We drove north to the Brunswick, Georgia area and stayed at Blythe Island Regional Park, a really nice county park. The Park was only about 5 miles from an exit of I-95 and located near US 17, the route we took south from Pennsylvania. Site 77 was a pull through in the woods and was probably the largest RV site that we have ever stayed in. It was level and hard packed sand with a concrete pad on the side for the picnic table. We have full 50 amp service with water and sewer and cable TV. There were two small lakes with a sandy beach on one for swimming and the park is located along the banks of the South Brunswick River with a boat ramp, marina and fishing pier. In short, this park had it all. The pull thrus were huge and the back in spots were, for the most part, equally large. It was relatively empty of campers except for the few fishermen and transients like us.
Jekyll Island and St. Simons Islands are lovely. We visited the Georgia Sea Turtle Center where they rehabilitate stranded and ill turtles of all kinds but primarily the loggerhead turtle that lives for many years and can grow up to 350 pounds. The turtle doesn’t mature until around age 34. They are an endangered species. The loggerhead lay eggs along the Georgia, Florida and South Carolina coasts and residents near beaches on the coasts are asked to turn off outside lights during the egg laying season so that the turtles don’t get disoriented. We met a guy on the beach in Hilton Head who had a 350 pound turtle in his swimming pool this past spring. Apparently, the turtle laid her eggs and decided to take a short cut to the ocean but instead found his pool. It took four turtle rescue folks and fire department personnel to get the loggerhead into a sling and out of the pool.
Jekyll Island is small and very bike friendly. We never actually found the commercial district but did stop to see some of the ruins of the old plantation. The buildings were made of a material called tabby which is composed of sand, water, lime and oyster shells. It is about 18 inches thick. Today, all of the concrete structures and sidewalks and even the roads have oyster shells embedded in them.
St. Simons Island is a lovely island. We drove to see Ft. Fredericka, site of a battle between the British and Spanish during the War of Jenkins’ Ear (apparently a Spanish captain cut off the ear of Lt. Jenkins who took himself and his ear to Parliament which promptly declared war on Spain. After the battle of Ft. Fredericka, the Spanish abandoned their push north. There were 1000 people inhabiting the fort and its town at one time. Now, it is merely ruins but interesting nonetheless. Unfortunately, we got caught in a downpour and had to cut the visit short but I did get to visit Christ’s Church, established around 1732 by John and Charles Wesley, founders of the Methodist church.
We also visited the harbor area with its lovely lighthouse and beautiful homes. Could live on St. Simon’s island.
Brunswick, Georgia is another story altogether. We had heard that it was a lovely quaint town but if it is, we couldn’t find it. There is a huge port that is used for the import of foreign cars and the parking lot is filled with all kinds of cars. The Brunswick River is a deep water port and the ships are interesting because they are totally covered – not like container ships but like floating covered wagons but huge. Other than that, Brunswick is a ragged, tattered town with a practically deserted downtown and a surrounding area that has seen better days. We did have a good lunch at the Marshland Restaurant whose menu consisted of Fried Fish, Fried Oysters, Fried Clams, Fried Green Tomatos, Fried Pickles, French Fries with a side of cheese grits. Oh, I forgot – Brunwick Stew, invented here. It consisted of smoked/barbequed port pieces, corn, potatos and tomatos in a spicy creamy sauce. The Brunswick Stew was really really good!