by Guerry Norwood

Horton RuinsOne-half mile south of Clam Creek Road on the eastern side of North Riverview Drive are the remains of the Horton House. The two-story tabby structure, one of the oldest in the state, was built in 1742 after Horton’s original structure was destroyed by retreating Spanish, who had just been defeated by Oglethorpe in the Battle of Bloody Marsh. An exceptionally large red bay occupies the northwest corner of the house. Across the street in a peaceful setting of cedars, oaks and pines is the du Bignon family cemetery. The du Bignons owned the island for nearly a century before selling it to the Jekyll Island Club millionaires. Major Horton Road, on the north side of the property, connects with Beachview Drive on the eastern side of the island. This road becomes a trail that passes freshwater sloughs and a pond open to freshwater fishing.

Maj. William Horton served as forward lookout on Jekyll Island for Gen. James Oglethorpe during the British colonial period. Horton, who commanded English forces after Oglethorpe returned to England, is best known for having the first brewery in Georgia, the ruins of which are seen south of this site on the western side of Riverview Drive.

  • Trail: 1-mile.
  • Directions: From Brunswick, travel south on US 17, cross Sidney Lanier Bridge. At causeway, turn left toward Jekyll Island. Continue across Ben Fortson Parkway to dead end. Go left. Horton House Ruins and trailhead are on left past Clam Creek Picnic Area.

By Andrea Marroquin, Jekyll Island Programming Coordinator

A night-time excursion of Jekyll Island ventures inside Dubignon Cottage for spine-tingling tales!

iStock_000008586242XSmallSheila Zynda, of Darien, GA, took Jekyll Island’s Folklore, Rumor & Myth tour last October and was enthusiastic.  “I think Jekyll Island is a fantastic place to come for ghost hunting,” she said.  “Besides the history, you might get to see something that you’re not expecting. “

Island visitors and staff alike have reported seeing unexplained orbs of light, smelling perfumes and cigars, hearing voices and laughter and Victrola music, experiencing cold spots, and sometimes even seeing spirits wearing period dress inside the shuttered buildings of the historic district.

In Zynda’s tour group, one woman captured an orb on her cell phone, while Zynda herself reported feeling a cold spot following her through a portion of the tour of Dubignon Cottage.  Others saw flickering lights in the empty buildings as the tour moved through the twilight under the moss-draped live oaks.

“It’s an experience that you might only get once in your lifetime,” Akins said with an enjoyable shiver.

These phenomena are by no means new.  Apparitions have been reported for many years throughout Jekyll Island’s 240-acre National Historic Landmark District.  Nearly every cottage has some deep mystery or restless soul associated with a grand love story, an untimely death, a great misadventure, or a little mischief.

Tour guides lean on their professional knowledge of the island’s past to interpret the supernatural happenings.  The Folklore, Rumor & Myth tour is peppered with stories of Jekyll Island’s historic characters in attempts to explain the reported sightings.

Guides note that different individuals have identified several spirits that have been encountered through comparisons with historical photographs.  Those that have been identified include William and Savannah Struthers, Eddie Gould, Jr., and Walter Jennings, as well as Peggy and Marian Maurice.  Others appear but remain nameless.

As the haunting mysteries multiplied over the years, Jekyll Island Museum staff began to collect the tales.  Annually, during the month of October, they share the unusual stories they have heard.  On the Folklore, Rumor and Myth Tour, guides usher guests to spots where apparitions have been sighted and unexplained events have occurred.  Guests are then led inside one of the historic district cottages for more spine-tingling stories as darkness falls.

Wes Gruenke, a museum guide, often brings his groups inside Dubignon Cottage, calling it “the most paranormally active house we’ve got.”  He notes that the Southern plantation home is the oldest house on the island, after Horton House.

To view a YouTube video preview of the tour, visit .

The Folklore, Rumor & Myth Tour departs from the Jekyll Island Museum at 100 Stable Road on Friday nights, from October 2-31, 2009 at 7:00 pm.  Admission is $16.00 for Adults and $7.00 for Children 6-12.  The tour is recommended for ages 10 and above.  Reservations are requested.  For more information or for reservations, call 912-635-4036.

Please note the following traffic changes and road closures during the Shrimp & Grits Festival Weekend, September 18-20.

FRIDAY – All parking will be in the Historic District

SATURDAY& SUNDAY – All General Parking will be at the parking lots just north and south of the Convention Center.

Guests will be transported from parking lots near the Convention Center to the Festival via free busses provided by Coastal Georgia Charters and Tours. The shuttle drop off will be in front of the History Center. Guests can cross at over at Pier Road. Shuttle will run approximately every 10 minutes.

