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.

Around Town. . . March through April 2020

Around Town. . . March through April 2020

Ongoing in MARCH 2020

The Maritime Forest Ecological Bald Eagle Nest Viewing Tour will be held from 3 to 4 p.m. on Sundays, beginning at the Infirmary, 101 Old Plantation Road on Jekyll Island. For more information, visit

The Georgia Sea Turtle Center hosts its Behind the Scenes Tour from 3 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The cost is $25 per person, which includes general admission to the center. For more information, visit

March 1, 2020

Golden Isles Arts and Humanities will host a staged reading of Moby Dick from 1:15 to 2:15 p.m. at the Ritz Theatre, 1530 Newcastle St., Brunswick. The program is a part of the annual Big Read. Advance tickets for GIAH members are $15 for adults and $10 for seniors (age 65 and up). Advance tickets for nonmembers are $20 for adults and $15 for seniors. Prices increase by $5 if tickets are purchased the day of the show. The cost for students who present ID is always $5 each. For tickets, visit

March 2, 2020

The Coastal Symphony of Georgia will host its spring concert at 8 p.m. at Brunswick High School, 3885 Altama Avenue. Tickets are $40 per person and may be purchased at

March 6, 2020

The Downtown Development Authority invites locals and guests to peruse the streets of Brunswick from 5 to 8 p.m. during First Friday. Shops will stay open later, with restaurants offering specials and entertainment. For more information, visit

Anderson Fine Art Gallery will host an opening for featured artist Melissa Hefferlin at 5:30 p.m. at 3309 Frederica Road, St. Simons Island. Her paintings will be on display through March 20. For details, visit

March 11, 2020

The Navy Concert Band will perform from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Jekyll Island Convention Center, 75 N. Beachview Dr., Jekyll Island. The concert will feature three of the US Navy Band’s performance groups: The Concert Band, the wind ensemble; the Sea Chanters, the official chorus; and the Cruisers. Admission is free, but tickets are required. For more information, visit

March 13 to 15, 2020

The 46th Annual Jekyll Island Arts Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Sunday hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Goodyear Cottage in the island’s historic district. There will be a juried art show, demonstrations, and interactive activities. For more information, visit

March 12 to 15, 2020

The Georgia Tribute Festival, featuring a number of Elvis Tribute Artists, will be held, with various performances taking place over the two-day period. The contest itself will be held in the Ritz Theatre in downtown Brunswick. Free concerts will also take place in Brunswick’s pocket parks. For tickets and a complete listing of events, visit

March 19, 2020

The Junior League of the Golden Isles will host its second annual Under the Oaks Art Auction from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the A.W. Jones Heritage Center at the St. Simons Island Lighthouse. Proceeds from the event go to benefit charities the organization supports. For more information, email

March 21, 2020

The Episcopal Church Women of Christ Church Frederica will host its annual Tour of Homes from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Buses will shuttle participants from Gascoigne Bluff to Sea Island. Tickets are $40 per person. For more information, visit

March 27 to 29, 2020

The Darien-McIntosh Chamber of Commerce will celebrate the annual Blessing of the Fleet with various events over the three-day span. It will culminate with the blessing at 2 p.m. March 29 at the Darien waterfront. For more information, visit

March 28, 2020

The Friends of Howfyl-Broadfield Plantation will host its 11th annual Easter Egg Hunt from 1 to 3 p.m. Three different hunts will be held for ages 1 to 3; 4 to 6; and 7 to 10. There will also be games, crafts, and other springtime fun. The plantation grounds will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 5556 U.S. Highway 17, Brunswick. Admission is free for those under 5; $5 for youth ages 6 to 17; $8 for adults; and $7 for seniors.

For more information, visit

March 29, 2020

The sixth annual Jewish Food and Culture Festival will be held from noon to 3 p.m. in Jekyll Square on Newcastle St., Brunswick. Music will be provided by Klezmer Local 42 out of Athens. A Jewish wedding ceremony will also take place. Admission to the festival is free, but tickets for food are $1 each. Food items cost between four and eight tickets each. For more information, visit or email

March 30, 2020

SoundBites: Improvisations in a Secret Study, sponsored by the Coastal Symphony of Georgia, will be held at 7 p.m. at Reid’s Apothecary, 1618 Newcastle St., Brunswick. Anthony Anurca will share a number of visual images conjured by a bassoon, contrabassoon, and electronic instruments. Tickets are $45 each and may be purchased at coastal

March 31, 2020

The Literary Guild of St. Simons Island will host Susan Zurenda for its Meet the Author series at 10:30 a.m. in room 108 of the St. Simons Island Casino. She is the author of “Bells for Eli.” The program is free for literary guild members and $10 for nonmembers. For more information, visit

Ongoing in APRIL 2020

The Georgia Sea Turtle Center hosts its Behind the Scenes

Tour from 3 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Guests will get an exclusive look at the reptiles and how the staff rehabilitates them. The cost is $25 per person, which includes general admission to the center. For more information, visit

