• Madison Miller

Jekyll Island Covid Getaway Part Two

Hey everyone! I'm back this week with the final two days of our Jekyll Island trip. If you want to read about the first two days, check out this post.

Hope you enjoy!

Day Three:

We wanted to get some more beach time in, so we packed up and headed out around nine for another day of splashing around in the ocean, eating picnic food, and drinking tasty beers on the beach. I would go into detail, but we really didn’t do anything too differently from our first beach day.

Will you be my tiger queen?

The best part of day three was, of course, getting engaged!

After our beach day, we decided to finally visit the famous Driftwood beach. This is really what Jekyll Island is known for. I was excited to get out there around sunset and take some beautiful pictures of the craggy driftwood washed up on the shore.

Andrew brought along a VR headset to take 360 degree photos. While I made my way along the beach getting as many portrait mode shots of the driftwood as I could, Andrew was tagging behind me getting his shots. Every now and then, I asked him to take an artsy photo of me for the blog/Instagram. He seemed distracted. I chalked it up to him trying to concentrate on getting a perfect shot with the headset. He is the perfectionist in the relationship, after all.

At one point, he asked me to take a look at the photo he got. I put on the headset and it looked like a beautiful shot of the beach.

“Good job, boo!” I said before taking the headset off and giving it back to him. He placed it back on his head and started working through the settings again.

I walked away to the next driftwood tree thinking he’d be along soon. He walked over, looking somewhat surprised that I was no longer where he stood. I asked him to take a photo of me standing on the tree I had found.

When I got down, Andrew put the headset back in my hands.

“Look at this video of Margo (my cat)!” he said.

“Weird time for that, but ok,” I thought.

I pressed play on the headset controller and instantly heard Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers' Island in the Stream. Instead of a video of Margo, there was a slideshow of photos of us from some of the first times we hung out together all the way up until now.

“I think I know what’s happening!” I yelled, excitedly.

Once the slideshow was over, I said, “Do I take this off now?”

After I took off the headset, Andrew was on one knee to my left, right next to the driftwood tree. He had a small box with the perfect ring. At this point, I am not 100% on what he said because my mind was going 1,000 miles per minute.

“Madison, these past two years have been the best of my life. Will you marry me?”

Again, I’m not 100% sure, but I know I must have said some kind of yes. Andrew stood up and put the right on my left ring finger.

I couldn’t stop saying “Oh my god!” and basically squealing and speaking in exclusively high pitched tones.

He also had some extra surprises for me. Throughout all of quarantine, the show 90 day fiance has been our saving grace. It’s a show on TLC where couples are dating internationally and typically have 90 days to marry on a fiance visa. It’s ridiculous, but it’s been entertaining and light enough to watch during these crazy times.

We definitely have some favorites from the show. Andrew ended up using Cameo to ask some of them to record a congratulatory message for me about the engagement. I was incredibly shocked when Jihoon, Zied, and Darcey showed up on Andrew’s phone with personal messages for us.

I was so happy, and I could tell he was too. It took us so long to leave that spot by the driftwood. We just kept hugging and kissing and being excited about what just happened.

Andrew said he was so relieved it was over because he had been so nervous the whole time we were on the beach beforehand. I felt bad for not noticing, but I was also happy I didn’t totally see it coming.

Once we finally decided we were hungry enough to leave, we went to grab an Andrew and Madison pastime: Mexican food.

We grabbed dinner at Tortuga Jacks, a Mexican place on the Island. The food was alright, but mostly I was just excited to be celebrating the experience. It was perfect!

Day Four:

It was an overcast day, so we decided to do some more exploring around Jekyll Island and the surrounding islands rather than the beach.

First stop was the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. This place is so cool. Jekyll Island is known for its work with sea turtle rehabilitation. Everything on the island is turtle-related. The Mexican restaurant is called Tortuga Jacks, so you see what I mean.

The center is currently taking a lot of Covid precautions. You have to wear a mask to enter and a lot of the more interactive parts are closed off, but I thought it was still totally worth it to go. They have an indoor space that explains all about the different types of sea turtles, hatching patterns, risks to their migration. There is a window that looks into the rehabilitation room, so there is a chance that you will see some actually being treated.

One of the large sea turtle guests

There is also a large, covered outdoor space where you can see all or most of the turtles currently being treated. They had all different types. Some of them were massive. Obviously, a lot of it is more geared toward kids, but Andrew and I had a great time as adults and learned a lot.

After the Sea Turtle Center, we decided to walk around the nearby historic district. For a while in the early 20th century, Jekyll Island was an exclusive place for very wealthy people to visit. There are several enormous homes and hotels in the historic district leftover from this era. They are all settled in between these enormous live oak trees with spanish moss. It’s a gorgeous site.

Next, we wanted to explore at least one more of the surrounding islands. We decided to take a drive into St. Simons for the remainder of the day. It was only about a 25 minute drive from where we were on Jekyll.

I would also marry this burger

St. Simons was definitely more populated than Jekyll Island. Our first stop was grabbing some lunch at Barrier Island Brewing. You know Andrew and I love a craft beer, so this seemed like a great choice. It ended up being tied with The Olde Pink House in Savannah for my favorite meal of the trip. Andrew and I each got a flight of their beers. My favorite had to be the Spanish Moss Saison. For lunch, I had their pub burger with beer cheese. It was so good. Burgers are one of my favorite foods of all time and I don’t eat them nearly as much as I used to because of trying to be more plant-based. This was worth the cheat for me.

After lunch, we drove to the more beachy areas to walk around. We decided to do a self-guided tour of the St. Simons lighthouse. The first stop is actually the top of the lighthouse. The museum was practicing social distancing and required masks. We walked up a whole bunch of steps and finally got to the top to see a beautiful view of the island. We could also see Jekyll and the driftwood beach from the top. After heading down, we saw the area where the lighthouse keeper would have lived. It was set up like it would have been in the early days.

There was also a bunch of historical information lining the walls in the rooms downstairs. Along with the history of the lighthouse, they had arrowheads and tools created by Native Americans dating back hundreds of years. It was an interesting history. I will say I wasn’t always thrilled with how they presented the native people and the use of slavery on the island. They did acknowledge the existence, but it did seem like some of the phrasing made it seem like the Native Americans and slaves benefited from societal order of the time. I wish places like this would share the history of the people in the systems of oppression while at the same time taking more responsibility for the fact that it was just outright wrong and horrible. I hope that makes sense.

Walking down the beach in St. Simons

We decided to walk down the beach at St. Simons until it was a little closer to dinner time. We didn’t have swimsuits, but it was nice to just walk around. It was a much more crowded beach than Jekyll, but it was still easy to social distance.

For dinner, we ate at The Half Shell. This might have been the most uncomfortable I felt the whole trip. This was not because of the restaurant itself or the staff, but the patrons. Almost no one was wearing a mask. There was a bit of a wait for tables and the people waiting had absolutely no regard for social distancing. We were wearing masks and trying to stay away from people, but inevitably someone would come stand right next to us. It was weird, but it is Southern Georgia, so I highly doubt many people there are taking Covid seriously at all.

I enjoyed the food, but nothing was super memorable. The staff was super nice and accommodating, though.

We headed back to Jekyll after dinner and grabbed a drink at Wee Pub Beach, an Irish bar near some of the hotels.

We were scheduled to go kayaking and have one more day on the island the next day. However, we woke up to a pretty strong thunderstorm and the realization that it would probably rain all day. So, we decided to pack up early and head back to Birmingham. That’s just the risk you take at the beach sometimes.

This was such a great trip for so many reasons. Of course, I got engaged, but it was also the first thing really close to travel that we’ve been able to do in quite a while. It wasn’t Europe, but it was still fun and a much needed break from just sitting in our house all the time.

I want to encourage everyone to please, please, please wear masks, wash your hands, social distance. No one likes to have to do these things, but it’s what we have to do right now if we want things to be open and if we want this virus to go away. Please think of someone besides yourself.

Hope to have some more to share soon!