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 20, 2020

Upcoming Events, Festivals, Celebrations on Jekyll Island

Upcoming events and celebrations for family fun on Jekyll Island

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Mar 05, 2020

Golden Rays of Sunshine - and Beer

Ahoy, Jekyll Islanders!

I'm sitting at my desk pecking at the keyboard as another of a long string of monsoon rains passes through North Georgia. I'm counting the days till May, when I can hit the road to Jekyll Island. There had better be no rain down there, as we seem to have had more than our share up this-away.

Whoever's been doing the rain dance...just stop it, will you?

A few random thoughts to brighten your day:

  • The Golden Ray is just lounging around out there in the Sound, waiting for the demolition crews to slice her up. Recently, I read a piece by Terry Dickson in the Brunswick News that had me chuckling. While writing his article, Mr. Dickson came across a website called vesselfinder. Which, logically enough, has the Ray on a heading of 199.7 degrees, tearing along at a blazing 0.0 knots. Destination: nowhere. Estimated time of arrival: never. Mr. Dickson (in a slight understatement) says "that's amazingly accurate."
  • In the ongoing saga of the Golden Ray, I'm not surprised that beer is involved. According to Mr. Dickson, you can get a Golden Ray brew at Barrier Island Brewing on St. Simons. I reckon if you buy a Golden Ray namesake beer, you do just what the ship did - you can "turn her up".
  • All joshing aside, I just hope they can get the Ray cut up and moved out without too much more environmental impact. It's kind of sad seeing her lying there, though. Ships should always be afloat. A capsized one, especially of that size, is a little disconcerting.
Till your feet tread the sand of Jekyll Island's beaches, breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

PS - Save a Golden Ray IPA for me, James, and I'll see you on the beach.

Feb 10, 2020

Villas by the Sea a Great Place for Families Visiting Jekyll Island

Find an affordable family condo rental at Villas by the Sea on Beautiful Jekyll Island.

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Jan 28, 2020

Turtle Soup

Ahoy, Jekyll Islanders!

There's a whole smorgasbord of turtles who call Jekyll Island their home, including several species of sea turtle. But one unassuming species lives on the land. It's the Diamondback Terrapin.

These small reptiles can be identified by the diamond pattern decorating their shells. Terrapins love brackish water, and enjoy chowing down on fiddler crabs, mollusks, and smallish fish.

Diamondback Terrapins can often be seen moseying across the Jekyll Island Causeway, and are often struck by cars, leading to a stay in the Georgia Sea Turtle Center's rehabilitation ward.

On your next trip to Jekyll Island, watch for your shelled friends as they go about their business, especially while traveling the Causeway. You may be able to get up close and personal with a terrapin, or other Jekyll Island turtles, by visiting the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, or Tideland's Nature Center.

You may not be able to eat one, but you CAN consider them turtle soup for the soul.

So shell out a little turtle love, and breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said, Rick

P.S. - See you at the Sea Turtle Center, James.

Jan 24, 2020

Best Jekyll Island Marina is Jekyll Harbor Resort Marina

Jekyll Harbor - this fine Jekyll Island marina lets you lay up in style!

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Jan 24, 2020

Jekyll Island Wharf Historic Jekyll Island Marina Wharf

On the Jekyll Island Wharf, you can tread where tycoon J.P. Morgan walked

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Jan 24, 2020

Journey to Jekyll Island Ga by Inland Waterway

For a different perspective, take the Intra-coastal Waterway route to Jekyll Island Ga and enjoy the beauty of the Eastern Seaboard.

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Jan 16, 2020

Perfect Your Tennis Technique at the Jekyll Island Tennis Center

Need tennis lessons? Develop correct tennis technique at the Jekyll Island Tennis Center.

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Jan 08, 2020

Quick Bites

Ahoy, Jekyll Islanders!

Chasing those Island Treasure dreams can work up an appetite, but if you don't want to stop searching to chow down on a full-course lunch or dinner, there are several spots on the island to grab a quick calorie refuel.

  • Docs - snarf down a hot dog, some nachos or a hot BBQ sandwich at Docs in the Historic District, then get back to huntin'.
  • The Pantry - Relax in the shade of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel and enjoy pastries, snacks, a quick sandwich, or partake of a chicken salad to die for. Your Island Treasure hunt awaits, so make it fast!
  • Fuse Frozen Yogurt - if the weather is warm, and your Island Treasure hunt heats up, take a little detour to the Beach Village and latch on to a frozen sorbet, yogurt or smoothie from Fuse. Just don't get brain freeze!
  • Sunrise Grill - On the other hand, if it's cold out and your timbers are a-shivering, duck into the Sunrise Grill (also located in the Beach Village), one of mine and Martha's favorite island eateries, for a hot, quick lunch. Then get back out there and find your Island Treasure before someone else does!
This is just a short list of places to sate your treasure hunter's hunger. Whether you take time to try one or all of them, just don't go back out hungry - 'cause a pirate can't hunt treasure on an empty belly!

