Thursday, April 11, 2013

Brunswick, GA

Odometer 29986
Trip 111 miles

The trip from St. Augustine, Florida to Brunswick, Georgia was a short hop of a little less than 111 miles.  We took Florida route A1A which follows the Atlantic coast north to Jacksonville.  The wind was fresh and the sun was warm as we cruised up the beach.  At Jacksonville we had to jog over to catch I-95 to avoid an expensive ferry ride and to keep from getting into the down town traffic associated with this city of more than 1 million. (SMSA)
It was just after noon when we crossed over the St. Marys river from Florida into Georgia.  A few miles into Georgia we came to a big beautiful welcome center with it's own exit off I-95 and get this- a large parking lot with pull through parking for big rigs!  We stopped and made some tuna sandwiches for lunch before venturing into the welcome center for a Georgia State map. We counted up the days and realized that this is the first time we have left Florida since we came to Grayton Beach on Februarty 12th- 59 days in Florida!
Our destination for today was the Golden Isles RV Park in Brunswick, Georgia.  We could have easily made it to Savannah, but we really wanted to take it slow and see more of the coast.  It turns out that was a good decision.  After getting set-up in the RV park we took the Honda into town and were immediately greeted with this site:
This is the Sidney Lanier Bridge spanning far above the Brunswick River.  The support colums are 480 feet tall and help the bridge deck rise 185 feet above the river.  This is important because the port at Brunswick is up river of the bridge and it is one of the most productive ports on the east coast.  This port ships  wood pulp, paper products, wheat, soybeans,  heavy machinery,  barley malt,corn and oats, cement, gypsum, limestone, perlite, salt and sand.  It is the primary U.S. port of imports for manufacturers Jaguar, Land Rover, Porsche, Mitsubishi and Volvo.  Ford, GM and Mercedes export vehicles through Port of Brunswick. 
Brunswick played an especially important role in ship building during world war II, 85 Liberty ships and 14 smaller cargo ships know as "knot ships"  were built here.

Brunswick was established in 1771 as a British Settlement, originally designed to be a check on Spanish encroachment north of St. Augustine.  The old down town of Brunswick is fun and interesting.  It was laid out by James Oglethorp, the British General, Member of Parliment, and Philanthropist who laid out Savannah in 1733. 
 As in Savannah, Brunswick has numerous town squares which give a beautiful, shady, green respite to the normal layout of pavement, bricks and mortar.

Brunswick has many beautiful buildings that have stood the test of time and weather- including the old city hall built in 1893.
In a break from the early buildings in St. Augustine, which used coquina for the building blocks,  the early buildings here use granite quarried from Stone Mountain, GA.  Stone Mountain may be the largest exposed piece of granite in the world.

Brunswick is also the gateway to Saint Simons Island which along with Sea Island and Jekyll Island are know as the "Golden Isles".  Originally a cotton and rice plantation it is now a resort community.
We toured the island by car, stopping and walking as the mood struck us.  One such stop was the lighthouse and keepers quarters shown below.

This lighthouse is very similar to the one we wrote about in our St. Augustine blog.   Made of brick it is 104 feet tall and has a cast iron lantern room with a 3rd order Fresnel lens.  It was built in 1872 replacing the original light house which was destroyed during the Civil War.
Joan checked out the water temperature in St. Simon Sound, and reported that it was much too chilly for her to swim.

That's our report for Tuesday the 9th of April.  Tomorrow we are off to Savannah, GA and a new adventure.

Your Traveling Friends

Jeff and Joan

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