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Atlantic Ocean

Amelia Island, FL

Cumberland Island

Intracoastal Waterway

Come claim your place in history. A place of rich history, natural radiance and unrivaled prestige awaits your personal claim at Cumberland Harbour along Georgia’s glorious sea coast. So much noteable history has been written here–from the discovery and preservation of the site of ancient fortifications where moments of our nation’s history unfolded, to Cumberland Harbour’s selection as the site of the celebrated 2004 HGTV Dream Home. Today, historic opportunities beckon you to life amid the thousand oak-quilted acres of Cumberland Harbour’s perfect Intracoastal Waterway location. Here, rivers and saltmarshes frame premier planned amenities from gated privacy and grand clubhouses to acquatics center and superb marinas. And now, a spectacular collection of homesites is available from $175,000 to over $1,000,000. To arrange an inspiring land and water tour of Cumberland Harbour, call 888.231.5263. Or visit

Cumberland Harbour is located 35 minutes north of Jacksonville, FL in historic St. Marys, Georgia. Take I-95 to GA Exit 1. The 2004 HGTV Dream Home

Direct Ocean Access

Stunning Coastal Beauty

Overlooking Cumberland Island

These materials, including the features described and depicted herein are based upon current development plans, which are subject to change without notice. No guarantee is made that said features will be built or, if built, will be of the same type, size, or nature as depicted or described. Obtain the Property Report required by Federal law and read it before signing anything. No Federal agency has judged the merits or value, if any, of this property. This is not an offer where registration is required prior to any offer being made. Void where prohibited by law.

During your visit to this historic city, consider having one or more of the following procedures done while you are in town relaxing:

Contour Thread Facelift (see details at

Laser Treatment For Acne Laser Treatment Of Veins Removal Of Brown Spots Laser Hair Removal Facial Rejuvenation Microdermabrasion Skin Tightening Rosacea Facials Botox

THE LASER CENTER 6250 Hwy 40 East, Suite 2 St. Marys, Georgia 912-576-SKIN (7546)

Letter from the Mayor On behalf of the citizens of St. Marys, it is my honor to welcome you to our beautiful town. We pride ourselves on the fact that St. Marys is a great place to live, to work, to play, and to visit. The quality of life enjoyed by the residents of St. Marys is an enviable one, and one not taken for granted. Each sunrise over our barrier islands, and each sunset over our intriguing salt marshes brings another day of thankfulness that we have chosen St. Marys as our home. We encourage you to begin your stay in St. Marys with a visit to our Welcome Center located just four blocks from the waterfront. There, you can get a quick orientation by viewing a short video and picking up brochures about various points of interest. As you stroll our historic streets and talk to our shopkeepers and hospitality hosts, you may find it apparent that there is no other place quite like St. Marys. Whether you’re here for a short visit, or planning to make your home here, or perhaps thinking about starting a business in our fair town, please know that it is our great pleasure to share with you all that makes St. Marys the jewel in the crown of Coastal Georgia. Sincerely, Rowland Eskridge, Mayor City of St. Marys


St. Marys Magazine

Building the Future of Health Care. Today.

Caring for the community. Southeast Georgia Health System is growing to accommodate the needs of our rapidly expanding population. At our Camden Campus, plans are underway for a state-of-the-art 85,000 square foot expansion that will house: Emergency Care Surgical Services Radiology Imaging Center Cardiopulmonary Care Expanded Intensive Care Services Outpatient Care Services This will allow us to increase our capabilities, while providing only the best care, services and medical staff for decades to come.

Brunswick Campus | Camden Campus | St. Simons Island Campus | Glynn Immediate Care & Family Center Cooperative Urgent Care Center | Darien Campus | Brantley Campus | Southeast Georgia Physician Associates Ear, Nose, and Throat Surgical Center | Infectious Disease Center | Sleep Management Centers

Back then, our century of experience in financial services wouldn't have meant a thing. It does now.

We are The Personal Advisors of Ameriprise Financial. The next generation of American Express Financial Advisors. Our comprehensive, one-on-one approach to financial planning goes beyond money management to encompass more options and more protection for your entire financial life. Call us today for a complimentary initial consultation.*

Jennifer J. Cox Michael J. Farnham Anthony J. DeBellis, CFPÂŽ Ameriprise Financial 96A Lakeshore Drive Saint Marys, GA 31558 912-882-2295 800-882-9135 912-576-3184

*The initial consultation provides an overview of financial planning concepts. You will not receive written analysis and/or recommendations. Financial advisory services available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., Member NASD and SIPC, a part of Ameriprise Financial, Inc. Ameriprise Financial is no longer owned by American Express Company. Š 2005 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved. 400058Y-G17 11/05

Contents F E AT U R E S



There’s Something About St. Marys


7 Magical Days In St.Marys


A Walk On The Wild Side: The Wonder Of Cumberland Island


Water, Water Everywhere: The Cumberland Harbour Point Of View


Forgotten Invasion: The Last Battle Of The War Of 1812


Orange Hall: The Grand Dame of St. Marys


Life As An Artform: The Osprey Cove Experience


Land Of The Trembling Earth: The Great Okefenokee


Best Navy Community in the Nation: Kings Bay


Submarine Museum: An Inside Look At Navy Life


Marsh Arbors: The Hidden Treasure At The Edge Of The World


Cries and Whispers: The Spirits Of St. Marys


Marshland Miracles: An Ecosystem Of The Highest Order


To Sleep, Perchance To Dream: St. Marys Overnight


Day Trippin’ to 14 Nearby Destinations




46 D E PA R T M E N T S 6 25 27 33 42 48 52

Publisher’s Note Art A La Carte Real People Business Insights Literarily Speaking Grape Expectations Southern Gourmet

Publisher’s Note Publisher Barbara Jackson Ryan Creative Director & Graphic Designer Jerry Lockamy Cover Design Tim Ravenna Editorial Director Lisa Papenfus Editorial Advisor Sam Lockamy Marketing Director Mardja Gray Contributing Writers Heather Culp Justin Jones Kristen Lockamy Julie Myers Contributing Artist Jill Weisberg Contributing Photographers Fred Whitehead Debbie Britt Jenny Weaver Brenda Barber Taylor Michael Newbern Ursula Oulson National Park Service Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge

It has been said that life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away. It is my great pleasure to invite you to experience a little corner of the world, an enchanting waterfront village, brimming with treasures that inspire just such moments. The splendor of a golden sunset over a fertile marshland. The intoxication of a gardenia blossom at sunrise. The laughter of small children at play echoing over tranquil waters. The kind hand of a stranger extended in genuine warmth and welcome. As our masthead proclaims, there is little argument that St. Marys, Georgia authentically defines the “best of the South” and the “best of a small town.” This namesake magazine is designed to touch the hearts of those whose passion for history and the South is unquenchable. We endeavor to showcase Coastal Georgia’s true jewel in a fashion that will inspire readers to come—to experience, in person, the captivating spirit of Historic St. Marys. This town, our town, is not so wide, but it sure is deep. Discover for yourself why (as is written in an article herein) “you may leave St. Marys, but St. Marys will never leave you.”

Distribution Dennis Gallo

Special thanks to Land Resource Group, developers of Cumberland Harbour, for their generous contribution of area photography.

Barbara Jackson Ryan Publisher

Historic St. Marys Magazine is a Low Country Publishing publication. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the prior consent of official representatives of Low Country Publishing. All contents Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

For general information, advertising, or subscription service, call 912-729-1103 or visit for email information.

On the cover: Historic St. Marys Waterfront




undreds of years ago, the Timucuan, Guale and Creek Indians saw it in the bounty of her fish and game and fertile lands. In the 1500s, French explorers saw it as a “country full of havens, rivers, and islands of such fruitfulness as cannot with tongue be expressed.” And in 1787, the British Colonial Council decided St. Marys would make a most desirable site for a city. There’s something about St. Marys. And today, visitors are enchanted by her storybook setting on the St. Marys River. Her white picket fences and beckoning front porches. Her magnolias and wisteria. Her captivating streetscapes framed by canopies of majestic oaks draped in Spanish moss. Fragrant salt air and alluring waters. Quaint shops and charming Victorian inns. There is an unmistakable softening of life’s edges in St. Marys––an undeniable allure of history, romance and gentler people. Yet, an ever-present invitation to adventure as well. There is something about St. Marys.

St. Marys Magazine

Some say she’s the “jewel in the crown” of the Colonial Coast. Some speak of the intrigue of pirate lore and natural treasures that abound in and around her riverfront setting. Whether it’s beauty, tranquility, romance, excitement or mystery that calls one to St. Marys, it is a siren song few resist once they’ve m a d e t h e l a d y ’s m o s t g r a c i o u s acquaintance.

"You may leave St. Marys, but St. Marys will never leave you."

Warm smiles and kind words are second nature to St. Marys’ residents and business owners. There is the true essence of the Old South in St. Marys, and visitors are enchanted by the wry humor and embracing gestures that make them feel so welcome. Subtle Southern idiosyncrasies emerge from the unassuming nature of the people. “Shut,” says a sign in a downtown

bakery when they’ve closed for the day. “Dead people’s stuff for sale,” announces one unpretentious antique dealer’s wares. It has been called the “best of a small town” and the “best of the South” by people whose hearts have been won over by this little coastal village. Money Magazine once named it, “Best Small Boomtown in America.” The American Dream Town Advisory Board voted it “America Dream Town 2004.” No matter one’s reason for visiting St. Marys––history, adventure, nature, or just to get a heaping helping of Southern hospitality, one thing’s for certain. Visitors may leave St. Marys, but St. Marys will never leave them. Long into the future she’ll remain in their hearts and in their minds, and it will only take the swift scent of a lone gardenia, the golden glow of a waterfront sunset, or the gentle smile of a kind stranger to bring it all back. There is just something about St. Marys.


America’s #1 Small Town St. Marys’ best planned communities

Imagine life in the quaint, small town of St. Marys, Georgia at two acclaimed LandMar coastal communities; Osprey Cove and Winding River. No matter what your lifestyle, we’ve created the perfect environment for great club living. Homes and homesites feature breathtaking views of the marsh, preserve, golf and lakes and both have a full amenities package for every stage of life.

Go online or call to learn more about premier living in the heart of Georgia’s Low Country.

Visit Osprey Cove for Information on Both Communities. Take I-95, GA exit 1, East on St. Marys Road.


Obtain the property report required by Federal Law and read it before signing anything. No Federal Agency has judged the merit or value, if any, of this property. Prices and availability subject to change. Purchase of a new property required for Golf Membership. Some restrictions apply. See a representative for complete details.


History, romance, and adventure—you’ll find it all as you explore the treasures of St. Marys. To make the most of your leisure days in Coastal Georgia, simply follow this action-packed itinerary. Whether a resident or visitor, here’s an opportunity to experience St. Marys in full. Think of us as your grand concierge. Enjoy!


ay breaks to the sounds of joyous birdsongs. (Did you know the birds sing all night in St. Marys?) Don’t resist the urge to watch the sunrise from a front row seat at the waterfront pavilion. You’ll need fueling for the day ahead, so take your place on the Riverside Café balcony overlooking the St. Marys River. (Yes, that’s Florida just across the way.) After breakfast, drop by Market on the Square, and even though it’s hard to think of food after such a satisfying meal at Riverside, go ahead and order some nice box lunches to be picked up at 11:15. Next, walk a couple of blocks up Osborne Street to the St. Marys Welcome Center. There, you’ll be greeted by the irresistible charm of true Southern belles. Janet Brinko, St. Marys’ Director of Tourism, and her team, will happily show you a short video that will serve as a wonderful orientation for St. Marys and the surrounding area. On your way back to the waterfront, visit Miss Paula at Old Town Crafts. Her endless array of craft and creative offerings might be a bit overwhelming at first, but you will, no doubt, return again in the next few days. There’s just too much to see in one visit. Now, back to Market on the Square to pick up those delicious box lunches. While there, stock up on bottled water, sunscreen, and insect repellent. You’re about to take a “walk on the wild side.” Just a few steps west on the waterfront sits the

St. Marys Magazine St.



