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Old Town Brunswick, GA

The weather in Georgia has been unpredictable. The forecast constantly predicts high chances of rain and yet not a single raindrop appears when expected. These false predictions have kept us home the last two days so today, despite the forecast for a very rainy day, we took our chances and hopped in the car to check out nearby Old Town Brunswick after some locals recommended visiting the area. As anticipated, not a drop of rain ruined our plans!

We began our explorations at a nameless, small park underneath the Sidney Lanier Bridge, a cable suspension bridge that spans 500 feet and connects Brunswick to Jekyll Island (and beyond). Although the bridge is truly beautiful, we did not find this to be the best vantage point to capture its beauty. About a three-minute walk from this park, near the Coast Guard Station, is a hidden entrance to Earth Day Nature Trail, a small and picturesque nature preserve that is extremely easy to hike, even in Georgia's scorching August temperatures as it is well shaded and under one mile long. The park is home to several bird species and many, many crabs. There are one million fiddler crabs per acre of marshlands in the area. There are 350,000 acres of marshland. Now you do the math but trust me when I say, there are lots of crabs! We ventured down into an accessible part of the marshes and suddenly thousands of fiddler crabs cleared the way for us. It was like witnessing the Red Sea parting! Kids and grown-ups were equally delighted by the close contact with these little crustaceans that boast an extra-large claw. If you look really close, they look like they are smiling!

Next, we headed a mile or so to the Historic District of Old Town Brunswick to take in some of the Victorian architecture, Main Street and Hanover Square (one of the two large squares in Old Town Brunswick that retains its original size and shape). Hanover Square is small and quaint with an original fountain in its center surrounded by pretty landscaping. Main Street is an endearing, long stretch of shops and restaurants. Unfortunately, it was a ghost town. Literally, no one was around. We wondered why such a charming town filled with eclectic mom and pop stores, breweries, and well-rated restaurants was so utterly abandoned. Unfortunately, I think this is a result of Covid and that Main Street is just one small example of how small businesses have been severely affected by the way the virus has impacted the economy. However, just 7 miles away in St. Simons Island the streets, restaurants, and shops are packed. It is hard to understand why such a lovely, well-kept strip of shops in a city with a population of 16,000 people has no one drawing them in. Personally, I find Main Street in Old Town Brunswick much better kept and much more appealing than Mallery Street in St. Simons Island yet the former is barren while the latter location is packed. I don't get it. I do feel very sad though for all the businesses that are suffering as a result of Covid and I truly hope that Main Street bounces back to what I can easily imagine was once a sprawling, vibrant and active destination.

There is more to see in Old Town Brunswick that we didn't get to during today's visit because we were worried the rain would finally catch up with us. Of course, it didn't until we hopped in the pool. Since we were already wet and have given up on dodging it we welcomed it to join us.


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