Clean, Fresh Flavors… The Best in Summer Beers

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Located on Ocean Drive, Barrier Island Brewing has gained plenty of attention since opening its doors last October.

While it’s new to St. Simons stellar food and beverage line-up, it’s definitely not owner Blake Merrill’s first rodeo. He also operates Half Shell in the Pier Village and his family has owned the adjacent Crab Trap for years. After being in the game for years, Merrill noticed that something was lacking — craft beer.

Luckily, a friend of his Rylie Duncan was becoming quite the brewing enthusiast and, after returning to her St. Simons roots, they teamed up to provide the area with some stellar suds.

“I love beer. I’m a big brewery person. I travel a lot and always go from brewery to brewery,” Duncan says with a grin.

“I went to the University of Georgia and Terrapin was huge. Now, they have like five breweries, but in my day there was only one. It’s just the whole vibe of the brewery, it’s outside, I could bring my dog, there was live music. I just love it.”

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Duncan actually worked in an Alaska brewery for two years before moving back to her hometown in order to help Merrill get Barrier Island Brewery going.

“We’d always thought it would be something great for the island … but it was just a dream for so long,” she says.

Of course, realizing that dream took a lot of work. Not only was nailing down the food portion of the restaurant challenging, Duncan had to perfect her brewing abilities, which is no easy feat.

“I’m not a ‘brew master’ that’s a distinction, but I have been doing it for a while. There is a lot of science that goes into it. I had my beakers out this morning, measuring things out,” she says, standing in front of the enormous steel kegs. “It’s a lot more complicated than people think. It’s so weird, I’m not a science gal by any means … I’m a social worker by trade, but I have learned a lot.”

For the most part, they’ve decided to offer flavors that embrace the Coastal vibe — light, clean, cool, and crisp. They prove drinkable for a variety of palettes — and it’s what summer in the South demands.

“The boat and beach beers … the kinds of things you want to drink outside when it’s 105 degrees out,” she says with a laugh. One of their most popular brews, the Ocean Boulevard Blueberry Wheat, is a perfect example. It combines the freshness of the fruit with the hearty malt, which proves to be a winning blend.

“People love, love, love it. We started that last June and people went crazy for it,” Duncan says. “We actually didn’t have plans to do it year-round but people wanted it, so we decided to add it. It’s an island, you can get away with doing it year-round.”

Another prime summer beverage is the brewery’s Golden Ray, named for the cargo ship that capsized in the St. Simons Sound at the end of 2019.

“It’s our most popular beer for sure. It’s a citrus, hazy New England style. It is done with citra-hops that gives it a flavor profile that includes grapefruit, pineapple, and mango,” she says.

Other brews that can often be found on tap include their Altamaha Amber Larger, Whiting Wheat, Traveler’s Belgian Tripel, and the Lagerhead Turtle Lager. Of course, as a true micro-brewery these are subject to change.

“We always have an amber or brown ale. We’ve experimented with both. We’ve been trying to figure out which people wanted more and I think we’ve decided on the amber,” she says.

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All of these are available for on-site sipping or grabbing a growler to go. In addition to the brews, the restaurant also offers a number of hand-crafted cocktails, as well as wines.

Of course, as a bonafide “beer girl” Duncan is excited to keep brewing up unique blends for customers.

“I’m so excited to try funky flavors and sours. There are just so many things you can do,” she says.

 

 

 

Source:  Golden Isles:  The Magazine for Brunswick, St Simons Island.  

Hidden History of Jekyll Island

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Quietly legible on a third floor wall in Hollybourne Cottage, part of Jekyll Island’s historic district, is a pair of hand-drawn silhouettes that have gone unnoticed for decades.

The artists were daughters of two wealthy families who visited Jekyll annually during an era when the island served as an exclusive winter getaway for millionaires.

Taylor Davis, a historic preservationist for Jekyll Island Authority, has walked past these drawings on the wall more times than he can count. But the silhouettes remained unseen by Jekyll staff until 2018, when a contractor’s grandson noticed the drawings, which according to a scribbled date on the wall were made in February 1902.

“We had walked past it how many tens of thousands of times and had never noticed it,” Davis says.

These drawings are a small, intimate piece in the rich tapestry of Jekyll Island history. Hidden gems like this can be found throughout the island’s historic district by anyone with a curiosity and a willingness to stop and look closely.

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Jekyll Island in the early 1900s was the winter vacation spot for several well-known names in American history, including the Rockefellers, the Pulitzers, the Vanderbilts, and others.

