Weekend getaway on the Georgia Coast

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 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 Saturday 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.

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Darien Waterfront

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.

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View from the Visitor’s Center on the mainland with Sapelo Island in the distance.

The ferry departed at 9:00, right on schedule. Pelicans were busy diving for fish as we made our way to the island.

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Ferry Boat on the mainland waiting to take passengers to Sapelo Island
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Georgia salt marsh viewed from the ferry to Sapelo
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Sapelo Lighthouse as seen from the ferry

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.

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Behavior Cemetery on Sapelo Island
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Tabby ruins on Sapelo Island, Georgia
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Reynolds Mansion on Sapelo Island, Georgia

We climbed the 77 steps to the top of the Sapelo Lighthouse.

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Sapelo Lighthouse, Georgia

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.

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Nanny Goat Beach, Sapelo Island, Georgia

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.

More information about visiting Sapelo Island can be found at Visitors Center – Sapelo Island

 

Meanwhile, Back Home in Georgia

It seems like we’ve been going non stop since we returned from our trip to Ireland and Scotland on May 23. Once I got caught up on laundry and got over the jet lag, I’ve been able to enjoy the summer.

With very little rain while we were on our trip, my garden was suffering when we got home. After a few days of digging in the dirt and a little watering, it is now thriving.

Some days are perfect for a boat ride.

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High tide in the Georgia Salt Marsh
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Driftwood on a Georgia sandbar

The hummingbirds come by each day and a painted bunting bunting pair and other small birds come by the feeder regularly. Wading birds are frequent visitors in the neighborhood.

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Great Egret

Have a great summer!

 

 

Pink Spring Blossoms

Where I live in coastal Georgia, March is the month when our azaleas and some flowering trees show off their brilliant colors. Some of the beds in my yard are filled with azaleas I planted about 30 years ago. Every spring they still delight me with their beautiful blooms.

Many of the blooms are gone now and after our first April shower this morning, a lot of the remaining flowers now lay on the ground. I’ll have to wait another year for the pink blooms to return.

McQueen’s – Tybee Island Trail

The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy nonprofit organization has created a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines. The McQueen’s – Tybee Island Trail near Savannah, Georgia is one of the those trails. The gravel trail is a popular place for walking, biking and jogging.

The trail suffered extensive damage in 2016 when Hurricane Matthew came through the area in October. Less that a year later, Hurricane Irma caused more damage. The work to repair the damage is still not complete and parts of trail are closed.

As of now, the only access to the trail is a parking area at the trailhead near the entrance to Fort Pulaski National Monument.  Starting at the trailhead, we walked until we came to a damaged bridge that still can be crossed safely. In all we went about about a mile and a half round trip.

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The bridge to Fort Pulaski National Monument as seen from McQueens – Tybee Island Rails To Trails, Savannah, GA
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McQueens – Tybee Island Rails To Trails, Savannah, GA
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McQueens – Tybee Island Rails To Trails, Savannah, GA
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McQueens – Tybee Island Rails To Trails, Savannah, GA
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This bridge was damaged during one of the storms that went through the area
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A great place to sit and enjoy the view
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Driftwood in the salt marsh beside the trail

We spied some wildlife along the trail.

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This little diamond back terrapin was crossing the trail in front of us
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Great blue heron in the salt marsh beside the trail

It was a gorgeous March day to get out and explore close to home.