The Jekyll Island Turtle Gram Blog

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Nov 30, 2017

Upcoming Events, Festivals, Celebrations on Jekyll Island

Upcoming events and celebrations for family fun on Jekyll Island

Continue reading "Upcoming Events, Festivals, Celebrations on Jekyll Island"

Nov 30, 2017

Clam Creek ExPIERence

Avast ye, Jekyll Island Pirates!

Clam Creek Picnic Area is an excellent spot to stop, have a snack (or spread a lunch) and take in the sights.

Drive (or bike) down Clam Creek Road (across from the campground). The road winds through live oak and palmetto, with glimpses of salt marsh on either side. Clam Creek is on your right, a perfect waterway to wet a hook or drop a crab ring.

Within the picnic area itself, you'll find plenty of shaded tables with grills to whip up your favorite culinary delights, all within a beautiful setting. Enjoy views of wide Fancy Bluff Creek to the west, and St. Simons Sound to the north. To the east, you'll find a paved, combination bike and foot trail leading to a wooden bridge crossing Clam Creek. Beyond the bridge, the trail continues on, branching to the right to run through the marsh.

You can also access Driftwood Beach from this trail (just watch out for stalking sharks - but that's another story!).

The Jekyll Island Fishing Pier extends off the point, a great place for catching fish or watching people.

Capt. Larry Crews' Fishing Center is located at the end of the parking lot. Stock up on fishing gear, bait, snacks - and maybe grab some of Capt. Crews' nautical art.

So there you have it. On your next trip to paradise, take a side road and experience Clam Creek - a perfect venue for picnics, and so much more.

Till we throw out a line together on the Jekyll Fishing Pier...breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - See you on the beach, James.

Nov 26, 2017

Pizza and Bing

Hey there, Jekyll Islanders!

Well, the Christmas season has officially arrived. Jekyll Island ushered it in with the Lighting of the Great Tree accompanied by a one-time Shrimpmas event. But the yuletide season was making definite inroads on Thanksgiving even before Jekyll's tree lighting event.

Case in point: Tuesday, November 14th. Martha and I were on the island, enjoying some downtime, and decided we wanted a pizza. So we put in our order from Redbug Pizza, and off I went to pick it up.

Got there after dark. The weather was a little cool, but warm enough for shorts and a T-shirt.

So here I go, bopping up to the take out window. Had to walk through the mini-golf venue, with the kid's playgrounds on either side.

And that's when I heard him.

Bing Crosby, crooning a Christmas song from Redbug's outdoor speakers.

It was a surreal experience. A fairly warm night on a sub-tropical island, me in shorts and sandals, listening to Christmas music as I waited for my pizza.

I think Bing was singing "Here Comes Santa Claus".

Christmas music before Thanksgiving is a little early for me. Let's give the turkey his time in the spotlight!

Now excuse me while I don my Margaritaville T-shirt, shorts and sandals, pop open a Land Shark, put on Jimmy Buffett's "Christmas Island" album, and just lay back and usher in the season in style. :)

Till I see you on the sands of Jekyll Island, breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - Meet you on the beach, James!

Nov 24, 2017

Ice Skating on Jekyll Island

Jekyll Island Pirates (or Parents), Lend Me Your Ears!!

Not literally, of course. But listen - while on the island for Merry Shrimpmas, drop by Jekyll Island's newest winter attraction - the Ice Skating Village. If, like me, you're balance challenged when on skates, then fit out the little ones and turn them loose for a slide-around treat!

It's not real ice, of course, but some special conglomeration of mystical wizardry that lets kids do something they otherwise wouldn't be able to do outdoors - "ice" skate on a subtropical island.

Sort of like Flubber, but with skates.

The J.I. Ice Skating Village is located off Beachview Drive just before you get to the Holiday Inn hotel.

I dare you parents to go out there with your kids. Double dog dare! Till then - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - meet you on the beach, James - but not on the ice skating rink!

Nov 22, 2017

The Wharf Restaurant on Jekyll Island

Enjoy fantastic seafood and foot stomping music on the water at the Wharf Restaurant

Continue reading "The Wharf Restaurant on Jekyll Island"

Nov 22, 2017

Of Shrimp and Hiking

Avast ye, Jekyll Islanders!

From the looks of Jekyll Island, you'd think Christmas was just around the corner. Bright, colorful lights adorn live oaks, palms and historic Cottages, residents are putting up decorations, and Christmas music fills the air.

Which is fitting, as Jekyll Island launches Merry Shrimpmas! Show up, eat shrimp, shop for gifts, have fun with family and friends! That, my pirate pals, is what it's all about this fine and fantastic holiday season!

Just a hint: push away from the Thanksgiving table a little early to save room for all that Shrimp and Grits.

Also, check the weather before you go, last I looked rain was in the forecast. Dress for the weather, and realize that late November on Jekyll can be chilly. Wear a warm sweater, pull on a good raincoat, carry an umbrella. And keep warm and dry. As the Boy Scouts say: "Be Prepared!"

************

While on Jekyll Island for Merry Shrimpmas, why not get in some exercise to work off those back to back feasts? Martha and I walked the Tupelo Loop Trail on our last trip. You can find the trail head at Horton Pond, across from Villas-by-the-Sea.

It's an easy trail, only 0.7 miles, but you might run into some obstructions. Just past the trail head we encountered a big tree that had fallen across the foot path.

Thanks, Hurricane Irma!

Wasn't too bad, though. If you're young and spry, you can work your way through the mass of branches and continue on. But being cursed with bad joints (and lazy, to boot), I convinced Martha to walk the Tupelo loop starting in the opposite direction. When we reached the tree, we reversed course and plodded back to our starting point. Got more exercise that way!

The trail meanders through palmetto groves, with isolated live oak, pine, and namesake tupelo trees along the way. Around mile 0.5 or so, you'll encounter Horton Pond, and may see wading birds, turtle or gators. There's a bench here to rest a mite and appreciate the view.

Let us know what you think! Visit our Facebook page and leave a comment!

Till we meet on the sands of Jekyll Island - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - See you on the beach, James!

Nov 19, 2017

Our Latest Trip - From Sweet to Bittersweet

Ahoy, Jekyll Island Buccaneers!

Martha and I just got back from "our" island (Josh and Scott had work and other obligations and couldn't make it). It was a fun, relaxing trip, but there was one sad note.

First, some of the things we did (and which I'll write about more in the coming month):

  • walked the beach, of course. It was a little chilly, but not bad. We usually access the sand via Glory boardwalk, but it was closed due to damage from Irma, so we stopped off at Great Dunes Park and hit the beach there.
  • ate LOTS of seafood. Tried out the new Wharf restaurant, and a few off-island eateries that were new to us.
  • on the wildlife front, we did some bird watching. If you've never seen a Pink Spoonbill, you've missed a treat. Also had an 8 point buck come strolling by me one morning like he had not a care in the world. Just glanced at me like he was saying, "Hey, bro. How ya doing?" And continued on his way.
  • visited Howfyl-Broadfield Plantation and Fort King George, off-island attractions close to Darian and and easy drive from Jekyll Island.
  • spent lots of time just walking, exploring Jekyll and enjoying the island ambiance and quality time with my lady.
  • dropped by Driftwood Beach, and this is where the bittersweet comes in. Irma was rough on Driftwood, storm surge did a lot of damage and caused a good bit of beach erosion. Stay tuned for an in-depth look at Driftwood Beach after Irma.
More coming soon! Until then - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - See you on the beach, James.

Nov 03, 2017

Cowboys of the Ocean

Ahoy Jekyll Islanders!

