Saturday, May 18, 2024

Anniversary Celebration on Jekyll Island

Our two-year anniversary celebration took us to Jekyll Island this week. Here is my album of memories.

cover of free visitor guide

If you don't already know, Jekyll Island is one of the four "Golden Isles" that are barrier islands on Georgia's Atlantic coast. The others are St. Simons Island, Sea Island, and Little St. Simons Island. They are all close to Brunswick, Georgia, and about an hour's drive north of Jacksonville, Florida. From our home, Jekyll is about a 3-to-3 1/2 hour drive. 

we exchanged cards;
the trip was our gift to each other

Having been to the busy activity of St. Simons several times in the past, I suggested we go to Jekyll where the atmosphere is a little quieter with less traffic. (That could be different in the summer months, when school is out, I don't know.)

M.E. Thompson Bridge

To access the island, we drove over the Jekyll River on the M.E. Thompson Bridge. The island is 1 1/2 miles wide and 7 miles long. There are 10 miles of beaches. 

Sidney Lanier Bridge in the distance

Within view of our destination we could see the impressive bridge linking Brunswick to St. Simons Island. This longest-spanning bridge in Georgia stretches 7, 779 feet across and reaches 480 feet at its highest point. (info from Wikipedia)

Plantation Oak in historic district;
over 7 feet in diameter; oldest tree on the island;
about 350 years old

Jekyll Island is a state park so before entering the island via a causeway and the bridge, we stopped at the Visitors Center to pay admission, $10 per day per car. There was a wonderful gift shop and clean restrooms.

tide coming in at the wharf
on Jekyll River

After driving 3 hours, we were ready to think about lunch and we couldn't check into our hotel until 4pm, so we scouted out a good place to eat.

Wharf Restaurant

The above snapshot doesn't do the restaurant justice; I'm posting it to show the sign and its location on the water (as the tide is coming in). With both indoor and outdoor dining, we opted for outside, which was also just steps away from sign-ups for the Dolphin Cruise.


I chose The Wharf Burger with cole slaw; Gary ordered the Shrimp Basket with Hush Puppies.

After lunch we had some time before the Dolphin tour, so we walked across the road to see the Jekyll Island Club Resort. 

Jekyll Island Club Resort behind us

To give you a little history, in the 1800s Jekyll Island became an exclusive hunting club for the Rockefellers, Morgans, Vanderbilts, Pulitzers, and Bakers. In 1947 the island was established as a state park.

1940 Buick Special 8

Stationed in front of the resort was this car which drew Gary like a magnet. One writer said he wondered about all the conversations behind the wheel of this car when President Roosevelt was in office, the attack on Pearl Harbor, Normandy, World War II -- all were taking place.

print by Bruce Gourley

While we were admiring this car, a man walked up with the keys, opened it up and asked if we'd like to hear the engine. He started it up and then drove it off, presumably to keep all the parts in operating order.

Jekyll Island Club Resort patio and fountain area

Guests are allowed to wander through the resort. We admired this outdoor area before going indoors.

stair case inside Jekyll Island Club Resort

I did not take many pictures inside because I was just so enthralled with everything. It was a lot to take in. The wood work of this stair case in the main hall was stunning. 

main dining room

There were smaller rooms on both sides of the main hall classically furnished with couches, easy chairs, and tables but the above appeared to be the primary dining room.

It was time to get back to the wharf for the Dolphin Tour.

tour boat at dock

Our boat had many benches in an open-air setting with a substantial roof for shade that also served to store the life vests, should they be needed. 

We sat about half-way back on the port side (which is the left side -- I had to look that up!). The boat holds 48 passengers plus the pilot and the tour guide.

that's a Dolphin fin in the water, on the right

The voyage lasted 90 minutes as we traveled on the Jekyll River toward the southernmost end of the island, eventually entering the Atlantic Ocean. 

best of my Dolphin fin snapshots

As you can readily see, I'm not a professional photographer, so this is the best of many attempts to catch the stars of the show. But I will give the disclaimer stated by our tour guide who readily admitted from the start that he never knows if the dolphins will appear for any of these boat cruises. The boat was launched and we scanned the water for indications they are out there. Splashing in the distance is what we look for.

