Wanderlusting: Jekyll Island

“Life is like the ocean, it goes up and down.” ~ Vanessa Paradis

Horton House

After our morning adventure at Driftwood Beach we went back to the hotel to grab breakfast and check out. I was sad to be saying good-bye to Jekyll Island and the incredibly friendly staff at the Westin.

Our next stop was Horton House, constructed in 1743 by one of the first settlers of Jekyll Island and a top military aid to Georgia’s founder. It is built of all tabby, which was indigenous to the area at the time and an ode to the coastal roots of Georgia.

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While the roof and windows are all gone, the structure of the building is still standing, making it one of the oldest historical sites in Georgia today.

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It is open to the public to explore, which is what we did. I was a kid in a candy shop as we went in to the two room house. It was incredible to think that it was still standing centuries later.

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The Georgia Sea Turtle Center 

One of the man attractions on Jekyll island is the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. It isn’t just a museum or an educational center, it is also a hospital for sea turtles that have been injured.

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My nephew is obsessed with turtles and the moment I stepped in, I knew he would have freaked out with excitement.

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Not only was it educational, with an emphasis on preserving these gorgeous animals, it was also interactive. As you explored the center, you could become a different type of turtle, learning about their life as you went to each station. They had a tiny turtle named Carlin swimming around and we saw how they fed him so as not to associate food with humans. We also saw surgery being performed, which while I understood they were saving the turtles life, made me cringe as I watched this little (okay he was rather big) guy try to squirm away in pain.

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In a separate adjacent building, housed turtles that were recovering from various injuries. It was insanely cool to watch as about twenty plus turtles swam about, some who had amputated legs. It really struck a cord with me and made me want to do what I could to help preserve these beautiful creatures that are so endangered thanks mostly to us humans who are not taking care to cherish such amazing reptiles. I also realized why my nephew loves them so much. They are stunningly beautiful, but also incredibly wise and delicate. With their lineage of being around for over a millennia they truly are remarkable and I hoe they will be around for many more millenias to come.

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Jekyll Island Historical District

While Jekyll Island for the most part is much more quiet and quaint then other islands, in 1886, members of a recreational hunting club purchased the island and built The Jekyll Island Country Club. Such prominent members were the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, and Morgans who would vacation there. The club shut down in the 1940s and the state if Georgia took over having wanted to own a barrier island to turn into  State Park. Many years later the Country Club did reopen as a designated landmark hotel.

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In recent years Jekyll Island has experienced much growth and commercialism with the addition of hotels and shops. Yet, half of the island remains uninhibited, with a dedication to preservation and the nature that had drawn people to the island all those years ago.

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Another quaint aspect of Jekyll is that many of the old buildings from the country club, to famous members houses still stand on the island today having been preserved and named designated landmarks.

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Walking through the historical district is truly a time warp. It is easy to imagine ladies in petticoats playing croquette and men in britches carrying hunting rifles, smoking a pipe.

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It adds to Jekylls charm and is one of the reasons I love it so much. It truly is an island with many identities and it offers a little something for everyone.

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Have you been to Jekyll Island?