Posts Tagged ‘The Battle of Bloody Marsh’

Biking Through History

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
St. Simons Bike Trails

St. Simons Island Bike Trails

There’s no better way to unwind on vacation than on a bike. Just a short walk from The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simons Island, Ocean Motion offers a variety of bikes for all riders. Local maps clearly delineate the major bike paths as you embark on your tour, complete with the tangy salt smell of the sea filling the breeze as you glide by.  The beaches are a natural avenue of sand, and you can ride from the village at the island’s southernmost tip all the way up to a breathtaking inlet.  You might see a mighty cargo ship as it follows the channel out to sea from Brunswick. You’ll ride past pretty beach cottages and stunning modern beach homes alike. Look out to sea and you’ll probably see a small pod of dolphins that likes to play just outside the breakers.

 

Further up the beach, you can visit the old Coast Guard and Maritime Museum. Built 150 or so years ago, the station sits several hundred yards from the beachfront. Once it was right at water’s edge where the Coast Guard could launch its rescue boats, but the powerful tides and drifting sand have changed the ocean front face of the island. The Maritime Museum features numerous galleries that feature both the history of the island and its ecology. It’s a great place to learn about this island’s beaches, marshes and forests.

Coast Guard Station and Maritime Museum

Coast Guard Station and Maritime Museum – photo courtesy of AtlantaMoms.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cross the East Beach Causeway – a two lane road across a beautiful section of marsh – to find the site of The Battle of Bloody Marsh.  James Oglethorpe led the colonization of Georgia for Great Britain, beginning to fortify St. Simon’s Island in the 1730’s against the Spanish in Florida. Tensions over trade and border disputes between England and Spain were at a boiling point, and the path up the eastern coast north of Georgia was potentially a clear road of conquest for Spain.

Battle of the Bloody Marsh

Battle of the Bloody Marsh site

A Spanish attack led by Spanish Governor Don Manuel De Montiano from St. Augustine was met by Oglethorpe.  Montiano’s  vastly outnumbered force was quickly driven off the island, not to return, on July 18, 1742. This decisive victory likely saved Georgia and the early colonies from Spanish rule. The battleground is so named for claims that the marsh ran red with the blood of Spanish soldiers. In truth, only seven were killed. There’s not much there now but a monument and a plaque, a great view across the marsh and a somber atmosphere of history.

Some seven miles or so north is Fort Frederica, with a monument and visitor’s center commemorating the archaeological remnants of a fort and town built by Oglethorpe between 1736 and 1748.  About 630 British troops and 500 colonial residents lived in the fort and town. By 1749, however, the Spanish no longer threatened the colony and the government disbanded the garrison. The village soon fell into economic decline, and by 1755 it was mostly abandoned. A fire in 1758 sealed the town’s fate. A charming visitor’s center with film presentations, walking paths, and a number of restorative archaeological digs give a great picture of early colonial life.

 

Fort Frederica National Monument

Fort Frederica National Monument – photo courtesy of TripAdvisor.com

Back at the village, the famed St. Simon’s Lighthouse, one of only a few major lighthouses remaining on the southern coast, dominates a waterside park just a walk across the street from restaurants and shops in a tiny, friendly little metropolis.

In its current iteration the lighthouse is a fully automated aid to navigation, but its history goes all the way back to 1804. At that time, the finished structure stood 85 feet tall and was constructed entirely from tabby, a local material comprised largely of oyster shells. It was an 8 sided pyramid, the top of which was an iron lantern ten feet high. Destroyed by the Confederates in 1862 to prevent its use by invading Union forces, it was rebuilt in 1872, including a new Victorian style Keeper’s cottage. The keeper and his assistant shared the dwelling. Tempers flared one Sunday morning in March 1880 between the head keeper and his assistant, leaving the keeper, Frederick Osborne, dead.

St Simons Lighthouse

St Simons Island Lighthouse

In 2004, the lighthouse was deeded to the Coastal Georgia Historical Society under the Lighthouse Preservation Act. Evidently, Fred remained; his footsteps in the tower have been heard by the wives of later keepers … and by lighthouse visitors.

Saint Simon’s Island is rich with history and many other historical sites. Don’t miss Christ Church, for instance, visited frequently by American presidents, and the home of a story of loyalty and love that is pure inspiration. On the very same road, approaching Fort Frederica be sure to visit the first African church in America, built by slaves, for slaves.

To learn more about Saint Simon’s Island, history tours, beaches, marshes and ghosts, contact the King and Prince Resort at www.kingandprince.com.

St Simons Island Vacation – Vanderford’s Travels

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Bill Vanderford published this article on Lakeside News after his spring St Simons Island vacation that including historic tours, boating, dining at local restaurants and a stay at The King and Prince.

