Of the eight large barrier islands off the coast of Georgia, only four can be accessed by a bridge. Sapelo Island is one of the islands that can only be reached by water and visiting it has been on my bucket list for years.
Sapelo is the fourth largest Georgia barrier island. Most of the island is owned by the state of Georgia. The state owned portion of Sapelo is home to the RJ Reynolds Wildlife Management area on the north end of the island, the University of Georgia’s Marine Institute, and the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve.
The remaining 434 acres is the privately owned community of Hog Hammock. Many of the 70 residents there are descendants of former African-American slaves. Today, some property owners live elsewhere and a few of the houses are managed as vacation rentals.
We spent Friday night in Darien so we wouldn’t have far to go for our early Saturday morning ferry. We enjoyed a delicious fried shrimp and crab cake dinner Friday night at Skippers Fish Camp on the Darien waterfront. During our after dinner walk beside the water we spied 3 baby alligators on the banks of the river and a manatee behind a shrimp boat.
On Saturday morning, it didn’t take long to get to Sapelo Visitors Center from Darien. After purchasing our tickets for the Sapelo Ferry we learned a little about the history of the island from the interpretive displays and enjoyed the views from the deck.
The ferry departed at 9:00, right on schedule. Pelicans were busy diving for fish as we made our way to the island.
Our guide Yvonne Grovner took us around the island in a small air conditioned van. Yvonne grew up on Sapelo in the Hog Hammock community and told us many interesting facts about the island. We went from paved roads to narrow dirt trails as we traveled around the island.
We climbed the 77 steps to the top of the Sapelo Lighthouse.
Our last stop before returning to the mainland was Nanny Goat Beach. It was a Saturday and there were a few people enjoying the white sandy beach. Our guide told us sometimes on weekdays there is no one else there.
If you are planning a visit to Sapelo Island, you must make reservations for the ferry in advance. Reservations are also needed to take the tour. If you would rather explore on your own, golf carts and bicycles are available for rent. A few homes are available for rent and group camping is available. Reynolds Mansion can also be rented by groups.
Our small tour bus with Rabbie’s Tours departed Inverness early on a Saturday morning for a 12 hour tour across the Scottish Highlands. As we rode from place to place our guide Colin filled us in on Scottish history and folklore.
Soon after leaving Inverness we were riding along with views of Loch Ness to our left. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one on the bus who was searching for Nessie, more commonly known as the Loch Ness Monster. We didn’t stop at Nessieland, a small theme park.
Our only stop on Loch Ness was at historic Urquhart Castle. The castle is undergoing some restoration and we did not tour it. It was our last chance to see Nessie and she wasn’t cooperating.
Most of the day was spent on the spectacular Isle of Skye. There are dramatic mountains and cliffs, charming seaside villages, and gorgeous scenery all around the island.
We stopped in the town of Portree for lunch and a view of the harbor.
A few people on the bus brought back some beer from the Isle of Skye Brewery.
Our last stop on the Isle of Skye was the town of Kyleakin. It was raining as we walked around the waterfront with a nice view of the the Skye Bridge and the Kyleakin Lighthouse.
It rained most of the way back to Inverness. When we arrived in Inverness that Saturday night the restaurants and pubs were hopping with young people out on the town. We found a restaurant with no wait, had a quick supper and called it a night after a long but fantastic day.
It was really sad leaving beautiful Ireland but the time had come to move on to Scotland. We boarded the Stena SuperFast VII Ferry in Belfast for our 2 1/2 hour voyage to Cairnryan, Scotland. The ferry was huge with lounges, restaurants, and even free WiFi. The seas were calm and the sky was clear for the entire trip.
As the ferry was passing by our first sighting of Scotland, we saw the Corsewall Lighthouse.
We picked up our rental car at the ferry dock and were soon traveling on Scotland’s roads on our way to Glasgow, our first destination.
Glasgow is a huge city, much bigger than I thought it would be and we only had one full day to explore. After a good night’s rest we enjoyed our first Full Scottish Breakfast before starting our sightseeing. Henry tried the haggis with eggs, I passed on the haggis. We set out on foot to explore the area around the hotel. Our wandering took us to the Museum of Modern Art, George Square and the Glasgow City Council Building.
We decided the best way to see the highlights of Glasgow would be to take the Hop-On-Hop-Off Tour. The tour was about two hours around the city, making a few stops along the way. If you got off, you could get on another bus to continue the tour. The top deck of the red double decker buses were open and a guide pointed out places of interest as we went. The city is an interesting mix of old and new.
The next day our adventure was a ride from Glasgow to Inverness in our rental car. After a few wrong turns and a ride through the Glasgow suburbs the scenery got better and better as the day went on.
Inverness is a much smaller city with the River Ness running right through the center of town and a castle at the top of a hill. The name Inverness means “mouth of the Ness”. We arrived early enough to take a walk beside the river.
Next up, a full day bus tour through the Scottish Highlands.