Some medical issues pushed back our southbound departure by an unexpected two months. As a result we got to experience Buffalo’s Christmas Blizzard. Very memorable. When we finally did set out, it was to the beat of Canned Heat’s “On The Road Again”. We headed south to central Florida to be reunited with the Tincan. It was waiting patiently for us at Pat’s brother and sister-in-law’s house. After some family time we drove north to Crooked River SP in St. Mary’s, Georgia.
Our site was surrounded by Long Leaf Pines and gave us a view of St. Mary’s River (THE CROOKED RIVER).
The campground is just down the road from the King’s Bay Naval Submarine Base. Based on the traffic in and out of the base it must be a major employer in this largely rural part of Georgia.
The park offers a number of hiking/biking trails through the palmetto and pine forest as well as along the River.
There’s no telling who you’ll run into on the trail.
The ruins of a Tabby Sugar Works from 1825 lies just down the road from the campground. It was part of the New Canaan sugarcane plantation.
Tabby is a type of concrete made from burning oyster shells to create lime, then mixing it with water, sand, ash and other broken oyster shells. This technique is thought to have originated in Africa.
Part of the appeal of Crooked River SP is its proximity to the Georgia sea islands: Cumberland Island, St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island. A ferry ride is required to visit Cumberland Island but St. Simons and Jekyll Island are within an hour’s drive.
We took our bikes on the ferry to explore Cumberland Island National Seashore. The island is undeveloped and about 17 miles long. With limited time, we didn’t want to miss the last ferry back to St. Mary’s so we concentrated on the southern end of the island.
In the 1880’s Thomas Carnegie, (Andrew’s brother) bought up much of the island and built Dungeness Mansion. He died before it was completed but his wife Lucy and their nine children lived there until 1925. The deserted mansion burnt down in 1959. The island became a National Seashore in 1972.
We made our way to Sea Camp Beach to check out this popular destination. The park service constructed a boardwalk over the dunes for easier access to the beach.
Colonial era Fort Frederica is located on St. Simons Island about 50 minutes from our campground. James Edward Oglethorpe established this fort and colony as a way to challenge the Spanish in Florida. The grounds of this National Monument are lovely to wander.
The remains of the tabby powder magazine is all that’s left of the fort that guarded the twisty river approach to the town.
Just over the Georgia border in Florida is Amelia Island, again about 50 minutes from the campground. We ventured down to the island to explore the Eagan Creek Greenway.
We experienced some rainy weather so decided to leave camp and check out Brunswick, Georgia. The town boasts a brewery (Silver Bluff Brewing) and a rum distillery across the street. The brewery was crowded with St. Patrick’s Day celebrants so we opted for the distillery. Richland Rum proved to be a good choice.
We did a tasting and dove in.
In 1733 James Edward Oglethorpe established an English Colony on Jekyll Island. He named the island after his financial backer Sir Joseph Jekyll. The island now boasts 23 miles of biking trails, including 10 miles of beach riding.
In 1886, the island was purchased by the Jekyll Island Club. By the turn of the century they built a vacation resort patronized by some of America’s wealthiest families.
In 1947, the island was sold to the state of Georgia for use as a public park. National Landmark status was awarded to the island’s historic district.
While the history of the island is interesting, the main draw for us are the beaches and bike trails.
We have visited Georgia several times in our travels but never had the opportunity to visit the “ Golden Isles”. We are certainly glad we made the effort this trip. But we are not leaving Georgia yet- next up is the beautiful city of Savannah- just two hours up the coast.