The Jekyll Island Turtle Gram Blog

Welcome to the Jekyll Island Turtle-Gram Blog, your VIP preview to upcoming Jekyll Island events and updates to the JIFA website. Just click on the orange button to subscribe to the RSS feed.

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.

Jan 01, 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, 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,

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!