Another Barrier Island
Trip Start Mar 04, 2005
253Trip End Dec 31, 2014
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Where I stayed
St Simons is not owned by the state of Georgia so it doesn't have the same strict building codes, etc. It is a bit more built up with some very pricey homes and golf courses. It has a very cute downtown with some really good restaurants and enough shopping to kill a few hours. If you should ever find yourself here we would highly recommend lunch or dinner at Barbara Jeans which offers up some wonderful 'southern style' cooking!
The island also contains one of five historic lighthouses that still exist in Georgia. After fueling up at Barbara Jeans we chose to walk over to the lighthouse and climb the 129 steps to the top for a panoramic view of Jekyll Island!
Back down on the ground we headed over to the Maritime Museum which is listed on the National Register of Historic places. It is also one of only three remaining Roosevelt era Coast Guard Stations. It now contains an interesting museum chronicling the history of the Coast Guard in Georiga.
Our next stop was located just a short drive away. Fort Federica National Monument preserves the sight of an early fort. This fort was constructed between 1736 and 1739. General Oglethorpe - remember him? - used this fort to hold off a large Spanish invasion in 1740. He also used the fort as a jumping off post from which to explore Florida. The fort suffered a large fire in 1743 in which the magazine blew up. In 1743 General Oglethorpe also returned to England, never to return to Georgia. By 1774 the fort was completely deserted and overgrown.
Fort Federica is unlike any of the recent forts we have visited. The actual fortress was located on a bluff overlooking the river. Behind it was located a town of pretty decent size. The town contained all types of businesses and homes. The entire area was surrounded by an earth berm. Fort Federica was determined to be of such historical importance that the entire area was set aside as a National Park in 1945.
Our visit happened to coincide with a renovation of the parks visitor center. They do still offer a pretty good movie and you can walk the fort area. Some of it has been excavated by Archeologists and you can clearly see where the streets and homes used to be located. It is a very pretty setting but it does require a bit of an imagination to picture it as it used to be!
We had one last stop on St Simons Island. Christ Church was built in 1820 but services had been held on this site for the occupants of Fort Federica starting in 1736. Ther current church was built in 1884 after the original one was heavily damaged by occupying Union soldiers. The interior of the Church is beautiful but we found the cemetary particularly interesting. Check out the pictures and see if you agree!!