Recently I travelled with friends by boat through the low country to Ossabaw Island. There is no other way to arrive there. This barrier Island off the coast of Georgia is one of the few unspoiled areas along the 100 mile Eastern coast of Georgia. One family had owned it, until the last heir died this past year at the age of 108.
There is so much history here, but I wont attempt to delve into that in a short post. Our trip was possible through the Ossabaw Island Fooundation, and I recommend visiting their web page for more information, http://www.ossabawisland.org. I would like to show you some photos.
We left from Butter Bean beach near Skidaway Island.
After a 40 minute ride along the river, arriving at the dock, this island was a serene outpost where I could not imagine one woman living alone for decades..”Sandy” Torrey West (1913-2021) was an inspirational and enthusiastic protector of her island, where she lived full time from the age of 75-103.
She loved the wildness of the Island and kept it that way but invited visitors from the world of the arts who were able to retreat to this natural space. She also loved her menagerie of wild animals. Some donkeys remain there, and most certainly some wild hogs.
She was born to a wealthy family in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, and her debutant-like upbringing did not prepare her, as such, for the life she was to lead when her parents bought the Island in 1924; 26,000 acres of forest, marsh and wild animals.
She allowed the wild animals to roam free on the 26,000 acres when she inherited the Island from her parents. Some of the donkeys remain along with alligators, hogs and many wild creatures.
We hiked into an area where she housed visiting artists over the years.
The Foundation now invites artists to take up residence, to this day. We walked the paths, and found some remaining slave quartes from a distant past.
We saw many decrepit out buildings, but were not invited to view the main house which the Torrey family built by 1926. From reports, it was once was a majestic home but is now in need of repair. This Island has 4,000 years of human habitation, from Native American Indians, colonial plantation owners, as well as enslaved and tenant farmers. The stories of those people add to the imaginative mind that is overwhelmed when stepping foot on this magical Island.
I hope to return to this incredible ecosystem which has lessons yet unlearned.