Cumberland Island National Seashore Building. This is your launching point for an incredible wilderness adventure. The Cumberland Island ferry departs at 11:45 (there’s a 9:00 a.m. departure for early birds), so you’ve just enough time to explore the fascinating displays upstairs and visit the gift shop as well. Your 45-minute ferry ride over to what the Travel Channel has ordained as “America’s Most Beautiful Wilderness Beach” allows you time to immerse yourself in that euphoric feeling of being one with the great outdoors. Dolphins may dance along the way. Seagulls perform their silly antics. The dock appears before you, and an adventure like no other beckons. Wild horses, armadillos, wild turkeys, fascinating trails canopied by Spanish-moss laden live oaks, Dungeness mansion ruins, sand dunes, and a picnic lunch on a pristine beach of unrivaled beauty will sear your mind with memories to last a lifetime. The ferry ride back is quieter, reflective of all that you’ve seen and surely marked by a promise that you will come back to this island of wonder. Such a full day calls for a pre-dinner nap. Go ahead. Indulge. Cocktail hour at the inimitable Seagle’s Saloon in the Riverview Hotel is a must. And for dinner? Day 1 begs for a romantic, Southern-inspired meal, and Sterling’s Southern Café is the perfect setting. May we suggest their fabulous seafood bisque, crab-stuffed grouper, and for dessert, a Mason jar filled with homemade, old-fashioned banana pudding. Such stuff as dreams are made on! continued ...





f you’re fortunate enough to be staying at one of St. Marys’ charming bed and breakfasts, this would be a great morning to request breakfast on the veranda. Again, the birds of St. Marys serenade. History is the theme of Day 2, and St. Marys’ grand dame, Orange Hall, is a natural first



reat adventure lies in wait on Day 3. Make it an early start—coffee and croissants along the way will do just fine. It’s an easy 45-minute ride out Highway 40 through Folkston to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, one of the oldest and most well-preserved fresh water areas in the nation. Upon arrival at the “land of the trembling earth,” make your first stop the Visitor Center where you can view an award-winning, almost reverent film about the


7 Magical Days in St. Marys stop. Your tour through this stately Greek Revival mansion connects you to a way of life enjoyed by upper crust St. Maryians at the turn of the century. Continue your tour of historical homes (you did pick up a “walking tour map” at the Welcome Center yesterday, didn’t you?) with a stroll around the village. You’ll spot the historical home markers in front of some of the town’s most beautiful homes. Your walk will take you through Georgia’s only historical home tour marked in Braille. Today’s lunch is casual on the waterfront upstairs at Trolley’s. Opt for o n e o f their oversized hamburgers. You can walk it off easily. Stroll west through St. Marys’ beautiful waterfront


swamp, and enjoy interactive demonstrations of swamp life. Your boat tour is narrated by guides whose knowledge and passion for the swamp is evident in their fascinating tales of swamp inhabitants and its fragile ecosystem. The more adventurous can rent their own kayaks or c a n o e s f o r, perhaps, an u p - c l o s e encounter with some of the hundreds of alligators that populate the swamp. Afterward,

park, and try to name just one other town in the world that has such a wonderful park right on their waterfront. Take a right at Seagrove Street, and go back even farther into history as you gaze at the engravings on Oak Grove Cemetery’s oldest tombstones. Soldiers from every major war are buried there. After a lively social hour at your b&b, have yourself an early dinner at Colonial Dinner House, just a few blocks up Osborne Street. Select from a most generous and most excellent menu of steaks, seafood and creative pasta dishes. For appetizers, their calamari and coconut shrimp are both exceptionally palate pleasing. Return to the waterfront, and share a mesmerizing sunset over the marshes as you glide lazily in an old-fashioned porch swing perched right on the river’s edge. Ask for an early wake-up call. Tomorrow…the great swamp—Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

enjoy a sandwich and chips at the Refuge snack bar, and don’t leave without making a clever purchase at the well-stocked gift shop. It’s been a full day, and perhaps a short nap is in order upon your return to St. Marys. Dinner tonight is, once again, waterfront at Lang’s Seafood. Try their famous rock shrimp—so unique, St. Marys has a festival named after it. If your energy’s still up, travel a couple of miles back up Highway 40 and knock down a few pins at the Bowlin’ Place. The music’s upbeat and the staff, oh so friendly.continued ...

St. Marys Magazine




omance is the theme of the day! Start with some of Jake and Effie’s fabulous pancakes (just steps from the waterfront). Then cross the street to Up the Creek Xpeditions where you’ll rent kayaks for a romantic trip through winding c r e e k s . Yo u ’ r e almost sure to see herons and ibis and wood storks, OH MY! Upon your return, cross the street once more for a delightful lunch at the Mad Hatter, a must for those in the habit of “high tea.” We suggest their shrimp and bacon salad and Hatter’s bread pudding. The afternoon calls for more exploring, and the best way to see St. Marys is from the front seat of a golf cart. You can rent one right on the waterfront. But first call Miss Winnie of Old St. Marys Tours for one of her very interesting, very revealing narrated golf cart tours. She knows where all the skeletons are buried, and won’t hesitate




oday’s the day for maritime adventures. St. Marys boasts one of the most prolific submarine museums in the world—right on the waterfront, of course. Countries from across the globe have made contributions to the S u b M a r i n e Museum’s exhibits, and an authentic periscope sits center stage where kids of all ages can experience life as a sailor. After playing Popeye, walk just around the corner to the Cumberland Island National Seashore Museum. There, you can step back in time to experience the “Forgotten Invasion,” an exhibit depicting the last battle in the War of 1812, fought just a few miles away at Point Peter. Relics of the Carnegie family’s lifestyle grace an adjacent exhibit. Treat yourself to lunch

St. Marys Magazine

to tell all. After Miss Winnie’s very entertaining tour, you’re ready to return to the most interesting spots in your own golf cart. Be sure and enjoy the folks you encounter along the way—they’re a big part of what makes St. Marys so special. Return in time to spiff up a bit. Tonight’s dinner calls for your best St. Marys outfit (which could still be freshly-laundered jeans and a Polo shirt). Just three miles from the waterfront, Borrell Creek Restaurant sits in the center of a panoramic scene of Coastal Georgia’s revered marshlands. Sunsets from your waterside table can be breathtaking. You can relax pre-dinner at the full-service bar. When it comes to making your dinner selection, you’re challenged by the extent and variety of offerings. The shrimp and veal dish is to die for, as are several other menu standards, but always listen carefully to their “du jour” dishes—culinary treasures every one. After dinner, you might want to visit the Island Lounge just across the street. Entertainment ranges from comedy to karaoke to some outstanding regional dance bands. End the night with a moonlit stroll along the waterfront. Sweet dreams are just moments away.

at the Riverside Café, just around the corner—calamari and a Greek salad would be perfect. This afternoon is designed for free time, so venture back over to Up the Creek Xpeditions and rent a couple of bicycles to explore even farther reaches of the village. Be sure and stop by Read ‘em Again Bookseller just up Osborne Street. There you’ll find a plethora of interesting used and new books plus some great gourmet coffee for an afternoon pick-me-up. Tonight, dining’s au casual at Pauly’s, just 2 doors from the waterfront. For appetizers, you can’t beat their incredible and generous mussels—Italian-style, and the main dish has to be their unforgettable almond-encrusted grouper. Drop by Seagle’s Saloon, just across the street, for a nightcap, and be sure and order a frozen novelty drink from Miss Cindy. Then step back two paces to dodge a good old Southern tongue-lashing. While in Seagle’s, you may be fortunate enough to catch St. Marys’ local performing artist, Arly, singing songs from his very mellow, very St. Marys CD. continued ...

Amaze Me. Inspire Me. Reward Me.

Fulfill Me.

A chi-chi shop of the highest order

Proprietor Donna Boyett 122 Osborne Street St. Marys, GA 31558 912-882-8899





hopping is t o d a y ’s t h e m e ! Downtown and MidTown St Marys has more than its share of cool shops, so get your gift list out and start shopping. First stop on Osborne, the French Quarter. Proprietor Donna Boyette has filled her chi-chi shop with such girly girl treasures, you’ll want to linger for hours. Antiques fill her back room, and there’s an entire gallery dedicated to the Red Hat Ladies Society as well. The Blue Goose offers beautiful handmade candles and lots of people-pleasing gifts to take home to family and friends. The Breezy Clothesline features a collection of chic and comfortable designs that are sure to become your closet favorites. Miss Camay’s Elite Repeats features a handsome collection of Red Hat Ladies accessories and classic consignment pieces. Across the street, Teddy Lockhart’s Golden Pineapple looks like a page right out of Architectural Digest.



ature and art abound on your 7th day in Historic St. Marys. Rise early, and request a picnic lunch at Market on the Square. Fill a goody bag with their old-fashioned treats that bring back memories of childhood. Today’s the day to play. Your picnic spot? Beneath an ancient shade tree at Crooked River State Park, just four miles from Historic St. Marys. After a little outdoor nap you’ll want to visit the nearby ruins of the famous tabby McIntosh Sugar Works mill built around 1825. On your return ride to the Historic District, drop by Elizabeth Gray’s Gallery where you can do more antique shopping and peruse her beautiful native artworks. Reserve at



Everything to make a great home a grand home. On the waterfront, a visit to the White Pelican (upstairs near the Riverside Café) is sure to conjure up a list of deserving friends who would appreciate an unusual nautical souvenir. You might want to revisit the Cumberland Island National Seashore’s Ferry Building again for Cumberland Island souvenirs. After a satisfying deli lunch at Colonial Dinner House, stroll Osborne and browse the antique shops––A. Clark Antiques, JTP Trading and Red Wall Antiques. All this shopping deserves a special reward, so return to the waterfront and treat yourself to some homemade ice cream and fudge at Market on the Square. The waterfront pavilion is a great place to indulge while keeping watch for sea otters, dolphins and manatees. Afterward, let your muse guide you to the Pineapple Patch on Osborne, where you can design and make your own pottery pieces. Very relaxing and therapeutic. Then, you might consider signing up for an art class at Imagination, just two blocks down. What’s for dinner? Jake and Effie’s. Treat your palate to their incredible crab cakes and she crab soup. Miss Brenda always has something creative cooking.

least an hour in the afternoon to relax in an easy chair at Once Upon a Bookseller (just a block from the waterfront on Osborne). Proprietor Louise Mancill keeps a good stock of locally written or locally inspired books, and you’ll definitely want to continue your St. Marys adventures by immersing yourself in one or two of her suggested selections. Strong Women, Wild Horses, a fascinating history of Cumberland Island, would be high on our list. It’s only fitting that your last Magical Day in Historic St. Marys would end on a romantic note and what could be more romantic than a sunset cruise? After deciding on your favorite restaurant, ask them to prepare you a dinner to go. You will have already reserved your cruise with Electric Dreams, and host Doug Vaught has your pre-ordered, chilled bottle of champagne already onboard. He will have timed your cruise perfectly so that you can witness the stunning descent of a golden sun into the marshland panorama. Prepare to be breathless. This is memorymaking of the highest order.

7 Magical Days in St. Marys

PROPERTY FOR SALE TheRiverviewHotel circa 1916 in Historic Downtown St.Marys,GA IncludesRestaurant & Saloon

The crown jewel of the waterfront overlooking the St.Marys River and Cumberland Island Ferry Dock.