The Wild West has its icon - the intrepid Cowboy. But the Georgia Coast has the its own bigger-than-life figure - the Shrimper.

Shrimpers ply the waters off Jekyll Island (and, indeed, the entire Georgia seaboard and beyond), netting their catch of the freshest wild Georgia shrimp possible. These are the tasty crustaceans that wind up on your dinner plate at the Wharf, Zachary's River House, and other great seafood restaurants.

Fresh don't get much fresher than fresh off the boat.

For many Georgia shrimpers, the business runs in the family. The sons and daughters of shrimpers past now work the waters their Dads and Grandpas used to work.

Most folks think of shrimping as a romantic profession. The easily recognizable boats leaving the docks before dawn, heading offshore to the shrimping grounds. Sailing back and forth over the sea, trolling their nets to bring in the harvest. It may seem attractive to the dreamers among us, but in reality it's brutally hard work, but fitting for loners and those who love the sea.

You have to have a bit of Cowboy in your blood to ride herd on a shrimp boat. The weather sometimes refuses to cooperate, and, at times, neither do the shrimp. You have to keep your shrimp boat ship shape and out there, because, economically, harvesting shrimp is not the most lucrative profession. But some shrimpers say if you're doing if for the money, you're doing it for the wrong reason.

Next time you're strolling the beach at St. Andrews and you spot a shrimper heading out to sea, give him a wave, and offer up a prayer for gentle seas, heavy nets, and a safe return. Then head over to your favorite Jekyll Island restaurant and pig out on delectable wild Georgia shrimp. Nothing else compares.

And if you want REALLY fresh shrimp, book a trip on the Lady Jane - but that's another story!

Breathe in, breathe out, move on - and snarf down that shrimp!

Nough said - Rick

PS - see you at Shrimpmas, James!

Oct 29, 2017

Turtle-Gram Tidbits

Avast ye salty Jekyll Island Pirates!

A few notes from the Coconut Telegraph:

  • Money, moolah, scratch. Four million clams worth has come in from the Governor’s Emergency Fund via a few Federal agencies to pay for urgent restoration repairs. Beach erosion is always a problem, but the Terror Twins (Hurricanes Matthew and Irma) wrecked havoc on the beaches, especially the northern ones. This money will go a long way towards correcting the situation. Work is expected to take 18 months.
  • Save a little room in your belly after your Thanksgiving feast for another one - Merry Shrimpmas! As Irma pounded Jekyll Island, one casualty was the annual Shrimp and Grits Festival, Jekyll's top event. The JI powers-that-be jumped right back in the game and declared the first Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving Merry Shrimpmas, to help all the businesses impacted by Irma, and to keep the shrimp and grits tradition alive for island residents and visitors. Merry Shrimpmas will tie in with the traditional Lighting of the Christmas Tree. Come eat Shrimp and Grits, help light the JI tree, and support local island business establishments. There will be other food, too, as well as an artist's market, fireworks and - get this - snow. If you've never been to Shrimp and Grits, stop by for a tantalizing preview. Then make plans to come back in September, 2018, for the real thing! Where: Jekyll Island National Historic Landmark District. When: Friday, Nov. 24, 2-8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 25, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • "The World Largest Cocktail Party" is now history, and victory goes to the Georgia Bulldogs. It's been awhile since the canines beat the lizards, but it's always a fine feeling (can you say 42 to 7, Gator fans?). But I can't gloat too much, though, because what goes around in the SEC seems to come around in future years, and though every dog has its day, so does every Gator, and every Vol, etc. The Gators will be top lizards again one day, I'm sure. Till then, I'll enjoy Georgia's time on top of the heap, knowing that it may well be a fleeting reign. But for now...go Dawgs!
Martha says I need to get in the kitchen and fix supper, so until we meet under the live oaks of Jekyll Island - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

PS - see you on the sand, James! Bring the beer!

Oct 27, 2017

The Comedy and Tragedy of Theater

Ahoy, Jekyll Islanders!

How many out there like to go to the theater? When our boys were young, we made a point to introduce them to the performing arts, including stage productions. And we were lucky to enjoy many fine plays on Jekyll Island, performed by the Valdosta State College thespians in the old Jekyll Island Amphitheater.

The amphitheater is pretty much history, now. When the college stopped doing their plays there, it was left to deteriorate. But "back in the day", during June, July and August, the college performing artists presented 3 alternating plays within that hallowed space.

With our boys, we saw "Guys and Dolls" (one of our favorites); "Mame"; "Into the Woods"; "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum"; "Oliver Twist"; "Dracula", and more, all while storks, egrets and ibis flew over the stage, ready to roost for the evening in trees bordering the pond behind the complex.

Josh and Scott grew up enjoying great plays, and not just on JI. I remember Martha and I taking them to see "Grapes of Wrath" in Gainesville. Scott was about 10, and one of the volunteers frowned and had the nerve to say "I don't think this one is old enough to see a play dealing with this subject matter." I just shook my head and smiled. "Lady, it's a pretty good bet this boy has seen more plays than kids a lot older."

Needless to say, Scott saw the play.

Hope you have a chance to take your tykes to many fantastic live performances. And if they ever decide to bring back the old Amphitheater, we'll be first in line for tickets to the premier showing.

Till then - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - see you on the sand, James!

Aug 14, 2017

Sculptured by the Wind

Avast ye Jekyll Island Pirates!

Jekyll Island is big on conservation, and one of the best reasons to visit the island is to immerse yourself in the outdoors. You got your sun, surf, sea, and sand, sure. But don't forget the maritime forests - and Jekyll Island's live oaks.

The Southern live oak (Quercus virginiana) is Georgia's state tree, and is an amazing arboreal specimen. You can't miss them on Jekyll Island. They're the big, rough-barked trees with the limbs that explode out in all directions, making the tree resemble a giant octopus. Some of the older specimens have limbs that are so long and heavy they touch the ground, where visitors can't resist the urge to sit on them, relax and pose for photos.

Close to the coast, even these big guys are subject to the affects of prevailing winds off the ocean. You'll find them bending to landward, their canopies stretching towards the island interior, limbs and trunk twisted and curled like the body of an old man weighed down by years. They've been sculpted by the wind.

You'll see other trees, pines and palms in particular, that bend to the will of the sea wind. Environment affects behavior, and after awhile the trees will grow as the wind dictates.

Next time you visit Jekyll (and I hope it's for the upcoming Shrimp & Grits Festival), take time to savor the sight of those ancient live oaks, forever bending to the wind. And take a gander at the Plantation Oak, the largest live oak on the island. You can find it behind the Jekyll Island Club Hotel.

Till we meet on the sands of Jekyll Island - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. See you on the beach, James. And bring a kite!

Aug 06, 2017

Delectable Fudge

Ahoy, Jekyll Island Adventurers!

When I was a kid, every once in a while I'd come home from school, bop into the house, and stop short to the delectable aroma of decadent chocolate!

Mom was making fudge.

Mmmmmmmm, fudge . A candy fit for a king. Or a kid. Makes my mouth water to think of it.

Mom's recipe was the best, but Jekyll Island shops sport some pretty good candy. I usually pick up a half-pound or so within a few days of arriving at the island.

Fudge needs to be savored slowly (if possible). It's a rich candy, and if you're up for a sugar rush, fudge will provide! But for some reason, no matter how slow I try to eat it, the stuff disappears within a day or so.

I think my family finds my stash.

Whatever - it's a great excuse to go out and buy some more. And while you're at it, lay in a large supply. You'll need to replace all those calories you burn riding bikes, playing golf and tennis, swimming and playing beach games!

