The Secrets of Jekyll Island: From History to Glory
The glory of Georgia’s Golden Isles, Jekyll Island is The Island Sanctuary. Here, there is space to breathe. Space to be. Space to become.
A ride around the island will take you through incredible marine forest trails, glorious sand dunes, thick canopies of ancient trees, and a journey through history.
A Secret History
With a secretive history and secluded luxury amidst pristine nature, Jekyll Island is an ultimate storybook setting. Indeed, in 1910, secret gatherings on the island began paving the way for the Federal Reserve System.
Originally a hunting club, Jekyll Island Club became an exclusive resort for prominent families. Owned in part by J.P. Morgan, the club roster boasted names like Vanderbilts, Pulitzers, and Rockefellers. Their members held ⅙ of the globe’s wealth, and it was known as “the richest, the most exclusive, the most inaccessible club in the world,” according to Munsey’s Magazine in 1904.
It would also become home to the “First Name Club,” the group that gathered here to eventually invent the Federal Reserve. The members were on strict orders of secrecy, using only first names to prevent staff from knowing their true identities. The Club Era came to an end with WWII and the sale of the island to the State of Georgia, but its illustrious history continues to shine on.
Experiencing the Exclusivity
Jekyll Island Club is now a luxury resort that will soak you in old-world glamour amidst a stunning shoreline. Its iconic Queen Anne tower and architecture make for an American-styled castle set on miles of uncrowded beach. Here, the precious luxuries of privacy and solitude are fulfilled. Swimming is gentle and easy, with very few waves making it past the continental shelf that help the tide to form Jekyll Island’s beaches.
Lounge at the iconic pools that witnessed history being made. And lounge in perfect peace, knowing there are also plenty of COVID precautions at Jekyll Island Club, including spacers between lounge chairs, electrostatic disinfection of every room and surface, high powered air filters, and staff temperature monitored twice daily.
From Driftwood Forests to Glory
Those up for a bicycle ride can grab one from Jekyll Island Club’s Jekyll Wheels, which has bicycles for all ages and abilities. The flatness of this island makes it excellent terrain for seniors and youths alike. A 20 minute ride will bring you to Driftwood Beach, where you can wander amongst a driftwood forest unlike any other. Some of the trees here are 500 years old!
With more than 10 miles of shoreline around Jekyll Island, other beaches beckon, including Glory Beach’s sea-oats dunes that stretch as far as the eye can see (and as seen in the movie Glory). Great Dunes is excellent for families of all ages, while South Dunes’ elevated boardwalk makes for easy access to the beach and freshwater pond.
Sunset is gorgeous near the island’s southern tip at St. Andrews. This beach’s two-story wildlife viewing platform is perfect for seeing dolphins frolicking in the waves as migratory birds jet by.
You’ll notice Jekyll Island is a haven for humans and wildlife alike. In the summer, hundreds of loggerhead turtles come onto the beach to lay their eggs. Jekyll Island is very protective of this precious process. Since the turtles are easily disoriented by artificial light - which makes it difficult for them to find the sand dunes where they lay their eggs - the island has a beach lighting ordinance. Bonfires, lanterns, and fireworks are banned, as are flashlights, unless you substitute the bulb for a red one that has a wavelength of 650 nm that doesn’t disrupt the turtles.
Historical Beauty of Exquisite Restoration Proportions
In addition to its natural beauty, Jekyll Island’s awash in stunning history. Take a step back in history by stepping aboard a Historic Tram Tour. You’ll be witnesses to one of the largest restoration projects in America: 240 acres in the Jekyll Island Historic Landmark District. Keep an eye out for Faith Chapel, an interdenominational church built in 1904 for members of the Jekyll Island Club. Inside is the Bourne Memorial Window by Tiffany, a stunning, illuminating stained glass work of art. This was created in 1921 for Frederick Bourne, the President of Singer Sewing Company and beloved member of Jekyll Island Club.
Jekyll Island truly connects the best of old world history with timeless natural beauty. It is part of one of our favorite tours of the South, Southern Charm by Collete. On this tour, you’ll experience the history of Charleston before dancing through Savannah’s cobblestone romance beneath moss-draped oaks. This trip enjoys a very happy ending with a two-night stay at the exquisite Jekyll Island Club, where you’ll easily see just why the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts called this island their seasonal home.
To take advantage of your ASA travel discount to visit this area, visit our partner Collette Travel: Savannah and Charleston Vacation Packages | Tours of the South (gocollette.com)