COVID-19 Travel Update | Greyfield Inn

To Our Guests,

We are pleased to welcome you for your upcoming stay at Greyfield. Even in these unprecedented times, it is our continued mission to provide a unique experience grounded in nature, island explorations, and delicious food and drink.

In order to safely do so and still provide you with an exceptional stay, we have enacted added measures and adjustments to our guest services and already stringent protocols to ensure the continued health of our guests and staff. This “new normal” will require some necessary modifications to our past procedures, but it does not mean our commitment to hospitality will waver in the slightest.

We have been carefully monitoring all news related to COVID-19, as well as all recommendations and alerts provided by the CDC and WHO, and in compliance with Georgia orders, the CDC, and health professionals’ guidelines, we are implementing the following practices.


  • Prior to your arrival, we ask that each individual visitor answers and returns our screening questionnaire no less than 72 hours before scheduled arrival. (Please note: you will receive this questionnaire via email in advance of your stay.) Any information provided will be kept strictly confidential. Upon review, management will make the determination of honoring or rescheduling your stay, and we will contact you via email to inform you of our decision. Please know that the decisions we make are at the sole discretion of Greyfield management.
  • Beginning Monday, July 27, 2020, Greyfield will begin mandating that our guests wear masks in all Greyfield property common areas, boats, and vehicles. Exceptions include: while drinking or eating, or seated at any one of our dining room or terrace tables while enjoying food or drink, and private guest rooms and private bathrooms. In the interest and well-being of both you, our guest, and our dedicated staff, Greyfield will also insist that all guests wear a mask while traversing between their tables and other destinations (i.e., outside and 6 feet away from other guests whom you are not traveling with, public bathrooms or private guest rooms).
  • Boat times will be limited. For arriving guests, available departure times from our Fernandina Beach dock are 9:30 AM and 12:15 PM. Our office will contact you prior to arrival to schedule your arrivals and departures. Travel times via the Lucy R. Ferguson is 45 minutes, each way. Note that our Marine Crew will be ensuring that social distancing is maintained during travel. In addition, the boat personnel will only be handling luggage after disinfecting and always while wearing latex gloves. We encourage our guests to use hard-shell luggage, rather than soft cases or travel bags (canvas, etc.) as these can be more difficult to disinfect. In addition, all arriving guests will be required to have their temperatures taken via an infrared, no contact forehead thermometer. If your temperature exceeds 100.4° F, you will be asked to postpone your stay with us. This will also hold true for any guest who may be exhibiting or reporting symptoms such as (but not limited to):
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Chills
    • Repeated shaking with chills
    • Muscle pain
    • Headache
    • Sore throat
    • New loss of taste or smell
  • If, during your stay, you develop any of the above symptoms, please immediately inform staff so that we may arrange to ferry you to the mainland so that you may seek proper medical care and/or treatment.
  • Please inform staff if you will need help ascending and/or descending the dock stairs. Allow time for staff to change gloves between each individual who may need assistance. Please also inform our office if you will require transportation to and from the dock, or additional help, prior to your arrival.
  • At all times, both Greyfield staff and guests are expected to maintain a social distance of at least six feet and avoid direct contact as much as possible. All staff will be required to answer the same questions posed to our guests daily, as well as have their temperatures checked before entering the inn.
  • As always, Greyfield staff will practice regular and thorough hygiene.
  • Staff will practice regular and frequent hand washing (20 seconds) per CDC guidelines.
  • As much as possible, staff will be wearing latex gloves and changing them often.


  • Upon arrival to Cumberland Island, staff will be on hand to greet you and to provide you with an informational tour. Depending on the number of arriving guests, two or more staff will be available to divide guests into groups, allowing all to maintain a minimum of six feet of distance between.
  • Please be aware that check-in times may vary to ensure that each room is properly and thoroughly cleaned and sanitized per CDC guidelines. For your safety, we are allowing a full 24 hours between bookings for each room. This may result in your staying in a different room than you originally reserved. We will make every effort to accommodate the bed size(s) and other deciding factors for initial room choices. Your patience and understanding are very much appreciated.
  • Be assured that each room is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized prior to check in. All cleaners, sanitizers, disinfectants, and procedures have been thoroughly vetted and cross checked by referring to the CDC and EPA standards.



