The Art of Bird Photography

Elma Andrews sifted through the colorful photographs poured over the table. Each image featured a vibrant bird artistically captured by either she or her husband, Lynn Cates.
“It is really in their eyes. They say that ‘eyes are the windows to the soul,’” Andrews noted, picking up a photo of a bright pink spoonbill. “It’s true with humans and animals. It’s their identity.” 
“We’ve always enjoyed wildlife; we’ve always enjoyed the birds. We would drive through farm fields. We’d see hawks and really whole flocks of migrating birds … ducks and snow geese.” – Elma Andrews
Bird photography has long been a shared passion for Andrews and Cates. It started back when they resided in New Jersey, before the couple moved to St. Simons Island. 
“We’ve always enjoyed wildlife; we’ve always enjoyed the birds. We would drive through farm fields. We’d see hawks and really whole flocks of migrating birds … ducks and snow geese,” she listed.  “We’re not hard-core bird watchers,” Cates clarified with a laugh. “We don’t travel around to see them.”
But they are avid bird fans in their own way. Watching their movements proves fascinating for them, so once they relocated to the Georgia coast, they decided to engage their feathered friends by erecting feeders on their back porch.
“Either you go to see the birds or get the birds to come to you,” Andrews said with a laugh. “Lynn did something really wonderful. He set up a branch with some moss on it as a perch, so while one bird was eating at the feeder another would wait on the branch. Then he would be inside in the air conditioned sunroom with his camera, taking pictures.” 
Cates’ set-up ingenuity shouldn’t be surprising. He has had a long history with photography and camera work, professionally filming shows for PBS for 40 years. His skills yielded an impressive seven Emmy Award wins and 27 nominations, among other honors. 
Elma Andrews, left, and Lynn Cates_cmyk.jpg
Andrews was Cate’s boss back then, working as a producer and news anchor. The two made a good team then, and still do today, although Andrews’ entry into photography came a bit later than her hubby’s. 
“Although I spent my professional life as a broadcast journalist, covering and editing stories, I was always aware that the real story was in the pictures. I always was hands-on in directing the camera person but never the camera operator myself,” she said.
“When we moved to St. Simons 14 years ago, Lynn wanted to join the Coastal Photographers Guild, but wanted me to join too and go out and shoot with him. I reluctantly agreed.”
The two have excelled, creating a portfolio of breathtaking work. While they shoot many subjects, their stunning bird photography stands out. Many of the shots have been taken locally, while others have been snapped at the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine, Florida. 
Elma's full res %22Here's Looking at You!%22_cmyk.jpg
“It’s a great place to go, it’s a rookery. The birds nest in the trees, and the alligators keep the predators away. Now, an alligator might eat one every now and then, but otherwise they’re OK,” Cates said with a chuckle. 
“You can go there with a standard camera and get some really beautiful shots,” Andrews added. 
Some of their images taken at the St. Augustine location have even won awards among the stiff competition within the photographers guild. Their experiences have taught them a great deal about creating quality art from bird photos. The equation is part technical and part artistic intuition.
Elma's full res %22Nesting%22_cmyk.jpg
For starters, the couple stresses the importance of finding the right camera and taking time to really understand it once purchased. While reading the manual cover to cover isn’t always necessary, Cates underscores the importance of general competency. 
“Understanding your camera really helps. Point and shoot cameras can get great shots of birds,” Cates said. “But it comes with the auto focus. That auto focus might be focusing on a leaf rather than the bird. If you can put it in manual and do a manual focus, sometimes you’re better off. Other times, if you’re trying to get a shot of a bird in flight, you want the automatic focus because it will stay with the bird the whole time.”
“Learn how to do the quick shutter, too,” Andrews adds. “Because you can lose a shot in an instant.” 
Elma's full res %22New Neighbors%22_cmyk.jpg
“Yes, and these point and shoot cameras can do that. They can do ten frames a second,” Cates added. 
Many would-be photographers feel that good pictures require oodles of money. Not so, says the couple. They stress that investing thousands of dollars into fancy equipment is not necessary for quality photos. 
“If you don’t want to spend major money on a camera, they make ‘bridge cameras.’ Those sell for about $300 to $350. These are ideal for people who want to shoot birds,” Cates said. “You might also want to look into getting a tripod because that can add a lot of stabilization to shots. You wouldn’t use that for a bird in flight, but it’s great for those that are stationary.”
These so-called bridge cameras don’t typically come with fancy lenses which can limit zooming capabilities. Cates doesn’t feel that is a problem, adding images can always be reconfigured after the fact. 
“Sometimes you’re farther away from the bird than you’d like, but you can go in post-processing and crop it,” he said. 
Lynn Cates full res %22Carolina Wren%22_cmyk.jpg
Of course, distance and vantage points are key to good photography. Andrews suggests seeking out different angles to enhance images. 
“You don’t have to shoot straight on … think about going low or going high,” she said.  
Andrews also advises newbie photogs to be very mindful of backgrounds in pictures. While it may initially escape notice, what is happening behind a subject can make or break a photograph.
“What I find when most people are starting out is that they don’t think about the background. I’ve seen so many shots ruined by a cluttered background. Try to clean that up,” she said. 
Being mindful of what’s going on around the subject is critical. And Andrews notes there are other external factors to consider, as well, such as time of day.
American Goldfinch
“For birds, you have to think about when they’re most active. It’s usually in the early morning or around dusk. The shorebirds are most active at high or low tide when they come to feed. So it’s important to know what the tide is doing,” she said. 
The real secret to good photographs, however, is simply to practice. Like so many things in life, the more shots one takes, the more one’s skills improve. Andrews encourages novices not to be too quick to dismiss or delete work. There can be hidden gems among the dozens of pictures one takes in a day. 
Lynn Cates full res %22The Conversation%22_cmyk.jpg
“I know that a lot of people will look at their photos on their camera or on their phone and delete them. Don’t do that. Wait until you take it home and put it on the computer because it will look different,” she said. “You might have a really great photo, but if you delete it, you will never know.” 
Source:  Golden Isles:  The Magazine for Brunswick, St Simons Island. Jekyll, & Sea Island