April 3, 2020

First Friday will return to downtown Brunswick from 5 to 8 p.m. businesses will stay open later. Restaurants will offer specials and entertainment. For more information, visit

April 4 to 5, 2020

Glynn Visual Arts will host its Art in the Park Festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Postell Park on St. Simons Island. It will feature a number of artisans who will sell unique pieces, as well as music and food vendors. For details, visit

April 9, 2020

Cinema Gourmet, hosted by Golden Isles Arts and Humanities, will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Ritz Theatre in downtown Brunswick. The film Raising Arizona will be screened and discussed. Meals will be prepared by Indigo Coastal Shanty. Tickets are $18 for the full experience or $7 for the film alone. For tickets, visit

April 10, 2020

The Horton House Bike Tour is open for biking enthusiasts to join from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Mosaic Jekyll Island Museum, 100 Stable Road, Jekyll Island. The cost is $15 for adults and $10 for children. Those under 4 will be admitted for free. For more information, visit

April 16, 2020

The CASA Glynn 2020 Luncheon and Fashion Show will be held at 11:30 a.m. in the Mizner Ballroom of The Cloister on Sea Island. Ticket prices are based on seating. Sales will begin in March. For ticket information, call 912-952-1862.

April 25, 2020

Cassina Garden Club will host its 14th annual Tabby and Tillandsia Garden Walk and Marketplace from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants will tour eight private gardens with docents available at each location. Advance tickets may be purchased for $45 through Cassina’s website at

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

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 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.

February 6-9, 2020 – Whiskey, Wine, and Wildlife on Jekyll Island

February 6-9, 2020 – Whiskey, Wine, and Wildlife on Jekyll Island

The Golden Isles has long been a respite for those looking for a break from the outside world. The sun, the sand, the natural beauty all beacons — and so many answer that call.

While it’s always a good time to come to the Coast, the best occasions are those that bring together all of the elements that make the Isles so special. And few events do that as well as Whiskey, Wine and Wildlife.

The annual Jekyll Island event pairs the finest Southern cuisine with wines and spirits, as well as some of the true locals — birds, turtles and snakes — that make the island so special. This year’s event will be held from Feb. 6 to 9 and will include lectures and seminars hosted by chefs and craft brew masters and exhibitions.

On Feb. 8, the signature event W3, will offer a combination of all these, as vendors and purveyors take over the Beach Village for a full-fledged festival. Participants are able to purchase individual tickets for events or packages for the entire three-day span.

For Jan Gourley, co-founder of Whiskey, Wine and Wildlife, the fifth year of the festival is shaping up to be the best yet.

“We are very excited this year, as event ticket sales are up by 65 percent over last year — which is huge for a fifth year event. We purposely keep the festival smaller, more of a boutique event — and that’s part of its popularity,” she said.

“It’s hard to find events that offer the quality that W3 does, for the all-inclusive ticket pricing, including the unbelievable variety of wine, beer and spirits — not to mention culinary tastings some of the South’s best chefs. It’s certain that all events are on track for sell-out once again this year.”

Those sell-out funds go toward an important cause, the Jekyll Island Foundation, which works to raise awareness and preserve the character of Georgia’s Jewel. Many of the attendees are actually traveling to the area specifically for the event and, in turn, are helping to support Jekyll Island through their attendance, Gourley said.

“Fifty percent come from Jacksonville and North Florida. Then another 25 percent come from Atlanta … the remaining folks are local,” she said. “While we do have a lot of day-trippers from out of town, we are also seeing the hotels sell-out too which, of course, was the goal of the event.”

Visit for more information on events, W3 Weekend Getaway Packages and fun volunteer opportunities to get involved behind the scenes of the festival. See a schedule of events and talent (subject to change) for the event below:


• “W3 Wine Dinner and Launch Party”, 6:30 p.m., The Reserve, The Westin Jekyll Island, with celebrity guest chef, Whitney Otawka. Tickets include a signed copy of Otawka’s new cookbook, “The Saltwater Table.”


• “W3 Wine Cruise with Captain Phillip,” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the historic District Wharf.

• “W3 Master Class Pours,” noon to 4 p.m. at the Westin Jekyll Island.

• “Food & Wine Pairing Dynamics”, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Westin Jekyll Island. From each ticket, $50 has been designated as a donation to the Jekyll Island Foundation.

• “Whiskey Inspired,” from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on the Westin Jekyll Island’s oceanfront lawn.


• “Uncaged at The Westin,” from 10 a.m. to noon at the Westin Courtyard.

• “Whiskey, Wine & Wildlife – W3,” from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Jekyll Island Beach Village and Village Green. Attendees will receive a souvenir glass with unlimited culinary and beverage tastings.