So set you sights on finding YOUR Island Treasure, while understanding that the REAL treasure is time spent on Jekyll Island with your loved ones. Then, just relax, and breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said, Rick

P.S. - save some pirate booty for me, James!

May 28, 2019

Shrub of Many Uses

Ahoy, Jekyll Islanders!

There's an unassuming native shrub growing on Jekyll Island whose evergreen foliage conceals a plethora of uses. This shrub is the Southern Wax Myrtle (Myrica cerifera). You've probably walked past Wax Myrtles many times during your Jekyll Island explorations. They grow in Jekyll's maritime forests, and in the sand dune fringe.

What are they good for? Glad you asked!

  • Wildlife Habitat - Wax Myrtle provides habitat and food for our feathered friends. Birds love the berries, especially Carolina wrens. They gobble down the high-energy, waxy fruit, digest the waxy cover, then excrete the seeds, helping plant more wax myrtles. Rabbits, raccoons and other small animals shelter within wax myrtle thickets.
  • Erosion Control - Wax myrtles provide natural erosion control and help stabilize Georgia's dune ecosystem. They grow naturally as shrubs in sandy ground, but may be more tree-like in more nutritious soils.
  • Medicinal Uses - Native Americans used root bark for medical purposes. Substances in the plant can help control diarrhea and to reduce fevers, among other things.
  • Versatile Fruits - Traditionally, the small, wax-coated berries were boiled and the wax used to make bayberry-scented candles. You can preserve the berries as jam, or even make a bayberry wine - perfect for a Jekyll Island beach party.
  • Mosquito Repellent - Wax Myrtle leaves are aromatic, and have been used as spice or a substitute for bay leaf in recipes. Crushed, they also make a fair mosquito repellent, but you need to use a good many to keep Jekyll Island mosquitoes at bay.
  • Landscape Plants - Wax Myrtle makes a good screening plant in the landscape, and is deer resistant.
So next time you take a stroll through Jekyll's maritime forests, keep an eye out for Southern Wax Myrtle, a great plant to get to know.

Until we meet on the sands of Jekyll's beaches - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

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

May 21, 2019

Buried Treasure

Avast ye, Jekyll Island Pirates!

In January and February, Jekyll Island hosts "Island Treasures", where lucky scalawags can hunt down replica old-time glass fishing globes, works of art any pirate would shiver his or her timbers to possess. But did you know there's a chance REAL pirate treasure is buried somewhere on Jekyll Island?

The infamous pirate Edward Teach (aka Blackbeard), roamed the eastern and gulf coasts of the U.S. in his ship Queen Anne's Revenge, preying on Spanish galleons whose hulls were brim-full of gold fresh from the New World. Blackbeard's main stomping grounds were off the coast of North Carolina, but he was known to frequent the Georgia coast as well. And legend has it he hid some of his ill-gotten gains on one of Georgia's barrier islands. Maybe Jekyll.

Blackbeard finally met his demise at the hands of the Royal Navy, but not before he bragged that he'd hidden part of his treasure in a location that "only he and the Devil knew about". Rumor had it that place was an island off the coast of Georgia.

Jekyll Island? As good a bet as any. Imagine exploring the interior of the island and stumbling on a cache of Spanish gold, courtesy of Blackbeard the pirate. That would make my day!

Until we meet on Jekyll Island in a hunt for pirate treasure...breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - Bring the metal detector, James. We need doubloons for margaritas.

May 16, 2019

How Jekyll Island Weather is Affected by Ocean Dynamics

Jekyll island weather can affect your family fun time, and it's all dictated by ocean dynamics and the interplay of water, air and land.

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Apr 30, 2019

The Art of Jekyll Island

Ahoy, Jekyll Island Adventurers!

Jekyll Island is known for uncrowded beaches, delectable seafood, and great indie music. But did you know the island is a great place to see and obtain some fine pieces of art (not to be confused with "pieces of eight", ye greedy scallywags!).

Want to take home a reminder of your latest Jekyll Island Family Adventure? There's no better memento than an artistic piece crafted by a talented low-country artist.

You can find art at many Jekyll Island shops, including those on Pier Road or in the Jekyll Island Beach Village. Another great place to experience and maybe purchase art is the Goodyear Cottage Art Gallery, which is open most every day. Here you can step out of the sun for awhile and view paintings, woodwork pieces, blown glass, pottery, woven tapestries, metalwork, photography, and even fabric fashions. Much of this work can be purchased, too.