18 room inn, restaurant and bar. Steps from local attractions. Historically significant property. Candidate for historic preservation funds, tax incentives, and National Register of Historic Places status. Owner Retiring Principles only please 912-882-3242

Now, you can see that seven days is not nearly enough to experience all that makes St. Marys the “Best of the South and the Best of a Small Town.” For golfers, there’s the challenge of Osprey Cove, listed as one of America’s “100 Must Play” courses. Or Kingsland’s award-winning Laurel Island Links. For fishing aficionados, there are fishing charters easily accessed at the waterfront. Film fanatics are happy to discover that just 3 miles from the waterfront is the 11-screen Kings Bay Stadium Cinemas, an easy venue for first run movies. If you find yourself in town on a Tuesday night, you’ll want to participate in Colonial Dinner House’s “Wing and Swing” night when dance clubs from around the region flaunt their talents, and free dance lessons are offered. Many of you will find St. Marys’ siren song so strong, you’ll consider moving here. If so, take a tour of one of several premier communities that include Cumberland Harbour, Osprey Cove, Laurel Island, and Marsh Arbors. Make your own magic while in magical St. Marys. Take an 8th day, and Carpe diem!


ome with us on a journey. A journey that will take us through salt marshes, fresh water ponds and maritime forests. We will stroll beneath the embracing arms of a l i v e - o a k c a n o p y, a n d b a s k i n t h e warmth of the sun-baked sand dunes. We will chase fiddler crabs to the edge of a gray/blue surf and marvel at the raucous call of the clapper rail. We will laugh at the awkward shuffling of an armadillo and thrill to the sound of beating hooves as wild horses race the wind. We will trace our fingers over the lush green of the resurrection fern and follow the silent trail of a white-tailed deer. Come. Step into this world of wonder where the tribes of the Timucuan once feasted on wild turkey and oysters and turtle eggs. Where great men of industry came to play and live and die. This is the world that nourishes the spirit and rejuvenates the soul. A world of much discovery. This is Cumberland Island.

The Ocean Beach

The largest and southernmost of the Georgia sea islands, and the most biologically-diverse, Cumberland Island is considered a barrier island. And as the name implies, it is essentially a barrier between sea and mainland, a buffer zone and guard against storms and hurricane tides. The island is graced by white sands and live-oak thickets, and its shores were recently proclaimed “America’s most beautiful wilderness beach” by The Travel Channel. Just a short ferry ride away from St. Marys’ water front, C u m b e r l a n d I s l a n d a w a i t s the enchanted traveler with four distinctive ecosystems—each harboring its own stories and its own world of riches.

St. Marys Magazine

The island’s mood is always most apparent on the beach. The gentle light, the clear air, and a seemingly endless horizon meld into the perfect backdrop for discovery of many things wild. Because of Cumberland Island’s long, gentle shelf, waves break miles out, so the beautiful seashells that make their way to the beach are m o s t o f t e n whole. Beachcombers a r e amazed when they round a bend and see before them a massive bed of beautiful seashells glistening in the sunlight—hundreds of coquinas and conch and sand dollars, untouched by human hand. Just beyond the shell field, one might glimpse the breathtaking sight of wild horses galloping freely along the pristine beach. Not native to the island, the horses were brought over by the Spaniards in the 1500s. By the 1800s, the free-ranging horses were being sold on the mainland for $5 apiece. But when the Carnegies acquired much of the island in 1881, they brought a half dozen new breeds to the island. The feral horses now keep to wild-family groups and can be very territorial. Last population count determined there are around 140 horses inhabiting the island, but to preserve the ecologically-sensitive plants that the horses trample and consume, the National Park Service is now seeking a solution to control the horse population. The free run of the wild horses is not the only striking vision the island beach serves up from the wild side. Graceful forked-tail terns glide the beach skies and perform entertaining courting rituals on the quartz sand. Black skimmers skim the surface, seizing unsuspecting small fish. The regal peregrine falcon tears into a feeding flock of red knot and flies upbeach with its quarry. And the sneaky ghost crab darts back and forth, moistening its gills and burrowing in search of delicate turtle eggs. Perhaps the most defining character of Cumberland Island’s beachline is the undulating landscape of majestic white sand dunes. From atop a sand dune one can get a sense of the true wonder of the island waters. The massive head of a black right whale shatters the surface and leaps from the swells. Bottlenose dolphins dance and frolic and tease the trolling shrimp boats and anchored mariners. Young sharks gather from April to September, the older, larger sharks tending to stay farther offshore. And ancient loggerhead sea turtles weighing between 200-350 pounds begin their nesting around mid-May, laying up to 150 eggs before lumbering back to sea. continued ...


A Walk on the Wild Side The Wonder of Cumberland Island

Salt Marsh Salt marshes are part land and part sea, and are claimed to be the most productive ecosystem in the world. (See Marsh story in this issue.) The salt marshes of Cumberland Island teem with wildlife—thousands of fiddler crabs (note the fiddle-like claw of the male), minks, ducks, clapper rails, and raccoons. Not all animals seen in the marsh live there. Horses and deer graze on the cordgrass. Osprey and redtailed hawks soar over creeks and flats. River otters, great blue herons, and belted kingfishers also make the salt marshes their playground and hunting ground.


St. Marys Magazine

Freshwater Slough

A Walk on the Wild Side The Wonder of Cumberland Island

Cumberland Island has about a thousand acres of freshwater communities including lakes, ponds, sloughs, and drainageways fed by rainfall and runoff from upland habitats. The freshwater habitats change with the water level. As many as 100 alligators dwell in the freshwater areas. Frogs, toads, and salamanders are common. The North American green tree frog fascinates visitors with its single, cowbell-like note before, during, and after a rain shower. Dragonflies are seen as most representative of freshwater areas on the island. Snowy egrets and blue herons are island nesters as well. But, what would an island be without its unique collection of snakes? Three species of poisonous snakes live on the island: eastern diamondback, rattlesnake, and cottonmouth moccasin. No one has recorded a poisonous snake bite on the island, but caution is always advised in the backcountry. continued

St. Marys Magazine


A Walk on the Wild Side The Wonder of Cumberland Island

Maritime Forest


Of all places on Cumberland Island, none is more intriguing than the maritime oak forest. Anchored by centuries-old live oak trees with branches that entwine overhead to form dramatic, lush canopies, the forest is as mysterious as it is enchanting. The British harvested the great oaks at one time, procuring the precious hardwood that would make the finest and most enduring ships. Indeed, Old Ironsides, so named because of its amazing structure that was hard enough to deflect cannonballs, was built from the Cumberland Island great oak. The shielding provided by the massive oak canopies create a forest silence that is both soothing and scintillating. It is a hush broken only by an occasional rustling of the comical armadillo or the ruffling feathers of a wild turkey. Spanish moss drapes the forest, and resurrection ferns—gray and curled when dry, richly green and soft at first rain—adorn the trees. Oddly, Spanish moss is neither Spanish nor moss, but rather a member of the pineapple family—a bromeliad. The forest is veined with numerous trails with names like Old River Trail and Ashley Pond


Trail, that lead into habitats of white-tailed deer, feral hogs and bobcats. Saw palmetto and sabal pines line the main dirt road and trails, as well as stately magnolias and loblolly and longleaf pines. In 1972, most of Cumberland Island became a national park when Congress established Cumberland Island National Seashore. It was then declared that “the seashore shall be permanently preserved in its primitive state.” Fewer than 40 human inhabitants dwell on the 18 mile by 3 mile island, mostly park service and Greyfield Inn staff. Thankfully, we have this “island of wonder” to explore, to revere, and to feast upon with all our senses. Come. Feel the warm sand caress your bare feet as you comb the beach for the perfect seashell. Hear the high ringing of the cicadas and grasshoppers at dusk. Smell the sassafras of the verdant understory. Taste the sweet salt air of an ocean breeze. And see the awesome beauty of one of Coastal Georgia’s most extraordinary wonderlands— Cumberland Island. Your walk on the wild side awaits.

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ative Americans believe that every day you spend around water, another day is added to your life. Europeans have long recognized the restorative powers of water. Perhaps that is why visionary developer Bob Ward, CEO of Land Resource Companies was initially drawn to the thousand-acre enclave that is now Cumberland Harbour. Nine lakes, two miles of shoreline overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway to Cumberland Island, two lazy rivers, and an ancient creek—these are the undulating waters that cradle the stunning sanctuary that is Cumberland Harbour. Located just three miles from Historic St. Marys waterfront, Cumberland Harbour was once the weekend oasis for one of Atlanta’s most esteemed families. For more than 100 years, the Storey Family came to the wilderness sanctuary to play, to relax, and to rejuvenate. Prior to that, the land was the stage on which significant history occurred. The final battle of the War of 1812 was fought on the site, not in New Orleans as is the prevailing misconception. Cumberland Harbour developer Land Resource Companies’ reverence for the land’s history is evidenced by the extensive archaeological dig and subsequent museum exhibition funded by Land Resource (see related story: Forgotten Invasion). Cumberland Harbour sits on a stretch of land that is the westernmost sweep of the eastern seaboard. Indeed, a true harbour protected by barrier islands and salt marshes, the bounty of nature by which Cumberland Harbour is blessed is as diverse as it is beautiful.


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The magnificence of the land becomes apparent beginning at its very entrance. Soaring pines line a half-mile meandering driveway graced by turn-of-the-century style lamp posts. A quick stop at the 24-hour manned gatehouse, and you’re on your way into a storybook setting—one that even the Home & Garden TV producers could not resist. Cumberland Harbour is home to the 2004 HGTV Dream Home. She sits, as many of the Cumberland Harbour homes do, overlooking a panoramic view of the Intracoastal Waterway and Cumberland Island just beyond. Breathtaking vistas of shimmering waters, salt marshes, and wooded wonderlands abound. The Cumberland Harbour point of view is nothing less than enchanting: A flock of roosting pelicans reign on a nearby landswale. Distant shrimp boats are silhouetted in the magical light of a breathtaking sunrise. Centuries old live oaks canopy pristine streets with names like Whispering Oaks Lane and Spanish Moss Court. And glints of moisture from the newly revived resurrection ferns dance in a concerto of transcendent forest light. These are the scenes from

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land. Imagine the wonder that awaits Cumberland Harbour residents who choose the boating life. Cumberland Harbour is, undeniably, a boater’s paradise. Hemmed by deep water on three sides, the peninsula is a quick boat ride to the sparkling Atlantic Ocean. Two full-service planned marinas and three day docks will provide residents with an easy boat life. Tucked among the grand oaks along North River, the planned Cumberland Harbour Yacht Club will provide instant deepwater access and drydock storage facilities as well. And Cumberland Harbour is as pretty on the inside as it is on the outside. Land Resource has gone to great lengths to protect the natural habitats, and has designed community amenities that embrace and enhance the age-old flora and fauna. Residents will be able to stroll along lakeside promenades and enjoy the tranquility of old-fashioned swing arbors along the way. Twenty acres of recreational land have been reserved that will host six tennis courts, barbecue grill and picnic areas, three pools, nature trails, a Springhouse complete with community kitchen, and a

state-of-the-art fitness center. The C l u b a t C u m b e r l a n d Harbour will be the quintessential place to celebrate the residents’ most important occasions. The homes at Cumberland Harbour are as spectacular as their front and backyards. Land Resource has chosen wisely its signature collection of builders. Majestic homes rise from the land and waterscapes as if they have always been a part of the enclave’s history. Low country and southern coastal in style, the homes are distinctively adorned with porches, verandas, dormers, porticos and metal roofing. Interiors are as one would expect in the grandest of homes— triple crown molding, ten-foot ceilings and architectural details that make a statement. As they have with their other premier communities such as the exclusive mountain community of Grey Rock at Lake Lure, North Carolina, Land Resource Companies has gone far beyond the expected. They have built a dream community that will captivate those who seek an unrivaled lifestyle with a most desirable point of view— the Cumberland Harbour point of view.


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he eerie sound of fife and drum shroud the stoic soldier, frozen in time. A massive slice of centuries old live oak, musket balls, military buttons and pottery shards are bathed in light— testaments to an event in American history that time and, it seems, people have forgot. Relics from the last battle of the War of 1812 tell the untold story from a museum exhibit housed not in New Orleans as one might think, but in downtown Historic St. Marys, Georgia. In the early morning of January 13, 1815—five days after General Andrew Jackson defeated the British in the infamous Battle of New Orleans—the British fleet that was anchored off neighboring Cumberland Island landed at St. Marys’ Point Peter. By late evening, Point Peter fell, and St. Marys surrendered. This was the final battle, continued on page 24 ...


