Thurs. May 25, 2017:
Jekyll Island, GA
Say what you will about terrible in-room coffee, it still gets the job done. And no way was I going to pay $10 for a buffet breakfast at a hotel. Instead I snacked on my beloved Biscoff cookies. The sun was out and we still had a beach pass for the day. We had a little bit of time before we had to head out. I was ready to stretch out on a lounge chair under an umbrella. My head was hurting because I had not slept well. The pillow had hurt my neck. But first I took a quick walk down the beach. There were so many new shells brought in by the tide! Brent went into the ocean but I was too tired and it was still too cold because it was early in the day. I opted for relaxing and listening to The Science Show podcast. On the way to the change room Brent had to stop and dip into every resort pool on the way. On our way out we saw some cute little lizards.
We drove to a see lighthouse and its associated museum. We did not pay the admission to climb inside the lighthouse because we could see our next destination from the shore: Jekyll Island. We passed some stairs down to the beach access except the stairs led right into the ocean. The water level was so high it engulfed the bottom few steps. There were a lot of magpies flying around. We passed the small main street and the library that a porch with rocking chairs. Rocking chairs! At a library! On a porch! We drove by a funny liquor store sign that said Adult Beverages.
We stopped for lunch at Chick-Fil-A. The crispy chicken sandwich with pepperjack cheese was delicious. We ended up getting a free 2nd order of waffle fries, I guess they just assumed that no way only one of us had ordered fries? It was way too much food. Plus I was not a huge fan of the fries to begin with. I was also not feeling the Chick-Fil-A sauce for the nuggets. The sweet & sour sauce was way better. As we drove we passed a dead turtle in the middle of the road. We drove to Sonic for drinks which might seem a bit like overkill but the cherry limeade is just that good! I couldn’t resist getting a Snickers ice cream concrete (mini size mind you)- it was new and I was intrigued. It was Snickers pieces in caramel flavoured frozen custard. I was in heaven. Only as we were leaving did I notice that they had an even newer product: frozen cherry limeade! Ack! I wish I had seen it earlier! Eating the ice cream made me cold, however the car had warming seats and pretty soon I was another level of heaven. Eating cold ice cream while my butt was kept warm.
We were staying in a fancy hotel resort on the island. There was a wedding going since 9:30am and it just seemed like awkward timing, by the time we saw the bride she was sitting at the bar drinking with a few people- it was early afternoon. As soon as we settled into our room I cranked up the heat, I could not believe how cold it was in there.
We decided to head out for a walk and to see the “historic district.” Initially we were going to bike but it was much closer and it just made sense to walk. The historic district was just a series of small cottages turned into small shops. We ended up visiting a sea turtle rehab clinic and gawking at lots of super cute turtles. The clear highlight was the young little loggerhead, who was under a year old, swimming around. There were also some really giant turtles who were sick, it was a really sad sight.
Back at the hotel room we decided to drive around the rest of the island because the stops we wanted to see were pretty distant from each other so biking did not make sense. Plus we had a full day of walking ahead of us the next day. We drove to Driftwood Beach first. We walked out to the fishing pier but bailed quickly. There was nothing to see and it was super windy. I had high hopes of seeing some turtle nest eggs and my hopes were fulfilled. I had also secretly been hoping to see baby turtles emerge but I knew it was not going to happen. And it didn’t- wrong time of day and year, we were too early. I did not expect to see this much wildlife during a leisurely walk on the beach. We saw tiny crabs scuttling and battling on the banks of a creek from the marsh. The heron- sorry, egret- nearby seemed to not care or he was just not hungry.