Festivals can be fine sources for obtaining art. The Jekyll Island Arts Festival is usually held sometime in March, and features artists from across the country. Shrimp & Grits, Jekyll's premier festival, comes around in November, and hosts vendors and craftsmen offering an eclectic blend of arts and crafts. And let's don't overlook Island Treasures, where you can search for and find your own glass fishing globe.

So if it's art you're looking for, you can find it on Jekyll Island. But don't forget. The most precious art is the island itself, and the experiences to be shared with friends and family.

Till we should chance to meet on the canvas of Jekyll Island - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - See you at the Arts Festival, James!

Apr 23, 2019

Lightning Only Needs to Strike Once

Ahoy, Jekyll Island Pirates!

Yarrrr, hope you've weighed anchor, have your Jolly Roger flying high and proud, and your sails are set for adventure on Jekyll Island.

Set sail for fun, but beware, matie! Spring has sprung. It's known for beautiful days, soft cool breezes and burgeoning blooms - but also for its fickle weather. Here be dragons, and as the weather warms, thunderstorms will spawn, and come a-hunting.

After all, Thor loves to throw those lightning bolts.

I've experienced lightning up close and personal on Jekyll Island, on my first trip to Shark's Tooth Beach. It was not a pleasant experience. I've also seen it while playing on Jekyll's other beaches, dancing off shore, spiking down from the clouds and spearing the water. If you're wet and on the beach when a thunderstorm comes stalking, hey, guess what? You're a lightning rod! Time to hightail it to the nearest pub (the Wee Pub comes to mind), order a margarita, and weather the storm in a safe haven.

When lightning's prowling the skies, it's no shame to imitate a chicken - and squawk on out of there!

Until we play on the (hopefully) lightning-free beaches of Jekyll Island, breathe in, breathe out, move on!.

Nough said - Rick

PS - see you on the sand, James!

Feb 21, 2019

5 Things I Love About the South

Ahoy, Jekyll Islanders!

I'm a life-long son of the South. My roots grow deep in this Georgia red clay.

So what do I like about the South?

  • Sweet Tea - nectar of the gods! Southern summers are only survivable by quaffing quantities of ice-cold, sweet tea when needed. Went North once, stopped at a restaurant, and ordered sweet tea. The waitress said, "Uh, we don't have sweet. Can I bring you un-sweet and some sugar packets?" I said, "Well, can I pay you in Monopoly money?" Here in the South, it's the real deal or nothin'!
  • Southern Girls - Nothing beats a sassy Southern gal. Good looks coupled with intelligence, and that sexy Southern drawl. A Southern girl will walk by your side, drink and cuss and love and ride and shoot as good or better than you. Because they're GRITS-y, you know - Girls Raised In The South! If you love Southern girls, raise your glass! If you don't...raise your standards!
  • Heat - if you can't tolerate heat and humidity, don't come south. We revel in it (maybe a little white lie, but, hey...). I can always take off enough clothes and find a nice river to cool off in. But seems I can NEVER put on enough clothes to keep warm in winter. I have a few friends who love it cold, but us higher-temperature lovers look askance at them. They might be Yankees in disguise.
  • Beaches - the South has some fine beaches, running from the Carolinas down through Georgia (shout out, Jekyll Island!), along the coasts of Florida and into Alabama and Mississippi. Spread a towel, order up some sweet iced tea, and lay back and enjoy watching those Southern girls in bikinis!
  • The Ambience of Place - this is a catch-all that attempts to bring together everything that makes the South...well, the South. People, music, food...all exude warmth and invitation. Whether at a Concert on the Square on a sultry summer night, in church of a Sunday morning, at Grandma's during a family gathering, or at a college football game, the people are warm and welcoming, the food homemade, hot and delicious, the music incredibly diverse yet holding to Southern roots. There's a deep history here, of struggles overcome. Cities like Charleston and Savannah are steeped in it.
The tides of the South run fast and deep in my blood. I may venture to far, distant lands, but my feet will always bring me back home. And when I pass, I'll lay my head in her soil, with magnolia blossoms floating gently down to mark my resting place.

So y'all Yankees come on down and visit! Savor some sweet tea. Appreciate our Southern gals. Loll around in the heat on a beautiful beach. Y'all are always welcome to visit the South!

And while you're here, breathe in, breathe out...and then move on back North, cause the South is filling up way too fast!

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - See you on Jekyll Island, James.

Jan 29, 2019

Tennis Memories

Tennis, Anyone?

These freezing winter temps makes my soul (and my cold feet) yearn for the warmth of the islands. Earlier today I found myself pondering some of our summer outings on Jekyll Island. Believe it or not, some of the hottest days we were there we spent playing tennis.

