Since I spend most of my weekends traveling around Florida, this past weekend was an extra treat, in that I went to one of my favorite places in Georgia – Jekyll Island. I first went there around 9 years ago, and have been back a few times since, but this was the first time in about 7 years. And though there have been a few changes on the island since then, it was definitely worth the wait. I drove up with a couple friends who I knew would truly enjoy this special place, which was known as the playground for the rich and famous back in the early 1900’s.
Leaving Friday morning for the 7-hour trek, we arrived on the island in the late afternoon, where we checked into the beautiful Jekyll Island Club Hotel. Even though I have stayed at this hotel before in the annex building known as the Sans Souci, this was the first time I got to stay at the actual hotel building. After checking out our living quarters for the next few days, we headed out for dinner on the Jekyll Wharf at the Latitude 31 restaurant. Great food and a beautiful sunset were the perfect ending to the start of our weekend.
Saturday morning started off with an unexpected room guest. After getting out of the shower, I heard a sound that immediately made me think there was an animal in the bathroom. After a few more noises, I was convinced there was a bird in the shower wall. And sure enough, as the hotel maintenance guy unscrewed one of the shower panels, there was a fledgling grackle. Too scared to fly away, it perched itself on my friend’s finger, as she eventually put the bird out on the window balcony, where it flew away. We were hoping to play a little morning tennis on the 1930 indoor tennis court, but unfortunately, the court is no longer playable, as it is being restored. I was particulary disappointed, as I used to play on this court when I would come visit in the past. It would have been way too hot to play anyways, as the temperature soon got up to about 100 degrees. We then walked around the historic district and looked into doing the tram tour around the island, which included a tour of a few of the several cottages from back in the 1920’s, owned by such illuminaries like Frank Goodyear and J.P. Morgan. My friend’s brother and his wife were coming to meet us in the early afternoon, so we decided to play it by ear as far as the tram tour went, and enjoyed a nice dip in the pool as we awaited their arrival.
Since the heat was getting a bit unbearable, we skipped the tram tour and we all went back into the pool. As it got just a bit cooler, we did a nice little bike ride around part of the island. We then enjoyed a great dinner at the Grand Dining Room, where we celebrated my friend’s birthday (it’s actually next week). After saying goodbye to my friend’s brother and his wife, I took a nice long walk with the birthday boy, where we encontered several deer grazing around the historic district. I tried to get some pictures of them, but it was just too dark.
Since we didn’t do the tram tour on Saturday, we discussed doing the Sunday morning one. But again, the heat dictated our mood, and we went to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center instead. Only around for a couple years, it was my first time at this new nature center, and it was prettry cool, as we saw quite a few different turtles, including a 35 year-old 250-pound Loggerhead. We then headed off the island and north onto St. Simons Island. We stopped by the St. Simons Lighthouse, and even though it was closed, I still got some great pictures of it. We then drove up to Fort Frederica. which was built back in the late 1730’s. Though no longer standing, it is full of history, and we thoroughly enjoyed the musket-firing demonstration.
As we drove back into Florida, we took the scenic route along the beach between St. Augustine and Daytona Beach, where we stopped at Washington Oaks Gardens State Park for a little while. It was nice to get back home and in the air-conditioning, but it was also great to go back to Jekyll Island after so many years.