The town of Folkston, Georgia was officially incorporated on April 3, 1895 as a circle one mile in diameter with the depot of the S.F.& W. Railroad as center. In 1901, the Charlton County seat was moved to Folkston from Traders Hill on the St. Mary’s River. Folkston soon became the commercial center of the county, growing from a population of 167 in 1900 to 355 in 1910. In 1911, the city of Folkston was chartered and according to McQueen and Mizell’s History of the Okefenokee Swamp, by the mid-1920s boasted an “artesian water system and electric lights, two miles of graded streets and cement sidewalks, 14 stores, bank, newspaper, two hotels, two barber shops, three garages, two restaurants, two drug stores, bottling works, ginnery, grist mill, turpentine works, and an all-night telegraph office. Today Folkston has 2500 residents. In addition, Folkston borders on the largest freshwater swamp in North America, the Okefenokee.
In the last couple of years, B. J. and I have made friends with Cathy and Keith Daniels who are lifetime residents of Folkston. Cathy is our Weight Watcher mentor who comes to St. Simons every Tuesday night to try to help us lose weight. Cathy and Keith are fun people and we have taken quite a liking to them. We have spent much time with them in Folkston, on SSI and, as you might guess, the Okefenokee. They have carried us to places in the swamp that we probably would not have seen otherwise.
B. J. and I had been planning to attend the annual Great Okefenokee Festival always held the second weekend in October. When it came that time, we packed Big Red’s saddlebag for an overnight and headed for the swamp. At 5:15pm on Friday, I reined Big Red into the parking lot at the popular Okefenokee Restaurant in Folkston. There to greet us was our friend Cathy. Her hubby Keith had not arrived yet so we found some seats, sat, and visited while we waited.
The appetizing fragrance from the restaurant teased our appetites unmercifully. Crowds of hungry people were going in ahead of us. We hoped Keith would hurry.
The bountiful Friday night buffet at the Okefenokee includes but is not limited to luscious shrimp prepared in various ways, scallops, hush puppies, fried whole catfish, baked fish, delicious deviled crab, seafood casserole, seafood gumbo, grilled pork chops, grits, fried frog legs, a plentiful salad bar, and desserts. Finally, Keith arrived. We dived in and helped ourselves under the watchful eyes of Cathy. Cathy is enjoyable and entertaining. We laughed, talked, and carried on as we relished the fundelicious fare. Keith joins right in there too and keeps the action moving.
After dinner, Cathy and Keith escorted us to our lodging, The Inn at Folkston. The Inn at Folkston is a nice, cozy bed and breakfast. It is kind of like a condo only they cook for you there.
We were greeted on the big front porch by the ever-so-nice innkeeper Janis Richtmyer. After handshakes and introductions, we were cordially escorted into a posh living room with a big homey fireplace.
Following a few more moments of getting acquainted, we were ushered through a door that read English Garden to our abode for the night. Our “bed” was much more than a bed. In addition to a plush king size bed, there was a den in one corner, a desk, comfortable recliners, our own private fireplace, a big bath with a shower and a Jacuzzi. There were lots of goodies placed here and there to munch on in case we had a snack attack; it was great! Cathy and Keith came in and we gathered in the living room and plopped down on the relaxing couch to palaver and make some exciting plans for the next day.
After lounging and soaking up the down-home atmosphere for a while, we sacked out in the soft bed. We were out like a light. Janis would have breakfast ready for us at 7:30am.
The night went by too fast. We awoke to the toothsome aroma of cooking bacon. This perked up our appetites and got us wide-awake. The dining room was adorable and finely set in Southern Living fashion. Lots of coffee, orange juice, delicious fruit salad, bacon, fluffy blueberry pancakes, syrup, and jams and jellies would get us ready for the day at the Great Okefenokee Festival. Cathy and Keith would join us soon for a day of fun and festivities.
By the way, I have suggested to Weight Watchers that we have a fish fry. Marsha said that we could have it at her house in Sea Palms. - Continued next week.