Signs and a Wonder: St. Simons Island

Nestled in the marshes east of Brunswick, Georgia, is charming St. Simons Island. Golfers, bicyclers, and fishermen revel in its delights. Fresh Atlantic shrimp were available at the Mullet Bay Cafe during our week-end getaway. Tourists, like us, strolled along the streets of St. Simons village, canopied with centuries-old live oaks.

OakStSimons

Some of the oaks had mutated into this:

GnarlyOak

Here the limbs from ancient live oaks gracefully curved downward, touched the soil, forming a self-sustaining tree, and then over the years grew upwards until it grafted into its mother tree, a type of amazing Möbius structure.

Cute shops, one which boasts “Extraordinary Things You Don’t Need,” display books, curios and signs like these:

RedneckHornCondimentSignNunFunSign

And for the canine lovers:

DogBook

 

If you are crafty, Pane in the Glass is your source for stained glass hobby supplies. You need a week, not just a weekend to explore St. Simons Island.


Away from town, two other attractions grabbed our attention: Fort Frederica, a military town on the colonial Georgia frontier, which defended the settlers from Spanish invaders and Old Frederica Church, also called Christ Episcopal Church, where Charles and John Wesley preached.

In 1961 author Eugenia Price discovered St. Simons Island on a book-signing tour, “In the cemetery for Christ Church, she saw a tombstone for the Reverend Anson Dodge and his two wives. This inspired her to research the area, including history and famous figures. She would spend the remainder of her life writing detailed historical novels set in the American South, many of which were critically acclaimed. Her early works, particularly the “St Simons Trilogy” which consists of the books “The Beloved Invader” (1965), “New Moon Rising” (1969) and “Lighthouse” (1972) were extensively researched and based on real people.”

Finally, we behold a lovely wonder, the signature stained glass window in the church, depicting the original plain structure, which could easily pass for an early Mennonite meetinghouse, without the steeple of course.

FredericaChurchStainedGlass

 

Have you visited an historic town recently?  A charming town you can recommend for a weekend getaway?

 

Coming next: Mad, Sad, Glad: Emoticons Show It All

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61 thoughts on “Signs and a Wonder: St. Simons Island

  1. What a nice place and great discoveries. I live in Wheaton Illinois which is a great place to live. We have Wheaton College, the Billy Graham museum, Cantigny Park which has a museum of the Civil War. Great grounds flowers, events, and golf course. We also have nearby the Morton Arboretum where you learn and see many trees and flowers. For a small town we have many great restaurants and a wonderful downtown with many activities all year round also our famous farmers market on Saturday mornings from spring to fall. My town is called the holy town for the many churches that we have in such a small town. So blessed to live here and it’s a great place to raise children. And were 25 miles to our great city of Chicago.
    Gloria

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    1. When our children lived in Chicago we visited often, but I’ve never been to Wheaton though I’ve heard of the College there where Billy Graham met his wife, I believe. Thank you for introducing us to your home town. It sounds like a wonderful summer destination for us, Gloria.

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  2. What a delightful tour of St. Simons Island, Marian. A college friend lives on Hilton Head and I’ve seen the signs for the Island many times. Now I feel as though I’ve been there. Thanks. And, as St. Simons has her Eugenia Price, Chincoteague has her Marguerite Henry! Soon.

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    1. Spring and fall are a perfect time to explore the Island. Even now would be good as the winters there are mild. Besides, Virginia is not toooo far from Georgia. You’d love the casual Southern hospitality. Thanks again for stopping by, Joan.

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  3. Marian — I enjoyed the photos of the centuries-old oak trees and laughed at the ““Extraordinary Things You Don’t Need” on one of the shops you explored!

    A five hour drive from here (Boise, Idaho) will take you to Prosser, Washington — home to several wineries (including “Fourteen Hands”) and lovely bed and breakfasts. We discovered it on our drive back from seeing Shirley Hershey Showalter last year when she did a book reading in Seattle. We enjoyed it so much that we’ve been back twice since. Here’s a link to historical Prosser: http://cityofprosser.com/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC={897860C8-27D9-402F-97D9-21CAB4AB65C5}

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    1. Thanks for your promo and the link to Prosser. Washington is Cliff’s home state and we will be visiting again some time this year. Maybe it will fit on our itinerary then. Always so helpful, Laurie!

