Peaceful Living Travel: Jekyll Island, GA

Peaceful Living Travel: Jekyll Island, GA

Jekyll Island, one of Georgia’s Golden Isles is a perfect Peaceful Living destination! It is truly the epitome of peaceful living. If you are looking for a romantic getaway, relaxing girls weekend or even a low-key family retreat, Jekyll will meet your needs! It has beautiful beaches, hiking/biking paths, fishing, horseback riding and even a cute put-put course.  Come with me on my weekend journey to Jekyll!

Make sure to read all the way to the end for my Peaceful Living Travel Rating!

Accommodations:

My recent trip to Jekyll Island served as a romantic getaway for my husband’s birthday, so we opted to stay at the historic Jekyll Island Club ResortAs soon as you drive up to the resort you feel like you’ve gone back in history to a time when things moved slower and you could sit back and enjoy the simple pleasures in life.

Sit on one of the many verandas in a wicker settee or a cushioned rocking chair and enjoy a glass of lemonade and the beauty of your surroundings. Or stroll along the historic grounds and take in the views of the verdant wildlife in the Intracoastal Waterway and the elegant, historic homes on the grounds.

If you are interested in a little more activity you can play 18 holes of golf on one of the three courses around the island or a game of croquet on the Club’s croquet lawn. You can indulge in history with a guided tour of the grounds and the aforementioned historic houses.  Take a swim in the pool if you are there in the warm season. The pool is rather small, so if you are there during a wedding weekend, as we were, it can be crowded and noisy with drunk after-wedding partiers! You may want to opt for the beach instead.

Overall the hotel is quiet and lovely and a wonderful place to retreat and relax.

The rooms look and feel historic, they are small but they are comfortable and don’t have the musty smell that some historic hotels have. However, there are several other historic buildings with larger accommodations around the property, as well as at the Jekyll Island Beach Club. If you are willing stay outside of the main building you can definitely find large, very comfortable rooms on the property and at the beach!

My husband and I opted to stay in the historic building, despite the smaller room size we were very happy we did. It is as if you are staying in an elegant old mansion. You can walk up to your room using the grand staircase with one of the most beautiful carved wood banisters I have ever seen. I spent an entire afternoon lounging on a veranda drinking tea and reading magazines while my husband indulged in a nap. It was as if I were relaxing in my own home, but I didn’t have to clean it or cook for my family! Barely a soul walked by even though the resort was rather full with wedding guests.

If the Jekyll Island Club is not your cup of tea, the island has several different types of accommodations to suit every budget.

From the Days Inn and Suites for the more budget conscious to the Westin on the high end, Jekyll will suit your needs. For those who prefer the adventure of camping, an extra bonus is the beautiful Jekyll Island Campground that lies in the middle of the island, but not far from the beach. 

Jekyll Island allows Air BnB and VRBO rentals. So there are also houses and condos you can rent if you would like a little more space than a hotel room and/ or a kitchen to cook some of your own meals in.  There are also three Jekyll-specific realty companies that can help you find a house, condo or cottage rental (www.jekyllisland.com/lodging/)

Dining:

For our weekend retreat my husband and I opted for a casual dining experience. We hoped to dine at the hotel on our first night, but unfortunately the casual dining room was reserved exclusively for a wedding party and we did not want to dress for fine dining in the Grand Dining Room.

We opted to go over to the local shopping area, Beach Village, and try McGarvey’s Wee Pub Beach.  While it had the casual environment we were looking for, the food was honestly just not good. I had wings and green beans. The wings were flavorless and the green beans were boiled until they were practically mush.  I would definitely come back to McGarvey’s for beer and darts because of the fun atmosphere, but not the food!

Most of the restaurants on Jekyll are associated with the hotels. Don’t be hesitant about dining at a different hotel than the one in which you are staying.

