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

 

My favorite place on Earth

I’ve had many people ask about my favorite place and the answer is always the same.

There is no place else on earth I love more than my little peace of paradise here in coastal Georgia. This is where our children grew up and where Henry and I are growing old together. I have the best friends and neighbors anyone could ask for and there is beauty every where I look.

Sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean
Sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean
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Full moon rising over the Atlantic Ocean
Sunset in Coastal Georgia
Sunset over the Salt Marsh
Salt Marsh of Coastal Georgia
Salt Marsh of Coastal Georgia

Want to go to an uninhabited barrier island? A boat or kayak will get you there.

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Boat ride on one of the many creeks
Uninhabited Georgia Barrier Island
Uninhabited Georgia Barrier Island
We had the island all to ourselves
We often are the only people on one of the uninhabited barrier islands

Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins are a common sight in the waters.

Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin near Tybee Island, Georgia
Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin near Tybee Island, Georgia

Let’s not forget the birds.

Roseate Spoonbill fishing in Georgia tidal creek
Roseate Spoonbill fishing in Georgia tidal creek
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Osprey
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Great Egret
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Juvenile Ibis
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Wood Stork and Egret
Male Painted Bunting
Male Painted Bunting

Whether you cook it at home or eat out at one of the many great restaurants nearby, there’s nothing better than eating fresh caught seafood.

Fresh Georgia Blue Crabs Caught, Cooked, Cleaned and eaten on Halloween, 2015
Fresh Georgia Blue Crabs straight from the creek to the pot.

I love to travel and always enjoy our wanderings. Every trip ends the same way. I know I am almost home when I start smelling the salt marsh and seeing the creeks and marsh as we drive the last few miles.

No matter where you may roam, the best part is coming home – anonymous

 

Adventures with Grandkids

One of the greatest joys as a grandparent is seeing our grand children’s excitement as they experience new adventures.

Our daughter is visiting us this week with her two children. At 12 and 10, they are our two oldest grandchildren. They live 400 miles away, surrounded by the Appalachian mountains, so coming to visit Nana and Papa near the beach is always an adventure for them.

Horseshoe Crabs on the beach
Horseshoe Crabs on the beach

On Memorial Day, we beached our boat on a deserted barrier island after a boat ride through rivers and narrow winding creeks surrounded by salt marsh. The adventure brought back fond memories for our daughter and made new memories for the grandkids. It is a ride we took on many weekends when our daughter was growing up and we are so happy we could share the experience with her children.

Riding through the salt marsh
Riding through the salt marsh
We had the island all to ourselves
We had the island all to ourselves

This is my contribution to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Adventure

Going on a boat ride to a deserted barrier island beach

Going for a boat ride through the creeks and rivers to get to a barrier island, beaching the boat, and being the only people on the island. Pure bliss.

Going for a boat ride to walk on a deserted barrier island beach
Going for a boat ride to walk on a deserted barrier island beach

This month I will be participating in the WordPress Photography 101 course. I hope to post a picture a day as part of this course.

This is my post for today’s assignment: Bliss

Staycation

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of staycation is “a vacation spent at home or nearby.”

There are so many fun things to see and do near where we live that we decided to stay home this summer instead of wandering in the RV. Here are just a few things we’ve enjoyed so far this summer.

Going for a boat ride
Going for a boat ride
Georgia Salt Marsh
Georgia Salt Marsh
Uninhabited Georgia Barrier Island
Uninhabited Georgia Barrier Island
Exploring a deserted sandbar
Exploring a deserted sandbar