By the time I got everybody in the family to agree we should spend Easter on Tybee this year it was too late to book The Breeze Inn! Undaunted, I just emailed my peeps at Mermaid Cottages and booked a house I knew would be just right for our gang-Southern Cross Cottage. As an official house voyeur, I’d toured Southern Cross last year when Diane at Mermaid began managing it. I think my family would agree it was a great decision.
Southern Cross is a classic 1930s-era Tybee raised cottage, and was completely restored a few years ago by the owners, who kept the distinctive knotty pine walls and floors, but updated everything–including baths and a kitchen. As great as the interiors were, our favorite feature of the house were the porches–the perfect people-watching perch to look out over a towering live oak–or to take an after-dinner nap.
Last year, we worked like crazy getting our house ready for the Tybee Tour of Homes. This year, Diane tells me, Southern Cross will be one of the featured homes on the tour, which takes place Saturday, June 4. The website still features our house from last year’s tour–but I promise you–we are NOT on the house tour this year. My new book,SUMMER RENTAL publishes June 7, plus next summer’s book is due to my editor in July. Yikes!
This year we had a crowd for Easter, including Katie and Mark, 21-month-old Molly, Andy, aka Boomerang Boy and his friend Laura, and our niece Sarah and her friend John. Since the house has four bedrooms, I knew it would easily accomodate all of us. We loved the fact that it has wrap-around porches on the second floor, and an outdoor spa, firepit and grill area, not to mention the fact that the younger kids could hang out on the first floor–playing cards and watching movies until late while some of us turned in earlier. We checked in Friday and started the weekend with Mr. Mary Kay’s famous crabcakes for dinner. After dinner, the family continued their favorite beach tradition of strolling over to Seaside Sweets on nearby Tybrisa, for our friend Jimmy’s yummy gelato. On Saturday, Mr. MKA and BB went fishing, while everybody else but me hit the beach. What was I busy doing? Oh, just a little fluffing over at The Breeze Inn, which only had a 24-hour vacancy over the long holiday weekend. I found a fabulous set of 1920s reed furniture at an Atlanta estate sale a couple months ago, and it was truly a fixer upper. The set had been left out in the weather, and at least four different coats of paint were flaking off it like a bad case of dandruff.
It took a couple weeks of diligent wire-brush scraping, plus a power wash to rid the settee and two armchairs of all that flakey old paint. Then Mr. MKA went to work, re-wrapping and nailing some of the rattan strapping. Andy then gave it a couple coats of glossy white paint. And in the meantime, I had some spiffy new lime green, pink and white striped covers made for the cushions.
On Saturday, we installed the new furniture on the Breeze Inn porch, then trucked the old wicker, still serviceable, over to Seaside Sisters–where the whole set sold in less than two hours! Last night we had ribs on the grill here at
Southern Cross, and then the gang–including Molly, hit the spa. We were all up early today for a true Easter miracle–we got all eight of us dressed and sitting in church at St. Michael’s here on Tybee with minutes to spare. Of course, Molly only made it seven minutes before her daddy took her on home for the beauty sleep she insists upon. But she looked adorable in her easter finery for those seven minutes. Because the kids needed to head back to Atlanta early, we had Easter lunch instead of dinner–balsamic cherry glazed lamb chops, herbed new potatoes, poached asparagus, fruit salad, dinner rolls and Tacky Jacky’s delish pineapple casserole. Of course, no Southern Sunday dinner is complete without devilled eggs, and we discovered that Molly adores them.
Now that the kids have taken off, Mr. Mary Kay and I are enjoying a lazy afternoon, and yes, a nap. I’m thinking a dip in the spa will be just the thing for our last evening at Southern Cross.