GH Tours Blog

Construction Begins on Okefenokee's famed Chesser Island Boardwalk

Construction Begins on Okefenokee’s Famed Chesser Island Boardwalk

When the three-quarter mile long boardwalk on Okefenokee’s Chesser Island was devoured by the Honey Prairie Fire on June 13, 2011, the National Wildlife Refuge lost one of its most treasured assets.  Nearly two years later, work is underway to replace this walkway into the swamp.  Hydra Engineering and Construction, LLC, of Boardwalk in 1969Crawfordville, Florida, designed the new boardwalk and began mobilizing on site February 26.  Materials began arriving a month ago, and the first few yards of the planking are now in place. The anticipated completion date of the project is early August. 

The wooden boardwalk will be rebuilt using Trex, a wood polymer product.  Trex uses recycled plastic grocery bags and stretch film, as well as waste wood from making furniture and shipping pallets

Enter to Win

Liked · March 26 

Enter to win a two night stay at the Ocean Lodge, named by Tripadvisor, as one of the top 25 hotels in the United States and number one in Georgia! Your stay also includes a cooked to order breakfast, dinner for two and a full array of exclusive amenities.Explore the beautiful Golden Isles, GA with this great weekend escape. ENTER TO WIN: in this prize is two round trip airfares from Atlanta to the Golden Isles and you can explore the Golden Isles with ease thanks to a free weekend car rental, courtesy of the Brunswick Golden Isles Airport.

Civil War in Georgia: The Navy

Civil War Wednesday: The Navy

  1. Montauk (Photo Credit: The Soldier in Our Civil War: A Pictorial History of the Conflict, 1861-1865, Illustrating the Valor of the Soldier as Displayed on the Battle-field. New York: J. H. Brown publishing company, 1884-85).

Two vessels and their crews carried much history into a February 28 confrontation off Georgia’s coast near Confederate-held Fort McAllister. John L. Worden, former commander of the USS Monitor in the epic encounter with the CSS Virginia in the March 1862 Battle of Hampton Roads, now captained the ironclad USS Montauk. Although the Federals had battled Fort McAllister’s defenders, Worden ignored shelling from the Confederate bastion as he approached a vessel, which had run aground nearby.

  1. Rattlesnake (Photo Credit: Harper’s Weekly, March 28, 1863).

Slowly, the turret of the Montauk rotated toward the Rattlesnake, once known as the Confederate privateer Nashville. Soon, the remains of the sleek craft, which had once plagued Northern shipping, lay smoldering in the Ogeechee River’s murky waters. TheMontauk received her only damage when striking a torpedo (floating mine) as she steamed away from the area.


John L. Worden (Photo Credit: The Library of Congress).

Michael Shaffer

Michael K. Shaffer is the Assistant Director and Lecturer for Kennesaw State University’s Civil War Center. He is a Civil War historian, author, and newspaper columnist, and a member of the Society of Civil War Historians. He serves on the boards of the Civil War Round Table of Cobb County and the River Line Historic Area, and assists the Friends of Camp McDonald as a Civil War consultant.

The Civil War Center


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The Mighty 8th

Throwback Thursday:

        The Mighty 8th

  1.  · March 21, 2013  Visit Savannah Blog

The Eighth Bomber Command (Re-designated 8th AF in February 1944) was activated as part of the United States Army Air Forces January 28, 1942, at Hunter Field in Savannah, Georgia. Brigadier General Ira C. Eaker took the headquarters to England the next month to prepare for its mission of conducting aerial bombardment missions against Nazi-occupied Europe. During World War II, under the leadership of such Generals as Eaker and Jimmy Doolittle, the 8th AF became the greatest air armada in history. By mid-1944, the 8th AF had reached a total strength of more than 200,000 people (it is estimated that more than 350,000 Americans served in 8th AF during the war in Europe). At its peak, the 8th AF could dispatch more than 2,000 four-engine bombers and 1,000 fighters on a single mission. For these reasons, the 8th AF became known as the “Mighty Eighth”.

Savannah’s Museum, now known as the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force offers daily tours, workshops and hands-on experiences for all ages. With vintage aircraft, artifacts, photographs and more, this one-of-a-kind experience offers a moving and educational look into the history of the Mighty Eighth Air Force.

Mighty 8th

Mighty 8th

Island Inspired Tour of Homes - Jekyll Island


Southern hospitality is no myth on Jekyll Island. As much will be proven this spring, when the residents of Jekyll Island open their hearts and homes to you! On April 27, the Jekyll Island Authority and Jekyll Island Garden Club will team up to present the inaugural Island Inspired Tour of Homes event.

