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Jekyll Island

If you’ve read the book, The Creature from Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffin, you’re familiar with the secret meetings of wealthy bankers and industrialists in November 1909 that paved the way for the Federal Reserve to be established in America.

We had heard a lot about this infamous/famous place through the years.  When we were invited to a destination wedding to be held there, we had no idea what to expect.  Jekyll Island is one the Sea Islands off the coast of Georgia, along with  Amelia Island and St. Simon’s Island.

We flew into Jacksonville, Florida, and drove up the coast into Georgia.  Of course, you can’t drive along a coastal highway and see enticing signs of new places (especially islands: how romantic), historic districts and restaurants without getting a little off course. As we drove around the historic district  of Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, we were charmed by the gift shops and fishing boats and lured into a great restaurant and bar, The Crab Trap.

The waitress assured us the crab, shrimp and scallops had been caught that morning just down the pier.  After one bite, we were believers.  I’ve never tasted such tender, sweet, flavorful crab and scallops.  Wow!  And…..hush puppies….whoa!  crisp on the outside, soft and almost creamy on the inside, great cole slaw and I haven’t mentioned the crab cakes.  I’ve tasted crab cakes in various inland places and been unimpressed.  These were melt in your mouth crab….no filler and just a very light crust on the outside.  Yum.  Well, together with the margaritas…..what a spectacular surprise

The Jekyll Island Club, where the wedding was held, was built in the late 1880’s and was described as the richest, the most exclusive club in the world in 1904. J. P. Morgan, William Rockefeller, Vincent Astor, William Vanderbilt, Marshall Field, Henry Hyde and Joseph Pulitzer were among the members.  Because of the concentration of internationally prominent businessmen,  Jekyll Island was the scene of some important historical events such as the first transcontinental telephone call placed by AT&T president Theodore Vail in January, 1915.  The members left the cold new england winters and sailed on their yachts to the warmer Georgia coast.  Our tour guide noted that Florida had not been developed yet so Georgia was the warmest, southernmost area on the east coast.

The State of Georgia now owns Jekyll Island, maintains the hotel and shops and is restoring the “cottages”.  The museum and tour were fascinating.  It took us through two of the cottages.  The Indian Mound Cottage with twenty-five rooms was built for the Rockefeller family.  The bookcase was filled with books such as Joseph Pennell’s Life and Letters.  I love old books, the printing and illustrations, the bindings and the smells.  This was such an interesting peek into this period of time in our country’s and world’s history.

Our last night on Jekyll Island, we set out to find fresh seafood and an outdoor patio to eat it on.  And…..surprise…..after scouring St. Simon’s Island all afternoon we ended up right on the same property as the Club Hotel.  Latitude 31 degrees.  I’m so jealous of people who live near fishing areas:  the whole dock, fishing boat and water lapping the piles vibe.  Yes, the fish was caught that morning, fresh, fresh and succulent sweet.  So we travelled home, in fresh seafood satisfaction.