Dolphins splashing as they .....

We saw no high jumps out of the water. Our host said usually that is not seen unless you're at a theme park where the sea life is both trained and rewarded, neither of which is the case out in the wild like this. He did tell us that when they are splashing a lot, they are usually either trying to attract a date, mating, or giving birth. Gestation, by the way takes a year. 

where river meets ocean

Another feature of this trip was to see where the river water meets up with ocean water, creating a sort of rugged line of brown and blue water. 

I have seen something like this before when clear spring water meets up with muddy river water, creating parallel currents until eventually, downstream, they blend into one.

river meets ocean, from
the ocean perspective

Gary asked me what the orangish blobs were in the water, which I could not capture with my camera, but there were A LOT of them. I raised my hand to ask our tour guide. He replied those were Jelly Fish. I'll show you a really good snapshot of one of those a little farther down in this account.

one of many yachts

Mariners can travel for a thousand miles on the Intracoastal Waterway, which includes the Jekyll River. As we headed back to the dock, we saw several yachts like this one. Note the bicycles in the photo below. I'll say more about bicycles later.

yacht with bicycle storage

We reached the end of the tour exactly on time and made our way to check in at our hotel. 

pool area at our hotel

Regarding our hotel, please understand that what I will say here is not  intended as a complaint but rather as helpful information before reservations are made. I will not name our hotel. It was beautiful and clean and considering the location, priced right. It was close to the beach, with beach access and we had a balcony in our 4th floor room.

beach access

What was not stated in the hotel description was what our balcony view would be: dense forest. Yes, we were a couple hundred yards from the beach and the Atlantic Ocean, but all we could see was dense tree branches! The beach access was a sturdy, well-constructed wood pier that required us to climb very steep steps (a lot of them) to get up and over and then down again over the berm that contained the dense tree branches. 

So, consumer be aware that "beach access" and close proximity to the water does not necessarily mean one can see the ocean from one's room, even on the top (4th) floor of the hotel. Okay. Wiser for the experience. It was still a very nice place to stay.

Also, as Gary noted, this hotel had more protection from storm surge with the berm and forest. Other hotels on the island were closer to the water.

quiet Atlantic beach 
with Cumberland Island in the distance

The beach was quiet and the sand very firm. That translates to being easy to walk on. We liked that. We strolled down about as far as that water tower in the above picture and then came back.

jellyfish on the beach

I promised earlier to say more about the jellyfish. We saw hundreds of them in the water during our boat tour and then a huge number of them were deposited on the beach from when the tide was high. This one was about as big as the span of a man's hand. Very interesting. Of course, we were very careful to not step on them. I assume they were dead, or nearly so, being out of the water and absolutely still.

love note

Keeping in mind that we were celebrating our anniversary with this trip, Gary found a stick of driftwood so I could write a love note.

Beach Village (shopping)

Since Jekyll Island is a Georgia State Park and every effort is made to keep it attractive and peaceful, there are no malls, grocery stores, and certainly no Walmart. We saw one gas station. What they do have is a small couple of blocks with quaint shops for tourists. We also shopped at the Mosaic Museum gift shop which had the most unique (and beautiful) items for purchase.

Here are some of our purchases (please forgive the wrinkles):

It is our habit to make lunch our big meal of the day, so our supper that night was yogurt, frozen, of course:

New York Cheesecake yogurt topped with walnuts

And this note of interest: I was fascinated with how the creators of this wonderful place have been resourceful in their usage of natural elements to fulfill requirements.

