Business Spotlight: Tybee Tour Company
Having opened just last year, Tybee Tour Company is a relative newcomer to the island’s business scene, but they’re already making waves in the local community. TTC provides residents and visitors alike with an engaging and entertaining way to experience the rich history and lore of our beautiful barrier isle. TTC is owned and operated by Jacilyn Ledford, a well-traveled transplant who now calls Tybee home.
“Tybee is so interesting. It’s inexplicable. But I love everything about the community. I love everything about the accessibility of the island for walking and biking. I love the atmosphere [with all the] different events and just the fun that can be had here. But there’s nobody really sharing the history, so I think that’s something that needs to happen,” she remarked.
So, Ledford decided to answer the call, and TTC is the culmination of her 15-year career as a history educator.
“I feel like Tybee Tour Company is an amalgamation of so many things that I’ve done,” she began. “[Over] the last six years I was [teaching] virtually, traveling about and enjoying Tybee . . . learning and wandering. . . I had given tours for many years downtown as my side hustle – teachers usually have a second gig. And I really enjoyed presenting information with history and factual background but also pulling in the characters and the people who were the pillar of what those stories are about. I enjoyed that in Savannah.”
After COVID happened, Ledford decided to take a leap of faith and leave traditional education so that she could “create my own type of education on the island – something that is fun that families can do, that is an alternative to just being at the beach.”
And with determination – and lots and lots of research – TTC was born. Currently, Ledford offers a North End tour via golf cart that covers a wealth of information in about 90 minutes.
“We are looking at the history of the island, the geography and how precious it is, even a little bit of the marine life, bringing the respect to the island as it is,” said Ledford.
The tours also delve into island happenings and even hauntings, making for a fun, unique and informative experience. Highlights include Savannah’s Waving Girl, the iconic Lighthouse and the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Lazaretto among others. She also shares about hidden gems like the island’s black box theater, which is located in the Tybee Arts Association building.
“[They have] the most intimate shows and they’re like $10. . . They have regular performances and it’s all locals, whether it’s music or theater or musicals, and there’s maybe 50 chairs. It’s so great,” she explained.
Ledford is currently working to expand into the South End and eventually hopes to do a Taste of Tybee tour. She is inspired by the local community and is excited to share about many of the amazing things to do on Tybee Island.
“There is a passion for sharing the history of Tybee and doing it in a way where everyone is intrigued. It’s a vast weaving of a story, and it’s not just about Fort Screven and what those guys did during war times. There’s so many incredible people, and it’s so much more diverse here than what you would get to read in a lot of the books that are published,” Ledford expressed, taking a moment to shout out Julia Pearce, co-founder of Tybee MLK and vast source of knowledge regarding Tybee’s Black history.
“She is amazing. I just creep through her pages and her articles. . . She doesn’t even understand how big of a help and an asset she has been with her sharing and her offering me this information for me to soak up and read and learn as best as I can.”
Ledford encourages anyone who wants to learn more about our beloved island to take a tour with TTC:
“If you’re on Tybee, you should naturally want to come to know more about an island that you’re bound to love. If you’re not already in love with Tybee, then come and get to know about it. You’ll fall in love with how quirky we are. So, if you want to enjoy the island with many new perspectives and knowledge, come take a tour. Have some fun and smirk because you’ll know a little bit more than most.”