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.

Jan 15, 2019

Tidal Creeks & Inlets

Howdy, Jekyll Islanders!

Water. It's a main theme that runs through Jekyll Island. Literally. You have the ocean, of course. But the tidal rivers, creeks and inlets winding their way through and around the island play a vital role in Jekyll's physical and economic health.

The Jekyll River (or Jekyll Creek; or Fancy Bluff Creek, as it's sometimes called) is a portion of the Intra-coastal Waterway and separates Jekyll Island from the mainland. Rising and falling with the tide, the river provides a pathway to the sea for boaters and fishermen, and also delivers the sustenance needed by dozens of sea-dwelling denizens.

The river and its inlets flood the marshes on the rising tide. Then, the tide recedes, flushing detritus and material from the marshlands that serves as food for fingerlings, crustaceans, birds and other marine life.

Boats constantly sail the river, a transportation corridor serving tourists, travelers and sports fishermen, as well as the commercial shrimpers that deliver wild Georgia shrimp to your table at The Wharf, Driftwood Bistro, or Zachry's Riverhouse. And the Jekyll Island Marina serves as a welcome port for sea-weary travelers to stock up or freshen up.

Within Jekyll Island's interior, several creeks drain into the Jekyll River. Clam Creek is located in the Clam Creek Picnic Area and flows into St. Simons Sound. It's a great place for kids (with their parent's help) to catch their first crabs. On the south end of the island, Beach Creek flows alongside St. Andrews Point. You can usually count on seeing birds such as egrets and cranes searching for an opportunistic snack where the mouth of the creek empties into Jekyll Sound.

Several smaller creeks (like Salt Pork Creek) flow into the river. Seek these out and explore them, or set up in your boat at their mouth as the tide recedes and enjoy the inshore fishing.

Jekyll Island's creeks can make for a good family adventure. Clam Creek and Beach Creek are easily accessible. Finding the others may take a little trekking, or a boat or kayak ride, but might be worth it to see a part of Jekyll Island not usually experienced by others.

May your search for adventure lead you to new and ever-changing environs. Until then...breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - time to head up the creek, James!

Jan 09, 2019

Hysterical for History

Ahoy, Jekyll Islanders!

Well, the holidays are behind us (thank God, I didn't think my credit cards would ever cool off!). I'm writing this sitting at my desk in a warm home while arctic winds howl outside and the temperature plummets. And this is in Georgia! I refuse to think what it would be like to live up north. :)

At times like these, I yearn for warmer climes. Not sure if Jekyll Island would be much warmer this time of year, but it's a start!

I suspect there are a lot of northern-based Pirates (or is that snow birds - so maybe Parrots?), heading down to warm their feathers on the sands of Jekyll this winter. If you're one of them, it's a good time to brush up on Jekyll Island history. Like...

  • The focal point of the Historic District - the Jekyll Island Club Hotel. This is the former clubhouse for the Jekyll Island Club, a group of millionaire moguls from all over the continent. These "robber barons" - who, by the way, weren't - had names like Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Crane, and Morgan. Jekyll was their wintertime "base of operations", where they traveled for some R & R to relieve the stress of empire building. And that brings us to...
  • The Millionaire Village Cottages - these "cottages" would be called fairly elaborate homes by most people. But for the millionaire elite that made Jekyll Island their winter port-o-call, the cottages were just their homes away from home. And now you can tour these renovated cottages, built by the likes of Goodyear, Rockefeller, Crane, and more. And while you're in the Historic District, take a tour of...
  • Faith Chapel - this small church is still being used for weddings and other services to this day. It sports two fantastic stained glass windows, one by Tiffany. Note the gargoyles guarding the roof. Then head over to...
  • The Historic Wharf - where the millionaire's disembarked from their yachts on arriving at Jekyll Island. It's said J.P. Morgan would anchor his huge yacht in the river, and arrive by dingy to the fanfare of a cannon salute. The wharf is now the Wharf, a scrumptious seafood restaurant and bar, right there on the Intra-coastal Waterway.
There are many more historical adventures awaiting you on Jekyll Island. Take a gander at the Horton House; visit the old silo, all that remains of the Jekyll Island Club's dairy; view the remains of the Old Brewery; take a trip back in time on the Wanderer. And visit the Jekyll Island museum for in-depth info on the history you're walking through!

Enjoy your trip down through the years, and don't forget to breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - See you at Hollyborne Cottage, James!

Dec 11, 2018

Fort King George

Avast ye, Jekyll Island Pirates!

A short car ride away from Jekyll Island awaits a historical site that's perfect for a day trip with the kids. The place? Fort King George.

