Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Adventures in Darien

This is terrible...I have not blogged in almost one month! Wow! To those of you that look forward to my ramblings and updates, I do apologize. With school being out for the little ones, life is a bit more chaotic than when they are in school. There is so much to update and I honestly don't know where to start! I am going to break this into a couple posts so you are not bored to tears with a LOOOOOOOONG post.

Two weeks ago, the girls and I decided we needed a break away from Macon and what better place to head to than the beach? Right? I know you are all out there agreeing with me right now! Thankfully Kev's parents have a coastal home that we were able to run to. The girls friend, Allei, joined us - so yes, it was me and three almost pre-teen little girls! Talk about some intense times! We had a blast though - from much needed time at the beach with them splashing in the water, to great seafood, and a Dolphin Tour. It was wonderful!

The Monday that we left, it was mid afternoon. We stopped for lunch, then were on our way. We arrived at the house around 6:30, unloaded our bags - Thirty-One style, of course, then we headed out to get groceries and stopped at St. Simon Beach for a quick walk on the beach in between storms that were passing through. On the beach we were able to see a ton of little crabs and was greeted at the car with a frog hanging out on my hood. The rain was off and on throughout our entire drive out, but it's like the sky opened up shortly after we were in Darien! It was seriously a torrential downpour for a short while. Luckily, driving in it doesn't freak me out.

Sunset from parking lot - beautiful...even with the cars in the way.

 The following day, we all slept a little late - each of us cleaned up a little, got ourselves ready and headed to Jekyll Island. We decided to walk on the beach, then spend a couple hours out on the water and having fun with the Dolphin Tour. What a GREAT idea this was! If you are ever out that way, I highly recommend this tour! It is something affordable and fun for the whole family! We were able to enjoy being on a boat, meeting new people and of course, seeing dolphins!

Once the tour ended, we found ourselves walking along Driftwood Beach, admiring the crabs that were all over the place and the driftwood. Shortly into the walk each of us noticed our stomachs growling and headed to eat lunch at Fins...on the beach! We were so hot that we actually opted to sit inside where is was nice and cool. Lunch was great and priced right. When you step outside of Fins, you are on the beach with restrooms available, as well as outside showers. Of course, this only meant one thing - BEACH TIME!!! Okay, it was great for the girls to all run and splash in the water for a couple hours and wonderful for me to kick back and relax with a good book, while "wishing" I was tanning. We all know I just burn then turn white again...sigh...maybe one day...

 Driftwood Beach

 Fins on the Beach
The girls had a contest to see who could keep a lemon in their mouth the longest

 Jekyll Island Beach
Yes, they are making sand angels
Always traveling 31 Style
The Sand Dollars they found

On Wednesday, I woke up just as Kevin, Justin, and Nic arrived. The AC went out and the repair guy was scheduled to show at 8, so of course the guys made it down there right before the repair guy. You don't realize how hot and muggy it is in south GA until there is NO AC. Thankfully it was repaired so we could enjoy the rest of our week there. During the day, everyone crabbed of the bridge in Darien, then decided to head to Jekyll Island to crab and play in the water. Kevin and Justin fished...or should I say caught sharks, off of the pier at Driftwood Beach and kids and I hung out on the beach by the shops. They played for a few hours before we decided to join the guys at the Pier. It was close to impossible to get the four little ones out of the water! They had a blast jumping over waves and riding the waves in. Our kids have played in the ocean once before, but never like they were able to this trip. It was honestly a lot of fun seeing my kids play and enjoy the water. The bad part - I ended up burnt and in a bit of pain after this day! And before anyone says anything - YES, I was wearing sunblock!

While the guys fished and the girls complained, Nic and I spent a lot of time spotting dolphins in the water and became real fixated on watching them in their natural surrounding.

Not sure why he is sucking in...
This is one of MANY sharks Kev caught.
The pregnant crab that Justin caught
The kids were amazed at this sight.

 On Thursday, it hurt to be in the direct sunlight, shirts felt uncomfortable they way any of them rubbed my neck, and the side of my right leg was bright red...I was burnt! The girls were a little pink, but nothing that would have kept them off of the beach. However, there was just no way I could spend time on the sand that day, so we headed to St. Simon Island for lunch and some beach shopping...mostly window shopping. We ate lunch at Iguanas and let me just go on the record saying they shrimp is fantastic!!! It was so yummy! The lunch special is under $10 and includes shrimp, slaw, hushpuppies, and a side. So worth the month! I went with the fried shrimp and can totally understand why they have been voted #1 for so long when it comes to shrimp! I think this will be my choice of places to eat at every time we are out that way.

On the way home from St. Simon the girls saw a turtle about to cross the road and talked me into turning around so they could "rescue" it. Breanna hopped out of the car, crossed the road, and grabbed the turtle - wanting to help it cross the road without someone hitting it. Of course, she had to bring it near the car to let everyone see...I never knew girls would "awwwww" over a turtle, but they did. Once the turtle was let go in the tall grass, we all decided to check out the dock on Butler River in Darien. We had heard that sometimes alligators can be spotted in the river when the tide is going down, never did we think we would see one. Yet, we did. We saw a few out there, one pretty close to us. We were all amazed as we watched it blow bubbles in the water. Bre and I wanted to see one a little closer, but it was still awesome to see the ones that we did see. Allei and Caitlin were a bit scared at the sight of one. Next time I will take my good camera so we can capture them with better quality than my iPhone.

Terri, I think this would make a great thing to put in the house!
Each one of us ended up with the same I'm on Island Time t-shirt. All in this same color, except Caitlin who went with tye-dyed pink. We LOVE them!!!

 Friday morning, we slowly woke up, all tired from a busy week and so much sun. We took our time getting ready, went to the pet store, where the girls met a super friendly Great Dane. We spent the afternoon at the house, cleaning and doing laundry, sadly preparing to leave on Saturday.

 Late in the afternoon, we all loaded up in the car for our last beach trip. With the sunburn still irritating me, I wanted to wait until late afternoon before heading to the beach. We spent a few hours with me reading and the girls splashing and playing in the ocean on St. Simon Island. As we were leaving, we were able to see a beautiful sunset over the water.

Breanna made a face in the sand

 As we entered back in Darien, the girls all asked if we could walk on the docs and look at the boats and see if we could find a gator or manatee (manatees have been spotted out there, we saw one while on the Dolphin Tour). We loved looking at the boats - from sail boats to shrimping boats, it was really neat. Sadly, we didn't see any activity in the water, but we did see guys that were set up for Saturday's Festival.

The Burning of Darien took place the following day - based on 150th Anniversary of when the town was burned into ruins during the Civil War. There is one building still standing, but closed with Do Not Enter signs posted. The experience of this event was one that was quite amazing and gave more insight as to what all happened to this small coastal town...

On June 11, 1863 the seaport of Darien was vandalized and burned by Federal forces stationed on nearby St. Simons Island. The town was largely deserted, most of its 500 residents having sought refuge inland. Lost were public buildings, churches, businesses and most private residences. Conducting the raid were units comprised of among the first African-American troops to serve the Union cause, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteers under Col. Robert G. Shaw, and the 2nd South Carolina Volunteers under Col. James Montgomery. The burning of Darien, undefended and of little strategic importance, was one of the most controversial events of the Civil War. (Text of  historic marker placed by the Lower Altamaha Historical Society and the Georgia Historical Society in 2001). The movie Glory was based loosely on the story of the 54th Massachusetts.

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