On the road!
We booked a condo unit at the Villas by the Sea resort on Jekyll Island back in June, we felt that September was far enough away that we could plan ahead to take a small family vacation. Well we hit a few speed bumps along the way namely that Kellie would have to bring along a test to finish while we were on vacation, yuck. Despite this we hit the road early Saturday morning to make our afternoon check in time, we started our trip following the trusty “family truckster’s” GPS and then mixed in some good ol’Google Map directions I printed so we could have a pit stop in Dublin, Ga. Mixing our sources took us through some interesting town small towns such as Glennville, Ludowici, and Townsend before spitting us out to I-95 South. The trip was most pleasant with Liam and Ripley napping almost all of the way there… almost. Liam seemed to find a breaking point at just about 20 minutes from our destination, so Mr. Cranky Pants had us stop and relax at a rest area off I-95. However he decided he didn’t care that we had stopped that he was done riding for the day period! Our ears worn out and butts sore from the five or so hour drive we finally arrived to our home for the next week. We lugged our luggage inside and proceeded to get some what comfy while checking out the digs. This was a one bedroom unit with a fold out sofa, sleeps 4 in a pinch though more comfortable for say three. We had the other basics as well with a complete kitchen, cable TV, DVD player, 36″ flat screen, seating for dining, and the place was decorated with tiny treasures of the owners. We also had a sliding door that led right out to the court yard where there was a kids playground for Ripley. The playground was in decent shape with slides, swings, climbing ladders, tire swing, and a giant playset built to look like a ship with the name the “S.S. Neversail” which was funny to me, anyway. We were pretty starving after we settled into our unit and decided to stick close to home for supper so we took a quick walk over to the restaurant located at the resort, this is where we found our favorite place to eat on the island, the Driftwood Bistro. We sat down to a simple but fantastic menu with reasonable prices for sensibly sized portions. Even Ripley and Liam who were half crazy with car-cabin fever were behaved and ate well. Before retiring for the evening we decided to check out the beach, which was non-existent due to high tide so Kellie took Ripley along the inland side of the rock barrier were she found many rocks to bring home, our lil’geologist is not so interested in the sea shells yet. As a matter of fact, that night Ripley was right into the shower because she was covered head to toe in sand from her explorations. The first of many shower wrestling matches that week!
Our island home.
A note on staying at a condo rental, you will need to bring everything with your that you will need through out a day of normal living: food, water, coffee, toilet paper, dish soap, laundry detergent, sheets, pillow cases, hand soap, towels, and of course paper towels. We had been prepared for most of these necessities prior to our arrival except food and water which we decided to pick up once were more local. So on Sunday we kept things low key and went to pick up provisions for our stay, riding into Brunswick for a Wal-Mart shopping spree. We planned to eat in for lunches and a few dinners while sampling here and there a few of the islands offerings, this planned worked well as it kept us on a sensible budget without feeling like we had to count every penny in the pocket. It was a smart plan that worked well throughout the week.
We found out that Georgia Sea Turtle Center was typically closed on Mondays was actually opened for a few hours during September, so we snuck down to find out if we could avoid a large crowd. We arrived a bit early and walked a bit of the Historic District grounds before attending the center. Upon arrival we were told that they had an issue with the registers and asked if we would kindly pay admission on the way out. At a measly $7 per adult and $4 per child over 3 any lame-o that tried to sneak out should be hung from one of the beautiful oaks on the grounds, as all proceeds go right into helping and rehabilitating the turtles at the center. While not very big the center provides a great deal of information and is a definite feature for those wee ones of any age. Ripley of course finds the one and only video game at the center that is a version of Frogger but featuring a turtle trying to lay eggs across a busy highway. We also got to visit the patients at the center in various states of care, the most visible and largest of which was Caton, a large female logger head sea turtle who was being treated for an issue with her air bladder, being a return patient she was being looked after with great care. After viewing the center we sought out some grub as we were starving. We ended up walking the Historic District to find the Jekyll Island Club hotel, which had a few dining options we decided to keep it simple, and enjoyed a meal at the Café Solterra. For a simple cafe they had a decent sandmich and soup menu an even a few pizzas.
We spent a large amount of time at the pool, mainly due to the high tide along the north side of the beach and it’s pattern for being low when we were ready to eat or catch some shade from the hot sun. We did make it to the beach for an extended period one day for exploration and fun in the sand, first visiting the driftwood beach and then walking back to our access point and playing in the waves. Kellie and Ripley built a small sand castle which ultimately succumbed to the waves, Ripley was not impressed and thought the waves should go spoil someone else’s castle. Although Ripley has not been known for being daring on a playground typically she will not climb, never slides, and usually stands around looking at things with an intimidated frown. Well she must be over it cause she spent quite a bit of time climb, sliding, digging, running, and swinging on just about everything out there. She also climbed the highest slide on the playground and came back down by herself! Poppa was proud and impressed to say the least!
