When we started our adventure, I noticed that a friend was saying the name of Sapelo the way the islander’s say it. Sapelo with the ending being short and snappy.

I thought, You know what you are doing. Have you ever heard someone from Tennessee say the name of that state? If you have you understand, it is an entirely different way to pronounce the name. That’s the way it is with Sapelo: there is another dialect—one that I find beautiful and worthy of never losing. But that is what is happening to the culture of this island, it is fading. As the children grow up, they are leaving and with each one goes the potential of losing something very important to each one of us—history and the ability to remember what matters most.

If you visit Sapelo Island, more than likely you will meet Yvonne Grovner and one of her sons. They work for the state of Georgia but they also are the ones, who are committed to preserving the history of the island.


She took us to her church: St. Luke’s Baptist. There are two churches on the island but this is the one that she attends and the one that is the newest. It was founded in 1874!

A bench located near the island’s store is a gathering place.

And this clay jar outside the R. J. Reynolds mansion (Reynolds Tobacco) is one of the few remaining relics of the sugar plant. At one time, sugar cane grew in the fields of Sapelo Island, but this is not the case today. Cotton fields also blanketed the island but those are gone, too.

The beaches are still there and beautiful. They leave you speechless and wondering what it would be like to be there at sunset.

The temperature was much too hot for my friends from Pennsylvania. They found a prime spot in the island’s only shelter overlooking the beach. I took photos and walked along the beach with those who had traveled to the island with me and occasionally looked back to see if they were okay. They would throw up a hand and wave as if to say, “Have fun. We’re just happy to be in the shade!” (smile)