I awoke early on the day before Easter with just one thought on my mind: I’ve got to buy my daughter an Easter basket! Being three years old she has really started getting into the excitement of the holidays and today was extra special. Today was the annual Easter Egg Stroll on beautiful Jekyll Island, Georgia. For the past three years we had colored and hidden Easter eggs at home but this year my wife had to work all Easter weekend thus I decided to make the day extra special for my daughter by taking her to her first Easter Egg Stroll.
After stopping at a local store to pick up an Easter basket we headed for Jekyll Island located just minutes from Brunswick, Georgia. After paying the $5.00 parking fee to enter the island, a state-owned park, we headed to the Historic District where the Easter Egg Stroll was to take place. Parking was easy, much less hectic than the Shrimp & Grits Festival that takes place here each Fall, and the first order of business was to take a quick snapshot of my beautiful daughter with her new Easter basket. After this was done we walked under the stately, magnificent oaks covered in Spanish moss and followed the signs that directed visitors to the festival area on pathways that were glistening white from millions of seashells embedded in the concrete.
The first thing we saw was a booth selling tickets for a hay ride. We walked past and continued following the signs for the Easter Egg Stroll. We arrived in the middle of the Historic District and saw kids running everywhere grabbing colorful plastic eggs off the bright green lawns of the historic mansions located there. Not long afterwards we found a small fenced off area reserved for kids three years old and younger. This area was much less hectic and gave the little ones a fair chance at getting their own collection of colorful eggs.
After collecting ten eggs, the maximum limit per child, we headed to the information booth to exchange our eggs for treats. On the booth’s table was a brightly decorated box with a square hole cut into its center with a typewritten note which instructed “No Peeking.” Inside the box was various types of candy, suckers and little toys which my daughter eagerly scooped up and placed in her basket.
After collecting her treats we noticed a long line of kids and parents at a nearby mansion. A sign in front said PICTURES WITH THE EASTER BUNNY. We also saw another nearby line in front of a tent where face painting was being done. My daughter was excited to get her face painted so we headed there first so she would look absolutely fabulous for her photo with the Easter Bunny. A display showed all the various designs offered by the artist and my daughter’s first choice was a pink tiger design that would cover her entire face. It took about two seconds for me to envision the mess which would result to realize this was a bad idea and I suggested she pick another design.
She then chose a design featuring a baby chick hatching from an egg on her forehead with flowers and wavy lines flowing down the sides of her face. I agreed, paid the $7 fee and then we got in line to wait our turn. The line took about an hour to finally get our turn. Unfortunately, this line was in direct sunlight without the benefit of any shade and my newly shaved head ended up getting sunburned during the wait. But it was worth it when the artist completed the design and I saw my daughter’s delight when she looked at herself in a mirror.
We were now ready for a picture with the Easter Bunny. Luckily the line had died down somewhat from earlier and within minutes my daughter was sitting on the Easter Bunny’s lap proudly displaying her new face painting.
Upon leaving the Easter Bunny photo opp we noticed an employee was tossing eggs all over the back lawn of the mansion where we had just taken the photo with the Easter Bunny. My daughter immediately ran and began scooping up as many as she could grab and hoarding them in her basket. Within a minute she had completely filled her basket once more with colorful, plastic Easter eggs.
Afterwards we decided to walk around the festival grounds to see what other activities could be found. We soon found signs directing us to “pony rides.” My daughter had ridden her first pony on Jekyll Island seven months earlier at the Shrimp & Grits Festival and had thoroughly enjoyed it so this was a “must do” activity. We soon found the pony rides, purchased our ticket ($5) and my daughter walked straight up to the ticket collector, handed her the ticket, and proceeded to walk right past the full size pony towards a group of miniature ponies which she had ridden previously. She picked out a small white miniature and after petting him for a few seconds I hoisted her onto its saddle. The guide led the pony along a circular path underneath more of Jekyll’s amazing, ancient oak trees. After a few minutes we had reached the beginning again and my daughter had to dismount from her pony. She petted him a few more seconds and then we began to leave when the owner asked if we had seen the big blue and pink horses that were giving hay rides. I answered that I hadn’t seen the horses but had seen the sign for the hay rides and would be certain to check them out before leaving.
On the way to the hay rides we stopped at the information booth and exchanged our second batch of eggs for more treats. Once more my daughter reached in and grabbed a handful of hard candy and suckers to add to her previous collection of candy. We also passed several other booths offering various free arts and crafts activities for kids but since the festival would be ending in less than thirty minutes we decided to go straight to the hay rides so we wouldn’t miss out.
Our timing couldn’t have been more perfect because just as we paid our $6 fee ($3 per person), two giant draft horses pulling a wagon filled with people appeared. One horse was dyed pink and the other blue, to the surprise and delight of my daughter. Once the horses came to a stop and the passengers disembarked, we climbed aboard and took our seats at the front of the wagon. Not too long afterwards the horses started walking, pulling us along on a leisurely tour of Jekyll Island’s famed Historic District. The ride took us beneath the moss-covered oaks and past several “cottages” owned by some of the most wealthy Americans of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. We passed the Moss, Goodyear, Mistletoe and Indian Mound mansions as well as the Jekyll Island Club before returning to our starting point and disembarking. My daughter immediately ran to the horses and the driver allowed her to pet them. The blue horse even gave her a kiss!
At this point the Easter Egg Stroll was officially over so we decided to drive around Jekyll to see some of its other sites. We drove past the Horton House Historic Site and proceeded to the Jekyll Island pier. My daughter enjoyed looking into the fishermen’s and crabbers’ buckets to see what they’d caught. The crabbers were having much more luck than the fishermen because their buckets were full of blue crabs. After walking to the end of the pier and back we headed into the little store and bought lunch: a hotdog for my daughter and a ham-and-cheese sandwich for me ($8). We took our lunch out to the picnic area and hungrily scarfed it down, washing it down with an ice-cold Coke. We returned to the store to grab a popsicle for dessert ($2).
We next walked down to the Driftwood Beach and watched the many families with kids and dogs frolicking on the beach and playing in the water. The dead trees lying on the beach (thus the name, Driftwood Beach) gave it a rather unique and picturesque appearance. I took a few snapshots of my daughter posing on these dead trees before deciding to return to our car. On the way back we stopped on a little pedestrian bridge to look out across a lovely marsh scene with a creek flowing through it and underneath us. Then we noticed a line of horses with riders coming our way. Their hooves making a clippity-clop sound on the wooden bridge as they past a mere foot or two from us. Horse rides are offered (for a fee) at the entrance to the pier road.
After leaving the pier area we headed to the local playground at the miniature golf. My daughter enjoyed playing with the kids in both the preschool playground as well as the old kids playground. After about an hour we were both pleasantly exhausted from our fabulous day on Jekyll Island and eagerly anticipate our next visit.
(The grand total for our full day of fun on Jekyll Island, Georgia was $33.00.)