So our trip would be determined in part by the tide and by how we did managing our kayaks and the current. We are river kayakers and only have a chance to kayak a handful of times during the summer and fall in Virginia. I have some health issues which impact my arm strength and I have issues with my back, feet, and legs so I was smiling but concerned that I might not be able to manage the current. John was an excellent guide and he quietly showed us by his example how to navigate the marsh trail. He knew the area well and was able to identify the plants and wildlife we encountered. We love birding and have for many years made the 14 hour drive to Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island Florida. We were in heaven lots of egrets, herons, wood storks, ducks, pelicans and red winged blackbirds...with their signature ut-oooh sound that just screams we're at the BEACH! We were able to manage the current and made it all the way over to Little Tybee which you can only reach by boat. We were the first people to leave our footprints on the beach that morning. Some folks camp on the island for the night. I would think about it when the weather was cooler but it would be a bit daunting since once you decided to stay you would be stuck there until the tide changed. On the trip back we were blessed to have dolphins follow us and we stopped to watch them charge the banks and strand feed on fish. It was so cool to listen to them squeak and make their blowing noises! We started asking John how he came to Tybee and found that he had just relocated there about two years earlier. His wife had accepted a job with the City government and they were loving the laid back Tybee Tyme life style. He said that real estate prices had taken a beating with the recent economic upheaval. Lots of forced sales and some foreclosures. A highlight bulb popped in my head and I found myself asking him if he knew of a good local realtor...though I doubted that we could afford anything on the island but if there was a real deal just maybe we could. He told us how his realtor had helped them and gave me her name. We told John we were starving when we got back after 4+ hours of kayaking and that we loved local places that specialized in salads, fish sandwiches and seafood. He recommended the Sundae Cafe and said not to let their location in a small strip mall discourage us that they had the best seafood on the island! Just our kind of place. I asked John for his email address in case we had questions about Tybee or Kayaking...he was on FaceBook so I said I would just friend him since I would probably lose his contact info and FaceBook just makes it so easy to keep up with friends new and old. Making John a FB friend pushed us a bit farther down the slippery slope. Often when on vacation you get interested in looking at property, etc. but then you get back to the pressures of the real world and all is forgotten. Having John as a FB friend kept Savannah and Tybee on my mind. So I screwed up my courage...after reading Extreme Self had made me think about what I really wanted. One of the chapters posed and interesting question. What would you do if you were not afraid? So being me I didn't call that would be too much but I did email Sandy McCloud our interest and told her I doubted with our limited budget that she would be interested in us. We would probably be priced out of the market. I think I was being negative so I would be prepared to be disappointed...we had shopped for property before and it was always just out of reach. A couple of weeks went by and no response. I figured she probably thought we were a waste of time. But I kept seeing John on FB so I mentioned that I had not heard from her...a more courageous person would have just called her! John let Sandy know. She had indeed contacted me but her email got caught in my SPAM filter. So she called me...and we talked for almost an hour. I felt like I had known her forever. She wasn't discouraged by our budget but said it was going to take a distressed or foreclosed property to most likely work for us. She said she would be looking for us and to not get discouraged it might take a while. In a few weeks another email from Sandy...

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