Sunday, February 21, 2010

Eagle Island - Yours and yours alone

You don't need a passport and deep pockets to escape to a private island. You don't need more than a weekend and a reservation from Private Islands of Georgia. 

Its flagship, Eagle Island, is a 15-minute-long boat ride from the south Georgia coast and a world away from any vacation you've ever taken.

The back barrier island, one of several that has formed between land and Georgia's eight barrier islands, has 10 acres of high ground. A short, flat walk from the dock is the lodge and its nearest neighbor, the eagles and their nest responsible for the island's name.

Tip: 182 steps along a well-defined path to be exact, Levelers. There's a ramp from the floating dock to the pier - 21 steps - that can be steep at low tide, a gentle rise at high tide. Once you reach the low-country-style lodge, there are 18 steps up the front or back side to the main living area.

Captain Andy Hill, owner and developer of the island, will get you and your luggage settled in, show you where everything is, from the ice maker and frozen shrimp for bait in the downstairs freezer, to the crab traps, tandem kayak and controls for the hot tub. When you and your party are squared away, Andy departs, leaving you on the island until it's time to return and take you back to the hustle and bustle of the mainland.

... Unless you've asked him to prepare a signature Eagle Island oyster roast or low country boil during your stay. While he's cooking, ask where he found the building materials, decor, even the landscaping and you'll discover how eco-friendly green a retreat can be.

... Unless you've had him arrange for Danny Grissette to boat in and give you a nature tour by kayak.

... Unless you've booked a day on nearby Sapelo Island, where Andy has property and a car. He'll boat you in, show you around, introduce you to some of the residents and take you to a beach as private as your island.

The itinerary and activity is all up to you. Come alone, with a special someone or pack the lodge's two queen-bedded main floor rooms, the twin-bedded sleeping loft or the ground level rec room with its two bunk beds and one queen-size.

Do nothing but rock and read on the wide screened porch that encircles the lodge, soak in the hot tub while you spy on the eagles, try the outdoor shower for two or tell tales around the fire pit, fish, crab, walk around the island or, if you must, watch TV or take advantage of Internet access.

It's up to you, which is what a private island escape is all about.  

In addition to the physical beauty of the marshes, rivers and wildlife that surrounds you, the beauty of Eagle Island is that "What happens on the island, stays on the island" - unless you choose to blab about it.

Tip: Capt. Andy will meet you in Darien, a coastal shrimping town about an hour's drive from Jacksonville (FL) International Airport.

Enjoy listening to the breeze freshen while enjoying a perfect Levelers' retreat.


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