There are many tempting looking offerings at the local hotels. For lunch, I highly recommend going to the Jekyll Market and picking up some picnic fixings. There are tables and chairs around the parklike atmosphere of Beach Village, or if you want to brave the chance of sand in your food, the beach is right there too!

We were able to stay in the resort for our breakfasts. The Pantry at the Jekyll Island Club is a nice little take-away café that offers good coffee and fresh food. I enjoyed fresh fruit and a bagel the first morning and a ham and egg croissant the second. At the time they were training some new staff, so the service was less than efficient (they could not seem to get me my orange juice), but the convenience of the setting and the freshness of the food made up for it.

The other obstacle to on-island dining we found was that some places were not yet open because we were visiting in the off-season. This made the selection of dinner restaurants fairly slim. We are adventurous and decided that we wanted to visit St. Simon’s Island – the next island over – for our second evening anyway. 

Where Jekyll is incredibly relaxing, St. Simon’s is lively and bustling.

I wanted to try the Southern Living Magazine Best of The South BBQ restaurant winner, Southern Soul BBQ.  It was definitely ALL THAT! I am not a huge fan of the vinegar-based sauces from my home state of South Carolina, but Georgia has some good sweet sauces! We thoroughly enjoyed our mixed plates of ribs and brisket. This restaurant will be a do-over on every trip we take to the Golden Isles

Having Fun:

As I mentioned, my husband and I enjoy adventure, but we were also going for a relaxing vacation. Jekyll Island is a wonderful place to be able to feed both needs!

We took the top down on the convertible and drove around the island just enjoying the nice weather and the gorgeous setting. When we were ready to stop we got out at what seemed like a fairly remote spot and made our way down a tree-lined path to driftwood beach. And what a beach it is! There are not just pieces of driftwood lying on the beach. There are entire trees of driftwood scattered about the beach! It’s like walking within a naturally created sculpture garden – absolutely breathtaking!  We were there in the middle of the day, but I am looking forward to a time when I can go out there in the early morning, maybe even for sunrise, and enjoy the splendor and vibrant energy that comes with the new day.

For those who prefer more organized fun, Jekyll has tons to offer! There are four golf courses and the Jekyll Island Club croquet field. You can rent bikes and spend hours biking around the island and on the beaches.  For those of you who enjoy animals, take a horse ride on the beach, visit the Georgia Sea Turtle center to learn about the rescue and rehabilitation of sea turtles or take an eco-tour hike or kayak at the 4-H Tidelands Nature Center.

And remember, Jekyll is an island, so there is boating and fishing and kayaking and canoeing, and all of the fun things that come with island life! You can even take a casino cruise off the shore of Jekyll!

Jekyll offers some man-made fun as well! For those whose golf courses of choice include fun features and colorful balls there is the Jekyll Island Miniature Golf Center. Games are only $6.50 for adults, $5.00 for kids 6-10 (plus tax for both) and 5 under play free! And for big-time family fun check out the Summer Waves Water Park!  The park has slides for all different levels of bravery, a lazy river, a splash zone and The Frantic Atlantic Wave Pool! Tickets range from $11 to $29 (for a two-day pass).

A Note About Island Admission:

The Jekyll Island Authority charges a daily parking fee to enter Jekyll Island. It is currently (2018) $6.00 per day or $28.00 per week. Each day consists of 24 hours. You cannot enter the island without the parking pass, even if you tell them that you are, “just driving around,” as one angry Trip Advisor commenter noted. There are many different opinions about this fee. You need to decide if it will add enough to your budget to tip you over the edge of what you can afford. It is definitely here to stay from what I can tell.

Overall Peaceful Living Rating:

I’m giving Jekyll Island a 4 out of 5 on my Peaceful Living Travel scale. The one point deduction is due to the following:

  1. The lack of casual dining restaurants.
  2. The sometimes rude service at the Jekyll Island Club, both at The Pantry for breakfast and the pool-side cocktail service.
  3. The way in which the Jekyll Island Club allows weddings to take over the only casual dining restaurant and the pool.
  4. I’m deducting a little bit for the island admission fee. I feel that the hotels need to cover those for their guests.

