Learning one’s way around the Golden Isles is about more than getting acquainted with the lay of the land.
Luckily, there are plenty of people with a wealth of knowledge about what people should know before moving here.
As a resident of the Golden Isles more than 25 years, Julie Martin, a real estate agent with Gardner Keim Coastal Realty, said she was eager to learn more about coastal culture and heritage.
“I quickly became aware of the echo of history found in street names, subdivisions, restaurants and even cocktails,” she said. “My curiosity led to the enjoyment of reading books written by local authors about the early history of Coastal Georgia and in particular Glynn County. The more I read, the more I became acutely aware of the intentional purpose and relevance in names given to places, subdivisions, restaurants, etc.”
Anne Lyndon Peck, an associate broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hodnett Cooper Real Estate, agreed there are many things for new residents to discover and learn.
One of the first things Peck said new residents quickly learn is how to pronounce Demere (with three syllables), Gloucester (with two syllables) and the proper pronunciation of FLETC (flet-see).
As for discoveries, they include cultural, natural and physical.
“There are world-class cultural institutions here, including the Coastal Symphony of Georgia, The Island Players, and Jekyll’s Mosaic Museum,” Peck said. “There are also some hidden gems, like one of our public high school’s recent award-winning production of the musical ‘Rent.’”
Another feature many have to quickly learn to navigate is the ever-growing number of traffic roundabouts.
“On St. Simons Island, roundabouts are popping up like mushrooms,” Peck said. “If you aren’t comfortable driving through them, you’re in luck! We have just constructed one in the East Beach neighborhood that serves little purpose other than as a place to practice.”
It’s no secret the Golden Isles is a golf destination, with many quality courses to choose from. There is also a wide variety of restaurants. Peck said it’s up to new residents to find a “shrimp guy” if they like cooking seafood at home.
There are also lots of book clubs, dinner groups and people who meet weekly to play cards, for those who are more indoors types, Peck said.
The Golden Isles hosts festivals, cultural events, tours and other activities throughout the year, many to support local causes and charities.
Martin said she has made many friendships with the people whose families have lived in the Golden Isles area for generations.
“I came to know so many ‘original’ families deeply rooted in this coastal community that it provided another source of enjoyment to trace those threads of history as each family offered economic stability and new industry to the area,” she said.
There is also plenty of places to shop throughout the Golden Isles.
“There is a full complement of big-box stores in Brunswick, of course,” she said. “However, you will also find hundreds of charming locally owned shops that give you a great opportunity to meet your neighbors and improve the local economy.”
Another feature that many communities lack, but not here, is a source of local news, Peck said.
“You may be moving here from a larger town that no longer has a local paper,” she said “We are fortunate to have The Brunswick News, which has a number of hard-working journalists who cover local events, municipal meetings, and high school sports. Subscribe online, or have the paper delivered to your house.”
Martin, who is also a Brunswick city commissioner, said she was never interested in history until she moved to the Golden Isles.
“I would strongly suggest diving into the local history of our area … from Jekyll Island and the Millionaires Row to the Dolphin Club and Motor Hotel; St. Simons Island and the Plantation Era; Sapelo Island, Hog Hammock and the Gullah community; Brunswick and its 14 historic squares, Port City industries of lumber, cotton and rice, along with the building of World War II Liberty Ships and the Chitlin’ Circuit performances at Selden Park,” she said. “If you are a new resident here, you will love this coastal area in a whole new way!”