Please begin your stay in St. Marys with a visit to our Welcome Center just four blocks from the waterfront on Osborne Street. It would be our great pleasure to share with you our St. Marys orientation video, a walking tour map, and other valuable information that will enhance your visit to St. Marys.

St. Marys Convention & Visitors Bureau 866-868-2199 (toll free) 912-882-4000

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FORGOTTEN INVASION: The Last Battle the forgotten invasion, and an event that has somehow slipped from the pages of children’s textbooks and deleted itself from official War of 1812 web sites. Nearly 200 years later, archaeologists began uncovering relics from this forgotten piece of American history. Funded by the generosity of Land Resource Companies, developers of Cumberland Harbour at Point Peter, the archaeological dig exacted more than 67,000 artifacts. Those artifacts are now beautifully represented in the Cumberland Island National Seashore Museum just steps from the St. Marys waterfront. Land Resource Companies also underwrote the exhibit. The Battle of Point Peter was a significant event in a significant war. After all, it was the War of 1812 during which Francis Scott Key was inspired to pen the Star Spangled Banner. According to Georgia’s state archaeologist David Crass, the War of 1812 was a much different war from the American Revolution and C i v i l Wa r, a n d b e c a u s e s o l i t t l e archaeologically is known about the War of 1812, the excavation at Point Peter is of national importance. Animal bones found in a buried trash pile at Point Peter indicate that soldiers spiced up their diet of military rations by catching fish, rabbits, raccoons and possums. Records of the fort and other structures at Point Peter are thought to have been destroyed when the British sacked Washington in 1812, so the physical evidence is the only record that remains. The fort was built in 1776 on orders of General Washington. After the battle in 1815, the fort remained in use by militias until 1821 when it was abandoned and fell into disrepair. That fateful wintry morning in 1815 on a narrow peninsula along Georgia’s marshy coast, 600 British troops overwhelmed 130 American soldiers, and history was made. A history that— thanks to a handful of dedicated historians and archaeologists and the largess of Land Resource Companies—shall not forever be the Forgotten Invasion.

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“Beauty blooms where you plant it.” Elizabeth Gray, Gray’s Gallery


f Elizabeth Gray were an art medium she would be a watercolor. Soft, yet vibrant. Unbridled, yet focused. She speaks sparingly, in wisps, yet commands the attention due someone who speaks only when they have something of consequence to say. “I always liked to draw,” she explains simply when asked about the origin of her art. Horses were often the subject of Gray’s earliest childhood drawings. Her fascination with the

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continued ...

Miller's Dock, Circa 1930 by Artist Elizabeth Gray



Art a La Carte Elizabeth Gray, Gray’s Gallery lines of the muscles made them a running theme in much of her younger works. Nature has continued to be at the center of many of Gray’s most revered watercolor paintings. To tour Gray’s Gallery is to tour the gentler side of Gray’s beloved Coastal Georgia. Local birds nest serenely on the white canvasses—feathered reds, yellows, blues, and grays—lifelike, as if in wait for a cue to commence their trilling birdsong. Each painting is a tribute to Gray’s passion for watercolor and a coinciding God-given gift for her favorite medium. “It’s the translucency,” Gray said, giving name to why her muse drives her to the light and shades of watercolors. Her prolific collection of watercolors has given rise to regional fame and several cover appearances on regional magazines. Gray’s portrayal of local historical buildings is renowned, and much of her past work has benefited such esteemed causes as the restoration of St. Marys’


Orange Hall. For many years, Gray painted a historical home or building highlighted during the annual Christmas Tour of Homes. Many of those paintings now hang in her gallery along with depictions of lighthouses and other great southern landmarks, all bound by one common attribute—a remarkable sense of place. One gallery visitor remarked that looking at the paintings you either “feel you’re there, or have a strong urge to be there.” Whether painting wildlife or church steeples, Gray’s inherent understanding of perspective is evident in every stroke. There is a hypnotic beauty that weaves its way through Gray’s manipulation of light and shade. She is an award-winning artist who has freed our eyes to see what our heart already knows. “Beauty blooms where you plant it,” Gray says. Thankfully, St. Marys is Gray’s chosen garden, and spring is art’s perpetual season.

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RealPeople Museum to preserve and display the many Cumberland Island artifacts; building a new Cumberland Island National Seashore Visitors Center; establishing a special purpose tax that has subsequently funded such projects as the waterfront park; building a city-funded aquatic park; facilitating the birth of the Submarine Museum, and widening Spur 40, among others. Bottom line: under Brandon’s mayoral events were put Jerry Brandon leadership, into motion that led to more than $30 million in he tens of thousands of visitors who improvements for St. Marys. The great come to St. Marys each year unfailingly part, according to Mahaney, is that marvel at the beautiful waterfront park much of it was accomplished through that overlooks the St. Marys River. If Brandon’s tenacious leveraging, using they knew the arduous undertaking that the best kind of money—OPM, other brought the park to fruition, they might people’s money—the state and federal marvel even more. Among the people we governments’ and private benefactors’ as would like to thank for following the well. At the same time Brandon was dream to make our waterfront extraordinary working on escalating the city with i s t h i s e d i t i o n ’s R E A L P E O P L E aesthetics and attractions and improved infrastructure, he was relentless in honoree—Jerry Brandon. As mayor of St. Marys from 1990-2001, looking out for taxpayers’ money. His Jerry Brandon helped launch numerous diligence at making government more initiatives that have helped place the efficient was instrumental in decreasing city among the South’s most desirable the city taxes on a $100,000 home from places to live, work, play and visit. $500 a year to $200 a year over a Certainly the waterfront park ranks near 12-year period. Despite Brandon’s the top of this most impressive list, but seemingly “all-work, no-play” track according to then city manager Mike record, Mahaney maintains he’s always Mahaney, Brandon’s vision, his persistence, been a happy-go-lucky kind of guy, and a and his ability to “work behind the conversation with Brandon’s family and scenes to build consensus to get things friends reveal an endearing playful quality done” garnered him many other that often elicits smiles and laughter. Brandon’s sister, Peggy Smith, recalled successes throughout his tenure. “Jerry’s always been very personable, how Jerry and his brothers, Ricky and funny, and likeable,” Mahaney said. “His Pete, loved to play on the river. Some of ability to bridge a wide gamut of his fondest memories revolve around backgrounds and education levels and their adventures on an 8-foot plywood get people on the same page was boat and camping upriver on high bluffs. They fished and caught sharks off the invaluable for the city.” Mahaney recounted the success stories City dock and built campfires by the in which Brandon played an integral creek. “Sink or swim” was the teaching role: convincing the National Park method preferred by Jerry’s father who Service to restore the Bachlott House often sailed with the boys. And even and to create a National Seashore though there was a big alligator between


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the swimming student and the dock, brazen little Jerry Brandon made the cut. Today he still enjoys an exhilarating day on the open waters, but spends much of his time running the historic Riverview Hotel with his wife Gaila. The hotel has been in the Brandon family since the early 1900s when it was run by his three aunts. It has been the scene of much of St. Marys’ most colorful moments—with family and otherwise. Brandon recalls his 60-year-old mother and his grandma shooting pool together there. The hotel is the site of Seagle’s Saloon, “where good friends meet,” according to the old sign on the side of the building. There is a warm blending of locals and tourists in the saloon. From time to time, the saloon is also the scene of some good local music including the Kris Kristofferson-like renditions of Brandon himself—when the mood hits him. Music is just one dimension of the multi-dimensional Brandon. There’s the smart side—Brandon achieved the highest SAT score in his Camden County class, and was named “Best All ‘Round” as well. He has a Bachelors of Science in chemistry from the University of Georgia and a PhD. in physical chemistry from The Ohio State University entitling him to be addressed as “Doctor,” a title he evades. His groundbreaking work at Sandia Labs in Albuquerque, New Mexico contributed to the development of optical fiber technology for military applications. And don’t try to get his attention when he’s matching wits with the champion Jeopardy players during the nightly broadcasts at Seagle’s. There’s the sports fan and athletic side—two words, “Go Dawgs!” Brandon’s a fixture at most Georgia Bulldog games, no matter how far away they’re played. And no matter how important an event you’re planning, don’t count on Jerry Brandon to attend i f i t ’s o n t h e s a m e d a y a s t h e Georgia-Florida game. He loves golf, and plays a more than decent game. Every year for the past ten years, he’s run the 10k Cooper River Bridge Run in


Real People Jerry Brandon Charleston. On his 60th birthday, he swam 7.5 miles from the fort in Fernandina Beach to the docks at St. Marys. For his 70th birthday, he says he’s thinking of swimming back. There’s the hardworking side: Though accused by some in his earlier years as having been born “with a silver spoon in his mouth,” the truth is Jerry Brandon has worked hard all his life. As a youth, his summers were spent doing some of the most undesirable jobs at the paper mill. And ask anyone in the industry what an easy job it is to run a hotel. Recently, Brandon built his own home with his own hands—as the expression goes—and the help of his brothers and friends. There’s the fun side: When asked about her initial attraction to her husband, Gaila Brandon used the word “spontaneous.” That about sums it up. Looking for a last-minute partner to Las Vegas? Brandon’s got gambling in his blood. He was probably the first to jump in when he and friends swam in the Olympic pool at Dungeness way back when. He’s quick with a joke, and could hold court for hours on the history of St. Marys—the interesting tidbits that reveal glimpses of a southern, small town world. It’s just the kind of world Brandon was happy to get back to after spending years studying things like the “beneficial uses of radioisotopes and the effects of ionizing radiation on fiber optics.” There are many sides to Jerry Brandon, not the least being his sentimental side. His love for St. Marys is evident in all that he has accomplished as a city leader and in the pride he shows for the town. This is Jerry Brandon’s world—St. Marys. The people have declared it so and have made it clear that Jerry Brandon is the natural choice as the premier candidate for St. Marys Magazine’s first Real People column.

Harriet Alvarez Phone: 912-673-6502 Cell: 912-674-5981 Email: 1891 Highway 40 East, Suite 1102 Kingsland, GA 31548

Elizabeth Hanzi Cell: 912-617-1440 Pager: 912-576-8674 Email: 1891 Highway 40 East, Suite 1102 Kingsland, GA 31548

Editor’s Note: Through our REAL PEOPLE column, St. Marys Magazine endeavors to honor people who exemplify the true spirit of St. Marys. We invite our readers to tell us about someone they know who would make a great REAL PEOPLE candidate. Please email with your recommendations.


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he year was 1829. Greeks were declaring their independence from the Turks, and Americans were embracing a Greek-inspired architectural style that would remain popular until the end of the 1890s—Greek Revival. Many prosperous Americans believed that ancient Greece represented the spirit of democracy. Interest in British styles had waned during the bitter War of 1812, and Americans sympathized with Greece’s own struggles for independence. It has been said that Greek Revival was the first truly American architectural design. And there is no more shining example of this style, so favored in the Antebellum South, than St. Marys’ first lady—Orange Hall. She reigns in grandeur as you make your entrance into the historical district of Downtown St. Marys. Worthy of magazine covers and movie sets, Orange

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Hall holds a special place in the hearts of all St. Marys’ citizens. She is the beauty befitting a town that prides itself on such. Though originally thought to have been built in 1829, it was only recently discovered that Orange Hall was built in 1839. This important factoid, and innumerable others, was uncovered by the research done by Lord-Aeck-Sargent, the company that completed the Historic Structure Report (HSR) for Orange Hall. The HSR is one of the most crucial pieces needed to secure grant, state and federal funds. Over a period of 100 years, roughly 12 owners have called Orange Hall their home. Today, the elegant structure serves as a house museum and welcomes visitors for tours seven days a week. Built of mortis and timber construction

with wooden pegs, Orange Hall encompasses 8000 square feet with an additional 1000 square feet of porch space. With its Doric columns on the front veranda and the wide steps leading from the ground up to the second floor main entrance, the three-story mansion is a beacon to history buffs and those who appreciate the grand beauty of its era. The interiors are graced with period furniture, some donated by local citizens and some Carnegie family items on loan from the National Park Service. Orange Hall was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. It was refurbished in the 70s, and today the Orange Hall Foundation is seeking funds to restore her to her original grandeur. But, whether you’re looking at a 167-year-old or a 177-year-old girl, she’s still the lady that reigns supreme over Historic St. Marys.




n enviable quality of life” is the phrase often used to describe how Osprey Cove residents feel about their home and community. It’s easy to see how those passionate about golf might preen a bit when describing their home on Osprey Cove’s award-winning 18-hole championship golf course. Designed by Mark McCumber & Associates, the beautifully manicured course is set against a backdrop of pristine marshes, tidal inlets and nature preserves. It has been cited by Golfweek in their “Top 5 in Georgia” and Golf and Travel’s “Top 100 Modern Courses.” Golf Digest gave the course its prestigious 4-star rating as well as designating it “a must play if you’re within 100 miles.” And renowned sports writer Jaime Diaz of Sports Illustrated named it as one of his favorite PGA Tour Pro-designed courses. With more than $1 million in recent renovations, Osprey Cove’s phenomenal course offers players at all levels a challenging and exhilarating experience. But non-golfers are just as enamored as their golfing enthusiast neighbors about living at Osprey Cove.

