While many of my travels allow me to spend time in a city or country for a long enough time, sometimes that is not the case. And that is usually when I go on business trips. It has been quite common for me to travel for long periods of time with work but, especially in the case of domestic travel, trips can be quite short. That means either the ability to explore is limited to off work hours or to just one evening. In the spirit of still sharing what I see, it makes sense to do an “in-and-out” series where I can share the small windows I get to see a place with you. My hope is that it may show glimpses of places, however limited in scope. So here goes the inaugural post – and please let me know if you like the idea.
Coastal Georgia – Historical… at least for Georgia
The state of Georgia does have a coastline, on the east along the Atlantic Ocean. That coast is dotted with many islands like Jekyll, Cumberland, St. Simons, etc. South of the middle of that coastline is the town and port of Brunswick. Now, I know it may not be much to be excited about given Boston, Philly, Paris, London or Athens but in this part of the Southeast, Brunswick goes “far” back as 1738, depending on how you count. Supposedly, around that time, the British set up something in the peninsula where Brunswick sits to almost face the Spanish who were in nearby Florida (credit Oglethorpe) AND who had laid claim to lands in this area too (the boundary between modern-day Florida and Georgia not existing back then). In the end, it is funny to think about that this all would have ended up being Florida has the Brits not initially colonized the area… Brunswick as a town did not get founded until the 1850s but still, its history goes back to colonial times and that fascinates me. It was designed, though, in the late 18th century in a layout similar to Savannah with many squares (14 of them, large and small) almost mathematically laid out in a grid of streets.
I wonder if Savannah won some battle against Brunswick to become the premier coastal Georgia city. Brunswick certainly is gifted in terms of its setting. Perhaps Savannah had some edge with the river and better fit for a port? But Brunswick was a very important port in the shipping of lumber abroad. England, Cuba and Brazil were among the destinations for lumber that made it out of the continental U.S. through this port. It is also incredible to learn that the largest blimp base during WW II was located in Brunswick since there was threat of German U-boats along the southeastern U.S. coast.
Approaching Brunswick – Golden Isles Airport
I had a choice to drive for 5 hours or take a short flight. Because of the short duration of the visit, a 10-hr round-trip did not make sense. Now, if the plane had been a larger plane, the flight may have been 30 minutes but it took about 50. That’s OK. On my flight in, I got some good views of the land around, with rivers or creeks and perhaps marshes. I never got to see the ocean as the approach did not require to go past Brunswick towards St. Simons and a turn back.
I did not have much time in the area and, because of closing hours, I could not visit places like Fort Frederica. But I decided to, at least, make the short drive from my hotel near the tiny airport to the downtown area. The town proper is quite small but it was very charming. And the time of day for visiting, right before sunset was just perfect for the best light.
Old homes in downtown Brunswick
I loved seeing old homes not immaculately restored but kept up. Clearly, Brunswick is not a ‘happening’ place that pulls visitors in left and right but that, perhaps, has kept it more authentic or reflective of how places ‘used to be’ since it is not corrupted by out-of-control development nor by anti-septic ordinances that force artificial curbs, sidewalks, etc.
The skies were a little dark because it had just rained. You may appreciate in a couple of photos the rainbow coming out. But the best was left for my drive out of Brunswick: a beautiful sunset as a backdrop.