4 out of 5 is not a bad rating though. Honestly, I think if we had stayed at a different hotel, or in a vacation rental, I would give it a 5 out 5. But, that is really too bad because the Jekyll Island Club is a truly beautiful hotel and should provide top-notch service and dining options of all kinds.


Your comments, recommendations and opinions about the Spa at La Costa are welcome! Please post below and add to the conversation!

For more information about Jekyll Island please visit www.jekyllisland.com

Wishing You Peaceful Travels!

Jen

Finding Cherries in a World That Can Seem Like the Pits 3: Our Crazy World

Finding Cherries in a World That Can Seem Like the Pits 3: Our Crazy World

I’ll be honest with you. This one is tough for me sometimes. One of the things I’m grateful for in respect to having given-up my academic career is that I don’t have to constantly stay aware of everything that’s going on in politics (my former career was as a lecturer in political science and legal sociology). That said, I still think it’s important to be an informed citizen, so I do keep up on most current events. And yes, that is really frustrating and sometimes overwhelmingly sad.

Here in the United States we are in the aftermath of yet another mass shooting and tragic loss of lives.  Manh of our local schools here in Charleston, South Carolina (including our neighborhood schools where my children and my teen clients attend) were put on lockdown last week because of shooting and bomb threats to the schools. The kids were scared and feeling very out of control of their own safety.

Tips for Keeping Your Peace of Mind

1. Try to follow negative news with some positive news.

There are actually lots of really cool things going on and good people doing good things in the world today. Okay, I admit sometimes I just go to Buzzfeed and look at the funny cat videos but, there are some really good “Good News” sites out there!!

Just google “good news stories” and you’ll find tons of websites that cover only uplifting and positive news stories. Try to find some that you like. One of my favs is Huffingtonpost.com/good-news.

2. Make sure you don’t go to bed after having just watched negative news.  

Try to read a fun book, watch a funny show, or have an affirming conversation with your partner before you lay your head down. And if you do lay down and find your mind full of stressful or disturbing images, try to bring in happy and uplifting images instead.

I was telling one of my friends the other day how her posts on Facebook helped me get some disturbing images out of my mind. She posts pictures from the farm animal rescue she runs and pictures of her two sweet boys having fun. This weekend she posted pictures of her boys delivering toys to a toy drive for homeless children. Having those images to concentrate on helped me to calm my mind and drift off to sleep.

3. Be in a place of gratitude.

Sometimes this is easier said than done, but even if you’re feeling really down and overwhelmed, I bet you can find something to be grateful for. The roof over your head, the green grass, maybe it’s a flower growing between the cracks of a sidewalk. Maybe, it’s merely your two feet on the ground. Finding something small to be grateful for will raise your happy hormones and help you to feel better a little bit at a time.

On that note, I am truly grateful for all those who have loved and supported me in my business and my life over these past few years! And I am grateful for those of you post and respond to my blogs. The blogs truly are meant to be conversation starters AND HOPEFULLY they will help us to create a community dedicated to supporting one-another in health, happiness and peaceful living.

What tips and strategies do you have to share with us for finding the cherries among the pits?

Do you have any particular “pits” that I or the community can help you find your cherries for?

Next Week ~ join me for my travel-blog journey to Jekyll Island, Georgia! What a beautiful place for a solitary or couples getaway!

Love & Light,

Jen

Are you Addicted to being busy?

Are you Addicted to being busy?

Are you Addicted to being busy?

Last week I started talking about how to stay in your peaceful living frame-of-mind when it seems like your world is full of stress and negativity.  Last week’s blog, the first in Finding Cherries series discussed how to use boundaries and mindful communication to bring more peace to any friendship you have with people who are negative. This week, I am talking about how to use boundaries and prioritization to bring more peace into your busy life.

