Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

THE SECRET OF LITTLE ST. SIMONS Unique Island Proves Alluring Adventure Spot

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

THE SECRET OF LITTLE ST. SIMONS Unique Island Proves Alluring Adventure Spot

Article excerpt

LITTLE ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- Imagine a bed & breakfast set

in the jungle, and you have some idea of what this unspoiled,

little-known island is like.

Separated from St. Simons Island by the Hampton River, and

lying at the mouth of the Altamaha River, Little St. Simons was

purchased in 1908 for its cedar trees. The buyers, the

Berolzheimer family, at the time owned Eagle Pencil Co.

The island's trees proved unsuitable for use in the pencil

business, but the family was so taken by Little St. Simons they

held onto it as a private retreat. In 1978, the family opened

the island to the public, using the hunting lodge built in 1917

as guest quarters.

Today, Little St. Simons remains almost as primal as it was at

the turn of the century. Access is by boat only and limited to

24 guests a night. The island launch picks you up at the dock at

St. Simons and deposits you in another world.

Little St. Simons is young, as islands go, an estimated 2,500

years old. And it's slowly growing, the result of sediment

build-up from the Altamaha. The island's natural history unfolds

as you hike the maritime forest, becoming denser the farther

north you go. Inland ridges, once sand dunes, testify to the

changing typography.

"Compared to other islands in Georgia, we're in a really

dynamic state," said Mike Robinson, an interpretive naturalist

on the lodge's staff.

Robinson discovered Little St. Simons while kayaking the

Southeast Coast. He liked it so much, he jumped at the chance to

stay on as a staff member.

Kevin and Debbie McIntyre, the enthusiastic managers of the

lodge, originally came as guests from Atlanta.

"We fell in love with it and kind of talked our way into jobs,"

Debbie said. "We were thinking we'd stay for a year and save

some money. That was 10 years ago."

Managing the island is a 24-hour-a-day operation. There's a

staff of from 15 to 17, everything from cooks to naturalists to

boat captains. Once a week, the grocery barge rides the high

tide to nearby St. Simons Island to restock supplies. …

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