This reconstructed fort was originally built by the British in 1721 on a bluff overlooking the Altamaha River, on land once occupied by the Guale Indians. Its purpose was to halt French expansionist efforts and establish England's claim to the area.

His Majesty's Independent Company of South Carolina manned the fort until 1727. It was a brutal existence. The heat, along with diseases such as yellow fever, and malnutrition proved more deadly than enemy activity, and before the Company left, 140 soldiers and officers had died, including the fort's commander, Colonel John Barnwell. Not one death was the result of battle wounds. Many of these soldiers are buried on the site.

The Fort is a great place for adventuring. Kids can explore the earthworks, palisade fence, and the moat on the outside, then venture inside to check out officers and soldier's barracks, the guardhouse, blacksmith shop, and the baking/brewing house.

One not-to-miss building is the Blockhouse. Men could fire muskets and cannon from gun slits in the second and third floor walls. The first floor held the powder magazine, armory, and provisions storage.

Kids will delight in the cannon battery overlooking the river, and the swivel guns positioned in strategic spots. The sentry boxes are also fine features to explore and let the imagination run rampant.

To find Fort King George, leave Jekyll Island, turn right on Hwy. 17, and follow the signs. For more info, call 912.437.4770.

And once you've seen the site, drive on to Darien and drop in at Skippers for a great lunch on the Altamaha.

Find YOUR place where the imagination can go wild - and breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - save a Skipper's Shrimp Boat for me, James!

Dec 09, 2018

Sands of Time

Hi there, Jekyll Islanders!

Christmas is almost upon us. Before you know it, the year will be winding down, making way for 2019. New adventures await, just over the horizon!

Right now, however, with the wind howling outside and temperatures plummeting, we are thankful for a warm house, plenty of firewood, and the joy of family. As the earth makes another trip around the sun, we can look forward to the promise of warmer weather and a few trips to Jekyll Island in the coming year.

But for now, it's recharge the batteries time. And after cutting and splitting a boat load of wood yesterday, I need all the R & R I can get!

Time catches up with us all. Joints wear out, knees and hips complain, and sometimes, like an old automobile, it takes a while to warm up in the morning.

But the new days still beckon with the promise of new experiences. There's so much to do and see in this world. Adventure awaits beyond the tried and true. We look forward to the unknown, while being thankful for our own safe harbors, where we can retreat to rest and recuperate for another go.

We try to live each day to its fullest, and enjoy our time with family and friends, because with age comes the wisdom that the sands of time are running low, and one day we, too, will cease to be.

But in the meantime...lets make the most of it! Enjoy the feast, drink the wine, surf the big waves. Experience life!

Breathe in, breathe out, move on, my friends - and thank you for visiting Jekyll Island Family Adventures.

Nough said - Rick

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

Nov 24, 2018

How to Recognize When It's Jekyll Island Time

Avast ye, Pirates!

As old man Winter rears his ugly head and turns his cold gaze upon North Georgia, this low-country boy's thoughts turn more and more toward warmer climes. If you're like me, and winter gives you - ahem - cold feet, here's how you'll know when it's time to plot a course to Jekyll Island - or points further south, even. As if you need MY help figuring it out! :)

  • you replace the rubber duckies in your bathtub with rubber gators, sea turtles and dolphins
  • seafood starts to show up at every meal
  • instead of counting sheep to sooth yourself to sleep, you replay memories of your last visit to JI
  • your current playlists consist of Jimmy Buffett, Bob Marley, and the Wharf Ratz - not necessarily in that order
  • just the thought of the coming winter makes you gag
  • you hang on to the shorts, tank tops and flip flops till well past the first snow
  • all your Christmas cards include photos of you and the family on Jekyll Island
  • your home office starts to resemble a tiki hut
  • the scent of coconut suntan lotion makes you swoon
  • shooting six holes in your freezer starts to feel like a plan
  • your Christmas dinner is shrimp and grits
  • you find yourself strolling through your cat's litter box just to feel sand between your toes
If you're afflicted with any of the above aliments, get yourself to Jekyll Island pronto! Some island time is the only cure!!!

Till we hang out on the island together - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - see you on the sand, James...hopefully when it's warm!

Nov 19, 2018

Enjoy Your Trips Around the Sun

Ahoy, Jekyll Island Pirates!

Jimmy Buffett had it right in his song "Trip Around the Sun". We need to enjoy this life to the utmost, live each day to the fullest, and grab every adventure we can. Cause one day the trip will end, and there ain't no do-overs!

That said, Martha and I had a great time on our latest sojourn to the Islands (the Golden Isles, that is!).

