Sunday, October 12, 2008

Jekyll Island the TREES

This will be part 1 of a 3 part series on Jekyll Island. Today we will talk about the trees, so here we go....

Living where we do here in Georgia has two great advantages. One, we are about 2 and 1/2 hours drive from the GA mountains. Second, we are about 2 and 1/2 hours drive to the GA coast! We don't get to the mountains or the coast nearly enough. We were reminded of that with our first recent trip to Jekyll Island.

Lets take a look at this Georgia State Park... (click on the underlined to learn more about Jekyll island)
Jekyll Island is one of a cluster of small barrier islands know as the Golden Isles of Georgia, (click on the underlined to see the other isles) It is about 9 miles long and 1 and 1/2 miles wide. The island is gourd shaped and has 10 miles of beach. Once, known as an Indian hunting and fishing ground and the waters a Pirate stronghold, held by none other then Blackbeard himself. Legend says his dagger is stuck in a oak tree pointing in the direction of hidden treasures. The great trees on this island should be among Georgia's Seven Natural Wonders . (click on the underlined to see the 7 wonders)

Lets look at those natural wonders called oak trees. I was not expecting to see such magnificent trees and this is truly a wonder to the eye. The trees are full of Spanish moss and that seems fitting since Spain Occupied this island from 1566-1686.

Click on the video to see the moss blowing in the wind.

The largest and oldest Oak on the island is the Plantation Oak and is estimated at being 350-400 years old! It is over 7 feet in diameter, measures 128 feet limb to limb, has a girth of 23 feet and a height of 112 feet. I don't believe this is the oak pictured but it could be as it was huge! Look at how the branches lay on the ground.

The Live Oak is Georgia's state tree.

These moss filled trees are all over the island. I found myself looking upward more so then eye level for most of our weekend visit.

It is so tempting to grab a hand full of the moss but we must remember two things here. One, moss is home to those little red bugs that will bite the fire out of your body and leave itchy whelps. And two, this is a State Park so everything must remain as you see it. You can pick up sea shells but that is all... I could not get my fill of the beauty from the trees. I did not know that oak trees could survive on the salt water but I should have known from my visits to Savannah and Charleston, SC as they are full of them as well.
A lot of the trees were covered with the Resurrection Fern (click on the underlined to learn more about the fern) that I have mentioned in the past. Just look at it growing happily along the tree trunks. Here is a close-up of the fern. I have a small clump growing on one of my trees and I wonder if it will ever get this thick? Maybe in 300 years, ha...

What is an island with out getting on the beach? The clouds started to roll in but it did not stop us from hunting seashells along the soft white seashore. Notice how tourist season is over? An empty beach is our kind of getaway!
The Saint lived in Hawaii for 4 years so the ocean does not impress him much anymore. But he admitted, he was very impressed with this natural state park.
We strolled along and picked up what few shells we found. Sorry Tina, if you were wanting to do a project with your requested shells, it will be a small project as we found only a few. I will pass them along to you on our next visit!
Tomorrow I will show you more of this beautiful island that the American elite of 1886-1947 once called their winter homes... Just wait until you see the "cottages" and other scenery on JEKYLL ISLAND...


  1. Hi Skeeter, thanks for these travelogues. Tina for sure needs a break and you are just the one to keep the blog filled with interesting material. I love to read what you BOTH have to say! Jekyll Island looks like a perfect getaway spot. We love those live oaks with the moss and ferns. Sometimes you see them for sale even up here, maybe global warming would allow for them to live here, but we need hundreds of years for them to achieve the majesty of those mature specimens. Talk about planting for the future! LOL

  2. Thanks for this post. We have considered vacationing there. I've checked out their web site often. I'll look forward to your upcoming posts.

  3. Jekyll island makes one think of quick changes to the evil! Blackbeard would fit that characterization! Pretty trees! We have very large oak but no spanish moss, I agree it would be nice to grab a handful of it, thanks for the bitting bug warning. Ahhh, the ocean....

  4. I have always loved Jekyll Island but we haven't been in several years. This makes me want to go soon.

  5. What beautiful specimens of trees! But that moss is kind of eerie! I suppose because it's almost Halloween! Very fitting!

  6. Looks like a very fun getaway as the pics are great. Oak trees sure do live very well around salt water as I can attest to since I live in the state with the longest coastline in our great country and I also happen to live in the town of my state which has the longest coastline of any town in my state and we have many oaks, including in my yard. Great trees. Look forward to the next 2 parts of this post.

  7. I love these trees! I've not made it to Jekyll Island. Fall is just the perfect time for the coast. We just got back from Hatteras Island here in NC. I'm with you about living in the middle of our southeastern states -- mountains and coast are easily done. Great blog post! Thanks, Cameron

  8. Frances, Tina does work hard to keep a daily posting up for us and she needs a break every now and then. I am happy to help her out. I grew up with a Ginkgo in the front yard and my dad talks about putting one in their yard now but says he would never see it grow as they are such slow growers as these majestic oaks! Planning for the future indeed....

    Phillip, Well worth a visit some time! A true nature lover’s paradise and a very relaxing get away. You will see some color on Jekyll soon so stay tuned…

    Dawn, everyone in the south knows to not mess with Spanish moss! That is one thing we learn so quickly after relocating here! lol... I could visualize Blackbeard on the island hiding his treasure. Too bad we did not spot that dagger! lol...

    Jillybean, I am glad you have been to Jekyll Island. It is a Georgia Treasure that should be experienced by all in GA. Not a ton of stuff for the kids to enjoy though but enough I reckon...

    Brenda, Funny you should mention the eerie feeling of the moss, I saved a few pics from this trip for a Halloween posting. Stay tuned for that one...

    Jean, the oaks are wonderful trees. I like the willow oaks in our yard but wish they would drop their leaves when the rest of the trees do and also not drop those tiny nuts all over the yard and driveway. I am constantly blowing and raking them around and they kill the mower blades.. arggggg... I do love the Live Oak the best though... Maybe some day I will get myself to Maine to check out your oaks...

    Cameron, You must get to Jekyll, it is well worth a visit. We have yet to make it to Hatteras Island but one day we shall. We dont take nearly as much advantage of our closeness to the mountains and coast as we should though... Tomorrow we plan to go to the GA hill country to check out the tree colors...

  9. What a lovely tour of Jekyll Island! I love those Live Oaks with the moss hanging from them. We don't have anything like that here. Those Resurrection Ferns are quite beautiful too growing on the trees. Thanks for sharing your wonderful visit with us.

  10. Thanks so much Skeeter for the history lesson. I've never been to Jekyll Island but it sure looks pretty. I guess the off season would be the best time if you don't want to fight the crowds. Like St. Augustine {the oldest city}. I really liked the pics as it helps put you there to see. I am anxiously waiting for the next 2 posts so maybe I can see more.
    So nice of you to give Tina a break as she does work very hard to post everyday. I want to "thank you" for giving her that break.

  11. Those magnificent giants laden with moss and ferns are truly indicative of the area.

  12. Perennial, The moss is a big part of the beauty of Live Oaks in the Deep South. I first saw the moss on the oaks when I visited Louisiana when I was 12 years old. I have been captivated by it ever since....

    Lola, We do most of our tourist stuff during the off season. First we are cheapskates and second we dont like crowds as they can spoil your fun views of beauty such as on Jekyll Island. Crying kids and Screaming mothers is not my idea of a fun time... lol... We hope to get to FL sometime in Feb if possible.

    Mother nature, The trees were the first thing I notice on the island and I rarely took my eyes off them. They were everywhere and just fascinating to me... Looking upward at the skyscrapers in New York was neat but nothing compared to the upward views of nature…

  13. Thanks for taking us along on your trip. Sometimes I wonder about the stories these old trees could tell us, don't you? Greetings, Andrea

  14. Andrea, Hello! I do wonder what fun stories they could tell us. Like Pirates and buried treasure for one. Would love to find that chunk of change... lol

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  16. Oh thank you for bringing back our trip to Jekyll Island! Our family went there in 1998 when our girls played in the first ever High School Golf Championships. The Florida fires were going on then and it was SO hot and humid. The ocean was like bathwater and not refreshing. The tennis championships were going on at the same time and the EMS had to make several trips because athletes passed out from the smoke and heat. Still, it was a wonderful time, beautiful scenery, though I don't recall the oaks. Maybe because we have live oaks here, too, I don't know. We did a turtle walk one night, which was so interesting! The girls got to see an alligator in one of the little ponds on the golf course. You won't see that on any Ohio golf courses! LOL. The historic homes there were just gorgeous. I remember too, that I bought some Peach Buds in one of the home's gift shops. Yummy!
    Before we left, to fly out of Brunswick (think "Wings" - seriously!), we drove over to St. Simon's Island, another beauty. It's a trip we won't ever forget!

  17. Kylee, I am so sorry you had to visit this beautiful place during such horrible conditions. I am sure it would be a hot one during the summer months. Our lake was like bathwater this summer also but still kept us cool. :) One does tend to not notice things we already have. We have oaks in our area also but the ones on Jekyll really stood out in our vision. I had never seen so much moss in my life! We took a quick drive to St. Simons Island but it was a drizzle rain day so we did not get out to explore. "Wings” that's funny, yep small time airports are a trip... pun intended... lol... Glad to know that tennis and golf are such on Jekyll that they host tournaments. A great spot for a tourney. Thanks for stopping by today…

  18. Oh but it WAS beautiful, Skeeter! I remember that trip with smiles! I would love to make a return trip someday!

  19. Kylee, you will probably notice that not much has changed in 10 years on Jekyll island. To me, that is part of the beauty. No big hotels and burger joints on every corner...

  20. That's what I was thinking, Skeeter. When I read the part about the greater part of Jeckyll Island was not to be developed, I remembered being told that when we were there. I applaud the powers that be that decided that!

  21. Preservation is keep for generations to come!