The Sensational Sounds of Motown

The Sensational Sounds of Motown

Come hear The Sensational Sounds of Motown (7:00-9:00 pm) on September 29, 2019, with local favorites:  The Island Kings (6:00 pm) and Roy Gentry & Hired Guns (4:00 pm). There will also be food and beverages available from local restaurants and food trucks: Fuse, Halyards Restaurant Group, Ibhasi, and Porch in addition to Savannah favorites:  Pie Society and Sweet Spice.

Concert is $15 per person with all proceeds benefiting hurricane Dorian relief efforts in the Bahamas.  Food purchases also support the Bahamas.

Family Friendly event! Face Paining on site.  fee will also to benefit Bahamas!


Ever wonder what it is like to be on the other side of the Treatment Window? Wish you could get a closer look at the patients? You’re in luck! The Georgia Sea Turtle Center (GSTC) offers Behind the Scenes Tours. This experience is a 45-minute to one hour guided tour of the staff only areas of our turtle hospital. Lead by a member of our Education staff, guests will visit food preparation areas, animal holding areas, the treatment room.

Purchase includes free access to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center general admission areas for each ticket holder. The admission portion may be used the same day as the tour or another time.

*Children must be 10 years old or older to participate. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Tour limited to 6 first come, first serve tickets.

These tours take place in the staff only areas of our hospital. We reserve the right to cancel tours without advanced noticed due to emergency veterinary procedures. In the event of a cancellation, a full refund for the tour will be offered.

  • Georgia Sea Turtle Center
  • July 27, 2019 – December 29, 2019
  • Recurring Weekly On Sunday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday
  • Georgia Sea Turtle Center
  • 214 Stable Road, Corner Of Hopkins & Stable Rd., Jekyll Island, GA 31527
  • 3:00 PM
  • $32.10

Cumberland Days Gone By Cumberland’s illustrious past comes to life with ‘Land and Legacies’ Tour

The soft, salty wind blows across the shoreline’s huge ivory dunes, moving through the remnants of former cotton plantations, mansions from the Gilded Age, and old slave settlements and graveyards. Cumberland Island grabs my heart from the first moment my foot steps off the dock, and it never lets go.

Located off the coast of Georgia, the barrier island is a 45-minute drive from the Golden Isles to St. Marys and another 45-minute ferry ride to its shores. On a Thursday in April, day-trippers and campers climb aboard the Cumberland ferry and slowly cruise through golden marshes, lit by the early morning sun, and travel along a winding river to the banks of Sea Camp, the public dock.

After disembarking, a group of us board the “Land and Legacies” van that will take us along the island’s single road that leads from the tropical south side to the island’s wild and unbroken north end. The six-hour tour is advertised as the only practical way to cover the entire island in one day; it is that, and so much more.

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looking down from the second floor to the entrance area of Plum Orchard mansion.

Tour guide Mike Fulford — a born storyteller whose hoarse, gravelly voice is mixed with a Southern drawl and sounds remarkably like Bill Clinton — brings the island’s past to life for those lucky enough to secure a spot in his van.

For years, Fulford split his time working in insurance during the week and spending his weekends on Cumberland Island, where he captained the ferry boat or worked one side job or another. Now retired from the insurance industry, he is a full-time tour guide spinning tales of plantation owner Robert Stafford; Gilded Age heiress Lucy Coleman Carnegie; and the prized island legacy her family turned over to the National Park Service in 1972.

