A short drive from Hilton Head, South Carolina is the storied city of Savannah, Georgia. One of the oldest estates in this historic city is Wormsloe, originally built by Noble Jones. He came with the first group of Georgia settlers and filled various important roles in the colony. Today, his home is mere ruins, but it is preserved along with his story as a Georgia State Park.
As you arrive at this historic place, you are greeted by an elegant archway that frames the spectacular oak-lined drive. Just inside the gate is a small cottage where guests can check in, pay the admission fee, and get oriented on what there is to see and do. It is all rather inviting.
From the entrance, it is a short drive to the visitor center. The drive up with the main drive is punctuated with dappled sunlight finding its way through the magnificent, moss-hung trees. Along the drive, you pass by the current residence of the Jones family, a more recent grand plantation-style mansion. It is their private residence, so you can only experience it from a distance.
At the visitor center, watch the video introducing the site and its family. It tells a fascinating thread of American history including the early days of the Georgia colony and its part in the Revolutionary War. There is also a gallery with information about the homestead, its history, and more.
The ruins themselves are not that impressive. It is more the story they tell. The old Jones home was built like a fort. It was a tabby structure, meaning it was built of oyster shells and natural binders and cements. The ruins are flaky remnants of a time gone by.
A walk around the ruins and down a nearby trail tell more about the history. It takes you to the oyster midden where Native Americans deposited their shellfish waste and where Noble Jones collected the shells for his home. The trail also leads by the edge of the water, a crucial player in the Revolutionary history of the site.
Another trail leads to a living history site that on select days has interpreters demonstrating life of Georgia from the early colonial days. Our visit didn’t coincide with one of these special days.
If you’re in the area, Wormsloe is a wonderful excursion. It gives a rich glimpse into an oft forgotten bit of America’s story.