DAY 60 July 23, 2009

The Georgia coast is mainly salt marsh with canals to boat through. The tall grass makes me wonder what else is out there. The sandy beaches are on the ocean sides of the islands. I went out to Jekyll Island and was not impressed at all. The toll is soon (next week) to be $5 at the “collection station”. They call it a parking fee and it is only good midnight to midnight-wow that stinks cant even stay the night without having to pay for at least two days. Why not 8 am to 8am or noon to noon.

Jekyll seems more like a state park with independent contractors providing services and lodging than a real town. It used to be a retreat for the ultra rich and while the current patrons do not appear to be ultra rich they do appear to be fairly well off. The mansions are beautiful. The shopping district is confusing. I got in through one of their gates-I thought it was weight sensored when it let me in-then I could not get out. Ended up having to drive across the grass to get out. Geor.gia seems to be big on its exclusive islands Cumberland you have to pay to take a ferry out to (almost $20) and pay the National Park Service fee. Jekyll has a $5 parking fee. Small St John Island is so exclusive that you have to be invited by a member, then take a boat over.

Visitor welcome centers tend to be in historic building in north Florida and Georgia. Brunswick has an adorable little visitor center with wonderful staff. I stopped there on the way out to St Simons Island and found out about their “tree spirits”. These are carvings in their glorious oaks to immortalize lost sailors. I saw one, but it was very hard to make out.

I checked out the lighthouse from the museum, but chose not to do the tour ($). Then I wandered out the Fort Frederica.

Brunswick is a pretty little town that depends on tourism for the majority of its income. The downtown area is being revitalized with grant money. I enjoyed the tiny exhibit in the city hall and thought that the county building was a magnificent structure.

Darien has some absolutely beautiful old homes and churches-interesting in that they were burned to the ground by Sherman’s forces. I didn’t seen any with tours, but you can get a nice feel for them by driving around the historic district. Very nicely done!

I tried to follow the Liberty County Historical Trail, but ran into several problems besides trying to do it from the south heading north (it is designed for north to south travel). I drove right past the Gullah Museum, but had called and there was no answer. The Midway museum costs $6 and is on the second floor at the top of a steep flight of stairs, no thank you. The gate at Fort Morris State Historic Site was open and the sign indicated they were accepting visitors Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, but there was no one there. The same was true for Seaport Village-no sign of human life. This might have been really fun had anything been open.

When I arrived in Richmond Hill, I was very leary of the place I wanted to stay, but after checking two other locations decided to give it a go. Contrary to the online reviews, which were for the former owner/management, the Quality Inn at I 95 Exit 87 is absolutely delightful. The bed was on par with a Hilton property, the staff was helpful and genuinely nice, the room was clean (newly redone), breakfast was sufficient and the laundry facility (while upstairs) did the job.

The only concern I had was the pool. I do not usually swim in a hotel pool, because there are other things I would rather do. But when I do decide to take a relaxing dip there are some expectations. Cleanliness is a key concern here and the QI failed on this count. There was mold growing on the inside of the pool. I did not think this was possible with all the chemicals they add to the water, but it was definitely there and all the way to the bottom of the 8 foot end. They may have to completely resurface this pool to solve the problem.

Tons of Signs Today:
"We love Brunswick don’t destroy it, move the jail" (sign on us 25 leaving Brunswick).

"Terrapin crossing-caution May to July" approaching Jekyll Island

"Motorcycles use care ripples" (coming off Jekyll Island) What are “ripples” I didn’t notice anything resembling ripples in the road.

"Curbing your dog prohibited" (at the hotel). How do you "curb" a dog???

ROUTE: US 17 North>GA 520 East & West>US 17 North>GA 25 East & West>I 95 North>US 17 North>US 84 East & West>I 95 North to Richmond Hills

Lodging: Quality Inn I 95 exit 87

Waffle House I 95 exit 29 (**Food **Service)
Southern Image I 95 exit 87 (***Food **Service)

$$$: $3 Toll $18 Meals $6 Souvenirs $41 Motel =$68

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