Hog Hammock is a small Geechee/Gullah community of about 45 people on Sapelo Island, Georgia. Geechee/Gullah refers to a distinct African-American culture that developed primarily along the Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia. The culture is called "Gullah" in South Carolina, and "Geechee" in Georgia. Sapelo’s Hog Hammock community is made up of the decedents of slaves who worked the plantation of Thomas Spalding. More About Sapelo's History
Behavior Cemetery is a unique post-Civil War African American burial ground located in the center, south end of Sapelo Island. It is one-and-one-fourth miles west of Hog Hammock, the sole surviving African American community on the island. The cemetery reflects African American burial customs.
There have been two lighthouses at Sapelo Island. The lighthouse that is standing now (restored in 1998) was built in 1820 but a hurricane and tidal rise in 1898 left the lower part of the lighthouse eighteen feet underwater for several hours. It so severely undermined and damaging the foundation of the brick tower that it was deemed unsafe and a second Sapelo Island lighthouse was built in 1905 to replace it just a few hundred yards away. See More
RJ Reynolds Mansion
The original Mansion was designed and built from tabby, a mixture of lime, shells and water, by Thomas Spalding, an architect, statesman and plantation owner who purchased the south end of the island in 1802. The Mansion served as the Spalding Plantation Manor from 1810 until the Civil War. It fell into ruin after being damaged by Union attack during the Civil War and was later purchased and rebuilt by Detroit automotive engineer Howard Coffin in 1912. More Info
Visitors will have opportunities to see wildlife ranging from coastal wading birds to American alligators to white-tailed deer and the occasional wild turkey. The true wildlife gem on Sapelo is the abundance of birds. Neotropical migrants, marsh birds, shorebirds, raptors, game birds, and even off-shore species like the spectacular gannet can be seen while visiting the island.
Beach Walk & Shelling
Sapelo Island Beaches are pristine, undeveloped, unspoiled, and certainly uncrowded. Nanny Goat Beach on Sapelo is known for having the most extensive undisturbed natural beach dunes along the Georgia coast.
Sapelo Indian Shell Rings
A mysterious 6-foot high ring of oyster shells left by Native Americans centuries ago. Habitation of Sapelo goes back 4,500 years, evidenced by the large shell ring more than ten feet high and 300 feet in diameter. The ring was formed over a period of hundreds of years as the Native American inhabitants cast their oyster shells upon the growing heap surrounding the village. More Info
Geechee Basket Making Demonstrations
Traditional African sweetgrass basket making has been a part of Sapelo Island’s Geechee culture since the community's ancestors first arrived in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. Witnessing how a sweetgrass basket is made with Sapelo Island saw palmetto and sweetgrass is an enriching way to appreciate Sapelo residents' deep connection to their African roots. The demonstration also helps you appreciate Sapelo Island's present day natural environment and its importance to its Geechee Community. Master basket maker Yvonne Grovner (912-506-0944) can not only demonstrate her art by appointment, she can also take your order for a custom basket to take home with you or have shipped when completed. For her traditional craft, Yvonne was honored with the 2020 Governor’s Award in the Arts and Humanities. Click the image below to learn more about her craft and her pride in receiving this prestigious award.
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Experience the hidden history of Sapelo Island with expert guidance from a direct descendant of the slaves brought to Sapelo in the early 1800s to work the plantations