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  4. Marian, I’ve always heard charming tales of visits to St. Simone’s, and now you have confirmed it in word and image. We love small, older towns like this, but haven’t visited one lately. I suppose our favorite is Port Townsend, WA. Have you been there? A lovely Victorian port town in western WA, north of Seattle and environs. Lovely old Victorian homes, quaint shops, an old bookstore called William James Booksellers, charming eateries. Longing for it as soon as the weather warms and the rains slow. Thanks for taking my mind and heart there this morning.

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    1. Port Townsend sounds familiar. I wonder whether we visited there briefly on our way to Victoria, BC years ago. You make it sound like it’s worth a re-visit for sure. It has all the charm we enjoy.

      I’m glad this post helped you “escape” to warmer weather for a few minutes. Blogs and books can do that – right?
      Thanks for mentioning me on lists and tweets this morning. So appreciated, Sherrey.

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      1. They have a fort that is now a state park. We visited there. Fort Worden ? Maybe, not sure of the correct name. They also have a Carnegie library.

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  5. When you ride around St. Simon’s you see the cottages, huge mansions, some with much history. With Jekyll Island just around the corner, I’m always reminded of the Jekyll Island Club and all the big names that wintered there.

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    1. I’m glad this post jogged your memory. We bicycled around the mansions previously. Now we are satisfied with cozier stuff. Sea Island in the cluster of islands is exclusive now- members only. When it was still open to the public, I found a mother-of-the-groom dress at one of their shops (on sale!)

      Thanks for adding your bit here, SK.

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      1. There used to be a restaurant on St. Simon’s called Dresden’s Village Cafe. He grew his own beef and veggies and made his own bread and cheese. Best cheese burger I have ever had in my life.

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  6. My husbands sister lived at St. Simons for years before she passed away and we spent many a relaxing day there. I was privileged to meet Eugenia Price one day in the Village. She was a delightful day that loved the Island and the people.
    I love to spend time in Historic Savannah, Georgia. I love the historic architecture, beautiful fountains and picturesque squares and the food! The Pirates House is a must to eat at for Sunday Brunch!
    Close to me is Warm Springs….The home of FDR’s Little White House. Antiquing in the small towns around it is fun!
    I love Asheville , NC. Than there is Chattanooga, Tennessee…. a wonderful area to go to and you might want a week in that area.
    Try Amelia Island Florida which is a Barrier Island and is a charming and quaint place,
    I would go back to Cannon Beach. Oregon if I could and all the wonderful small towns there. John and I were married in Astoria, Oregon and for a week we just visited all the small towns and ate at wonderful quaint cafes.
    I could write a book about all the places I visited in the 48 states I have visited. USA has so much to offer us on the back roads of our great country.

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    1. You should write that book, Donna. You have certainly whetted our appetites for picturesque towns. I’m impressed that you got to meet Eugenia Price. Did she autograph a book for you?

      We honeymooned in the Asheville, NC area, love historic Savannah, and Amelia Island is a 40-minute drive from Jacksonville. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. You suggest some great spots to explore. Thanks, Donna. And remember: You should write that book. We can brainstorm for a title!

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      1. My SIL told me if we ever saw her in The Village she loved to visit but not asked for an autograph. I understand that because it was her home and I believe an author that is well known should have her home town as a place to be normal. She did have book signings there but I was never there for them. She was a delightful lady.

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  7. I’ve always wanted to go to St. Simmons Island, every since I read Eugenia Price’s books! I loved them! Thanks for reminding me of them. I may have to get them off the shelf and reread them!

    Mackinac Island, Michigan is a wonderful place to visit. No cars are on the island, except an ambulance, in case of emergency. Horse and buggy or bicycle or walking are the means of transportation. The only way to get to the island is by ferry boat. It’s an island rich in history.