Vanderford’s Travels

By Bill Vanderford

St. Simons Island is a golden Georgia treasure

Standing on the wall of Fort Frederica scanning the river and the marshes  beyond was serious business around 1740. The British soldiers on guard

Ft Frederica

Canons at Fort Frederica

knew that the Spanish-held Fort St. Simons was only five miles away and were painfully aware that war had been declared with Spain. Eventually these English soldiers realized that they would have to fight for their lives on St. Simons Island.

Even though the British were far outnumbered, good intelligence, a timely ambush, and some skillful maneuvering of ships and men by James

Fort Frederica Monument

Fort Frederica

Edward Oglethorpe made the Spanish believe that the British force was much larger. Therefore, after the historical, but small ambush, known as “The Battle of Bloody Marsh,” the Spanish retreated back to Florida and were never a threat to General Oglethorpe and his fledgling Georgia colony again.

Today, visitors to St. Simons Island can walk the open grounds of Fort Frederica and gaze across the picturesque “Marshes of Glynn” that were made famous by poet, Sidney Lanier (yes, the namesake of Lake Lanier), and never have to worry about being fired upon. This immaculate spot is simply one of many that attracts folks to St. Simons.

For nearly eight decades, families from all over the South have come to this gorgeous barrier island to enjoy the elegant atmosphere, mouthwatering

Ocean front Building

View from Oceanfront Building

food, and antebellum style hospitality at the King and Prince Hotel, which was built because of an insult. It seems that one evening in the early 1930s at the nearby Cloister Hotel on neighboring Sea Island, Frank Horn and Morgan Wynn were tossed out for being drunk and disorderly. Horn was a tall, heavy man, and Wynn was a short, skinny fellow, and when seen together, they were affectionately known as “The King and Prince.” So, because of the insult, the two founded the King and Prince as a seaside dance club to compete with the Cloister Hotel. The main hotel building with its classic Mediterranean architecture was completed and opened to the public just in time for World War II in 1941. During that period, the new hotel was converted into a training facility for coast watchers looking for German submarines.

Following the war, the King and Prince opened to families again in 1947 and has continued to serve as a prime vacation destination in the Golden Isles of Georgia. Renovations and expansions were completed in 1972 and 1983,

St Simons Island sunrise

Sunrise over a dock

and the hotel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996 as the King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort. It still offers a unique resort experience with real Southern flair, fantastic and varied cuisine, and spectacular ocean views from almost every room. For information or reservations, call toll-free at (800)-342-0212.

Marshes of Glynn St Simons Island

Beauty in the Marshes

Many golf lovers come to St. Simons to play the recently restored King and Prince Golf Course, which is the home of the Hampton Club. This 18-hole championship course is both challenging and beautifully interwoven with ancient oak trees, island holes, views of birds and wildlife in the surrounding marshes, and picturesque lagoons.

Fishing, birding, and wildlife viewing are always great outdoor endeavors

Fishing on St Simons Island

Fishing

when visiting St. Simons Island. This huge coastal ecosystem of salt marshes, tidal rivers and creeks is probably the best rearing ground for fish, sharks, and shellfish on the Atlantic seaboard of the USA. This little known fishery is best explored and experienced with an expert local guide like Larry Kennedy III out of Hampton Marina. Larry and his family have been fishing the waters productively as long as I can remember, and have entertained thousands of visitors to St. Simons. For more information or reservations, call 912-222-1687.

St Simons Charter Boats

Charter Boat

Fine dining and local seafood is another highlight of any trip to the Georgia barrier islands, and St. Simons has some of the best! Certainly the chefs at the King and Prince would be in the running in any food and drink contest, but my favorite would have to be Halyards and the culinary artistry of Chef Dave. Being a fisherman himself, Dave loves to have his friends bring by their “Catch of the Day” and allow him to create a succulent meal with his special touch. Both Bill and Cindy Acree told me of magical meals that they have enjoyed with Chef Dave during the Atlanta Braves off season when Bill wasn’t so busy as a Braves executive. For more information, contact Dave at www.halyardsrestaurant.com.

Another interesting, but quite casual eatery, is within easy walking distance

Christ Church St Simons Island

Christ Church

from the King and Prince Hotel. The Saltwater Cowboy is a swinging place with a young, female chef straight out of the Bayou country of Southern Mississippi. She has put together some unique offerings of steak and seafood with a different Cajun rendering. For information or reservations, call 912-634-2102.

Certainly more experiences are available on St. Simons Island including visits to the historic Christ Church, Fort Frederica, Epworth by the

St Simons Island Lighthouse

St. Simons Lighthouse

Sea, and the St. Simons Lighthouse. For me, however, the beaches, marshes, old oak trees, and the slow movement of time and tide take me back to simpler time in my youth when my family would visit this magical island during the summer break from school. Sure there are new businesses and different people, but the natural beauty where sea, sky, and shifting sands meet has a soothing effect that transcends all time.