Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for November, 2010

JEKYLL ISLAND, GEORGIA

In the late 1800’s Jekyll Island, another of the Golden Isles of Georgia, was purchased by a group of men who developed it into the nation’s most exclusive club. It was the winter retreat for America’s wealthiest families. This was at a time when the idea of a modern seaside resort was still a novelty.  They wanted a place where they would be with their own kind of people. They built the huge Jekyll Island Club House where members could come and stay.

JEKYLL ISLAND CLUB HOUSE 1887

All members were encouraged to lived at the Club House. However, some members preferred their own place and a 6 unit apartment building called the Sans Souci was built. This is where J.P. Morgan had a place. Eventually some members built their personal “cottages“. However dining and social activities were all held at the club. Although the cottages they built are not pretentious by any means they did have all the necessary comforts and services they were accustomed to. The cottages were built to be used as a hunting preserve and family getaway.

By 1900 the members of the Jekyll Island Club represented one-sixth of the world’s wealth. What went on here during the years of occupancy changed the course of America’s economic and social history. The Federal Reserve Act was created and the first transcontinental telephone call was placed from this small island. The Club closed in 1942 when enemy warships were detected to be in the waters surrounding Jekyll Island. Many of the members simply abandoned their homes, furniture and all. In 1947 the grounds and buildings were purchased by the state of Georgia and is now a vacation paradise with the restored Millionaires Village being a National Historic landmark. The clubhouse of the Vanderbilt’s, Astors, Rockefellers, etc. is now a hotel restored back to its old world charm.

We took a tram tour around the island and on the tour were able to visit two of the cottages. One was originally a farm house

DU BIGNON FARM HOUSE

And the other was “Indian Mound” owned by William Rockefeller. It started as a small house but with time additional rooms were added.

"INDIAN MOUND" 1892

 One of the beautiful features of this home was the extremely large windows on the back of the house. They overlooked the water and made for a most beautiful setting. The tour drove past all the other cottages, several of which are undergoing restoration. One, originally owned by plumbing-fixture magnate Robert Crane resembled a Italian villa.

CRANE COTTAGE 1916

"GOODYEAR COTTAGE" 1902

The whole area is very beautiful and secluded. We had lunch out on the porch of the Club House and could see people playing croquet, in their whites, out on the front lawn. We could pretend we were part of the Millionaires Village for a little while.

THE CLUB HOUSE PORCH

 

 

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, GEORGIA

We drove next down a beautiful avenue of oaks on St. Simons Island. The oaks made a shady canopy over the road, which led down to a private golf area and resort. St. Simons is one of the largest of Georgia’s Golden Isles, with the natural beauty of the area preserved.

AVENUE OF OAKS

On the island is a restored 1872 lighthouse keeper’s home and working lighthouse. The home is now a museum of the Coastal Georgia Historical Society. Compared to some of the lighthouse keeper’s homes I have seen this was a very nice one. Of course it has a beautiful setting right near the water’s edge.

ST. SIMONS ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE MUSEUM

On Gascoigne Bluff you find many live oaks. In 1794 timbers cut from here were used in building “Old Ironsides” and also some timber from here is in the Brooklyn Bridge.

Aaron Burr sought refuge along the shores after his duel with Alexander Hamilton.

SEA ISLAND, GEORGIA

Our plan was to go to Sea Island next. On Sea Island is the renowned Cloister Resort, one of the world’s great hotels. It has been a favorite place to vacation for several past presidents. While on St. Simons Island we asked about going there. We found out that it was open only to guests. We were told that even the help can’t bring a car on the island but are bussed in.

Read Full Post »

LIVE OAKS AND SPANISH MOSS

I am always captivated by the beautiful natural canopy that a row of live oaks, draped with Spanish moss, makes. They are called live oaks because their leaves retain their color throughout the year. They grow to an enormous size, some say they have an average life span of 300 years.

