May 21, 2023 We wanted to get an earlier start to the day so we could make the most of the good weather. Bob made me a special Sunday breakfast of eggs benedict. Yummy! We got ready and were on the road around 10:00. We decided to visit St. Simons Island since that was where there was the most to see and Sunday was supposed to be the best weather day of our stay here. We crossed the gorgeous Sidney Lanier Bridge to get over to the island.
It rises 486 ft. over the Brunswick River and the Intercoastal Waterway.
At 7,780 ft., it is the longest spanning bridge in Georgia and the state’s tallest cable-suspended bridge.
It is taller than the Sunshine Skyway Bridge at 430 ft. tall. From the top, we could see a boat traveling down the ICW and the salt marshes surrounding the river.
At the bottom of bridge, we landed on St. Simons Island.
We searched out the Avenue of the Oaks–a tree “tunnel” consisting of a double row of massive live oak trees planted 200 years ago along the entrance to a cotton and rice plantation of years ago.
We could only go as far as the entrance to the Sea Island Golf Club. Beyond that, is for guests only.
From there, we headed down to Pier Village and stopped at the Visitor Center to pick up a map of the island.
We drove through the village and noticed lots of interesting shops, restaurants, and some very old buildings.
We followed the signs and found our way to the St. Simons Lighthouse and Museum.
The St. Simons Lighthouse built in 1872 is one of only 5 surviving lighthouses in Georgia and unfortunately, it wasn’t open until noon on Sunday. Ooops! We forgot to check on that forgetting all about Sunday. We did get to walk around the base and get a good look at the 3rd order Fresnel Lens in the tower. I love my lighthouses! Too bad it was closed! I was all set to climb the 129 steps to the top.
We did walk along the waterfront in Neptune Park there. It was a pretty calm day on the water and the pier was a busy place.
We saw this really cool dolphin exhibit at the waterfront park that explained how litter can harm bottle-nosed dolphins and other marine life. The dolphin structure was filled with litter.
We also searched out and found our first of 11 Tree Spirit creations that are located throughout the island. We found Cora, the mermaid. in the parking lot of the Visitor Center. We’ll see if we end up traveling close to any of the other locations where the Tree Spirits are located and maybe we’ll find more.
Our next stop was to check out St. Simons Island Pier overlooking St. Simons Sound. It is only one of three piers in Georgia that extend into the Atlantic Ocean. We wanted to see what the fisherpeople and crabbers were catching. The action was kind of slow. There were a lot of people fishing, but not many catching!
At the base of the Pier are many shops and eateries in the Village. One of the more popular ones we read about was Brogen’s South–an island institution for 40 years, but it was closed on Sunday too. We may have to go back during our stay and check it out, along with some of the other fun eateries we read about.
We drove north on the main road of the island to Fort Frederica National Monument. Fort Frederica was used to protect the southern boundary of the English holdings in the north from the Spanish influence in Florida in the south. They drew the line of defense at Fort Frederica.
We started off in the Visitor Center reading the dioramas and then sat for a short movie of its history.
We learned that the walls of the buildings and the fort walls were made of “tabby”. Tabby is a mixture of sand, broken oyster shells, lime, lime ash, and water. Lime was made by burning oyster shells. Lime ash is what’s left over from the preparation of lime. It made very solid walls and lasted a long time.
I had to try on the hat and uniform of the British army. It was made for kids to wear for dress-up in the children’s area.
Afterwards. we walked out on the grounds to see some of the displays. The palmetto-thatched huts are where some the soldiers of the fort lived nearby. There was also an example of a garden and workman’s shop.
The live oaks on the grounds were amazing!
We continued on the path towards the fort itself, reading the kiosks that explained different areas inside the fort’s walls. About halfway down the path, we felt raindrops, but the live oaks blocked much of it. It wasn’t long before the clouds opened up and we high-tailed it back to the Visitor Center, but not before I got a picture of the fort from a distance. The fort guarded the twisting water approach to the town. The fort was square with bastions on each corner and was separated from the town by a palisade and moat. The military town of Frederica was an English town of spacious streets and large homes. 116 men, women, and children lived there. The town of Frederica was defended by the fort and was surrounded by a protective barrier.
We were pretty wet when we got back to the Jeep. As we drove back towards Pier Village, the sun popped out, but we were already on our way back. The rain clouds stayed away as we made our way back to the campground.
We sat outside by the lake with Auggie for about an hour before more dark clouds blew in. First came the thunder and then the rain. We got everything stowed away before the rain came in torrents for about 20 minutes creating a river down the middle of the road in the campground. We saw two campers arrive during the worst of the storm. We were glad we weren’t them. We cooked an indoor meal with the continued threat of rain and an occasional shower. We planned our evening walk between the showers. Tomorrow there is more threat of rain, but the rain seems to pop up in the afternoon. Hopefully, we will get to visit more of the area before the rains come.