1384
Georgia
The Best of St. Simons, Sapelo, Jekyll: An Island-Hopping Adventure
Discover the storied history of Georgia’s Atlantic Coast islands as you visit Civil War forts, grand homes, historic lighthouses and learn about island ecology from a marine biologist.
Rating (4.94)
Program No. 1384RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,279
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 3 L 5 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check-In, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
St. Simons Island, GA
D
Sea Palms Golf & Tennis Resort

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

Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table [in the lobby, on a specific floor, outside the meeting room, wherever it may be] to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and to learn when and where the Orientation session will take place. If your arrival is delayed, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Unless specified otherwise, transportation will be provided primarily by motorcoach. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, engaging in available activities on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local conditions/circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll enjoy a tasty buffet with coffee, tea, and water.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
History & Marsh Study, St. Simons Field Trip, Sea Turtles
St. Simons Island, GA
B,L,D
Sea Palms Golf & Tennis Resort

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile split up by field trips throughout the day. Walking over sand and uneven terrain as well as on paved surfaces. Driving approximately 10 miles total for the day; time spent on the bus may be around 2 hours.

Breakfast: We’ll start our day off right with a hearty and nutritious breakfast buffet at the hotel that includes a wide range of assorted breakfast pastries, cereals with milk, sliced fresh fruit, breakfast meats, biscuits and gravy, eggs and more with juice, coffee, tea and water.

Morning: After transferring from the hotel via motorcoach, our expert naturalist will lead us on an exciting beach and marsh walk with accompanying commentary focused on the interplay between these two distinct ecosystems. As we wander about on the hard-packed marsh floor during low tide, we will not risk any disturbance of the environment as we explore the area and observe its resident wildlife. Carrying onward to the beach, we’ll scout for critters and clues to their presence with the help of our naturalist.

Lunch: At a popular island restaurant, we’ll have a plated meal with coffee, tea and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll then carry on to St. Simons Island for an expert-led field trip at Fort Frederica where we will walk among the ancient live oaks while listening to fascinating historical tales. St. Simons Island is the largest of Georgia’s Golden Isles and was originally developed by the slave-owning colonial English into plantations of cotton and other cash crops. Out of the widespread West African slave population in the southeast region of what is now the United States grew the distinctive Gullah and Geechee cultures. Since the turn of the 20th century, however, the island transformed into more of a resort community with a significant seasonal population. Fort Frederica, established in 1736 by James Oglethorpe, was made to defend Georgia’s southern border from the Floridian Spanish. Moving on, we will also make a stop at the historic St. Simons Lighthouse for an expert-led field trip. While here, we’ll explore the historic St. Simons Lighthouse campus which includes the Lighthouse, the Keeper's Dwelling Museum, the oil house and Victorian Gazebo, and the Maritime Museum at the Historic Coast Guard Station. On our way back to the hotel, we will drive through the tiny seaside village noting historical and modern landmarks. As we pass, we’ll also learn about the iconic avenue of oaks and more.

Dinner: Hotel buffet.

Evening: At the hotel, we’ll gather for a lecture given by a local expert that will focus on sea turtles, their unique biological characteristics, and the efforts being made by organizations to preserve their population. These include, for instance, devices employed by the shrimping industry to avoid trapping these animals as bycatch. Known to be present in almost every ocean in the world, these speedy swimmers glide through the water on large flippers encased in smooth scaly skin and a hard shell to defend themselves from predators.

DAY
3
Jekyll Island, Free Time, Barrier Island Dynamics
St. Simons Island, GA
B,L,D
Sea Palms Golf & Tennis Resort

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile split up on field trips throughout the day. Driving approximately 45 miles, about 2 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll depart via motorcoach and transfer to the Jekyll Island Museum for an expert-led field trip. The many exhibitions feature objects and photographs from extensive collections and will introduce us to the rich heritage of Jekyll Island, whose social and architectural legacy is reflected in the Jekyll Island Club National Historic Landmark District. A 240-acre riverfront compound, it is one of the largest ongoing restoration projects in the southeastern United States. Founded in 1886, the Jekyll Island Hotel was the winter retreat for some of America's most elite families including such names as Morgan, Astor, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt and Pulitzer. Here, on this small barrier island off Georgia's beautiful coast, the founders shaped a private world of grand cottage residences around a Queen Anne-style clubhouse. Much of this compound has been carefully preserved and faithfully restored in the Jekyll Island National Historic Landmark District, where we will be welcomed guests. After viewing an informative film and seeing photos from the time period at the museum, we’ll meet our historian who will provide background on the so-called “Millionaire’s Village” created by many well-known financial and political giants, many of whom gathered here 1910 to plan the Federal Reserve System. Boarding a tram around the historic district together, we’ll visit two of these impressively wealthy and exclusive homes from this formative period in American history. While aboard the tram, our local historian will illustrate the comprehensive context of the place and why it has become such a legacy.

