When you drive to St. Simons Island, you have to drive through Brunswick to get there. Last year Tom and I spent a lot of time on the island and rarely went to Brunswick. This year Tom and I are visiting this small city more often and have explored a bit.
Brunswick is a newer city, founded in 1856, with a current population of 15,000. Although tourism is an important industry in the county, the city is more industrial. Shipping and the pulp industry are both important. Specifically, Brunswick is one of the busiest automobile shipping ports in the United States. It is the primary export facility for Ford and General Motors. It is also the central import facility for Hyundai, Kia, Porsche, and Volkswagen. Consequently, as you drive along the southern edge of the city, you can see acres and acres of vehicles being processed in or out of the country.
The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) is located in Brunswick. FLETC trains all the law enforcement officers for the National Park Service. They also offer a lot of specialized training for Homeland Security and other Federal Law Enforcement agencies. FLETC is the largest employer in the county.
Wood pulp is produced by the Georgia-Pacific mill. The mill, in operation since 1937, has the capability to produce over 800,000 metric tons of cellulose each year. Usually we don’t notice it, but when the wind blows just right you can smell the pulp mill.
Brunswick is a modern city with all the amenities. You can find every chain grocery store, retail store, or chain restaurant you want. The downtown area is pretty run down with plenty of closed buildings. However, like many downtowns these days, they are trying to revitalize it with restaurants and art galleries. Because Brunswick is the county seat, the downtown also houses federal, state, and local government buildings.
Brunswick is laid out on the Oglethorpe plan, which means it has little pocket parks all over the older part of the city. We have enjoyed walking through several of them with their fountains and informational signs. We especially enjoy the Mary Ross Waterfront Park across the street from the library. From this small park you can watch container ships unloading or read about the manufacture of Merchant Marine ships in the city during WWII.
Brunswick calls itself, “a city for all seasons.” We have only been here in the winter and spring and there is always plenty going on. I think it would get pretty hot in the summer, but the Brunswick city page says that is the time to enjoy the waterways and the ocean. There is certainly plenty of water here! Rivers, creeks, ocean, bays, and beautiful marshes filled with birds and boats. If you visit the Golden Isles, you will want to be sure to set aside some time to visit Brunswick.