Coastal Georgia

April  8, 2016

We are heading north for the summer.  Our first official stop is Darien, GA. Beautiful small town.  Our next post will be all about Darien.

This post is about the beautiful St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island.  We have both heard of these places, but never knew much about them until now.20160408_111008The first thing we did when we got to St. Simons Island was to hop aboard the Saint Simons Colonial Island Tours with Captain Rod.  http://www.colonialtrolley.com/

He talked for 90 minutes and has so much knowledge of the history of the island.  Well worth the $20.00 each.  Fort Frederica was established by British General James Oglethorpe in 1736.  They also built Fort St. Simons in 1738.  The British troops destroyed most of it when they were invaded by the Spanish troops from St. Augustine.  The Spanish troops destroyed the remaining Fort after the the battle of the Bloody Marsh in 1742.20160408_11151720160408_111558The markers sit at the base of the St. Simons Lighthouse.  The first Lighthouse was completed in 1810.  The original lighthouse was destroyed by Confederate troops during the Civil War to prevent Union troops from using it to navigate the coast.

The current Lighthouse was built in 1872 and still serves as an active lighthouse.20160408_11075220160408_110951During the plantation period, there were 10-14 plantations on the Island (1790s – 1861).20160408_105026The Avenue of the Oaks were planted in 1826 to provide an entrance to Retreat Plantation.Neptune

Neptune Small was born into slavery at Retreat Plantation in 1831.  He was chosen to look after and befriend the plantation owner’s son, Henry Lord Page King. The two formed a close bond and when King enlisted in the Civil War in 1861, Neptune accompanied him.  Henry was fatally shot during a battle in Virginia and Neptune recovered his body from the battlefield and brought it back to Georgia.

After the war, freedman Neptune, having chosen the surname “Small” for his slight stature, was given a tract of land owned by the King family as a reward for his years of faithful service. Part of that property, now known as Neptune Park, so popular among all who love St. Simons Island, is a fitting tribute to this memorable man. Neptune Small died in 1907 and was laid to rest on the plantation grounds in the old Retreat Burying Ground. There, a bronze tablet recounts his heroism.

You should really hear Captain Rod tell this story.  He makes it so much more interesting.

20160408_110206The pier at St. Simons Island at Pier Village.20160408_11033320160408_111924The island is full of these beautiful trees.20160408_11214220160408_111304High tide.20160408_11240120160408_112412

Then it is off to lunch at one of Garden and Gun’s “The Barbecue Bucket List. “http://gardenandgun.com/article/barbecue-bucket-list   and one of BBQ places on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives http://www.dinersdriveinsdiveslocations.com/simons-island-georgia.html.

Southern Soul Barbeque   http://www.southernsoulbbq.com/index.html20160408_12590720160408_123638very small, you sit wherever you can find a place.  Cliff had the beef brisket, amazing and I had the Friday special, Prime Rib sandwich.  One of the best sandwiches I have had.  Love this place. They yell out your name when your food is ready and you just raise your hand and they bring it over.20160408_12265920160408_12595220160408_125949

Next stop – Jekyll Island20160408_133059by crossing the Sidney Lanier Bridge20160408_13311820160408_133340We were too late to get a tour of the island, the 3:00 tour was sold out.  So we just grabbed a brochure and made the best of it.

In 1886, the Jekyll Island Club was established after purchasing the island from the island’s original owner for $125,000.  An exclusive club consisting of America’s most elite.  The Club was built in 1887 for $45,000 and remained the most exclusive club in the world until 1942. Its members were J.P. Morgan, Rockefellers, Goodyear, Pulitzers, and Vanderbilts, to name a few.  The State of Georgia bought the Island in 1947 for $625,000. The Jekyll Island Club is now owned by the State of Georgia and serves as a hotel.20160408_14431920160408_14471420160408_14551720160408_145539They still play croquet on the front lawn in all white.  There were 2 weddings planned for that evening.

20160408_145610This is considered the first condo built.  The Vanderbilts and Rockefellers needed more room and privacy from the Club so they built this condo.  Named Sans Souci.20160408_145657Then they built “Cottages”GA_Jekyll_Island_Rockefeller_Cottage01

This one was owned by John DuBignon, the original owner of the Island.20160408_145921

We loved the history and would love to come back one day when we have more time.  I would love to take the guided tour.  We just scratched the surface.

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