• gfeldstein

Day 46 Brunswick, GA and Saint Simons Island 44 miles 591 feet

I slept in this morning while the folks who shuttled to Brunswick yesterday were shuttled back to Townsend to finish the ride here. I walked in to town to explore the historic district and grab some breakfast. Brunswick was settled by British colonists in 1771 to provide a buffer between the Spaniards in Florida and Britain’s Carolina colonies. Historically Brunswick has always been an important port city. It currently supports 10% of the US roll on roll off freight and is third only behind the ports of Los Angeles and Newark. It’s principle industry however, is currently tourism. Brunswick and it’s adjacent islands are year-round resort destinations. The beaches, resorts, shops, and historic sites on the islands annually attract visitors from all over the globe. On my short walk into town I passed several fine Victorian homes dating to the mid-19’th century

I passed through the 2 principal squares, Hanover Square and Queens Square. Hanover square remains as a park complete with a large fountain and a Civil War Monument which is about to be “canceled.”

Many years ago, Queens Square was infilled with buildings, including the original City Hall

At 9AM the downtown was still fast asleep, a far cry from the music and beer infused partying I had witnessed last evening.

I returned to our hotel, the Waters Hill B&B, which our host Jack, has owned for 24 years. He describes it as a Faux Victorian and his research indicates that it was probably built around 1863. He has spent years decorating it in high Victorian fashion and I would say the interiors are decidedly more Ralph Lauren than Calvin Klein.

Jack, like my late wife, is an artist, she was more of an abstract cubist, while Jack tends more to Impressionism like Matisse and Cezanne.

On climbing the grand staircase to my room on the second floor I noticed that the finial at the bottom of the bannister was loose, just like George Bailey’s in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” When I mentioned that to Jack he told me the story behind it. Many years ago, his then 2 year old grandson thought it might be fun to slide down the bannister. He apparently never tried that again. I shared a similar story with Jack which took place many years ago when my daughter Max was 2 or 3 years old. One of Max’s favorite toys was a 5 foot tall stuffed yellow banana. One day she was playing at the top of a long flight of stairs in a farmhouse we were renting in Sagaponack. Somehow she slid down the staircase riding the banana and hit the floor with a very loud thud. My wife and I were frightened and came running from opposite ends of the house to see if she was ok. Max was already on her feet yelling “Again!!” We convinced her to take a pass on that thought.

I decided to ride over to Saint Simon’s Island, were several of my fellow riders had gone exploring. “The Island,” as locals call it, is a barrier island, roughly the size of Manhattan, just off the coast of Brunswick and the largest of Georgias “Golden Isles.” It is reached either by boat or a 6 mile long causeway and 2 bridges. The Island also has a small airport for private planes. It has a small year-round population but it is predominantly a resort destination, owing to its warm climate, beaches, variety of outdoor activities, shops and restaurants, historical sites, and its natural beauty. From the northern end you can take a ferry to Little Saint Simons Island, privately owned by Hank Paulson, the former Secretary of the Treasury.

I rode over the causeway and 2 bridges passing a few marinas as along the way. I was delighted to discover a total segregated 8 foot wide bike path all the way across to the island.

My research had told me that “town” and the restaurants were on the southern tip of the island where most of the residents live. The northern end of the island is fairly undeveloped save for a few private communities of very expensive homes, many of which have direct water access. I decided to ride north first and went all the way to Hampton Point where the road dead ends at the marina where you can catch the twice a day ferry to Little Saint Simons Island, if you make a reservation well in advance. There is a bike path that runs most of the way up but it was congested with tourists and not in the best repair. I opted to stay on the road and only one yahoo in a pickup truck complained. The farther north you rode, the nicer the island and the road became. It was wam and sunny but I was riding in the shade of the ever present grand Coast Live Oaks, draped in Spanish Moss. The road was lined with large gated estates and the road wound like a serpent around century old oak trees rather than in a straight line. It reminded me of the Arbolada, and older section of downtown Ojai, CA, where the roads were laid out in a similar serpentine fashion to preserve the heritage oak trees.

On the way back south I stopped at the Fort Frederica National Monument on the western side of the Island. The fort was built in 1736 by colonists from England and Scotland, and refugees from Germany to defend their new territory from the Spaniards in Florida. When the colonists settled Saint Simons they found massive fields of oyster shells left behind by generations of Indians who had lived on the island. The colonists learned to use this natural resource to fashion crude masonry walls for there fort and houses. The shells were crushed then burnt in massive wood fires. The resultant mixture containing both lime from the the shells and wood ash was mixed with water and fashioned into a crude cement called Tabby. The fort still has several Tabby walls standing and there are abundant oyster shells in most of the ruins.

On my way to the southern tip of the island I passed the First African Baptist Church, established in 1859.

On the southern end of the island I stopped for a quick lunch at Iguanas Seafood Restaurant, 303 Mallory St, Saint Simons Island. The service was excellent and I quickly received a fresh shrimp salad sandwich with coleslaw. The shrimp was wonderful and I was on my way back to the mainland as the town was chock full of tourists.

Dinner was at Basil Thai & Sushi, 1401 Newcastle St, Brunswick. The sushi was fresh and surprisingly good, the Thai dishes were mediocre at best.

Thirteen states down, 2 more to go. The

Cumulative Totals

Miles 2,453

Feet Climbed 82,478

States Visited Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia

For more details on my route, see my Strava Link

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