I performed my first elopement Friday night! It was only a little nerve wracking and completely amazing! The couple was cute as pie and put together words to each other after formal vows extemporaneously, man they were beautiful! It sort of took me by surprise how magical it was to be so intimately part of a couple saying I DO! Loved it and can’t wait to do more!!
It’s been hot hot and hotter, bike riding has been in the evening or out to the beach with a swim in the ocean as cooling reward. Sunday however, the treat was a nice HOT bike ride around 2 over to a couple of the hidden, secret places on the island I’d never been able to discover. Thanks to a new friend who also owns the top rated trolley service here, we found two amazing places! The heat was a non sequitur! Of course after the long ride in the heat the four of us relaxed outside at a cantina for beer(s) and some great food and friendship.
The first was the Pink Chapel, I’d been looking for this historical site for years and was so excited to have found it at long last!!
It actually sits on the front corner of some marsh facing property, the chapel front is protected by chain link fencing and around the other sides by the big property gate. When my bike rolled in front of this historical fascade I was delighted to see that the property gates were open and I could actually sneak a peek up close and personal! See the old cross on the top of the chapel? This chapel is not made of brick or cement block as you might think at first glance but of tabby, a mixture of sand, lime, water and crushed oyster shells, the walls are easily a foot thick. Built around 1838 this is history at it’s best. The door on the side you see near the chain link is barred and locked, the other side which was the main entrance is locked by a new (and rather incongruous) set of double doors. Remember, the chapel predates the Civil War!
The original terra cotta roof is in place and the windows are original as well. The part that breaks my heart is that a. it’s so hard to find and b. it’s unavailable to tour the interior but the biggest is that it’s current use is that of a storage facility of exercise equipment and old junk. Sad, truly sad. I understand that when the residents purchased this property, the chapel was part of it and I understand and respect their privacy….. but oh how I’d love to go inside! Local legend says that kids (as kids will be kids no matter where they live) actually DID crazy things like burn a cross in the floor of the abandoned chapel and inscribe graffiti on the walls of an evil nature– long before this property became occupied by the large and lavish home it now hosts. Old and untrue legend said that the chapel was pink because slaves were whipped at the door and the blood sprayed turning the tabby pink. The color in fact comes from pink lichen, now bleached clean. Stories abounded of satanic worship, or the like. “But the true story is a sad one. One of families pitted against one another. Harsh words and misunderstandings that led to the death of one man, John Wylly, at the young age of 32. An obelisk marks his final resting place in the cemetery at Christ Church. Any place of history has stories that haunt and delight, that create mystery and raise questions about what really happened there. The Pink Chapel, located at the north end of St. Simons Island is no exception.The chapel was originally built on the Westpoint Plantation by William Hazzard, whose brother, Thomas, fatally shot John Wylly over a property dispute. Prior to the event, the Hazzard family worshiped at the famous Christ Church. But they no longer felt comfortable attending services there after Wylly’s death and Hazzard’s subsequent acquittal. The pink color of the building, rumored to have been caused by blood from beaten slaves, turned out to be caused by lichen which covered the tabby building giving it a pink cast. The red tile roof still graces the top of the building, the pink color has long since vanished due to restoration work done to save the structure. A lone cross sits atop the roof, pointing toward the sky.” (The Permanent Tourist)
This is the front of the chapel, it faces the marsh although the current home on the property now obscures that view. The concrete ‘sidewalk’ new double doors and fanlight over the doors are of course new….. and make me sad.
My second treat on the bike trip was to finally locate Eugenia Price’s home. I’ve long loved her St. Simons trilogy (and many have cited her as the reason this little island truly did leave it’s Mayberry ways) and knew that she and her life companion made the island home. I knew where they stayed while they visited and where they lived when they were building their home— I’d even found the home on the MLS and knew how much it last sold for and seen it in publications and tv specials. But find it? It is way way out of the way. I ride my bike by the unpaved trail that leads down to the house often and never knew it was there! It’s a lovely home sitting on the marshes and the Frederica river behind massive rustic gates.
“One thing we all knew – there would be no white-columned antebellum replica for us. Such palatial mansions were not old St. Simons. We wanted our house at The Dodge to be truly harmonious with the Island landscape. One that would give the look of a solid, wind-resistant coastal home – two-storied, so we could see the marshes and the salt creek for miles around – and with a traditional kind of simplicity … and most of all, we wanted it to look old when the last nail had been driven!” –Eugenia Price, St. Simons Memoir
While standing and looking at the house we were told a story of an old timer who fished on the pier who water skied as a kid nekkid along the river in back of her house. Eugenia Price would frequently sit on the porch in back of her home and wave. Made me chuckle. It goes without saying, oh….. how I’d love to see the inside of this beautiful island home!
Have a great week!