That Stressful Life

Life gets so hectic sometimes – The joy in life can be severely dampened by an overwhelming sense of being busy: too many things to get done, too many people making demands, too much traffic on the road, etc.  I know from experience that there are some strategies that help.

Here are a few to try:

1. Take a moment to step back and look at your to-do list.

Decide if the things on the list really need to get done right now or if they even need to be done at all. Some of this will be prioritizing based upon your values. For example, I have contact with more friends now than ever before – thank you Facebook!

Let’s take holiday cards for example. I get fewer holiday cards than I did in the past. And truthfully, I just don’t send them out either. I stay in touch on a more regular basis AND I just don’t have time to get cards out around the holidays because there are other things I have to do, like the Winter Spectacular at my kids’ school and two Brownie Christmas parties, etc.

2. Prioritize your to-do list and only actually do those things that you must.

Go to work, feed the kids, take care of yourself!… or that have true meaning to you. If you hate to shop, shop online and do grocery pick-up. If you love going out with your friends, go to one or more outings each month.

Everything else, say goodbye to it. You don’t need to do it all! And don’t forget, your kids will be just fine if you miss a game or a dance practice once-a-month to spend time with your friends! And so will your husband! 🙂

3. Stay in the moment.

As Thich Nhat Hanh says, “happiness can be found in every moment.” With this in mind, if you can stay focused on exactly what you’re doing, when you’re doing it, you find that the stress of “everything else” falls away.

So while you’re at the Cub Scout campout, be there and enjoy the fun the kids are having. Don’t worry about what you’re going to serve for your family for dinner for the next week.

4. Plan Ahead

One thing I’ve found that helps me to stay in the moment is to plan ahead. I use a “success schedule” to keep myself aware not only of what I need to do, but also when I need to do it.  

A weekly plan with blocked periods of time truly helps me make sure that I get where I need to get when I need to get there, that I work on the things I need to work on when it’s time to work on them, that I have time with my family and that I have time for myself. The “success schedule” allows me to savor each moment as I’m in it.

5. Find the blessings in the little things.

I was talking to my friend and client one day about Christmas and how her kids don’t act very grateful during the holiday season. But then she told me a story about how one of her sons is required by his school to write in a journal to his parents every week. At one point he wrote to his mom about how he does really understand that the season is not just about getting presents. He talked about how he loves Christmas because he gets to be with family and that he understands the religious parts of the holiday as well. What really touched me was that he wrote this journal entry as a letter to his mom so that she can understand how he is feeling inside. She said that he would never have said those things out loud to her.

What a true blessing that journal entry was! Find the little things that make life special. Try to catch people doing the right thing! And, pay special attention to it when they do.

Do you need to slow down and enjoy life a little more?

What do you need to cut out that is not serving your peaceful living?

Stay tuned for next week’s installment in the Finding Cherries series: How To Stay Peaceful in Our Crazy Mixed-Up World.

Love & Light!

Jen

 

Finding Cherries in a World That Can Seem Like the Pits 1: Those Stressful Friends

Finding Cherries in a World That Can Seem Like the Pits 1: Those Stressful Friends

Finding Cherries in a World That Can Seem Like the Pits 1: Those Stressful Friends

Something that’s really striking my consciousness lately is the question of how to sort the good from the bad. As a stress-management coach people come to me for advice on these things, so it’s sort of natural that these types of questions would cross my path. But what has come to my attention lately are the number of different ways this same theme comes up. Here are some examples:

~ “What do I do about this friend who is always negative? I really like her, but I just don’t want to spend much time with her.”

~ Life is so stressful, I just can’t seem to find time for anything anymore. I used to take long baths and go for walks. Now it’s all a hassle and there’s never enough time to get it all done. How do I learn to enjoy life again?”

~ There is so much horrible stuff going on in the news. I want to stay aware of current events, but I just don’t feel like I can pay attention to the news anymore. How do I remain informed without getting depressed?”

