Coming from a big city I like to take casual drives through rural towns, absorbing some of the local flavor, sights and sounds.
I recently eased through Darien, Georgia (U.S.A) (founded in 1736) while attempting to locate something unique in this less-traveled area.
There is a nugget in every town I travel through and my personal task is to see what it is – in my own view anyway.
My first observation in the Atlantic Ocean coastal town of Darien was the fishing boats lined up in the Altamaha River. I drove slightly off the main road and noticed a few fishing boats that definitely brought in their share over the years. Their wear-and-tear was evident, but they continue to provide a living for local fishers.
This was an opportunity to drive my Subaru Outback off road – although it was in just a short patch of wet sand. The synchronized all-wheel-drive provided considerable comfort and piece of mind as we checked out some of the potential candidates for a good story.
We heard one of the men working on the old boat say hello in a friendly, southern tone and we waved back. Folks here are welcoming and I think enjoy others visiting their little town. They probably wandered what we were doing though.
A storm system had been traveling through southern Georgia and north Florida so the area had been drenched a bit.
I thought there must be a nice restaurant where the locals go and we drove around a few minutes.
What do you know, we found it – Skippers Fish Camp. It was located off the main highway (U.S. 17, Altamaha Scenic Highway) and nestled on the waterway facing the marshes.
Well, naturally we had to try it and were not disappointed. It caters to locals and regional customers as well. I really enjoyed it. The fish was delicious and the green beans were just like I like them. The atmosphere was clean and inviting, along with the great hospitality. http://www.skippersfishcamp.com/
The outside of the restaurant was just as inviting and promotes a nice fish town ambience.
While leaving the restaurant we noticed an old building with surrounding coquina walls. Now! We just found something else that was unique, or what I call a “nugget” of interest in my adventures.
Tabby walls? According to https://www.tabbyruins.com/blog/darien-tabby-walls-and-adam-strain-building the tabby walls in Darien are the “remnants of the town’s cotton exchange warehouses and naval stores built in 1815-1830. The Adam-Strain Building, built circa 1813, was a mercantile store and ship chandlery.”
Wikipedia identified tabby as a “type of concrete made by burning oyster shells to create lime, then mixing it with water, sand, ash and broken oyster shells.
Tabby was used by early Spanish settlers in present-day North Carolina and Florida, then by English colonists primarily in coastal South Carolina and Georgia.” I wonder who thought of that method first? I guess through experimentation.
Near the fishing boats is street art reflecting some of the local emphasis as well.
Darien is listed as the second oldest planned city in Georgia. According to town documents, it is the place where the term “Golden Isles” was coined and “offers a wealth of attractions that, for many, are being discovered for the first time.” Darien is described by experts as “one of the most important tidal estuarine environments in the world.” http://www.cityofdarienga.com
Churches and houses have a certain flair that depict the peaceful, historical community.
As we departed from Darien heading south along the scenic highway, just over the Altamaha River, we then noticed remnants of an old plantation – the Butler Island Plantation.
We didn’t take time to explore this area but I’ll post about plantations in the future.
This plantation is no longer maintained like some of the others. You’ll notice on the historical placard that Fannie Kemble wrote her “Journal of Residence on a Georgia Plantation” at this plantation. It is believed to have influenced England against the Confederacy.
There is another thing that seems to surface in all my travels – the influence of so many countries around the world toward American history and culture. Although some of these influences involved conflict and bad times, they are part of history and make a lasting impact toward the United States of America. Let’s consider these impacts toward continuing to improve life here and abroad. We must learn from history and hopefully will not repeat it – and enjoy the small town nuggets along the way.