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Publication: Weekend GetAways
The Coastal Isles Of Georgia

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       WEEKEND GETAWAYS - Friday, September 28, 2007
    Make The Most Of Your Vacation - From Coast to Coast!

Greetings Getaway Lover,

The coastal isles of Georgia are a string of lush, 
subtropical barrier islands meandering lazily down 
the state's Atlantic coast from Savannah to the 
Florida border. The islands have a long history of 
human habitation; Native American relics have been 
found here that date from about 2500 BC. The four 
islands known as the Golden Isles -- Little St. 
Simons, Sea, St. Simons, and Jekyll islands -- are 
great vacation spots. The best way to appreciate 
the barrier islands' rare ecology is to visit 
Sapelo and Cumberland islands or take a guided 

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--DESTINATION: Coastal Isles Of Georgia

Each coastal isle has a distinct personality, shaped by
its history and ecology. All the Golden Isles but Little 
St. Simons are connected to the mainland by bridges in 
the vicinity of Brunswick; these are the only coastal 
isles accessible by automobile. Little St. Simons Island, 
a privately owned retreat with guest accommodations, is 
reached by a launch from St. Simons. Sapelo Island is 
accessible by ferry from the visitor center just north 
of Darien. The Cumberland Island National Seashore is 
reached by ferry from St. Marys. About 50 miles inland 
is the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, which has a 
character all its own. All Georgia beaches are in the 
public domain. 


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Cumberland Island National Seashore 

Nature Preserve, Cumberland Island National Seashore 
Though the Cumberland Island National Seashore is open 
to the public, the only public access to the island is 
via the Cumberland Queen, a reservations-only, 146-
passenger ferry based near the National Park Service 
Information Center at St. Marys. Ferry bookings are 
heavy in summer. Cancellations and no-shows often make 
last-minute space available, but don't rely on it. You 
can make reservations up to six months in advance. 

From the park-service docks at the island's south end, 
you can follow wooded nature trails, swim and sun on 18 
mi of undeveloped beaches, go fishing and bird-watching, 
and view the ruins of Thomas Carnegie's great estate, 
Dungeness.You can also join history and nature walks 
led by park-service rangers. Bear in mind that summers 
are hot and humid and that you must bring everything 
you need, including your own food, soft drinks, sun-
screen, and insect repellent. There's no public trans-
portation on the island. www.nps.gov/cuis. COST: Round-
trip ferry $12, day pass $4, annual pass $20. OPEN: 
Mar.-Nov., ferry departure from St. Marys daily, 9 AM 
and 11:45 AM, from Cumberland 10:15 AM and 4:45 PM; 
Mar.-Sept., Wed.-Sat. additional departure from 
Cumberland 2:45; Dec.-Feb., Thurs.-Sun., ferry depar-
ture from St. Marys 9 AM and 11:45 AM, from Cumberland 
10:15 AM and 4:45 PM. 

Address: Cumberland Island National Seashore, Box 806, 
St. Marys, GA 31558, USA
Phone: 912/882-4335 or 888/817-3421
Fax: 912/673-7747

Ebo Landing 

Historic District/Site, St. Simons Island 
In May 1803, an "Igbo" chief and his West African 
tribesmen became Geechee folk legends when they 
"walked back to Africa," drowning en masse rather 
than submitting to a life of slavery. Captured in 
what is modern-day Nigeria, the tribesmen dis-
embarked their slave ship and headed straight into 
Dunbar Creek, chanting a hymn. Though the site is 
now private property, it can be seen from the road. 
From the F. J. Torras Causeway, take the first left
on Sea Island Road, the first road on St. Simons. 
After Hawkins Island Drive, look left (north) just 
before crossing the small bridge at Dunbar Creek. 
The landing is at the bend in the creek. 

Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation 

House/Mansion, Sapelo Island 
Rice, not cotton, dominated Georgia's coast in the 
antebellum years, and the Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation 
is the last remaining example of a way of life that 
fueled an agricultural empire. The main farmhouse, in 
use since the 1850s when the original house burned, is 
now a museum with family heirlooms accrued over five 
generations, including extensive collections of silver 
and Cantonese china. A guide gives an insightful talk 
on rural plantation life. Though grown over, some of 
the original dikeworks and rice fields remain, as do 
some of the slave quarters. A brief film at the visitor 
center complements exhibits on rice technology and 
cultivation, and links to Sierra Leone, from where many 
slaves were taken because of their expertise in growing 
rice. htttp//gastateparks.org/info/hofwyl. COST: $4. 
OPEN: Tues.-Sat. 9-5, Sun. 2-5:30. 

Address: 555 U.S. 17N, 4 mi south of Darien, Sapelo 
Island, GA, USA
Phone: 912/264-7333

Other Places of Interest:

Neptune Park 
Amusement Park, St. Simons Island 
Named after St. Simons slave Neptune Small, Neptune 
Park, on the island's south end in the village, has 
picnic tables, a children's play park, miniature golf, 
and beach access. The Casino swimming pool ($4 per 
person), is open each summer near the St. Simons 
Lighthouse. Bathrooms are available in the library 
beside the visitor center. 

