Islands — St Simons and Jekyll

20kts gusting 25+ temps in 70s.

Another front approaches so we decided to land tour. We rented a car and drove to St Simons Island for breakfast at Dressner’s, some minor retail therapy, and some land touring. We made our way up to Fort Frederica and watched the film there and then toured the site. Both of us remarked on how our public school educations omitted the events that occurred here. In fact, a visit to Savannah would have one believe the entirety of Governor Oglethorpe’s tenure was focused in Savannah.

Simply put, the fairly trivial battle occurring here put an end to Spanish hopes for a colonial presence in the SE. Certainly it took many years for them to cede Florida and depart, but the Spanish situation was retrograde from “The Battle of Bloody Marsh” on.

The tiny scale of the fort and the associated community leaves one a bit in awe of the people who left home for a life among the swamps, diseases, insects, and extreme weather. As faded as this site is (compared to “interpretive” sites like Williamsburg) somehow it speaks more eloquently for the settlers’ courage.

Williamsburg tries to connect us with colonists by showing how many features of their lives were similar to ours. Frederica on the other hand shows how very courageous (or ignorant) they were in Georgia at least. These people may as well have colonized the moon.

From there, we headed for Jekyll Island which is almost entirely a park except for the old Jekyll Island Club (est 1886 — now a Radisson franchise). A cottage here has similar dimensions to a cottage in Newport, Rhode Island (and it was the same or similar social set involved). The central building looks like the Smithsonian Castle in a summer weight suit. (the photo)

After a light provisioning stop, we returned to the marina and found the south wind had turned our convenient slip into a trampoline pitching the boat about pretty vigorously — but not as badly as Cooper River. Below it wasn’t all that bad, and we caught up on the weather and news before heading for the “4th of May Cafe” for their first night serving dinner. The food was excellent. The ambiance was revived 19th century hotel, and the food was Grandma’s crossed with boarding house. And we struck up quite a conversation with the owner. All together a very nice evening.

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