Saturday, November 18, 2006

A Little About Jekyll Island

Looking toward Jekyll Island from the causeway.

The smallest of Georgia's barrier island, Jekyll Island packs a lot to see and do in its 5700 acres. Even though only 35% of the island is developed, you'll find a grand hotel and a variety of resorts for your accommodation, 3 eighteen-hole golf courses (and a nine-hole course, too), a water park, a large campground, 20 miles of walking/biking trails, horseback riding, tram and carriage tours of the island's historical district, ten miles of sandy beaches to wander and much more.
One of the "cottages" of the rich. Phyllis, our most excellent tour guide

Start your exploration of the island with a stop at the Island History Center. Here you'll find a small museum that explains some of the history of the island along with a video clip that explains the history of the Jekyll Island Club House and its original members. You'll also be able to arrange a tram tour of the island or a more leisurely exploration by horse and carriage. We opted for the 90 minute tram tour hosted by Phyllis, who astounded us with her knowledge of names, dates and details of life on the island and the rich and famous who wintered here. As part of the tour, we were allowed inside two of the "cottages" on the island that have been restored or are in the process of being restored as museums. Phyllis recommended lunch at The Rah Bar where the shrimp boats had just delivered fresh shrimp, but we had packed a picnic lunch so she told us how to find a nice place to picnic on the water and sent us on our way. We'll save the shrimp for our next visit.

You can wander the historic district of the cottages on foot or by bicycle. Some of the smaller outbuildings have been converted to shops and some of the homes also. Heading north you'll find the ruins of the Horton plantation build of tabby,which is a conglomerate of shell, sand, water and lime. Here also are the plats of private homes--yes, there are people living in this state park. Continue following the road and you'll discover the lovely beaches on the eastern side of the island--miles and miles of beach.

I brought along a list of geocaches when we left the rig and boy are there a lot on this island, some of which are controlled by the state park but most have been placed by individuals who have the permission of the state to do so. You could spend the day doing nothing but geocaches here, which might be a thought if you happen to stay at the campground on the island. Be advised, however, that the campground is heavily treed so you won't be getting your TV stations either by satellite OR with the antenna. But there's enough to keep you entertained without that.

Jekyll Island is one of those places you'll fall in love with, especially in the late fall when most of the tourists are gone, the breezes blow the no-see-ums away and the temperatures are warm and dry. Come see yourself.

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