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Tour director Mike Fulford goes over some basic rules before starting the tour.

Like any good storyteller, Fulford may expound, exaggerate, or “take poetic license” here and there, he says; but the gist of his yarns is embedded in history, fact mixed with a little historical gossip. His tales are fascinating, and he rarely comes up for air.

We travel to our first tour stop along a dirt road called Grand Avenue, its grandness evidenced by the lush canopy of live oaks that sculpt the avenue’s landscape. A deep throng of palmettos surrounds the oaks that are smothered in Spanish moss.

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A tour group prepares to enter Plum Orchard.

We stop at the plantation fields, once owned by Robert Stafford, that now stand empty. We are captivated at our first peek of the island’s feral horses, the offspring of equines left on the island by Spanish inhabitants nearly 400 years before. The horses wander the island as they please and live and die in the “circle of life,” Fulford says.

Stafford was an unconventional leader of his time, Fulford explains. He used slaves to power his farm, but he went against the laws of the land — and the recommendations of his peers — by educating his workers.

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Tour director Mike Fulford, center, addresses a tour as they stand in the main entrance of Plum Orchard. 

He allowed them to earn and save money. He also armed each male slave and taught them to hunt, fish, and farm vegetables — skills that helped them become self-sufficient after emancipation.

As we visit Stafford’s gravesite, Fulford says the life enjoyed by Stafford, his family — never married, he raised six children with a slave, Elizabeth Zabette; and two daughters with another slave, Juda — and his workers continued until the end of the Civil War, when the agricultural era on Cumberland abruptly ended. Cumberland then entered into its Gilded Age, a period that lasted from the late 19th through the early 20th century.

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view of the front porch from a window inside Plum Orchard

Lucy Carnegie and her husband, Pittsburgh steel magnate Thomas Carnegie, were snubbed by the millionaires on Jekyll Island “because their blood was not blue enough,” Fulford says. That snub brought them to Cumberland. While riding a horse and buggy down the same Grand Avenue of trees that welcomed us to the island, Lucy came upon the ruins of the Dungeness property and fell in love at first site. As Fulford tells it, she turned to her husband and said, “I must have it … you must buy it for me.”

Even with gobs of money earned from U.S. Steel, it was not an easy purchase. The property was owned by William Davis, first cousin to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and William Davis did not want to sell to a Yankee.

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Tour director Mike Fulford discusses some of the advanced building techniques of Plum Orchard mansion as he leads the group through the basement.

It took Carnegie many months of continual requests before he acquired his wife’s desire. For the next 50 years, from the early 1880s to the early 1930s, the island was dominated by the Carnegies: Lucy, Robert, their nine children, their children’s spouses, their grandchildren, and the 300 or so servants who made sure their lives were enriched with luxury and elegance.

In addition to the 78,000-square-foot rebuilt Dungeness mansion, Lucy added several other “starter” homes for her children — the most prominent being Plum Orchard, built for her fifth son, George Carnegie, and his young wife, Margaret. As Fulford drives his van to the mansion, now owned by the National Park Service, he captivates me with stories of George’s 19-year-old wife, who in taking her first look at Plum Orchard, exclaimed, “This is not big enough for me.” They would go on to add two wings to the home.

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A tour group checks out the indoor pool at Plum Orchard mansion

If you love “Downton Abbey,” you will love Plum Orchard. As we toured the mansion, Fulford shared how Margaret was bathed, dressed, and coiffed each day by her personal servants, similar to the ladies of “Downton.” The house also features a system with servants living in one area of the house and visitors and residents in another. The separate servants’ area was marked with Carnegie gold paint, so if anyone in the house wandered into the servant area, they knew right away they were on the wrong side of the house.

The restored Classical Revival home opens into a beautiful grand hall, featuring an arched alcove, fireplace, and an authentic Tiffany Lamp hanging over a huge center table. The walls are covered in hand-painted burlap wallpaper. The hall flows into a Ladies’ Library, with a huge bookcase (containing a copy of “Sexual Behavior of Human Males,” which may be why Lucy had nine children, observed one tour-goer).

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Plum Orchard mansion, one of the highlights of the tour.

The standout of the house is a 12-foot-deep, heated, white-tiled swimming pool located nearby the mansion’s squash court, which features an observation deck where the women watched the men play. The women did everything the men did outside the home, Fulford says. They rode horses, hunted, fished, played polo and golf, and even “fought in the mud if they wanted.” However, once they entered the house, they assumed their roles as ladies and “not a drop of perspiration” was to show, he adds.

