FORT KING GEORGE
This is the oldest English fort remaining on Georgia's coast. From 1721 until 1736, Fort King George was the southern outpost of the British Empire in North America. A cypress blockhouse, barracks, and palisaded earthen fort were constructed in 1721 by scoutmen led by Colonel John "Tuscarora Jack" Barnwell. For the next seven years, His Majesty's Independent Company garrisoned the fort. They endured incredible hardships from disease, threats of Spanish and Indian attacks, and the harsh, unfamiliar coastal environment. After the fort was abandoned, General James Oglethorpe brought Scottish Highlanders to the site in 1736. The settlement, called Darien, eventually became a foremost export center of lumber until 1925. Using old records and drawings, this 18th-century frontier fortification on the Altamaha River has been reconstructed for public tours. Structures include a blockhouse, officers' quarters, barracks, a guardhouse, moat, and palisades. A museum and film cover the Guale Indians, the Santo Domingo de Talaje mission, Fort King George, the Scots of Darien, and 19th-century sawmilling when Darien became a major seaport. In addition to the many fort buildings, the remains of three sawmills and tabby ruins are still visible. This site is on the Colonial Coast Birding Trail.
The Ashantilly Center, known as "Old Tabby," was the mainland home of Thomas Spalding, early Georgia planter, legislator, and McIntosh County landowner. The original home, circa 1820, burned in 1937, and the current house was an ongoing project of the Haynes family. Today, the Ashantilly Center is a non-profit
the educational and cultural historic site, organized and founded by William G. Haynes, Jr. Mr. Haynes was an artist, small letterpress printer (The Ashantilly Press), and environmentalist. His legacy, the Ashantilly Center, hosts cultural and historic events and workshops.
HOWFLY BROADFIELD PLANTATION
This beautiful plantation represents the history and culture of Georgia's rice coast. In the early 1800s, William Brailsford of Charleston carved a rice plantation from marshes along the Altamaha River. The plantation and its inhabitants were part of the genteel low country society that developed during the antebellum period. While many factors made rice cultivation increasingly difficult in the years after the Civil War, the family continued to grow rice until 1913. The enterprising siblings of the fifth generation at Hofwyl-Broadfield resolved to start a dairy rather than sell their family home. The efforts of Gratz, Miriam, and Ophelia Dent led to the preservation of their family legacy. Ophelia was the last heir to the rich traditions of her ancestors, and she left the plantation to the state of Georgia in 1973. A museum features silver from the family collection and a model of Hofwyl-Broadfield during its heyday. A brief film on the plantation's history is shown before visitors walk a short trail to the antebellum home. A guided tour allows visitors to see the home as Ophelia kept it with family heirlooms, 18th and 19th-century furniture, and Cantonese china. A stop on the Colonial Coast Birding Trail, this is an excellent spot to look for herons, egrets, ibis, and painted buntings. A nature trail that leads back to the Visitors Center along the edge of the marsh where rice once flourished.
Public tours featuring the natural and cultural history of Sapelo Island are available on Wednesdays (8:30 – 12:30) and Saturdays (9:00 – 1:00) year-round, and Fridays (8:30 – 12:30) June 1st to Labor Day. An extended North End tour is offered on the last Tuesday (8:30 – 3:00) of each month March through October. Special programs and activities, such as Crab and Shrimp Day tours are scheduled throughout the year. Reservations are required. To make reservations or for more information please call the Sapelo Island Visitor Center at 912-437-3224. Costs: Adults (13 and up): $15.00 Children (6 – 12): $10.00 Ages 5 and under: Free
HARRIS NECK WILDLIFE REFUGE
Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge is one of the seven refuges administered as part of the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex. The refuge is located in McIntosh County, Georgia, 45 miles south of the port city of Savannah. Archaeological and historical records show that many different populations have benefited from Harris Neck's resources over the centuries: Guale Indians inhabited these areas, collecting fish, shellfish, and game, from 1500 - 1715 AD. Beginning in 1750, English and Scottish settlers farmed the land intensively, producing many crops including renowned, high-quality Sea Island cotton. African-American families established a farming and shell-fishing community following the Civil War. Their historic cemetery is still in use and can be visited
from Barbour River Landing. In the early 20th century, tobacco magnate Pierre Lorillard founded an estate that had a large mansion, formal gardens, and a dock for yachts. During World War II, the U.S. military purchased the land for an airfield and pilot training facility. Remnants of the runways can still be seen today. Since its designation as a wildlife refuge in 1962, Harris Neck has served as a premier nesting, foraging, and wintering habitat for many species of wildlife. Signature species include wood storks, which nest in a large colony on Woody Pond, and the colorful and uncommon painted bunting, which favors nesting habitat in the refuge's maritime scrub areas. The refuge encompasses six man-made freshwater ponds, as well as extensive salt marsh, open fields, forested wetlands, and mixed hardwood/pine forest. This diversity of habitat makes the refuge an important resource for migratory birds (342 species of birds have been seen on the refuge and 83 species breed here).