Guest Blog Post by My Mother, Gina Metallo Shell: “Our Trip to Tybee Island and Savannah for Our 42nd Wedding Anniversary and Meeting Paula Deen””

It has been a goal of ours to visit Savannah, GA for over 20 years. I have been constantly encouraged to see the pre-Civil War structures each time friends and family returned from a trip there.
We discovered that 20 minutes was all it would take to connect from Tybee Island to Savannah. This would be the best of both worlds; touring Savannah and enjoying Tybee Island Beach. I always wanted to visit Tybee Island after our friend Holly Haney spent her Honeymoon there. She was so in love with Tybee Island that she named her son Tybee!

Planning “Vacay 2019” would be shared between Savannah and Tybee. Savannah Beach Raquett Club provided the perfect location for us. It is on the North side, secluded and quiet side of Tybee.

There are few places to eat close to there. It is perfect for us as we enjoy eggs and toast or overnight oats for breakfast on our balcony. Lighthouse Pizza provided great calzones with a quick walk two blocks down.

I have always loved Paula Deen and her restaurant was my favorite! Paula Deen’s Creek House is a quick 10 mile drive with plenty of parking places, friendly staff and delicious food! (I am still thinking about the Smoked Salmon Salad!) I had read the signs posted about Paula Deen’s book-signing for her new book, Paul Deen Cuts the Fat, scheduled for June 28th at 5 pm.

What were the chances that I would get to meet my most favorite southern cook who I have adored for two decades? We returned for another wonderful meal and waited to meet Sweet Paula, her husband Michael, and son Jamie. It was the icing on my cupcake!
We enjoyed the beautiful beach where the Bay and Atlantic Ocean meet, walking on the beach, collecting seashells and watching the dolphins.

This is the first time that I have ever seen so many whole seashells. There were plenty for everyone, especially since this beach is not crowded. We decided to Segway our way through Historic Savannah.

We used Adventure Tours in Motion Segway Tours and booked a 90 minute tour to view as much as possible. Chelsea was an amazing guide offering historical and fun facts. I enjoyed seeing the beautiful city and trees laced with Spanish Moss.

Do not let fear prevent you from stepping on a Segway like I almost did. I am ready to get back on and tour some more!

Our maps and brochures are ready to be filed so we can pick back up in a few years. There is no doubt about it that we will make every attempt to return. We loved Savannah and Tybee Island and they loved us back.

I will close by providing some helpful reminders that will make our journey smoother.

Walking and bicycling are highly encouraged with parking being limited. We plan to throw our bicycles in the back of our camper truck next time so we will be ready to ride. I currently do not own a bicycle so I hope to pick the skill back up quickly. I will soon find out if it is true about not forgetting how to ride a bike. At least for now I can navigate the Segway until I pick the cycling skills back up.
With parking being limited, I will need to remember to leave yourself plenty of time to find a parking place. When you find a place to park, you may need to walk a few blocks and need quarters and dollars for the parking.

My good New Balance Tennis Shoes were packed for walking and the Segway Tour. Somehow in all the excitement, I must have missed the memo on stretching your calf muscles before getting on the Segway. Our guide encouraged us to stretch our muscles every time we made a stop. It made it more comfortable for us and the other 60-ish couple we rode with.
Let’s pack the bikes, stretch the muscles, pack a couple rolls of quarters and dollar bills for parking.

Oh… If your parking meters runs out before you return from cruising the city on Segway, your windshield may be decorated with a parking ticket. Or, you may get lucky with a kind-hearted Parking Meter Attendant who just leaves you a Warning Ticket.

-Gina Metallo Shell (Nick’s mom)
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Quad Cities Proximity Initiative: Pretending You Know Where a City Is

Most Americans don’t know the capitol of Vermont or which states border Colorado, without cheating and looking at a map. Because like taking French or Spanish in high school, if what is learned is not applied on a semi-regular basis, then that knowledge disappears. Especially when it was just rogue memorization for a test we took a long time ago.

Since we don’t really know much about American geography, we use a system that gets us by. It gives the illusion that we are experts, when really we are just BS-ing our way through the conversation. I call it the “Quad Cities Proximity Initiative”. Most states consist of a minimum of four cities that we’ve at least heard of that pretty much cover the 4 corners of the state, even if we’ve never been to that state before; here are a few examples:

Ohio (Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati, Cleveland).
New York (New York City, Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany).
Florida (Jacksonville, Orlando, Tallahassee, Miami).
Georgia (Atlanta, Macon, Augusta, Savannah).

Here is an example of how this system works. The other day at work a guy from Indiana was trying to tell me where his hometown is. He said, “It’s about 50 miles south of Indianapolis…” Immediately I started shaking my head with an enthusiastic “oh yeah, yeah” which unabridged, it literally conveyed this message, “I am very familiar with the city you are talking about. I’ve been through there several times. Of course I know that place…” All because I have obviously heard of the state’s capitol, Indianapolis.

There are exceptions to the Quad Cities Proximity Initiative. Texas is huge and has more than 4 familiar cities; it has about 7. And there are those bite-size states like Delaware, where it doesn’t matter what city the person says, because the state only has 3 counties anyway.

When a person names a city I’ve heard of (even if I have no clue where in the state that city is) I give them confidence in me that I am following their lead in the conversation. It’s that simple. No need to stall a conversation because I can’t visualize where the city is. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. Unless I’m driving there.