During the tour, attendees will take a behind-the-scenes look at the homes, personalities and people who create the unique daily culture of Jekyll Island. The six homes on the tour were chosen by members of the Garden Club, who identified each house for its special sense of character, ambiance and individuality. From Asian modernist to beach chic casual, each home offers a different take on what it means to exude comfort and charm.

When planning the tour, members of the Garden Club were hoping to achieve one goal: to showcase the overall essence that makes up the island.

"We want people to see how revitalization is not just a Jekyll Island Authority goal, but also is a goal that has been taken seriously by the island's residents," said Ginger Thomas, a Garden Club member and co-organizer of the event. "Just as the island has undergone revitalization, so have the homes. On the outside, our homes look like everyday houses. Once you come inside and see the amazing work that has been done by our residents, from complete remodeling to just touching up a room or two, you'll be amazed."

The Tour of Homes will be held throughout the day on April 27. Tour-takers will be escorted to homes on a scheduled, guided trolley tour, or may take the tour on their own bicycle. The first tour leaves from Great Dunes Park at 10 a.m. and the final tour will depart at 3 p.m. Transported trolley tours are $25 per person in advance, and bicycle tours are $20 in advance. Tickets on the day of the tour are $30 per person for the trolley tour, and $25 per person for bicycle tours. Bicycle tour-takers must provide their own bike. Tickets include a beachside garden party for refreshments, held at Great Dunes Park. To purchase tickets online or find a list of local outlets where tickets are available, visit or click here.

Here, read a snippet about each home, then mark your calendar for the tour. We can guarantee you will come away inspired.

314 Old Plantation Road: Home of Linda and Tom Wunder

An artist known for her inspiring Asian-themed works, Linda Wunder has created a home that could easily be taken for a Zen garden. Inside her Plantation Road ranch, Linda and Tom Wunder have created an atmosphere of sheer calm and serenity. Black and white are the overall tones used in the home, with pops of color bursting at every turn, creating a contemporary and modern feel. Mirror cabinets in the living room, as well as the indoor/outdoor patio, have created a sense of extra space, while Linda's own artwork displayed throughout the home give a personal touch. The art studio in the back room of the house, too, provides an insight into the talents of the Wunder's artistic-centered lives.

Despite the undeniably striking artwork Linda has created and used to decorate her home, perhaps the most distinct piece of décor is the stump of petrified wood on the back porch. The stump hails from Arizona, and is a treasure the Wunders didn't want to leave behind when they moved to Jekyll in 1998.

"It's unusual, and it's probably my favorite thing in our house," Linda said. "Our home certainly reflects who we are: two people working to find serenity and enjoying life."

As an added bonus, Linda Wunder has added a painting to the tour's raffle. The picture comes from her hand-made collection, with a raffle ticket offered for $1. Want better odds? Spend $5 and get six tickets.

13 Capt. Wylly Road: Jones and Stephanie Hooks

Upon stepping into the Hooks' home, it is immediately apparent that the family spends countless hours here, together, playing with their children and grandchildren, reading classic novels and watching favorite movies. At once, the Hooks' home is inviting, comfortable and a tribute to creativity.

Stephanie Hooks has a true eye for design, being able to take an old surveyors tools and pieces of wood from their former home in Metter, and transforming the pieces into different lamps of varying sizes. She has even salvaged the wood from a fence at the Metter farm, and reused that to make a gorgeous cabinet in their living/dining area. When asked about the theme of the Hooks' home, Stephanie only laughs, shaking her head and grinning.

"Theme?" she says. "That would take actual planning. No, I guess the theme, so to speak, would be 'repurpose.' I love to take something forgotten, unused, and give it new life."

Throughout the home, inventive accessories and tones of aqua, yellow and sea glass pop from neutral spaces. Of all the reclaimed pieces that dot the house, the headboard in the master bedroom is perhaps their favorite item, Stephanie said. The headboard came- like so many of their treasures- from the old farm in Metter. It was once part of the roof of their barn.

The Hooks' have been following this repurposing theme for four years, working to gut, then rebuild, their island home. It is a constant work in progress, Stephanie says, but a project she enjoys nonetheless. Being able to reconstruct their home, in their own vision, is rewarding and follows the overall pattern of revitalization that is occurring island-wide. Taking what was there, and giving it new life, is a welcome challenge for the Hooks.

"When you can take something and see the innate value of it, then bring that value into clarity, it brings with it a sense of pride," Stephanie said. "To take something forgotten and renew it, it's a challenge, but one that should be embraced."

