June 18--Golden Isles residents and visitors will soon see some new signs at Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation.
The 1,268-acre historic site on U.S. 17 has been open to the public only three days a week, but now the new signs will say "Closed Monday and Tuesdays" only.
Effective July 1, the state park will shift from a three-day operating schedule to a five-day schedule.
From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, guests will be able to walk the sprawling landscape and enjoy the expanse of majestic oaks.
When the Georgia legislature slashed the site's budget in 2009 to less than half its previous funding, the park was open to visitors only three days a week, Thursdays through Saturdays.
Site manager Bill Giles is thrilled to be putting up new information on signs and replacing the current park brochures.
"It's still not quite the full operating schedule we had, but it's pretty close to it. It's a step forward," he said. "We think it's going to be very successful."
The new operating hours are part of a proposed business plan Giles has presented that will make the park more self-sufficient. Being so close to Interstate 95, he says, and having more days open will definitely mean more visitors. The park will even be hiring some part-time help to keep things moving smoothly.
Giles adds that the new operating schedule can be attributed significantly to the work of Friends of Hofwyl-Broadfield, a citizen support group for the site, and local politicians.
The site also received a certificate of excellence from TripAdvisor for the second year in a row in 2014, signifying its importance to the tourism community of the Golden Isles.
Though the park will still operate only three days a week through the end of June, the site is hosting special plantation walks and separate kids activities on Saturdays.
Giles says it's a chance for the whole family to step back in time and a particularly great opportunity for parents to spend some time together while their children get outside and learn.
The plantation walks, led by Giles himself, are from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturdays with a cost of $10 for adults and $5 for youth. The kid's activities -- which include treasure hunts, games, arts and crafts and geocaching -- run at the same time.
-- Reporter Sarah Lundgren writes about education and other local topics. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 322.
Contact the site
Contact Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation at 264-7333.
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