Jekyll Island, St. Simons Island, Little St. Simons Island and Sea Island comprise the bucolic Golden Isles of Georgia, clustered just off the southern Atlantic coast.
Howard Coffin of the Hudson Motor Co. purchased Long Island in 1922, promptly renamed it Sea Island, and six years later, he and Bill Jones opened The Cloister, their “friendly little hotel.” A much-beloved institution was born. Soon after hosting the Group of Eight Summit over the summer of 2004, The Cloister hotel was brought down. A newly imagined (though historically informed) structure opened three years later to widespread acclaim, and the original Spanish Lounge was reassembled in is entirety.
History is everywhere on the islands. St. Simons Island is home to the remains of Fort Frederica, a British Colonial outpost established in 1736, as well as Christ Church, an 1820s clapboard structure that managed to survive the Civil War intact. Just south of Sea Island, Cumberland Island was once a retreat for the Carnegie family. In the late 1970s, the Carnegies sold most of the island to the government, and it is now a national seashore. Cumberland was never widely settled, and under the care of the National Park Service, it remains little touched by the modern world.