The beautiful grounds of Plum Orchard provide an idyllic backdrop to a bring-your-own picnic lunch. Some of the group sits at the foot of a wide swing that still hangs from the mansion’s porch ceiling. It had been used by servants to gently rock Plum Orchard visitors as they napped and enjoyed the breezes from the nearby river.

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A wild horse grazes outside the entrance to Dungeness.

Once lunch is over, we continue along the most arduous part of the trip, a rugged and uneven thoroughfare leading to the far north end of the island. It’s a bumpy, jerky ride, along a road that is rarely traveled. Fulford warns his tour-goers in the beginning about the difficult journey; however, he makes the ride pleasant by continuing to weave colorful stories about the wild side of the island.

After the Civil War, most of Stafford’s slaves moved to the north end of the island and formed a settlement there, which led to the construction of a small, wooden African American church. The church, beautiful in its simplicity, became famous in 1996, when John F. Kennedy Jr. married Carolyn Bessette there in a secret candlelit ceremony.

During our visit to the church, the wedding is brought to life again through a serendipitous experience. A gospel singer, visiting the island for the first time since the famous pair’s wedding, performs an a cappella rendering of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” the same tune he sang as Kennedy and his bride exited the one-room church. It was a moving moment for him as well as us. The song brings home the tragedy of the young couple, whose lives started so brightly and ended so tragically.

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The ruins of Dungeness

The church stands in stark contrast to the neighboring cluster of ramshackle, weathered buildings where environmentalist Carol Ruckdeschel lives. Ruckdeschel was absent the day we visit, but Fulford describes her as an island character. Now in her 70s, she rides the island’s beaches and single road on a four-wheeler. Her braids flying in the wind, she is typically dressed in jeans, long-sleeved flannel shirts, and white rubber boots favored by fishermen. She has lived on the island for almost 50 years and is one of its strongest voices against development.

As we leave the encampment and begin the long journey back to the south end of the island, Fulford details how the playground of the Carnegie family became mostly public land. It’s a story as fascinating as the others we hear that day. Fulford tells us of Carnegie family members who fought and argued and tried to find a way the island could retain its beauty, preserve its history, and continue to be their playground.

Once the last of Lucy’s children passed away, it was the grandchildren who were charged with determining the future of the island. Some of them, facing difficult financial times, sold their property to a Hilton Head developer. The developer planned a very different life for Cumberland than what it is today.

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The ruins of Dungeness 

Fulford says the park service wanted to purchase and designate the island as a national seashore, but funding was an issue. Once the property purchase was secured by money provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the family and the developer agreed to sell. Today, almost 10,000 of the island’s 36,000 acres are designated wilderness.

Fulford winds up his spiel on how the island retains its pristine seashore and wild beauty just at the moment the van pulls up to the most achingly beautiful stop on the tour: the ruins of Dungeness. The mansion burned in 1959, according to Fulford, by a fire believed to be deliberately set by a poacher.

Only stone skeleton ruins, giant brick chimneys, and a single dry brick fountain remain. The ruins of Dungeness perfectly reflect the essence that is Cumberland, the island’s rich historical history combined with its wild and natural state.

It’s It’s another favorite spot for the island’s feral horse population, and you are guaranteed to see them dotting the landscape of the uninhabited property.

As the tour comes to an end, it is evident Fulford loves the island. He tells us delivering the same tour five days a week does not tire him. He often returns to the island by personal boat on his days off to wander through the ruins and along the property. The draw, he says, is the fact it still looks the same as it did on his first visit, 30 years before, but he “always manages to find or see something new. What is here today are the ruins of a lifestyle, the elegant lives lived by people we never met,” he says.

It’s these compelling stories that reel me in and leave me wanting more, eager to plan my next trip to Cumberland.

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

St Simons Activities for July 8 to July 14

St Simons Activities for July 8 to July 14


The Coastal Photographers Guild (CPG) will be hosting its 11th annual “Big Photo Show” in the gallery at Glynn Visual Arts, 106 Island Dr. St. Simons Island, Ga, June 25 through August 2, 2019. Opening Reception June 27, 2019, 5:00-7:00pm. Refreshments will be served.

Concurrent Events – “The Big Photo Show Too!” Butch Paxton Gallery at Creative Frameworks, 1302 Glouster St., Brunswick GA. and “The Best of the Best” Golden Isles Welcome Center, 529 Beachview St. St. Simons Island


St. Simons Island: The Coastal Photographers Guild (CPG) will be hosting its 11th annual “Big Photo Show” in the gallery at Glynn Visual Arts, 106 Island Dr. St. Simons Island, Ga, June 25 through August 2, 2019. This year, there will be three opportunities to view award-winning photographs.

The opening reception for the show is Thursday, June 27 from 5:00-7:00pm at Glynn Visual Arts (GVA). Guests at the reception can vote for their favorite photos in the “People’s Choice” category. The award presentation will be at 6:15 p.m. Refreshments will be served. The exhibit is free, and the public is welcome.