You can get your fudge fix at the Jekyll Market or the Club Cafe. Or (my preference) from the Island Sweets Shoppe.

Just hope they're not sold out. Cause then, the only thing you could say would be, "Fudge!"

Until you get YOUR share of that rich chocolaty treat - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - meet you on the beach, James!

Jul 25, 2017

A Face Only a Mother Could Love

Avast, Jekyll Island Adventurers!

You've heard of the "snow birds", known for fleeing freezing northern climes for the sultry warmth of Florida? I'd like to introduce you to a bird who did the opposite, and left Florida for the Golden Isle coasts of Georgia.

Say hello to the Wood Stork.

The Wood Stork is striking in appearance. Large and leggy, its mostly white but with black wing tips and tail. Maybe not the loveliest of birds, however, cause its head and neck are featherless, sporting only grey, wrinkled skin - a face only a mother could love!

But the Wood Stork is the "comeback kid" of the avian world. Years of land development and "reclaiming" marsh, swamp and wetlands decimated Florida's Wood Stork population, and for a long time it claimed a prime spot on the endangered species list. But a funny thing happened. The Wood Stork packed its bags and moved north, where it began a long road to species recovery in Georgia and South Carolina.

Since then, Wood Stork populations have steadily increased, enough to move it from the endangered list. Now it's designated as a threatened species.

The bird's habitat is coastal wetlands and estuaries. On Jekyll Island, you can see them from the Marsh Trail, resting (roosting?) in trees within the marsh, where they can be close to water and their fishy prey.

You might also see these majestic birds walking on the beach on St. Andrew's Point, roosting in the rookery behind the old Amphitheater, or on the golf courses, wading in the shallows of the pond hazards (and dodging my errant drives).

While not the loveliest of birds, the Wood Stork is still quite photogenic. They're not especially camera shy, either. Move slow and easy and you can creep fairly close without raising an alarm. And score a fantastic photo.

Kids will love this bird. After all, one of these storks may have delivered them!

So remember. As you look for these birds, be sure to bring the youngsters, your camera, and...breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - see you on the Marsh Trail, James!

Jul 19, 2017

Ospreys: Fishing on the Wing

Ahoy, Jekyll Island buccaneers!

If you've ever witnessed an osprey catch a fish, you've been blessed. Martha and I experienced this very thing while on one of the fishing docks at Rixen Pond. Saw a flash of white from the corner of my eye, looked over just in time to see this beautiful raptor hit the water with talons outstretched. Then, wings beating the air, ascend with its prize, a huge mullet.

Ospreys are cool birds. Smaller than an eagle, these are fisher-birds, subsisting on a "seafood" diet.

You can find ospreys along almost any body of water, from lakes to rivers to ponds, estuaries, even coral reefs.

They've adapted to humans pretty well. We have mating pairs here in Hall County. One pair I know of nests each season on trusses over a bridge. Contractors working on this bridge weren't allowed to start construction until the ospreys had vacated the nest. Now they're widening the road and installing another bridge, and the ospreys returned, and are still nesting on the first bridge, right beside all that ongoing, noisy construction.

Ospreys are mostly brown on top, with white undersides. They form a distinctive "M" shape in flight.

On Jekyll Island, you may spot them nesting in trees at the edge of Rixen Pond, or beside golf course ponds, or wheeling around over bodies of water, seeking their next meal.

So keep a look out for ospreys on your next trip to Jekyll. Who knows? Maybe they'll share their sushi with you!

Till we meet on the sands of Jekyll Island - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - see you on the beach, James!

Jul 11, 2017

Beach Eats - Get In My Belly!

Yarrr, Jekyll Island Pirates!

If you're anything like me, your Jekyll Island family adventures are filled with activities. Swimming, wrestling kids in the surf, biking, tennis, golf, long walks with your significant other...you get the picture. All this calorie burning deserves to be rewarded - with food!

What are some of your favorite Jekyll Island family vacation/beach foods? Here's some of mine:

  • Shrimp. Cooked every way imaginable. With grits or without, this little pink crustacean is a delight to snarf down on. Boiled, steamed, fried, grilled...you name it, shrimp tops the list as my fav beach food. Grab some at almost any Jekyll Island restaurant. I prefer dining at the Rah Bar, where I can catch a beautiful Golden Isles sunset. Can't get much fresher than wild Georgia shrimp fresh off the boat - unless you eat it on the boat.
  • Oysters. Perfect when paired with shrimp at the above mentioned Rah Bar. I eat em steamed on a cracker with cocktail or various sauces.
  • Fresh fish. In every form. I recommend the Mahi sandwich at Zachry's Riverhouse, at the Jekyll Harbor Marina.
  • A big, cold salad. Sometimes there's nothing better on a hot afternoon than chomping down on a fresh salad chock full of crisp, cool lettuce, carrots, cukes, tomatoes, cheese, and creamy dressing. Top with shrimp? Why, yessss! Makes my mouth water just thinking about it. You can get a dang good one at the Club Cafe.
  • Key Lime Pie. Couldn't leave KLP out, now could I? The perfect compliment to a perfect lunch or dinner. Or, heck, do like me, hop in the car, and head out for a decadent slice of the Islands whenever the urge strikes you!
Those are just a few of the foods I like to dive into when on the island. Now all this talk of eating has made me hungry!

Until we sit down together for a shrimp and oyster feast at the Rah Bar...breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - Get the shrimp to boiling, James, I'll meet you on the beach!

Jul 06, 2017

Loosy Goosie Potpourri

Ahoy Jekyll Islanders!

No particular subject today, just following the wake of my thoughts wherever they might sail.

  • Salivating for shrimp and grits? Jekyll Island's premier festival is just around the corner. The crustaceans come to a boil Sept. 15-17, so bring your appetites - along with deeper pockets. Cause it'll cost you a ten spot to get on the island during the 3 days of the festival. Increased fee applies to the Lighting of the Tree during Christmas, also.
  • Here's your chance to help a lady out. Consuela Brown lost a very special necklace in a Driftwood Beach parking lot (the exact lot wasn't specified). The necklace has tremendous sentimental value, as it contains a lock of hair from her 10 year old daughter, who passed away in 2013. If you happen to find it, you can contact Ms. Brown at (912)531-5091, or get in touch through her Facebook page.
  • Pirates are creative sorts, and never is their wacky artistic bent displayed better than on the hulls of their boats. We're talking boat names, matie! Sailors are always noticing boat names. Like "Knotical" or "Moby Deck" or "Dirty Dawg". What are some of your favorites? Sail over to our Facebook page at http://bit.ly/2pzNdtH and add your contribution to boat name lore!
  • Tomorrow I'm baking key lime pies, for my family (throw money, fam!), and our pastor and her husband. Then when Martha gets off work we're heading to the annual Beach Bash here in Gainesville. The city trucks in a few tons of sand, sets up a beach themed ambience, and brings out the bands. This year it's Son's of Sailors, a Buffett tribute band. Wonder how many Buffett themed bands are out there? In just our area there's Sons of Sailors, Land Sharks, and A-1-A.
  • What's your Jekyll Island wildlife close encounter story? We have a few. The most interesting was when we were accosted by a buck in heat on the Glory boardwalk. But that's a story for another Turtle Gram post. :)

Until we meet at Shrimp and Grits - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - See you on the beach, James. Keep the faith.

Jun 28, 2017

Go For a Walk - A Turtle Walk

Shiver me timbers, Jekyll Islanders!

On Jekyll Island, if you like to walk, you can get your groove on. Slip on your walking shoes (hiking boots or ruby slippers not needed!) and take off for a slow paced, by foot power, adventure.

