Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Happy Together

This morning we are up very early for a sunrise turtle walk.

We had reserved this trip through the Georgia Sea Turtle Center and luckily had a gorgeous day. There were nine in our group of which three were employees and one volunteer. We drove to a beach near our hotel and walked to a turtle nest set back in the dunes. One of the employees had a small snapper turtle that someone had found on the road and she would take back to the rehabilitation center.

Our nest had hatched a few days before and now they check it to make sure all the turtles made it out. Carefully they dug down into the sand and retrieved 74 hatched shells and two unhatched eggs. These were broken open and we saw that there was just yolks as they had never developed. Careful notes were taken and the site was completely restored to the condition we had found it.

Afterwards we took a nature walk on the beach and saw some shore birds. These beautiful area is where the movie Glory had been filmed even though the actual events took place on nearby St. Simon's Island.

Next stop was a visit to the turtle center and their hospital area to meet some patients. This sea turtle had lost a front flipper and may someday be returned to the ocean.

Back in the historic District we had lunch at the Crane House Restaurant, former home of the Crane family of plumbing fame.

We walked by the beautiful Faith Chapel with its signed Tiffany window. Unfortunately it is only open after 2:00 pm so we sill have to visit it on our next trip.

Back to the hotel to pack and one last look at the beach. Found some wild orchids growing along the boardwalk.

Time to say goodbye to this beautiful place and head home.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Georgia on My Mind

Super Day! We slept late and woke up to rain on St. Simon's. Dressed and drove a half hour over to Jekyll Island. Most of the ride is going over the bridge to the mainland and then a long causeway out to Jekyll. This island is much smaller and practically deserted. We found the Hampton Inn and they checked us in so we are set to explore.

Decided to visit the Jekyll Island Club, the main attraction here. They call it the historic district and that includes the club, member cottages and shops. The grounds are gorgeous. We stopped at the museum which gave a nice history of the island and then took their tram tour. In the gift shop we found The Jekyll Island Club, a mystery written by our Yardley friend Brent Monahan.

We got to tour two of the cottages which are each about 8,000 square feet with 6 or 8 bathrooms. Very extravagant for this time at the turn of the century. The club's members were the creme de la creme of corporate America. Rockefeller,  J P Morgan, Crane, Pulitzer, Gould and other millionaires were the originals. They owned the entire island and they with their families, hunted, swam and played during the winter months escaping the cold weather up north. This lifestyle lasted until the Depression and finally fell apart during WWII.

The island was completely private back in the day and most of the owners and guests arrived by private yacht as there was no bridge and no motorized vehicles allowed on the island. Bicycling was popular as were red bugs, a precursor of the dune buggy.

The state of Georgia bought the island and now operates it as a state park. There are several chain hotels as well as rooms at the club. Several restaurants are open to the public in the historic district.

Restaurants and shopping are available on the island, but all on a small scale. We love that it is remote and quiet, especially now that school has started here and the large water park has closed for the season.

After our tour we had lunch at the grill of one of the four golf courses. Then we drove around the island stopping to see the Horton house which is a vacant tabby structure. Next was a stop at the Driftwood Beach. I had read about it, but it was better that expected. Dead trees are everywhere and it is like walking through an eerie forest on the beach. So beautiful! Jeff brought down our bag chairs from the car and we sat in the shade for a long time enjoying the scenery and the sound of the surf.

On the drive home we saw several fearless deer who posed for us.

Back to the hotel to change and then we dashed out to dinner at the Driftwood Bistro. This is a local favorite with southern cuisine that was good in a casual atmosphere. Later we went back tot he hotel and walked out to their beach. They have a long, wooden boardwalk that takes you over the sand dunes and is beautifully landscaped and lit at night. There is seating along the way. The pool area is beautiful too with lots of seating and a fire pit.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Early this morning we packed up the car and took Sirius to Camp Green Dog. We headed south on I-95 and then Route 17 to St. Simon's Island off the southern coast of Georgia. We met Jan and Harvey and stayed overnight with them in an apartment they had rented for a few days. It was a pretty property with beach access, although we did not go to the beach or pool. We did go to the downtown street and had lunch at Brogen's with was recommended for their burgers and onion rings.

Then we walked to the pier and took a trolley tour which was entertaining and educational. We learned much about the Spanish invaders who threatened the English during the Revolutionary War era. We visited the marsh where the battle depicted in the movie Glory took place and also the old lighthouse.

We rode down a beautiful drive lined with ancient live oak trees creating a tunnel and gorgeous scenery.

We met up with Jan and Harvey and went to Iguana's for dinner. They are known for the best fried shrimp and we all found that to be true. There was a short rain storm which gave a beautiful rainbow.

After some walking on the pier and an ice cream we witnessed a magnificent sunset.