Underneath the table where we enjoyed our frozen yogurt were jillions of sea shells instead of gravel. I thought that was very clever.

a parking lot

While I'm on the subject of ingenuity, here is a parking lot where they used sea shells instead of white paint to outline the parking spaces!

bike rentals are everywhere

One of the big factors that drew me to choose Jekyll Island for our trip was their bicycle paths. Bikes can be rented from just about every hotel, or you can bring your own. The beauty of the island can perhaps be best enjoyed with a bicycle. We did not ride this time since Gary needs a little more time to heal from his surgery. But if we go again, I want to do it in a cooler time of year and definitely either take our bicycles or rent.

The last really notable attraction I want to share is Driftwood Beach.

At the northeastern edge of the island, driftwood has collected over time from the ocean waves, creating an eerie scene, yet fascinating, too.

The sand is firm here and the sculptures are large, gnarled, and lacking any foliage at all. Somebody suggested this would be a good place for a wedding although Gary and I strongly disagreed. It would be an artsy setting, to be sure, and a white wedding gown would contrast sharply with the driftwood, but I would fear the implications of the happiness of the couple in years to come..... (just sayin')

This broken off tree trunk had multiple vertical cuts. I don't know how that developed.

St. Simons island with 

As I introduced this blog post, I mentioned the other islands making up The Golden Isles. St. Simons island is just across the water from Jekyll. It, too, is a fun place to visit, but for us, the tranquility of Jekyll was just our speed.

As Gary likes to say, "I'm old, you know!" Well, we're not THAT old, but for serene beauty, good food, and much less commercialism, Jekyll Island is a wonderful destination. It was the perfect location to celebrate our love and the goodness God has given to us.

This is the day the Lord has made,
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

Until next time, grace and peace.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Ne'er a Dull Moment


pound cake in cast iron skillet

While I don't like to use the word, "busy" (it can sometimes come across as a boast on how important we think we are), this past week has been, I'll say, "full."  Gary has commented more than once how our calendar hanging on the pantry door has something for us to do nearly every day followed with his sincere question, "How did THAT happen?!"

I dunno. Life. It doesn't necessarily slow down when you live in a retirement home. ("Retirement," as in, we are retired. We don't live in a Retirement Home. You understand, right?)

Let's Begin With Food

Looking back over the past week, it got off to a wonderful start with the baking of a new recipe sent to me by Ida, a neighbor and member of my church. It looked so easy and I love any opportunity to cook with my cast iron pieces. Ida did not invent this recipe but gave credit to Mrs. Pat, so in respect for this clever cook, I'll not print the recipe here but steer you to her blog post with the recipe. Click here:

Mrs. Pat's Skillet Poundcake

Calling for only 4 ingredients, plus shortening to grease the skillet, and with the help of an electric mixer, you can bake this in an hour, allow to cool and then reward your efforts without the need for frosting or any other embellishment (unless you want to, of course). Gary loved it and Patti-across-the-street liked it, too. 

the first slice

Very dense, moist, and easily sliced, I promise you, this won't last long!

Returning to our "full" calendar ..... I have no pictures for this, but I've finally reached that place in my life where I can schedule cataract surgery. I am eager to have this done so I can SEEEEE without feeling I'm looking through a haze. This past week involved medical appointments to get that procedure set up. Due to that, my blogging may be scarce while I rest the eyes. You understand.

Bicycle Bulletin

Schwinn for sale ..... sold!

