Neighborhood Treasure Perched on the Intracoastal Waterway
Just a short 8 miles from Savannah, across a narrow river bridge takes you to Isle of Hope, a charming settlement with a rich history dating back thousand of years. It’s been described as ‘a quarter mile – and a world away – from the continental United States’.
Rich in History
As part of the oldest chain of marsh islands on the Atlantic coast, Native American, Anglo-American, and African-American inhabitants shaped this picturesque land over the centuries. It is bounded by the Skidaway River to the east and the non-historic development to the north, west and south. In 1733, Noble Jones, one of the original founders of the Georgia Colony established Wormsloe Plantation. Jones built a plantation for farming, and a fortress to protect the port of Savannah from a possible Spanish attack. The land was passed down to each generation until the 1970’s.
Summer Getaway or Year-round Residence?
In the 1800’s, Isle of Hope provided refuge for those who suffered from Savannah’s yellow fever epidemic. What started as a refuge for the sick, soon evolved into something very different. As more people discovered the island, the former plantation was subdivided, and sold as a fashionable summer retreat. Many prominent Savannah families bought the lots and built magnificent and palatial estates along the water to escape the intense heat and mosquitos during Savannah’s summer months. Its popularity as a summering spot increased in 1871, with the addition of a railroad line connecting it to the city, and by the early 20th century it had become a suburb of Savannah, with residents living on the island year-round. And the rest – as they say – is history.
A True Sense of Community
With its idyllic postcard setting, the Isle of Hope community feels like stepping back in time. It seems like it was taken from a page of a book – where children go outside to play with friends, or take a ride on their bikes to the marina to get a Popsicle. A true sense of community thrives here, and it’s special. Visitors are bewitched by the scenic views along the Skidaway River, the grand homes built by early Savannahians, the numerous historic sites, along with the abundant wildlife, and water sports. The marina, which is the only commercial establishment on the island, is the core of activity for both residents and those tourists. In fact, some boaters traveling along the Intracoastal Waterway dock at Isle of Hope marina, and choose never to leave! And that’s not surprising.
Quaint Cottage and Antebellum Mansions
Landscaped with old oak trees covered in Spanish moss, the houses range in style from Greek Revival, Victorian, and Neoclassical to Craftsman Bungalows. Magnificent antebellum homes and quaint summer cottages are speckled along the waterfront bluff. Several homes from the antebellum period remain, including the 1820 former caretaker’s cottage of Carsten Hall plantation. Houses in the island’s interior are well cared for, and come in a variety of styles and sizes with the median home price on the island in the mid 300’s. Much of the area remains unspoiled, and peaceful, yet offers close proximity to Savannah’s great restaurants, shopping, and historical sites.
A Serene Setting
With a population of less than 2,600, this quiet bedroom community is predominantly comprised of doctors, lawyers and other white-collar professionals. Retirees enjoy the serene setting, and young parents find the community a wonderful place to raise children. In fact, many of the children who grew up on Isle of Hope, are coming back, buying older homes, and restoring them back to their former glory.
The island’s beauty and history has also attracted a number of Hollywood film productions, including the Oscar-winning Glory, the original Cape Fear, and The Last of the Belles, Forrest Gump, and The Last Song.
Find out for yourself what makes Isle of Hope so special. But just a forewarning, if you visit this spectacular spot, you might never leave!