“The history is the one that a lot of people more readily associate with Jekyll nowadays, is that millionaire’s club era history,” says Alexa Orndoff, JIA director of marketing and communications.

But a trip to Jekyll Island can reveal pieces of its history that few know, and some questions raised by these small details remain unanswered.

One such question is whether the front door into Villa Ospo, once the home of oil tycoon Walter Jennings, is actually as historic as it looks.

“It is not a 1927 door,” Davis says.

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Jekyll staff have two theories. One is that it’s a mission door, found on an international trip. The other theory, though, raises even more questions. Some have speculated that the door was beaten by chains and scuffed up in 1927 to make it look older.

“This is one that we’re still in the process of trying to uncover its original history,” Orndoff says.

And the true story may forever remain a mystery, Davis adds.

“That door ain’t from around here, I’ll just say that,” he says.

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A hidden escape

During the island’s millionaire club era, Jekyll Island served as a playground for those who could afford the steep price of vacationing there. The island at that time was accessible only by boat, and families would transport not just their suitcases but also their vehicles, staff of servants, and all other accommodations to which they were accustomed.

Their cottage homes, many of which still stand today, were much smaller than the mansions they owned up north, but the families likely lacked few comforts.

Almira Rockefeller, wife of businessman William Rockefeller, had a different sort of comfort in mind as her family renovated and expanded Indian Mound Cottage. Her priority was peace of mind.

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Almira’s intense fear of dying in a house fire led her to insist that the cottage have escape routes, including a slide from the top-floor servants’ quarters and windows that swing open like doors from both her bedroom and what is presumed to be her children’s bedroom, allowing them to climb out onto the roof, shimmy around the building and climb down a garden trellis outside to safety on the ground.

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“If a fire breaks out in one of these, you’ve got to get to the fire escapes very quickly,” Davis says, noting that construction materials for homes during this period could quickly catch fire and be destroyed.

 

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A less picturesque feature

Visitors to Faith Chapel, the oldest house of worship on Jekyll Island, are likely to notice the two colorful stained glass windows, one of which is signed by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Distracted by these beautiful pieces of art, it’s possible to miss the grotesques (the term for an interior gargoyle) staring creepily from beams above the pews.

The original steeple on Faith Chapel, built in 1904, had to be replaced due to a leaking problem. The gargoyles perched on the exterior corners of the chapel roof once could have served their intended purpose of gargling water down their spouts. But these gargoyles are relatively new additions, as the originals have deteriorated and were replaced. With the new roof, gargoyles no longer had a purpose to serve. Today, they simply add a gothic look to the historic structure. 062920_JIA_20200508_HISTORIC-RESOURCES_DSC08970

Inside, the original grotesques are made of carved wood and come in a variety of shapes, including that of an eagle, a boar, a horse, and a dragon.

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A discovered drawing

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The silhouettes are not the only time stamps of history sketched onto the walls of Hollybourne Cottage.

Merely feet away, lovebirds Pam and Bobby squeezed their names into an arrow-stricken heart, along with the date of Sept. 6, 1970.

Davis, noting that vandalism is not encouraged in or on any Jekyll Island location, pointed out that the pair snuck upstairs during a time when the house was not in use.

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And the house itself, he says, is a gem of Georgia history. Visitors can immediately recognize that the house is structurally different than the island’s other cottages. The home was built in 1890 by well-known bridge builder Charles Steward Maurice, one of the first club members to move to the island.

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“You have this Yankee bridge builder who comes down and falls in love with Jekyll, his wife does too, with the history and everything,” Davis says. “So he saw the Horton House ruins on the north end of the island, the colonial era structure, and he decides he wants to build his house of the same material.”

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The house is set up today in a permanent state of restoration, to showcase how JIA staff preserve these structures. Davis is able to show visitors how Maurice incorporated elements of bridge design into the structure of his home. He used wooden trusses and long steel bolts that run from the ceiling of the first floor into the top of the truss on the third floor.

“Everything about this house, all these elements, speak to the quality of construction,” Davis says. “It’s not as flashy as many of the other houses, but it’s just such high quality.”

Davis has spent countless hours inside the cottage doing preservation work, yet even he was able discover a new historic gem recently. The drawn silhouettes upstairs had somehow remained a secret until 2018, as no archival documents or other information mentions their existence.

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“We don’t believe that anyone else had recognized them or realized that these were here,” Orndoff says.

