Blissful Getaway {Field Trip | Little St. Simons Island}

So just yesterday, I was biking along a desert-hot path after shell collecting on a remote beach with my family, when a greenish-black mass in the middle of the narrow sandy road opened its jaw and hissed at me. A beach cruiser has never done a 180 so fast — especially one toting a 40-pound kid!

As a Lowcountry resident, I’ve pedaled past and ambled by gators before — on Charleston plantations, Hilton Head golf courses and boardwalks in the Okefenokee swamp. Usually they’re just taking in some sun, oblivious to passersby. But the large hissing gator was another thing entirely! I let my daughter hop in the bike trailer, too, and I cruised past while Dad engaged the protective gator-mom in conversation long enough for us to dash by without her taking my children for Scooby Snacks. Whew!

Just another day in paradise. Really, Little St. Simons Island is a paradise. We spent 24 kid-free hours there celebrating our 11th anniversary, and the kids joined us for day two so we could share the island with them. Everything about this too-quick mini-vacation was perfect (except its brevity) — the intriguing history of a pencil resource turned boys club; the gracious, easygoing staff; and the phenomenal meals shared with fun people from Georgia, Tennessee and the more-crowded island of Manhattan. Normally, I don’t have the pleasure of frequenting resorts lauded by Conde Nast, but this all-inclusive escape is well worth it. Everything you could possibly need, without fuss or pretense, provided by people who absolutely love sharing a piece of their world with a handful of guests at a time.

10,000 gorgeous acres of watery green grasses, home to European fallow deer (we saw both spotted and white ones), marsh bunnies, armadillos, painted buntings, and roseate spoonbills (and I thought flamingos were the only pink birds). The solitude was an event in itself, inspiring me to just put down my book and embrace the breeze that whooshed grasses, leaves and fronds as it rose over the bluff. Taking in an afternoon storm from the screened porch of our cottage was another highlight. Fast and furious, the winds whipped, the horizontal sheets of rain pelted the ancient oaks, and the sun reappeared, turning the last drops into rising steam that cast a dreamy haze… then, the bell! Flashbacks of summer camp came and went as the fishing guide/bartender welcomed us to cocktail hour before a delectable dinner of beef tenderloin and green beans plucked from the organic garden. Mascarpone cheesecake enhanced with a touch of goat cheese and gingered Georgia peaches was one of many tasty desserts from the bakery. (Come to think of it, maybe I should’ve frantically pedaled my 80-lb kid trailer a few more miles to compensate for the homemade granola bars, brownies and warm cookies I indulged in.)

I could ramble on, but this is a photo blog, right? Plus, I have to save some descriptors for my forthcoming Garden & Gun assignment on my next trip to the island. (Pinch me, just dreaming!)

We cannot wait to go back! With friends, family, kids… anyone who can appreciate beauty, tranquility and a staff willing to pack your day with adventure or let you lounge. We’re lucky we can fish, paddle, beachcomb, read and nap in Charleston (or any number of other places), but the laid-back luxury of Little St. Simons is too close to ignore for long.

Low-tech Ferry

This Way to Hissing Gator

Skiff to M'Lou

Oh Captain, My Captain

A Blue Hue or Two

Cocktails in the Hunting Lodge

Hummingbird Heard Dinner Bell | Table for 10 (Wallflower Makes 11)

Incoming! (Ambushed by Dad and the Kids)

A is for Alden. And Armadillo. (Future LSSI Naturalist.)

Beachcomber's Bliss

Just Like Camp. Except you can leave the hefty trunk full of labeled gear at home.