The Golden Isles: St. Simons & Jekyll Islands

March 3, 2017 (by Angela)

There are a few places one may visit that not only remain forever etched in one’s mind but also on one’s heart. For me, St. Simons Island is such a place. It has been about 23 years since either Jim or I have been to the Golden Isles. My first visit to the isles was about 30 years ago (I know; I sound really old when I make these statements). As we planned our visit to Georgia, he and I both knew we would enjoy being close enough to visit the Golden Isles once more.

We returned to Jekyll Island first, and both he and I found it quite different than we remembered. It was hard to identify for certain where we had stayed when last there, and beach views and accessibility to the beaches seemed more limited than was the case over two decades ago. This is sad. Hope came when a young cashier told us that developers had almost maxed out the amount of real estate upon which they are allowed to build. Despite not locating the exact spot where I stayed with my Mom and with Matthew, Amanda, and Nathaniel when children, I remember our time on the beaches, in the pool, and the day we saw an entire pod of dolphins. Jim’s favorite memory from his time here years ago was waking up to see the ocean. Jim and I may return to the islands on Sunday with Chewie as he did not go with us today. Regardless, when we move on and leave the area this time, he and I will carry new, warm memories with us to add to those from the past.

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Entering the island

There is an entrance fee to Jekyll Island; they call it a parking fee. For one day it is $6 per car. Below are pictures from our time on Jekyll Island today. We have beach pictures, shots from Clam Creek Picnic Area (which has fishing, boating, horseback riding, and access to Driftwood Beach), which is dog friendly. Jim and I visited the campground. When he writes about it, I’ll link it here. Finally, the last group of pictures are from when we drove by the homes built in the late 1800s/early 1900s by wealthy families who wanted “cottages” on the island. (Remember to click on a photo, or hover your cursor over it, to see the caption.)

Returning to St. Simons, I had some uncertainty about finding my way, but that is in great part because my mind remembers these lovely islands as they were over two decades ago. Time has marched on, and changes have come to the islands. For example, I commented to Jim, “I don’t remember there being a traffic circle here” after we’d gone straight when we should have turned on our way to Christ Church. The docent at the church confirmed for me that traffic circles are relatively new additions to the island. What had not changed was the beauty of the places we visited and the warm feelings I’ve associated with them.

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Entrance to St. Simons Island

Before going to Christ Church, Jim and I headed to the downtown waterfront area to have lunch at Barbara Jeans, and then we walked along the water. Dolphins were playing between the pier and the water’s edge. Jim got a kick out of watching birds hunting for fish. Their “swoop” down to snag each fish was too fast for me to really capture in a photo, but I did the best I could. After a bit, we made our way around the lighthouse and back to the town. It was very relaxing and enjoyable time spent, but we knew we had to get home to Chewie. If we wanted to be able to go into the church, which I’d never done before, we had to head that way.

I’d always thought that a building was built by the Wesley’s on the location of Christ Church. I learned today that though Wesley did preach on the property, legend has it under the Wesley oak tree, but no church building was built until about 80 years after the Wesley brothers left on the island. Still, it is a gorgeous church with one of the prettiest old cemeteries I’ve ever seen around it.

Jim and I truly enjoyed our day visiting the area, and I do hope we get to go back with Chewie over the weekend. If you have a chance to visit the islands, please do, especially St. Simons Island.

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