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Georgia and Florida…

I thought it might be the afternoon before the dogs got a good, long walk, so we made a short stop at a roadside park called the Marshes of Glynn Overlook Park where the dogs got to stretch their legs and I got to enjoy the view of expansive salt marshes.  Salt marshes surround the area, and we passed over several as we crossed the bridge to St. Simons Island, part of the Golden Isles.

On St. Simons we visited the remains for Fort Frederica and its surrounding town.  Englishman James Edward Oglethorpe helped establish Georgia, the last colony of the original 13.  Georgia served a buffer between Spanish occupied Florida and the English land to the north. Approximately 114 English immigrants settled Fort Frederica under Oglethorpe’s guidance.  The town thrived as long as there was a Spanish threat as English soldiers were stationed at the fort and helped support the economy.  Oglethorpe, his troops, and his Indian allies successfully defended the fort and Georgia from Spain for the last time in the 1740s.  Thereafter, the troops disbanded and the town slowly faded into demise.  Only foundations of a variety of buildings remain of this abandoned town.

After visiting the fort, we stopped at a nearby St. Simons Lighthouse.  The original lighthouse, built between 1804 and 1810, stood 75 feet high.  During the Civil War, when Georgia was invaded by Federal troops, the Confederates destroyed the lighthouse before evacuating so that the Federal forces could not use the lighthouse as a navigational aid.  Ten years later, in 1872, a second lighthouse was constructed just to the west.  This lighthouse was designed by Charles Cluskey, one of Georgia’s most noted architects.  Additional renovations were made over the next 75 years.  In 1950, the lighthouse became fully automated.

I failed in snapping any photos on Sea Island, Georgia, mainly because I wasn’t allowed past the guard house situated just near the bridge that spans the marshes separating the island and the mainland.  The Reader’s Digest Book suggested visiting The Cloister, a hotel visited by movie stars and presidents on the island, but the guard, who came running out to the stop sign when VANilla approached, stated the island was exclusive.  I told her I thought there was a hotel called The Cloister, and she replied, “Yes, are you checking in?”  Of course my answer was “no”.  “Well then”, she said, “You can make a U-turn right here, the island is exclusive.”  Got it!  Unwelcome there, I continued on to Jekyll Island and Jekyll Island Clubhouse.

In 1886, names such as Rockefeller, Pulitzer, Vanderbilt and Goodyear purchased Jekyll Island and built the Clubhouse.  Today it operates as a hotel and guests can play croquet on the front lawn.  I took a quick peek inside, but a raw bar on the water was beckoning me for oysters and a beer.  I took a seat on the wooden deck, ordered a Corona Light, and ½ dozen oysters on the half shell.  Basking in the sun and a cool breeze, I felt like I was part of a Corona commercial except I wasn’t on a beach.  A few minutes later, the wait staff informed me they were out of oysters, one of only three items on the menu!  Hmmm…I didn’t really want either of the other options, so I just left and made my way to St. Mary’s where a ferry runs to Cumberland Island.

The only transportation on Cumberland Island is via visitors’ own two feet except for hotel guests who may use bicycles.  I wasn’t certain if the ferry would allow dogs, but thought I would give it a shot as I was interested in seeing the Dungeness Ruins of the 1880 Carnegie mansion and to enjoy countless trails around the island.  I never got the chance to see if the ferry allowed dogs as it doesn’t run on Tuesdays or Wednesdays during the winter season.

The dogs had been patiently waiting for a long walk, so I headed a few miles south into Fernandina Beach and took them for a walk along the beach.  I saw a lady looking rather intently in the sand as waves ebbed and flowed on the sandy shore.  I found out Connie was looking for sharks’ teeth.  She had found two black ones which she told me were over 10,000 years old.  She said the white ones found in gift shops come from deserts.  All I found were jellyfish!  Before we parted ways, she gave me the teeth and suggested I go to St. Augustine, Florida.  After some “Krabby Bites” from a beachside restaurant, the dogs and I traveled south to the St. Augustine Walmart for the night. ETB

websites:  www.jekyllisland.com

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