Emily Maurice, the daughter of Charles, is drawn alongside her friend Alice, another club member’s daughter. They also wrote a French poem beside their artwork.

“A volunteer’s sister-in-law is a French teacher and she read through it, and she said, ‘well, they definitely were learning French,’” Davis says.

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It’s discoveries like this, Davis says, that help bring history to life in ways that are best understood through firsthand experience.

“There’ve been a lot of preservation efforts here since the mid- to late-1980s, so when you stumble on something that really wasn’t known about before, it’s really exciting,” he says. “I get to be a steward and find my place in this long line of people who’ve been seeing to these structures.”

Source:  Golden Isles:  The Magazine for Brunswick, St Simons Island. 

Nature’s Majesty: The beauty of Golden Isles’ Waterways

But all was calm ahead. The water before him was as still as glass, reflecting the azure of the sky and the swaying sage of the marsh grass. His keen eyes scanned the horizon, looking for the telltale signs of the wildlife he’s come to know so well. Egrets and herons, dolphins and manatees — as someone who has spent his entire life on the Golden Isles’ waterways, spotting them has become second nature.

Of course, there’s one that the Glynn County native sees less frequently — alligators.

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“The gators here get big and big gators don’t get that way by being seen,” he says with a smile.

Even though it’s something he does every day, the majesty and beauty never grow old for Gowen, who has parlayed this passion into a profession. He co-owns Southeast Adventure Outfitters with Cindy Dennard. The business, which offers everything from kayak tours to stand up paddle boarding to boating tours, has been open since 1994.

But Gowen’s experiences along the coastal waterways began much earlier.

“My family and my extended family always had interests on the coast. One of my jokes is that my DNA is well-engrained in the food chain,” he says with a laugh. “And it’s true, especially up in McIntosh County. But doing this, starting back when I was a kid, it was a way to follow my passion.”

Over the years, the intricate system of trails and tributaries have become an integral part of his life, and sharing these otherwise unseen areas offers tourists and locals a perspective that they’d never see otherwise.

“My go-to line is: ‘Coastal Georgia has a huge trail system it’s just all wet.’ Our kayaks and powerboats are our boots, backpacks, and bikes for exploration. I also say you could go every day and never see it all,” he says.

“There’s over 2,500 miles of interconnected waterways just within our coast. It’s pretty amazing. The great majority of our coast and barrier islands are undeveloped which is unique for the Eastern seaboard.”

Gowen’s family also owns Village Creek Landing, which offers an event space, and Southeast Adventure leases the dock as an outpost for water-based activities. Regardless of which method he is sharing, he’s grateful to offer a peek at the unrivaled beauty of Coastal Georgia.

“I love it when we have grandparents and grandkids. I always snap pictures of them along the way and email them back,” the skilled photographer shares.

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Like Gowen, Sam Ghioto also relishes the magic of the area’s waterways. The St. Simons Island native didn’t truly begin taking advantage of the beauty of his homeland until he began working at Southeast Adventure Outfitters.

“I started working (there) as a kayak tour guide last May. A few months before joining the crew, it dawned on me that I have not taken advantage of exploring our unique and beautiful ecosystem, although I have lived on St. Simons Island my entire life and have gone boating with my dad,” Ghioto says.

“So, I began running tours and learned a lot. On top of kayaking, I did a couple paddleboard tours. What I enjoy most about paddleboarding is finding the flow of the moment.”

062920_TBN_9673As the water moves beneath his board, Ghioto feels a sense of balance and peace that can rarely be found anywhere else.

“That’s when nothing else seems to matter. Whenever I’m out paddle boarding or paddlesurfing, I soak in the sun and breathe in the salt air. I become very mindful of my surroundings because the ocean is so expansive and can be very powerful,” he says.

Paddleboarding also allows a deeper connection to the ocean and its inhabitants, as there is little buffer between the participant and the sea.

“It’s definitely humbling because you’re subject to the tide and the wind. I prefer the challenging days that test my capabilities in the surf. When the conditions are rough, it makes everything seem so small in comparison,” Ghioto says.

“It’s always magical when you’re sitting in the surf, waiting for a wave, and a dolphin surfaces. If you listen closely, you can hear them breathe before you see them. When one gets close enough, I can see their eyes, and I know that I’m looking into another soul.”

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Captain Phillip Kempton also loves the way the sea and surf offer an escape from the trappings of daily life. A lifelong boater, Kempton moved to the area after retiring as a project manager from BellSouth in the early 2000s.

