Discover fun facts and stories About your favorite island.
By Vicki Hogue-Davies
A Horse Named Sea Island
Thoroughbred racehorse Sea Island gained her name from the coastal retreat. Bred by the highly acclaimed Phipps Stable, the filly was born in 2009. Her sire is Pulpit and her dam is Resort.
“We always try to name the foals having something to do with their dams,” says Daisy Phipps Pulito, one of the stable’s owners. She notes that she married her husband, David, at Sea Island in 2010. The Phipps’ have held two family reunions there and she, her father and brother have golfed at Sea Island many times. “When it came time to name [the racehorse], I was looking for a resort to name her after and checked with the Jockey Club registry, and Sea Island was available.”
Phipps Pulito says, “It is a beautiful place and we have many fond memories there.”
Babies A and B
Even before they were born, Ryan and Kyle McCracken (now 14-year-olds) were future members of Sea Island. Their parents, members Robert and Debbie McCracken, bought the twins legacy memberships—which will transfer to them when they are 25 years old—while the boys were still in the womb. Debbie’s obstetrician called the soon-to-be-born children “Baby A” and “Baby B,” and that is what Debbie called them in the resort’s legacy membership application. At the resort, the “baby” names stuck, and the boys were commonly known throughout Sea Island as Baby A (Ryan) and Baby B (Kyle). More memberships may be in the family’s future. Debbie explains, “On a recent visit, Kyle said, ‘This was the best place to grow up. I’m going to raise my kids here.’ ”
Songs From Sea Island
“The Georgia Sea Island Singers are so loved in this area,” says Susan Durkes, former site director for the Smithsonian Institution’s New Harmonies program, which highlights American music. “They are really, really, really talented singers.”
Sharing their Gullah heritage through music, dance, stories and other performance art since the early 20th century, the singers have performed for several presidents, at two Olympic games and at other high-profile events, including the 2004 G-8 Summit. Their music and stories reside in the Library of Congress, and to this day the much-loved group, which has included many individuals throughout its history, performs periodically at Sea Island.
The Sea Island Singers evolved from an earlier group that amateur folklorist Lydia Parrish, wife of artist Maxfield Parrish, started around 1920. That group, called the Spiritual Singers Society of Coastal Georgia, was started partly to perform at The Cloister at Sea Island.
In 1935, the group, which by then had become the Sea Island Singers, was discovered by folk music field collector Alan Lomax while he was visiting St. Simons Island. Lomax returned in 1959 to record them in what became the “Alan Lomax Collection, Southern Journey” series.
About today’s generation of singers, Durkes says, “They are just unbelievable, and they relate beautifully with audiences.”
Member Helen Certain Rentz
Helen Certain Rentz fondly remembers the time she spent at Sea Island as a child through her family’s membership and today she, her husband Jeffrey Rentz, and their children are making their own memories as members.
Her favorite …
• Time of year: summer
• Cocktail: a crisp, cold glass of pinot
grigio from the River Bar
the Beach Club snack bar
• Outdoor activity: playing with her
young boys at the beach and poolside at
the Beach Club
• Scenic spot: the view from an
Adirondack chair at The Lodge
• Sound: bagpipes at sunset at The Lodge
• Sunset-viewing spot: from the River Bar and Black Banks Terrace
Frequent guest Georgia Bailey Usry
At 6 years old, Georgia Bailey Usry began visiting Sea Island every year with family and friends, and she has kept the tradition alive with her own family, which includes her 14-year-old daughter, Carolyn.
Her favorite …
• Time of day: sunset
• Sunset-viewing spot: sitting on the
lawn at the River Club
• Meal: mussels at the River Bar
• Activities: bingo, sailing, tennis and
relaxing on the beach
• Indoor spot: The Spanish Lounge at
• Outdoor spot: where the horse
riding trail meets the beach on the
undeveloped south end of the island
• Wildlife activity: Sea Island’s falconry program
• Overall favorite part of Sea Island: how family-oriented
Sea Island is and the lifelong friends she’s made m