My destination — Driftwood Beach
The entrance to the island was beautiful and ahead a palm-lined road welcomed my arrival.
Stretching out before you are the inspirational Marshes of Glynn, made famous by Sydney Lanier's poem of the same name. They are part of a continuous salt-marsh ecosystem that spans Georgia's entire coastline and what greets you as your make your way onto Jekyll Island.
As part of the Colonial Coast Birding Trail, Jekyll Island's saltmarsh communities provide rich feeding grounds for many species of birds including some of my favorites — Snowy Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Roseate Spoonbills, Wood Storks and Osprey.
After paying my $5.00 island fee, I turned north toward Driftwood Beach and found myself on gorgeous tree-lined streets. The island doesn't have your typical "tourist" feel to it. There were no glaring signs offering 3 t-shirts for $10, no neon palm trees, no bazillion restaurants and there were not a million tourists roaming about. The island has a homey feel to it, a lived-in, comfy look. The homes I saw were your typical middle-class, single-story, ranch-style houses. There are, of course, shops and restaurants (but no gas stations and I didn't see any fast food), but they are discreet in their appearance. This is very different than the beaches in Clearwater, Florida, I thought AND I liked it. There is a small water park somewhere on the island, putt-putt golf and you can rent Red Bugs, which are little electric cars, to get around the island if you choose to park your car and go island-style. Better yet, head over and rent a bike — the trails are beautiful!
I passed this place and after contemplating it for a minute or so, I turned around and headed back. As eager as I was to get to the beach, this building caught my attention.
The Horton House
William Horton, "Undersheriff of Herefordshire," England came to Gerogia in 1736 and was the first English resident on Jekyll Island. He built this about 1743 for his plantation residence and it was his home until his death in 1749. Tabby was the building material for the walls. The word Tabby is African in origin and means "a wall made of earth or masonry." It was composed of equal parts of sand, lime, oyster shell and water and mixed into a mortar and poured into forms.
These walls have stood strong for over 250 years! The brick you see was part of one of two fireplaces in this home.
Room with a View
There were other plaques in the area, explaining the history of the island. It was very interesting, but I'll leave that for you to discover on your own.
In addition to hotels, Jekyll Island has a nice, tree-shaded camping area with very reasonable rates. The campground is on the small side with a fully-equipped store and showers. You can bring an RV, trailer or your tent. I prefer tent-camping and was pleased to see those spots were on the outskirts of the campground, away from all the generators.
Right across the road from the campground was my destination for today. The Clam Creek Picnic Area is where I would access Driftwood Beach on the north end of the island. The picnic grounds are very nice and cater to all types, there are tables close together and others that offer you a bit more privacy from the crowds. BBQ grills and the fishing pier will make the man in your life very happy. Not that I don't grill and fish, but these are nice touches to coax a man away from the television and whatever game happens to be on when you get that island call.
The beach is just a short walk from the park and my first look made me quicken my step — Beach Just Ahead! Hooray!
This is not the kind of beach where you can collect driftwood, but I think this piece would look fab in my front yard! Anyone got a truck? That's the fishing pier in the background — very nice and shaded.
The driftwood "sculptures" were amazing, I could spend hours photographing them…
but I was anxious to set down my things and get my toes in the water! The water was warmer than I expected, but not nearly as "bathlike" as the Gulf of Mexico. It was cool and refreshing and begging for me to come in for a dip.
So what is there to do besides swimming, fishing, snorkeling, shelling or strolling the shore? Well, you can people-watch or boat-watch.
You can ride your bike to the beach…
or right on the beach!
You can ride horseback on the beach…
or you can take a snooze.
You can do what I did and relish being at the beach…
or start a new novel.
Yes, my first beach read this summer is Mermaids in the Basement by our very own Michael Lee West of Designs By Gollum. I'll be telling you more about it on Friday along with the salad recipes for my picnic lunch. Till then, I'm living on Island Time!
I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into Jekyll Island. There is still more for me to see, including a tour of the historic homes and a trip to the Sea Turtle Aquarium. You should check this place out. It looks like they have something for every budget, from camping to affordable hotels to lavish resorts. Life here seems unhurried and uncrowded.
Yes, Jekyll Island, it's all good!
You know what else is good? The other participants in Outdoor Wednesday. Stop by and check them out!