centuries the beautiful coast of Georgia has enchanted poets, authors
and musicians alike. The ribbon-smooth beaches, the marshes and
moss-draped oaks create a unique haven. Sidney Lanier was inspired
to write his famous poem Marshes of Glynn in tribute
to the long-stemmed grasses that change color each season and the
live oak trees draped with moss that provide a hauntingly beautiful
and romantic setting.
Along the Georgia coast, between Savannah
and Jacksonville, Florida, youll find the city of Brunswick
and four barrier islands: St. Simons, Sea Island, Little St. Simons
When Spanish explorers came to the area more than 400 years ago
seeking gold, they found instead the astounding beauty, mild temperatures
and a natural radiance that inspired them to call the area the Golden
One of the first things you notice is the marsh. Huge expanses of
marshland, punctuated by small islands, known as hammocks, define
the landscape and create the appearance of continuous land between
the mainland and the barrier islands. The marshes and the rivers
that flow through them on their way to the sea teem with all sorts
of fish, birds and animals.
Mainland Brunswick was named for Braunsweig, Germany, the ancestral
home of King George II, who granted Georgias original land
charter. The citys streets and squares are laid out in a formal
grid, similar to Savannah and other colonial cities, and continue
to bear their colonial names. Old Town, a National Register District,
is filled with majestic homes noted for their turn-of-the-century
elegance and eclectic mix of styles. The burgeoning downtown is
filled with interesting antique shops and a growing number of specialty
shops and art galleries. At Mary Ross Park on the waterfront, youll
see fleets of shrimp boats that work the local waters and contribute
to the areas rich seafood industry.
Cross the Marshes of Glynn, immortalized by Georgia poet Sidney
Lanier, to St. Simons Island, the largest of the Golden Isles. Moss-draped
oaks line the islands streets, creating an image worthy of
Faulkner. The Village offers a charming selection of shops and restaurants
that range from fine dining establishments to casual outdoor eateries.
Young visitors will especially enjoy Neptune Park, with its mini-golf
course, playground and the fishing pier. They may even see a shark
or some other sea creature, landed by one of the local anglers.
St. Simons Island offers plenty of interesting historical sites
and attractions, from the St. Simons Lighthouse (a working lighthouse
in operation since 1872) to Bloody Marsh, where British and Scottish
soldiers successfully defeated a larger Spanish force and ended
Spanish incursions outside Florida. Fort Frederica National Monument
and historic Christ Church are on the islands north end. There
are great beaches (check out East Beach by the old Coast Guard Station)
and a nature center that offers fun day programs for kids.
Little St. Simons Island is a private island, accessible only by
twice-daily boats from Hampton Point on St. Simons Islands
north end. The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island was built in the
early 1900s by the same family that owns and operates it today.
The Lodge offers accommodations for up to 30 guests, making it a
wonderful destination for family reunions and small group gatherings.
Guests enjoy a variety of activities from guided nature walks with
a staff naturalist to canoeing and kayaking and horseback rides.
During inclement weather, the library in the main lodge is a cozy
spot for reading, cards or quiet chats.
Sea Island is home to The Cloister, a world-class resort renowned
for its luxury and gracious service and site of the recent G-8 Summit.
The Cloister has hosted presidents, royalty and other VIPs. The
new Ocean Houses offer beautiful oceanfront accommodations and flexibility
for accommodating groups of most any size. Top-notch amenities include
a full-service spa, golf, tennis, Shooting School, horseback riding,
kids programs, a private beach, fishing, waterway excursions and
more. Special theme weekends throughout the year are devoted to
ballroom dancing, bridge and fine wines.
Jekyll Island, the southernmost of the Golden Isles, was once an
exclusive winter retreat for some of Americas wealthiest families.
From 1887 to 1942, the Jekyll Island Club counted among its members
such men as J.P. Morgan, William Rockefeller, Joseph Pulitzer and
other industrial and financial leaders of their day. They created
a complex that included a grand clubhouse (now the Jekyll Island
Club Hotel), a collection of cottages and a variety
of support structures. Now a National Historic Landmark, the Historic
District is open to the public.
Jekyll Island was purchased by the State of Georgia in 1947 and
is today a popular year-round destination for families and business
travelers. The island offers a wealth of amenities and activities
including 63 holes of golf, tennis, beaches, 20 miles of bike paths,
mini-golf, nature tours and Summer Waves Waterpark. Jekyll Island
retains much of its natural beauty, which is protected by law. There
are places, such as the driftwood beach on the islands
north end and St. Andrews beach on the south end, where you can
feel as though youre Robinson Crusoe on your own desert island.
Ray Charles moving rendition of Georgia on my Mind
manages to capture the ambiance of the entire state, yet nowhere
can you feel the full force of the romance and radiance of the state
more so than this much-acclaimed seaside getaway.
OF BRUNSWICK-GOLDEN ISLES CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU