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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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Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
Dec 22 - Dec 27, 2024
Starting at
DATES & starting prices
Dec 22 - Dec 27, 2024
Starting at

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.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • 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.
Featured Expert
All 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.

Profile Image of Georgia Graves
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.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Splendid Isolation: The Jekyll Island Millionaires Club 1888-1942
by Pamela Bauer Mueller
AN HISTORICAL NOVEL Untamed, and virtually unchanged since its discovery in 1733 by General James Oglethorpe, Jekyll Island s history unfolds with the excitement and suspense of a fairy tale. Because so many of the world s greatest minds and bank accounts gathered together in virtual isolation for three months each year, history was made on Jekyll Island. A group of tycoons with surnames such as Rockefeller, Morgan, Vanderbilt, Pulitzer, Baker and others formed their exclusive Millionaires Club on this island hideaway the richest and most inaccessible club of that time. Between 1888 and 1942, Jekyll Island was open only to Club members families and their guests for hunting, relaxing and playing in luxurious ease. In this sweeping historical saga, you will discover the Millionaires joys, tribulations, and deeply guarded secrets told through the unique voices of four Club employees. In this true story of the island getaway that offered them sovereignty, discover how the decisions of these powerful men changed the face of world finances, business and politics as they built modern America.
The Jekyll Island Colony
by June Hall McCash
During the Gilded Age, Jekyll Island, Georgia, was one of the most exclusive resort destinations in the United States. Owned by the most elite and inaccessible social club in America, a group whose members included Rockefellers, Pulitzers, Vanderbilts, Goulds, and Morgans, this quiet refuge in the Golden Isles was the perfect winter getaway for the wealthy new industrial class of the snowbound North. In this delightful book, a companion volume to The Jekyll Island Club: Southern Haven for America's Millionaires, June Hall McCash focuses on the social club's members and the "cottages" they built near the clubhouse between 1888 and 1928. Illustrated with hundreds of never-before-published photographs from private family collections, The Jekyll Island Cottage Colony tells the stories of each home, the owners' connections with the island, and their interactions with one another.
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
4 B 1BR 3 L 5 D
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Jekyll Island, GA
Jekyll Island Club Resort

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 4:00 p.m. Remember to bring your nametag (sent previously).

Afternoon: Program Registration: 4:00 p.m. After you check in and have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff, get any updated information, and confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please locate your Group Leader and let them know you have arrived. 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: In a private banquet room at the hotel.

Evening: After dinner we will watch the night sky light up as we join Jekyll Island in celebrating the season with Fireworks. During 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. This program is staffed with an experienced and knowledgeable Group Leader, and we will learn from a series of local experts who will give lectures and lead field trips. Travel to Saint Simons Island will be via private motorcoach. 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. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

St. Simons Island, Bagpiper
Jekyll Island, GA
Jekyll Island Club Resort

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking and other activities during independent time according to personal choice.

Breakfast: In the hotel’s Victorian-era Grand Dining Room.

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

Lunch: At a restaurant on St. Simons.

Afternoon: After lunch, enjoy some time to independently 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: At the hotel.

Evening: Following dinner, we will enjoy the company of award-winning, singer, songwriter and Thomas Schuyler.

Jekyll History, High Tea, Historic District, Gullah-Geechee
Jekyll Island, GA
Jekyll Island Club Resort

Activity note: Getting on/off a tram. Walking through hotel.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

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

Afternoon: After lunch, we’ll then board the tram for the "Holidays in History" program to see the island’s 240-acre National Historic Landmark District, where gilded-era millionaires spent winter vacations with family, friends, and each other. We’ll have expert commentary aboard the tram, learn about some of the club members holiday traditions, and make two stops in the Historic District. We'll then enjoy a visit in the Mosaic and learn about the island before the Millionaires. Once again, we will enjoy our bagpiper’s tunes.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: In the banquet room, we’ll meet several members of a local group dedicated to preserving Gullah language, song, and dance who will share their heritage with us. The ring shout was an expression of religious culture and a precursor of other forms of music from spirituals and gospel to jazz. Its 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, Christmas Eve Dinner, Holly Jolly Trolley
Jekyll Island, GA
Jekyll Island Club Resort

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

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Jekyll Island’s 10 miles of beach and outlying sand dune ecosystem provides many shells on the coast. Our expert will share her collection beautiful whelk shells, perfectly formed conch shells and much more with the group. In addition, we will learn about Sea Turtle conservation efforts, as well as the island's unique coastal Georgia ecosystem and wildlife.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: 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 will 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.

Dinner: We will enjoy a special Christmas Eve dinner together.

Evening: To end the evening, we will take a ride on Jekyll's jolliest open-air trolley where we will sit back, relax, and enjoy the lights and festive music through the Historic District.

Christmas Day Brunch & Dinner, Boat Excursion
Jekyll Island, GA
Jekyll Island Club Resort

Activity note: Minimal standing and walking today. Getting on/off a boat. Walking and other free time activities according to personal choice.

Morning: Christmas morning is at leisure.

Brunch: We will enjoy a Christmas brunch in the historic Jekyll Island Club Grand Dining Room.

Afternoon: We will enjoy an afternoon boating field trip in search of dolphins, as well as other wildlife while admiring the scenic views of Jekyll Island. Along the way, our captains and master mariners will share their years of experience in the local history and ecology of the pristine Georgia coastline.

Dinner: In a private banquet room at the hotel.

Evening: We will enjoy an elective Christmas gift swap. If you choose to participate, gifts will need to range between $10-20. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

Program Concludes
Jekyll Island, GA

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

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. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!

Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.