  • Some room services and daily housekeeping of guest rooms may be limited or omitted during your stay for the health of both guests and staff.
  • Room service for meals will not be available.
  • Please let us know if you require more towels or washcloths during your stay. If you intend to re-use your linens, please leave them hanging.
  • With the exception of hand soap, some amenities will be removed, such as toiletries (soaps, shampoos, conditioners, and lotions) but will be available upon request. We highly encourage all guests to bring your own, preferred toiletries.


  • Signs will be prominently displayed in all common areas reminding all to maintain social distancing.
  • The back “communal” kitchen located on the first floor will be closed to guest traffic.
  • You will see staff regularly disinfecting high-touch surfaces in common areas such as banisters, doorknobs, light switches, and more.
  • All public restrooms and showers will be thoroughly sanitized on a regular, frequent schedule. During these times, some public restrooms may be temporarily unavailable.
  • The Honest John bar will be closed for self service (see below).
  • Coffee makers, coffee bean grinders, water kettles, and tea packets will be removed from all cottage communal areas (see below).


  • As you may be aware, communal aspects such as meals, cocktail and hors d’oeuvre hours, and naturalist outings are an important part of the Greyfield experience. We are making the following changes to these, and other services:
  • In lieu of our normal self-serve beverage stations, coffee, tea, & other beverages will be available upon request on the first floor of the inn after 8:00 AM. Please see any staff member, and we will gladly bring your desired beverage, as well as accoutrements such as sugar and cream.
  • Our typical “continental breakfast” station will be available upon request. If you desire bagels, English muffins, toast, jams, etc., please inquire with our staff. Please allow ample time.
  • Rather than our usual communal dining, seating for both breakfast and dinner will be staggered. Individual tables or spaces for each party, spaced at a minimum of 6 feet apart, will be reserved. Please see the Service Director or other staff to arrange your reservation time. Times are based on a first come, first serve basis, daily. Limited outdoor seating is available, weather permitting. We respectfully ask that each party arrive on time for their reservations so that we may maintain our safety protocols while providing the hospitality Greyfield is known for.
  • LUNCHES: In lieu of self-serve lunches, beginning at 10:45am each day, please see a Greyfield staff member on the first floor to pick-up your lunch. (Please refrain from entering the communal kitchen.)
  • The Honest John Bar will be closed for self-service, for the safety of all. Save for cocktail hour, the bar will be deemed an “employees only” space. If, at any time during your stay, you would like a wine, beer, spirit, or cocktail, please see any staff member. We will gladly prepare and deliver. Due to its small, intimate style, no more than two guests will be permitted in the bar at one time during cocktail hour. Please maintain a safe, six feet distance from the bartender, and allow the bartender to prepare your desired beverage. When completed, he or she will place your drinks on the bar and step away, allowing you to retrieve them.
  • Staff will handle the writing of your chits going forward. Please let us know your first and last name(s), and correct spelling.
  • Communal hors d’oeuvres normally served at cocktail hour will be replaced by a small bite or “amuse-bouche” presented at the start of your meal, after being seated in the dining room.
  • Dinners are three fixed courses, save for dietary restrictions and allergies. Printed menus will be made available for breakfast (one course) and dinner.
  • Jackets are required for men during dinner service; with comparable attire for ladies. Please note that in warmer months (1 June – 15 October), we relax our dress code a bit for guest comfort.


  • Our naturalists will be working hard to provide opportunities for guests to visit different areas of the island. Seating will be limited on the truck benches so that all guests are spaced appropriately apart. Please see any staff member to sign up for a given day’s tour(s). Naturalists reserve the right to offer tours to guests with earlier departure dates, thus making it more likely that all guests have an opportunity to explore.
  • Guests will not be permitted in the cab (interior) of the truck.
  • Please let our naturalists, or other staff, know ahead of time if you require help getting on and off the flatbed, so that they can prepare.
  • Between each tour, our naturalists will need time to properly clean the tour trucks.


  • Departure boat times are 8:00 AM and 10:45 AM.
  • Your folio (final receipt showing amount due and itemized purchases) will be emailed to you the morning of your departure. Please ensure that we have a credit card on file for remaining balances and incidentals.

