Adventuring: Jekyll Island (Day Two, Part One), or The Part Everyone’s Been Asking About

After returning to our hotel room and having a terribly uncomfortable and almost sleepless night, we all woke up early the next morning and hurried down to the beach, intent on beating the sun which was scheduled to rise at 7:04. Watching the sun rise together had been on both of our lists for quite awhile and Jekyll Island provided the perfect opportunity to make that happen.

sunrise from our hotel room

it's happening!

The three of us meandered along in the sand, looking out at the horizon every few minutes to catch a glimpse of the bright orange and pink rays. While we waited for the big show to start, Elle ran ahead of Matt and me and rushed us to see her newfound treasures: a dead jellyfish, whole sand dollars that had been washed ashore, shrimp exoskeletons, and whelks – some inside the shell, some outside.

jellyfish - you can see his brains!

Those are not his brains. Those are his "special parts" that help make baby jellyfish...just keepin' it clean here, folks.

dying whelk

dying whelk

For the most part, we were the only ones on the beach, save for a couple who was walking quite a distance north of us. Flip flops belonging to a stranger had been left near the boardwalk and an abandoned beach chair rested close to the dunes, turned over on its side. It was quiet and perfect. The birds began flying out to catch some fish for breakfast, flocks of them coming every few minutes. While I took photographs of the sunrise, Matt and Elle walked ahead of me. Clueless me just kept snap, snap, snapping away…


sunrise on Jekyll Island



When I caught up to the two of them, Elle took off to find some more washed-up sea animals and Matt and I congratulated each other on having come up with such a badass idea and actually dragging ourselves out of bed early enough to pull it off. Elle suddenly became really excited and begged for us to hurry, hurry, hurry to look at what she’d just found.

Must be something good!

After Matt and I reached her, I noticed she was standing next to a package of some kind of ramen noodles. Not really a fantastic beach find, if you ask me. Then Elle showed me what she had been holding in her hand, a decorative shell case with a small latch that she couldn’t get open. Matt took over and I begged him to be careful because OMG you don’t know what’s in there IT COULD BITE YOU OR STING YOU and you could LOSE A FINGER … BE CAREFUL GEEESH!!, but instead he pulled out a ring, got down on one knee, and asked me to be his wife.

HOLY FRIGGIN’ CRAP! Then I said yes.

the engagement ring

ogle the pretty ring

I love that Matt included Elle in on his plan. Elle loves that Matt included her in on his plan! One day when things have settled and the next steps have been taken, I will be able to better describe how a sunrise on Jekyll Island was a big important moment that took nearly 20 years to make happen.

I know I said that I would break down our Jekyll Island trip one day at a time, but really – this all happened before 7:00 in the morning and, obviously, there was so much more that happened later with so much more of the day left to enjoy (canoeing, sea turtle babies, and Stargate!). However, I think it’s appropriate to just sit on this moment for now…

sunrise on Jekyll Island


pelicans and a perfect sunrise


'til next time...


About Dena

I'm a suburban Clevelander by way of Oklahoma City, by way of North Florida, by way of Southern Maryland, by way of Upper Michigan, by way of Northern Italy, by way of Lower Michigan, by way of Texas. Because of living in so many places, I have something in common with almost everyone I meet. I love reading, writing, and American history (especially reading or writing about American history). I'm interested in culture of place, historical trauma, and writing about the kinds of histories most people don't know about.
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17 Responses to Adventuring: Jekyll Island (Day Two, Part One), or The Part Everyone’s Been Asking About

  1. Congrats on the engagement! I went on a day trip to Savannah this weekend and noticed signs for Jekyll Island. Glad to see its a beautiful place!

  2. Dena says:

    It is a gem! Because it’s a state park, it’s remarkably clean, safe, and serene. No matter where you go, where you are, you hear very little traffic and alot of birds. Very peaceful!

  3. Call me insane but I’m CRYING!! seriously my eyes are all welled up at the beauty of your proposal, but it goes a bit deeper than that. From everything you;ve written of Matt, he seems like a truly good man; many people would say “oh my God, you’re so LUCKY! a good guy!” I don’t think luck enters into it…not even one iota!!
    When you really KNOW yourself—when you’ve taken brutal stock of choices you’ve made (and the reasons behind them,)—you begin to see patterns and where a slight change in course might have brought you to a completely different destination with a completely different set of people to meet! From reading your blog, I get the sense you’ve figured out who you are and that wisdom brought you to a man worthy of you and your daughter!

    Is there a blog post I may have missed that shares how you and he met? I know you’ve been long-distance for awhile, so does this mean someone will be moving?

    I’m so thrilled for you all! Now the fun begins!!! 🙂

    • Dena says:

      You are so kind! Yep, he’s one of the last nice guys out there and I’ve known that from day one 🙂

      The moving part is a complication that we’ve been working on for a few months, still up in the air! No blog post about our meeting yet but the short story is we knew each other in high school…in another state! Thanks for the reconnect, Facebook!

      It’s hard to begin the story of the two of us without the immediate conclusion..I guess we’re just kind of waiting for that to happen so we can move forward!

  4. mountainmae says:

    Gorgeous ring! May you find more Joy than you thought possible.

  5. David Patterson says:

    Congratulations to all three of you!

  6. Lee Ellzey says:

    Great sunrise pics!

  7. ~Matt says:

    I’m the lucky one here! Just glad she said yes…

  8. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Also, congrats on your engagement. And, I love your pics of the island–makes me want to go there!

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