Enjoy these walks and more on your next trip to an island paradise, Jekyll Island!

Until we meet on the trails of Jekyll - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - see you on St. Andrews Point, James.

Jun 21, 2017

Summer High!

Avast, Jekyll Island Pirates!

It be the summer solstice, that magical time when day length equals night length. Tomorrow, we'll be on the downhill slide towards winter, but there are plenty of sunny summer days still to enjoy on Jekyll Island and the Golden Isles of Georgia.

Make the most of it, kiddies, cause summer don't last forever! :(

So ban all thoughts of winter to the back of your mind, jump in the old rag top, turn up Jimmy Buffett, and head to Jekyll for some "sun filled" Adventure!

These are just some of the fun experiences you can enjoy on Georgia's jewel, Jekyll Island!

As for this old pirate, I'll see you in September, at the Shrimp and Grits Festival.

Until then - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - see you on Driftwood Beach, James. Time for a shrimp boil!

Jun 20, 2017

It's Party Time at Summer Waves!

Shiver me timbers, Jekyll Island Buccaneers!

It's PARTY TIME at Summer Waves Water Park! Come help them celebrate their 30th year birthday. Fireworks, movies and more!

Nough said - Rick

Continue reading "It's Party Time at Summer Waves!"

Jun 11, 2017

Beach Reads

Hello Jekyll Islanders!

Show of hands. Who likes to read on vacation? Me, for one. But I rarely read on the beach. Too hot, too much glare.

When I relax with a good book on Jekyll Island these days, it's usually in one of several places:

Truthfully, I can read just about anywhere. I take a book everywhere I go, especially where I know I'll have to wait for something, like a doctor's office, while I'm having my car serviced, or in line at the post office or to vote.

I mostly read fiction, but sometimes a good non-fiction book will catch my eye. My tastes turn to gardening, biographies, and science. And (since I write paranormal thrillers, the weird, and whatever I happen to be researching at the moment.

My fiction reading revolves around thrillers, horror, sci fi, fantasy - you can see how my wind blows! :)

I prefer reading real books, but have a Nook I keep loaded up with ebooks.

A few great books I've read recently:

  • The Troop (horror)
  • Southern Son - The Story of Doc Holiday (historical fiction trilogy)
  • Sustainable Gardening for the Southeast
  • American Gods (fantasy, I think. It kind of defies being pigeonholed into one genre).

Some of my favorite fiction authors:

  • Louis L'Amour (my author mentor)
  • John Sandford
  • Lee Child
  • C.J.Box
  • Randy Wayne White
  • F. Paul Wilson
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Robert McCammon
  • Jonathan Maberry
  • and too many more to mention.

How about you? What's your favorite beach reads, and how do you prefer your reading material, in electronic or dead tree format?

Whether you read to learn or for fun - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

PS - I'll meet you on the shaded veranda at the JI Hotel, James - and bring a book!

Jun 10, 2017

Time to Get Crabby

Ahoy, Pirates!

If you're like me, buccaneering on Jekyll Island can work up an appetite (especially if you have a spouse and kids egging you on). There are lots of great restaurants on the island glad to fill your belly - for a price. But have you ever thought of catching your own supper?

I'm talking crabbing, a great Jekyll Island Family Adventure that kids will love. Catch a mess of crabs, and cook up a crab feast. All for pennies compared to what you'd pay in a sea food restaurant.

So grab a crab ring and catch - then eat - your limit. You can start with these recipes.

Till we sit down and shuck crabs together on the island, breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. Save some claws for me, James.

Jun 07, 2017

Have a Shell of a Good Time, Times 2!

Avast, Jekyll Island Maties!

It's a great time to visit Jekyll Island. Lots of kid-friendly scheduled events going on in June.

One don't miss activity: The Georgia Sea Turtle Center's 10th Birthday Party! Kids will love seeing the turtles, and "shell-abrating" with Scute and friends. And while your there, schedule a Turtle Walk.

But how about an unscheduled adventure, one that kids of all ages can enjoy? Sea shell hunting.

Doesn't cost a thing, and can serve as a learning experience as well as a fun family adventure.

Head over to the southern end of the island for some good hunting. The morning after off-shore storms are best, when wind and wave action has washed fine shell specimens onto the beach.

What can you find? Look for

  • Whelks
  • Olives
  • Coquinas
  • Sand Dollars
  • and many more!

Shells are great to collect and display, or use in crafts. So on your upcoming Jekyll Island Family Adventure (and you ARE coming to the island soon, right?), hit the beaches, kids in tow, and hunt up that perfect seashell.

Until I see you shelling on the beach - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

PS - See you on the sand, James.

May 30, 2017

Snapshots

Hi, there, JI Buccaneers!

We're settling into post-vacation life (blah!), and Martha asked me what my favorite time was on the island this trip.

Didn't really have a favorite experience. They were ALL good. Even the steel teeth didn't bother us much.

Sometimes I'll take a reflection break from work, lean back in my Captain's chair, close my eyes and let the memories flow.

  • Gators. Saw at least a dozen this year, by far the most we've ever seen in on trip. One might have gone 10'. And every size in between. Look for gators in the pond beside the trail from the Historic District to Flash Foods, and the pond behind the old amphitheater. Horton Pond is a great place to see them, and has an observation platform. And the golf course ponds, of course.
  • Revitalization. Still lots of building going on, with the new Cottages going up (check them out when you get there), and renovation on the JI Wharf.
  • Sunsets. Lots of photo ops from St. Andrews Point, or from the promenade walk beside the Intra-coastal Waterway, behind the Jekyll Island Club Hotel. For sunrises, hit Driftwood Beach.
  • Eats. Had a fantastic mahi sandwich at Zachry's River House. My mouth waters to think of it.
  • Vegging Out. Relaxing in our favorite wicker rockers on the JI Club Hotel veranda, reveling in sweet tea, shade and soft, cool breezes.
  • Wildlife. You can relish close encounters with our furry, scaly, or feathered friends just about anywhere and anytime. One of the best viewing spots is the Glory Boardwalk. Saw deer, song birds, and marsh hares here, just about every day.

If you have a trip Jekyll coming up, it's turtle nesting season. Book a turtle walk courtesy of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, and visit with some scaly friends.

We'd be glad to hear about your adventures on our Facebook page.

Until we meet in the Marshes of Glenn, breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

PS - Save a mahi sandwich for me, James.

May 18, 2017

Sometimes You Yearn...

Hi, JI folks!

One of my goals for our latest trip to the island was to pig out on steamed oysters and shrimp at the Rah Bar.

Best laid plans and all that...

It was closed for renovation. In fact, the whole Wharf was being renovated, including Latitude 31, a Jekyll restaurant icon.

I wandered forlornly along the Wharf, wondering if Latitude 31 would return, or if some other restaurant would be there when we came back.

And I felt a bite of melancholy, cause things change.

Revitalization has altered the face of the Jekyll Island we knew when our boys were hatchlings scampering over the beach. Some things needed to be improved, I guess. That was the official line, anyway. And that new Convention Center, coupled with the Westin, the Beach Village Shopping Center, and the other improvements, have brought an increase in tourism and improved JI's bottom line.

But, waxing nostalgic, here are a few "old friends" I miss:

  • the JP Morgan Historic Tennis Court - it was renovated into a temporary convention center while the new one was being built. We played many a game under that roof. It's now the Morgan Center, meeting space for the Jekyll Island Club Hotel.
  • The Amphitheater - almost completely gone now, in the process, it seems, of being torn down. Our boys grew up mesmerized by the plays put on there by Valdosta State college thespians. Don't know what will happen there.
  • Beachview Shopping Center - that old fashioned strip center holds a special place in our heart. Lift a toast to IGA, the JI Pharmacy, Zachry's, and other shops (some of which have a new life at the Beach Village).
  • Buccaneer, Comfort Inn, and other old hotels. Spent many a week at those places. Now guests can experience the new Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn, Westin, and more coming - IF they can afford it.