541 Old Plantation Road: Don and Susan Kronenberger

When the Kronenbergers were decorating their home, they knew they wanted it to reflect the area around them. As a central piece of inspiration, they looked toward Great Dunes Park, using ocean blues and sandy tans to inspire the theme within their home.

Outside, both in the front and the back spaces, tabby walkways lead to the comfortable porches, effortlessly mimicking the picnic areas at the park. Inside, the beach colors of their home likewise give the same feel of the park- the only thing missing is the casual sound of waves in the background.

One of the major projects the Kronenbergers undertook when moving to the home nearly three years ago was making it feel larger than it actually is. To do this, they raised the ceiling in the front great room, and created an indoor/outdoor feel in the living room. Now, the room opens up to the back porch, where they have another sitting area perfect for parties.

"We wanted our home to have a craftsman style that would reflect the feeling on being on Jekyll Island," Susan Kronenberger said. "It's comfortable, easy and feels like home."

9 Kings Avenue: Roger and Susan Morin

The Morin's home takes on a true Americana feel, with red, white and blue streaming from every room. The American flag, folk art, patriotic pillows and USA-themed décor are found throughout the entire home. The ironic part is, the couple is Canadian.

The couple, though, has managed to merge their Canadian roots with their love for Americana art, and mixed the two devotions in harmony. They do, admittedly, have practice. Their island home is a replica of a similar cabin they built in Big Canoe, in north Georgia. The pine wood floors and walls, hooked rugs, and stars and stripes motif are similar to that mountain bungalow, only instead of rolling hills, they now have sand dunes as their main view.

The Morin's have infused true creative energy into their home, with unique artwork speckled into the decoration landscape. Susan Morin's self-made fiber arts are very present in the home, and her hooked rug creations are largely on display, both hung on walls and draped over furniture. As well, Roger Morin's second-floor workspace is a home office most would covet, with wide windows allowing for constant rays of sunlight to infiltrate the room. The rooftop patio, with 360 degree views of the beach and ocean, is yet another defining point of the home.

"We really wanted our home to be casual, informal, yet have a very real personality," Susan said. "We strive to create an energy here that allows us to be creative while also feeling at ease. In our home, each piece has a history and everything tells a story."

925 Beachview Drive: Caryl and Ted Rice

When Caryl and Ted Rice purchased their Jekyll Island home more than a decade ago, they weren't exactly sure what they were getting into. The home has been used as a rental property for the majority of the time since they bought it in 1996, but a few years ago, they decided they were ready for that leisurely beach lifestyle and made the move. Today, the home has been reinvigorated and recharged, now featuring a more open floor plan, highly-modern kitchen, and wall after wall of windows.

Throughout the home, hues of light blue are used to reflect both the color of the nearby ocean, as well as the clear Jekyll Island sky. Antiques are also a staple in the home, with many items coming from the annual Jekyll Island Art & Antiques Festival held each spring.

The kitchen has also been updated, with a professional chef range as a centerpiece and a high-top bar area that is a perfect gathering spot for cocktails and conversations. Their beach home is complete with a bright pool, outdoor dining area and two-story porch with views of the nearby ocean.

"I would say we don't really have an exact theme for our home and decorations, but the major takeaway is that we wanted our home to feel like that- a home," Carly Rice said. "When people walk in, they feel comfortable and welcome. That's the Jekyll Island way."

12 Ogden: Carol Fritz

Upon arrival at Carol Fritz's ranch home, it is readily apparent this is a house filled with good energy. The bright yellow exterior shouts "friendly," and Carol's own welcoming demeanor instantly puts guests at ease. Once inside, the same easy atmosphere is felt, with the home's open floor plan providing space for plush sitting and dining areas. The large bank of windows on the backside of the home also creates an indoor/outdoor atmosphere that brings an added airiness to the home.

Throughout her abode, Carol has decorated using as much local art as she can get her hands on, with paintings and pieces from Jekyll Island potters and artists lining the living and dining rooms. Bright reds, yellows and tans are the main color scheme for the home, and sunlight plays an integral role in her decorating decisions.

"Being from Maine, I wanted as much sunshine in my home as possible," Fritz said. "Here on Jekyll Island, we are lucky that our winters aren't too harsh and our lives revolve around sunny days. The warmth and friendliness of the Island were major comments I wanted to reflect in my home."

See these homes up close on the inaugural Island Inspired Tour of Homes, April 27, on Jekyll Island! Buy your tickets online here.


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