When our boys were young, back before the Revitalization Frenzy hit the island, we'd make it a point to hit the courts as often as possible. We'd usually spend a few hours a day at the Island Tennis Center, smacking balls around on the clay courts. Nothing beats tennis in the broiling sun! Get there early enough, and tennis pro Pete Poole might put us on the Stadium Court, which would still be in partial shade. Otherwise, "slather on the sun block and tough it out" was our motto.

Sometimes, we'd sneak over to the old Holiday Inn (now only a memory) and play on their clay court. It had a nice gazebo at court side, perfect for taking cool breaks from the furnace sun. And it was FREE, unless they came out and ran us off - which never happened, cause we were usually the only ones dumb enough to be out there playing in the freaking heat!

But our best memories were made playing at the old J.P. Morgan Historic Indoor Tennis Court. Technically a part of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, you were encouraged to actually book time on this court...but pirates aren't known for playing by the rules. We'd head over there as many times as possible while on the island. The old court wasn't in the best of shape, but we had loads of fun hitting fuzzy balls there. And you could play rain or shine!

I remember resting on a bench and watching Josh and Scott hit back and forth. Josh played number one doubles on his high school team. And Scott was, I think (though he never had a formal lesson), a natural player, maybe even Josh's equal. Both were way better then me.

It was a joy watching them hitting. Their strokes were hard and flat, and that ball flashed across the net like a rocket. The court surface was slick concrete, and the ball would skid a foot and bounce up about that same height. It was a surface more difficult to play on than even a grass court, and you needed to react fast. Usually I was late, and there was no telling where my ball would go. But it was grand fun, playing there with the boys and Martha, and I get nostalgic thinking about those good times.

Now the old tennis court has been renovated into the Morgan Center, a formal meeting area for the hotel, and all that's left us are memories.

Hmmm...feel a little warmer now. :) Can't wait to get back to Jekyll, and hit a few balls!

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

Nough said - Rick

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

Jan 26, 2019

The Sporting Life

Avast ye, Jekyll Island Pirates!

Jekyll Island is a sportsman's paradise, a place in the sun for you and your family to enjoy both active and passive adventures. Here's a teaser:

  • Golf - J.I. delivers 4 championship quality courses. There's the 9-hole Great Dunes, and its 3 18-hole younger cousins Indian Mound, Pine Lakes, and Oleander. Challenging for experienced golfers, but not too intimidating for duffers or kids. Hazards include gators and deer!
  • Tennis - with a variety of tournaments throughout the year serving adults and kids, plus lessons and pick-up games, the Jekyll Island Tennis Center is YOUR tennis heaven. And it comes with cooler, slower, clay courts, to boot! Lots easier on old (uh, senior) creaky joints.
  • Swimming - take your pick of the Atlantic Ocean, local hotel swimming pools, and, in season, Summer Waves Water Park. A kids delight! If you're feeling more competitive, sign up for the Turtle Crawl Triathlon.
  • Hiking - Whether walking for fitness or relaxation is your thing, taking to the trails is easy on Jekyll Island, as trails here have little elevation. There's Tupelo Trail or the Marsh Trail for a great aerobic workout. For a longer, leisurely hike, explore Sharks Tooth Beach access trail. Or walk the beaches, especially Driftwood Beach. Quiet walks through the area neighborhoods are appealing, too, as well as a stroll through the Historic Center.
  • Biking - with over 20 miles of bike trails, you'll get your cycling fix on Jekyll Island. Trails wind through the maritime forest, or meander along the beach. Follow the trail, or hit the roads for a more aerobic workout. And if the exploring bug bites you, break off to check out hidden island nooks and crannies and see what you and the kids can discover!
  • Beaches - beaches are one of Jekyll's main attractions. Ten miles of secluded sand for you to explore, relax and play on. Glory Beach is great for fairly private walks and to encounter sea birds. The beach off Great Dunes is more public, perfect for kite flying or throwing a Frisbee. I like St. Andrews Point, which curls like a breaker around the south end of the island. And don't forget Driftwood Beach for romance or photo ops.
  • Fishing - Jekyll is the ideal port of departure for guided fishing trips, both deep sea fishing and inshore fishing. Kids will love fishing or crabbing from the pier. Or wet a line with some surf fishing from the beach. Jekyll Island Fishing Center can outfit you for whatever you need.
This is just a sampling of the sporting fun you can have on Jekyll Island. Next visit, give some (or all) a try. And include the youngsters, cause there's nothing better than enjoying sports with kids. Until then - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - see you on the sand, James - the sand TRAPS on area golf courses, that is!

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 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!

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 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, 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 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!