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Sapelo Island Marsh

Sapelo Island offers visitors a unique step into the past along with a greater awareness of the importance of preserving Georgia's marshes and estuaries.  The island is accessible only by boat and the Sapelo Queen routinely departs from the mainland dock in Meridian, Georgia, at 8:30 a. m. each morning,  bound with visitors headed to the island.  Guided tours are offered but require reservations in advance at the mainland office in Meridian.  Some of the sites included on the tours are:
  • The largest shell ring found in North America, composed of discarded oyster shells measuring sixty yards in diameter with  twelve-foot walls and a hole in the center.  Research suggests that these rings may have been used as kitchen middens by the Native Americans who were thought to have originally inhabited the island. Legend has it that the shells were cast there by a great Indian chieftain who sat in the middle of the ring day after day for years on end eating his favorite meal of oysters and casting the shells out all around him while runners continued to bring him a fresh supply of oysters directly from the sea.
  • The Reynolds Mansion - Designed and built in the early 1800s by plantation owner, Thomas Spalding, a statesman, businessman and writer, the house was named the South End House. In 1912 automotive executive Howard Coffin of Hudson Motors bought Sapelo Island, and completely rebuilt the South End House in 1925. Prominent guests of Howard Coffin's that came to visit at South End House included the Herbert Hoovers and Calvin Coolidges, and rumor has it that President Coolidge had been offered South End House as a summer White House retreat. Although Calvin Coolidge didn't end up using South End House as a summer White House, President Carter and his family during his presidency were known to occasionally enjoy a retreat vacation there. Then, in 1934, tobacco heir, Richard J. Reynolds purchased Sapelo Island and the South End House was renamed The Reynolds Mansion. Today, the historic Reynolds Mansion with its thirteen bedrooms can accommodate twenty nine people for group conferences or retreats. Overnight rooms are available to visitors age 18 and older for a minimum stay of two nights.




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