As a writer, settings play a huge part in my stories. I almost always start a novel by imagining a place—whether from real life or my imagination. When I’m location scouting, I think about the way a place feels, the unique flowers and smells, whether it’s noisy or soothing, quaint or sophisticated, shiny or well-worn. Its personality is what draws me in.
One of my favorite places is St. Simons Island, Georgia. A few weeks ago, hubby and I packed a bag on the spur of the moment—when we realized we both had the same two days off. That rarely happens, so we seized the opportunity.
I was surprised at the giddy sense of homecoming I felt when we crossed the F.J. Torras Causeway onto the island, since we hadn’t been there in years. But some places are just like that. They call you back like old friends.
We stayed at the beautiful Epworth By The Sea, which we later found out is a Methodist Retreat Center. (Shh…we didn’t tell them we’re not Methodist.) The folks there couldn’t have been more welcoming and the grounds are serene and beautifully kept. (They rent rooms to the public.)
A walk to the river past the old tabby slave cabins was just what the inspiration doctor ordered.
Since I’m a lighthouse nut, we of course, climbed to the top of the St. Simons lighthouse—all 129 steps of it—and imagined what it was like to tend the light all those years ago.
We ate great seafood, too much ice cream, and browsed the shops around Pier Village and Neptune park. Camera held high, we even braved uncertain depths to explore the sandbars off East Beach.
One of my favorite stops was Christ Church. We originally visited St. Simons because one of my favorite authors, Eugenia Price, lived and wrote on the island. She set a series of books there, too. She is buried in the Christ Church cemetery, along with others dating all the way back to 1803. Reading the headstones is a poignant—and sometimes humorous–lesson in the history of the island.
If you have the chance, take a trip to St. Simons. You’ll come back refreshed and renewed–and maybe, you’ll have found a story setting.
For more info, visit ComeCoastAwhile.com.
Hmmm, maybe my next book will be set there…