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Spend Christmas on Historic Jekyll Island

Program No. 13410RJ
Celebrate Christmas on Jekyll Island, where you’ll enjoy world-class cuisine, explore the festively decorated National Historic District and learn the grand story of this “Golden Isle.”

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At a Glance

Experience the splendor and history of Jekyll Island during the Holiday season! More than a century ago, many of the nation's richest families, such as the Rockefellers and the Pulitzers, discovered the serenity and beauty of the jewel of Georgia's east coast. It became the winter retreat for many wealthy families. Imagine Christmas through the ages as you venture inside the cottages in the National Historic District with some curators in period dress. Complement the program with dinners at the nationally renowned Jekyll Island Club Hotel and the Jekyll Ocean Club. Other highlights include presentations of the Gullah-Geechee culture, a visit to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center and holiday high tea.
Activity Level
Easy Going
Walking a few blocks per day and getting on & off a bus during the St Simon's field trip. At the hotel, there are steps leading from the Bellstand to the veranda at the entrance (there is a handicap lift available). There are also 4 steps leading to the front desk. There is a gift shop at the hotel that has steps as well, which include 3 steps up and 3 steps down.

What You'll Learn

  • Enjoy an unforgettable Christmas Day brunch in the Grand Dining Room of the renowned Jekyll Island Club Hotel.
  • Get into the holiday spirit on the Holly Jolly Trolley as we enjoy the festive holiday music, hear historic anecdotes, and see more than a million lights adorning the Jekyll Historic District.
  • Spend an afternoon on the largest of the “Golden Isles,” St. Simon’s Island.

General Notes

Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.
Featured Expert
All trip experts
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Georgia Graves
Georgia Graves has developed and coordinates teacher training workshops on Georgia's sea turtles, shorebirds, marine mammals and coastal ecology for the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve, one of 26 such reserves in North America. Georgia leads nature and history programs and works with Georgia's sea turtle conservation project.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Georgia Graves View biography
Georgia Graves has developed and coordinates teacher training workshops on Georgia's sea turtles, shorebirds, marine mammals and coastal ecology for the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve, one of 26 such reserves in North America. Georgia leads nature and history programs and works with Georgia's sea turtle conservation project.
Profile Image of JoAnn Buisson
JoAnn Buisson View biography
JoAnn Buisson is a retired elementary school teacher from Boston, Mass. After college, she was employed as a nursery school teacher until 1981. She remained at home until 1994 in order to raise her children. In 1994, JoAnn accepted a position with a local elementary school as an art teacher, eventually retiring in 2014. Upon retirement, she moved to Jekyll Island with her husband. She continues her interest in the arts, taking several classes in pottery.
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While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of our published materials, programs are typically advertised more than a year prior to their start date. As a result, some program activities, schedules, accommodations, personnel, and other logistics occasionally change due to local conditions or circumstances. Should a major change occur, we will make every effort to alert you. For less significant changes, we will update you during orientation. Thank you for your understanding.
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
4 B 4 L 5 D
Check-In, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Jekyll Island, GA
Jekyll Island Club Resort

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 4:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration. After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. A bagpiper will herald in the season at the Jekyll Island Club Resort and then down by the Jekyll River. We will enjoy this special holiday treat each afternoon of Christmas week.

Dinner: We will enjoy a meal at the Jekyll Island Club.

Evening: Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

History and Culture on St. Simons Island, Gullah Performance
Jekyll Island, GA
Jekyll Island Club Resort

Activity note: Getting on/off bus

Breakfast: Breakfast will be provided in the Jekyll Island Club Victorian-era Grand Dining Room.

Morning: We will depart for a field trip by bus to St. Simons Island to explore the neighboring barrier island's historical and cultural museums and sites.

Lunch: We will enjoy lunch at a restaurant on Saint Simons, ordered from a select menu.

Afternoon: After lunch, enjoy some free time on your own to explore Saint Simons Island Pier Park where you'll find local artists, shopping, the SSI lighthouse, and more. Upon our return to Jekyll Island, we will enjoy another afternoon performance from our Highland piper at the hotel, who will play while marching the grounds.

Dinner: We will enjoy our meal together at the Jekyll Island Club.

Evening: In a private banquet room, we will meet several members of a local group dedicated to preserving Gullah language, song, and dance. They will share their heritage with us along with performing the ring shout, which is an expression of religious culture. It's African origins are apparent in ritualized, dance-like movements in a circle, call-and-response singing, and hand clapping. Ring shouting was widely thought to have died out but had actually continued all along in McIntosh County, just north of Jekyll Island.

Cookie Decorating, Ecology Beach Walk, High Tea
Jekyll Island, GA
Jekyll Island Club Resort

Activity note: Getting on/off passenger van. Walking up to 1 hour on sandy terrain. For dinner, jackets or collared shirts and slacks are requested for gentlemen. Sunday attire for ladies.

Breakfast: Breakfast provided in the Grand Dining Room.

Morning: The hotel's famous pastry chefs have all the parts ready for this cookie decorating workshop. Let’s celebrate as we decorate! Our pastry chefs roll out the dough and fun of Christmas We will each receive a dozen cookies to decorate and take home, with colorful icings and traditional cookie sprinkles provided. After cookie decorating, we will be joined by a local expert who will teach us about the fascinating ecology of the barrier island.

Lunch: At the hotel, we’ll have a special holiday high tea in grand holiday decor.

Afternoon: After lunch, our local expert will be our guide as we walk on, learn about, and explore Jekyll Island's pristine beaches. 65% of the island exists as a state park, an ideal of conservation and preservation.

Dinner: Christmas Eve Dinner at the fabulous Jekyll Ocean Club.

Evening: After dinner, the remainder of the evening will be at leisure.

Christmas Brunch, Dolphin Boat Tour, Present Swap
Jekyll Island, GA
Jekyll Island Club Resort

Activity note: Minimal standing and walking today.

Breakfast: In lieu of breakfast, we will enjoy a wonderful Christmas Brunch later in the morning.

Morning: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Lunch: We will enjoy Christmas brunch together.

Afternoon: We will enjoy an afternoon boating excursion in search of dolphins as well as other wildlife while admiring the scenic views of Jekyll Island.

Dinner: We will have a special Christmas Dinner together at the Jekyll Island Club.

Evening: Following dinner, we will enjoy an elective Christmas gift swap. If you choose to participate, gifts will need to range between $10-$20.

Behind the Scenes Tour, Historic District Tram, Musician
Jekyll Island, GA
Jekyll Island Club Resort

Activity note: Getting on and off tram and walking through hotel.

Breakfast: Breakfast in the Jekyll Island Club historic Grand Dining Room.

Morning: This morning, an expert will lead us through the public spaces of the hotel, sharing stories about the various rooms, the woodwork, leaded glass, the people, and their pastimes. The stories are interesting and special to this National historic Landmark.

Lunch: We will enjoy lunch together at the Jekyll Island Club hotel.

Afternoon: After lunch, we’ll then board the tram to see the island’s 240-acre National Historic Landmark District, where gilded-era millionaires spent winter vacations with family, friends, and each other. It is said that Jekyll Island’s wealthy visitors once represented 1/6 of our nation's total wealth. We’ll have expert commentary aboard the tram and make two stops in the Historic District.

Dinner: We will enjoy our last evening together with dinner at the Jekyll Island Club.

Evening: We will end our evening enjoying the musical talents of a local guest artist.

Program Concludes
Jekyll Island, GA

Activity note: Hotel check-out 11 AM.

Breakfast: Breakfast in the Jekyll Island Club's historic Grand Dining Room.

Morning: This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on another rewarding program in the future.

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