“W3 Sunday Brunch,” from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (various seating times) at the Reserve in the Westin Jekyll Island. Brunch and unlimited tastings of champagne, classic cocktails, a Bloody Mary Bar, culinary delights and more.

Source:  The Brunswick News, 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.


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.

Image result for brunswick stew

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.


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.

Stwebille logo.png

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.

All That Jazz

For a celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the Roaring ‘20s, supporters of the Coastal Symphony of Georgia will channel their inner Jay Gatsbys for the Symphony Society’s annual Cabaret fundraiser, “A Gatsby Gala.”

The event will celebrate the spirit of the time, which is most often recognized as the “Jazz Era.”

“(The Roaring ‘20s) marked a huge change in culture for America and for the music scene,” says Gail McCarty, Cabaret chairperson. “People had cars and small appliances. Women could vote for the first time. It was a fascinating time in American history. We went from being isolated to — with cars and airplanes — the beginning of globalization. For the first time in history, families gathered around their radios and had music playing in their living rooms. A great deal of that music was jazz, such as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington.

The event will take place Friday, January 24, at the Cloister on Sea Island. The cocktail reception starts at 6 p.m. and precedes a seated dinner. The Jordan Gilman Septet, which includes a trombone, trumpet, clarinet, double bass, saxophone, and a singer, will perform jazz music of the era.

The fundraiser includes both silent and live auctions, and attendees can bid on artwork, adventures, and a stay in a Tuscan villa, among other items. The silent auction will begin with the cocktail reception. Attendees are encouraged to don Gatsby-like attire.

This year’s “A Gatsby Gala” marks the 16th year that the symphony and the society have sponsored Cabaret. The themes of past Cabarets have ranged from the excitement of Paris and Venice to that of Vegas and Broadway, but the event always includes a seated dinner and entertainment. “It is the major fundraiser of the year,” says Sharon Flores, Coastal Symphony’s executive director.

Established in 2006, the Symphony Society currently includes more than 200 members. Proceeds from concert tickets only cover a portion of the operating budget; fundraising events and activities keep the symphony viable. Initially, the symphony’s board was doing that work. “So, we started the society,” Flores says. “It has been a fundraiser and friend-raiser since 2006. It’s an affiliate of the Coastal Symphony that serves as the volunteer arm.”

The symphony itself dates back 37 years. From its start as the Brunswick Community Orchestra until 2005, the symphony was made up of local musicians, amateurs, and some professionals from the Jacksonville Symphony, according to Flores.

The makeup of the symphony transitioned to professional musicians around 2013, when music director/conductor Luis Haza and general manager Jorge Peña were hired.

About 70 musicians make up the Coastal Symphony, although the size of the orchestra changes depending on the musical selection. Currently, the Coastal Symphony is under the direction of Michelle Merrill, who came to the symphony from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, where she was the associate conductor for four years.

“Our symphony is more than music from 1750 to 1820,” McCarty says. “Our new director, Michelle Merrill, has featured American composers, women composers, and living composers.

The music our symphony is performing is exciting and gives us a possible glimpse into where orchestral music may be heading in the future. We listen to classical music constantly when watching television and movies, we’ve just stopped recognizing it as classical music.”

The symphony performs four concerts each season. There are two concerts left in the 2019-2020 season: March 2 and April 13. Concerts take place at the Brunswick High School auditorium.

The Coastal Symphony of Georgia supports local music education by maintaining a presence in local schools. Through a program called, “Musical Mentors,” the symphony takes guest musicians or artists, flown in for concerts, to schools to talk to students about music. For example, last spring, the symphony played a piece by a composer from Colorado. The symphony flew the composer in, and he visited with high school band and chorus students at Glynn Academy and students at Frederica Academy. Through another program, “Music in the Schools,” members of the symphony visit fourth and fifth graders and, in an hour-long presentation by the musicians, students see, hear, and touch different instruments.

Participation in this year’s Cabaret event supports the symphony as well as its outreach efforts. The event can accommodate 300 people. To purchase tickets, visit or call Sharon Flores at 912-223-6755.

“It’s very unusual for a community this size to have a symphony like this,” McCarty says. “The symphony is a tremendous cultural asset to the Golden Isles community. It’s an asset worth protecting and supporting.”

“A Gatsby Gala,” the Coastal Symphony of Georgia and Symphony Society’s annual Cabaret fundraiser, will be held January 24, 2020, at The Cloister at Sea Island. The cocktail reception and silent auction starts at 6 p.m., and the seated dinner begins at 7 p.m. The event also includes a live auction and jazz music by the Jordan Gilman Septet. Mildred Huie Wilcox, a community icon and veteran of the fashion and art worlds, is the honorary chairperson. Attendees are encouraged to wear clothes inspired by the Roaring ‘20s. To purchase tickets, visit or call Sharon Flores at 912-223-6755.

Source:  Golden Isles:  The Magazine for Brunswick, St Simons Island.  “All That Jazz,” by Kathryn Schiliro.