While cruising through our community Internet marketplace Gary came across a non-electric Townie bike. For those of you, who like me, only know how to ride a bike but are not aficionados, a Townie has a more forward pedaling position and allows the rider to take feet off the pedals flat on the ground, and still have a proper leg extension so you don't hurt your knees. Also, the rider can sit up straight without having to lean forward at all. For him, in his current stage of life, this is a good thing. (we are not Lance Armstrong, racing-bike people)

Gary's Townie

We made the call and very quickly had a used Townie in the back of our truck, hauling it home. Since Gary has been instructed to wait until June to resume riding his bike, he could not ride it back to our house. I, however, gave the bike a spin around the seller's cul-de-sac and pronounced it a fun ride. 

my Schwinn -- for sale

While I did not need to replace my bike, as things turned out, another neighbor was selling a female version of the Townie. With my florescent bike vest tucked inside my bike helmet, this time we  walked over to see the bike and having made the purchase, I rode it home.

my "new" Townie bike

If you compare the 2 snapshots of my bikes, you'll see it's easier to climb onto the Townie and I really, really like that. My Schwinn took some getting used to with that higher bar between the legs. 

Also, a water bottle and attachment came with this one, as well as one of those cute-sounding "ka-ching!!" bells, so I can pleasantly notify pedestrians when I'm approaching from behind.

Gary moved my two mirrors from the Schwinn, which I count as absolute essentials (I miss mirrors when we're walking!). This bike had not been ridden in a while, so Gary cleaned off the dust, WAXED IT FOR ME, and pumped up the tires. (whataguy!!)

In addition to riding my bike home from where we purchased it, I rode all over our little neighborhood while Gary occupied himself with this 'n that in the garage.

Palm Surgery

On to other adventures of the past week..... Palm trees. I tell you, since I am better acquainted with northern climates and their vegetation, I had no idea Palms were so high maintenance. I think I mentioned in my last post that we have one in particular that needs serious attention.


This Sylvester palm (center of picture) had all that dead growth hanging on the underside.  Over time the branches just do that; this is a healthy plant.


This "after" snapshot was taken from the far side of the street behind our house. As you can see, this is a much cleaner cut, and by the way, better prepared for any windstorms that may come up. Very tidy. With hurricane season beginning June 1st, Floridians need to be conscious of tree safety. 

how to get to the dead branches

This last snapshot illustrates the kind of  ladder needed to do the work on the underside of the palm tree. The man doing the work for us is much younger and we hope he never has a misstep while up there. There are trucks that are sometimes used to do this work, with those cherry-picker baskets for the worker to stand in, but to get one behind our house would destroy other landscaping features. We've already had a conversation as to what we'll do when this work has to be done again. That may just spell the end of it with a large stump in our back yard as a foundation for a bird bath or a large pot of flowers. We'll see.

Mother's Day

from Gary

That delightful day began with coffee in bed and a card from my husband that would melt the heart of any woman. 

Cody's signature orange truck out front

After church we had lunch at Cody's Roadhouse. Gary had the chicken fried steak while I enjoyed the salmon.

Salmon over yellow rice with Teriyaki sauce

The hostess gave all the female diners a Carnation as we were ushered to our tables.


It was a wonderful dinner; no dessert needed because as it was, we waddled out to our car.

While the two of us have not produced children together, if we add up all of Gary's kids and mine, and the grandchildren, and his GREAT grandchildren, we could populate a small town. We heard from all of them. Even my newest daughters-in-law via our union reached out to me via text and phone call. 

I'll post pictures from years past of me with each of those born to me:

my eldest son and two of his offspring
photo-bombing the picture

my second-born son;
he and I both have gray hair since this was taken

my third-born,
my playful dancer and bookkeeper daughter

All of these snapshots are several years old, taken at those rare times when schedules allow us to visit in-person. I've become comfortable with FaceTime and am glad that option is available.

Advice From My Dentist

Earlier today I had my teeth cleaned. As per usual, a bag of dental necessities was handed to me as I departed. I like what this bag says, #SmileFirst.

Yes, let's be that person to smile first and change someone's day. You never know what's going on in a person's life, what thoughts are transmitting between their ears..... Don't try to change people, just be kind. 

Until next time, grace and peace.

Anniversary Celebration on Jekyll Island

Our two-year anniversary celebration took us to Jekyll Island this week. Here is my album of memories. cover of free visitor guide If you do...