We'll always love our island - but sometimes it's good to reminisce. After all, we grew roots here. And they're sandy!

Breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

PS - see you on the sand, James 'ol pal.

May 16, 2017

Smart as a...Dolphin!

Avast, ye Jekyll Island Pirates!

I figure myself fairly (slightly?) intelligent, but there's another mammal out there that just might have me beat - the bottlenose dolphin.

Some people believe that these animals possess an intellect comparable to a humans. I wouldn't know, cause I've never had a conversation with one. But I did experience a dolphin encounter that was kind of cool.

Keith Wilson and I were surveying on Kiawah Island one muggy hot week, and came upon an old plantation style house that was slowly crumbling back into the loam. We kind of "accidentally" crossed (jumped?) a locked fence and wandered around the grounds. As my grandmother would have said if she'd seen us do it (just before pinching our ear off), "What are you two plundering around that old house for?"

Anyway. We made our way through the weeds to the back yard, which to our surprise wasn't very wide, because a tidal creek ran along the back.

We were standing on the bank talking when a commotion downstream caught our attention. Lo and behold, a mass of fish was boiling its way towards us. We were surprised to see two dolphins guiding the fish up the narrow waterway like a pair of border collies herding sheep. Just before they reached a sandbar opposite us, they sped up and forced about a dozen fish to beach themselves. Then the dolphins SLID UP ON THE SHORE, snarfing down fish like it was a Southern fish fry.

Since then I've heard of dolphins doing that and more, working in teams to catch their supper.

Next time you're on Jekyll Island, say hello to a friendly dolphin. He might just understand you - and invite you out to eat!

Until I see you chasing fish up on the beach at Jekyll Island, breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

PS - Save a swim with the dolphins for me, James.

May 14, 2017

Most Recent Trip a Blast!

Ahoy, Jekyll Islanders!

Our latest trip to Jekyll was a rollicking success. The weather, so finicky on our last sojourn, was perfect. And no rain!

This trip, with both Martha and I recovering from medical issues, we played no tennis. A bummer. But we did get to see our friend Pete Poole, retired tennis pro at the tennis center, and catch up. Pete's a Jekyll Island icon, and tennis without seeing his smiling face behind the counter is just not the same. :(

A rundown of what we did while pirating around the island:

This post is getting long, so enough for now. Lots going on with Jekyll Island Family Adventures that you'll hear about later. Come see us on our Facebook page at http://bit.ly/2pzNdtH.

Next trip: Shrimp and Grits in September!

Until I see you on the beach, breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

PS - save a shady spot on the beach for me, James.

Apr 26, 2017

FINALLY! Jekyll Island Time!

Ahoy, Jekyll Island Pirates!

It seems like ages since I last posted. Martha's surgery recovery has dragged on, and she's experienced one setback after another. And I've been plagued by hip and knee problems that required physical therapy. But now, thank God, we've turned the corner and are on the mend (knock on drift wood). And, finally, our Jekyll Island time has come around. We'll be off to the islands in about a week.

And it couldn't have come sooner. I was experiencing surf and sand withdrawal symptoms.

Aging is not for daisies. On this trip, we'll probably limit our tennis to a few games of mini-tennis (thankfully on clay courts), IF the courts have recovered from the recent hurricane damage. Bike riding may be out, too. We may be limited to long, leisurely walks on the beach, snarfing down seafood, and swigging margaritas - but who's complaining?

So this trip may be more of a "therapy cruise" than past trips. We'll take it easy, visit friends, listen to Eddie Pickett and the Wharf Ratz. I plan on taking lots of pictures to add to the website. And generally relaxing and recharging our depleted batteries.

Hopefully, we'll see you there, too. Recharging your own batteries while enjoying the ambience of Jekyll Island.

Until then - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

'Nough said - Rick

PS - Save a beach chair for me, James.

Jan 01, 2017

Happy New Year!

Avast, Jekyll Island Pirates!

Shiver me timbers, it be a newly born year! Hope you upheld the pirate honor and handled your grog with no problems. If not, there's always next year to party down (or next weekend, if that's the way yer rudder steers ye!).

Now that the holidays are astern, what's on the horizon for Jekyll Island? Well, check out our Event Spotlight and find out, maties!

I'll give you one hint - Island Treasures! Jekyll Island's family fun treasure hunt returns for another year, from January 1 through February 28. Bring your parrot and sniff out an artist-rendered "antique" glass fishing net globe. If you don't know what that is, you can learn all about it here.

So set your sails on a beam reach and head to the islands!

Until I see you searching the sands for YOUR island treasure - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - See you on the sand, James. Save a glass fishing globe for me.

Nov 30, 2016

Join the Christmas Festivities in December

Ahoy, Jekyll Island Pirates!

Doff your eye patch and don your red cap and get thee over to Jekyll Island in December if you know what's good for you! There's more Christmas activities and events that month than you can shake a candy cane at!

See below for details!

Until we skate by the beach together on Jekyll Island...breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - Okay, James, break out the skates...

Nov 02, 2016

Playing Hookie

Ahoy, Jekyll Island Pirates!

Ever play hookie when you were in school? I did that a couple of times, and was never caught. (Though, when grown, I kind of casually mentioned it to Mom and Dad. Dad took it in stride, Mom was all incensed, like "How could my innocent, angelic son do something like THAT!" If she'd only known about some of the OTHER things I got away with...:)

Anyway. If you never played hookie in school, who says you can't do it as an adult? It's the start of November and, incredibly, even for Georgia, the weather is fantastic. Why not take advantage of the few remaining warm and mellow days?

So let me play the devil on your shoulder, and lead you into mischief.

"Pssst. Hey, you. Yeah, you. You've been stuck in that cubicle for months, slaving for the man. With only these wilted plants to look at. Don't you ever water, man? Whatever. Not even a window to day dream out of.

"And WINTER is about to set in. Cold. Sleet. Bare trees. And, worst of all, no more football!

"But you know where you want to be. SURE you do. Somewhere warm. Somewhere you can relax, de-stress, recharge the batteries. Somewhere there's a beach. And shrimp. And margaritas.

"Where you can laugh and play. Walk the surf line with your loved one. Frolic on the sand. Away from the everyday world of work and worry.

"You know where you want to be.

"Time to play hookie. Take a Therapy Cruise, as singer-songwriter Kelly McGuire says, and cruise on down to the island. YOUR island.

"Jekyll Island."

Until we set our sails for a new horizon - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - you take the rudder, James, I'll man the sheets, and we'll sail to the islands together.

Oct 22, 2016

Ghoulies and Ghosties

Ahoy, Jekyll Islanders!

October has finally offered up some cool weather in North Georgia, and while I enjoy the changing of the seasons, winter is close behind - and I ain't no cold weather sailor.

Jekyll Island beckons, but I'll have to wait a bit, till Martha gets over her surgery and feels up to traveling.

Meanwhile, updating the website continues on. Hope to have some new content out soon, too, including a series of videos and a kid's section.

Are you planning on a fall excursion to the island? Why not check out the 37th annual Georgia Florida Golf Classic?

And to get you in the mood for Halloween scares, bone up on Jekyll Island's ghosts.

Have fun this Halloween, stay safe, and if it gets scary for you, just keep repeating this Scottish saying

"From ghoulies and ghosties and four-leggedly beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord, deliver us!"