The moss is not really a moss nor is it Spanish. It’s an epiphyte, that is one plant growing on another plant. It produces its own food and gets water from the moisture in the air. It is a mystery as to why it is called Spanish moss. The most common explanation being the face that it is found in so many regions of the New World that was first explored by the Spanish.

I remember the first time I saw the Spanish moss was when we went to Sea Pines resort on Hilton Head Island. I was so fascinated with it that I found some on the ground and decided to take it home. Mistake. It gets a little smelly in the car after a while.

Read Full Post »

The day we toured the  Golden Isles of Georgia was sunny and pleasant.  We started in Brunswick, founded in 1771. It is a port city named for Brunswick, Germany,  ancestral home of  the Hanover kings of England.  The streets are named for various members of English royalty and nobility. Such names as Prince, Gloucester, Norwich and Newcastle give the Old Town a decidedly English flavor.

It is proclaimed as the Shrimp Capital of the World and is home of the world-famous Brunswick Stew. It is in the subtropical zone so flowers bloom nearly every week of the year. Their courthouse, erected in 1907, was our first stop. It is surrounded by many old moss-hung live oaks.  The building just would not look the same if it didn’t have all the live oaks framing it.

COURTHOUSE, BRUNSWICK, GEORGIA

Several streets in the Old Town are lined with old homes that have beautiful and interesting turn-of-the-century architecture.  Opposite the courthouse was a fine example of High Victorian architecture.

VICTORIAN HOUSE, BRUNSWICK, GEORGIA

We drove around the town and admired the homes and I especially loved the large, wrap around porches many of them had.

We found Lovers’ Oak, a 900-year-old tree. It was just amazing. According to local legend, Native Americans braves and their maidens would meet under the majestic spreading limbs. It was situated on an island in the street with its limbs going across the street and over the lawns of houses.

LOVERS' OAK, BRUNSWICK, GEORGIA

Read Full Post »

Now that we have had a killing frost and all the flowers in my garden are wilted, except for the mums, it reminds me of our trip last fall to Bellingrath Gardens in Mobile, Alabama.   Here is the nation’s largest outdoor display of cascading chrysanthemums.  There are four foot long cascades of mums on bridges, balconies, in baskets and in flower beds through the garden.  All the cascades are grown at Bellingrath and it takes over nine months to grow a single crop.  I can just imagine what an effort it must be to move the cascades to the various places in the garden. This was my first time to see cascading mums and what a magnificent sight it was. There are over 8,000 bedded, potted and cascading chrysanthemums spread out over 65 acres in the garden.

CASCADING MUMS AT BELLINGRATH GARDENS

MUMS CASCADING OVER BRIDGE

CASCADING MUMS OVER WATERFALL

Bellingrath was originally the home and garden of Walter and Bessie Bellingrath.  Walter was the original owner of Mobil’s Coca-Cola bottling company. The home, built in 1935,  is a museum and time capsule where you can see how the truly  rich lived.  It features the complete furnishings once enjoyed by its original occupants.  The 15 room mansion is furnished with antiques and personal effects but seemed very livable.  When we were there it was decorated for Christmas, which made it extra special to tour.

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS AT BELLINGRATH

BELLINGRATH HOME

POOL AT BELLINGRATH

SOUTH TERRACE

Besides the beautiful mum displays it was also delightful to walk under the  towering live-oaks draped in Spanish moss. On the grounds there is also  a rose garden, a conservatory, chapel, even an oriental garden with a moon bridge. A boardwalk allows you to enjoy the peaceful bayou that is home to fish and wildlife. It is a beautiful garden to walk around enjoy.

ORIENTAL GARDEN

BAYOU AT BELLINGRATH

When Walter Bellingrath was 80 he publicly announced the creation of a foundation to assure the continued existence of his beloved gardens and give credit to his late wife’s tireless efforts in creating the Gardens. What a lovely memorial to his wife.  There is something to see every season in this garden. At Christmas the whole garden is decorated with Christmas lights.  They were starting to put the lights up when we were there so we got a little preview of  their Christmas display.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts