The barrier islands off the Georgia coast

One of many very old Live Oaks on St. Simon’s Island

Spanish Moss festoons nearly every tree on St. Simon’s Island

A recent visit to St. Simon’s Island, Georgia netted me an impromptu suntan. I never realized how intense the sun would be when I hunkered down on a bench to enjoy the sounds of the seabirds and watch the boaters putt-putting past, some of them intent on finding a good fishing spot, others simply enjoying time on the sun-splashed waterway.

The extensive marshes that protect the mainland helped explain why several of the locals claimed that hurricanes rarely did much damage to the nearby homes, as the wind-whipped waves first have to traverse the canals between the islands and then move through those marshes before making true landfall.

Of interest as well were the huge live oaks that I saw. Their branches, though still mostly bare, seemed to spread outward like the prongs of an umbrella over the ground where their roots were located. The Spanish Moss that hung from many of the trees also gave an almost unworldly patina as they swayed in the breezes that always seemed to pick up at dusk.

If you’ve never been to these islands–mostly a haven for wealthy snowbirds and weekend day-trippers–put them on your to-do list. At least in spring. The temps and humidity of summer are likely to be too much for those of us used to a drier, more temperate, climate.