“I initially wanted to be a fishing guide … I’ve owned over 20 boats in my life. After I got my license and started taking people out, I discovered that’s really not what I wanted to do,” Kempton says.

Instead, he spoke with Cap Fendig, whose family has operated a local tour businesses for decades. Fendig offered him a position as a first mate as he worked toward his master’s license.

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“I told him that I’d have to go home and pray about it and Cap called me when I was in the parking lot. He said his wife had heard me say that and she really wanted me to come work for them,” he says.

So, he did. Eventually, Kempton teamed up with Capt. John McCleskey to purchase Fendig’s Jekyll Island-based tour business. Housed at the wharf in the historic district, Jekyll Island Dolphin Tours offers a number of excursions, including private tours for families.

For Kempton, the waterways of the Golden Isles provide an escape unlike any other.

“We had originally looked at moving to Destin, Florida, but we went down there and there are just boats everywhere. You can barely move,” he says. “Then we came here. You can be out on the water all day and never see another boat. And it’s so pretty. I tell people that I’ll never live anywhere without palm trees and pelicans.”

Star Light Star Bright

Teresa Jones has always been drawn to creating, so naturally, the arts have held a particular interest for her. But when she received her first camera, a new world emerged.

“My father gifted me a Canon AE1 35mm camera when I was 16 years old. I’d always been into some form of art, but this was my stepping stone into the world of photography,” Jones says.

“Here it is 25 years later, and it’s honestly my biggest passion. I love so many different things about photography … you’re freezing a moment in time, capturing a memory. I’ve told many people over the years that I capture everything I can so that I never forget anything.”

As she’s collected those memories, she’s also continued to hone her craft, expanding into a variety of areas. There’s something about nature that proves to be a particular draw.

 

Like many photographers, Jones, who operates Gypsy Wild Photography, often takes early morning strolls along the Isles’ beaches, waiting for that first glimpse of dawn.

But, in an unconventional twist, she also shoots beachscapes at night. A friend who also enjoys the art form walked her through the basics, and the results are simply stunning. The darkness provides a rare opportunity to see the cosmos in all of its glory — from full moons to the expanse of the Milky Way galaxy.

True to form, Jones wanted to capture that beauty — but that can be a tricky task.

“I am absolutely fascinated by the sky, especially the night sky. What I like the most about them is the ability to capture a scene that’s hard to see with the naked eye. It’s as if I’ve captured a whole other world,” she says.

The technique also connects on a deeply personal level. Summer stars and moonlight bring back memories of her childhood.

“The biggest thing for me that makes them so special is the memories I have about my paternal grandfather. He’s the inspiration in my night photography. At around the age of 10, he woke me from my sleep in the very early hours of a summer morning,” Jones says.

“He loaded me into his truck and drove us to a field way behind their house away from the city lights. All of this, to show me an incredible meteor shower. The love I have for the sky and the night only multiplied tenfold.”

Jillisa Hope Milner shares that love. The owner of Wings Open Photography started capturing the sky after participating in a program that outlined the method.

“I took a night sky photography workshop in 2016 with the photographer Mark Buckler and I immediately fell in love with the magic of it. For me, gazing at and photographing the stars always helps remind me that we are just a little part of a big, wide universe,” she says.

“Problems and worries always seem much less significant when I gaze at the vastness of space. I also love that the camera can capture even more than the human eye can see — it allows us to see more deeply into the universe around us.

Milner says that shooting with a shutter speed of 18 to 25 seconds allows the camera to capture all the light the stars emit.

“That’s why it looks even more dramatic. Our eyes see light moment to moment. The camera can capture light across many seconds, or minutes even,” she says.

But there are multiple factors that make these shoots difficult. First off, one must be very comfortable with his or her camera — and it must be a pretty high-tech instrument. Among other techniques, photographers shoot with specific lenses and in manual-focus mode. Milner adds that one also has to be aware of the celestial movements.

“You can’t just pop out on any night with any camera and get a great Milky Way shot. It has to be the right time of year — about April through September for our area — and you have to know the weather, what phase the moon is in, when the moon will rise and set, and when and where you can see the galactic center of the Milky Way — that’s the thick, beautiful band of stars most people are eager to photograph,” she says.

“The galactic center rises and sets just like the sun and the moon, so it takes some planning and some luck to get all the conditions to align. It often means being out with your camera between 1 and 4 a.m. I use an app called the Photographers’ Ephemeris to track the best times based on any given location.”

