"Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?" - Anne Murray

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Whoa! We Sure Didn't See This Coming!

Read on dear friends, for the big reveal at the end of the story of our tour of The Golden Isles of Georgia. It's all Lynn and Glenn's fault, as usual.  They told us how much they liked Blythe Island Regional Park, near Brunswick, GA, and talked us into camping there for our traditional Thanksgiving dinner together. And, as usual, we had a great time with them, and except for the mosquitos, Blythe Island was a great place to camp. (Yes, there were too many trees to use the satellite dish, but we lived.)

Sites 87 & 88, Blythe Island Regional Park

Apologies for this post being a bit outdated (like over two months) but a lot has been going on (keep reading). In the few days we were there we managed to squeeze in lots of adventures, including Fort Frederica and Southern Soul BBQ on St. Simon's Island, and a bike tour of Jekyll Island

Beautiful oak alley at Fort Frederica

St. Simons Island was the site of a battle between the English and Spanish in 1742 that determined Georgia as an English colony.  After that battle the Fort and town were abandoned, and today the National Park Service maintains the area with the ruins as a beautiful park. 

Ruins of the Fort
After a stroll through the Spanish moss draped live oak trees we headed over to the heavenly Southern Soul BBQ at the recommendation of Lynn & Glenn's friends Diva and Scott. Excellent choice! Everything, including the friend green beans, was delicious. We'll be going again, I'm sure.

Rib sandwich

Prime rib sandwich

Southern Soul BBQ, St. Simons Island

Scott, Diva, Glenn & Lynn 

Another day we drove out to Jekyll Island, about 20 minutes away from Blythe Island.  The bridge below is named for Sidney Lanier, who wrote a lovely poem entitled "The Marshes of Glynn County" that captures the unique beauty of the low country.

The beautiful Sidney Lanier bridge from Brunswick to nearby Jekyll and Blythe Islands

Here are some of those salt marshes, a rich ecosystem that comprises much of coastal Georgia and South Carolina.  It's a look that grows on you.

"The Marshes of Glynn County"

Once on the Island, we unloaded our bikes and started our circumnavigation along the west shore. The bike trail runs around the entire island, though we pooped out about 2/3 around.  See a map here.

A tiny bit of the island's fascinating history: Jekyll Island was the exclusive and private home of a "club" of millionaires at around the turn of the 20th century.  During the Great Depression their mansions were abandoned, and in 1947 the state of Georgia purchased the island at a steal, and it is now a state park. Development is strictly regulated by the state, and limited to only 1/3 of the island. The grand homes and the Jekyll Island Club Hotel remain, in various states of repair. There seemed to have been a brief housing boom in the 1960's and 70's, resulting in several neighborhoods of nice, but modest homes from that period, and there are a handful of hotels along the ocean. Since then development slowed, until recently, when a town center with several blocks of commerce, a Westin Hotel and a conference center were built.

Within the state park, some of the old homes are restored and open for tours.  Two thirds of the island is a historical and nature preserve and cannot be further developed. 

Moss Cottage within the Jekyll Island Club

The residents pedaled around the island on these "red bugs" for fun and exercise.

Rick and Glenn get serious again, this time about cars, thus the helmets.

The Jekyll Island Club Hotel is grand and very traditional. In the photo below there are actually some people playing croquet on the lawn. It really is like stepping back in time when you visit.

The Jekyll Island Club Hotel

The historic Faith Chapel within "The Club"

Also on the island is the Georgia Sea Turtle Center where in addition to caring for sea turtles, they will treat any injured wild animal that is found on the island.

Georgia Sea Turtle Center. Here they examine a snake that was brought in by the man on the right.

At the Center there are about eight large tanks where injured sea turtles are rehabilitated so they can safely return to the sea.

They also raise a certain number of turtles from eggs.

Wee baby sea turtles with numbers painted on their backs, for the big race later on??

Near the golf course, modern day "red bugs" are available for rent.

Along the bike trail we visited the Horton House, historic ruins of the earliest white settlers on the island:

Driftwood Beach is a must see on the northeast side of the island. 

The gang of four on Driftwood Beach

Driftwood beach

As we pedaled along the ocean side of the island, almost back to the truck, we passed a new development of condos.  We didn't think too much about them at the time, except to admire their location and think what a cool place this would be to live. 

Well, long story finally made short, we returned back to Jekyll Island a month later, after the holidays with our family, and bought one.  Settling down was not in the forefront of our minds by any means. But if we stay open to possibilities, these opportunities show up in our lives and we just have to pay attention.  Now we can hardly think of anything else. Our new home won't be available to us until Fall 2016, so we will have time to travel up and down the east coast before we have to wrap our heads around moving in.

So, our full-time RVing lives will be changing later this year, but we hope to keep the RV and keep traveling for vacations. We'll just work that out as we go.  

People often ask us if we look for the perfect place to settle down as we travel around the country, and I have to say we don't do that too much. Occasionally we find places we really love, but they aren't necessarily places we'd like to stay, or we aren't ready to stay. I've come to believe that there is no perfect place. There's just the place you are. Another time, Jekyll Island might not have captured us the way it did now. Another place could have captured us instead.  For whatever reason, we've been captured and captivated, and we look forward to loving it all.