Address: 550 Beachview Dr., St. Simons Island, GA, USA
Phone: 912/638-0305

Sidney Lanier Bridge 
Bridge/Tunnel, Sea Island 
Head south toward Jekyll Island on U.S. 17; you cross 
over the longest spanning bridge in the state, the 
soaring Sidney Lanier Bridge, which rises 185 feet into 
the air. It's fittingly named for the Macon native and 
poet who penned The Marshes of Glynn, considered a 
masterpiece of 19th-century American poetry. It was 
inspired by the breathtaking vistas of the salt marshes 
surrounding Brunswick, St. Simons, and Jekyll islands. 

St. Marys Aquatic Center 
Amusement Park, Cumberland Island National Seashore 
If the heat has you and the kids are itching to get 
wet, head to the St. Marys Aquatic Center, a full-
service water park where you can get an inner tube 
and relax floating down the Continuous River or 
corkscrew yourself silly sliding down the Orange Crush. 

Address: 301 Herb Bauer Dr., St. Marys, GA, USA
Phone: 912/673-8118
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Beachview Club 
$110 to $220, Jekyll Island 
Grand old oak trees shade the grounds of this luxury, 
all-suites lodging. Rooms are either on the oceanfront
or have a partial ocean view; some rooms are equipped 
with hot tubs and gas fireplaces. Efficiencies have 
either one king-size or two double beds, a desk, and a 
kitchenette. The interior design reflects an understated 
island theme, and the unique meeting room in the Bell 
Tower accommodates up to 35 people for business events. 
Higher-end suites have full kitchens. 
www.beachviewclub.com. 38 rooms, 6 suites. In-room: 
kitchen (some). In-hotel: bar, pool, bicycles, public 
Internet. AE, D, DC, MC, V. 

Address: 721 N. Beachview Dr., Jekyll Island, GA 31527, 
Phone: 912/635-2256 or 800/299-2228
Fax: 912/635-3770

The Cloister 
Over $220, Sea Island 
The Cloister undeniably lives up to its celebrity 
status as a grand coastal resort. You can get a 
spacious, comfortably appointed room or suite in 
the Spanish Mediterranean-style hotel designed by 
Florida architect Addison Mizner, or stay in the 
property's more recently built Ocean Houses, which 
have dramatic suites connected by lavish house par-
lors with fireplaces and staffed bars. The state-of-
the-art spa at the Cloister is in a beautiful build-
ing all its own. You also get access to the nearby 
Sea Island Golf Course. www.cloister.com. 212 rooms, 
32 suites. In-hotel: 4 restaurants, bar, golf courses, 
tennis courts, pools, gym, spa, bicycles, children's 
programs (ages 3-19), airport shuttle. AE, D, DC, MC, 
V. 3 meals. 

Address: Sea Island, GA 31561, USA
Phone: 912/638-3611 or 800/732-4752
Fax: 912/638-5823

Holiday Inn Beach Resort 
$70 to $110, Jekyll Island 
Concealed amid the dunes and live oaks of Jekyll's 
southern oceanfront, this moderately priced resort 
hotel has a private beach and a boardwalk that winds 
through the palms and native flora. Each room has a 
balcony; none have ocean views, but the beach is only 
a short walk away. Golf packages include your choice 
of nine area courses. www.holiday-inn.com/jekyllislga. 
198 rooms, 6 suites. In-hotel: restaurant, bar, tennis 
courts, pool, gym, bicycles, some pets allowed. AE, D, 
DC, MC, V. 

Address: 200 S. Beachview Dr., Jekyll Island, GA 31527, 
Phone: 912/635-3311 or 800/753-5955
Fax: 912/635-3919

The Beachcomber Bar and Grill 
Southern, $7 to $16, St. Simons Island 
No shoes, no shirt, no problem in this small, rustic 
eatery where the walls are covered with reed mats and 
the barbecue smokes away on a cooker right beside the 
front door. Touting themselves as the "onliest Bar-B-
Que joint on the island," the Beachcomber has every-
thing from sandwiches to pulled pork, ribs, and 
brisket by the pound. AE, MC, V. 

Address: 319 Arnold Rd., near Ocean Motion, St. Simons 
Island, GA, USA
Phone: 912/634-5699

Bennie's Red Barn 
American, $11 to Over $22, St. Simons Island 
The steaks are cut fresh daily and cooked over an oak 
fire in this barn of a restaurant that has been serving 
St. Simons for 50 years. Though there's room for 200 
people, it feels just like family with the checkered 
tablecloths and the big open fireplace. There's also 
fresh local seafood. The pies are homemade. And there's 
music next door at Ziggy Mahoney's Thursday-Saturday. 
www.benniesredbarn.com. AE, D, MC, V. No lunch. 

Address: 5514 Frederica Rd., St. Simons Island, GA, USA
Phone: 912/638-2844 

Gnat's Landing 
American, $7 to $22, St. Simons Island 
There's more than a little bit of Margaritaville in this 
Key West-style bungalow catering to the flip-flop crowd. 
Seafood is their specialty with a gumbo that's outta 
sight. Besides being the strangest item on the menu, the 
fried dill pickle is also the most popular. And, of 
course, there's the "$8,000 margarita," which is about 
how much owner Robert Bostock spent in travel and 
ingredients coming up with the recipe. There's live music 
Sunday nights and once a year there's "Gnatfest," a party 
blowout with live bands for all those pesky regulars. AE, 
D, MC, V. 

Address: 310 Redfern Village, St. Simons Island, GA, USA
Phone: 912/638-7378


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