BRUNSWICK, GEORGIA – There’s nothing like a day trip to a nearby location to change your perspective. Let’s say you live in the Golden Isles and frequent downtown Brunswick on the regular to conduct business, but haven’t paid much attention to the great dining, shopping, cultural and recreational resources that make up the downtown area. May we suggest hopping in your boat and making your way to the docks at Brunswick Landing Marina, or simply jumping in your car and heading to downtown Brunswick? There’s a lot to see and do.
The port city of Brunswick was chartered 250 years ago, but its long history began well before then. The flags of five nations have flown over the seaside idyll. Michael Torras, owner of Brunswick Landing Marina, has those five flags flying at the marina.
“Our area has been called the Land of Five Flags because of the different flags that have been flown here,” he said. “The flag of Spain was first raised over Georgia in 1526, when Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón arrived with 600 Spanish colonists to found the ill-fated settlement of San Miguel de Gualdape.”
Then, from 1562-1564, the French flag flew over the Golden Isles, as Jean Ribault, seeking a haven for French Huguenots, explored the Georgia Coast and built fortifications. In 1565, Spanish troops expelled the French and ruled until the early 1700s.
“In 1736, General James Edward Oglethorpe established Fort Frederica, the most expensive fort in the American colonies, on St. Simons Island,” said Torras. “The flag of Great Britain flew here, signifying an era of British dominance that lasted until the American Revolution in 1776 when our first national flag – with 13 stars and 13 stripes – was flown.”
The American flag was lowered in 1861, when Georgia, and other Southern states, seceded from the Union at the onset of the American Civil War.
“The ‘Stars and Bars,’ – the flag of the Confederate States of America, flew over the area until early 1862, when Union forces occupied the Georgia Coast,” Torras explained.
Following the end of the American Civil War in 1865, a series of American flags, changing as the nation grew and added a new star for each new state, have flown. The city was laid out in a grid, just like Savannah, but on a smaller scale. The downtown area is eminently walkable and ideal for riding bicycles too. Streets and squares still bear strong references to Great Britain – with Newcastle and Gloucester streets being the two main thoroughfares in downtown.
The picturesque city, with its old English names like Dartmouth, Albemarle and Norwich reflected on its street signs, its tree-lined residential areas, abundance of Victorian architecture to be found both in the downtown commercial and adjacent residential areas, and just a few blocks away are the busy waterfront docks where shrimpers and fishermen bring their catches every day. We have gathered 12 of the best stops in Brunswick for you to take in on your day trip. Enjoy.