On the northern end of Sapelo Island reside the tabby ruins of Chocolate Plantation. The tabby ruins include the main house, slave cabins, barn, and what may have been a storehouse. In the 1920s Howard Coffin covered the barn with Revival Tabby made of Portland cement, which is falling off so that the original tabby can now be seen underneath.
According to the marker at the site, French Royalists who owned the land from 1789-1795 named it “Chocolate” after the Guale Native American village on Sapelo called “Chucalate.” The French sold it to Edward Swarbreck, who constructed the tabby slave cabins and the tabby main house in 1819. Charles Rogers, owner of the plantation in the 1830s, built the tabby barn, which was restored by Howard Coffin in the 1920s. The main house burned in 1853 during the residency of Randolph Spalding. R. J. Reynolds purchased the island in 1934, and his widow sold it to the State of Georgia, which now manages it.
GPS: N 31°29.978 and W 81°15.174
Address: The departure point for the ferry is the Sapelo Island Visitors Center, at 1766 Landing Rd. SE, Darien GA 31305. Once on the island travel north on the West Perimeter Rd. (the paved road will become a dirt road). Chocolate plantation is on the left, near the marsh facing the mainland.
Accessibility: Sapelo Island can only be reached by ferry or boat. (For more information on the ferry and visiting the island, go to http://www.sapelonerr.org/.) Chocolate Plantation is not part of the Georgia DNR’s standard tour of the island; their occasional “hidden gem” tour sometimes features Chocolate Plantation. Otherwise, a private tour with a guide must be arranged.