There’s a lot of adventure to be had in one’s backyard. That’s the idea behind Jacksonville Magazine’s Explorer’s Club, which takes a handful of local residents on guided excursions to interesting locales in and around the First Coast—historic ruins, wild animal sanctuaries and the like. The first event, Jekyll Island Historic Taste & Tour, is set for May 19 and features an exclusive tour of the historic district and three exquisite winter cottages once owned by Gilded Age tycoons.
"The homes are part of the Jekyll Island Club National Historic Landmark and are primarily used for tours, run by the Jekyll Island Museum," says Meggan Hood, senior director of marketing for the Jekyll Island Authority. "We will have museum docents, in period costume, conducting tours and giving a type of 'behind the scenes' tour of the homes and the people who lived in them. The stories they will share and areas of the cottages they will explore are not part of the normal public tours."
The homes included in the tour are the Moss, Mistletoe and Goodyear Cottages. All are within walking distance of each other making for a leisurely stroll from location to location. Beer, wine and hors d'oeuvres will be served on each porch.
"The first floors of Moss and Mistletoe are fully furnished in a manner historically appropriate to the time period of interpretation, while Goodyear Cottage currently functions as an art gallery operated by the Jekyll Island Arts Association," says Hood. "Guests at the Explorer’s Club event will also get special access to the upper floors of both Moss and Mistletoe where period furniture and other artifacts are stored. This area is not open to the public."
After the event, guests are encouraged to stay on the island for dinner at local island restaurants, including the historic Grand Dining Room at the Jekyll Island Club Resort. Or, make a night of it and stay at one of the many local hotels.