When one gets that perfect shot — all of the planning, effort, and sand gnat bites are worth it. Milner points to the image of a shooting star taken on Cumberland Island as evidence.

“One of my favorite photos is from Cumberland Island, taken while I was camping there during a Perseid meteor shower,” she says.

“I was on the beach doing time-lapse photography, which involves taking hundreds of photos over the span of hours. I was so lucky to have one of those hundreds be at the perfect moment to capture this shooting star.”

From capturing shimmering celestial bodies over the ocean to tropical maritime forests and sweeping marsh vistas, the land of the Golden Isles offers an unending source of artistic inspiration.

“We are so fortunate to live in a place where it’s possible to photograph the night sky. People who live in big cities can’t get Milky Way shots like this due to light pollution,” Milner says.

“These photos show us a little more about the nature of our area — literally, where we are in the universe. And through these photos, we get to explore the beauty of our coast during the hours when most of us are asleep.”

 

Source:  Golden Isles:  The Magazine for Brunswick, St Simons Island.   Words by Lindsey Adkison and photographs by John Krivec, Jillisa Milner, and Teresa Jones

Cannonball jellyfish offers link between the water and the land

Water, it is all around us. We are fascinated by it, yet we take it for granted. Scientists know many of its secrets, but there is a mystery that lies in the deep.

I grew up next to the Mississippi River. When my world seemed to be going wrong — problems seemed to be piling up with no solution in sight — I would go down to the river’s edge and watch it flow by me. There were times when there was too much water, and the currents in the river would swallow everything carrying things bobbing downriver. That river taught me to respect water. Settling along the ocean, I wondered about the power of that vast ocean and what lurks beneath its surface. A lifetime later, the ocean still holds secrets.

Last year, when I went out to the South end of Jekyll. I had never seen so many dead Cannonball Jellyfish in my life.

Doing research, I discovered that Jekyll and St. Simons were not the only barrier islands that were hit by piles of jellies. There was an article in the Myrtle Beach newspaper about this same invasion of the Cannonball Jellyfish. This die-off was happening from South Carolina to Florida. What are Cannonball Jellyfish and why do they end up dead on the beach?

“Cannonball Jellyfish” is actually an inaccurate name of this beast. People who study these creatures call them “jellies” and proclaim loudly — “they are not fish.” They are called Cannonball jellies because they look like gray translucent balls when they wash up on our beaches. There are always a few dead along the wrack line. I looked into it and learned that they are common along our Southern coast. They use water to move. When the current is too swift, or the water isn’t salty enough because there is a lot of rain, these jellies die and end up on the beach.

Another name for this creature is “jelly balls.” Jelly balls help filter the ocean’s water. They eat zooplankton, small crabs, and fish larvae. In turn, they are food for our sea turtles and fish. It is a favorite food for leatherback turtles. But turtles aren’t the only ones that eat these jellies. It is a prized food in Asia. Jelly balls are said to be good for high blood pressure, arthritis, and bronchitis. Jellies are low in fat and high in collagen, which is what our skin needs to appear youthful. It tastes like tofu; in other words, they have no flavor.

About 20 years ago, some shrimpers discovered that they could expand their fishing season by catching jelly balls. Today, it is the third-largest fishery on the Georgia coast right behind shrimp and crab.

Golden Island International in Darien, Georgia, process these jellies. The process is like pickling. The workers remove the stem from the round “head,” then it is salted down and dried. As it dries, it loses eighty to ninety percent of its mass. They are cut into strips and shipped off to Japan and China.

So, the next time you go out to the beach and see all those gelatinous masses along the ocean edge, know that water is revealing one more nature connection.

Source:  Golden Isles:  The Magazine for Brunswick, St Simons Island.  By:  Lydia Thompson.

Horseshoe Crabs

Horseshoe Crabs

Pushed along by the waves, she slowly inches her way out of the ocean. She is driven by her instinct to this beach in the spring. She is not alone. She is followed by a horde of suiters. The moon is full. The tide is high. All of her beaux are blinded by her beauty. Tonight, there will be “love” at the edge of two worlds, the ocean and the land.

For the horseshoe crab, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

Horseshoe crabs are ancient. They were here before the dinosaurs. They survived the extinction of the dinosaurs and are found today in all the oceans. Horseshoe crabs look like tiny tanks slowly shuffling along the ocean floor. They have a hard shell called a “carapace” that is shaped kind-of like a horseshoe. Behind the carapace is a spiny tail, which they use to push themselves over when upside down. The females are the size of dinner plates. The males are the size of saucers.

