Brunswick Georgia - a hidden gem 12.6.2017
We got off the Atlantic and docked at Brunswick Landing Marina. It was easy docking all three boats in a row right in front of the office. This marina sure knows how to make sailors feel welcome. The perks include, free laundry, free happy hour in a lovely common area, free use of bikes, wifi and lovely showers and docks. This is place I could stay for a while at some point. Historically, the navy has used this area as a hurricane hole dating back to WWII and many pleasure sailors use it as a place to stay during hurricane season now. There are many who stay here for 6 months each year.
After the night sail, we all needed time to eat lunch, shower and take a well-deserved nap. Bob felt he had gotten a fair amount of sleep during the night and wanted to get some boat things done prior to us leaving the boat for the day – so he didn’t join me in a nap. At 5:00 Bob and I streamed Mark Friedman’s funeral which took place in California. Mark was married to my first cousin Leslie and was a remarkable guy. I am so glad that we were able to see the service and also glad that my sister Lynne and cousin Dan were able to go to California to represent the Cleveland portion of the family. Streaming is wonderful – but I wish I could have given Leslie a hug.
After the service we met up with the others at the Marina’s happy hour. It was fun talking with all of the other boaters and hearing their stories, where they are from and where they are going. After happy hour, we walked into town and had dinner at a Thai restaurant. We got a discount because we were docked at the marina (another perk) and the food was delicious with enough leftovers for lunch the next day. I still like the Cleveland Lemongrass Pad Thai better.
Walking in town, we stopped to talk with a restaurateur who called us “boat people”. He said “he knew we were off boats because we were wearing sandals”. Funny that later, other locals called us boat people as well – a Brunswick thing... This is not a derogatory term as they know that we add money to the Brunswick economy by shopping and going to their restaurants.
The next day we met over coffee to discuss plans for the next couple of days and then set off to explore Brunswick. First, we went to the farmers’ market which turned out to be three tables, only one of which was selling produce. I got some corn and my first taste of sugar cane. The vendor cut me off a small piece from a stalk and I chewed on it southern style. It was juicy and sweet, but not as sweet as I was expecting. We then headed up to town and explored the old (circa 1830) city hall which is now a courthouse. The beautiful, dark wood courtrooms were on the second floor and are still in use (channeling “Inherit The Wind”).
Old court House
The historic part of the city is set up around a series of named squares with gardens. Some had fountains and lovely flowers and others were just grassy parcels. There were live oaks everywhere with hanging Spanish moss. The live oak trees are amazing with their twisted branches reaching out far from the center trunk of the tree. We went in search of the “Lover’s Oak” that is reputed to be 900 years old.
900 year old live oak with spanish moss
Sheila and Bob sitting on the Love Tree. - 900 year old live oak.
We passed many large mansions as we walked through the historic section and one in particular caught our eye. It was call Brunswick Manor and there were numerous people working on the house, painting wicker furniture, hanging Christmas decorations and working on the roof. I asked one of the workmen if it was a B & B and hearing that is was, I marched up to the front door and asked if we could take a peek inside. Boy am I glad I did!!! This was something special. The owner, Stacey, gave us a tour of the downstairs and told us the story of his buying the house. When the original owners divorced, the wife got the house and the husband got multiple silver pieces that were very valuable. Right before the divorce was final, the house was broken into and the silver was stolen. When Stacey bought the house, he had to sign papers indicating that if he found the silver pieces he had to give them back to the original owners. There was a rumor that the silver was buried in the backyard. Sometime later when the wife died, her daughter called the current owner an told him that the silver had been taken by the wife and hidden in the center island of the kitchen. She had sold off single pieces of silver over a period of years in order to pay for the upkeep of the house. When the current owner renovated he didn’t find any of the silver in the kitchen island.
The manor was all decorated for Christmas and was going to be featured in a house tour the following Saturday. The Christmas tree in the main room was decorated with glass ornaments made by Christopher Radko. The display was so large it took three artificial trees combined to hold the thousand-plus glass ornaments. Apparently the decorated tree was famous and had been featured on TV because of the ornaments. Stacey shared that the ornaments were worth tens-of-thousands of dollars.
Christmas tree with glass ornaments
We finished the day with dinner on the boat – feeling exhausted from the 11,000 plus steps it took to see the town. All during the day we spoke with local residents whether it was asking directions, shopping or just as we passed the beautiful homes - everyone was so welcoming. We even found an old synagogue but it was locked so we couldn’t get in to see it.
The next morning bright and early (8:00 am) we set off for Jekyll Island, one of the Georgia barrier islands. I had always heard about Jekyll from my old boss whose mother had owned property on the island. It was the winter home for some of the country’s wealthiest families prior to WWII. Rockefellers, Asters, Pulitzers all had winter homes here and the guide said that at one time 1/6th of the world’s wealth was represented by the members of the Jekyll Island Club.
Jekyll Island marina at low tide.
Our trip to the Island (through the winding rivers on the Intracoastal) was led by Trekker. We all touched bottom in the falling tide at one point in the shallow water right before the Jekyll Island bridge. Trekker dredged the bottom a bit longer than the rest of us as they have a 5.5 foot draft – ours is only 4.5 feet. That one foot makes a big difference.
We rode bicycles around the Island and had a 1.5 hours tram tour of the historic district. This included entry to two of the “cottages” (summer mansions).
Jekyll Island club
We also went to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center where we tagged along with a group of high school students to hear about the “patients” that were being rehabilitated at the center. There are 7 types of sea turtles and 5 of them are present in Georgia. The goal of the center is to care for the turtles so that they can go back into the wild.
Tanks for rehabilitating turtles
We rode to the Island Market, had lunch and then Bob and I rode on to explore the beaches. Walking on the beach with my feet in the sand and looking for sea shells is one of the most calming things I know. We met everyone back at the boats and discussed the next leg of our journey, had dinner on board and made it an early evening.
Stairs to beach at high tide.