This is the largest photography exhibit in the region and will feature prints presented by members of the Guild which includes award winning photographers, beginners, serious amateurs. Photographs will be grouped into four categories: (1) Nature; (2) People (including portraits); (3) Landscape; and (4) Open. Prints are priced for sale and a portion of each sale benefits Glynn Visual Arts. The Gallery is open Tues. – Sat. 10-5.

In conjunction with the show at Glynn Visual Arts, CPG will have a companion exhibit of the “Best of the Best”, top award-winning photographs from past Big Photo Shows at Golden Isles Welcome Center, 529 Beachview Dr., St. Simons, GA., July 5- August 3. The Welcome Center is open Mon.-Sat. 9-5, Sun. 12-5.

And new this year, “The Big Photo Show Too!” This exhibit, in the Butch Paxton Gallery at Creative Frameworks, 1302 Gloucester St., Brunswick, GA will feature favorite works of Guild members. The exhibit will run July 5 – August 3. Prints are priced for sale. The opening reception for this exhibit will be First Friday, July 5, 5:00-8:00pm.

The Coastal Photographers Guild share a common purpose of learning and having fun. GPC meets on the 3rd Thursday of each month. For more information about CPG and their activities, please visit:

  • June 25, 2019 – August 3, 2019
  • Recurring Daily
  • Glynn Visual Arts
  • 106 Island Drive, St. Simons Island, GA 31522
  • (912) 638-8770
  • 5:00 PM To 7:00 PM


2nd Tuesday of each month (Starting on May 14th) we have partnered with Village Creek Landing on St. Simons Island to host a monthly Casting Demo/Clinic + Fly Tying Lessons. Casting Demo from 5-6pm from a different fly rod manufacturer each month followed by Fly Tying from 6-8pm inside at Village Creek Landing. Enjoy the view, some brew and professional fly tying instruction from some of our favorite local fly tyers. Learn the local fly patterns that work.

COST: $50/person includes fly tying materials, first drink and use of OTF vises (but, you are encouraged to bring your own tying vises), $4 for each additional drink (beer/wine) via Raffle Ticket purchase for cool fly fishing gear and swag. All proceeds from bar sales go to CCA GA – Coastal Conservation Association Georgia Chapter.

  • 7/9/2019, 8/13/2019
  • Village Creek Landing
  • 526 S Harrington Rd, St. Simons Island, GA 31522
  • 6:00 PM To 8:00 PM

Hooked on Fly Fishing at Village Creek Landing

Here in the Golden Isles, history lives in the centuries-old live oaks, colonial-era structures, rolling streams, and whispering marshlands. On St. Simons Island, the bounty of the sea has been mastered by many cultures — from the precolonial Mocama and Guale tribes to the Gullah-Geechee people, formed by the enslaved during the plantation era. And it is on this cultural foundation, at the water’s edge of South Harrington Road, where the historically significant landmark, Village Creek Landing, continues the traditions established by previous inhabitants.

Village Creek Landing’s legacy began, essentially, as the first bed and breakfast opened by the Sullivan family, a well-known Gullah-Geechee family of the Harrington community. Ben Sullivan and his wife, Carrie, would host guests overnight after a day of fishing and marsh-hen hunting for the men complete with a home-cooked meal of the day’s catch. When Ben became disabled and later passed away in 1950, his son Cusie continued operating the camp and was known as one of the best fishing guides on the Georgia coast. Cusie’s Fish Camp was born, and the traditions of fishing adventures and hospitality continued at the notable site that we now know as Village Creek Landing.

In recognition of the location’s connection to fishing, the Gowen family, owners of Village Creek Landing, have partnered with On The Fly Outfitters’ Jared DiVincent and Adam Hein for monthly “Fly Casting and Fly Tying at Village Creek Landing” events. Hosted in the evening on the second Tuesday of each month for the remainder of 2019, these events will feature casting demonstrations and clinics as well as fly tying lessons for guests of all ages.

FF @ VCL 1.jpg

Patrons can experience this historical recurrence at the Village Creek Landing through these fly fishing events, with activities accessible for both children and adults. “It’s a great way to grow the fly fishing community,” says DiVincent, “and it’s bringing generations together to learn from each other about the art of fly fishing.”

Village Creek Landing visitors enjoy views of Sea Island, Little St. Simons Island, and other areas of St. Simons Island from the peninsula surrounded by tidal creeks and vast marshland. Combined with the old growth maritime forests, this area is a diverse habitat for birds and marine life that still provides some of the best fishing around. DiVincent and Hein chose this traditional fishing hub as the venue for their events to give the community a chance to learn about professional fly-casting and the local fly patterns that work for our area.

