Jekyll Main

jekyll-main

If you adjust the dollars for inflation, John D. Rockefeller was twice as wealthy as Bill Gates (at the height of the tech boom). So, in the late 1800s, when Rockefeller and a few of his wealthy playmates (Astor, Gould, Morgan among them) settled on Jekyll Island as a winter getaway, they formed what has been called the richest, most exclusive club in the world. How rich? It's been estimated that the membership of Jekyll Island Club once represented one-sixth of the world's wealth.

The clubhouse and many of the mansion-sized "cottages" they built still stand today, but the once-private barrier island is now owned by the State of Georgia and is a family-oriented resort for those of somewhat more modest means. Jekyll still exudes a certain civilized charm, with three championship golf courses (Pine Lakes, Indian Mounds, and Oleander, which is considered one of Georgia's finest) and the Jekyll Island Tennis Center (with, count 'em, 13 clay courts) ranked as among the best in the country.

More than 10 miles of beaches stretch along the Jekyll shoreline, and the best way to tour them is by bike (20 miles of paved, mostly flat paths). Other diversions include kayak tours of the coastal waters and marshes on neighboring St. Simons Island and trail rides through live oaks and gallops along Driftwood Beach on the island's north end that, for the moment at least, may make you feel as rich as any Rockefeller.