February 1, 2019

The Brittany Cottage, our home at Spring Island, has a new owner. We bought the cottage in 2006 and have enjoyed it for 14 years. We leave the Island July 15.

We want you to know how special Spring Island is to our family and thank you for your thoughtful management and wonderful educational opportunities. The family has enjoyed many special events over the years: two honeymoons, a 40th birthday celebration, a sabbatical spent in the Master Naturalist program, multiple Thanksgiving Holidays, and one somewhat lonely Christmas. We especially enjoyed the Thanksgiving oyster roasts at the Art Barn. They were a special treat for Alex, and he does not know where he will get to enjoy them again. Each member of the staff has been helpful and gracious at all events.

Bella, the Basset Hound, remembers competing in the spring minster on one Thanksgiving visit and bringing home her Honorable Mention Ribbon which is proudly displayed near her bed. She still believes she should have won, but William, the Posh Poodle, walked away with top honors. Bella is 13 now and spends most of her days sleeping and dreaming of past adventures, like scoring a family dinner in the Brittany Cottage when nobody was paying attention.
On each visit Janet claimed the Gathering Room as an extension of the Brittany Cottage. Coffee at the ready, goodies on the table and the New York Times available each morning, all offered a great start to the day. A room with a view is the Gathering Room! Alex and Janet enjoyed the new deck off the River House bar , enjoying the view and often spotting Dolphins in the creek and feeling cheated if the Dolphins failed to appear.

So many of our memories of the island come from being outside in nature: looking for Dolphins and Birds from the River House Dock, listening to the clapper rails in the marsh, catching Redfish in the Shrimp Pond and The Great Salt Pond, going to the Owl Prowls, sighting the Bald Eagles, learning about snakes in the Nature Center. The beauty and mystery of Spring Island captured our imagination from the very beginning. We are especially grateful to Chris, Tony, Kristen and the Low Country Institute. As a family of environmentalists and ecologists, we are so pleased that the Spring Island Trust practices adaptive land management with and with an eye towards sustainability. We really appreciate all that you and the Trust do to the preserve Spring Island for future generations and thinks it is wonderful how much effort you put into educating residents and the wider public about the rare beauty of these valuable communities, and their need for protection. We know that the wildlife that call Spring Island home and the habitat they depend on are in good hands. This means a lot to us as we say goodbye.

Emily and Jeffery remember riding bikes around the Island and seeing it for the first time during their honeymoon 13 years ago. They ended up parking on a dock and walking out to the edge near open water and spooking a big ray. Something they had never seen before. They sent us a picture from their honeymoon of another unusual wild animal sighting, the “Dead Jaguar” on Spring Island Drive. Janet had loaned her Jaguar convertible to them for the drive to Spring Island and it gave out as they were touring the Island, requiring a rescue and a tow to Bluffton. A Dead Jaguar is now sitting in the Athens driveway!

Emily and her dad Alex had another major critter sighting when they saw a Manatee at Bonny Shore. Emily made eye contact with the Manatee as it rose out of the water, spurring a belief that perhaps people do have spirit animals.

Our son Phillip, big brother to Katie and Emily, died last year. He and his Husband David also honeymooned on Spring Island,driving to the Island during a tropical Storm in the same Jag. They especially enjoyed riding horses from the stables and just hanging out near the water at the River House. Phillip had a love of Birds and Bird watching is good on Spring Island. A blue Bird House sits in front of the Brittany Cottage and we all loved the sights and sounds of the rookery on the Golf Course.

Katie and Andrew are Ecologists and enjoyed learning about the natural history of Spring Island and the Low Country. They had countless encounters with wildlife, paddling the wetlands, and biking to the rookery and waterfall farm. One unforgettable moment occurred one 4th of July evening. With the sun setting over Chechessee Creek five Dolphins jumped out of the water in unison with the brilliant colors of the sunset splashed over them. It was the best 4th of July fireworks ever!

Katie gave a trust talk about her Coral Reef research in the Florida Keys. Emily and Jeffery live and work in the Colorado Mountains, making their visits to the South Carolina Lowcountry a special treat. Their environmental work in Colorado is also trust talk material! Emily works for the Trust For Public Land and Jeffery for the Estes Valley Land Trust.

We are all originally from Georgia. Janet and Alex were looking for a “Beach House” when Alex discovered Spring Island. He had spent time in his early years in Sapelo Island, a Georgia research center. Spring Island had the same attributes and of course, much better amenities. Not the beach house, but we will miss the Brittany Cottage. The Low Country gets in your soul and it is hard to leave, but there is a right time for everything. We have a rich store of memories which we will never lose.

Thanks for all you do and keep up the good work!

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