Fly fishing is an angling method using a light-weight lure called an artificial fly that is cast with a fly rod, reel, and specialized weighted line. This technique is significantly different from other forms of casting, due to the delicate weight of the line. Flies are tied to imitate raw food sources of their target species and constructed to represent natural baitfish, invertebrates, or other food organisms.

For a $10 general admission with each session — kids ages 12 and under are admitted for free — attendees will participate in fly rod test casts featuring a different fly rod manufacturer each month. Past fly rod manufacturers include Temple Fork Outfitters and Orvis. A kid’s casting area will introduce the basics of this difficult fishing technique, while adults will receive professional fly-casting instructions and demonstrations from local fly tyers.

FF @ VCL 2.jpg

VIP fly tying classes are also available to the first 20 people who register for each month’s event. The $50 cost for this exclusive session includes fly tying materials; one beverage; use of On The Fly Outfitters’ vises, although it is encouraged to bring your own tying vises if possible; and a $20 credit at On The Fly Outfitters. General admission for the remainder of the event’s activities is free with a purchase of the fly tying class.

Sweetwater Brewing Company is featuring a special brew, Guide Beer, during the monthly events. According to the brewery, this lager was made to honor “those men and women who lead us into swift waters, into the shadows of tall trees, and through the unexplored terrain of ourselves.” Eleven percent of the profit from this beer goes to former guides who are unable to continue their work due to injury or hardships.

Fly-fishing gear and swag from On The Fly Outfitters will be raffled during the events, and proceeds from the raffle and beer sales will go to the Coastal Conservation Association Georgia Chapter. A division of the national nonprofit organization of more than 100,000 avid recreational fishermen and women devoted to addressing conservation issues both in Georgia and nationwide, the state chapter is made up of five divisions: Atlanta, Bulloch, Sapelo Island, Savannah, and Skidaway. Members acknowledge the need for continued efforts to save the natural resources of our coastal waters from depletion or destruction; and are dedicated to preventing that devastation through programs of education, legislation, and restoration.

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For more information about upcoming “Fly Casting and Fly Tying at Village Creek Landing” events, call On The Fly Outfitters at 912-342-7086; visit the shop at 1501 Newcastle Street in Downtown Brunswick; or visit or the  company’s Facebook page.

Village Creek Landing is located at 526 South Harrington Road off Frederica Road on St. Simons Island. For more information about this historically significant venue, go to or call 912-506-2301.

Source:  Coastal Illustrated, 

Container gardening 101 with Ace Garden Center

Container gardening 101 with Ace Garden Center

With space at some homes being at a premium, or mobility issues making working in the yard a difficult task, container gardens provide a wonderful alternative. Nearly anything one can grow in a garden can be grown in a container — herbs, vegetables, some fruits, and a multitude of flowers and shrubs all can call a container home.

Dawn Hart, owner of ACE Garden Center on St. Simons Island, said there are several reasons people garden in containers.

“Many gardeners grow strictly for consumption, and are not interested in design,” she said. “For the most part, (they) grow in nursery pots, paint buckets and large tubs with drainage holes.”

Herbs, she said, can be grown in strawberry jars, and especially like terra cotta.

The choices beginners can make are vast — container gardens can be started from seeds and seed starter kits and then those plants can be transplanted into larger pots, or plants can be bought in bedding packs or in 4-inch or gallon pots.

“The Earth Box is a great inclusive planter for small-space gardening, and there are also divided potting tables and stands available on the market,” she said.

Hart encourages the use of good organic potting soil and compost, supplemented with amendments such as lime, which help prevent blossom end rot, and fertilizers, including Mycorrhizae, which helps increase plants’ uptake of nutrients and water.

“Many vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers, will need staking, which can include metal cages, bamboo stakes, wooden teepees, etc.,” she said. “Consistent watering practices are encouraged, and for the most part, both herbs and vegetables do best when grown in full sun.”

Herbs, she said, should be allowed to dry completely between waterings.

Hart encourages the planting of marigolds among vegetables, which helps keep critters and mosquitoes away, adds a great pop of color. In the cooler months, she added, parsley (either Italian or curly) makes a great companion for a pot of colorful pansies.

For floral and foliage container gardens, which primarily serve a decorative purpose, there are also some basic principles, no matter what style is chosen.

“In potting up your combination, remember to situate all plants at the same depth so that the top of the root ball is even with the soil surface,” Hart said. “Flowers, in particular, like a peat-based potting soil, and many are available with some including fertilizers and also a moisture retentive polymer to assist in holding moisture if the gardener feel that adequate irrigation may be an issue.”

Sun exposure and positioning of the container are very important considerations, as the plant selection for each container should have the same sun needs — full sun, shade or filtered sun are the three main choices.

