By Briana D’Andrea
Imagine being transported to another time. A time long before you existed. Engulfed in live oak trees as far as the eyes can see, moss hanging from every branch, horse drawn carriages lining the roads, entrenched in a rich history beyond imagination. There’s a place off the coast of Georgia just over 90 miles south of Savannah, called Jekyll Island. Only accessible by bridge, a land surrounded by water, lined with homes dating back to the 1800’s, where even the beaches seem to have left behind some stories worth telling.
The Jekyll Island Club Resort is a place where the most prominent members in American culture came to escape, to share good times and get away from the hustle and bustle since 1888. Names like Rockefeller, Pulitzer and J.P. Morgan to name a few, would winter here at a time when it was known as a hunting club. The entire location feels like you’ve immersed yourself into the Gilded Age, a season that seemed a bit simpler. The club was abandoned after WWII and there are several buildings on property that still have yet to be refurbished with some chilling tales (one of my favorite parts). The hotel was revamped back in 1984 and has since been on the register of “Historic Hotels of America,” since 1994.
The Jekyll Island Club Resort is famed for the first ever transcontinental call from inventor Alexander Graham Bell between Jekyll Island, New York City, Washington D.C. and San Francisco. The hall of mirrors are lined with historic photos, the walls are a rich mahogany and the fire places have a vibe you can only feel.
My family and I first discovered Jekyll earlier this year on a stop to Asheville thanks to a friend. It was only a pit stop on our road trip, knowing there was much left to explore and we just couldn’t wait to come back. We were ecstatic to be able to visit again this summer in early July. Upon pulling up to The Jekyll Island Club Resort, once you pass the darling cottages that were once homes to families, you can’t help but notice the top of the building and it’s circular turret for which the building is famed. A remarkable structure that has undergone recent renovations and a darling place to enjoy some family time. With 6 places to eat, 2 pools, beach access and the option to stay in either the cottages, the beachside or the building itself, there’s something for everyone. Our family dined at The Wharf on the dock where much of the island’s business took place back in the day. The seafood was fresh and the service was friendly. A view of the port and the ships were stunning and the live music didn’t hurt either. We then made our way to the Lobby Bar, where we played some board games and sat in the rich leather seats, while a movie was playing in the background overlooking the gorgeous pool from the Riverfront Veranda. The room itself was amazing and featured a fireplace and a veranda to enjoy the view of the grounds and visitors could enjoy a game of croquet (a famed 1900s summer game).
The following morning we enjoyed an exquisite breakfast in the Grand Dining Room, that had a striking resemblance of the Titanic and we walked the grounds to discover the cottages you can stay in for reunions or just dive a little deeper into the history of the island. We made our way past an abandoned casino, where I’m sure many a good times were had and a home that no matter how many times they attempt to renovate it, the ghosts who still live there seem to destroy any progress made. From the sweet shoppe, to the art shoppe, to the turtle rehab center (the only one in GA), there’s so much to do on the historic district grounds, accessible by bike, foot or even trolley.
We made our way over the beach side, past the village where things are a little more updated. At the Jekyll Ocean club there’s an updated pool, with rooms to stay in oceanside and a restaurant. We opted to hang by the beach for a few before ending the day with a picnic on Driftwood Beach, a place where eroded soil was unable to support the trees and is now a breathtaking beautiful backdrop for a town with 3500 years of history left to be explored.
If you’re even thinking about visiting The Jekyll Island Club do it and if this is the first time you’ve heard of it, then you’re welcome. We had quite experience in just 24 hours and cannot wait to pay a visit again sometime soon. Be sure to check out our adventure in a new reel over on IG! Hope you enjoy it!