I’m writing this from the balcony of our room at Jekyll Island,
watching the croquet players in their dress whites play on the ground in front of me. It’s a beautiful afternoon here, and we’ve just come back from walking around the historic area, driving around the island to the Convention Center, having lunch at McCormick’s on the golf course, and overall just having a lazy day.
The sale benefited the local preservation society, and while there were a of things there, and cheaply priced, we didn’t buy anything. No, this dress wouldn’t work even for Donna, one of our Halloween goons!
We then took a leisurely drive around the island, parking at the new Convention Center, and peeking inside at a Gymnastics competition going on. The new center is outstanding, and located oceanfront, nicely landscaped with lots of walking paths adjacent the beach. We then walked next door where the Westin hotel is in its final construction phases. It’s scheduled to open in March, but it seemed like there was still quite a bit of work to be done.
Anyway, it looks very nice with many ocean-view rooms and balconies. I’m sure this will be a major attraction for the Convention Center in attracting guests, as the Island could use some more deluxe accommodations and restaurants.
Later, we were driving along the Beach View Drive and saw a sign for a Public Sale offering at the old Clarion Hotel. The hotel is located ocean-front at Jekyll, and has been thru several ownership changes over the years. We stopped by to look out of curiosity; It was mostly commercial items for sale from the hotel; i.e. old furniture, paintings, banquet chairs and tables etc. The hotel had been closed for 4 years, and they were trying to liquidate everything, and tear it down. It was kind of sad to see it in such bad shape. I remember the arched entryway from years ago, and I thought this might have been a Hilton at one time. I googled this when I got back, and it indeed was a Hilton years ago, but was built in 1971 as the Sand Dollar hotel, and was also a Best Western at one point. I stayed here years ago once when it was a Hilton property. It will soon be demolished and replaced with Townhouse type accommodations.
Anyway, we got to Jekyll Island last night around 5pm, after my flight delays into Jacksonville. As it’s only an hour from JAX airport, we still had plenty of time for a walk around the historic district
before dinner in the Main Jekyll Club Hotel Dining Room.
As it seems like this post keeps taking me backwards in time, and i haven’t blogged about Jekyll Island before, I will give a quick narrative about the history of the island for those who don’t know. My next post will feature more photos of our weekend on Jekyll.
While the island has a varied history over the years, with early Indian settlers to remnants of the Horton House from the mid 1700s, to one of the last slave ships The Wanderer, what makes the island so notable, was the Golden era, i.e. the Millionaire period of 1886 – 1942 with the establishment of the Jekyll Island Club. Here some of the 100 wealthiest people in the US joined the club; mostly Northerners such as J.P. Morgan, the Rockefellers, etc and bought the island as a winter County Club of sorts, to escape from the cold north, and have a private retreat with others from their social class.
The Jekyll Island clubhouse was built first, opening in 1888. The members would normally come down after New Year’s and stay until around Easter or so, bringing with them their contingent of servants, nurses, nannies etc to make sure they were comfortable and well-cared for. The club continued to function until 1942, when a number of factors, economic, WW2, the younger generation wanting more exotic destinations, etc, forced the closure of the club.
Over time, some of the members built ‘cottages’ on the island,
which were modest mansions by their standards. All were located close to the Club House, as most of the members even with cottages still took their meals in the Club House, unless entertaining in their homes. The Club House served as the social hub of the island, as well as where the fancy meals, lectures, meetings etc were held.
Today, the State of Georgia owns the island, and it has miles of public beaches, residential homes, lodging, biking trails and golf for visitors. We love it as a quiet get-away that even today feels a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. You can read more about the history of Jekyll Island by clicking here, which is a link to the Jekyll Island Club resort. We love staying at the Jekyll Club resort not only for it’s history, but the staff, comfort, wonderful meals, sunset views, and quiet relaxation it offers.