While the weather had been beautiful upon arrival and the last two days that Tuesday morning brought an overcast day and some drizzling rain. Not a down pour or shower, just enough rain to be annoying and keep most folks indoors. Not wanting to be cooped up we set out on a little island road trip to find a place to eat and pick up some souvenirs. We hit the GSTC first for some forgotten items and then Maxwell’s to have custom embroidery done to hats we had picked up to make one of kind keepsakes. We took a turn towards the marina and found Seajay’s sitting at the end of the street. We enjoyed pub style grub and sitting by the fish tank, which Ripley especially enjoyed as she was quiet just about the whole time. Liam slept through most of the meal until we finished and he scarfed some of his own eats. A short walk around the marina turned up a ‘sea cat’ left by a former-boat-now-land land-owner, the cat “Bobo” would basically make his way back to the marina despite being taken home so often the owner just stopped picking him up. Ripley fell in love instantly and was not really excited about being separated. Actually Ripley was trying to befriend every furry critter on the island but none as hard as the some what tame but still skidish squirrels. For days she would offer chips and acorns she would find to the squirrels in hopes of being able to pet the quick footed fuzzy butts. Sadly it was not meant to be and Ripley spent many hours running to and fro chasing that which would not be captured. While humorous the recent news about kids and squirrels made us keep a keen eye on just how friendly those squirrels were and just how close she got to catching one. We wrapped up a rainy day at the condo watching some of Ripley’s favorite movies and some bad reality TV, we even elected to order a Red Bug Motors Pizza that wasn’t too bad.
Kellie had spent some time in the evenings working on her test that we had to bring with us, but Wednesday was crunch time so I took the kids for a long walk from the Villas to the Camp Store, this started out well despite two dogs and a squirrel chasing that ensued by one Ripley. The Camp Store is a small shop off the camp ground/RV park which we stopped in to purchase some water and a few treats for the way back. It was about half way back to the Villas that I lost Ripley, mentally that is. She didn’t want to ride in the stroller, didn’t want to be carried, and begrudgingly walked onwards to our unit. If someone had stopped and opened a car door she would have crawled inside without a care, she waved at cars parked along the road hoping one would carry us home. Once we got back to the unit she finished off the water and had half of a 100 Grand, it was like it had never happened. Cranky two year olds, gotta love ‘em, don’t make good time walking so about a two mile trip took us about two hours, so Kellie had actually gotta to her last question and wrapped up just a few minutes after we got back. Kellie’s test done we headed pool side to visit our friends the skiddish squirrels and play in the pool for a good while since the weather was sunny and warm. After an exhausting day laying around the pool we packed it in and then headed to Fins on the beach. This place is recently renovated with an outdoor deck area and a open airy indoor setting. The food is pretty good, better than Seajay’s but still not on par with the Driftwood even if the prices can be somewhat comparable.
Kellie finally free of her test allowed us to take on Thursday without any concerns or worries other than making sure we prep to head out on Friday, sadly. That morning Liam decided he wanted to nap on Mama so Ripley and I left them on the sofa for a walk. She dashed from the playground to the observation deck, then back towards our unit only to circle back around an entirely different building then a mad sprint to our sliding door on the back of our unit. I think this was revenge on me for Wednesday’s walk as I was plain ol’tuckered out. We did try the pool for a while but it was a bit over cast so we gave that up to relax in the condo, deciding that as our final dinner we would get some Driftwood Bistro to go. This way we could eat an awesome meal and still pack. It took us all five days but we finally figured out how to get the kids to bed at the same time without having to wait for them to simply give in to sleep. Still they woke just as early as they had every morning so we packed the truckster and headed home. Dropping off some post cards and the keys along the way we headed out following the GPS, without the addition of any Google Map notes, it was smooth sailing all the way home… until we reached I-75 Northbound… then well…. then we wanted to turn around.
For some reason I-75 N at 2:12pm EDT was a gridlocked mess of traffic from Exit 214 northward, without any noticeable causes. So we attempted to get off and take surface streets only those had become swamped with over flow traffic as well. It was like looking at the finish line a mere hundred feet away only to have some attach a ten-thousand pound weight to your back and say ‘giddy up’. It was miserable and we were all stir crazy, but somehow even Liam kept it together all the way to the front door. The drive back made home coming all to sweet, even if we were still sad to leave our lovely getaway, and now a day later we are happy to be in our own beds and have our own things. Yet we still haven’t stopped talking about all the fun and memories we had at Jekyll, if anything this trip has only spurred us to consider other trips and venues in the future. So happy to be home, looking forward to next time though!
Photos of our travels below…
“In America there are two classes of travel – first class, and with children.”
- Robert Benchley