Shuttle Hours: Saturday – 9:30 AM – 10:00 PM. Sunday – 10:30 AM – 5:00 PM. These hours equate to 30 minutes before the festival opens and an hour after the festival closes.

Parking and Traffic Direction will be provided by Allegiance Security Group. We ask that guests follow their direction.


a. VIP Guests – VIP Guests are those who have purchased a VIP Package. The VIP parking lot will be located off of Old Plantation Rd across from Jekyll Island Bookstore. Guests must purchase VIP packages in advance.

b. Handicap Parking – Handicap Parking will be in the Historic District in the Parking Lot near the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, must show a handicap parking pass.

c. Staff – Staff and Volunteers will utilize the same parking lots as the VIP guest. Parking lots will be located off of Old Plantation Rd across from Jekyll Island Bookstore.

Road Closings:

Shell Road will be closed on Saturday, September 19 and Sunday, September 20.
Old Plantation Road in front of the Jekyll Island Bookstore – Saturday, September 18 – Sunday, September 20.
The parking lot behind Morgan Tennis Center – Friday, September 18 – Sunday, September 20.
Riverview Rd leading to the Jekyll Island Club Hotel will be closed to through traffic September 18th – 20th.

by Danella Crews, Jekyll Island Authority

The Jekyll Island Authority (JIA) Board has approved an increase to the daily parking fee charged to enter the island. The daily parking fee will increase from $3 to $5 per vehicle per day, effective August 1, 2009. The new rate will make Jekyll Island consistent with the entry fee charged at other Georgia State Parks, which the Department of Natural Resources increased to $5 in April. The last time the Jekyll Island parking fee was changed was ten years ago when the fee was adjusted from $2 to $3 in 1999. Parking Fee revenue is used to help fund improvements to the public areas of the island. The increased rate could generate up to $1 million per year. The annual parking pass was left unchanged at $45 per vehicle per year.

by Beth Burnsed, Jekyll Island Authority


April 11, 2009
10:00 AM-2:00 PM
Tram Ride – 11:30 AM
Admission is Free!

Pier Road, Jekyll Island Club National Historic Landmark District

The Jekyll Island Authority and several Jekyll Island volunteer citizens have teamed up to coordinate the first annual Easter Egg Stroll. The Stroll is a laid back alternative to the Easter Egg Hunt and Easter Festival previously held. It is geared toward young children ages 6 and under. All eggs will be numbered and can be redeemed for prizes at the Easter Egg Stroll Information Booth located near the Sweet Shoppe. One unspecified number will merit a grand prize. There will be 12 of these lucky grand prize eggs hidden. Otherwise small prizes will be awarded based on the number of eggs found, with a limit of 20 per child.  Once the eggs are redeemed for prizes, they will be re-hidden for other children to find throughout the afternoon.

In addition to the Easter Egg Stroll, the Jekyll Island History Center will also offer a special free tram ride at 11:30 that day. Guests are encouraged to wear their best Easter attire and take a 20 minute, kid-friendly tram ride through the beautiful Jekyll Island Club National Historic Landmark District. The ride will end near the Easter Egg Stroll Information Booth where the kids can begin their egg hunt.  Although the ride is free, spaces are limited. Please make your reservations by calling the Jekyll Island Museum at 635-4036.


Jekyll Island Authority partners with Glynn County, Golden Isles Soccer Association to host souths largest college Ultimate Tournament.


Jekyll Island and the Golden Isles will be glad to see flying objects this spring break. High Tide Ultimate, the souths largest college Ultimate tournament will take over the recreation fields of Jekyll Island and Glynn County. Over 160 teams and 2500 students will compete in this positive athletic alternative for college spring breakers. 

Ultimate is a limited-contact team sport played with a 175 gram flying disc. The object of the sport is to score points by passing the disc to a player in the opposing end zone, similar to American football or rugby. Players may not run while holding the disc. While originally called Ultimate Frisbee, the sport is now officially called Ultimate because Frisbee is the trademark for the line of discs made by the Wham-O toy company. 

Due to the size of High Tide Ultimate, the Jekyll Island Authority has partnered with the Glynn County Recreation Department to host the month-long event. Competition will take place at both the Jekyll Island Soccer Complex and the North Glynn Recreational Fields.

This is the one of the largest events we have ever seen at our Recreational Fields, said Wesley Davis, Recreation Director at the Glynn County Recreation Department, We are glad to partner with the Jekyll Island Authority to help bring High Tide Ultimate and its sizeable economic impact to the Golden Isles. 

High Tide Ultimate is just one example of the numerous sporting events coming to Jekyll Island. The soccer complex, home to the Golden Isles Soccer Association, hosts many tournaments and camps throughout the year and has become renowned for its quality facilities. Also this spring, Jekyll Island will host the U.S. Kids Golf(R) Jekyll Island Cup and the Oglethorpe University Invitational golf tournament.

