It’s easy to take for granted the beauty in your own backyard. I remember returning to NYC for my first job after undergrad and seeing the architecture, streets, lampposts, bus stops… all through different eyes on my bus commute to work. It was a new perspective. I had just returned from 4 years of studying in a rural town and about 2 months of backpacking on a Eurail pass through Europe and was still in tourist mode. Besides falling in love with Eurail train travel (above ground and across countries!), my eyes began to see the world so very differently after doing nothing but study, observe, and sightsee through about 9 different countries. This is how Paul and I decided to bike ride through Brunswick, Georgia the other day – with the eyes of tourists.
Or as Paul said, the eyes of aliens because we’re both geeks and love to investigate it all, and, also sometimes feel like aliens when we land somewhere new and different. Now that we’ve been here for 1.5 months it’s starting to feel very familiar, alas, we’re not taking the time to smell the roses and soak in the beauty that’s here. It’s easy to slip into the day-to-day grind that we adopted this lifestyle to avoid. We’re getting our canvas bimini redesigned and as most boat projects go, it’s all-encompassing. AND Paul is running all the wiring for our new solar panels that will be installed on top of the bimini. We’re going to get our GREEN power on and be more efficient. Our new bimini canvas top will also be safer and protect us better from the elements. More to come on that project. For now we’d like to give you a tour of Brunswick, GA in the Golden Isles region of Coastal Georgia through geeky alien eyes. Along the coast of Brunswick there are a few amazing barrier islands we’ve explored (St. Simons and Jekyll) and hope to get to Cumberland (accessible only by boat) if the weather is nice this time around.
The marshes and beaches here are extraordinary and we’re enchanted by what beauty there is. One day we saw this flock of birds with strangely shaped bills and bright pink wings fly over us. I was lucky enough to then find myself touring with some bird-enthusiasts and the Coastal, GA Audubon in order to learn about the amazing nature we were immersed in day in and day out. Those strange birds are known as roseate spoonbills. And we regularly see flocks of wood storks too. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a stork, but I thought they were fictional like unicorns and dragons. Manatee swim through here and there are gators we’re told, just haven’t seen one. Here, anyhow. We’ve seen plenty around the south in general.
One of the many natural gifts that enchant us about the south are the live oaks with their majestic limbs and hanging Spanish moss. I know I must have written about them in other posts but not sure if I expressed my frustration of never getting a decent picture that can capture their majesty. I think that’s why people become professional photographers. In professional photography it’s the quest for the perfect picture that can communicate. It is very frustrating when you want to share what you see through taking a picture and the picture just doesn’t do it justice. You know how some cultures believe your spirit is taken away when a photo is snapped? I think photos can’t capture the spirit of a live oak and that’s why the picture looks so dull. In vivo – these things have spirits. You can just see the branches emanating a warm glow that filters through the hanging Spanish moss. These trees whisper in soft speak if you stay silent under them for long enough and just gaze and listen. Like great works of art, either painting or sculpture, they catch more than what “meets the eye” and moves the viewer. And like great works of art and a fantastic photo, nature has that same effect on us. We bask in its beauty and there’s lots of it in this area of Georgia.
Brunswick is really interesting with a small burgeoning downtown and cool architecture as well. Riding the streets, you will see how city planners made deliberate efforts to preserve the live oaks. Sometimes the sidewalk will be built out and around some of the bigger ones that could have been plowed down in order to asphalt the streets, but weren’t. There’s one that got its own island in the middle of a street. There’s another downtown near City Hall dedicated to a man whose efforts to save the oaks is honored in a plaque under this particularly large beast whose roots are making the cobblestone buckle.
The town is having a little renaissance of sorts with some really interesting restaurants, shops and galleries popping up. So much so that it is in the running for a show on HULU called “Small Business Revolution” (#mybrunswick) thanks to the growth it’s experiencing. It’s pretty special to witness this mix of preservation and rebirth. Otherwise, on a typical day, it’s very quiet. One day we were taking our daily bike ride when we ran into about 5 performers that were going to be singing at the Ritz theater later that night. They were from Jacksonville, FL and gave us free passes to their Hip Hop Gospel Concert. They asked us to point them to where the “people were” in town. We jokingly said we were the only people they might see walking or biking the streets, that sleepy afternoon. It can be very quiet here. Or did I say that already? And then, they’ll be an event like PorchFest where 5 bands play simultaneously around the historic neighborhood on romantic homes’ porches, every hour for 5 hours. We had the pleasure of enjoying The Golden Isles Strummers and Micahalan Boney (Georgia Country Female Artist of the Year), among others. There is also the “First Fridays” series, where the first Friday of each month bands play in the squares, all the establishments in town open, and there are street vendors, and drink and food specials up and down Newcastle – the main drag.