Escape from Hunkering Down
Joe and I almost didn’t make our anniversary trip.
We had planned our 10-day tenth anniversary getaway eight months ago, and had all the reservations booked and deposits made. Then, with the pandemic, our hotels closed. We waited to see what would happen.
Greyfield Inn on Cumberland Island got in touch in late April and said they'd reopen on May 11. Our stay was to be from May 9 to May 13. Would we like to rebook for next year? The fall, perhaps? We would not. We would keep our reservations beginning on May 11. The night of the 10th, we'd stay in Fernandina and take the ferry the next morning.
The Cumberland trip was magical, with nature trips and tours of the ruins of the Gilded Age. Our second-day tour turned out to be over four hours. (We were slowed down a bit by horses lying in the road soaking up sun on the one cool and windy day. Mares recovering from foaling did not want to move readily.) Though the excursion was full of information and beautiful sights, try riding around that long on a hard oak bench in the back of a pickup! (All the cushions had been removed from every surface at the Inn.) The food was wonderful, the hospitality grand--even if we had to practice distancing from the eight other guests. No conversational communal tables.
We enjoyed poking around Fernandina on our way out. We found a coffee shop with the best coffee we’ve ever had!
We arrived at Jekyll ( which opened on our arrival date, May 13!) not knowing what to expect.
That first day was spooky, like being in an empty hotel. Check-in was outside. The people were nice as can be, what little we saw of them. Staff was all masked, food service was take-out from the only source, called The Pantry, rooms were cleaned only before and after visits, bags were carried by ourselves in a handy cart. This was good, obviously, but a bit challenging for the not-so-young. Other guests began to arrive the next day, most younger than we were. Some stayed masked, some did not.
There seemed to be a wedding taking place Saturday night. Saturday noon, we noticed a bridesmaid’s luncheon in a round room with a large horseshoe table. Earlier that day, I saw the bride walking down an outside path to the room carrying a box of favors, wearing a flowered dress and a….mini veil? Google tells me it's called a "bachelorette veil."
We didn't see how they managed the wedding, since we'd gone out to dinner. Restaurants opened up on Jekyll and St. Simon’s on the weekend, with servers in masks and social distancing between tables. We decided to risk visiting, since The Pantry had a limited menu. We found a really good seafood place.
Not much else was open. Golf: yes. Mini golf: No. Shops: a very few. We walked on the beach, on the pier at St. Simon's, read, and rented bikes with fat tires. We took an eight-and-a half mile ride around the south end. No problems except I forgot to put sunscreen on my hands. They were itchy for a couple of days, but didn't stop me from writing notes.
On our last day, the turtle center opened at 1:30. We saw vets working on an injured green sea turtle, and recovering sea turtles paddling around in tanks until they get healthy enough to be returned to the sea.
I do hope we stay healthy enough to return to the sea.