We’d like to acknowledge to those who are familiar with Greyfield and to those who have yet to experience the magic of this island: our commitment to providing each of you with a unique experience remains, as ever, unwavering. We are bolstered by each and every team member’s decision to stay with us during this time of uncertainty. We feel that this combination of studied plans, reflection, staff cohesion, and preparation will provide all of our guests with a different and unique, but truly Greyfield experience.

We so look forward to welcoming you soon.


Mary & Mitty Ferguson

Greyfield Inn Owners and Managing Partners 

Tales from Chef Whitney Otawka’s Kitchen: Tomato Pie!

“I couldn’t tell you when I started making tomato pie. It’s not something someone taught me how to make. I am pretty sure its evolution took place during my years in the South but its origins, I claim them to be instinctual. It’s a marriage of my deep love of quiche (and everything French) married to the revelry of tomatoes in southern summers. I am not saying this is some invention of my own, but this is dish I could make blindfolded at 2am in a cave. I just make it.

Tomato Pie also takes me to a very fond cooking memory. Early in my career I was asked to make 12 tomato pies for a chef I was working for. He needed them for an event the following day. I was asked on a Saturday night, a very busy Saturday night when I was working a very busy station. Needless to say, the tomato pies had to be made after service. My nearest and dearest line cooking partner in crime, Ben, was also tasked with making Chicken Bog for said event. Our prep started around 11:30 pm. The restaurant closed down, the kitchen was empty except for the two of us. We cooked, talked, took a few nips of Pappy Van Winkle from the bar. It was perfect. I couldn’t tell you when I started making this pie, but I can tell you that it’s magical. I hope this recipe brings you as much happiness as I have had making it.” – Chef Whitney Otawka


Yields 1 Pie, 8 slices

Pie Dough*

1½ cups All-Purpose Flour
¾ teaspoon Sugar
¾ teaspoon Kosher Salt
1½ sticks Butter, diced and very cold
4½ tablespoons Water, very cold

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Mix together to incorporate. Add in the butter and use your fingers to mix into flour mixture until it feels coarse and pebbly. Add in water and mix until all ingredients just  beginning to become incorporated. Roll the dough into a ball shape and lightly flatten. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Preheat oven to 350 F. On a floured work surface roll out dough into a circle until it is uniformly around 1/8 inch thick. Line the pie pan with the dough and trim away the excess edge. Place into freezer for 15 minutes to chill well before blind baking. Line chilled dough with a circle of parchment paper that is 12 inches in diameter. Fill with whatever weights you have, such as beans or rice. Bake the piecrust for about 20 minutes. You want the edges of the pie to be a light golden brown when you remove it from oven. Allow to cool for a few minutes at room temperature, and then remove the parchment paper and weights. The pie shell is ready to filled and baked at this point. It can be made a day ahead, just wrap well and store in the refrigerator.

Pie Filling

2 Heirloom Tomatoes, medium sized
¼ cup Olive Oil
1½ teaspoons Kosher Salt
1½ cups Sharp White Cheddar (Cabot is a good starting point), shredded
4 Egg Yolks
6 Eggs
½ cup Heavy Cream
¼ teaspoon Dried Harrisa
¼ cup Parmesan, grated
1 teaspoon Parsley

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Slice the heirloom tomatoes to around ¼ inch thick. Lightly oil a sheet pan with olive oil. Lay tomato slices on oiled pan in a single layer. Use a ½ teaspoon of salt to season the tomatoes. Roast for 40 minutes. Set aside.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 F. In a bowl whisk together egg yolks, eggs, heavy cream, and 1 teaspoon salt. Whisk well, until slightly frothy.

To assemble pie, layer 1 cup of shredded white cheddar into the pie shell. Add in a single layer of roasted heirloom tomatoes, around half of the tomatoes. Next, add remaining ½ cup of shredded white cheddar. Top with remaining roasted tomatoes. Sprinkle dried harissa over the top tomato layer. Pour egg and cream mixture over the tomato and cheese filling. Top with parmesan and parsley. Bake for 45-55 minutes. The pie filling should be set and the top, golden brown. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Serve for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

* The pie dough recipe was taken from the cookbook Summerland by Anne Quatrano. Her book is a look at seasonal cooking in the Southern United States and a glimpse of her creative genius. Her cooking is incredibly inspiring and I highly recommend adding it to your library.

Follow along with more Tales from Chef Whitney Otawka’s kitchen by following her blog: