We again stayed in the Presidential Suite of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, which houses the signature ‘Turret’ Jekyll Island uses in it’s logo.
I’ve written about Jekyll Island before, so here is a link to the history about the Jekyll Island Club, which was founded in 1886 to be a winter retreat for some of the wealthiest American families; i.e. the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, Goulds etc.. The original club house (which opened in 1888) is now a truly historic and elegant, yet simple by design hotel, built for the wealthy 100 members and their families, who wintered here circa 1888 – 1942. After being closed for years, the Club House was extensively renovated and reopened as the Jekyll Island Club Hotel in 1986, and is now a fine resort that the ‘common people’ of today can experience.
Since we were in the spacious Presidential Suite, we had a separate living and bedroom, with large wrap around balcony and a steep and spiral staircase up to the top ‘Turret’ level with spectacular views, especially at sunset.
We quickly setup our Christmas decorations, including 3 sets of lights, stockings for six (we have friends joining us and friends on the island), a couple mini Christmas trees, lighted ‘runner’ for the table, and nuts, chips, cheeses (for the in-room fridge), sodas, waters, and 2 types of brewskis and wine.
Once setup, we met our Jekyll Island friends Michelle and Larson for drinks before dinner. We met them several years ago at Jekyll and have stayed in touch since. We had drinks in the room, and then went downstairs to the lobby bar just outside the elegant Main Dining room, where we had a quick drink before dinner.
We always get the meal plan, and the dinner in the Main Dining room never disappoints. Tim, the pianist was playing some beautiful Christmas music, and our table for two serviced by Charlotte was elegantly set. From the Crab Cake and Ahi appetizers we shared, to Caesar Salad, to my New York Strip, to Key Lime Pie – everything was delicious! Of course DOS always carefully and intently scours the menu for the best selection!
On Saturday we met our friends Ben and Tom (also from Orlando) who drove up for an overnight stay on Jekyll as well. We had lunch at McCormick’s, a casual restaurant on the island golf course, and later drove around the Island a bit.
The four of us met Michelle and Larson at 4pm for the Twilight Christmas tour thru the Jekyll Island Historic District. Our tour guide was Phyllis, who we’ve had a couple times before, but learn something new about the history every time we take one of her tours – her passion for the Island is contagious, and she is really a wealth of knowledge. This was a photo I got with Phyllis at the end of the tour at Indian Mound Cottage.
The Christmas tour at 4pm is a ‘special tram tour’ thru the Historic District, as it has a Christmas flair to it, and the 2 homes and Faith Chapel we went in were decorated in period decor. Of course we wore our Disney reindeer hats on the tour to liven things up a bit!
As we toured around the Historic Village of Jekyll Island on the tram, Phyllis provided interesting trivia and facts about the cottages we passed.
Cherokee Cottage, built in 1904, but Edwin Gould for his in-laws Dr Shrady and family.
Crane Cottage – build in 1917 was the largest cottage on Jekyll,
with some 20 bedrooms and 17 baths!
As a special bonus, we were allowed to take photos inside the two ‘cottages’ and Faith Chapel we went in, which normally you are not allowed to do. I’ve added lots of photos to the Jekyll Island pre-Christmas 2015 gallery, but a few of these are in this post.
Of special interest are the two amazing stained-glass windows in Faith Chapel. These are naturally lit by the sun, and the beauty is not apparent unless you see these from inside the Chapel. The larger stained-glass windows is actually signed by Tiffany.
After exiting Faith Chapel, we heard Christmas bagpipe music being played by Tim (also the pianist in the Main Dining room) who was playing and pacing back and forth in front of Faith Chapel on his way to the Club House. We chatted with Tim for a while giving him a chance to take a break from the huffing and puffing of playing the pipes.
Our 1 1/2 hour tour continued on with a stop at DuBignon ‘Cottage’, circa 1884, although it was moved to its present site (from San Succi in 1894). (All of the winter mansions were called ‘cottages’ by the wealthy of that era and today 11 are still standing, some of which you can tour and two of which you can stay in). The DuBignon family owned the island for years before selling it to the Jekyll Island Club in 1886, and this historic house became home to the Island superintendent Ernest Grob for many years, as well as later overflow housing for guests at the Clubhouse. DuBignon Cottage was decorated with a Christmas tree from the era; i.e. late 19th century with ribbons and handmade ornaments.
We were even allowed to go up to the second floor and view the bedrooms there and small bath, as well as another tree on the second floor.
After leaving DuBignon Cottage, we went to our final stop at Indian Mound Cottage, former home of the William Rockefeller family. We’ve been in here several times and I’m always amazed at the size of the his and her bedrooms upstairs: Mr. Rockefeller’s bedroom is large, but the adjacent Mrs. Rockefeller’s bedroom is HUGE! There are of course many other bedrooms for the children and servants, and the living room is massive with its own walk in safe.
We had a small party for our friends, complete with filled stockings I had brought with us with little gifts; mostly munchie goodies of sorts, although I did make a Jekyll Island calendar for Larson and Michelle, and Ben and Tom, and DOS and me with pictures of us from previous visits to the island. The bellman lit us a fire in both of our ensuite fireplaces, which was nice at the weather had dipped down to an unseasonable 40-ish degrees at night. We all had some drinks and snacks and opened our stockings, Michelle and I had decorated the night before with glitter glue!
After a couple hours of Christmas cheer, Ben, Tom, DOS, and I went downstairs for dinner in the Main Dining Room for yet another festive holiday meal.
‘Twas yet another wonderful pre-Christmas day on Jekyll Island!