One would have to begin with the location to understand the powerful draw that brings people from all over the country into Osprey Cove’s gates. Situated just 20 minutes from Jacksonville International Airport, the 1100-acre community is built on one of the most beautiful stretches of river basin on the Atlantic seaboard. Backyards touch salt marshes, live-oak forests, lakes, ancient creeks, and natural sanctuaries. On any given day, residents share their habitat with red-tailed hawks, fox squirrels, kingfishers and, of course, ospreys. St. Marys’ historic district and the launching point for the Cumberland Island Ferry are just minutes away. Osprey Cove’s location truly does combine the best of all worlds— sophisticated shopping, dining and entertainment in nearby Jacksonville, friendly southern small-town ambience in quaint St. Marys, and an abundance of nature at home and throughout the community.


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Serenity seekers espouse the tranquility of Osprey Cove while sports and recreation lovers celebrate the bounty of physical activities available. Residents can match up on the four lighted Har Tru tennis courts. And immerse themselves in the refreshing waters of the junior Olympic pool. A renourishing soak in the hot tub is in order after a long day of work and play. A romantic stroll along Osprey Cove’s Riverwalk is always a highlight. And for the boater, an escape to the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean just beyond is an easy cruise away from the community’s boat dock. There’s even a kayak launch for those who prefer a quiet, relaxing glide through the creeks and river waters. On the social scene, Osprey Cove residents are treated to an ever-changing array of events hosted at the luxurious Clubhouse or the gorgeous River Club. Osprey Cove has raised the bar on country club living. By design, “Privilege and distinction” are its hallmarks, and Osprey Cove developer LandMar Group has succeeded in creating a community where homeowners’ living space doesn’t end at their front door. Osprey Cove is all about nature. And style. Sophistication. And fun. Living life to its fullest in homes that are themselves masterpieces. This is Osprey Cove where life is lived as an artform.

LandMar Debuts Winding River A first-of-its-kind master planned community, LandMar’s Winding River has already opened sales to a resounding applause. A late November launch of Winding River’s estate neighborhood garnered a total sell-out of 47 home sites in just one hour. Now, sales are moving briskly for the other neighborhoods that include 65- and 80-foot wide home sites. In close proximity to Osprey Cove, Winding River will offer buyers a complimentary associate golf membership to Osprey Cove Golf Club. Residents will also enjoy a serene melding into nature, dramatic views, The Savannah Club, interconnecting nature trails, boat and RV storage and all the amenities one would expect in a luxurious country club community.


CARING … ABOUT OUR EMPLOYEES, ABOUT OUR COMMUNITY We’re not just the largest private employer in the community. We’re also one of the most progressive. It comes from the excitement we feel about our mission of making the use of prescription drugs safer and more affordable. It also comes from caring about our employees, and from creating a work environment that’s friendly and supportive. And it comes from being a good neighbor. We’re proud to participate in the life of Camden County, and to contribute to the community’s growth and prosperity.

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St. Marys Downtown Development Authority:

Moving Business Forward The mission of the St. Marys Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is to: Support current business and encourage new business development in St. Marys; Preserve and enhance the natural beauty of St. Marys, and promote St. Marys as a destination of choice. The DDA is an exceptional resource for current business owners as well as people moving into the community who are interested in starting or conducting business in and around St. Marys. The city’s track record for economic growth is impressive. For example, in just one year (from 2004-2005) the local special purpose tax revenue grew by 17%. The draw for new business is clearly growing stronger each day. With the recent purchase of the 750-acre riverfront Durango property by one of the area’s most respected developers, the city appears poised for a strong economic renaissance, and its downtown is sure to play an integral role in that renaissance. Downtowns symbolize, among many things, the economic health of the community, the local quality of life, pride in place, public-private partnerships and the community’s history. Over the years downtowns, in addition to being the central business district, have been viewed as the focal point of the city and the site of local government offices. A Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is a body of seven members created and appointed by the City Council and recognized by the State of Georgia as a public corporation with a specified set of powers and a specific purpose of mission. Downtown development has proven to be an essential part of a community’s overall economic development strategy. A healthy and vibrant city or town center is one of the most important elements of an effective economic development program.

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Bye-Bye Milltown! In what will go down as an historic moment in St. Marys history, the Durango-Georgia Paper Company property was sold at auction recently to Jacksonville developer The LandMar Group, developers of St. Marys’ Osprey Cove and Winding River. The sale brings to a final close the end of an era for St. Marys, and the beginning of what some envision as a true renaissance. LandMar’s winning bid was $40.04 million. The 750-acre site, dormant since the closing of the paper mill in November 2002, has been called one of the most desirable tracts of land in Camden County. The LandMar Group’s plans include the development of a riverfront village that will feature a marina, hotel, restaurants, shops and about 1,100 upscale multi-family and single-family homes.



he source of the 130-mile St. Marys River is among the most popular tourist attractions in the region. The Okefenokee swamp is also the main reason the St. Marys River is among the nation’s most pristine waterways. Located a mere 45-minute drive from the city’s downtown area, the Okefenokee is the nation’s largest national wildlife refuge east of the Mississippi River, and a major tourist attraction in the region. An estimated 400,000 people visit the world-famous swamp each year.


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Land of the Trembling Earth The swamp was named the “land of the trembling earth” by the original Native American inhabitants, who walked on upland areas comprised mostly of peat deposits up to 15 feet thick. The deposits are so unstable, trees and surrounding bushes sometimes tremble when people walk nearby. While there are no permanent inhabitants in the swamp, nowadays, the telltale signs of human occupation are still evident. The most obvious sign is the ill-fated attempt to drain the swamp more than 100 years ago. The result is the Suwannee Canal, located near the wildlife refuge’s visitor center and concession and a popular starting point for boaters and canoeists interested in seeing more of the swamp. Alligators are often seen basking in the sun along the shores of the canal, or swimming in the dark water searching for their next meal. The alligators pretty much avoid humans, so it’s not risky on a boat as long as people don’t feed or antagonize the reptiles, which can grow 10 feet or more. Spectacular herons, cranes and other large wading birds, as well as ibis, wood ducks and egrets are also seen frequently by boaters along the canal. For the more adventurous, the refuge issues camping permits to canoeists seeking a true wilderness experience. Canoes are the only way to reach the platforms in t h e i n t e r i o r o f t h e 600-square-mile refuge, however, because the water between upland

areas beyond the Suwannee Canal is too shallow for motorized boats. The wooden camping platforms are elevated enough to make it safe to pitch a tent and avoid unwelcome contact from alligators. Visitors don’t have to have a camping permit to canoe into the interior of the swamp for a day trip, however. A typical canoe trip brings visitors through areas beyond the Suwannee Canal called prairies, which appear to be small lakes but are only several feet deep. A unique feature of the prairies is the thousands of lily pads with white and yellow blooming flowers. But other small plants, such as carnivorous pitcher plants lying in wait for the next unsuspecting insect to crawl inside, are also a dominant plant species in the prairies. For those uninterested in paddling, the concession operator at the swamp, Okefenokee Adventures, offers guided boat tours each day. The first stop for many visitors is the visitor center, where they can view more than 30 exhibits that explain everything from what causes the water in the swamp to be cola-brown (rotting vegetation) to the surprisingly wide variety of animals, plants and insects in the swamp. Of course, being a swamp, it’s

a good idea for visitors to bring insect repellent. Visitors at the center learn about the many endangered and threatened species living in the swamp, the role of wildfires that occur periodically, history of human occupation and everything else that contributes to making the swamp a swamp. Another popular activity without getting in a boat is a visit to the Chesser Island homestead, located a short drive from the visitor’s center. The Chessers first arrived to the Okefenokee in the 1850s and occupied their five-bedroom cedar sided cabin on the east side of the swamp until 1927. Much of the cabin remains intact, along with several smaller structures that show the rugged conditions early settlers endured. A wooden boardwalk near the homestead allows visitors to take a half mile stroll through the swamp. The branches on cypress trees near the boardwalk sag under the weight of Spanish moss. At the end of the boardwalk, a tall viewing platform gives visitors a panoramic view of the swamp. It’s another prime area to view wildlife such as gators, otters, sandhill cranes, bald eagles and a multitude of plant life unique to a wetlands area. The good news is the swamp, which was established as a wildlife refuge in 1936, will likely continue to thrive in years to come. The swamp, which is headwaters to both the St. Marys and Suwannee Rivers, is protected as a wilderness area by federal law and nature because water flows out of the swamp, not into it, protecting it from many of the pollutants that have damaged other wetlands areas.

Interested in advertising in St. Marys Magazine? Call 912-729-1103 or visit St. Marys Magazine



t. Marys has had many identities over the years. Mill town. Mayberry by the sea. Gateway to Cumberland Island. And even best small boomtown in the United States. While the city still proudly clings to its past, it is embracing a new identity as the best Navy community in the nation. The signs can be seen at businesses throughout St. Marys. Whether it’s a shopping center, museum, restaurant or florist, the Kings Bay name is everywhere. The amazing part is the city’s transformation from a sleepy seaside town happened over a two-decade period, beginning in 1978, when Congress decided to build Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay on what was a seldom used military ocean terminal owned by the Army. The terminal was placed on “inactive ready status” after it was built in 1958 because there was no immediate need for the installation. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, an


Army Transportation Battalion of 1,100 personnel and 70 small boats took up position at Kings Bay. The base was also used as a shelter for local residents in 1964, when Hurricane Dora hammered the area. But, the base was mostly vacant until 1978 when Congress decided to create a new submarine base on the Atlantic Coast to house a fleet of ballistic missile submarines that had been ported in Rota, Spain. A site selection steering committee evaluated more than 60 sites, eventually narrowing the list to five finalists: Narragansett Bay, R.I., Cheatham Annex, Va., Charleston, S.C., Mosquito Lagoon, Fla. and Kings Bay. After careful review, Kings Bay was selected, and the transformation from an inactive Army depot to a submarine base began in 1978. A year later, the submarine tender Simon Lake arrived on July 2, 1979, followed four days later by the USS James Monroe. Then just one year later, the

Navy made a decision that would have perhaps the biggest impact in the city’s history when it announced Kings Bay would be the East Coast home port for the next generation of fleet ballistic submarines – the Ohio-class Trident submarines. The announcement sparked a $2 billion building project that included the construction of three major commands, Trident Training Facility, Trident Refit Facility and Strategic Weapons Facility. Local public officials worked closely with the Navy during the construction to ensure St. Marys would preserve its small-town integrity and charm, while accommodating the explosive growth that was sure to come. The concern was ensuring the right type of businesses came to the community, while discouraging some others that are typically associated with military communities. The goal was so successful, Kings Bay has the Navy’s highest re-enlistment rate, and St. Marys

