Exploring St. Simons Island
When we awoke on Saturday morning, it was fairly foggy with the temperature around 48 degrees. Not a bad temperature but in listening to the Today show on the TV, NYC was also at 48 degrees. I think it was warmer at home than it was here – what’s with that???
We finally left the motor home around 9:00 a.m. and headed towards the Brunswick historic district where we had breakfast at Jim’s Corner Cafe. Brunswick was founded by General James Oglethorpe in 1771 and was originally named for Braunschweig, Germany the ancestral home of King George III. Very cute town and very cute restaurant – excellent food and very friendly service! The town apparently has undergone some major renovation because of the efforts of the downtown development authority – lots of shops, restaurants, galleries, etc.
After breakfast, we explored more of Brunswick, driving the tour route recommended in the Visitor’s Guide. Some of the highlights included:
Old City Hall – built in 1888 with its very unique architecture and distinctive clock tower.
Lover’s Oak – According to local legend, Native American braves and their maidens met under the majestic, spreading limbs of this enormous live oak. It must have been (and probably still is) a great tree for climbing.
Once we finished exploring Brunswick, we drove to another historic location – WalMart, because Rob needed a new pair of sunglasses. It seems whenever we are away, we visit a WalMart in practically every town. What was life like before WalMart? Sorry, no pictures! :>)
Near the Mary Ross Waterfront Park, there was a historic marker honoring the Jones Construction Company and all the people who worked there for producing the “Liberty Ships” which served as troop and cargo ships during WWII. Each month they produced at least four 447 foot, 3500 ton steel ships.
It was interesting as we crossed the causeway heading for St. Simons Island. The jersey barriers in the middle of the causeway had large rectangular cutouts in them so we were wondering what they were for. Then we saw a sign – “Terrapin Crossing” so I guess it is to allow the turtles to get from one side of the marsh to the other.
What a lovely place St. Simons Island is! Surprisingly it was busy but seemed much quieter than Jekyll Island (even on a gorgeous Saturday!). Adding to the aura of the island were all the live oak trees with Spanish Moss which really isn’t moss nor is it Spanish. It is an epiphyte – a plant growing on another plant. As to why it is called Spanish Moss – that is unknown, the speculation is that it is called that because it is found in so many regions of the New World first explored by the Spanish. Whatever the name or the reason for the name, it is really neat!
Our first stop was St. Simons village with its quaint shops and restaurants and the nearby 104 foot, 129 interior step, St. Simons Island Lighthouse. It is right next to the town park, town fishing pier and beach where you can watch the local shrimp boats. We talked to a man who had this strange looking net which he was casting off the pier – he told us that he uses it to catch shrimp. In the fall which is the season for shrimp, he would catch 50 shrimp each time he threw the net into the water. Not so while we were there!
After walking along the beach, the pier and by some of the shops, we left the area and headed for Fort Frederica National Monument.
The town of Frederica was founded by General Oglethorpe in 1736 and became a thriving village. To protect the citizens, Oglethorpe ordered a fort built which was completed in the 1740’s. When the Spanish troops sought to capture St.Simons Island in 1742, Oglethorpe’s men won a decisive victory in what is now called the Battle of Bloody Marsh. When the fort’s regiment disbanded in 1749, the town went on the decline. At the National Park, you can visit the site of Fort Frederica and see the ruins of the fortifications, barracks and homes. Besides the live oaks, the grounds were populated with Seville orange trees which are so sour that even the animals won’t eat them. With the very comfortable temps, it was a great day to visit the Fort and walk around the grounds. (See more photos of the park below.)
By the time we finished exploring the fort, we were pretty tired so we decided to head back to our mobile hacienda to watch the Wild Card football games.
Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for our readers) Alvin was inadvertently left on the motor home today so he never got to see the sights of the island. Several people have asked “so what’s with Alvin anyway?”. Well, Alvin was a joke gift from Rob’s parents at Christmas. We decided that Alvin should be our mascot so even though his parents are back in New England, Alvin will keep them with us during our journey.
We decided that we needed to stay here one more day since we really didn’t get a chance to finish exploring Jekyll Island. Plus there are a number of bike paths around the islands so we’d like to do some bicycling (that should be interesting since we haven’t been on our bikes for a few years – get ready to hear our moans and groans). So we’ll spend Sunday on Jekyll and depart on Monday. We also decided that we wanted to go to the Kennedy Space Center since the last time we were there was back in 1993 and we’ve heard a lot has changed. So on Monday, we’ll head to an RV Resort in Titusville. We’ll stay there for 3 nights checking out on Thursday, the 12th at which time we’ll head down to Port St. Lucie where we will stay for a week.
Hooray for ALVIN !!!!
On Sat. our temp was 62 !! People were out in droves dressed in shorts, tee shirts and other similar dress. It was a beautiful day –especially for Jan.!
Your commentary is excellent–keep up the good work.
Too bad ALVIN got left at home!
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