Harlan Hamright and Richard Leo Johnson
At the Strachan Carriage House, guests relax in the shadows of the early-20th-century rich and famous—or at least spend a week vacationing in their garage.
Yachtsman/millionaire F.D.M. Strachan (pronounced "strawn") built the carriage house around 1910 as part of an extensive waterfront estate. Legend has it that after the prestigious Jekyll Island Club rejected Strachan's application for membership, he traveled to St. Simons, bought a former plantation on the south end, and built a mansion so impressive it put the club to shame. The house was dismantled and barged to Daufuskie Island, South Carolina, in 1986, but the carriage house, with its four-car garage bay and upstairs servants' quarters, remained on St. Simons.
Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997, this six-bedroom rental blends historic charm and modern amenities. While brick floors downstairs recall the home's former function, a 52-foot veranda upstairs encourages today's guests to stay awhile. Undeterred by the wear and tear rental properties inevitably face, owner Patty Deveau tastefully furnished the carriage house so that guests feel pampered.
The rental's prime location puts it within walking distance of the village, fishing pier, St. Simons Island Lighthouse, and beach. But pay attention to the tide schedule (posted inside the pantry): As the tide rolls in, what appears to be perfect castle-building sand quickly becomes ocean floor. That signals guests to head back to the house for a dip in the pool before gathering around the large dining room table for a meal prepared in the commercial-grade kitchen. (Fear not, non-chefs: There are plenty of excellent restaurants within walking distance, too.)
(published September 2007)