Earlier this summer we were itching for a change of scenery and decided to take a week off and go on a vacation. With Drew starting classes right before the 4th of July, we determined that the week before that would be good. This ended up being Drew’s graduation trip. No, it’s not NYC, but it was better than nothing!
We got up early Saturday morning and headed over to St. Simons Island, Georgia. We stopped in Dawson, GA at Mark’s Melon Patch (8580 Albany Highway Dawson, Georgia 39842) for some peaches. I enjoyed their Sunflowers and Zinnias so much!
With COVID 19 being a thing now, we decided it would be safer to stay in one place and even safer to NOT be in a hotel. Rob started looking on Air BnB and VRBO. The fees for VRBO especially has made it not really a good deal anymore. Rob decided to just look at local vacation rental companies in the Georgia Barrier Islands. We ended up staying Ocean Walk E-6 through Real Escape Properties in St. Simons Island. We really enjoyed our stay here. Dogs allowed. 2 pools. Clubhouse. Tennis Courts. A place to cook, which means less eating out. A short walk to downtown. It worked perfectly for us.
We actually got to St. Simons a little before check in so we parked at the rental place and got Kayleigh and walked downtown. We were hungry, so we ate at Iguana’s. One thing about St. Simons Island is that it’s a very dog friendly town. Water bowls out in front of many stores. Many restaurants have outdoor seating, which allow dogs. That’s one reason why we chose Iguana’s. We also heard a tour bus go by and the tour guide said Iguana’s had the best shrimp in town. Really good and they have free soft serve ice cream for dessert!
After lunch we got settled in at the condo, rested a bit, and then went to the beach. For dinner we ate at Fox’s Pizza Den, which was really good.
The next morning, we got kind of late start, but finally headed out after lunch. We walked back downtown and walked to the Pier. At the end of the pier we saw this ship, which we later learned a lot about. It’s the Golden Ray, which is a car carrier that overturned in the middle of the night back in September 2019 in St. Simons Sound off the coast of Brunswick, Ga.
We also ‘met’ this ingenious Pelican, which apparently hangs out on this pier because of all the people who fish there and feed him. I mean how smart is he!
We continued our walk along the oceanfront pathway and beyond to the St. Simons Lighthouse.
We dropped Kayleigh off back at the condo, jumped in the car and got over to Fort Fredica, before they closed.
Fort Frederica National Monument (6515 Frederica Rd, St Simons, GA 31522) preserves the archaeological remnants of a fort and town built in the 1730’s by James Oglethorpe to defend the southern boundary of the British colony of Georgia from Spanish raids.
Another spot we wanted to see in St. Simons was Christ Church (6329 Frederica Road St. Simons, Georgia 31522), which is an Episcopal church. It began as a mission in 1736, the parish would be one of the first to form the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia in 1823. The current building was built in 1884 and is adjacent to Fort Frederica National Monument.
It was locked because of COVID, but luckily we were still able to see the beautiful surroundings and the cemetery that surrounds it. You know I love old cemeteries and this one dates back to the first burial from 1803 making it the oldest cemetery in Georgia! Christianity in Early Georgia
As we explored St. Simons and learned more about the history of this area, we learned that the founder of the Methodist church, John Wesley and his brother Charles came to Savannah, GA to minister to General James Oglethorpe’s Georgia colony. Wesley made five trips to the island, where Oglethorpe was working on building a settlement around Fort Fredrica. Rob and I enjoy the history of John Wesley, since we are Methodist and have learned a lot about his in a Bible study we did a couple years ago.
We stopped at the Wesley Memorial and Gardens to see the beautiful Celtic cross and native plants that pays tribute to the Georgia ministries of John and Charles Wesley.
That evening since it was Father’s Day, so Rob got to decide what he wanted for dinner. We got take out from Fortune House. It was really good and ended being leftovers for 2 or 3 meals.
The next morning we decided to head over to Jekyll Island for the day. We packed food, drinks, and swimsuits. When you enter Jekyll there is an $8 ‘parking fee.’ This island is actually a state park, which means there are special rules and guidelines for home ownership and property rental for the more than 600 private residences on the island. Unlike traditional home ownership all land on Jekyll Island is owned by the State of Georgia.
Our first stop was the Jekyll Island Club Resort, which was founded in 1886. The world’s wealthiest families, most notably the Morgans, Rockefellers, and Vanderbilts, vacationed here. You can read more about this history of this place>>>>Jekyll Island Club.