While these questions are all different in that they are talking about very differing phenomena, they are all very similar in their overall context: separating the good from the bad. This really is an age-old question. I’ve heard it brought up in religious and spiritual contexts. I’ve heard it brought up in my graduate political science seminars. I’ve heard it brought up in conversations with friends. And truthfully, in my opinion, there is no one “best practice” answer that can apply to all of the contexts.

There are some strategies that can be tried on for size which can help a person figure out what works best for them. Let’s start our conversation about how to embrace the positive in our lives by talking about friends.

Last month’s blog series covered the importance of making friends and building your tribe. One thing we will find along the way of building our tribe is that sometimes there are people who we really like in a lot of ways, but who also drag us down.  This weeks blog is going to focus on how to mindfully find peace in those friendships.

THOSE TAXING FRIENDS

Most of us have at least one friend who is lovely in many ways, but who is also a Debbie or Douglas Downer. This is the person who always seems to have a proverbial fly in her chardonnay. He sees the glass as half-empty instead of half-full. Of course, this friend is not “all negative” or we wouldn’t be friends with the person. We just wish they would look on the bright side of things more often. So what do we do?

Here are some strategies to try:

~ Lead by example. When things are negative in your own life, set an example by breathing through them to bring yourself inner peace. What you don’t want to do is point out to your friend that you are doing this. Let her just watch you. Don’t give her “helpful” advice about how you are proceeding so well through your difficult time.

~ Set time limits. Let’s just be honest here, no one can be around Negative Ned or Nellie for that long. The problem is that if we set too many time limits the person is going to feel like they are being blown-off. Then you’ll have the problem on your hands that your friend will probably confront you on this. For some, being in a negative space – e.g. negative confrontation – is comfortable, so she will have no problem bringing this up to you. The time limited friends need to be treated with special consideration. Make sure the time you do spend with them is high-quality time. That way your friend won’t feel slighted about the lack of time.

~ Conversely, instead of spending focused one-on-one time with this friend, spread the work around. Try only spending time with her in groups. This then lightens the negativity burden on any one person. If you make sure she’s invited to a lot of things, she won’t feel like she hardly ever gets to see you. Unless this is already your pattern though, don’t shirk spending at least some one-on-one time with her. She’ll figure out what’s going on if she’s used to seeing you alone, but then suddenly only sees you in groups. Also, make sure she still feels good about being with you even if you are in a group. Make sure you pay some special attention to her and treat her like she’s important.

~ Have a mindful conversation with your friend. While this might be the most intimidating of the suggestions, it’s also most likely to be the most fruitful. Mindful conversations proceed with empathy and compassion. Try asking your friend if there is an underlying cause for her outward negativity. If there is, maybe you can help. Or, maybe you can support her in finding the help she needs. Make sure he knows that you are asking because you care and you want to be supportive. Remember, mindful conversations do not criticize in words or tone. Try to use “I” statements. The more empathy you can have the more likely you are to have a fruitful conversation.

Someone recently said to me, “if you can’t complain to your friends, who can you complain to?” My answer to this is, “a coach or therapist.”  That’s not to say that friends cannot, or should not, be there for each other in times of emotional need. It’s just that it’s important to draw boundaries if your friend is overtaxing your friendship. It is perfectly okay to say to your friend, “I love spending time with you, and I am so sorry that you are going through such a hard time, but I feel like you would really benefit from some professional guidance from a coach or therapist.”  If your friend acts offended you can simply explain that you have seen her suffering for quite a while now and want her to feel better. If she’s still offended, and decides not to be your friend anymore, that my just be what needed to happen to give you some peace of mind.

I welcome your questions, comments and stories about your friendships! Feel free to comment away J

Stay tuned for next week’s installment of “Finding Cherries in a World that Seems Like the Pits.” I will be talking about some tips and techniques for finding peace-of-mind in a busy life.

Love & Light,

Jen

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