  • We hit Glory Beach first thing, but with the weather all blustery and cold, we stayed for a grand total of 10 minutes before heading over to Zachry's Riverhouse to warm up with a hot Mahi-Mahi sandwich. The weather stayed finicky all week, brisk but mostly dry, but it didn't hinder us from having a fantastic time.
  • We enjoyed visiting with our friend Eddie Pickett, catching up on things and enjoying his solo set at the Wee Pub. If you haven't been to the Wee Pub, get yourself over there! They serve up food with an Irish flavor (and have the best Reuben sandwich on the island, I think). Saw Eddie again on Thursday night, with the Wharf Ratz.
  • Our culinary adventures continued throughout the week. We hit the Driftwood Bistro twice for some great Shrimp and Grits, Creole Shrimp, Wild Georgia Shrimp, Shrimp Cakes...do you detect a theme here? Also enjoyed the Pantry for lunch on the veranda (and for me to satisfy my Big Cookie itch).
  • Wildlife encounters aplenty. We saw deer, squirrels, raccoons, turtles (no, gators, though. Must have been to chilly for them). Also lots of birds. Ibis, cranes, grey herons, green herons, kingfishers, pink spoonbills, pelicans, gulls, sand pipers, and more. It was party time in the roosting trees behind the old amphitheater!
  • Did lots of beach walking and exploring on foot. Martha has a lot more stamina since her heart surgery, and most times left me in her dust. :) On one excursion, we discovered an old silo, all that remains of the historic Jekyll Island Club's dairy.
All in all, it was a fantastic trip to Jekyll Island. Our next autumn trip, though, will be in October, the perfect time for visiting Jekyll, IMO. This March we're heading down for some tent camping in the Campground, so I can write about that experience.

Until our trips around the sun intersect on the sands of Jekyll Island...breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - see you on St. Andrews Beach, James!

Nov 07, 2018

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"

Oct 31, 2018

Coming Back for More - Jekyll Island Ghosts

Ahoy, Jekyll Islanders!

Seems you can't keep a good Pirate down. This Halloween, check out these stories of Jekyll Islanders who just couldn't stay away from this island paradise - even after death!

What's YOUR favorite haunted spot on Jekyll Island? Hollyborne Cottage, anyone?

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

Nough said - Rick

PS - see you on haunted beach, James!

Sep 22, 2018

Low Country Soul

Ahoy, Jekyll Islanders!

What is it about the low country that attracts folks like iron filings to a magnet? How come we love coming back to the islands, to salt water, and lolling on crystal sands to the heart-beat rhythm of the sea? Is it that, somewhere back along the track of evolution, one particular scaly critter crawled from the water to extend the grand experiment of life onto land? Were our amphibian ancestor's first words as he (she? It?) crawled ashore and looked around something like, "Hey, where's the party?"

Whatever it is, humans are attracted to the sea. And the beach. And the Tiki bars...but that's another story.

Or is it? Maybe what it's all about is getting loose, having fun, and living life that brings us back to mother, mother ocean.

I think it's more. I think you have to have a low-country soul to keep returning, over and over, to the sweet, salt sea. It's a connection not everyone shares. It's coming home.

Sometimes all you can steal from your frantic life may be a week. So you jump in the car and take off. You anticipate that first glimpse of marsh grass. Take a deep breath and breathe in the salt air. Cross that first bridge over a tidal river, and feel that heart-string tug.

And then you're there. On some coastal road, paralleling some beach. All the windows down, rolling along, Bob Marley playing soft on the radio, the sound of gulls and surf like music to your ears...

You're back to the sea.

It could be any beach, on any continent. You'd feel like you were home on any of them. But some are special. Some have taken up residence in your heart. Some are places where memories have been made, year after year after you.

For me, my special beach is Jekyll Island.

Home. Even if for just a little while, a place to relax, recharge, and be your best self.

A place to breathe in. Breathe out. And move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - Love you, James. See you on the sand.

Sep 12, 2018

Well Blow Me Down!

Avast ye, Jekyll Island Pirates!

No worries, mates! The 2018 Shrimp and Grits Festival is still in the works, despite hurricane Florence looming to the northwest. "As of today (Sept. 11), the festival will continue as planned," Jekyll Island Authority spokesperson Meggan Hood stated. Hood said they are monitoring the situation, and will keep folks informed if anything changes.

And believe it or not, the weather is supposed to be sunny and clear! Florence is sucking all the moisture northward, leaving blue skies on the Georgia coast.

Aye, pirates! Clear sailing ahead (crossed fingers). Come get your shrimp and grits - but bring your rain gear, just in case.