This event is a perfect fit for Jekyll Island, we host everything from lacrosse camps to cross country events to cheerleading competitions, said Kevin Udell, Director of Sales for the Jekyll Island Authority. 

Why Frisbee?

In the 1930s and 40s, the Frisbie Pie Co. of Bridgeport, Connecticut, sold pies to several colleges. The students quickly discovered the empty pie tins were great for tossing around campus. In 1948, two Los Angeles businessmen invented a platic version of the pie tin. They called it the Pluto Platter and sold the design to Wham-O. A few years later, Wham-O dubbed it the Frisbee. Oddly, the discs made by Wham-O competitor Discraft are the standard discs for the Ultimate [Frisbee], because they are more streamlined and have a softer curved edge for easier handling. For this reason, the sport has also been called “Ultimate” or “Ultimate Disc” by many teams and clubs. 

by Beth Burnsed, Jekyll Island Authority

Jekyll Island, GA – January 27, 2009 – Beginning February 22, over 100 bird educators and enthusiasts from bird clubs, nature centers, school system, refuges and parks will be flocking to Jekyll Island for the 2009 Bird Education Network National Gathering. The Bird Education Network (BEN) Committee, along with the Council for Environmental Education and Flying WILD, chose Jekyll Island because of its exceptional birding and nature-based tourism opportunities.

Open to anyone with an interest in bird education and conservation efforts, the five day event encourages attendees to explore not only Jekyll Island but other nearby wildlife viewing areas as well. Guided field sessions include bird rambles on Jekyll Island, kayak trips in the intercoastal waterways, canoe trips through the Okefenokee Swamp and other outdoor adventures. Indoors, at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, the gathering’s host hotel, speakers and exhibitors share their knowledge and experience on subjects such as urban-based bird education, climate change, and connecting families to nature.

“We are thrilled to be selected as the host hotel for Bird Education Network’s 2009 National Gathering,” said Patty Henning, Director of Sales at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel. “Jekyll Island has numerous opportunities for our guests to explore nature and it is gratifying to see these recognized in the birding community.” bird

As part of the Colonial Coat Birding and Nature Trail, Jekyll Island is home to over 250 bird species including Bald Eagles, Roseate Spoonbill, Painted Bunting, and Woodstorks. These species have attracted the attention of birders for years and are the reason for such annual events as Georgia’s Colonial Coast Birding and Nature Festival. The annual festival is held the second week of October each year. Jekyll Island was designated an Important Birding Area by the Audubon Society in 2001.

“We were drawn to Jekyll Island because of its reputation in the birding community,” said Geoffrey Castro, Manager of Operations and Marketing for the Council for Environmental Education and member of the Gathering’s planning committee. “Jekyll Island offers one of the best opportunities for our conference attendees to come within viewing range of so many magnificent species.”

Registration for the 2009 National Gathering is still open. Daily registrations are also available. For registration and a full conference agenda visit

“With no less than 65% of the island protected as a natural sanctuary, Jekyll Island is the perfect setting for this bird education conference,” stated Jones Hooks, Executive Director of the Jekyll Island Authority

by Eric Garvey, Jekyll Island Authority

Vance Hughes, a partner with Jekyll Ocean Oaks, gives Jekyll Island Authority board members a tour of the new Hampton Inn & Suites currently under construction and expected to open late summer 2009.

Vance Hughes, a partner with Jekyll Ocean Oaks, gives Jekyll Island Authority board members a tour of the new Hampton Inn & Suites currently under construction and expected to open late summer 2009.

Following the adjournment of their January 14 monthly board meeting, the Jekyll Island Authority Board took a hard hat tour of the new Hampton Inn & Suites hotel.  Set to open late summer 2009, the hotel will included 138 hotel rooms, a restaurant, and meeting space. It will be the first new hotel to open on Jekyll Island since 1974.

The new hotel is being constructed on the basic footprint of the former Holiday Inn, preserving the oak tree canopy that is unique to the site. When open, the hotel will feature boardwalks through maritime forest and over protected sand dunes. The adjacent beach is the widest and most pristine on Jekyll Island, with wonderful views of Cumberland Island and the Atlantic Ocean.

The new Hampton inn & Suites is one component being built on the site of the former Holiday Inn. The developer is Jekyll Ocean Oaks LLC, and includes partners that also own and operate the historic Jekyll Island Club Hotel. The Jekyll Ocean Oaks project is one of five hotel redevelopment projects on Jekyll Island currently underway. Along with the seven hotels currently operating, the new hotel and convention center projects will bring about a revitalization of Jekyll Island making it a premier vacation and convention destination.

For more information about Jekyll Island revitalization visit