Ode to a Sand Gnat

Okay, not really, but mainly because there aren’t enough curse words that rhyme.

Apparently, we are just in time on the Georgia Coast for Sand Gnat Season! Let me just leave it at this: the West Coast grows a weaker sort of person. Between the heat, humidity, and overwhelming amount of insects (most of which BITE), I am just not cut out for this part of the country – and IT’S ONLY MARCH! Good heavens.

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The Golden Isles area

I enjoyed your review of Damascus; it looks quite lovely! I’ll tell you a bit about this area where we are, since it’s a convenient place to stop when traveling to Florida, which I know is popular with RVers. We are here visiting my sister and her family, who live on St. Simon’s Island, but there are actually a lot of interesting things to see around the Golden Isles! Most people might book an overnight stay at this RV park in Brunswick because it’s an easy on-and-off the Interstate, but if you can stay longer, here are some of the things we’ve enjoyed here.

The Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island is a neat place to learn all about sea turtles. They have a sea turtle hospital/rehab center there, and a fun activity which takes you around the interpretive center in which you play a game to figure out if, as a sea turtle yourself, you would have lived to a ripe old age. We weren’t able to see a lot of the rest of Jekyll Island, but it is really lovely, with beautiful beaches and a historic district. Note: there’s a $6 toll to get across the causeway over to Jekyll.

St. Simon’s Island is where we’ve spent most of our time, and I love it there! One unique thing to do is to drive around and check out the Tree Spirits which are carved all over the place. My sister took us around to see most of them, but luckily for YOU, there’s a map. 😉 There are at least 20 of them, so it’s a fun treasure hunt!

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Also on St. Simons is a lighthouse; the best way to absorb the history of this area is to read the St. Simon’s Trilogy by Eugenia Price, which goes into detail about the history of the lighthouse and the island and it’s people. We very much enjoyed the newly-remodeled lighthouse museum here. The docent who met us at the door gave us a lot of information before letting us look around on our own. The upstairs rooms are furnished as if a lighthouse keeper were living there back in the day, to give you an idea of what living there might have been like. There are several ghost stories associated with this lighthouse. 🙂 Climbing the lighthouse is very good exercise, but if you aren’t used to stairs, you may be sore for about three days, LOL. (don’t ask me how I know!)

view from the top!

view from the top!

 

Next up: Fort Frederica! We have been traveling the country for the last nine months, collecting junior ranger badges and experiences, and this program is the most impressive we’ve seen to date. Instead of just a workbook, junior rangers get a (borrowed) haversack full of amazing props; a hat or bonnet to wear, a compass, an old-timey telescope, an 18th-century newspaper, a protractor, a tallow candle, etc. The workbook has embedded letters, missions, and maps that are exciting to uncover, and you follow a story around the fort’s ruins as you learn not only about the fort itself, but also the individual people who lived there. This is the best example of experiential learning over busy-work (like crossword or number puzzles) we’ve seen so far, and it was a breath of fresh air.

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The grounds here are just beautiful. This  is where the old fort wall used to be.

The grounds here are just beautiful. This is where the old fort wall used to be.

 

Just up the interstate in Darien is Fort King George, built in 1721! We enjoyed the museum, especially the display on the local herbal apothecary and some of the artifacts. Don’t miss some of the fantastic maps of early America in the theater, which are quite interesting. The fort is a great reconstruction and our kids enjoyed walking through it, but it would have been nice if there were more a few more interpretive signs in the fort area. We were there on a quiet day, but I’m sure it’s quite hopping when they have the reenactors there (which apparently happens on a regular basis, with blacksmiths, etc.)

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wow, the ACTING! She looks miserable. LOL

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The last place I’ll tell you about (this is getting long) is about 45 minutes up the highway (you have to jump off of 95 onto 17 for a bit, but it’s easy to get back to 95 when you need to, either on the way to or from Savannah) to the historic town of Midway, GA. Rhanna and I passed by here in January and just had to return to spend time at the museum and cemetery there. Puritans founded this town in 1754, and the rich historical background through both the Revolutionary and Civil wars is amazing. Definitely make time to go to the museum there, run by a tireless woman named Diane, who spent two and a half HOURS giving us a private tour of the museum and the old church (which is so cool inside). Rhanna and I were totally geeking out. The cemetery is a walled one and has a really cool atmosphere. For somewhere that seems like a small, sleepy, middle-of-nowhere place, there is a huge amount of history here. (Delegates to the Continental Congress, signers of the Declaration of Independence, and connections to about four Presidents! Very surprising!)

Midway cemetery and church

Midway cemetery and church

 

4 Comments

  1. Oh, I love your post! So fun to read about the places you are discovering on your journey 🙂 They sound amazing, except for the sand gnats, of course!

  2. Linda and Michael says:

    Way cool info., your gracious sharing is so appreciated. Linda

  3. Linda and Michael says:

    Sand gnat all natural spray for keeping those bugs at bay…

    1/2 cup Witch Hazel
    1/2 cup Listerine
    1 TB Tea tree oil

    Place in a $ store spray bottle and this has done the trick for us…good luck

    1. Kelli says:

      Thanks for the recipe, Linda!