These bizarre creatures are not crabs at all. They are related to spiders. But before you all go “ewww” on me — the link is so far back in time that all you spiders-fearing-folks don’t have to worry; these beasts are harmless. These “crabs” have eight pinchers that are used for clinging to the ocean floor. They do not pinch.

When I wrote, “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder,” I meant “eyes.” Horseshoe crabs have compound eyes. There are the pair of eyes that are on the top of the carapace, but studies show these curious creatures have ten eyes positioned around the shell to help it find its way around its watery world.

They are made for the oceans. Their mouths are in the middle of their eight legs, so as they crawl along, they can filter food into those mouthes. They have gills, but they can stay on land if they can keep their gills wet. If they get stranded on the beach, they bury themselves and keep the gills wet.

One of the many fascinating features of these creatures is that they are genuinely blue-blooded. A protein called hemocyanin contains copper which creates a blue hue. This hemocyanin is also important for medical research and labs began collecting the blood, and retuning the crabs to the ocean. How those donors fared remains unknown.

To add to that uncertainty, in 2000 the eel fishing industry discovered horseshoe crabs were great bait. The wholesale harvest of these creatures caused its sudden decline. These crabs that survived the extinction of the dinosaurs were disappearing. The tide turned in 2008 however, when New Jersey became the first state to ban the harvest of horseshoe crabs. Other states followed suit, setting limits on harvesting practices.

Why should we care? Horseshoe crabs have an intriguing nature connection. They must come to the beaches to mate and reproduce. The high tides help push the female crabs onto the beaches. She lays her green eggs in a shallow hole, her mate by her side. Eggs laid (and they lay lots of eggs), she inches her way back to the ocean.

Those millions of protein-rich eggs fuel the globe-trotting shorebirds, like semipalmated sandpiper and red knots, on their long journeys to the arctic. Without the horseshoe crab, these shorebirds would not have the energy to make a fantastic journey.

Everything works together. Look for this nature connection at high tides in April or May.

Source:  Golden Isles:  The Magazine for Brunswick, St Simons Island.  By:  Lindsey Adkison.

Garden Walk offers splash of outdoor inspiration

Garden Walk offers splash of outdoor inspiration

The Golden Isles has long been a sanctuary for creators. This little slice of coastline is filled with musicians and artists, all drawn to the natural beauty of the region.

Like their crafty brethren, gardeners too have felt the lure, inspired to till the soil to bring their visions to life. It’s a desire that members of the Cassina Garden Club share. The organization, founded in 1928, joins women under the charge of nurturing growing things. In addition to their longtime sisterhood, the ladies also have made a point to preserve history, namely the tabby cabins at Gascoigne Bluff. Formerly homes of the slaves at Hamilton Plantation, the structures are believed to have been built in the 1830s.

The group has respectfully held the deed to the cabins since 1950, ensuring that they be preserved for future generations. The club spearheaded an extensive renovation project a few years back, even winning the award for “Excellence in Restoration of the Hamilton Plantation Tabby Slave Cabins” from the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. The honor recognizes those who have managed to recapture the features and character of a historic structure as it appeared in its original time period.

Of course, the project and continued maintenance comes with a steep price tag. So the ladies decided to host an annual, garden-centric fundraiser to help offset those costs.

The Tabby and Tillandsia Garden Walk and Market began 14 years ago and continues today, highlighting lovely landscapes of St. Simons Island. This year, the organizing committee has selected eight stunning locations for participants to visit.

The tour, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 25, will include stops in Frederica Township, Black Banks, the Island Club, and Sea Palms West. Attendees are also invited to swing by Demere Park to check out the butterfly garden there, which is operated by another local organization, the Live Oaks Garden Club.

A marketplace, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the cabins, 1195 Arthur J. Moore Drive, St. Simons Island.

It will feature items from local artisans and vendors, as well as food trucks, a plein air artists’ sale, and tours of the cabins.

Jane Bangert, this year’s event chair, says each location will serve as inspiration for tour-goers.

“There are so many vignettes and vistas that will inspire. One is almost a formal garden. There is one that’s a very Southern garden. There’s one that is like an English garden,” she said.

“There are some (gardens) with planters where people can take home ideas. I think a lot of people are more successful here with container gardening because of the soil here.”