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has become the home for many military retirees who served at the base during their careers. By the time the USS Tennessee arrived on Jan. 15, 1989, the city was ready. Federal impact fees paid for road improvements, construction of new schools and other infrastructure needed to accommodate the growth. When the last Trident, the USS Louisiana, arrived in 1997, Kings Bay had 10 submarines and more than 10,000 sailors and civilian employees. Camden County’s population, which was about 12,000 in 1978, had exploded to about 45,000 residents. Sailors can be seen in uniform on a daily basis throughout the city, but those new to the community know little about their mission. Each boat has two crews, named Blue and Gold, that rotate 70-day patrols. While one 160-man crew is at sea, the other trains to remain combat ready for a mission nobody ever

St. Marys Magazine

expects to happen. The boats are armed with 24 ballistic missiles that can be launched under water at a target anywhere in the world in response to a nuclear attack. Crew members are among the most highly trained sailors in the world and are prepared to launch a missile, if ordered to do so. It’s not as easy as pushing a button, however. Sailors must follow a complex, highly structured set of commands to ensure their orders are valid before a missile would ever be launched. They constantly drill mock launches to guarantee they will be ready if the orders are ever given. In recent years, Kings Bay has lost five submarines to a base in Bangor, Washington. The Navy believes there is a greater threat to national security in the P a c i f i c t h e a t e r, c u r r e n t l y, a n d re-assigned the boats to the West Coast. The USS Maine was the last boat re-assigned to Bangor in September 2005. Even with the loss of five boats,

Kings Bay’s future looks bright. There are still more than 8,000 sailors and civilian employees at Kings Bay. And two new boats are scheduled to arrive by 2007. The new boats will have a different mission from the Trident submarines, however. They are older Ohio-class submarines like the Tridents at Kings Bay. But they are being totally refitted for their new roles in our nation’s defense. The nuclear missiles have been removed and the silos refitted to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles. The boats will also have a mini-sub attached to two of the silos, so a team of Navy SEALS or other Special Forces troops can be deployed on covert missions along coastal areas anywhere in the world. The arrival of the two boats may spur another high growth period on base, strengthening the relationship between St. Marys and Kings Bay for years to come.


Submarine Museum Offers Inside Look At Navy Life

known as the “41 for Freedom” boats, which were the first American submarines to carry intercontinental ballistic missiles. Other exhibits include steering columns from older submarines, the door to a torpedo tube, signal lights and a World War II dive suit that looks like it belongs in a 1950s science fiction movie. Glass cases contain some of the rare artifacts from Russian and British submarines, a memorial to the eight submariners who earned the Medal of Honor, and newspaper and magazine accounts of significant moments in submarine history. The museum’s second floor contains more artifacts, but the real attraction upstairs is the nation’s most extensive collection of archives, many of which were classified at one time. Many visitors have learned the answer to what happened to family members who died during WWII by looking at museum archives on the three computers, as well as hard copies of mission reports on many submarines on file. For those who want a reminder of their visit, the museum has a gift shop, complete with ball caps with logos from different boats at Kings Bay, books on Navy history, videos on submarines, patches with insignias from many American submarines and many other items to remind visitors of one of the most entertaining, educational museums in the region.


ours of Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay are not offered to the public because of national security concerns. But there is a way to remove the cloak of secrecy and provide a way for visitors in St. Marys to learn more about submarines. The St. Marys Submarine Museum has educated and entertained more than 100,000 visitors since it opened in 1996. Located right on St. Marys’ waterfront, the museum features an extensive collection of artifacts, including a memorial to all the American submarines lost in combat or by accident, plaques from most of the Navy’s submarines, and many hands-on displays. After entering the museum, most visitors go directly to the Type 8 periscope, which is among the most modern at any museum in the nation. The periscope extends through the roof of the two-story museum to give visitors a spectacular view of the St. Marys waterfront. The periscope was originally on one of the Benjamin Franklin-class submarines, also


St. Marys Magazine

Not for Profit, not for Charity, but for SERVICE. Serving Camden County since 1943. St Marys – 882-4630

Kingsland – 729-2800 Wal Mart – 673-7900

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lavender sky yields to a startling shade of pink, then blazes with streaks of gold. For so slight a moment you remain suspended, breath held, knowing that sunset is imminent. The closest star teases. Marsh grasses glitter as a warm breeze stirs them in dance. The laughter of the marsh hens breaks a stunning silence. You are at the edge of a wondrous world. Your front row seat to the unfolding drama is an old-fashioned porch swing, suspended as well, from the roof of a Victorian gazebo. You have come to celebrate the same sunset the Timucuan and Guale Indians celebrated hundreds of years ago. In the same place. With the same wonder. You count—five, four, three, two...and the sun is gone. In its place is a kaleidoscope of color. This is the canvas on which you’ll paint your memories. You came here today, and yesterday, and will come tomorrow. Immersing yourself in the quiet. The tranquility. This is your home. An arbor among the marshes—Marsh Arbors. Though you are, in fact, a mere 35-minute drive from the Jacksonville International Airport, you feel as if you are at “the edge of the world.” With endless vistas of marshland gracing your front door, living at Marsh Arbors gives you a sense that you have truly “gotten away.” A short stroll down the romantic boardwalk takes you to your little oasis—the gazebo on the marsh. To get there you pass the kayak launch area, and your own fishing dock. You are in a “Tom Sawyer/Huckleberry Finn” frame of mind. What adventures lie ahead? What stories await the telling? Your Marsh Arbors story begins in your luxury villa built with a reverence for the authentic low country architecture. Balustrades reminiscent of the great homes of Charleston grace your veranda. Your friends are continuously impressed as you hold court in your European gourmet kitchen. Day-end brings with it your reward for living life to its fullest—a good book by your cozy fireplace, a relaxing soaking in your Jacuzzi tub, then the sleep of the innocent, surrounded by quietude. continued ...

Marsh Arbors

You awake to the joyful sounds of birds, nesting in the lazy palms just outside your bedroom window. For a moment, you lie perfectly still, then remember—this will be another day of discovery. You have chosen a hidden treasure of a home that sits amidst a town of boundless hidden treasures, all awaiting discovery. You have chosen St. Marys. “This town may not be wide, but it sure is deep,” was once remarked by a wise old townsman. Truer words may never have been spoken. St. Marys, Georgia is much like an onion—with every layer you peel away, another appears. And Marsh Arbors enjoys the enviable position of being the only new home community with contiguous proximity to St. Marys’ downtown historical district. An easy bike ride or short walk away lies the village and its collection of quaint shops, charming bed and breakfasts, and waterfront dining. The visionary developers of Jamesway Corporation have served up the “best of both worlds” to its

St. Marys Magazine

Marsh Arbors residents—a quiet escape and a rich village life. Jamesway Vice President of Development Faye Patterson explained how. “Our designers made sure the homes of Marsh Arbors would become part of the living landscape,” Patterson said. “We have built a quiet partnership with the natural surroundings while placing the homes in one of the most desirable village settings on the east coast.” The smartly designed interiors of the Marsh Arbors homes give credence to Jamesway’s unfaltering quest to put “as much space as possible in a floor plan” rather than putting “as many floor plans as possible in a space.” Floorings, appliances, and architectural details serve up a harmonious melding of high-tech and high-touch. “Our designs work hard so that our residents can live easy,” continued Patterson. “There will be only 128 homes in Marsh Arbors, and each home will embrace the mood, the luxury, and the style that makes marshfront living so desirable.” Marsh Arbors residents may come for the location. They may come for the amenities that include a gated entrance, infinity pool, pavilion, spa tub and barbeque area. They may come for the beauty of the homes themselves. They may even come because maintenance-free living has become a priority in deference to their busy lifestyles. But they will stay because they have discovered a sanctuary that embodies the best of the South and the best of a small town. They will stay because they have found peace of mind. At the edge of the world. In the arbors of the marshes.


Literarily Speaking

New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry

Steve Berry’s 4th novel takes readers on a tantalizing treasure hunt. Release date February 21, 2006

Steve Berry book signing of The Templar Legacy When: February 23, 2006, 7 pm – 9 pm Where: Once Upon A Bookseller, 207 Osborne Street, St. Marys, Georgia


“…two forces vying for the treasure have learned that it is not at all what they thought it was—and its true nature could change the modern world.” So begins an online introduction to Steve Berry’s fourth novel, and an insight into why Berry fans are clamoring to, once again, step inside the mind of a novelist whose talent for intrigue is nearly maddening. Just when you think you have it all worked out, up pops another possibility, another connection, another reason to turn the next page, and the next. Berry’s novels are not for someone looking for a casual read. Lazy readers need not step inside. Berry makes you think. Makes your heart beat a little faster. Makes your mind open a little wider. He is an accomplished writer with great stories to tell. And he tells them well. From his bankish-style office just a few miles from St. Marys’ waterfront, Berry tells of his relentless journey into the bestselling world. After all how many aspiring writers could handle 85 rejections over a five-manuscript time span? Though Berry describes his earlier writing as “horrible,” even he must have recognized that there was literary success in his future. For the past twelve years, Berry has spent most mornings alone in his office, spinning words into paragraphs and pages and chapters that have already culminated into three national bestsellers. His first two books, The Amber Room and The Romanov Prophecy spent time on The New York Times, USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly, and BookSense bestseller lists. His third novel, The Third Secret, was an instant bestseller, debuting at #13 on The New York Times list its first week on sale. But it is Berry’s fourth novel, The Templar Legacy, that appears destined to propel Berry into the next level of fame. “It will take readers on a good treasure continued on page 54

St. Marys Magazine

Cries and Whispers:

The Spirits of

St. Marys S

oft winds whisper through the moss-coated live oak trees in Downtown St. Marys. This is a place of mystery, a place of history, a place where the past does not sleep and specters roam in the moonlight. Originally settled by Spanish soldiers in the 1500s, the city’s past spans four centuries. Four centuries filled with war, heartbreak, lost loves, pestilence and natural disasters set in an area filled with wilderness and mystery. Four centuries that built the small town into a quiet utopia of charm and beauty. Four centuries of memories. Four centuries which still fill the night with dreams and spirits of days long gone. Is the city haunted? Of course, how could it not be? Death alone is not strong enough to tear some of the city’s residents away. But how do you find these ghostly inhabitants? The answer is easier than you think. Before we seek out the spirits of St. Marys, it is important to understand some of the reasons people believe ghosts linger. In St. Marys you will find the four most common types of hauntings. The first of which is like a memory that cannot be forgotten. Some say when a person lives in a place for a long period of time, or if something extremely traumatic occurs in a location, it leaves a kind of imprint on that place. This imprint is so strong that it echoes through the years. These “psychic echoes” usually manifest themselves in

St. Marys Magazine

the form of voices, footsteps, music and screaming being heard or in the scent of foods or smoke. Sometimes they can even form visions of the people who have left their mark, but these figures are usually shadowy and indistinct. Not all hauntings are just echoes of a former time. Some are caused by actual spirits caught between the land of the living and the dead. It is said that some spirits are unable to cope with the shock of death. These are usually the spirits of those who died suddenly or at a very young age. These spirits are unable to let go of the earthly world and often do not even realize that they are dead. They will continue to act out their daily lives unaware of the changes in the world around them. These spirits can physically affect our world — they move objects, open and close windows and doors, turn lights on and off, and change television stations. Often, these spirits are not even recognized as ghosts and are seen walking down the street or in stores where they blend with the living. The most aggressive type of ghost is that of a person with unfinished business. These spirits know they are dead, but feel that there is something that must be done before they can move on to the next world. These poor spirits are doomed to walk the earth until their business has been completed. Ghosts of

this type will actually try to make contact with the living, either to relay a message that they were unable to deliver before their death or to enlist that person’s aid to finish some task so they may rest in peace. These spirits may be the reason that a dying man’s last wishes are almost considered sacred today... failure to comply may keep his soul from reaching the next realm. The last type of haunting has little to do with the past—poltergeists. The word poltergeist, loosely translated, means noisy ghost. And that is exactly what they are… noisy. Poltergeists bang table and chair legs, throw items across rooms, love to play with the volume on televisions and radios as well as change their stations. They are very rambunctious and can seem aggressive and often hostile. An interesting point is that 99% of the reported cases of poltergeists occur in a home where there is a female going through puberty. People believe that this is more than just a coincidence. They say that women are born with inherent psychic abilities and, during puberty, the chemical imbalances in the body can overtake these abilities allowing the girl to move objects without knowing it. Fortunately, in almost every poltergeist case the hauntings ended near or on the girl’s 18th birthday. All of these types of hauntings occur in St. Marys, but where do you find them? First you must find the history, and the continued ...