Until we ply the waters off Jekyll Island's shore together - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

PS - See you on the sand, James!

Sep 05, 2016

Shrimp, Grits, and More

Ahoy Jekyll Islanders!

Time to get your appetite on and book your trip to the Jekyll Island Shrimp and Grits Festival, Sept. 16 thru 18. If you like those tasty crustaceans, be sure to show up on Friday night for Sample Friday. You get to sample shrimp and grits fare from most of the restaurants on the island, as well as vendors from off-island. Yum!

Want a preview taste? Hit the Jekyll Island Club Hotel on the 14th for their Chef Demo, where they'll be teaching folks how to prepare their signature shrimp and grits dish. Double Yum!

For the first time in 5 years, Martha & I won't be able to make it to Shrimp and Grits (Martha is still recovering from heart surgery). But hopefully we'll get down in October, our favorite month to visit. Meanwhile, eat some shrimp and grits for us!

Until we see one another around a pot of low-country boil on Jekyll Island - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - See you on the beach, James!

Aug 24, 2016

Chasing Those Fuzzy Yellow Balls

Ahoy, Jekyll Island Pirates!

Ever since we were married, my wife and I have been tennis fanatics, Martha probably more than me. Especially the boys, who both can hit us into heat stroke.

So lots of our vacation time has found us on the clay courts at Jekyll Island.

Clay is loads of fun to play on, and here are a few reasons why:

  • Joint Relief - clay is way better on aching knee and hip joints than asphalt.
  • Weird Bounces - part of the fun of playing on clay is the unexpected ways the bounce. Sometimes a shot will just die, with little bounce at all. Other times it might fly over your head, or off to the side if it hits a line.
  • Slower Pace - clay plays slower than any other surface, which favors us older players. Of course that can work to our disadvantage if the points go long.
  • Cooler Surface - clay stays cooler than asphalt, so you may not die of heat stroke after all!
At Jekyll Island the Tennis Center pros can set you up for a match with someone of your approximate age and skill level. Whether you play singles or doubles, you can have fun on the courts on our favorite family friendly island!

So serve it up, and breathe in, breathe out, move on!

Nough said - Rick

PS - meet you on the beach, James

Aug 21, 2016

Dogs Are People, Too

Good morning, Jekyll Islanders!

Still a few hot days left in the year, time to load up the family and head to Jekyll Island. And while your throwing kids in the back seat, why not toss in the dog, too? After all, dogs are people, too! And family.

Traveling with pets can be a challenge, but better a dog than a cat any day. I've traveled with both and, believe me, in an automobile, an excitable canine is much more relaxed than the calmest cat.

If you do take your furry faced friend along to Jekyll Island with you, remember to provide plenty of clean water along the way, and let the pooch out (on a leash) to stretch his legs at every stop. Most of all, don't leave Fido locked in a hot car while the family goes in to McDonalds to eat lunch. Even if it's overcast, animals can over heat fast. Dogs may experience heat stress, and even die, if cooped up in a hot vehicle for too long.

So...luggage? Check. Kids? Check. Rover? Check. And, no worries. There are hotels on Jekyll Island that welcome furry guests!

Run with your best friend on the beach. Then - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

PS - See you on the sand, James - and bring the dogs!

Aug 18, 2016

The Marsh Trail/Driftwood Beach Loop

Avast, ye Jekyll Island Pirates!

Hop off your ship, get your land lubber legs under you, and take a hike on the Marsh Trail/Driftwood Beach Loop. Not an official name, just what we call it.

Start at the Clam Creek Picnic Area parking lot. Walk (or bike) northeast a bit, and cross the pedestrian bridge over Clam Creek. Then just follow the asphalt paved trail. It will take you through the marsh lands. Keep an eye out for raccoon families (sometimes you can only see their tails, waving above the marsh grass). If you're into birds, this is paradise! Look for egrets, herons, wood storks, ibis, spoon bill cranes, and more - including many varieties of songbirds.

You'll cross several creeks, and may spot blue crabs or foraging fish, depending on where the tide is at the time. Some folks come here just to fish pockets of water from the edge of the trail at high tide.

When the Marsh Trail ends, turn left. After about 40 yds. you'll come out on Driftwood Beach. Turn left again and walk along the beach, enjoying the driftwood, sculpted into fantastical shapes by wind and wave. You might see dolphins seining off shore, maybe even a cruising shark. As you walk further, you can see the lighthouse on St. Simons, beckoning. (Note: be aware of the tides, Driftwood Beach can be dangerous at high tide!)

After a bit you'll gradually turn left until you're back at Clam Creek. Head over the the Jekyll Island Fishing Pier to catch the breeze and watch folks catching fish and crabs, or drop in on Capt. Larry Crews at the Jekyll Island Fishing Center. Sip a cold drink and listen to Capt. Larry spin his tall tales. He's fished the area all his life and knows his stuff!

Until we walk the trails and beaches of Jekyll Island together - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - See you on Driftwood Beach, James!

Aug 15, 2016

Partys are Where You Find Them

Yarrr, Jekyll Island Pirates!

Shiver me timbers, I'm hankering for some Shrimp and Grits. Only a month till Jekyll Island's finest festival, so batten down your hatches and mark your calendar for the 2016 Shrimp and Grits Festival.

Reminds me of something that happened to me today. I was at the supermarket and got in line to pay for my booty. In front of me was a couple loaded down with party food. Hamburger meat, hot dogs, ice - and several Key Lime pies. The lady had on a Shrimp Basket shirt, and her man had on a Margaritaville shirt.

I caught the lady's eye. "Hmmmm," I said. "Buffett shirt. Shrimp shirt. Key Lime pie...I want to go home with you guys!"

Earned a laugh with that one.

Until we pig out together at the Shrimp and Grits Festival...breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

PS - See you on the sand, James! Save some shrimp for me!

Aug 10, 2016

Things I'm Thankful For

Avast, Jekyll Islanders!

It's been a hairy week. My wife Martha, went into the hospital last Wednesday for open heart surgery. They replaced her mitral and aortic valves with mechanical ones. She says she's a cyborg now.

Thankfully, the surgery went perfect and she's expected to recover and actually be better than ever. Hopefully even play tennis again!

But now it's a waiting game, till she gets over the trauma of the surgery and recovers her strength to where she can start cardiac rehab.

All in all, though, I am one thankful puppy that by the grace of God and talented surgeons she pulled through without any mishaps.

Sometimes it takes something like this to remind us of what we have to lose. And what we're thankful for.

I figured that was a good topic for the Turtle Gram. So, with no further fanfare, I'm thankful for...

  • Martha. She's put up with me for 42 years (our anniversary was Aug. 4th, the day after her surgery). She is my love and my life.
  • My 2 boys, Josh and Scott, who've grown up into fine young men.
  • Great family and friends.
  • Any small talent I might have for writing.
  • Jekyll Island, of course. Along with all of Georgia's Golden Isles.
  • My health, and the ability to get out and about and explore this wonderful world.
  • Our cat Henry.
  • Good food and fine times.
  • Sunrises and sunsets.
  • Jimmy Buffett and beaches, boats, ballads and bars!
  • Rain (which we need more of here in North Georgia)
  • my southern roots.
  • living free
  • Key Lime pie
  • the innocence of children and the wisdom of old folk
  • all you good people who visit Jekyll Island Family Adventures
  • life and love
Just touching on a few things that mean a lot to me. I'm sure y'all can come up with your own things to be thankful for.

Maybe we can meet on Jekyll Island in October to compare lists.

Till then - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - see ya on the sand, James!