So "Blow me down!" Down to Jekyll Island, that is! With apologies to Popeye.

Until you snarf out on creative crustacean dishes on Jekyll Island - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - leave some shrimp and grits for me, James!

Jul 12, 2018

Bagger Vance Ain't Got Nothin' on Me!

Avast, Jekyll Islander Adventurers!

Borrowed a page from Bagger Vance's book and went golfing with the boys yesterday afternoon. We had rain checks from a few weeks prior, when we got caught up in a monsoon around hole 3. At the clubhouse, the old pro honored our passes and when I told him I wanted to rent a set of clubs he just waved a hand and said, "Nah, don't worry about it, just grab a bag, I'll let you borrow 'em."

That's how they roll at Country Land Golf Course. Besides, they know me there, and know how I play. Old guy probably felt sorry for me...

Anyway. So we played for free, the three of us. I can dig free.

It was great fun, though I played my usual hacker type game. Lost a lot of balls. None of us are all that good, though Scott and Josh were pretty hot. We play mostly to be outdoors and spend time together.

We were finishing up around 7:30 when I noticed a lone songbird picking around on the ground next to the green. That bird was the only wildlife we'd seen all afternoon. I pointed him out to Josh. "If we were playing on Jekyll Island, by now we'd have seen 50 deer, a dozen gators, a handful of turtles, several herons, cranes and assorted birds, plus maybe a stray osprey hunting the pond hazards." Josh agreed.

When on Jekyll, we usually play on Great Dunes, 'cause 9 holes is about all the golf I can handle. Sometimes we play Indian Mound, Oleander or Pine Lake. They're all challenging courses, especially for duffers. But half the fun is being together and checking out the wildlife.

I've almost nailed a few big bucks with my errant drives. They probably breathe a sigh of relief when we finish for the day!

As Bagger Vance said, "What I'm talking about is a game...a game that can't be won, only played."

And it's best when played on Jekyll Island with folks you love.

Until we meet on the fairways of Jekyll Island...breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - see you on the sand, James. The sand "traps", that is!

Jul 04, 2018

Stalked by a Shark

Ahoy, Jekyll Island Pirates!

Ever been stalked by a shark? I'm not talking about your psychotic, Jaws type "eating machine", but your everyday, run of the mill, average-sized shark.

True story. I was walking at the edge of the surf line on Driftwood Beach one summer evening when I caught movement from the corner of my eye. I looked over and lo and behold there was a 4' shark swimming alongside me, in about a foot or two of water, about 12' from where I stood. To say I was taken aback was an understatement.

I continued my walk, and the shark tagged along. I knew the shark couldn't swim up on the shore and take a bite out of my ankle, but still it was a bit disconcerting. I kept watch on my new found finned friend, and we moseyed up the beach together. I could imagine what the shark was thinking.

"Come on, hooman. Step just a little...bit...into...the...water..."

I felt kind of like a walking piece of bait.

After about 50 yards, my shark buddy turned and swam slowly away. I'd like to think that it was moping, its heart broken because I didn't interact with it in its attempt at inter-species communication. But I figured that to the shark, "interaction" might include me offering myself up as the shark's supper.

No, thanks. I like my limbs where they are.

Till we meet on hopefully shark-free Driftwood Beach...breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - see you on the sand, James. Bring shark repellent.

Jul 02, 2018

Light It Up!

Hi there, Jekyll Island aficionados!

It's almost the 4th of July, and you know what that means...celebration of our nation's independence! Along with family fun on Jekyll Island, of course.

What mischief can you get into on the island this holiday? How about

  • Light up your life with Pyrotechnics! Fireworks on Jekyll will be on the 3rd (tomorrow).
  • Join the Parade! The Independence Day parade will be held in the Historic District, and is a participatory event, so come ready to have hands-on fun.
  • Village Green Fun. Kids, head on over to the Village Green after the parade for fun events set to live music.
Come on out and enjoy family friendly fun on the 4th on Jekyll Island. You can find more info on what's happening during the entire month of July on our Event Spotlight.

Grab a beach chair, lay back, watch fireworks, and breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

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

Jun 27, 2018

Make Camp X 4

Ahoy, Jekyll Islanders!

July is Camp Month on Jekyll Island. That's not an official title, I just made it up! Whether you're an eager kid or an aspiring adult, July IS the month for camps, and there are four to choose from.

