Monday, June 2, 2014

An Island Trinity-Talbot,Jekyll and Anastasia

Along the nature trail at Talbot Island

Say the word Island to me and I immediately conjure blue skies,white sands,turquoise waters and a cool breeze blowing over me as I drink a little pink drink with an umbrella in it .  I don't expect miles of salt marshes and tidal creeks-but I do now !  After spending some time at Talbot Island I have discovered the Southern Islands with their miles of marshes and winding tidal creeks.

Our campsite at Talbot Island-Space 33

I had no idea what to expect from the camping experience at Talbot Island and I was pleasantly surprised.  The campsites are mostly separated by the trees and palms so you have some privacy but not much of breeze. Space 33 was just around the corner from the tidal creek where Haily loved to chill out.  On the bug front-pretty intense but manageable with Avon Skin So Soft and Deet for the nature trail walk. Since we were here for only 2 days on this visit we stayed put and did our hiking around the campground.

The view from Kingsley Plantation on Fort George Island

On the day we left Talbot we gave ourselves an early start and made plans to stop at the Kingsley Plantation just a little south of Talbot. Kingsley was a complex man in that his household was interracial and polygamous while he was also a slave owner.  He fought early on for the rights of slaves.  Walking around the plantation is peaceful until you start to think back historically and remember the suffering that occurred here.  The owners house is huge with the widow's walk on top that was used to keep an eye on the slaves. Originally it was 1000 acres and has dwindled to 60 acres today and has been taken over by the forest.  The forest is so thick it's really hard to imagine that it was open cotton fields at one time with no shade at all for the workers.

Owner's house Kingsley Plantation

Look through the forest and see the slave quarters

A line of about 35 slave quarters

The widow's walk

Our day at the plantation was very contemplative, made even more so by the bus load of African American women from Philadelphia on a tour of the South.  Being appalled by slavery and the horrific treatment of fellow human beings is one thing.  But I couldn't even imagine what the women were thinking and feeling as they roamed the grounds and talked about generations past.

Our next stop was Jekyll Island.  I had a slightly romantic image of what Jekyll Island might be and most of it was just as I imagined.  Giant old oak trees draped with moss, huge old Southern Homes and a kind of quiet elegance all could be found here.  Jekyll Island Campground is large and well managed.  Fortunately we were camping during the week and it was only about 1/2 full.  They have a great general store,rent bikes daily for only $15, a wonderful laundry and access to bike trails and the beach.  And good news, the bugs weren't too bad at all.

The road onto the Island is lined on both sides with hundreds of wildflowers-it's just breathtaking.  And beyond the flowers are the tidal flats that you can see for miles against the blue skies.

Entering Jekyll Island's oak lined streets

Bike path to town 

I took a bike ride into town along a marvelous bike trail-completely paved and shaded most of the way.  It wound in and among the oak trees and along side the tidal marshes.  A baby raccoon jumped out in front of me and I passed a little fawn grazing along side the trail.  We won't talk about the snake but I did see the cutest little bunny rabbit near the airport.

 I call this a mansion, on Jekyll Island they refer to it as a cottage

The elegant Jekyll Island Hotel

Make sure you stop by the Turtle Center and support them 

We heard great things about the baked goods at Cafe Solterra and we were not disappointed 

A brief Florida thundershower cooled things off 

Clam Creek and a beach area is just across the road from the campground.  It's about a mile walk-all in the shade -a nice way to spend the afternoon. The pier at Clam Creek is usually filled with fishermen.

We left Jekyll Island early with St Augustine being our next destination-we had reservations for June 1st but we needed a spot to spend the 31st.  As we drove we figured we would run into something so we took our time and explored along the way.  Plus Hailey was dying for a jump in the ocean.  We pulled over to American Beach on Amelia Island and spent a little bit of time here. It's been a long long time since we saw the Atlantic Ocean and dipped our toes into it !

The tallest dune in Florida-"NaNa"

As we left Amelia Island we finally found a campground with availability-Faver Dykes, just outside of St Augustine. We should have recognized that there might be an issue since on a Saturday they were the only ones with availability.  The issue being, I swear this was the nesting ground for Deet resistant mosquitoes and no seeums !  This is the first time ever that I did not get out of Ruby while camping.  When I saw how Jim got attacked I knew I wasn't going to venture out into their nest ! You should have seen how quick we left in the morning-you would have thought the police were out looking for us. Lesson learned and off we headed to Anastasia Island.  We have settled in for 5 days at Anastasia and hope to add another week-but if not we will head North-we plan on being on Tybee Island GA in about 12 days. So Happy Trails for now-watch out for the no seeums.

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