Aug 06, 2016

Summer's Last Hot Breath

Ahoy, Jekyll Islanders!

August is in full swing, and summer is breathing its last hot breath down our necks. Pretty soon the weather will mellow, the heat dissipate, and fall will creep in. October - my favorite month on Jekyll Island - is just around the corner.

What do I like about Jekyll Island in October? For one thing, no-see-um season is over, so you don't have to worry about being gnawed to death by those "teeth with wings". And the blazing furnace of July and August has been dampened by fall's cooling breezes. The air seems soft and still, and the quality of light resembles liquid butter.

It's the perfect time to be outside on Jekyll Island.

Want more reasons to visit in October? Shrimp and Grits will be over and gone, and the party crowds with it. Of course, there's always the chance of running afoul of the Georgia-Florida Golf Classic, but, hey, if that happens, just dive right in and enjoy! Then hit the beaches for a romantic stroll in the cooling sea breeze.

Finish your evening at the Rah Bar. That blast furnace known as the summer sun has packed up and left for the southern hemisphere, and the evening air caresses your face with cool and soothing fingers. Slurp back a dozen oysters, chow down on a platter of Wild Georgia shrimp, and make a toast to another perfect day on Jekyll Island.

And I will join you in October! Till then...breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - See you on the beach, James!

Aug 01, 2016

The 3 Faces of Jekyll Island

Yarrrr, Jekyll Island Pirates!

Gettin' the sea salt itch? Hankering to blaze a wake to your favorite island paradise?

Yeah, me to.

Meanwhile...lets talk movies. Well, one movie anyway, one that I saw as a kid - "The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao". Think it starred Tony Randall, which pretty much dates ME, I guess. Randall played an old Chinese magician, and appeared as seven separate characters, manifestations of Dr. Lao's magic.

Won't go into the plot, the reference is just a jumping off spot. It occurred to me that Jekyll Island has THREE faces. Or three facets, anyway, quality reasons to visit. Here they are:

  • Conservation - includes wildlife and the environment. The island is big on conservation, with fully 65% of the barrier island set aside as protected land.
  • History - most well known is the history of the millionaire moguls, but Jekyll is steeped in history, from Indians to occupation, slavery to Civil War - and more.
  • Recreation - includes sports, adventures, dining, and just plain fun!

So, pirate parents, Jekyll Island is more than just a strip of sand off the Georgia coast. It's an environmental classroom, a museum, an adventure in the making. Bring the kids. Let them seek, roam, and experience. They'll have loads of fun.

But I betcha they won't know they're learning in the process ;)

Until our toes are tickled by the sands of Jekyll's beaches - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - see you on the beach, James!

Aug 01, 2016

As Family Vacations in Georgia go, Jekyll Island Tops the List

Jekyll Island is the perfect family adventure and easy to get to via land, air, or water. Set your compass for one of the most fun-filled family vacations in Georgia.

Continue reading "As Family Vacations in Georgia go, Jekyll Island Tops the List"

Feb 18, 2016

Upcoming Changes...and an Apology

Ahoy Jekyll Islanders!

1st, an apology. Due to health matters (both me and my wife), I've let things slide a bit with updating the website. I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this might have caused anyone, and hope to have things back on track (especially concerning the events calendar) in the next few days. A hearty thanks to folk who pointed out, in a nice way, that the events calendar needed updating.

That said, for a while I wrestled with just closing the site down, but it's kind of grown on me over the years, so I've decided to try and keep it up. In the next few weeks I'll be switching platforms. Hopefully the transition will be painless, but with this technophobe, you never know. I've been told there won't be any down time, but I'll believe that when I see it.

Thanks for visiting the site. Come join us on our FB page, https://www.facebook.com/Jekyll-Island-Family-Adventures-193778695517/?ref=bookmarks

Until I see you on the sands of Jekyll Island, breathe in, breathe out, move on!

Nough said - Rick

PS - Save a beer for me, James. I'll meet you on the beach.

Dec 16, 2015

Christmas On Jekyll Island

Ho, Ho, Ho, Jekyll Islanders!

Ever thought of celebrating Christmas on Jekyll Island? This could be your year. Should be some specials left at island hotels. Try the new Westin, as well as the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, and see what's what.

Holidays in History is going on through Dec. 31st. Enjoy a festive season tour of the Jekyll Island Historic Cottages, with all their halls decked out in celebration of the Christmas spirit.

Don't pass up the opportunity to drop in at the Goodyear Cottage and purchase a painting by an area artist at the Merry Artist's Show and Sale, open til the end of the month.

Take a stroll through the Campground, where all the campers are vying for Best Decorated Site.

And there's still a chance to sit on Santa's amble lap and show him your 3 page list of desired presents. The jolly old elf will be at the Village Green on the 19th, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.

So there remains lots of Christmas cheer to be had on Jekyll in December. And don't forget - in January and February you have Island Treasures to look forward to! Can't wait.

Til I kiss you under the mistletoe (well, maybe not), breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

PS - Merry Christmas, James! See you on the sand!

Nov 09, 2015

Dad Gum Rain

Ahoy, Soggy Jekyll Islanders!

Just checked the Weather Channel, and it looks like the rain will pretty much end tonight on Jekyll Island, with mostly sunny skies through the coming week.

It's been soggy here in North Georgia, too. My yard resembles a swamp (was that a gator I just saw swim by?). When I go outside, my steps squish like I was walking on a sponge.

With El Nino firmly encamped over the SE United States, it might not get dry anytime soon. So maybe it's a good time to pack a bag and head to the islands for a little R & R between rainstorms.

While there, try out some of the new shops and restaurants. The new Beach Village has a lot to offer, with some new stores like Kennedy's Outfitters sharing the venue with some old favorites like Maxwell's General Store. And don't forget the Pier Road shops.

For eats, check out Harry's at the Reserve or McCarvey's Wee Pub. Watch JIFA for write ups on these new, exciting shops and eaterys.

Now lets see...if I head down to Jekyll Island tomorrow, make my rounds to all the new restaurants on Wednesday and Thursday, drink a margarita at each one, that gives me 2 days to recover before a "beat the rain" Sunday drive home.

Seems doable to me.

Until then - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

PS - See you on the sand, James ol' buddy.

Sep 23, 2015

2015 Shrimp & Grits a Blast!

Howdy, Jekyll Island Lovers!

Does the number 45,000 mean anything to you? That's how many shrimp and grit hungry folks attended the 2015 Wild Georgia Shrimp and Grits Festival!

People came from all over to satisfy their crustacean cravings. My highly scientific study (glancing at license plates on a half-row of cars on my way back to my own vehicle Saturday afternoon) revealed shrimp and grits connoisseurs from Georgia, Florida, North and South Carolina, and as far away as New Jersey and California.

Here's a snapshot of my impressions of the festival:

  • Folks everywhere, winding through the craft exhibits, laughing and talking excitedly, looking forward to a great family adventure, set to the background music coming from the big stage and the Skeet House stage
  • Scent of shrimp cooking on the barbie (or boiler, or grill, or whatever those great chefs from a plethora of restaurants were cooking on!)
  • Snarfing down tasty S & G snug under umbrellas on a rainy Friday Night Sample night
  • Watching a father and his young daughter dancing to the beat from the Wharf Ratz Band on the big stage on Saturday
  • Observing the steady line of families enjoying the wonders of the Kids Zone

What REALLY impressed me was how the JIA and festival volunteers worked their magic to get all that infrastructure set up in the Thursday afternoon and night monsoon that swept across Jekyll Island. I tip my Georgia Dawg cap to you all!

