Sunday, July 22, 2018

Jekyll Island Joy!

This month we enjoyed a family vacation on the Georgia gem Jekyll Island. We stayed four nights at the Westin resort and could not be happier with the experience.  The hotel is beachfront, our rooms had ocean views and the weather was very good for relaxing and catching rays on the beach.

To follow are a bunch of my favorite photos. For a smallish 10 miles long island there was much to see and do.  Jekyll has nothing to hide (ha- get it?) with many public beaches plus some very interesting history and historic sites I was unaware of before this visit.

This picture was taken from a second floor patio at the Westin. The image is idyllic in the sense of summertime at the beach, I feel.

We brought our own beach chairs- glad we did. These are heavy to carry but very comfortable.
View from our second floor "ocean view" room

Our boys joined us Friday. They shared a third floor "ocean front" room from which I took this photo of a man casting his fish or shrimp net into the surf.

Justin enjoyed sleeping in and relaxing in his room. He's soon headed to his new job in Chicago!

Joseph, Alesia and Justin in the resort courtyard after dinner one night

This is only shot showing the four of us. This is at the Sunrise Grill where we had lunch one day.

A trio of shrimp boats plies the Atlantic. I took this from the ocean front room Alesia and I moved into for our last day.
That's Cumberland Island in the background. It's a barrier island and national seashore maintained by the National Park Service. A ferry service takes visitors to and from.  Thomas Carnegie, the brother of steel magnate Andrew, built homes here that can be seen, the ruins of them anyway.

This Snowy Egret came to the beach for some tasty treats. I've not seen Egrets and Herons on the beach like this, that I can recall.  But this pretty bird seemed to know the time and tide were right for fish feeding.
Yeah I saw you eat that small fish! What about it?
On Jekyll's northern tip is Driftwood Beach, which is similar to the boneyard beaches in South Carolina's Lowcountry
Unusual shapes, sizes and contours from the many fallen ocean front trees here
In places, this beach was thick with fallen trees
We arrived at Driftwood Beach just before sunset on our last night, after dinner. Glad we got to see this unusual place.
The day before we hit St. Andrews Beach Park on the southern end of the island. There were many people fishing here.
This beach was also busy. I was impressed with all of the public access and how friendly people were.  The state of Georgia purchased the island in 1947. It became a state park the next year. Visitors today pay a $6 fee to get on the island.
I learned some history  at St. Andrews Beach- the story of a ship that brought slaves  to Jekyll Island
The vessel was named The Wanderer. It was used to illegally bring nearly 500 slaves here in 1858. More details about that history here. 
The state acquired the island from the Jekyll Island Club in '47 for $675,000. The club began in the 1880s and would become an exclusive "Millionaire's Club" with a who's who of Gilded Era members with names such as Rockefeller, Astor, Pulitzer and Morgan.

We saw a croquet game going on in front of the Jekyll Island Club resort.
Inside the resort it was very fancy and formal

Wild boar used to roam the island, horses too. Many horses were transferred to Cumberland Island where they continue to run wild, from what I've heard.
Many cottages surround the hotel. These were built by the wealthy folks who were members back when the club was in its heyday in the late 19th century to early 20th.
The restoration here in Jekyll's Historic District is amazing. Tours are available, something I do hope to do next time here.
We went to this island to vacation but also to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We enjoyed a fine dinner that evening at The Wharf, which is located on a dock by the Jekyll Island Club shown in the previous set of pictures.
The wharf itself is very historic. Gilden Age titans such as J.P. Morgan brought their magnificent yachts to their Millionaires Club, via the Jekyll River and this wharf.
Inside look at The Wharf restaurant- we had an early reservation, hence so many empty tables at the very popular eatery
I created this cool scene by the restaurant using the Snapseed photo editing app on my iPhone
A Tricolored Heron snatches a meal in the waters near the restaurant
Some water tours originate here- maybe next visit!
Alesia looking at home in front of the Jekyll Island Club hotel
Jekyll Island has a very large and well-built fishing pier. That's the bridge to St. Simons Island in the background.
The fishing pier offers excellent views. Here is the Driftwood Beach shown previously and in the background is the lighthouse on St. Simons Island.
People also fish from this small bridge near the big fishing pier
A sailboat and the bridge connecting Jekyll and St. Simons islands
Back at the beach near the Westin resort
We stayed on at Jekyll an extra day and were able to move to an ocean front room. Not a bad view, right?!
It was nice being at this beach when it wasn't so crowded
Jekyll offers plenty of beach access and space to enjoy nature and some peace and quiet
I observed some bird behavior I had never seen before. This Laughing Gull seems to be taking a knee.  The other bird may be curious too.
Maybe the gull is just taking a rest amid the heat- no laughing matter!
Also a Laughing Gull, I think
I used my camera's burst feature to capture some flight action
A larger shorebird in flight, a Royal Tern
Checking out a long sandbar north of the Westin beach. At low tide it extends hundreds of yards. The water gets nasty during this time, very slimy. I sank in it, almost to my knees.  We quickly learned to check the tide charts. High tide or thereabouts, the water is fine and the floor of the ocean smooth. Not a lot of shells here, but we did find a few sand dollars and some neat round shells.
I found Jekyll Island rich in beauty and photographic opportunities.
I even woke up extra earlier the last day to photograph a beautiful sunrise
Some other early birds took to the beach to see this morning glory. I just had to grab my camera and open the sliding glass door of our second-floor room.
The sun finally emerged from behind a barrier of thick, dark clouds- worth the wait indeed!
So glad we were able to stay the extra day and get that sweet ocean front room
I am so blessed to have such a wonderful family! 

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