Thursday, October 10, 2019

Jekyll Jewel

One of my favorite getaways is right here in Georgia – Jekyll Island in October is magnificent. I’m lucky enough to be the beneficiary of Taylor’s annual trip to the Georgia coast for a seminar where he picks up his required professional continuing education credits.  For years, this took place at a conference center on St. Simons Island. That was pretty great except that the facility was on the marsh, not the beach – and if we wanted a balcony, it almost always overlooked the golf course.  I know… crocodile tears for such first world problems.

Horton House
But it got even greater last year when the facility at St. Simons was closed for repairs and the conference was moved to Jekyll.  A dream come true!  Jekyll is gorgeous, a state park actually, and not overly developed.  Even when we were at St. Simons, we almost always took an afternoon to go to Jekyll where we love to do the 22-mile bike ride around the island.  The ride takes you from expansive ocean views and residential neighborhoods, through a historic area featuring the nearly 300- year old remains of the Horton House.  Farther, you pass the tiny prop planes at the Jekyll airport (more like a takeoff and landing strip) and eventually reach the majestic century-plus old Jekyll Island Club and the remaining restored grand “cottages” of the rich and famous from that age.  You can ride down to the fishing pier past the marshy hangouts of white egrets and blue herons, then back to the main road through more island neighborhoods and into the island’s small commercial district of shops, restaurants and a few hotels.  It makes for a wonderful afternoon ride that we never tire of.

But above all, I look forward to being near the ocean on Jekyll’s beautiful beaches. And what a fantastic bonus that our hotel is just a short board walk down to the beach.  While I love the mountains, for me there is nothing as completely calming as the ocean, and Jekyll is absolutely perfect for this experience.

When I am here, I start every morning with a walk on the beach.  The warm ocean breeze and smell of the salt water instantly dissolve any stress.  Fall is a perfect time to come because not only is the weather still quite warm, but the beaches are quiet – no crowds, no rows of beach chairs, towels or umbrellas. The beach is pure.  Super peaceful.

The continuous sound of the crashing waves and the singularity of the expansive ocean create a meditative experience that allows me to think and focus – or not think at all.  Walking along the water’s edge, I forget about worries or come up with clear solutions to stuff in my head. Jekyll beaches have lots of surprises including tons of sand dollars in perfect condition that wash up every day, so of course, no trip to Jekyll is complete without picking up a few.  I’ve never actually seen any sea turtles on the beaches, but I’ve seen their telltale tracks on the dunes. 

The mystery of the ocean also draws me.  That beneath the surface the ocean holds an entire universe of unseen creatures and ancient shipwrecks is fascinating! As a child growing up in Florida, I had a huge seashell collection and loved learning all about them from my books.  Thinking about ocean ecology makes me want to find a biography of Jacques Cousteau. Coincidentally, or maybe not, I’ve picked the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum in Savannah as our excursion on the way back home today. 

We leave in just a while, but a few days here @Jekyll_Island have been lovely and ever so restorative.

Peach Passion blog is written by Fran Putney -- writer, editor, storyteller and Principal at Intown Communications.

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