Cries and Whispers: The Spirits of St. Marys best place to find the history is where those who lived through it are laid to rest. It has been said that cemeteries are where the dead talk. Oak Grove Cemetery in Downtown St. Marys, dating back to 1788, is no exception. Oak Grove holds the graves of soldiers from every war fought by this country up to the Persian Gulf War, as well as those of mothers, daughters, fathers, sons, those that were murdered and those that died of old age. The cemetery holds many stories of heartache and loves lost, some of which have a dark twist. In the late 1950s, a prominent St. Marys doctor, Dr. Paul Hopkins Christian, lost his beautiful young wife, Marjorie. Unable to bear the loss of his love the doctor had Marjorie’s body encased in a glass casket and placed in the only mausoleum in Oak Grove Cemetery. The doctor kept the only key to the door and visited his bride daily brushing her hair and whispering words of love hoping to reach her from beyond the grave. Local residents thought the doctor had lost his mind from his grief as they watched him faithfully trek to his wife’s tomb daily. After a couple of months of visiting his wife, Dr. Christian lost his keys to the mausoleum. Distraught, he called every locksmith in town, but they all refused to make a replacement for him. So the doctor began going to the mausoleum and talking to his wife through the heavy wooden door. One day, the residents noticed the doctor did not make his regular visit to the tomb. Concerned, they immediately investigated only to find the door to the mausoleum mysteriously opened and the doctor at home dead in his bed. To this day, local ghost seekers come to the grave to knock on the door and hear the tormented Marjorie knock back. The most prominent marker in Oak Grove is that of two men buried side by side with only one thing in common, a woman. The large detailed angel stands watch over the two graves, each marked, “My Husband.” The wife of these two men, whose burial place is unknown, moved to St. Marys with her first husband who died shortly after their arrival in 1882. She later got remarried to a local man, Camden M. Sheffield who also died in


1897. The deaths of both husbands left the widow with a large fortune and perhaps a bad reputation as a “black widow.” Shortly after Sheffield’s death she erected the monument for her husbands and left the city, never to return. Oak Grove’s most beautiful angel has spurred many local legends. It is said the angel changes positions; that if

photographed a ring of faces will be seen surrounding her; she glows on the dark nights of the new moon; and a ghost will rise out of the statue at midnight on All Hallows’ Eve then briefly float over the graves of the two men before disappearing into the night. The ghosts of St. Marys are not confined to the cemetery. As you roam the streets of the historic downtown

St. Marys Convention & Visitors Bureau cordially invites you to attend our area’s

2006 Signature Events

February 16-19, 2006 ...................... Creative Palette Convention February 18, 2006 ............................................ Mardi Gras Ball February 25, 2006 ....................................... Mardi Gras Festival April 28-29, 2006 ............................ Crawfish Festival, Woodbine July 4, 2006 ............................................. 4th of July Celebration September 1-4, 2006 .......................... Catfish Festival, Kingsland October 7, 2006 ......................................... Rock Shrimp Festival October 15-November 4 .............................................. Hay Days November 2-4, 2006 ............ National Memorial Service WWII Subvets November 7, 2006 .................. Downtown Merchants Open House November 28, 2006 ............................. White Lighting Ceremony December 9, 2006 .................. Historic Candlelight Tour of Homes St. Marys Convention & Visitors Bureau 4 0 6 O s b o r n e S t r e e t St . M a r ys , G e o rg i a 315 5 8 866-868-2199 (toll free) 9 1 2 - 8 8 2 - 4 0 0 0 www.stmar St. Marys Magazine

Cries and Whispers: The Spirits of St. Marys area, certain buildings demand your attention. The most obvious of which is the stately Orange Hall. This three-story Greek-revival mansion with its spanning front porch draws nearly every passerby to its front step. It is no surprise that its early residents may have chosen to remain in its grandeur. This present day museum is said to be the most haunted structure in St. Marys and the home to the city’s most beloved child ghost. According to local lore, the builder and first resident of Orange Hall was Charles Pratt, the Reverend of the Presbyterian Church located directly across the street from the house. Pratt was the proud father of a beautiful little girl named Jane. Jane was said to be a lively little girl full of curiosity. She would play dolls for hours along the house’s large wooden stairway and would often run to the docks to greet the ships coming into port. It is said that, although Jane died after her father moved her to Alabama, she has returned to her childhood home where her ghost has made its presence known. Her figure has been seen peeking out the window of her upstairs bedroom, her footsteps have been heard pattering across the floor when the house was supposed to be empty, and she has been known to move toys and dolls in her room during the night. Little Jane is not the only ghostly inhabitant of Orange Hall. Several other spirits remain in the old building. Spirits that have chilled guests with the sounds of rattling chains and eerie voices as well as moving objects and leaving the scent of pipe smoke. It is said even the stove in the house’s kitchen is haunted and will turn itself off if permission is not requested to use it. Not all of the haunted places in St. Marys need to be sought out. Many visitors to the city have become believers in ghosts just from a night’s stay in one of the historic buildings. Sleeping guests have been pulled from their beds by their feet in one establishment while others have been kept up all night by televisions that turn themselves on and change channels by themselves. Old Hugh, an eccentric Riverview Hotel regular who met his demise over the Christmas Holiday one year, has been known to tug on your leg if you

stay in room number—no, we won’t say. But spirits have been reveling at the Riverview for decades. Owners Jerry and Gaila Brandon tell of apparitional sightings by Jerry’s aunt, one of three sisters who were owners in the early 1900s. As a child, she and her playmate often saw an old sea captain watching them play. The Riverview even has a spirit of the canine nature. Beggar, the town’s adopted dog, departed this earth two years ago. To the fanfare of a large gathering, he was laid to rest. But, to this day, when all is quiet, Seagle’s Saloon bartender Cindy Deen hears the tapping of toenails across the tiled lobby floor, and the sound of Beggar nudging the saloon door just as he always did before entering. Just a block and a half away sits the Goodbread House Bed and Breakfast where Captain Goodbread’s jovial spirit embraces guests in a way that makes them feel like they just got a “big hug.” He’s a wise spirit, according to guests who often find books placed by their bed that just happen to be pertinent to what is going on in their life now. The scent of “Old Spice” inexplicably hangs in the air when a presence is felt. The Archibald Clark House, St. Marys’ oldest residence, hosts the old man himself. Current owners Catherine and Tom Nesbitt’s grandchildren (descendents of Archibald Clark, Tom’s grandmother’s grandfather) have said their patriarch ancestor plays with them. They recognized him from his imposing portrait that hangs above the Nesbitts’ parlour fireplace. Even the local shops have their own spirits, although their owners will be quick to tell you they are “friendly ghosts.” A remark that is often followed by falling merchandise and flickering lights. These shop owners may call their ghosts “friendly” because they are aware of their protective nature. One local business owner is so confident in her store’s protective spirits she stated, “I feel sorry for the people who would try to steal from my place.” Homes and shops in St. Marys have been visited by what the townsfolk have deemed the “Lock Ness Ghost,”— a concerned spirit who goes around locking front doors from the outside for citizens who don’t feel the need to lock up.

Even the marshes along the St. Marys River have their ghost stories. A headless pirate is said to roam these marshes. The pirate’s favorite haunt, the Ross Inn, was destroyed by Hurricane Dora in 1964. Nearly every visitor of the inn, which once stood at the east end of Bryant Street, was reported to have had one encounter or another with the pirate, yet no one could explain where he came from or why his spirit lingered. That was until the inn was no more... When excavators were clearing away the rubble after the inn was destroyed they found what might have been the cause of the pirate’s persistent haunting: a group of human bones missing only the skull was found under the building. Although his remains were removed and given a proper burial, some say the headless pirate still roams, searching for his missing head, and on certain nights his green glowing spirit can still be seen wandering through the marsh on the St. Marys waterfront. While wandering the streets of Historic St. Marys, you may encounter one of its undead residents. All the ghosts in St. Marys embody the spirit of the people; strong, quiet, charming and always welcoming. The many lingering spirits that haunt this city have shown no signs of leaving, and they will continue to remind us—whether it is the subtle scent of cooking or by a harsh tugging on your leg in the middle of the night—that they once lived on this land, and they have not forgotten.

B&B FOR SALE Historic St. Marys near waterfront •Circa 1870 •Good Revenue •Turnkey opportunity $795,000 Cash offers only. 954-290-9873 or email



he extraordinary salt marshes that make up much of Georgia’s east coast harbor amazing habitats, and are considered a fabulously rich nursery for marine and terrestrial creatures. The richness of the salt marshes can be attributed to the fact that the Georgia coast is always moving. Regulated by the freezing and thawing of polar ice caps, Georgia’s shoreline moves inland for a few million years, and then back out again, rolling back and forth across itself. The constant motion makes Georgia’s coast unique in that it has no hard edge. Once inside the shifting sand of the barrier islands, Georgia emerges from the sea as a soggy band of estuaries and tidal marsh that extends inland for miles. It is the wide intermingling of land and sea, salt water and freshwater, that creates the rich marshlands that remain St. Marys’ signature landscape. Though Georgia’s coast is less than a


hundred miles long, it contains one-fourth of all salt marsh on the United States’ eastern coast. The salt marsh is a stable and safe haven for the breeding and hatching of an enormous number of sea creatures. In fact, 70% of all commercial fishes begin their life in the salt marsh. Besides being a harbor for embryonic marine life, it is also the fertility of the salt muds that help its inhabitants thrive. Richer by far than a Kansas wheat field, a salt marsh acts much like a self-sustaining “bouillabaisse”—a murky soup made up of decomposed cordgrass, and of the decomposers themselves. Fungi and bacteria liberate the plants’ nutrients and plankton and microscopic zooplankton. Thus begins the food chain that perpetuates the amazing life of the marshes. If you’ve ever smelled the sulfuric odor coming from the marshes, you’ve witnessed first hand the miraculous

decomposing/life-sustaining process of the delicate ecosystem. The best way to get an upclose look at the marshland phenomenon is to take a kayak ride through St. Marys’ rivers and creeks. Up the Creek Xpeditions, just a block from St. Marys’ waterfront, is the perfect starting point. Up the Creek proprietors Tom and Julie Monahan offer a variety of excursions for people of all ages and experience. But their Marsh Exploration Tour, led by local science teacher Becci Curry, is perhaps the most revealing in a short period. Becci’s passion for marine science is unbridled, and you will find yourself caught up in an incredible world that few have experienced. A typical exploration might have you put in at Dark Entry Creek, just three miles from the waterfront. Chances are you’ll be first welcomed by a sunning alligator as you glide easily into the continued ...

St. Marys Magazine

Marshland Miracles An ecosystem of the highest order creek. More often than not, you will hear—not see—the wary clapper rail, a marsh hen in actuality that builds its nest in thick grasses above the high water mark. Its “railing” birdcall gives it its name. A diamondback turtle may lumber by on a sandbar if you’re near low tide. It is unlikely you will leave the marshes without witnessing the distinct courtship gestures of the male fiddler crab as he holds his giant claw out in front of his body as if it were a violin, waving and snapping the big claw to get the attention of a mate. Its other claw, the small one, is used for feeding. The truly amazing trait of the fiddler crab is that if his large claw breaks off, his smaller claw will grow into a larger one, and the broken limb will grow back into a small feeding claw. This is truly nature’s way of depicting how important the success of the mating ritual is. The great blue heron, one of the largest birds in North America, is sure to be seen on your Up the Creek expedition. Often seen standing motionless in the shallows of marsh ponds or tidal creeks, it can grow to a height of four feet. The great blue primarily eats fish, but also likes frogs, salamanders, insects, and even the occasional field mouse. Also common to St. Marys’ salt marshes is the marsh periwinkle which is no flower, but instead is a member of a group of marine gastropod mollusks characterized by their conical, spiraling shells. At low tide, these snails can be found at the base of one of their favorite foods, the smooth cordgrass or Spartina. There are marsh rabbits, marsh rice rats, and marsh wrens. There are osprey, raccoons. and migrating ducks. And wood storks and ibis, anhingas and cormorants. St. Marys’ marshlands are teeming with life—in the waters, on ground, and in the air. The important thing to remember is how critical the marshes are to our environment and how fragile. The marshes help protect us from storms and hold together an amazing world of plants and animals. We invite you to explore the vast rich lands that are our marshes in hopes that it will promote a sense of stewardship, understanding, and appreciation for the miracles of the marshes.

