Sunday, March 10, 2013 (Day 34)–Exploring Jekyll Island, GA

Jekyll Island is 7 miles long and 1.5 miles wide.  The island is owned by the state of Georgia.   There are about 800 full-time residents.  There are about 1000 private homes here but many of them are full time vacation rental properties.  Homeowners own their house but only lease the land on which it is built for 99 years.  Bicycling is a very big pastime here.  There are paved bicycle paths around almost the entire island, many thru groves of big oak trees dripping with spanish moss.  

There are only 15 places on the island that serve food.  That includes coffee shops and the ice cream shop.  There is one very small grocery store, one liquor store, one gas station and about a dozen small gift shops.  There are four hotels, three condo properties and the private vacation rental homes in addition to the 200 site campground.

One of the most beautiful coastal islands in
America, Jekyll Island is also one of its most
historic. The stunning island is one of the
best known in the South and has long drawn
people to the Georgia coast.

Newton Finney was the brother-in-law of
John Eugene duBignon, a descendant of
Christophe du Bignon. The two men came
up with the idea of turning Jekyll Island into a
private hunting club for wealthy northerners.
Between 1879 and 1885, DuBignon acquired
all of the land on the island while Finney
worked to build support for the club among
the nation’s wealthiest individuals.
In 1885, Jekyll Island was sold to the new
Jekyll Island Club, which included such
members as J.P. Morgan, Marshall Field and
Joseph Pulitzer. Over the years that followed,
the Jekyll Island Club became the nation’s
premier resort for the rich and famous and
was described in one publication as “the
richest, the most exclusive, the most
inaccessible club in the world.”
From 1886 until World War II, Jekyll Island
was a playground for millionaires. They built
massive “cottages” there and gathered for
meals and social events at the magnificent
clubhouse. In addition to the Morgans, Fields
and Pulitzers, the club’s membership also
included the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts and
Goodyears among many others.
The most remarkable event in Jekyll Island’s
rich history, however, was its transformation
in 1947 from a playground for the rich to a
playground for all.
Changing times and World War II made the
island available for purchase and in 1947,
the State of Georgia bought it from the Jekyll
Island Club for $675,000.
Although some development has been
allowed, visitors are often amazed by the
remarkable unspoiled nature of Jekyll Island.
Miles of pristine beaches are open to the
public and paved back paths wind around
and across the island.
Hotels and beach front rentals are available,
but the carefully managed development of
the island has ended any threat of the clutter
and urbanization found on many of the
South’s coastal islands. The most famous
hotel on the island is the historic Jekyll Island
Club Hotel, located in the original buildings
of the Jekyll Island Club.
Much of the Historic District has been
restored and is now a fascinating heritage
tourism destination. Visitors can tour original
millionaire cottages, walk the grounds of
what was once the “most exclusive” club in
the world, visit the fascinating Georgia Sea
Turtle Center where injured and sick sea
turtles are nursed back to health and learn
more about the island’s picturesque and
significant history.

I spent the afternoon exploring the historic district and the rest of the island.  I took the 90 minute tram tour around the historic district that allows you access to two of the “winter cottages” of people who had more money than they could ever spend.

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Here is pictures of my site….you are very close to your neighbors…

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7 thoughts on “Sunday, March 10, 2013 (Day 34)–Exploring Jekyll Island, GA

  1. This is one place Rick wanted to go to on the way home but it was raining so we skipped it. It really looks nice. Maybe we’ll stop next time!

    • Hi Bonnie,

      I will say I am glad I went but personally once was enough for me. The campground was less than ideal and I am more of a tourist than a camper. The island is definitely more of a lay back and do nothing kind of place. In one day you can see everything there is to see. It does seem to be a place that many people passionately love and return again and again. The campground was definitely full of snowbirds. We all have our personal likes and dislikes. I am glad I went to Key West but once was enough for me there as well.

  2. Lovely beach. Is Jekyll Island truly an island? If so, how do you get to it–is there a bridge from the mainland? What is the big lovely white house?

      • The other house is one that we toured and was built and owned by the Rockefeller family. Mrs. Rockefeller would bring enough clothes to wear a different outfit every day during her 3 month stay.

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