I have completely fallen in love with the coast of Georgia. As Georgia and Florida natives, Z and his family vacationed here and eventually bought a home. Thanks to them, I’ve spent many a beautiful, lazy day here on the marsh riding bikes, swimming, and eating big, briny oysters and some of the best shrimp I’ve ever had.
For those of you who aren’t already acquainted with this part of the country, extending only 100 miles, Georgia’s coast is lined with barrier islands. Many boast resorts and popular beaches; and others, accessible only by boat, remain wild and undeveloped.
The four ‘Golden Isles,’ located just off the mainland city of Brunswick are home to both sleepy beach towns and uber-expensive vacation destinations for the countries’ wealthiest families. The exclusive Sea Island and Little Saint Simon’s Island will likely forever exceed my budget. But, Saint Simon’s Island with its stunning expanses of marsh and laid-back beach culture is just my speed. The slower pace is a welcome respite from the city, and we revel in as much of the beautiful weather, incredible views and great seafood as we can before we have to leave.
Since it was the first weekend of college football (missing such things is a sacrilege in Georgia in general and for my Georgian specifically) we headed over to Gnats Landing Bra and Grill – which is far, far less obnoxious than it sounds. (No, that’s not a typo). We cheered on the Bulldogs noshing on grilled fish sandwiches and beers under the whirring fans. Saint Simons and the surrounding islands are incredibly bike-friendly. This trip, we rode bikes to Fort Frederica, a British fort built in the 1700′s to ward off the Spanish. The battles of Bloody Marsh and of Gully Hole Creek, fought on the same day, solidified this area as a British colony. You can walk through the ruins of the fort over looking the marsh and the remaining foundations of the colonial town, now filled with oyster shells and shaded by big, craggy oaks covered in Spanish moss. The grounds are beautiful and it’s a nice look into the really rich history of the area.Also worth a stop is the nearby Christ Church and Cemetery. John and Charles Wesley did missionary work here at the request of General Oglethorpe. Anglican preachers who were instrumental in the founding of the Methodist Church, they preached in the open air under the massive oak trees. During the Civil War, the church was all but destroyed by Union soldiers, but the beautifully-restored building and grounds remain a thriving Methodist worship space.The sun was getting low, so we headed back to the bikes. A little, green friend tried to hitch a ride on the way back.
We jumped in the pool to cool off with a couple of SweetWaters and watched the birds fly across the Bloody Marsh as the sun set and streaked the sky with shocks of oranges and reds.
Gnat’s Landing Bra and Grill
310 Redfern Village, St. Simons, GA 31522
6515 Frederica Road, Brunswick, 31522
Christ Church and Cemetery
6329 Frederica Road St. Simons, GA 31522
Open to the public for tours. Closed Tuesdays, Christmas and Easter.