The Trail to Thanksgiving – St. Simons Island, Georgia

Greetings,

Our trail to Thanksgiving ended as we turned off busy I-95 and wove our way through  streets and marshlands then over the causeway to reach St. Simons Island located on the Georgia coast, just north of the Florida line. It’s the largest island in what the local tourist board calls the “Golden Isles.” St. Simons (also called locally The Island) is a seaside resort and residential town that draws visitors and residents for it’s warm climate, beaches, fishing, outdoor activities, the natural environment, mostly small locally owned shops and restaurants and historical sites. It is said that over 1/4 of all the housing is rental property for visitors. Here’s a couple of photos to peak your interest. St Simons Island-5460St Simons Island-5459

We noticed that everything seemed to run a slower pace, what might be called “island time.”  There isn’t nearly as much traffic and what there is moves at a “normal” speed. It’s hard to speed because of the winding, narrow roads. As we pulled up to our “home” , this is what we saw:IMG_3071

This six bedroom, four bath house with a large dining room to accommodate all the Thanksgiving guests was our home for the week. As we entered the house, we immediately felt comfortable and at home. I especially liked the backyard patio that included a tree house! While I don’t think anyone used it during our stay, it was available if one needed to get away from anyone or everyone!IMG_2929

The house was located about a block from the beautiful St. Simons beaches. Here are few photos from the nearby beach area. Please note, some of these were taken on the one day it rained while were on the island.St Simons Island-5454IMG_3037IMG_3039IMG_3034

One morning a few of us got up early and headed downtown to watch the sunrise. I kept busy taking photos and here’s what I captured that morning.St Simons Island-5375St Simons Island-5369IMG_2972IMG_2979IMG_2988

As the sun popped over the horizon, I turned around and this is what I saw, Neptune Park Pier and the St. Simons Light.St Simons Island-2215IMG_2992IMG_2995

Since we did the sunrise, it was only fitting that we watch the sunset one evening. Here’s the results.IMG_3067St Simons Island-5521IMG_E3030

The bridge in the background is the Sidney Lanier Bridge, the tallest cable suspension bridge in Georgia. It’s an iconic landmark in the area and can be seen from quite a distance.St Simons Island-5550St Simons Island-5533St Simons Island-5551St Simons Island-5553

One day when we had a little free time from visiting nearby national monuments and historic sites, we walk around Pier Village, the downtown of St. Simon Island. And this is a little of what we saw. I talked with Alyson, the artist as she painted and showed her wares. In exchange for a photo, I promised to advertise her art, check out her Facebook page at Alyson’s Art.

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Alyson Tucker, Impressionistic Realism Painter

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As we were walking past this shop, they were doing a change over in their display. These mannequins were waiting for some new threads. When we came back about 1/2 hour later, they were all in their places, with clothes on!IMG_3019

On the rainy Thanksgiving Day, I managed to escape for a couple of hours and drive around St. Simon Island checking out what they have to offer. Near our rental house, there was an old Coast Guard Station that is being converted into a museum in 2018. St Simons Island-5457

Here’s a close up of the plaque that tells the story of an attack by a German u-boat on two US ships off the shore of St. Simons. Twenty two perished in this attack. I didn’t know some of WWII was fought this close to the mainland US. St Simons Island-5458

Even though it was late November, the roses and pansies were blooming. In fact, we saw some people planting flowers during our stay.St Simons Island-5450

I was taking a photo of some birds when one of the fishermen asked me if I was taking pictures of the dolphin. I’m going “what dolphin?” Then I saw it break the surface as it was feeding near the Neptune Park Pier. I abandoned the birds, it wasn’t that good a photo anyway, and went dolphin hunting!St Simons Island-2254St Simons Island-5464St Simons Island-5461St Simons Island-5459

The Spanish and British spared over St. Simons during the 1700’s. At the time, this marshy, swampy area was seen as one of the areas critical to control the coast of Georgia.  Watch for a future post on the Fort Frederica National Monument to learn more about their skirmishes. IMG_3029

Tribes of the Creek National were the original inhabitants of this area. After the British secured the area, cotton and rice plantations were developed using slave labor. After the Civil War, many of the former slaves stayed on in the area because they were part of the Gullah culture. The Gullah created a distinctive creole language and a culture rich in African traditions. The Gullah people and their language are also called the Geechee, likely a derivative of the nearby Ogeechee River. It’s a very rich and interesting culture and definitely something I’d like to learn more about.

Another interesting historical fact connected to St. Simons Island is that John Wesley and his brother, Charles, served as Anglican missionaries in the 1730’s. John Wesley, later went back to England and founded the Methodist Church. Now you know!

Well, that’s it for this week. Next up is a visit to the Castillo de San Marcos.

Until next week, travel safe.

Tom

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