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Little St. Simons Island, Georgia Coast

Last Spring Mel and I traveled to the southeastern seaboard. We went to N. Carolina, S. Carolina and Georgia. Late March and early April is a really nice time of the year there, we had really great weather, and the dogwood were blooming in many places we visited.

The barrier islands of Georgia include the ‘Golden Isles’ in the vicinity of Brunswick including Jekyll Island and St. Simons Island. These constitute what I think of as typical barrier resort islands with lots of summer homes, golf courses and beaches. There are lots of waterways, river mouths and creeks in this area providing habitat for lots of wildlife.

Off of the northern end of St. Simons Island lies Little St. Simons Island. This island is privately owned and is run as a resort – The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island (warning: this is one of those awful flash websites.)

The island was originally acquired in the early part of the 20th century by a pencil factory for its cedar. The owner of the pencil company came to the island after the company purchased it to assess the cedar on the island and found it wanting – way too storm-twisted to be useful for pencil blanks. But he fell in love with the island and bought it from the company for himself. He built a lodge and used it to house and entertain guests while they fished and hunted and enjoyed the wildlife and scenery of the island.

Today the original lodge still stands, and, together with a couple of more modern buildings and a swimming pool, are run as a resort.

The island is only reachable by boat. You park your car on St. Simons Island (the very furthest point of the island) and board the shuttle boat to Little St. Simons. It runs twice a day, around 10:00 am and around 4:00 pm.

Once on the island, transportation is provided in trucks. Guests may also use mountain bikes to get around, arrange horseback rides, or walk. There are kayaks and canoes and small outboard-powered boats to use as well.

The resort is all-inclusive. Meals are taken at a single seating family-style with a maximum of around 40 guests (if I remember correctly). Cocktails at 5:00, dinner at 6:30. The food simple, well-prepared and fresh.

Guests are catered to utterly. Each breakfast ends with one of the employees coming into the dining room and asking ‘what do you want to do today?’ Some scheduled activities occur daily such as a ride in the back of a truck with a guide looking for wildlife or other natural features of the island. Mel said she thinks of the place as ‘summer camp for adults.’ You can go to the beach and do nothing. You can fly fish. You can take a boat out on the waterways and try to see dolphins. You can ride bikes along the paths. You can birdwatch. You can hike trails with your packed lunch and find great picnic spots. This is unspoiled barrier island ecology, and we just loved it.  Be prepared to see alligators!

The Lodge website has some great pictures if you want to get a sense of the place. Here are a couple we took:

Front Porch - Lodge at Little St. Simons Island

Front Porch – Lodge at Little St. Simons Island

Fireplace - Lodge at Little St. Simons Island

The fireplace at the Lodge at Little St. Simons Island

Sitting Room - Lodge at Little St. Simons Island

Sitting Room – Lodge at Little St. Simons Island

Deck of Guest Lodge - Little St. Simons Island

Deck of Guest Lodge – Little St. Simons Island

Oysters Feed - Little St. Simons Island

Oyster Feed – Little St. Simons Island

Guest Lodge - Little St. Simons Island

Guest Lodge – Little St. Simons Island

We went for a long bike ride one day that took us by an old home site, where a freed slave family had lived after the Civil War. The chimney and part of the foundation remain.  We also saw a shell midden from Indian times. We also surprised and alligator along the way. Tons of birds and, of course, Armadillos snorting their way through the topsoil.  We hustled back so as to be on time for lunch and made it.  A great morning.

This is a wonderful place, and we hope to be back one day. Bring your bug repellent!

Happy Travels!

-Steve

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