Tickets to the Garden Walk may be purchased for $45 online at cassinagardenclub.org. They will be available at tabby cabins on the day of the tour as well.

Source:  Golden Isles:  The Magazine for Brunswick, St Simons Island.  By:  Lindsey Adkison.

Golden Isles Magazine Wins FOLIO Award!

The publication earned the Eddie or editorial award for the Southeast city and regional category for “George’s Bait” from the July/August 2018 edition. The story was written by Larry Hobbs and photographed by Benjamin Galland. GIM also received an Eddie honorable mention for Long Form Feature Content Magazine Section for “Ask A Local” in Sept/Oct 2018.

It was awarded an Ozzie (design) honorable mention for the the Spirit of Christmas published in Nov/Dec 2018 and for Illustration in the “Ask a Local” story in Sept/Oct 2018.

Editor Lindsey Adkison is thrilled by the recognition the magazine continues to receive.

“Naturally, the credit for achievement goes to my predecessor, Bethany Leggett. She has set the bar so incredibly high, and should certainly be commended for her vision,” she says.

“Larry and Ben also did outstanding work in creating an engaging and truly beautiful story. It really is such an honor to be a part of this outstanding team.”

Becky Derrick, marketing director for Golden Isles Magazine says it is a privilege to tell the stories of the area’s treasured coastline.

“Our collaborative team treats that responsibility with great care and it’s apparent in our finished product,” Derrick says. “Every year I wonder how we’re going to top the last one, but our team always comes through. They make sure we are undeniably the area’s premier lifestyle publication, and I’m grateful to them for making my job so easy.”

Golden Isles Magazine has an impressive history with the FOLIO: Awards, securing numerous honors over the years. GIM received its Folio’s Eddie & Ozzie award in 2014. Since that time, the publication has received five awards for editorial and design content. It has also garnered nine honorable mentions.

Competition for Golden Isles Magazine includes publications covering large metropolitan areas, like Baltimore Magazine, and regional heavyweights like Charleston-based Garden and Gun.

For Adkison, the awards are well-deserved and represent the tireless work of a team of writers, editors, photographers, and designers.

“Each issue of Golden Isles Magazine has the fingerprints of so many people throughout its pages,” she said. “There is no way that it would be the publication it is without the creativity and brilliance of individuals working behind the scenes — from marketing to design. It truly is a labor of love.”

Source:  Golden Isles:  The Magazine for Brunswick, St Simons Island. 

Dish stews up a bit of controversy, with side of fun!

Not many cities can claim a native dish that houses as much controversy as it does acclaim — but that’s precisely what Brunswick stew brings to Brunswick.

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The stew, which both Brunswick County, Virginia, and the Coastal Georgia city lay claim to, is the center of attention for the 21st annual Brunswick Rockin’ Stewbilee.

The Stewbilee is part music festival, part cook-off, part cultural institution, and part good old-fashioned get-together for the citizens of Brunswick and beyond. Different cooking teams come together to present their takes on Brunswick stew for judges and attendees to taste.

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The Stewbilee is a joint effort between its committee and the local Kiwanis Club. The committee’s responsibilities include the logistics — road closures, sponsorships, and security, among others — while the Kiwanis Club organizes the actual stew competition, the classic car show, and the kids’ area.

All funds that the committee raises through sponsorships go to the Boys and Girls Club, while all the Kiwanis Club funds go to the organization’s general fund.

Teeple Hill is Stewbilee’s chairman and has been involved in the event since 2007. He said that it takes everyone — the volunteers, musicians, cooks, and judges — to create such a memorable and, at this point, historic event.

“All these different teams donate their time, their work, and their stew to make a successful event,” Hill emphasizes. “Without the teams, we don’t have Stewbilee.”

Ron Adams is a cook in this year’s Stewbilee, but was one of the key organizers from its inception. Since its first event in 1999, the event has gone through as many iterations and changes as there are differences from one person’s stew recipe to another.

At one time, it was a three-day event in October or November, featuring musical acts such as the B-52s, The Neville Brothers, and Casey and the Sunshine Band. When the 2008-2009 recession hit however, the organizers decided it was time to size the event down. Then, when hurricanes caused problems two years in a row, the decision was made to move the date to January, which Adams says has worked out well for the competition.

Even after going through so many changes, the Stewbilee is such an economic boon for the city that even the best cooks of downtown aren’t able to take the day off to compete, Adams says.

