COMMENTARY, Brack: Visit to Sapelo Island is familiar, special

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By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  A weekend visit to Sapelo Island, one of Georgia’s sea islands proved it to be special, a place only accessible by ferry or boat.  But Sapelo is also familiar – a coastal haven that feels much like Bull’s Island in the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge near Awendaw.

Like Bull’s Island, Sapelo island is protected from development.  Almost all of the 16,500-acre island, other than a 440-acre Geechee community called Hogg Hammock, is owned by the state of Georgia.  Much of it is used by University of Georgia researchers to study the coastal ecosystem of the barrier island.

Enjoy this photo essay of a day trip to Sapelo, which is about a three-hour drive south of Charleston.  If you want to take a tour, book a space and take an early-morning ferry.  It costs $15 per person – and is well worth the fee.

Lighthouse at the south end of Sapelo Island.

View from atop the lighthouse — a great reward for those who climb a wooden, 77-step circular staircase.

A broad, empty beach on the island.

A former school that now serves as community library in the Hogg Hammock area of the island, which is inhabited by about 70 people of Geechee ancestry.

The Behavior Cemetery where graves face east toward Africa.

An abandoned house in Hogg Hammock. There are more vehicles on the island than people, according to a guide.

The Reynolds Mansion. The family of tobacco heir R.J. Reynolds Jr. sold the island to the state of Georgia about 50 years ago.  The mansion is used for special functions; many of the estate’s old buildings are used by UGA researchers.

A field on the island.


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