Last year, my friend Patty Morrison and I spent four days in mid-October 2015 at the King & Prince Hotel on St. Simons Island – see St Simons Island, Georgia, a Love Story.. We enjoyed ourselves so much we decided to return Oct. 14 – 18, 2016 to our special place in southeastern Georgia.

We were also worried about destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew’s winds and storm surge and luckily found less damage than we expected.

The Torras Causeway cuts across five miles of marsh and rivers. Our first site of storm damage was to the island’s famous marshes.

Much of the marsh grass was flooded and under water, or simply uprooted. The marsh is resilient and the grass will eventually return.

One of the island’s iconic structures is the Lighthouse which the week before was engulfed in three feet of water caused by a six to nine foot storm surge. I saw a video of the seawater rising up and waves rolling by the lighthouse. The Arnold Road video showed three feet of water rolling around the King & Prince Hotel and standing in front of the beloved Crab Trap and Crabdaddy’s restaurants.

The storm surge rose well above the below sea wall and water filled the Village, the island’s main commercial center. The tide pictured is higher than normal due to a historical annual high tide during mid-October.

Gould’s Inlet adjacent to the East Beach is noted for the tides and currents that constantly change the sandbars that appear at low tide. Two virtual rectangular super sandbars now appear at low tide with new sandbars rising from the sea in front of the King & Prince.

The celebrated and miles long East Beach is accessible by foot from Gould’s Inlet. The wooden stairway was partially washed away and must be rebuilt.

The East Beach Road marsh is one of the thickest and most dramatic of all the island’s beautiful marshes – one can see new streams carved out by Matthew’s winds and surges.

Access to the East Beach area and Coast Guard Station was currently limited due to ongoing repair work in the area – electric wires fell and power lines were being rebuilt.

This picture provides a closer look at the mitigation efforts by Emergency Response Teams that got the island up and working in less than a week.

St. Simons Island is noted for its vast tree cover of live oaks that an arborist might value in the billions of dollars. Although the tree cover did take a serious hit, it is safe to conclude that the island’s green treasure survived in fairly good shape.

Two massive live oaks on Butler Street (above picture) survived despite losing a lot of branches and perhaps half of its leaves.

My friend John Allen, an islander, assessed that the live oaks came through alright but a lot of water oaks split or toppled.

Above tree fell on house, below tree uprooted but held up by adjacent tree.

Many residences suffered water seepage as exhibited below in ruined carpet and plastic bags full of damaged home goods.

I captured a live oak, located ironically on Oak Street, that survived the storm fairly intact but with serious loss of small branches and leaves.

I often accompany John Allen during my visits while he walks his dog Daisy around the Village. Mallery Park is probably both Daisy’s and my favorite stop during the tour – have always been in awe of the stately live oaks that grace the park. I was both happy that this distinguished congregation of oaks came through okay but suffered a measure of disfiguration.

The King & Prince Hotel combines a fabulous ocean-front location with a spacious, comfortable facility and staffed by attentive, capable people. Our ocean view suite is at far right of picture.

The suite is fully furnished with daily maid service.

The view from our second floor terrace captured new sandbars appearing at low tide.

In contrast, I took a picture of the ocean at high tide. Coincidentally, an annual mid-October event, a historic high tide, occurred a week after a historic storm surge.

Below, a post-card from St. Simons, is a glorious sunset that I captured our last night.

Patty requested that I try to photograph the moon over St. Simons too – gave it a good effort.

This is an appropriate place to say ‘that’s all folks’. There’s a good chance there will be a St. Simon’s III in 2017.