Before leaving St. Simons at the end of the month to continue our travels, we wanted to see our kids again. Fortunately, the cottage we rented this month—one of the few available on short notice—is a large, rambling, old barn of a place, with several random additions. Too big for George, me, and Zoe, but providing plenty of room for company.
Unfortunately, the weekend that my son, his wife, and her parents came down for a visit was by far the coldest that we have had here. While Alaskan friends are bemoaning record high temperatures and lack of snow, the lovely arctic cold that they crave muscled its way down here with a whipping wind that made it too frigid to do anything outside. We visited the lighthouse museum, drove around neighboring Jekyll Island, with its Gilded Age “cottages” (“they’re pretty … it’s freezing … let’s get back in the car”), and ate well.
Although the frigid temperatures abated a bit, it was still pretty nippy when our daughter arrived with our grandkids several days later. Still, it was warmer than their home in North Carolina, where it was cold enough to snow, keeping school closed for days. Having been homebound all week, the kids had energy to burn and, despite the arctic-like conditions, were ecstatic to be on the beach.
We arrived at the turtle hospital’s feeding time, with a presentation on all of the current turtle residents, most of whom were there for cold shock, boat propeller strikes, and fishing line entanglement.
Then we all happily wandered around the educational section, which was filled with interactive exhibits geared for kids (and adults) of all ages. It was well worth the visit.
Next morning, the temperature eased, so we drove over to Fort King George on the mainland in Darien for a little history. The Fort, which sits on the Altamaha River marshes, has been reconstructed as an outdoor museum. It originally was built in 1721, as the southernmost British outpost in the Americas. Its soldiers died like flies from malaria, dysentery, and lack of provisions. Perhaps not surprisingly, they were described as a discontented, undisciplined, wild group of indolent alcoholics. Apparently, Fort King George was not a popular posting.
But we loved it. The Fort museum is a throwback to a time when kids were able to play and explore without constant paranoia over imagined dangers in every activity. After paying our entry fee at the museum store, the kids were able to choose wooden muskets or pistols to use while running around the Fort pretending they were soldiers. And run around and pretend they did.
Everyone–including kids and dogs—is allowed to wander, climb, and poke around in the buildings and grounds to their hearts’ content, without tour guides or restrictions.
A small group of reenactors was living there for the weekend, not putting on a show, but just going about their daily activities. It was a playground of history—just amazing. The kids were in heaven.
Zoe enjoyed it, too. She was allowed in all the buildings, full of intriguing smells. She thoroughly sniffed the food smells at the baking shed and then settled in by the chimney. She can spot a kitchen with good food anywhere.