Something didn’t feel quite right. A week ago, I finished telling you about my visit to Eagle Island and the Private Islands of Georgia, but I had this funny feeling I hadn’t really captured it. The amount of incredible events that took place in a few short days was nearly overwhelming. It dawned on me I did a pretty good job of telling you about the amenities and the over the top experience you can expect, but I don’t think I did a very good job of capturing the experience. So I thought I’d try again.
After landing at the Jacksonville airport, my friend and I made the drive to Darien, Georgia, catching up with each other and soaking in a glorious December morning. After a brief stop at the market for a few last minute essentials, we stopped at Skippers’s Fish Camp for a bite to eat and to meet Andy. When I saw gator tail, “the other white meat” on the menu, the decision of what to order was made for me. After lunch we loaded our provisions onto the boast and set off for Eagle Island with Captain Andy. Andy’s passion for the water and his love of the area are evident from the moment the boat pulls away from the dock. We passed dozens of brilliantly painted shrimping vessels as the sea air filled our nostrils. After rounding a bend we passed May Hall Island and then tied up at the dock on Eagle Island.
Eagle is a tiny, 10 acre island. We walked through the gate, passed a few kayaks and climbed the stairs to the lodge. I’ve included a video to give you a true feel for what to expect when you visit the lodge. It boasts a 1500 square foot wrap around deck with hot tub and views everywhere you turn. You truly feel at home. Nothing’s been forgotten. Every pot, every pan, every utensil, coffee, spices, you name it, it’s there waiting and ready. At the center of the lodge’s main room is a brick fireplace adorned with a driftwood Medusa. Two bedrooms are on either side of the downstairs bath and you can climb a spiral staircase to the upstairs loft. Down below is the incredible outdoor, two head shower, the cooking area complete with grill and re-purposed oyster steamer and another sleeping/recreation area. We spent the afternoon relaxing and exploring before enjoying a low country boil for dinner.
The following morning it was time to explore the waterways a little and we did so by kayak. This 59 year old body protested a bit, but it was fun paddling for the first time in perhaps 40 years. The sun felt great on my face and it was easy to see how this magnificent area has captured Andy’s heart. Oysters and shrimp were the evening’s culinary stars as Andy handed me a knife and let me pop open as many raw oysters as I could devour while he prepared garlic butter shrimp and Five-Moon oysters. Another first – Jack Daniels shots from a whelk shell. We walked to the large fire-pit, laughed, talked and sang before retiring for the night.
The following morning I prepared huevos rancheros for my compadres and Andy arrived to take us out for a day on the water, a visit to Sapelo Island and a last minute surprise. I don’t remember a more beautiful December morning than this one. The sun was bright and danced off the water. Pelicans dove for fish and dolphins were playing alongside us. We docked at Sapelo and climbed into Andy’s pickup truck to explore this incredible island. We stopped at the RJ Reynolds Mansion and Andy took us through every nook and cranny, painting the picture us of what life was during during the prohibition area.
We climbed back into the pickup. I sat up front as Andy drove and we had a good visit. He took us to a private beach, handed us buckets and we collected shells and sand dollars. Seagulls skimmed the water. After about an hour with the beach all to ourselves, we returned to the dock and headed back to Eagle Island. Andy looked at the sky and realized we were about to witness a remarkable sunset. He tied up at the dock at Eagle, ran up to the lodge and returned with a bottle of wine and some wine glasses. We headed toward Darien and took in one of the most remarkable sunsets I have ever seen.
On our last morning, Andy wanted to show us his pride and joy. May Hall Island. May Hall is connected to Little May Hall and Grassie Field Islands by two sweeping boardwalks he built. The lodge on May Hall is a work in progress that should be complete by year’s end. It’s an ambitious project with an outdoor theatre and acres and acres to explore.
I hope I’ve told the story better. I hope you can visit someday and come home with your own set of stories.