Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Brunswick and the Golden Isles of Georgia

Reaching out into the ocean from the historic port city of Brunswick are vast expanses of golden marshlands and four barrier islands that act as the cities protector. The islands of St. Simons, Little St. Simons, Sea and Jekyll dot the Georgia coastline and form the ever important barriers against the Atlantic Ocean’s furry. Behind the islands lies a vast expanse of golden marshlands. This tidally-influenced and rich estuarine marsh is a complex and productive ecosystem that provides a haven for fish and wildlife. These coastal marshes are vital to Georgia’s multi-million dollar seafood industry and their importance is evident given all the local seafood restaurants.

After a couple of rainy days and a long drive from Carrabelle, Florida, we were excited to start exploring Brunswick and the barrier islands. We spent two days climbing up lighthouses, attending an antique fair, shopping at the local farmers market, walking along the seafood docks, visiting island history museums, hiking nature trails, and eating Brunswick stew and shrimp and grits

The lighthouse on St. Simons Island.

Stretching our legs in the lighthouse.















Undoubtedly, our favorite island was Jekyll. The islands landscape is quintessential southern beauty. The live oaks are blanketed with Spanish moss and resurrection fern, century old pines grow strait into the sky, and vibrant azaleas paint a picture that looks like it came right out of Southern Living Magazine. Set amongst the beautiful landscape are perfectly restored historic buildings.
Majestic live oaks draped in Spanish moss.
Jekyll Island has always been a popular vacation destination. Although now it is open to the public, it was once privately owned. In 1886, Jekyll Island was purchased by a group of the nation’s rich and famous and became their exclusive winter retreat, known as the Jekyll Island Club. For more than half a century, the nation's leading families, including the Rockefellers, J.P.Morgans, Pulitzers, and Goulds, came to Jekyll Island "to secure an escape." The club was closed in 1942 and Jekyll Island was purchased by the state of Georgia five years later and opened to the public. By law, 65% of the island must remain undeveloped. Many of the original buildings from the Jekyll Island Club are still in use. The main building is an up-scale resort. Some of the homes have been restored to their original condition and are open for tours. Other buildings have been converted to shops, museums, and restaurants which help maintain the islands character while keeping visitors occupied.
The Jekyll Island Club which serves as an exclusive island resort.




Cars are not permitted in some areas of the island
making for beautiful walking areas.







Historic homes have been restored to preserve the islands
 architecture and history.

A building that once served as the
chauffers residence is now a store.













There are plenty of activities to do on this little 7 ½ - mile long island. Just before you drive onto the island, there is a visitor center that provides the necessary tourist information. There is also a wildlife viewing platform that provides an excellent view of the marsh and the island. If relaxing is your thing, there are over 10 miles of public beaches. For those looking for more action, there are over 20 miles of scenic bike trails that wind through undeveloped areas of the island. There is a water park, four golf courses, dolphin tours, horseback riding, hiking, kayaking, fishing piers, picnic areas, shopping, museums, trolley rides, and much more. Hotels and restaurants are plentiful but widely spaced to prevent crowding.
You know you are in Georgia when
there is a bull dog in front of the
 visitor center.
The bull dog was beautifully painted with
scenes of the area.


















One attraction that caught our eyes was the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. The center fulfills the important role of sea turtle rehabilitation, research, and education. Last year, there were close to 150 sea turtles that nested on tiny Jekyll Island. The center is small but is packed full of modern exhibits that entertain children and adults alike. When we were there, children were being entertained by a puppet show that acts out the life of a young sea turtle while we enjoyed the video demonstrating the use of satellite transmitters used to track the turtles. Also, the veterinary section was behind glass and when turtles weren’t being treated, there were buttons to push that would show videos of surgery, laparoscopy, tube feeding etc.
The Georgia Sea Turtle Center is housed in an old building
that once served as the power plant.


Exhibits entertaining visitors.











An large rehabilitation facility houses over 30 sea turtles. 

More pictures.......
Shopping at the farmers market.

Antique fair at St. Simons Island.
View from the top of the St. Simons Lighthouse.
   
I just love the bull dog!  His butt is an alligator's face, legs are marsh, back is a sea turtle, ears are scallop shells, and a snake as his tail!
The Jekyll Island History Museum.

The courtyard at the Jekyll Island Club.

Beautiful tapestry inside the parlor of the Jekyll Island Club.

2 comments:

  1. I was wondering where you stayed while visiting Brunswick and the barrier islands? My in-laws live in St. Simons and we're looking for a nice RV park to stay at while visiting. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. We stayed at the Golden Isle RV Park in Brunswich. I can't remember much about the park but it was not on the island and I don't remember the drive over there being that bad. Sure did love the golden marsh.

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