Jekyll Ocean Club: A Coastal Georgia Retreat
01 Aug 2018
by Pete Wlodkowski of AmateurGolf.com
Sundowns are golden
Then fade away
And if I never do nothin
I'm coming back some day
- Tom Petty, “Walls”
I reflect on Tom Petty’s words and music frequently. And I did a lot of reflecting on a recent weeklong trip to the Georgia Coast. After all, I was just a few hours away from Petty’s hometown of Gainesville, and I heard his music playing on more than one occasion.
My plan for the week was to relax and unwind in one of the few coastal resort destinations in the country I have never visited. And yes, I even found time to get off the beach and play a little golf.
A little background on the destination, called aptly “The Golden Isles.” It consists of four barrier islands located halfway between Savannah and Jacksonville on the Georgia Coast. Avid golfers will know St. Simons Island and Sea Island as the home of a major golf resort and close to a dozen Tour players -- most famously Davis Love. But there is also Jekyll Island, Little St. Simons Island, and the mainland city of Brunswick.
Home base for the week was the amazing Jekyll Ocean Club, a boutique property where all of the accommodations are amazing oceanfront suites. The living area faces the ocean and pool below, with a deck where I enjoyed coffee every morning.
Jekyll Ocean Club is owned and operated by the group that owns the historic Jekyll Island Club, the centerpiece of the 250 acre historic district of Jekyll Island. Scions of corporate America like JP Morgan came to hunt and relax here in the early 1900s.
The main hotel and surrounding properties have been painstakingly preserved to the point where you might feel like you've gone back in time while riding a horse drawn carriage underneath the canopy of mossy oak trees. The original six members of the Federal Reserve even met there – you can see the historic pictures in the Federal Reserve Room.
My suggestion? If you visit Jekyll Island stay at the Jekyll Ocean Club like I did, enjoying the modern property while scheduling dinner in the dining room of the original Jekyll Island Resort. It's a short drive or included shuttle ride away. But you won't want to do it too often, because everything you need is at the Jekyll Ocean Club.
There, you'll find that the entire property is appointed with an elegant-casual nautical flair. The main dining area, Corsair, is named for J.P. Morgan’s luxury yacht. (A replica of that beauty adorns the space.) What I like most about Corsair, and the entire open-air lobby, is that you can sit at the bar, a table, or even by the fireplace and order a drink or food depending on your mood. My favorite meal was alone by the fireplace one night when I just felt like relaxing on the couch. The seafood, along with everything else on the farm-to-table menu, is amazing.
As summer was getting into full swing, I witnessed families and couples enjoying the pool, walks on the beach, and cycling around Jekyll Island’s miles of bike paths. There is very little vehicle traffic once you get onto the island, a Georgia State Park. No billboards, or outlet malls. Here you have every convenience you need to enjoy.
Driving through the area (it’s hard to keep your eye on the road at sunset)
Driving through the gates of Jekyll Island, you enter a Georgia state park that has only been partially developed.
No billboards. No strip malls. Just miles and miles of beachfront, natural dunes, bike trails, and room to spread out. I’m sure, like any state park, that it gets busy on the expected summer weekends and holidays, like July 4. But that’s only likely to effect you getting through the gatehouse where you pay your park fee.
There are three golf courses on the island, owned and operated by Georgia State Parks. They aren't going to rival those of some of the nearby resorts, but will certainly serve as an affordable and easy-access place to bring the family.
For a treat, make a tee time on one of the many resorts within driving distance, including the Hilton Head and Sea Island. Some vacations are for the family, and not to play 36-holes every day. With our without the clubs, I recommend a trip to Jekyll Island and the Jekyll Ocean Club.
For more information visit: www.jekylloceanclub.com