Road Trip to Georgia: Day Trippin’ to Jekyll Island

Georgia is my favorite state’s for a variety of reasons, as I mentioned in my last post, and one summer I was fortunate enough to spend from the beginning of June to mid-August working at a museum on Jekyll Island. If you haven’t been to Jekyll, you should totally go. It’s one of Georgia’s state parks and it’s got awesome bike trails and clean beaches and there’s also a water park if you’re interested in that kind of thing. Jekyll Island was originally an exclusive island for America’s richest families, similar to Newport, Rhode Island but with smaller mansions and a castle-like hotel. There’s something strangely magical about the island. Though it doesn’t have the same beachy charm of Tybee Island, there’s just something about Jekyll’s beauty that gets me every time.

When I lived on the island, my only transportation was an old blue bicycle who’s chain fell off every other ride home from work. But seriously the best way to see this island is by bicycle and it’s extremely easy to rely on your bike since the island is only seven miles long and crisscrossed by bike trails. We rented bikes and set out first to explore the historic district where I spent most of my time. It’s seriously one of the most gorgeous areas I’ve ever been. These amazing gigantic houses look out over the intercoastal waterway with blowing sea grass and all. These homes were reserved for the wealthiest members of what was known as the Jekyll Island Club, a vacation resort where wealthy families could come and escape their hectic lives in America’s northern cities. The Jekyll Island Club hotel has been beautifully restored to some of the same majesty it had at the height of the club’s popularity. The hotel’s Grand Dining Room and other areas of the island were used in the film The Legend of Bagger Vance and the one meal I had in the Grand Dining Room was one of my best ever. I have to admit that the bottom two photos of the mansions, Mistletoe and Moss Cottages, is from the summer I spent there. Just wanted to give you an idea of what the houses looked like and I didn’t take many while we were roaming on our bikes.

From the historic district, I took the boy on the same bike trails I rode to and from work every day. I love that ride through the marshes and trees along the waterway with animals darting ahead of you on the trail. It was also pretty nice to be in the shade of the trees since it was about ninety degrees out and we were melting.

Nick’s standing in front of Horton House, the first structure built on the island. It was built as part of a fort and military encampment on Jekyll. That’s pretty much all I remember, except for the fact that it was one of the only places near my house where I could get decent cell phone coverage all summer. Next we ventured out to my favorite beach on the island, Driftwood Beach. I’ve seen the cutest wedding and proposal photos from Driftwood Beach and it’s one of the most unique beaches I’ve ever been to. Basically it’s covered with huge pieces of driftwood. Not just puny branches but whole trees bleached by the sun.

Just looking at the photos now makes me miss that beach. From there we turned our bikes to the trail that runs along the beach side of the island. It always gets so windy there and that day was no exception. So besides the sun burning my skin and making me sweat buckets, biking into the wind made my thighs burn. Yup, not working out since January wasn’t helping either. Even with the sweat and muscle pain, I loved being back on the island and showing my guy all the wonderful things about a place so close to my heart.

Our day ended with dinner at the Rah Bar, on the pier where the rich club members used to arrive and depart from the island. It’s hands-down my favorite place to get fresh steamed wild Georgia shrimp. While we were sitting there, a thunderstorm came rolling in. We watched lightning strike across the way in Brunswick and by the time we packed up in the car, we were stuck driving in a torrential downpour! My brave boy drove all the way across the skinny causeway before the rain let up but it was just another adventure to add to a fabulous day.

If you’ve never been to Jekyll Island, you should go! It’s family-friendly, romantic and has lots to explore. I can’t wait to get back down there again.

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