I loved when we got there that folks were playing croquet on the front lawn. This made the place feel extra nostalgic, like literally stepping back in time.
After leaving, the resort, we stopped at the Fishing Pier. which is really nice pier that extends out into St. Simons bay 360 feet.
Before heading to the beach for the rest of the afternoon, we needed to eat lunch. We ended up getting shrimp po’boys from Jekyll Market, located in the Beach Village, which is a shopping center near the convention center.
The boys were ready for some more beach time. We stopped at Great Dunes Park, which has nice bathrooms and changing facilities. We settled in and then ended up moving further up the beach because it very shallow even after going out quite a ways. After moving down, it was still pretty shallow but conditions in general were better in the boy’s opinions.
This shoreline is covered with living Sand Dollars. Before Rob and I got in the water the boys brought us some to show us. We got in the water and we kept stepping on them. You can tell when you step on them because they feel little harder and rougher under your feet.
I got in the real shallow part before getting out completely. I collected handfuls of these little shells. After a quick google search I think these are Coquinas. I was amazed that most of the ones I got were still attached.
After leaving Driftwood Beach, we drove around a little more and headed back to St. Simons. We dropped Alex off and picked up Kayleigh. Since we were already feeling beachy we decided to go ahead and bring Kayleigh to the St. Simons Beach.
She was really funny about the water. At first she was really curious about it and didn’t mind the waves coming up to her, but then she got where she didn’t like the moving water at all. Rob took her off leash and carried her out in the water, which she was ok with.
St. Simons Island’s East Beach and Massengale Park are dog-friendly beaches. You just have to bring them before 9am or after 6pm during the summer months.
The next day was up and at’em a little earlier, so we could get to Savannah. It’s about 80 miles or an hour and half from St. Simons to Savannah.
Savannah is truly unlike any city I’ve ever been to with their squares and parks. Of course, with my aforementioned love of founder of Methodism, John Wesley, seeing his monument at Reynolds Square is always interesting.
We enjoyed lunch at Sorry Charlies. Rob wasn’t impressed with his Shrimp PoBoy. I got the The Debris sandwich that was pretty good. Would have been better if I would have remembered to get the Horseradish sauce on the side. The boys both got the Grilled Chicken Sandwich and wolfed those down in no time.
A trip to Savannah is not complete without a stop at Leopold’s Ice Cream. This was actually our first time here. Rob got the Tutti Frutti, which is an original from 1919. It’s rum ice cream with candied fruit and fresh roasted Georgia pecans. Rob was glad he tried it, but wouldn’t get it again. I got the Savannah Socialite, which is milk and dark chocolate ice creams bursting with roasted Georgia pecans and swirled with bourbon-infused caramel. So very good.
I don’t remember ever wandering upon the Chandler Tree, which is located at 516 Drayton Street, Savannah, GA 31401 adjacent to Forsyth Park. It is estimated to have been growing since the 1700s, making it one of the oldest living landmarks in the area. It is 54 feet tall, has a circumference of 17 feet and a 63-inch diameter. Its average crown spread is 110 feet. Quite a sight to see and read about!
Forsyth Park is a large city park that occupies 30 acres (0.12 km2) in the historic district. It has walking paths, a children’s play area, a Fragrant Garden for the blind, a large fountain, and much more.
When I knew we were going to Savannah, I had to see what cemeteries were there. Bonaventure Cemetery was touted as the most interesting cemetery in Savannah. However, I’m a little miffed at myself for not going inside Colonial Park Cemetery right there in downtown Savannah near where we parked. I guess I was a little turned off by all the boarded up parts because of the construction that they are doing in the cemetery.
Anyway, so when were done in downtown we drove by Historic Grayson Stadium, where the Savannah Bananas play. Drew was curious to check that out.
Bonaventure Cemetery is a gorgeous cemetery located on a scenic bluff of the Wilmington River, east of Savannah. The cemetery became famous when it was featured in the 1994 novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt, and in the subsequent movie, directed by Clint Eastwood, based on the book.
It is the largest of the city’s municipal cemeteries, containing nearly 160 acres (0.65 km2).
On our way back to St. Simons we stopped at Peach World in Townsend, GA. They have amazing peach slushies and lots of other peach flavored everything.
So this post is getting longer than I’d like, so I’m going to stop here. Look for part 2 from our St. Simons Island and beyond trip next Tuesday!