Sapelo Island, Georgia – Simply Spectacular
by Scottie Davis
Sapelo Island, GA is a place you must see before the rest of the world discovers it. The remote and marvelously mysterious island, located off the coast of Georgia near Darian, is untouched by development, accessible only by water and has seventy-five residents. Most native islanders live in the community of Hog Hammock on private land that has been in their families for generations. The rest of the 11-mile island is owned by the state of Georgia and managed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
A ferry provides transportation to and from the mainland. Unlike Cumberland, one cannot just buy a ticket and go over for the day. The only people allowed to board the ferry are residents and their guests, workers, and visitors on a tour or those with overnight reservations. Sapelo’s tours are generally by bus and cover 1/3 of the south end of the island where the roads are paved.
Sapelo’s innocence and beauty are striking. Visitors giggle when the guide refers to a grassy airstrip as the Sapelo International Airport; are awed by the majestic tress and sprawling tabby mansion; impressed with the University of Georgia Marine Institute that attracts scientists from all over the world and delighted with the lighthouse originally built in the 1800s to guide sailors.
But interacting with Sapelo’s residents is what makes a visit to the island memorable.Lulu Walker who delight those who dine at Lulu’s Kitchen and never meets a stranger and DNR tour guide, Yvonne Grovner, who does just about everything.
The DNR keep things running smoothly on the island, overseeing the visitor’s center, tours, educational programs, transportation, managed hunts and general maintenance of Sapelo Island. The Reynolds Mansion, with 13 bedrooms, can accommodate up to 29 people and can be rented with a minimum of 16 people for a two-night stay with three meals a day and transportation around the island.
The state of Georgia is to be commended for protecting such a gem. Sapelo Island is a joy to visit and a place where time and space stand still. At least, for now.
Directions: Exit 52 off I-95S thru Eulonia to Meridian. Follow brown signs to Sapelo Island Visitors Center. 912/437-3224