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Island Hopping Adventure On Three Barrier Islands

Saint Simons Island, Georgia

October 29 - November 3, 2006

As with all Elderhostel Programs the first event of the week is on

Sunday evening.  This program began with an orientation meeting and then dinner. 

After dinner, we had time to settle into our hotel rooms at the Best Western Island Inn.

Our Monday morning sessions focused on the history of Jekyll Island

and the Barrier Island Dynamics.  The presenters were local lectures

who were well versed on their respective topics.  After lunch,

we boarded a bus for our first barrier island stop.

The entrance way to Jekyll Island State Park.  This island is the smallest

of Georgia's barrier islands with only 5,700 acres.  The island has a

diverse and significant history.  The earliest history of the island

points to both French and Spanish exploration.  In 1733 James Oglethorpe

settled at Savannah and two years later William Horton to Jekyll Island

to establish a colony.  Jekyll Island was named in honor of Sir Joseph Jekyll

a supporter of Oglethorpe's efforts to establish a colony in Georgia.  By 1800 the

island was owned by Christophe Poulain DuBignon.

One of the oldest buildings found on the island.  It was made of a

mixture of sea shells, sand and limestone mixed with water. 

This mixture is called "Tabby".  The state of Georgia is making special efforts

to preserve these buildings as part of the islands history.

The inside walls of this building.

John Eugene DuBignon and his brother-in-law Newton Finney developed the Jekyll Island Club.

The early club was formed with the idea of forming a hunting club for

wealthy northerners.  Among he early members of the club were Marshall Field,

Henry Hyde, J.P. Morgan, Joseph Pulitzer and William K. Vanderbilt.  Pictures above

is the present day Jekyll Island Club hotel.  Ground was broken for the original

clubhouse building in mid-August 1886.  The club officially opened its doors in January 1888.

When we arrived at the club we were taken to the tram center

where we boarded this tram for a tour of the club.

One of the many "live oak" trees on the club grounds.

One of the many cottages that the millionaire members built on the club grounds. 

Members were at the club from January to late March each year.

The William Rockefeller cottage named "Indian Mound".

An electric car used by club members to move around the club grounds.

The present day Jekyll Island Club hotel on the club grounds.

This telephone marker was place on the club grounds to note that the

first transcontinental telephone call made from the club by AT&T President Theodore Vail.

Faith Chapel

The DuBignon family cottage.  The state of Georgia purchased the club in

1947 for $675,000.00. This purchase occurred after the club's

membership and participation had declined greatly.  The club officially became the

Jekyll Island State Park in 1948.  Since 1950 Jekyll Island has operated

under the auspices of the Jekyll Island Authority.

Monday after dinner we had a presentation about the "Turtles of the Sea".

Tuesday morning found our group having a presentation about the history

of Saint Simons Island.  This was presented by a local historian.  At  10:00 am,

we left the hotel by bus for ours of the North and South ends of the island. 

First stop was at the Saint Simons Island light house. 

Several group members climbed to the top of the light house.

The visitor center and grounds at Fort Frederica was our

second stop of the morning.

One of the excellent historical displays in the visitor center. 

The fort flourished between 1736 and 1748 when the fort and its regimental

garrison were the hub of British military operations along the Georgia frontier.

Ruins of the powder magazine left from the original fort. 

The area in the foreground of this photo is the base of the South Storehouse.

The site of the King's Magazine.

Where did the enemy go?

Christ Episcopal Church.  Four U.S. Presidents have

worshiped in this church over the years. 

 

Tuesday evening he had an interesting presentation about

Coastal Ecology with lots of hands on examples.

Wednesday morning found our group heading for nearby to a

salt marsh for a field study of the marsh ecology.

Our second stop of the morning was at one of the island's beaches for a

study of beach and shore ecology.  Above is a photo of some of the grasses

being use to help build sand dunes and to prevent beach erosion.

Our Elderhostel group embarking on beach study.

Saint Simons Island beaches were very beautiful.

 

We had Wednesday afternoon free to explore on our own. 

I went back over to Jekyll Island for further exploration.

Wednesday evening found the group listening to a lecture about

Sapelo Island which is our field study activity for Thursday.

Arriving at the visitors center before boarding the ferry boat to the island.

The boat that brought us to the Marsh Landing dock on the island. 

We sailed across the Intracoastal Waterway located in Doboy Sound to reach our dock site. 

The ferry service is provided by the State Department of Natural Resources.

Our first stop of the morning was at the UGA Marine Institute on the

southern end of the island.  We are examining an old "Tabby" wall leftover from

earlier buildings.  We went into the classroom at the Institute to view

two videos about the island and the light house.

The First African Missionary Baptist Church located at Hog Hammock. 

The hammock is the last privately owned area on the island

and about fifty residents live in the area.

Tabby Cottage store located in Hog Hammock. 

The front wall of the cottage was made of Tabby material.

The front walk and pool (now dry) in front of the Reynolds Mansion. 

The mansion is now open under the State of Georgia Department of Natural Resources. 

The last owner of the mansion and large accompanying estate was

R. J. Reynolds of the Reynolds tobacco fortune.

One of the main rooms located on the first floor of the mansion.

Trying to help a lady out of the dry pool.

The Sapelo Island's 1820 Lighthouse.  Lighthouse history on Sapelo Island

goes back over 175 years when this brick Tower was first built

by the Federal government to serve as a navigational aid for offshore shipping. 

This lighthouse is 80 feet tall including the cupola.  It was interesting to note

that the lighthouse survived the hurricane and tidal wave of October 1898

when water in the wave reached the window seen in this photo.

This is a channel navigation marker located near the lighthouse. 

It aided ships who were using the lighthouse to guide their

entrance into Doboy  Sound. 

This stop brought our field trip to the island to a close. 

It was back to the ferry boat and then a short bus ride back to our hotel. 

Thursday evening was the occasion of our last diner together and was a

boiled shore dinner complete with lots of boiled shrimp and key lime pie. 

The evening ended with a neat musical program by Chip Ward of Jekyll Island. 

We had a chance to sing along to tunes of an earlier era.

Thus ended my fourth Elderhostel of 2006. 

They were all great learning and travel experiences. 

I hope that I can continue to enjoy Elderhostel programs next and for many more.