A NATURAL HIDEAWAY ON THE GEORGIA COAST

FarmBBMelonBluffThe Farm at B & B Melon BluffLooking across the marsh towards Ossabaw Island from Melon Bluff on the Georgia Coast, the feelings that ran through me from this natural panorama must have been similar to those of the first English settlers. They had survived the hell of King George’s debtor’s prisons to come to this unspoiled land with their dreams of a better life.

Despite battles with money hungry developers and threats of the imminent domain laws, Laura and Meredith Devendorf have been able to hang on to and preserve the land that has been in their family since a King’s Grant was issued in 1745. This gorgeous, pristine part of the vanishing Georgia Coast offers sweeping river views, mysterious wetlands, and majestic moss-draped ancient oaks. Melon Bluff’s unspoiled landscape of woods, marshes, and river provide miles and miles of private grassy and watery trails abounding with wildlife and natural scenery.

Over the past several hundred years, the land has been influenced by early Native American culture, Spanish occupation, the first introduction of African culture, English settlements, and a once-thriving rice plantation atmosphere. It has also withstood the devastation of the War Between the States, abandonment, and poverty-based subsistence farming. The land at Melon Bluff has survived massive timbering, and now, instead of dying under asphalt and subdivisions, Laura and Meredith Devendorf’s efforts have given this jewel on the Georgia Coast a vital new life through historic and environmental research, education, and eco-tourism.

“At Melon Bluff, we are concerned with and fascinated by the way people and the environment intermingle,” said Meredith Devendorf. “In a world of modern cities and rapid communication, it is easy to lose sight…literally…of our natural roots and how they weave together with history and the future. As conservationists, we do not separate man from the natural world, but we seek to reconnect people with nature through positive experiences at Melon Bluff. Our hope is that those who visit or participate in an outreach program will learn valid ecological principles so that they may, in turn, make sound decisions about wise management of our remaining natural resources.”

A highlight is the Melon Bluff Nature Center, which is located three miles east of I-95, Georgia Exit 76 at US 84/GA 38. This also serves as the trailhead for all trails including the Devendorf Forested Flyways Birding Trail. This namesake trail is approximately 2.5 miles in length and runs from the Nature Center through pine uplands, mixed hardwood forest, blackwater swamp, and fields to Hidden Lake. Signs along the trail highlight various ecological concepts related to birds and forests. The trail is open during regular park hours or by appointment for groups of 6 or more.

At nearby Palmyra Plantation, deluxe lodging accommodations and gourmet dining have a special appeal to those who enjoy a quiet, secluded, and beautiful break from the rest of the world. The Barn is a unique bed & breakfast inn located in a restored 1930’s farm building set amid ancient cathedral oaks on a river bluff. This structure contains nine rooms with private bath, including 2 exceptional suites. Also, The Cottage is circa 1840, and is ideal for 2-6 people in the same party. It’s also a very romantic honeymoon hideaway. The sun and moon rise spectacularly from the river at the front door, and often species of endangered birds can be observed.

Overnight guests are nestled in the middle of 5000 completely private acres of forests, marshes, and fields. It is only a 35-minute drive from Savannah’s old world charm and historic attractions, but reservations are required. Potential visitors can telephone: 912-884-5779 or email info@melonbluff.com.

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