Off in the water I noticed a boat slowly chugging along, leaving behind a trail of black smoke or dust. I was mildly concerned, Brent did not care at all. The minute I stopped paying attention suddenly it was all look behind the boat! And so much excitement. Brent claimed to see something swimming along behind the boat and coming up for air. I stared and stared and saw nothing. Then a small dark triangle, a dolphin fin?! As soon as I noticed it I saw a few more! We later confirmed that we had seen bottlenose dolphins. In total we saw three groups, one appeared to be a mother and child. Driftwood Beach eventually lived up to its name. The driftwood was all twisted, contorted and strewn about. From there we could also see across to where we had been that morning. Driftwood Beach had not been that popular as a beach destination. As we drove we saw some cars parked by the side of the road near a beach access point, we had to go check it out. We saw some more driftwood, but on the way back to the car we saw a snake slither across our path.
We stopped at another beach, now this was the popular beach destination. Everyone was out with their towels and their beach chairs. It was low-tide so people were out on the sandbanks and in the mudflats. We decided to walk out to the sandbar because there were showers by the entrance to the beach so we could rinse off our feet afterwards. When people call it a mudflat I had no idea what that actually meant. It was thick, goopy mud that stuck to your feet. It felt slimy and weird. I found some sand dollars and thought they would also make great souvenirs. Until Brent told me they were alive. I was really grossed out, even more-so when I tried to rinse them off and I noticed the weird fringy underbelly. I thought sand dollars were just round flat shells! I tossed them with the hopes that they were already dead. By the showers we overheard a dad telling his kid that she can’t collect sand dollars because they are alive. I felt kind of bad but it was already too late.
We stopped in at the Beach Village to get snacks at the grocery store for the following day’s hiking trip. And of course to peruse the alcohol selection. It turned out way better than expected. They had a mini bar inside! I ordered a shot of a peach liqueur and the lady poured out the rest of it so really I had a shot and a half. We walked around the store as Brent sipped his beer. Before leaving I ordered a green tea because they had the South Carolina plantation tea and a brownie that I would soon regret. It was too heavy and it was not even the brownie I had asked for. I had ended up finding another new cider, Original Sin. Brent stopped in at the liquor store but I was too tired. I sat outside trying to eat the brownie.
We drove down to Jekyll Point and saw some turkey vultures on the beach. There was a fishing vessel off in the distance and they were just being swamped by birds. I imagine the whole surface of it was just covered in bird excrement. We watched a guy catch a horseshoe crab. It caught him totally by surprise and he struggled to loosen it and set it free. He had to flip it on its back to get the hook out while the crab kicked its legs wildly. It was so cute to see it scuttle back into the ocean. By the time we got to the nature centre we were too late, it was closed. It had taken us over 3 hours but we finished the whole island.
I was tired and covered in sunscreen. All I could think of was having a shower and then snacking on some jalapeno cheddar popcorn and sea salt caramel popcorn- our own version of the Chicago mix. After my shower I was so ready to watch Say Yes to the Dress. Brent said there’s no way it is on, it was 6pm! Sure enough, TLC came through for me with a great episode. I retorted that it was all day every day. The Angry Orchard apple ginger cider was subpar, it just tasted like juice, but it’s tough to complain about a nice cold shower cider. Up next was Chopped because shocker, SYTTD was not on. Chopped had become my second go-to show, it was on almost as often.
Even after wolfing down the popcorn I was still pretty hungry. We had an easy dinner at the hotel café. We split a pizza on the patio. The pizza was double-cheese by default. I had low expectations of this snack bar pizza but it was surprisingly really good. Despite how much cheese was in the centre of it and how poorly the toppings were distributed. I opted for a peach bellini over another Angry Orchard cider.
We stopped back in the room so I could grab my DLSR before we headed out for an evening walk. We walked along a trail that hugged the salt marsh shore. It was the perfect walk because we had set out at dusk. As the sun was just starting to set the lighting was more than I could ask for. On top of that it was high tide so just the tops of the grasses were poking up in the marsh. A much nicer view than before when it was just mud and oyster shells. The fresh air and the cool breeze were so relaxing. We finished off the night by watching Olive Kitteridge and going to bed early. We had an early wake-up and I was not 100% dreading it: I had a Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee in the fridge.