Hart encourages people to look at containers other than flower pots — items such as crates, wheelbarrows, baskets and non-working fountains make delightful homes for flora, as long as drainage can be created.

Watering practices are also key. Hart says the smaller the pot, the more frequently it will need to be watered. Its position in the sun also plays a role. Checking the container for drain clogs is also important.

“The best rule of ‘green’ thumb (is) to allow the container to just begin to dry out between waterings — best indicated by sticking one’s finger down into the soil, and forgetting the manicure,” she said. “Some plants, like ferns and begonias actually turn a lighter shade of green when they are in need of water and some just go into a wilt.”

Source:  Coastal Illustrated, 

The Isles are alive with music

The Isles are alive with music
The Golden Isles is a hotbed of live, local (and sometimes not-so-local) music. Pass by nearly any establishment on certain nights of the week, especially weekends, and the sound of beach music, rock ‘n’ roll, oldies, Motown and country music will delight your ears and set your toes to tappin’.

Tipsy McSway’s — The heart of music in downtown

The epicenter of music in downtown Brunswick is Tipsy McSway’s, as it has been since the popular restaurant, bar and SoGlo hangout opened in March 2012. Owner Susan Bates doesn’t shy away from welcoming entertainment that’s a little different. A case in point is this. During a recent weekend, Tipsy’s welcomed Free Spirit Orchestra, which consists of twin sisters on violin, and a drummer. They hail from Khazakstan. The following night In For a Penny, an Irish-Celtic punk band from Savannah, entertained the crowd. Of course, Tipsy’s also welcomes the area’s favorite bands to entertain guests, but has also invited Klezmer music, rap, soul and R&B groups to grace the Dixie Music Center stage.

It’s a competitive community for bands and other musical acts, Bates said, based purely on the number of bands that are vying to be featured at venues.

“They’re looking for venues,” she said. “The amount of musicians is much greater than the number of venues – it’s disproportionate.”

That, combined with only having 52 weekends (or 104 dates) to book acts, makes for a crowded field. Most venues have set entertainment the other evenings of the week, and don’t usually book someone who doesn’t appear there regularly. Examples include Joey Thigpen at Demere Grill on Wednesdays, and Crawford Perkins at Tipsy’s on Thursday.

“There are 104 opportunities to have live music each year,” Bates said. “There are a lot more bands than 104, just in our region.”

Sometimes bands are traveling the Southeast and make unscheduled stops along the way. That’s how Tipsy’s has been able to welcome Grammy winner Trae Pierce and Jason Rikert of Arrested Development.

Still, she doesn’t have to look far to find professionals.

“The level of musicianship is incredible,” she said. “Because of that, I can be a little picky.”

Bates takes risks by sometimes booking musical acts with which local audiences aren’t familiar, but because of the reputation her establishment has earned, people will give new acts a chance.

“Even if people haven’t heard of a band, they know they’re going to have a great time and hear a wide variety of music,” she said.

Mullet Bay – Entertaining crowds on its legendary porch

Mullet Bay, on Ocean Boulevard, on St. Simons Island, is one of those places that it’s easy to wander in to, simply because you walked by. The restaurant has live music every week Thursdays through Saturdays. Monique Cothern is the Thursday night artist-in-residence, and other local acts rotate through the remainder of the weekend.

Manager Chad Eason says he’s happy to help bring live music to St. Simons Island.

“It’s important in certain venues,” he said. “We are so dedicated to food and service, music is an added plus.”

Eason said the venue is a favorite local hangout, but gets its share of visitors as well.

“To me, it’s one of the best venues in the village,” he said. “It’s never too loud; we keep it down.”

Live music typically plays from 8:15-11:15 p.m. Popular acts include rock ‘n’ roll bands such as Backbeat Boulevard, Tie Died Sunset (formerly the Flood Brothers), Traveling Riverside Band, 3 Day Weekend, Touch of Grey and others.

“We like to have bands that have a following, that people like to listen to,” Eason said. “We’re fortunate; it’s a partner relationship.”

Gnat’s Landing — Kick back, relax and enjoy the music

Samelia “Sam” King, who recently took over the entertainment booking duties at Gnat’s Landing, says having live music brings a relaxed atmosphere to Redfern Village. Gnat’s has a track record of booking mostly local acts, although some bands touring the Southeast pass through from time to time and stop for a night. Word of mouth also helps bring bands to the Gnat’s stage.

King says the bands booked at the well-known island spot tend to play rock ‘n’ roll, but there is plenty of variety as well.

“Rock covers, some pop, some R&B remix,” she said.

Finding performers no longer requires bands submitting tapes, or the even more labor-intensive work of having a bar representative roam from venue to venue on a “listening tour.” These days, bands typically connect with venues through social media, and send a link to their YouTube channels. That makes auditions easier for everyone involved.

Gnat’s Landing has an advantage over some area venues as it has two spots in which entertainers can comfortably perform. In inclement weather, most acts perform indoors, but during the warm weather months, and on evenings with no rain, the “Gnatio” is the setting for entertainment in Redfern Village. It’s easy for people to gather outdoors, and accessible to passersby.

Still, King knows her patrons like to hear their favorite bands.

“We know which bands have groups of followers,” she said.

Source:  Coastal Illustrated,

Get Your Greens at Barbara Jeans

Get Your Greens at Barbara Jeans
Barbara Jean Barta is a bona fide St. Simons Island celebrity.  Not only has she called the Golden Isles home for more than 20 years, her name is also the moniker of a must-stop spot for tourists and locals alike.   Barbara Jeans Restaurant has been open in the Pier Village since March 1998, serving countless guests looking for down home comfort food with a coastal twist.  She and her husband, Jim, previously operated two sister locations in Florida before selling those to other owners.
From their famed crab cakes to grits and fried catfish, there is plenty to please on their menu.  But for diners looking to go lighter, Barta also provides a fair selection of greens.  There are the popular salad selections including the Kailua Chicken Salad, which features mango and pineapple on a bed of fresh lettuce.  There’s also B.J.’s Blue Salad that pairs fruit with veggies and pecans on a bed of crisp romaine and iceberg.  While salad may come to mind most frequently when thinking of eating light, there are plenty of green vegetables that provide a boost of nutrition without being a calorie bomb.

Greens — as they’re often collectively referred to in the South — can mean a number of things.  They can be a collard, turnip, or mustard.  The term can also include spinach.  Of course, it can also reference your typical salad lettuces like romaine, iceberg, or arugula.  The term can certainly create a lot of gray area, Barta notes. “Arugula is also called rocket,” she notes with a smile.  Regardless of which type of green — salad or vegetable — they all have one thing in common:  They are good for the body.
And Barta appreciates that.  All of the greens provide a broad spectrum that allow her to create a number of recipes and a ton of variety.  For instance, they can be sautéed or roasted.  They can be side items or pooled together for a veggie plate.
Barta is happy to go any way, when it comes to getting in the greens. And preparation is often fairly easy.  “I really like roasting them, but I also sauté them using butter or salt pork for heavier things like turnips,” she says.
The way she prepares greens is often seasonal. “We have spinach and turnips,” she says, standing in the bustling restaurant.  “During the warmer months, I like to do more of the lighter greens.  Winter greens, to me, would be the collards and mustards, the Swiss chard, turnips.  But when we start getting to this part of the season, I go lighter with arugula and spinach.”
Barta’s colorful take on an arugula dish is the perfect way to get in healthy greens during the summer and enjoy something that will also gives back to the body in terms of nutrition.  “I really like this because it’s light and easy.  There’s a lot of color to it and you could always serve it over pasta with cheese if you wanted,” she says.

Recipe: Arugula with peppers and onions


• 5 oz arugula

• 1 red pepper, diced

• 1 yellow pepper, diced

• 1 Tbsp. of garlic, minced

• 1 basket of cherry tomatoes, halved

• 3 Tbsps. olive oil

• 2 tsps. Italian seasoning

• 8 leaves of basil, julienned or     cut into long strips

• 1 tsp. Kosher salt

• 1/2 tsp. coarse ground black    pepper

• 1 pinch of red pepper flakes

Directions:  Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the peppers, onions, garlic, tomatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Place in a roasting pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes. Mix in the arugula and basil. This can be enjoyed as it is or served over pasta with Parmesan cheese for something more filling.

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

St Simons Activities for June 2 to June 9

St Simons Activities for June 2 to June 9


First Sunday: 6-8 p.m. at Mary Ross Waterfront Park: Bay & Gloucester Streets. Bring the kids, chairs or blanket, a picnic and your favorite beverage. FREE!

  • June 2, 2019
  • Mary Ross Waterfront Park
  • Bay Street At Gloucester St., Brunswick, GA 31520
  • (912) 265-4032
  • 6:00 PM To 8:00 PM
  • Free



1st and 3rd Monday of each month (Starting on May 6th and May 20th) we will host a FREE community fly tying event called “Bugs + Brew” OPEN Fly Tying Night at On The Fly Outfitters. Bring your own fly tying vises and materials (shop will be open to purchase material at the event), we will provide the beer! Save the date for the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from 5-7:30 pm.

Please note: There are limited spots available for each event, so RSVP at the fly shop before they are filled up. Tell your friends!

  • 6/3/2019, 6/17/2019
  • On The Fly Outfitters
  • 1501 Newcastle Street, Brunswick, GA 31520
  • 5:00 PM To 7:30 PM