Terra Firma

If the weather on Jekyll Island had been sunny or at least sunnier – even if not especially warm – we would have stayed another day as we had originally planned to do.  However this morning’s gloomy drizzle and uniform charcoal sky dissuaded us from lingering.  We had already been soaked yesterday on our bike ride around the Island, reminiscent of a dripping tropical jungle tour. And as much as I appreciated the kindness and welcoming of the staff at Hampton Inn it is not a hotel to which I would return any time soon, just a bit too run-of-the-mill for my liking, a little more “real” (though unquestionably practical) than my quixotic mind prefers.  The new Westin – further up the beach – is my choice. Even the old Jekyll Island Club with its creaky floors and liveried dining room staff leaves me cold by comparison.

Besides we had accomplished our unwritten agenda which was to investigate long-term rental properties on Jekyll Island.  For years we have been humming and hawing about spending more time there but we had yet to see anything we considered persuasive for our purposes.  This time however we were treated to a tour of three brand new town homes in a modern seaside development which will likely set the standard for what will assuredly follow in the same vein – namely, vacation homes (usually 2nd homes) for northerners who want as well to make some money renting them.

The Cottages at Jekyll Island

“Vacation Rental by Owner -VRBO” is probably a vernacular which has been around for a fairly long time in one form or another but I imagine that thirty years ago the more common rendition was hotel suites or villas which were owned not by individuals but by conglomerates or at least real estate or investment corporations (as opposed to private tax shelters).  Nowadays the properties are generally managed by a Homeowner Association (HOA) or one estate agent represents a number of owners. Aside from the particularity of the rental units we further reconfirmed the appeal of Jekyll Island generally, its indisputable magical scenery, its alluring tiny size, its ghost-like off-season ambience and the winsome small local retailers.

Once that objective of investigation and affirmation was achieved there was nothing holding us there and we accordingly uprooted precipitously and were back on Hilton Head Island in our digs within hours. The route to any of the several Atlantic barrier islands is basically the same; viz., up or down the Interstate 95 then east to the Ocean, over a causeway and onto the island. Frankly I am very pleased to have regained our accustomed lair. It hardly requires dilation that we haven’t anything pressing now or for the remainder of our lives but nonetheless I felt the need to do more than fill in time by languishing in the hot tub or paddling in the pool or – worst of all possibilities – watching TV! Even trying to find a comfortable chair in the hotel room from which to read an improving book was an unnecessary challenge.

At home we further assuaged our need for purpose by attending to the grocery shopping which was followed by the mandatory unpacking and ritual laundry, all with a view to making ourselves whole once again.  That included answering emails and making telephone calls to friends and family, matters which of necessity normally take a back seat when traveling (particularly when removed as we were from our laptop computers, relying instead upon iPads and iPhones, not the most practical devices for more than cryptic communications).  Global hypothetical considerations lack magnetism in any event. It is at best a useless wrestling exercise and one which has little promise of reward. In truth I missed my own bed linen, feather pillows and duvet. And we both agreed that dining in restaurants more than two days in a  row comes at a cost to one’s sanity.  It is a tiresome re-enactment of what is supposed to be a unique experience but which through repeated performance sadly becomes a trial. I can’t claim any special talent in the kitchen but I do have certain recipes which, simple as they are, satisfy me more so than many more complicated restaurant meals.