Lunch: At the historic Jekyll Island Hotel, we’ll have a delicious plated meal featuring regional specialties with coffee, tea and water. The Jekyll Island Club Hotel is Jekyll Island's only four-star resort and National Historic Landmark. Enjoy elegant surroundings and simple pleasures. Its impressive members included such luminaries as J.P. Morgan, William Rockefeller, Vincent Astor, Joseph Pulitzer, William K. Vanderbilt, and other recognizable names on the roster were Macy, Goodyear and Gould.

Afternoon: 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. You may wish to embark on a short and easy walk to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center or through the oak-lined historic district to see local art such as pottery and hand-blown glass. We’ll then meet at a predetermined time and place to board the motorcoach and return to the hotel.

Dinner: Hotel buffet.

Evening: At the hotel, a local naturalist will join us to give a lecture about the dynamic ecological systems functioning in Georgia’s barrier islands.

DAY
4
Shrimp Trawl, Christ Church, Free Time, Sapelo History
St. Simons Island, GA
B,D
Sea Palms Golf & Tennis Resort

Activity note: Walking up to a maximum of 1 mile, about 1 hour collectively, on mostly paved walkways and some grass. Getting on/off a boat; the ride is about 2 hours; restrooms on board.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After transferring via motorcoach to the dock we will board the "Lady Jane," a working shrimp boat, for a shrimp trawl. The crew of the Lady Jane will provide an educational lesson with commentary on the local ecology as we cruise the protected waters of St. Simons Sound. If desired, we may even help out sorting the catch of bonnethead, blacktip, sand shark, horseshoe crab, puffer fish, amberjack, crocker, spot, whiting, bluecrab and skate; we may even see dolphins and coastal birds along the way! We’ll return to the dock and board our motorcoach for transfer to lovely Christ Church for an expert-led field trip with historical commentary. The atmosphere of Christ Church has captivated visitors for years with its distinctive architectural design and majestic live oak surroundings. This modern-day spectacle, like a vintage photograph, offers the Road Scholar viewer a peek into another time period. Ultimately, the widespread appeal of the site today may be linked to the 1880s generosity of Anson Dodge Jr., a man popularized by Eugenia Price in her book, "The Beloved Invader." While on our walking field trip, we will explore the unique environment and also make our way through the old cemetery which contains graves of early settlers and some famous Georgians.

Lunch: On your own to explore the local fare at one of the many restaurants on the island. Our motorcoach will be happy to drop people off at the village.

Afternoon: Free time. Take time on your own to explore the beauty of the island or just relax. Return transportation to the hotel will be on your own.

Dinner: Hotel buffet.

Evening: A presentation on Sapelo Island’s history will be presented by a local expert at the hotel in preparation for our upcoming field trip to the island.

DAY
5
Ferry to Sapelo Island
St. Simons Island, GA
B,L,D
Sea Palms Golf & Tennis Resort

Activity note: Walking approximately 1 mile over several hours throughout the day on uneven terrain including sand and grass. Driving about 60 miles, approx. 2 hours. Getting on/off the ferry; the ride is approximately a ½ hour; restrooms on board.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll depart the hotel via motorcoach for transfer to the ferry’s docking point and the Mainland Visitor Center where we will have some time to learn through independent exploration of the exhibits about Sapelo’s cultural history, coastal wildlife and complex ecosystems of beach and dunes. At embarkation time, we’ll board the ferry for the short ride to the island and get ready for an expert-led field trip on the island where we will explore Native American shell mounds, visit tabby ruins of an old French estate, check out Nannygoat Beach, stop by tabby ruins of the slave cabins, and see the newly-restored Sapelo Lighthouse. Sapelo Island is reachable only by boat, making it an endearing isolated destination.

Lunch: Lunch will be on Sapelo Island.

Afternoon: Our field trip on Sapelo will continue. Ferry leaves for the mainland in the mid-afternoon.

Dinner: At a popular island restaurant, we’ll enjoy our farewell dinner sharing our favorite experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
6
Program Concludes
St. Simons Island, GA
B

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

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: At the hotel, our final presentation will be given by a local expert on a surprise subject of their choosing. We’ll then have a final program review and wrap-up session together recalling our new memories made together. This concludes our program. 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 rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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