The 2015 festival is behind us, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Now I can sit back, relax, and look forward to 2016. Where there's Shrimp & Grits, that's where I'll be!

Until then, pirates - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

PS - Save a handful of shrimp, a slice of shade, and a spot on the beach for me, James!

Sep 20, 2015

Rain & Shrimp & Grits & Music

Ahoy, Jekyll Islanders!

Well, our latest week on Jekyll Island is over, but it was memorable in lots of ways.

We arrived Saturday 12th to clear skies, but quickly learned the coast had been recently blessed with more than its share of rain. Unfortunately, this trend continued.

Sunday was nice and warm, so we hit the beach. There wasn't much breeze, and we were instantly welcomed to the island by a family of deer flies, who insisted on snacking on my shins. Of course, I'd neglected to apply bug spray.

Learned later that it had rained so much the mosquito population had exploded, but I wasn't bitten by one mosquito the entire trip. Deer flies, however...

Monday saw clouds, but we got in a couple hours of tennis. Tuesday showers on and off, so we spent time exploring the new Beach Village and all the shops there.

Wednesday...lets not mention Wednesday. We were pretty much house bound due to the monsoon.

Oh well, I was due for a rest. And I had a book. :)

We did get out Wednesday evening, braving more storms, to try out a new restaurant, Tortuga Jacks - Tex-Mex on the beach! Pretty dang good.

Thursday we got outside for a while between showers (actually without getting wet!). We walked the marsh trail, spotted spoonbills and ibis and herons and several blue crabs. Then it was on to another "new" restaurant, 685 Seafood (formally SeaJays) for drinks and music.

Friday more rain, but we lucked out again, getting in more walking on the bike trails.

Then it was off to the 2015 Shrimp & Grits Festival for Friday Sample night, where it promptly started raining again. We sheltered under umbrellas and pigged out on the festival's namesake, grumbling about the nasty surprise they'd pulled on us (raising the cost of samples from $3.00 to $5.00). But the rain finally stopped, and we got to hear some music, with North Star on the Skeet House stage.

Saturday was hot and clear, with random cool breezes and a packed house at S & G. We checked out the craft booths, then it was back to the main stage for a fantastic show by our friend Eddie Pickett and the Wharf Ratz.

Afterward, we took a break at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel's Club Cafe, where we snacked on cookies and tea and Martha got her cat petting fix in by petting the hotel's mascot, Menow.

Saturday afternoon was more music at the Skeet House, first with Eddie doing a solo acoustic set, then a songwriters in the round show, featuring 3 Nashville songwriters.

All in all a great trip, despite the rain.

Looking forward to a winter trip around Christmas (more of a working holiday). Look for upcoming photos and video from Shrimp & Grits 2015!

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - See you on the beach, James!

Sep 03, 2015

Headin' to the Islands!

Yarrr, Jekyll Island Maties!

Got my tennis rackets strung, new sandals, swim trunks, shorts...ready for Jekyll Island!

Oh, also bringing an appetite, cause I plan to PIG OUT at the 2015 Wild Georgia Shrimp and Grits Festival. As my Dad told me once, "Eat everything but the tails."

Hope to get in some inshore fishing, drink a few (dozen) margaritas, listen to some fine music by our friend Eddie Pickett (along with other bands at the Festival), play some golf, ride some bikes (if my knees will let me), check out Festival artists and vendors, walk the beaches, swim...and, if Martha will let me, get in a little R & R.

I'll also do the roving reporter thang for Jekyll Island Family Adventures. Hope to visit the new Westin and Holiday Inn Hotels, along with the shops and eateries at the Beach Village, take lots of pics, talk to the owners and managers, and pass that info on to you guys via JIFA website.

Hope to see you at the Festival!

Until then - breathe in, breathe out, move on!

Nough said - Rick

(Meet you on the beach, James!)

Jun 05, 2015

Spirit of Adventure Lives On

Avast, Jekyll Islanders!

If adventure stirs your blood, then give kudos where they're due to Victor Mooney, who recently completed his goal of crossing the Atlantic in a rowboat. Only took him 4 tries!

Victor survived near-starvation and pirates to complete his crossing, washing ashore on the U.S. coast and then traveling up the Intracoastal Waterway to Jekyll Island. Next stop, the Brooklyn Bridge, his final destination.

Read more about Victor's fantastic journey here.

I love adventure, and highly respect those adventurers who put it all on the line to accomplish their goals. In fact, my first hero was adventurer John Goddard, whom I recently learned died in 2013. Check out John's life list for inspiration for your own adventures.

Until we share our adventures on the sands of Jekyll Island - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

(See you on the beach, James!)

Apr 24, 2015

New Westin Hotel Open for Business!

Hi there, Jekyll Islanders!

What sits on the beach, sports 200 rooms, and is waiting for you and your family or group to come visit? Why, the new Westin Hotel, of course.

This convention-class hotel, sited close by the Jekyll Island Convention Center, is the newest addition in Jekyll Island's burgeoning revitalization program. The Westin Jekyll Island, as it's called, is the cornerstone of the Island's Beach Village project. The Beach Village offers an oceanfront promenade, a village green, new restaurants, and upscale boutiques. Great Dunes Park is close by, along with the 128,000-square-foot Jekyll Island Convention Center.

For conventioneers, the Westin provides in-room internet access as well as ergonomic furnishings.

You can also enjoy

  • The Reserve, an upscale, casual restaurant serving the freshest local seafood
  • Salty's poolside bar and café for cocktails and lighter fare
  • Harry’s at The Reserve, the hotel’s outdoor rooftop bar
  • 5,260 square feet of state-of-the-art meeting and banquet facilities, perfect for smaller meetings, weddings and other celebrations

The hotel also has a resort style swimming pool, group work space, and a gym. Plus, it meets LEED Silver specifications for sustainability.

And there's plenty of "room" to spare at the Westin. Those 200 rooms breakdown to 187 regular rooms and 13 suites.

The Westin's ribbon cutting was April 20th, and Rotary Club International was the premier convention group booked at the hotel.

Now it's YOUR turn!

And, oh, did I mention it's on the beach?

Until you get a chance to explore paradise - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

(See you on the sand, James!)

Mar 01, 2015

Spring Break on the Horizon

Hey, there, Jekyll Islanders!

Spring is almost upon us, and Jekyll Island is a great spring break destination for folks with kids. With 10 miles of beach, almost 30 miles of bike trails, and lots of opportunities to learn about wildlife like sea turtles, right whales and dolphins, Jekyll Island is a kid's paradise.

Why not try

  • Fishing - either deep sea fishing or inshore fishing. Or standing on the Jekyll Island Pier and tossing out a line or three
  • Crabbing - a kid favorite, and easy to do once you get the hang of it
  • Biking - lots of cool bike trails criss-crossing the island, crossing marshland and paralleling the sea
  • Golf - or mini-golf, which younger kids will find more appealing.
  • Tennis - visit pro Pete Poole at the Jekyll Island Tennis Center and smack around a few fuzzy yellow balls
  • Soccer - Jekyll Island is home to a pretty rad soccer complex. Bring a ball and hit the pitch. Or maybe watch one of the many matches area clubs participate in
  • The Beach - while the water might be a little nippy in early spring, its always fun to play on the beach, look for shells, or build a sand castle.
  • Eats and Treats - enjoy great kid-filling food like pizzas, fried shrimp and ice cream at many of the island's fine restaurants
This is only a partial list of the fun family adventures you can have this spring. So pack up the younguns and hit the road to a family fun spring break on your own barrier island paradise - Jekyll Island!

Until you leave your foot prints in the sand of Jekyll - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick