Jekyll Island, GA

jekyll-island1Friday April 4th

By now, I have made the trek up to Bluffton to meet up with Julie to carpool to Atlanta somewhere near eight times. That’s 16 times I’ve driven up and down I95 through Georgia… and every time I’ve gotten to exit 29 and seen signs for Jekyll Island and thought “Hmm, I should visit that while I’m down here.” And 16 times I have driven right on by.

Number 17 is the charm apparently.

The forecast for today is beautiful. High in the low 80’s, partly cloudy. A good day to go to the beach. And as this is the last weekend I’ll be making this drive, it’s now or never.

jekyll-island2

Jekyll Island is a barrier island, sort of like Hunting Island in SC geography-wise, but more built up. There are hotels, shopping opportunities, restaurants, permanent residences, a golf course, a tiny airstrip, historical sites, a campground, a few parks, and more. In the summer it becomes a popular tourist destination, but again coming in the off season works in my favor and the crowds are light today.

jekyll-island3After paying $6 a day to get onto the island, (weekly and monthly rates are different), I stop in at a Dairy Queen for lunch. I believe it might be the only fast food eating option on the island that isn’t a stand alongside a strip mall. There are several sit down eating options too, but it keeps my costs down to eat cheaply.

Then it’s off to explore!

The first place I stumble into is the historic district. In the late 1800’s the Jekyll Island Club was founded as a summer retreat for the rich and powerful of the time. Several of these wealthy families built large vacation homes on the island which are still maintained today, and one can walk down the road and admire them, or take a tour to get more of the story behind each. The road ends at the ginormous old club house, which has become a high end resort for tourists while still keeping the original club house appearance.

jekyll-island4The parking lot for the club house is convoluted, and I get lost in it and end up accidentally at the entrance to the resort where an immaculately groomed valet raises a brow at my truck, I probably don’t look like their normal clientele. I offer him a cheesy smile and a little wave as I drive on through. Eventually the exit is located and I make good my escape.

Next up is the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, which was recommended by a friend as worth the $7 entrance fee.

They weren’t wrong. Sea turtles lay their eggs along the coast of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina during the summer, I’ve seen markers for the nests before when I’ve been on the beach, it’s illegal to bother them since sea turtles are threatened.

The Georgia Sea Turtle Center is an educational center, but also a hospital and rehabilitation clinic for injured and sick sea turtles who are found by boaters and beach goers. As a vet tech, I found that aspect fascination. Their clinic had a glass wall on one side that lets people who pay the admission fee look right into the treatment room of the clinic and see what the vets are up to. It looked a lot like the treatment room of any sort of animal clinic, I guess underneath the shell there are still more similarities than differences between a turtle and a cat or dog, or a monkey which what I had primarily worked with. While I was there there were two technicians in the treatment area swabbing two baby sea turtles. As a technician I would have been nervous having the public watch me like that all day while I worked, but they must be use to it. Neither of them even glanced at the window.

jekyll-island5Behind the treatment area and educational displays, there is another building with large sea water tanks set up inside with patients in them. The tanks are labeled with the patient’s name, and a binder attached to the railing lets you see what each turtle is at the center for. The majority of them are on treatment for something or other and are slated for release once they’re well again, but a couple are permanent residents because of injuries that would hamper their ability to survive in the wild. They all look well cared for though, which I am glad to see.

After that, there was an old ruin to see from the mid 1800’s, an old graveyard, and a public park on the north end of the island complete with fishing pier. The pier faces more out toward the swampy side of the island, I wonder if the fishing is better there being a little more sheltered. Right across from the park is the campground, and that I am very interested in.

I’ve heard bloggers talk of this campgroundΒ with fondness, it sounded like a really neat place. Sadly it’s hard to get in to see a campground when you’re not planning to camp there, you know? So I use my usual park outside the campground and walk in trick. I belong here, really. Was just out for a walk. Honest.

jekyll-island6Live oaks, pines, and what I believe to be magnolias are present in abundance, the trees are all mature and the whole campground is well shaded. The sites have a decent amount of space between them for a RV park, but are still by no means private. There are tent sites, back ins, and pull-throughs, RV sites are dirt and gravel. There are two shower houses, and laundry facilities on site as well. From October to March monthly rates are available which I think would be great considering how much less crowded the place is this time of year. Daily rates for full-hook up sites are $34 for back ins and $37 for pull-throughs. None of the sites have water views, but there are trails leading to the ocean from the campground and it can’t be too far of a walk because I spy one family all decked out with their cooler and chairs and swim gear walking down the lane.

Then I stumble into the bird garden. There is a wooded area towards the rear of the campground with bird feeders of all shapes and sizes hanging from tree limbs and standing on poles. Several bird baths decorate the ground level, and there are garden ornaments in abundance. And there are birds, lots of them. The air is full of their song and a little mailbox near the entrance has information about the various species that visit.

jekyll-island7This is the first time I’ve seen something like this at a campground, I wonder why more places don’t do this? It’s beautiful. Two wooden swinging chairs allow campers to enjoy the garden, and I sit at one for a while, nodding at the lady at the next one over.

We sit in a companionable silence, enjoying the birds, the squirrels, and the beautiful weather. There is no need for small talk. An indeterminable amount of time later I get up and head out, nodding again to the lady with a smile as I leave. We haven’t spoken a word to each other, and yet we’ve said volumes.

It’s getting late in the afternoon and I need to get to Bluffton for the last Girl’s Night I’ll be attending for a while. For newer readers, Bluffton is where I last lived prior to hitting the road as a full-timer, and I have several friends who still live in the area.

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But before I go, the beach! Jekyll Island’s beaches have light colored sand and a wide belt of dunes. There are several waterfront shops around and hotels with ocean views. The water is still a bit cold for swimming, but I dip my toes in the Atlantic and smile. With luck, I’ll be able to get my toes in the Pacific later this year. But for now, there is a social call to make. The next week will be busy, with the move to Atlanta coming up and all the prep that comes with that. But with a day like today to bolster me, I look forward to facing it head on. As one door closes, another will soon be opening.

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15 Responses to Jekyll Island, GA

  1. Ron April 7, 2014 at 10:31 pm #

    Great post, sounds like a beautiful area and a pretty kool RV park. Enjoy your next adventure. We always enjoy hearing about them.

    • Becky April 8, 2014 at 10:16 am #

      Glad you enjoyed it Ron. Glad I made it while I had the chance. πŸ™‚

  2. PamP April 8, 2014 at 9:37 am #

    Thanks for a tour of Jekyll island. Certsinly makes me want to visit.

    • Becky April 8, 2014 at 10:16 am #

      You’re welcome Pam. If you get out towards the Georgia coast I highly recommend it.

  3. MarciaGB April 8, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

    A very nice tour of Jekyll Island. FYI, we always ask if we can tour a campground, (usually drive through) be it public or private and have only been turned down once in 10 years. We often find new places we like by doing that.

    • Becky April 9, 2014 at 8:44 pm #

      Nice Marcia. Hunting Island wouldn’t let people drive in the campground who didn’t have a reservation, guess I learned how to sneak in from them. πŸ˜‰

  4. Paul Dahl April 8, 2014 at 6:09 pm #

    I’ve enjoyed visits to Jekyll Island over the years, the RV park looks like it gets repeat visitors. Many of the folks have name signs the shape of their home state.

    The turtle rehab place is so worthwhile to see. It is great that there are people interested in preserving one of nature’s wonders. :c)
    Paul Dahl recently posted..Fun With The GrandkidsMy Profile

    • Becky April 9, 2014 at 8:44 pm #

      Yeah, considering how few people were around the island in general, the campground was still pretty full.

      And yes, a lot of respect for the people at the sea turtle center.

  5. Curious by Nature April 8, 2014 at 10:19 pm #

    Great post, definitely a battery recharge day!

    • Becky April 9, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

      Yep! Two days until takeoff, busy busy busy…

  6. Rick April 9, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

    TIME TO MOVE ON
    by The Medicine Show
    made famous by Cross Canadian Ragweed

    A young man’s searching
    Trying to find his soul
    He’s heard all the myths and the stories that he’s told
    He searches his heart for the magic to behold
    He wants to find the answers before he grows old

    (chorus)

    One door closes two doors open
    The road you take is the path you’ve chosen
    T he end is the beginning, beginning is the end
    Every road gonna bring you round again
    Stop and look around
    Time to move on

    My old man is traveling
    Now he’s lost his way
    He’s drifting in the middle
    And his hair is turning gray
    What you don’t know might hurt you
    When your pride gets in the way
    If you don’t read the signs
    You’ll get lost along the way

    (chorus)

    You got to follow your bliss
    Gotta follow your sorrow
    Where will you be when you wake up tomorrow
    The choice is up to you
    It’s yours and yours alone
    Every road gonna bring you home

    • Becky April 9, 2014 at 8:46 pm #

      Nice Rick, and rather applicable. πŸ™‚

    • Diane April 19, 2014 at 9:06 pm #

      Thanks for sharing this song, Rick. I never looked at it that way.

  7. Mike Goad April 16, 2014 at 10:31 am #

    Nice chatty review.

    Your reviews of various places inspired me to change how I was approaching one of my pages. Initially, it was going to be just on the places we’ve been and the places we’d like to go. Now, though, it’s on Places from our travels and the travels of other bloggers. I’ve include several links to places you’ve reviewed and will be adding more.

    I read with interest your post about the controlled burns. I was a volunteer in a rural fire department for several years and fought some good sized woodlands fires — nothing huge in acres, but I’ve had to back out when wind pushed rolling flames as big as a house across a dry pasture and, on the same fire, hiked down one ridge and up another, walking the fire-line looking for hot spots. I’ve long had an appreciation of how the management of public and private lands over years and decades have resulted in fuel loading that is dangerous.

    I’ve just about caught up now and look forward to seeing future IO posts in my feed reader.
    Mike Goad recently posted..Reminder of the BadlandsMy Profile

    • Becky April 17, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

      I must say, congratulations on catching up Mike, it’s quite a feat to read IO from the beginning these days, haha. Also thank you for linking back to my posts, I appreciate it.

      Glad you enjoyed that one about the controlled burn, it was quite an experience to witness and I have so much more respect and appreciation to the work that goes into those kind of fires now.

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