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Best place for a beach getaway/history lesson: Sapelo Island

Staff Pick

Who wouldn't want to visit a village called Hog Hammock? Sapelo Island ranks as one of the state's most historically significant and downright interesting places for two reasons: It's home to a thriving community of descendants of the Gullah-Geechee culture of coastal Georgia and South Carolina; and it's the site of the Reynolds Mansion, a Gilded Age estate last owned by tobacco mogul R.J. Reynolds. The island itself, accessible only by ferry or small plane, comes with the beaches, marshes, trails, wildlife and Spanish moss-draped trees you'd expect, as well as old ruins and a charmingly picturesque candy-striped lighthouse. But it also boasts Hog Hammock, one of Georgia's last remaining Gullah communities, where the culture of coastal African-Americans has been preserved for generations. Finally, there's the antebellum plantation, which dates back nearly 200 years and is now maintained by the state, after having been donated by the Reynolds family. The 13-room mansion itself can be rented out for about $17,000 a week. Got 15 rich friends? 912-485-2299.

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