“I’ve tried to get (Tipsy McSway’s owner) Susan Bates to cook in the Stewbilee, but she can’t be out of the restaurant because she has so much business that day,” he says, laughing.

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While the event has become a downtown staple, Stewbilee almost had to change venues this year due to the city’s plans to renovate Mary Ross Waterfront Park. However, the powers that be, due in part to urging by the Brunswick Exchange Club, promised they would wait until after 2020 to make any changes. As it stands, the event stretches on Bay Street from Newcastle to Gloucester, as well as all of Mary Ross Park.

Adams says Stewbilee not only aids the Boys and Girls Club, but also the city’s inhabitants through sheer exposure and attendance.

“It’s a great calling card for the city of Brunswick,” he said. “It helps people see the real beauty of our city. It’s been a very mutually beneficial event.”

Hill agrees. “This is an event that brings the entire community together,” he said. “Everyone comes out for this and has a good time. It’s a real melting pot for the community,” Hill says.

Though Brunswick, Georgia, is the home of the Stewbilee, and even has a pot at the intersection of F and Bay Streets labeled “in this pot the first Brunswick Stew was made on St. Simon Isle, July 2, 1898” — many Virginians will argue that the coastal city doesn’t deserve to host it.

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When asked where he thought Brunswick stew originated, Hill immediately responded, “Brunswick.” A pause, then with a small laugh, “Georgia.”

Source:  Golden Isles:  The Magazine for Brunswick, St Simons Island.  “Dish Stews Up a Bit of Controversy, With a Side of Fun,” by: Beth Lindly

Sea Anemones

Whenever anyone starts to talk about traveling out of Glynn County, my friend Sandy says, “We don’t travel, OK!” Over the years, I have met travelers who are always on the move. Their boats and RVs are their homes. Then there are other folks, like Sandy, who are happy just where they are. 

Variety is the spice of life. In the ocean, there are big fish and whales that travel long distances with no qualms. On the other side of the coin, there are organisms that, once they find a home, they stick to it like glue. If you are a boat person, these creatures can be a nuisance. For this reason, creatures like sea anemones, barnacles, and oysters are called “fouling organisms.”

I decided to explore Jekyll Island’s Driftwood Beach one quiet day. It is a fascinating place. Trees are stranded on the beach with the tide washing over them twice a day. It is a fantastic example of nature’s sculpture garden. People visiting for the first time think that storms washed them up on the beach. The trees were once on high, dry land, and the ocean ate away at that land. The barrier islands of South Carolina, Georgia, and Northern Florida are always moving. The concept is called “sand sharing.” The offshore currents take the sand from the north ends of barrier islands and tumble it south to build the south end of these islands. But, the trees on the north end are left stranded in the sand. The tide washes around the root systems and branches, leaving tide pools. Out on the Pacific Coast of California, Oregon, and Washington State, people like to go tide pooling, looking for sea creatures stranded in the pools of water.

This quiet day, I was exploring the tide pools on Driftwood Beach. There were living sand dollars stranded on the dry sand. I picked them up and placed them in the water. The creatures slowly disappeared into the sand. While watching them, something moved in the water at the base of a fallen tree. Wow! It was real, live sea anemones just like the ones in the movie, Finding Nemo. Discovering these sea anemones in the wild was thrilling. I have seen them in salt-water fish tanks, but here they were on Driftwood Beach. They were stuck deep in the pools attached to a root.

Some of the creatures were closed up. They looked like funny, bumpy, squishy pale rocks. I timidly touched one, and it sprung open. It had tentacles. They were larger on the outer rim and smaller closer to the central opening. It was a stunning creature. Richard Chewning is the 4-H Center’s director of Camp Jekyll, a UGA/Jekyll Island Authority Environmental Educational Center at the south end of Jekyll. He is my go-to guy for all things ocean. He told me that these were warty anemones. These are common sea anemones found around the big driftwood trees at the north end. Chewning said the kids at Camp Jekyll got a kick out of these anemones because tentacles called nematocysts do not sting. An interesting fact, he added, is these warty anemones are not found on the south end of Jekyll because the sand is too fine, but love to attach themselves to the roots and rocks at the north end. There is always something to learn in this diverse Georgia Coast.

Take some time and explore. Find the animals that will travel long distances to get here. Discover the creatures like the warty sea anemones that find a home and stick to it like glue.

Source:  Golden Isles:  The Magazine for Brunswick, St Simons Island.  “Sea Anemones,” by Lydia Thompson.