  • Tennis Camps - choose from two. STARters Session Two is for older beginners and intermediate players, aged 11-14. Runs July 9-13. STARters Session Three goes from the 23rd through the 27th, and "serves" (pun intended) beginners of ALL ages. Contact the Jekyll Island Tennis Center to get in the game!
  • Golf Camps - July 9-13 hit the greens for Level One FUNdementals, for kids 6-12. Instruction, skill challenges, and course play included, with a bonus trip to Summer Waves Water Park. Then there's Golf Camp Level 2, July 23-27, for those who actually know a little about this game! Open to all ages. Call 912.635.3636 for more on how to join the "club" (Ha! Another pun!).
  • Sea Turtle Camp - Now THIS is the one for me (but I'm not a kid, so, dang). Enjoy adventure in the outdoors, meet sea turtles and Jekyll Island wildlife. If you love critters, you can get down and dirty with your fellow Earth-sharers. It's the "paw-fect" outdoor experience! (Puns everywhere!). Contact the Georgia Sea Turtle Center to find out all the details.
  • Time Travelers Camp - Go back in time at this history-lovers camp hosted by the revamped Jekyll Island Museum. Enjoy games and field trips, maybe even (gasp!) learn a little. For kids 8-12. Call 912.635.3636 for info. Sign up fast, 'cause you have to be present to learn about the past (I know, it's gettin' deep in here... :)).
  • BONUS! Real Camping - Want to camp without attending a camp? Jekyll Island has your back! Just grab your tent or RV or camper and head over the the Jekyll Island Campground, right across from the road leading to Clam Creek Picnic Area and the Fishing Pier.
That's it for now, kiddies. Pick a camp, join up, participate, and have a fun-filled Jekyll Island Family Adventure!

Just remember to breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

PS - Join me for a beach sand and margarita camp, James?

May 20, 2018

Jekyll Island Daze

Ahoy, Jekyll Islanders!

Where to begin? Well, we're back from another trip to "our" island, and we're trying to "decompress" from vacation mode back to work life. No simple task.

Not all bad, however. Martha retired in December, and I get to write for a living. Would rather write on Jekyll Island, but, hey, you can't have everything.

Had a fantastic time this trip. Here are a few highlights:

  • I pigged out. Literally. I dread stepping on the scales, and I know what my doctor's going to say at my June physical. But who could resist the food at Zachry's Riverhouse, the Wee Pub, the Pantry, Driftwood Bistro, the Beach House, Tortuga Jacks, and more! I just gave in to my cravings and went with the flow! Seafood, hamburgers, seafood, pizza, seafood...did I say seafood? From shrimp and grits to blackened shrimp to mahi sandwiches...topped off by Key Lime pie, of course. Sometimes you just can't say no!
  • Wildlife. We rented a cottage that happened to front on a major deer route. We lounged on our porch in the early evenings and enjoyed the comings and goings of at least 15 deer. Also saw gators and turtles in Horton Pond, a smaller gator in one of the ponds at South Dunes Picnic Area, some of Scott's "Mars" rabbits, and the ever-present squirrels. Plus several snakes (non-venomous), which we seldom see on Jekyll. And lots of birds, both sea birds and songbirds.
  • Music. Got to enjoy some great independent artists. Saw our friend Eddie Pickett at the Wee Pub doing an acoustic set, then again Thursday night with the Wharf Ratz band, and let me tell you that was some fantastic music! Then, Friday afternoon, we lucked out at Zachry's and happened to catch Joey Thigpen in a solo act. Joey's the front man for Backbeat Boulevard and several other bands. A great performer and a truly funny man, also very humble and approachable. He was kind enough to walk me through an enthusiastic explanation of the equipment he used in his performances. Thank you, Joey, for the great entertainment! If you can't tell by now, J.I. Pirates, I'm a huge fan and supporter of independent musicians. Next time you're on Jekyll or St. Simons, check out the area talent. Support these working musicians who put their heart and souls into their passion. Some are as good or better then known recording artists. You won't go away disappointed.

That's it for now. More later, with photos. Till then...breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

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

Feb 25, 2018

It's Swim, Bike, & Run Time!

Avast ye, Jekyll Island Pirates!

Time to tune up the running shoes and line up for the annual Turtle Crawl Triathlon. This year it's being held May 11th through the 13th. There will be two sanctioned triathlon races, the International Distance Triathlon and the Sprint Distance Triathlon, plus a 10k and 5k run. Enough fun for the whole family!

Online registration ends May 9th, to go ahead and "get her done", athletes!

A portion of the registration booty goes to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center for ongoing research and treatment of turtle patients, and participating athletes are encouraged to raise more funds for the benefit of our shelled friends.

Want more info on joining in the fun? Follow this friendly link!

And remember, when your swimming hard, biking fast, and sprinting for the finish line-breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

PS - see you on the beach, James!

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!