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        1. This a movie I want to check out. Sometimes the setting of a movie influences my choosing it. Even if the film is not 5-star, interesting scenery sometimes makes up for it. Thanks for the suggestion, Athanasia.

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  8. I have never visited your extraordinary country, it is without doubt, on my to do list …
    Those trees are fab.I now live about ten miles from the gorgeous harbor town of Aberaeron in the West of Wales. It used to be our weekend retreat.

    You could just sit on the tiny harbor and watch boats if you’re feeling lazy …when I get the chance I do, but right now you need your winter woollies. Or visit the local the local book shop with a zillion choices, then on to The Hive cafe that sits over looking the historic Georgian Harbor for, in the summer, their own homemade honey ice cream or hot chocolate topped with cream and marshmallows in winter …we are blessed. You must visit us some time .
    Cherryx

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    1. Your description of the harbor at Aberaeron reminds me of the fictional Port Wenn famous in the Doc Martin series. Are you familiar with that? Homemade honey ice cream sounds (and I imagine) tastes marvelous.

      We have visited all of the British Isles except Wales, which we must visit on our next trip for sure. I have met a lovely woman from Wales in my fitness class at the gym – so exuberant and friendly as you appear to be from these comments. Thank you!

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      1. So strange that you should say that my description of Aberaeron reminds you of Port Wenn because Doc Martin ( a very good program I might add) is set in Cornwall and I always think Aberaeron is similar . You’d be made very welcome if you visited lol
        Cherryx

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  9. I have not been to your extraordinary country …on to do list.
    Love the oaks .
    Aberaeron is a fab Georgian Harbor town in West Wales, where I now live. It used to be my weekend retreat. Now I live a few miles away. Homemade honey ice cream in the summer and hot chocolate with zillions of marshmallows in winter at the Hive Cafe while I watch the boats sail by …bliss.
    Cherryx

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    1. We must visit Aberaeron sometime. There is nothing more relaxing to me than to be near water. Watching boats sail by sounds wonderful. Being on one, even better! I’m glad your internet is cooperating today, Cherry. (Got both comments-thank you!)

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  10. I hope this is the year I get to visit my sister at her river house on the Potomac located near Chincoteague. College friend and I explored Mackinac Island in the UP of Michigan, another charming and very unique place. The photo of your husband nestled in the low oak branches is wonderful. How wonderful to have such a place to get away to. As I read more and more in the blogging world, I become aware of all the islands along the Atlantic Coast.

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    1. How interesting that you would mention Chincoteague Island. Four of my writer friends are gathering for a retreat there in February. All I know now is that it’s famous for its ponies and idyllic scenery.

      You are the second commenter to mention Mackinac Island. I’d love to escape the heat in Florida for sweaters in Michigan in summer. You would love St. Simons for its beauty and all of the attractions, Georgette.

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    1. We have some similar trees on our property, but not as serpentine. These live oaks are very typical of Georgia and north Florida. Do include this part of the planet in your travels, Fiona! You’d be very welcome.

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  11. We used to travel more when the children were still home. We liked Boston and Concord/Lexington,Washington D.C., Colonial Williamsburg, Bar Harbor Maine and Acadia Park, among many other places.

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  12. I love those old oak trees. Gorgeous! The habit-forming nuns made me laugh. I live near some charming communities that are well worth a visit: Cocoa village and Melbourne village are just two. It’s lovely to walk thru them and check out the shops and eateries. A little farther north from me is St. Augustine, an historic place that has many excellent sites to visit.

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  13. My mother’s best friend was an avid reader of Eugenia Price’s books, and in the 60s during a long hard battle with cancer, Mom and two friends promised they would take her to St. Simmons Island after she finished the surgery and chemo.
    Thank you for the pictures and reminders of the special week they spent there. What a wonderful place.

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    1. This place is very precious to your mom, I see. Maybe you could share the photos with her.

      Sometimes when I mention places my Aunt Ruthie has known in the past, she perks up and, remarkably, joins in the conversation. The last time I saw her, I shared the movies she filmed decades ago, now enjoying a second life on my blog.

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