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    Coastal Georgia at Sunbury: A dream stop for Foodies, Photographers, Boaters, and Historians

    A shrimp boat unloading at dusk in Sunbury, Georgia
    A shrimp boat unloading at dusk in Sunbury, Georgia

    Georgia. The mere utterance of the name invokes images of the Deep South and Savannah, with its antebellum homes, wrought iron gates, cobblestone streets, Spanish moss and lush green scenery. However, there’s more — much more.

    If you’re like many of us, chances are you’ve traversed the 110-some odd miles of I-95 spanning the South Carolina and Florida borders at one time or another without ever gaining a glimpse of the Georgia coast. Yet the curious venturing only minutes down a coastal road less traveled off the interstate will discover historic sites, folksy rural restaurants presenting a good dose of delicious down-home southern country cooking, and birds —lot’s of ‘em — more than 300 species in all making up 75% of all birds seen in the State.

    Just minutes due east of I-95 at exit 76 the expanse of the Georgia coast presents itself. In Sunbury, a 400-year old pre-revolutionary war era town on deep water rivaled only by the Chesapeake Bay, a public dock awaits nature watchers or fishers with boats in tow. A 180-degree view of water spans the horizon as far as the eye can see.

    The Sunbury Sound at Dawn
    The Sunbury Sound at Dawn

    At high tide, silver, gold, and red slivers of light sheen the surface of this vast aqua world confounding your senses to believe there’s an endless expanse. But you need wait only six hours for an entirely new experience. Low tide reveals oyster-laden black mud banks brandishing grand shards of golden brown-green marsh stalks 10 feet high.

    Eight miles straight away to the ocean from the public dock is the St. Catherine’s sound, the gateway to deep-sea fishing 35-miles out. It is here through this portal, fishers gun their boats to catch the Gulfstream and the blue waters that offer up the ocean going sailfish and more.

    Sandwiched between St. Catherine’s and Ossabaw islands, the sound is a weekend refuge for jet skiers, fishing enthusiasts and pleasure boaters. It’s also nirvana for bird-watchers and part of the barrier island chain along the Georgia coast forming the last major ecosystem on the East Coast of the United States.

    From the public dock all the way out to the St. Catherines sound, you can see massive brown pelicans, black-crested cormorants, seagulls, bald eagles, osprey, marsh hawks, storks, vultures, woodpeckers, wood ducks, swallows, owls, hummingbirds and songbirds anytime.

    Reptiles like the Okefenokee alligator, snakes poisonous or not, manatees that few have ever seen, endangered sea turtles, and gopher tortoises choke the waters and surrounding islands. Redfish, mackerel, blue crab, shrimp, blue catfish, and trout await those with a fishing bent and boat in tow. Fishers abound in these waters, especially on weekends starting on Friday afternoon.

    Where to go and what to do

    Sunbury is an active recreational port today. It’s true some of these sights will require a boat. Every Friday afternoon, roads to the area bulge with pickup trucks hauling boat trailers to the public dock, a gateway to the Atlantic and local waters for nature watchers, fishers, sailors and weekend water warriors. It’s a great place for sightseeing, beachcombing and snapping photos.

    Sunbury: The Medway River and Sunbury Sound at Low Tide
    Sunbury: The Medway River and Sunbury Sound at Low Tide

    But if you don’t have a boat, you’re not out of luck. Sunbury is also home to the Sunbury Crab Company, a family-run seafood restaurant of critical acclaim and a great place to sit, relax and enjoy the panoramic view in a Key West style atmosphere.

    View from the Sunbury Crab Company: Key West Style Seating
    View from the Sunbury Crab Company: Key West Style Seating

    If you’re not hungry, there’s plenty of history see, hear and touch in the area. Revolutionary Fort Morris offers tours and historic references. Some residents from the old days are buried in the Sunbury cemetery, where the oldest marker dates from 1788. And the Midway Museum, about a 15-minute drive from Sunbury, offers daily tours and lectures about area history.

    The Sunbury Cemetery
    The Sunbury Cemetery

    And then, there’s 400-year old, Old Sunbury Road. It’s the same road traders used before the Revolutionary War to ferry goods from the port out to the Georgia colony and across into neighboring lands. If you’re driving or walking, turn down this road from Brigantine Dunmore Rd. Walk about ¼ of a mile. On your right you’ll see pond chock full of egrets, reptiles and other wildlife.

    Walk a little bit further up the road and you’ll face a tunnel of oak trees. Take a look around. You won’t see many displays of oaks like this in this area. That’s because the shipbuilders in the Georgia colony during the pre-Revolutionary War period, chopped them all down.

    Old Sunbury Road: Home to glorious clusters of Oaks
    Old Sunbury Road: Home to glorious clusters of Oaks and lot's of wildlife

    To head back to I-95 you’ll need a car. Drive due west on Old Sunbury Road and you’ll pass the local industrial park right near the entrance of the interstate.

    Today, it’s difficult to grasp the notion this village and land and the name America were once the dominion of a foreign power. But the history, beauty and active seaport remain. And it’s something you can see, touch and hear only a few minutes away from I-95.

    Local Restaurants

    Coastal Georgia has some great restaurants. We live here. We know. Check these places out the next time you're in the area.

    Skippers Fish Camp, Darien, GA (Exit 49 off of I-95)

    The Sunbury Crab Company, Sunbury GA (Exit 76 off of I-95)

    Sal's Neighborhood (New York) Pizza, St Simons Island, GA (Exit 38 off of I-95)

    Fox's Pizza Den, Brunswick, GA

    Some Great Places to See

    Three Great Spots Along The Georgia Coast For Birdwatching Sunbury GA (Exit 76 off of I-95)

    The American Prohibition Museum: The History of our Love-Hate Relationship with Alcohol, Savannah, GA (Exit 16 off of I-95 to Savannah)

    Tom @ RoverTreks
    Tom @ RoverTrekshttp://tomtalleur.com
    Writer, futurist, and NASA Advanced Technology Programs Executive (ret.), Tom Talleur connects the past, present and future to inspire audiences and action. His writings and commentary in print, radio and television media span an array of topics, including technology security, history, culture, space, travel, public policy, law, and the future. Media appearances span television, radio, and dozens of print and online publications over the past 25 years. See TomTalleur.com for more information.

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