A Week at the Beach with the Kids…

Saturday, August 16th

Six months ago I rented a house, big enough for six adults and five children for a week in August on Tybee Island… Our son and his family from Atlanta, and our daughter and her family from San Carlos, CA will be joining us for our first group vacation. Our son Johnny and his wife Kim have 3 children: Hank (age 4 1/2), Lucy (age 2 1/2) and June (about to celebrate her first birthday!) Our daughter Susie and her husband Kevin have two children: Eliza (age 2 3/4) and Hazel (turned one in June). This will be the first time the five grandkids have met all of their cousins and spent time together.

Tybee Island is the northernmost of Georgia’s Sea Islands, which comprise the outer section of the state’s Lower Coastal Plain.Tybee consists of a sandy beach on its eastern shore, and a tidal salt marsh on its western shore. It is a small island… the city has a total area of 5.2 miles. Of this, 3.7 miles is land and 1.4 miles, or 2.72%, is water. The entire island (as distinguished from the city of the same name) has a land area of 21.871 square miles. As of the 2010 census, there were 2,990 people, 1,360 households, and 772 families residing in the city.

The drive from Atlanta to Tybee is 284 miles, most of which is along interstates.  The land is flat, not much development along I-16, and the road is lined on both sides with tall lodgepole pine trees.  When the first wisps of Spanish Moss start appearing, we are getting close to the coast.  We drive through Savannah, enjoying the tree lined streets where the Live Oak branches meet overhead forming a welcoming shady arch over the street.  Savannah is Georgia’s oldest city, established in 1733.  It was a strategic port  in the American Revolution and during the Civil War.  Today, Savannah is an industrial center and an important Atlantic Seaport.

September 8, 2014

Where has the time gone?! Recovering from food poisoning, but I will get to that later…

When I last wrote in this blog, we were embarking on our week vacation at the beach with our kids. We arrived at the house and unloaded the car. The kids arrived with their families and everyone picked bedrooms and got settled in. I mostly walked around with a smile on my face, watching all the kids and family members interact with each other. I was in heaven… And, we really enjoyed our week together.

view from our deck...

view from our deck…

We stayed in a large 3 floor home (5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms) with a small pool, and an elevator. We had lots of seating for eating at the dining room table, and at a counter in the kitchen. We also had a long counter and seats outside on the upper deck, with a view of the Savannah River. We also had a good view of the main shipping channel and we would see fishing boats, shrimp boats, container ships, along with schools of dolphins. Breakfast and dinner were lovely outside, in the cooler parts of the day. It was also a great place to play cards, and watch the beautiful sunsets.

We had another good place to gather for board games, card games and children’s jigsaw puzzles – the large coffee table was perfect!

After the kids were in bed and when we could find a spare moment, we worked on some 500 – 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzles on the end of the dining room table. (we spread placemats over the pieces when it was meal time!)

Most mornings we got the kids fed and headed to the beach with a picnic lunch…

John and Sherry Crowell (Kevin’s parents) live nearby on Tybee and they often joined us during the day. John took a boat load of us on an outing to Cockspur Lighthouse… When they got out of the boat, they found there was a large bed of oysters, and loose rocks around the base of the lighthouse. Grandpa AJ found it hard walking in his slip on-crocs, while Eliza tightly held his hand.

On the boat ride back, they watched for dolphins. They saw more schools of dolphins out than they have seen in a long time.

Kevin’s brother Todd came home from his overseas travels, just for the weekend and a visit. Sherry managed to get a great family picture of them all…
Terrific Crowell Family shot, using the self-timer.

The small pond out behind the house we stayed at was a great gathering place for birds… white egrets and green herons and great herons. Walking over the wooden bridge to the beach, you got a great view of the turtles that lived there. And, there were a lot of turtles!

Coming back from the ocean, we often had a dip in the salt water pool at the house. It was perfect with all our little kids. (we did have a baby pool on the deck for the little ones…)

Another day, John Crowell took two boatloads of people out to the sandbar… It was deserted and the group had the sandy strip to themselves.

Kevin's Family Vacation on Tybee 2014_2014 08 19_0631

We had some cousin time…

There was rough housing on the floor…

Hank baked brownies and made pancakes with Dad; Susie made more brownies…

Story time… Note: we need more story books next time.

Susie french-braided a lot of heads this week…

Movie Night…

Our last day at the beach dawned hot and sunny… We headed out to the ADA beach at the other end of the island for easier access for Grandma Holly. Sherry took a Ritger Family group photo but it was so bright, the little ones just couldn’t open their eyes for the camera…
2014 Ritger Family Tybee Island Beach Trip
We had 3 umbrellas for shade but we were all huddled under the umbrellas…


The kids were a bit grumpy, and it took us a while to realize it was just too hot to be on the beach. We packed up and headed to our pool. We found out later it was record heat today… 115 heat index. If we had known, we would have stayed at our shady pool.

Johnny & Kim left that afternoon (Friday, 9/22), and Susie and Kevin were flying out Saturday afternoon. And, John and I drove back to Atlanta after packing up Saturday morning. It was a wonderful family week, and I can’t wait to do it again next year. The grandkids will all be walking by then, with the youngest about two years old and it will be great!

I am sorry this post took so long in coming, but I got food poisoning our last evening on Tybee Island and it has taken two weeks to feel good again and get my appetite back.

Next Post: we will be traveling to Great Smoky Mountains NP this fall

About Holly Ritger

I am retired, enjoying being a grandmother, traveling to National Parks and other interesting places in our RV with my husband of 43 years, and visiting with friends and family. Hobbies: photography, learning about wildflowers and birds, and trees, and reading from my kindle.
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10 Responses to A Week at the Beach with the Kids…

  1. What a wonderful family vacation! And what a great way for the cousins to get to know each other. I love the picture of all the kids in the bathtub!

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  2. placestheygo says:

    Sorry to hear about your food poisoning. Glad it didn’t happen while the crew was there. Good to hear you are feeling better:)

    I have to laugh because when I started your post, I thought you were really behind with mentioning August!! Then I realized that it wasn’t that long ago. See with all of our cold and snow in Jasper, I am struggling to remember that it is really still summer. I find myself thinking it is winter often:)

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    • Holly Ritger says:

      Haha Pam… It does sound pretty cool where you guys are. I am not ready for snow yet, but I would love some this winter. I must say, I do feel good, and I am truly enjoying just feeling good. I can’t wait till we get some fall weather… Enjoy it up in Canada.

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  3. placestheygo says:

    Didn’t mean to post yet! What a fantastic time for your family. How nice to get everyone together especially since they live on opposite coasts. It sure looked like a fun time for the whole family:) Great memories for all:)

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  4. tybeegal says:

    It was a great week Holly! I can’t wait to do it again either. You should had seen the jelly fish sting John got the next week. It looked like he had a tattoo on his leg. He had ten stripes going around his leg, just above his ankle to mid calf. Ouch! And that happen in shallow water.

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    • Holly Ritger says:

      Oh, Sherry! Poor John, that sounds terribly painful. The jellyfish were awful this year… I don’t remember so many people being bitten. I am glad you guys made it to Sante Fe. Where are you camped? And, don’t forget to try the breakfast burritos at El Parisol restaurants. They were the best!

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  5. Jet Eliot says:

    Looks like you had a marvelous time enjoying family, life, and the great outdoors. How very wonderful! 🙂

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