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Spencer House Inn Bed & Breakfast 200 Osborne Street St. Marys, Georgia

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“Enter as strangers. Leave as friends,” says the sign hanging over the doorway of the Goodbread House Bed and Breakfast Inn just steps from Historic St. Marys’ waterfront. It is a sentiment embraced by all three bed and breakfasts in Downtown St. Marys as well as the historic Riverview Inn.

Circa 1870, the Goodbread House takes its name from Captain Walton Goodbread, a much beloved ferry boat captain who lived there with his family in the early 1900s. Known as the “house where love lives,” the Goodbread House features suites named for famous lovers: the Rhett & Scarlett, the Gable & Lombard, and the Lucy & Ricky are among the romantically appointed rooms. The gingerbreaded Victorian was authentically restored in the 1980s to retain the charm of its original architecture. Guests enjoy social hour daily on the veranda in the shade of a majestic magnolia, while relaxing to the serene purr of “Porch Kitty.”


Just across the street stands the stately Spencer House Inn. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Spencer House was chosen the “Best B&B award winner” for seven years in a row, and has also been named to Select Registry Distinguished Inns of North America. Fourteen beautiful guest rooms grace the 133-year-old inn, many featuring baths with clawfoot soaking tubs. Guests can sit on the veranda and view the waterfront just a block away. Proprietors Mike and Mary Neff take great pride in the pristinely kept rooms and common areas that include a library. continued ...

St. Marys Magazine

To sleep, perchance to dream St. Marys Overnight For visitors who want to stay in the center of the action, there’s the irresistible Riverview Inn. With a riverfront view that’s right out of Forrest Gump, the Riverview is steeped in history and tradition. Built in 1916, the Riverview has been owned and operated by the Brandon family since the 1920s. Hosts Jerry and Gaila Brandon extend the same warmth and tradition t o d a y a s d i d t h e o r i g i n a l B r a n d o n S i s t e r s ––a tradition that keeps visitors returning year after year. On the first floor, the renowned Seagle’s Saloon continues to be a magnet for mellow souls who are welcomed nightly by the locals that have made Seagle’s their favorite watering hole.

Emma’s Bed and Breakfast sits just four blocks from the waterfront amidst a four-acre woodland of magnolias, jasmine, gardenias, azaleas and camellias. Guests can enjoy breakfast on the back porch and watch the numerous birds that make their habitat at Emma’s. Each room has a distinct personality–from French Country to Safari to cottage-chic. The Honeymoon room features a red heart-shaped Jacuzzi and a deck overlooking a Koi pond. Reading by the fireplace in the cozy library is a favorite activity for guests.

Across the waters from St. Marys, the venerable Greyfield Inn stands as a monument to the island of national treasures–Cumberland Island. “The Greyfield Inn has become a favorite of notables, especially those seeking time off from being noted,” wrote a Town & Country Magazine journalist. National Geographic called it a “Gatsbyesque inn,” and it’s easy to see why its setting was chosen by the Carnegies as their ultimate family getaway. The inn is furnished today as it was at the turn of the century, and its private compound includes more than 200 acres of pristine oceanfront hotel land devoted to guest use.

photo: Fred Whitehead

For those who enjoy a more contemporary setting, there are several other fine lodging choices. Cumberland Island Inn & Suites, just three miles from the waterfront, is across the street from the movie theater and features the popular Island Club where locals go to dance. Cumberland Kings Bay Lodges is a great venue for families or long-term guests. Just minutes from downtown as well, it features attractive mini-suites with kitchenettes and a playground for the kiddies. Whether visitors seek serenity, sizzle, or something in between, the perfect bed in the perfect room in the perfect location awaits them in seductive St. Marys.

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Literarily Speaking hunt for a great treasure,” Berry said. Clearly, Berry takes pleasure in weaving a rich tapestry of mystery and surprising his readers as he claims he sometimes surprises himself. He usually knows his story endings before he starts, he explained, but with The Templar Legacy, he was 80% into the book before he discovered the ending. It wasn’t the ending he envisioned from the start. A better one, he said. One can surmise by his facial expression what he really means is a more powerful one. But Berry has a knack for saving the superlatives for his critics. He acknowledges how much it meant to him that The DaVinci Code author Dan Brown wrote the blurb for The Amber Room…”sexy, illuminating…my kind of thriller,” Brown wrote. “[A] churning thriller,” The New York Times said of The Third Secret. The San Francisco Chronicle called The Romanov Prophecy, “compelling.” St. Marys Magazine will add to Berry’s trough of superlatives by saying that The Templar Legacy does not stop short of “riveting.” All the components of a bestselling international mystery are there: treachery, intrigue, conquest, lust for power, and shattering discoveries. And remember, it’s all about discovery of a treasure that can “change the modern world.” Perhaps what will captivate Berry’s readers most as they immerse themselves into the ancient order of the Knights Templar, is his stunning mastery at melding history with fiction. It is Berry’s unwavering commitment to research that allows him to drive fiction by fact, and along the way blur the lines between the two to the point that his story is imbedded in a reader’s mind as complete, final, the truth. It’s a talent that has drawn hundreds of letters from stirred up readers who forget that they’ve read a

novel, a work of fiction, and they’ve taken offense at some of Berry’s concepts. “It’s a novel. It’s not real,” Berry tries to tell them. But, he’s told his story too well, too succinct, too believable. And that is exactly why fans will return again and again, seeking an adventure that will take them to places they never thought they’d go, and give them the unrivaled satisfaction of a great read. And what drives Steve Berry? “It’s that little voice in my head that compels me to write,” Berry said. “And when someone tells me that they’ve enjoyed my book, that is the highest compliment I could ever get. I realize everybody’s time is precious. If I can stimulate them, and entertain them along the way, that is my reward.” How does a nice boy from Atlanta who grew up on Hardy Boys books churn up international mysteries that take a reader through fourteenth century Europe in unbelievably believable fashion? It seems it all began with his love of reading. Berry’s father put the “fire in the belly,” giving Berry an unquenchable thirst for books. And his mother “flamed the fire” with her guiding sense of discipline and tenacity. James Michener poured fuel on the fire from his book, Hawaii, perhaps inspiring Berry’s first touch of wanderlust. Then books like The Godfather painted indelible pictures of unsavory characters with conflicting yet redeeming social values for Berry to examine. It is a mesmerizing mixture of inspiration and perspiration that has driven Steve Berry into that sacred society of bestselling authors. Hard work will continue to play a critical role in Berry’s future success stories, for while he maintains his full-time position as a prominent Camden County attorney and serves the area as a county

commissioner as well, Berry still gets into the office at 6:30 each day for those precious few hours of uninterrupted master wordsmithing. His contract with America’s largest publishing firm, Random House, demands three more thrillers in as many years. Where will he take his readers after they’ve left the mysterious village in southern France that leads into the story of The Templar Legacy? Geographically, it’s too early to tell. But emotionally, Steve Berry will, no doubt, once again, take his readers to places they never thought it was possible to go and open their minds to experiences as rich as the Templar Knights once were.

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St. Marys Magazine

Trippin’ Day

If you find yourself with some extra time while staying in St. Marys, you may want to make a visit to one of the other nearby attractions. St. Marys is only a short drive to several other fabulous destinations that you could visit for a day to experience more of the diverse and exciting Coastal Georgia area. Some of the most popular daytrips include:

Brunswick & The Golden Isles of Georgia – Approximately 45 minutes. Just north of St. Marys lies the mainland city Brunswick and four barrier islands: St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Little St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island, collectively known as the Golden Isles. For more information, visit

St. Simons Island - Fort Frederica

St. Simons Island

Sea Island - The Cloister

Jekyll Island - Jekyll Island Club

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Brunswick is a seaport town with a historic downtown filled with antique shops and a growing number of specialty shops. Visitors can relax at Mary Ross Park on the waterfront, where they can see the fleets of shrimp boats that work the local waters. Other attractions include 14 different golf courses and the Emerald Princess casino/cruise ship. St. Simons Island, the largest of the Golden Isles, offers historical sites and attractions, including the St. Simons Lighthouse (a working lighthouse in operation since 1872), the Bloody Marsh battle site, Fort Frederica National Monument and historic Christ Church. The island also offers beaches and a nature center with day programs for children and Neptune Park, with a mini-golf course, playground and the fishing pier. Little St. Simons Island is a private island, accessible only by twice-daily boats from St. Simons Island’s north end. The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island was built in the early 1900s and offers accommodations for up to 30 guests. Guests enjoy an array of activities from guided nature walks with a staff naturalist to canoeing, kayaking, and horseback rides. Sea Island is home to The Cloister, a world-class resort renowned for its luxury and gracious service. Amenities include a full-service spa, golf, tennis, Shooting School, horseback riding, kids’ programs, a private beach, fishing, waterway excursions and more. Jekyll Island, the southernmost of the Golden Isles, was once an exclusive winter retreat for some of America’s wealthiest families. From 1887 to 1942, the Jekyll Island Club counted among its members such men as J.P. Morgan, William Rockefeller, Joseph Pulitzer and other industrial and financial leaders. Today, Jekyll Island offers a variety of activities including golf, tennis, beaches, 20 miles of bike paths, mini-golf, nature tours and Summer Waves Water Park. continued ...



malls and a blend of shopping plazas, and in the Historic District, with antique and specialty shops, art galleries and a number of nautical-themed apparel and gift stores. Historic sites include the King-Tisdell Cottage, Juliette Gordon Low’s Birthplace, Andrew Low House, Davenport House and Owens-Thomas House, Wormsloe Historic Site as well as Old Fort Jackson, Fort Screven and Fort Pulaski. Ocean lovers will adore nearby Tybee Island where they can search for shells and relax on its seemingly endless beaches or take a tour of the lighthouse. For more information, visit The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge The Okefenokee Swamp is great outdoor fun for all ages. The refuge encompasses over 400,000 acres of canals, moss-draped cypress trees and swampland and is a sanctuary for hundreds of species of birds and wildlife. With entrances at the north in Waycross and to the East in Folkston, the wildlife refuge offers a wide range of activities including guided boat tours, canoe rentals, an observation tower, a restored swamp homestead, bicycle rentals, picnic areas and fishing. For more information, visit:

Savannah - Juliette Gordon Low’s Birthplace

The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

Savannah, Georgia – Approximately 2 hours. Founded by General James Edward Oglethorpe in 1733, Savannah is known for its historic district, a 2.5 mile area full of parks, fountains and grand architecture. The city is full of treasures for explorers to discover. Local attractions include several history and art museums as well as historic walking, trolley, boat and carriage tours available from more than 20 tour companies. The city offers shopping on the south side, with two


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DayTrippin’ Waycross, Georgia – Approximately 1 hour 45 minutes. Waycross, home to the northern entrance of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, offers shopping at antique stores and boutiques, golf, natural beauty and an abundance of wildlife. Explore the history and natural wonders of the area at local attractions including a pioneer homestead, Honey Bee Farm, Turpentine Site, Laura S. Walker State Park, Seminole Indian Village, Moonshine Still, Wildlife Observations, and much, much more. For more information, visit

St. Marys Magazine

Folkston, Georgia – Approximately 45 minutes. Folkston, Georgia is the east entrance to the beautiful Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. Visitors can also relax on the city’s observation platform and watch the numerous trains passing along the “Folkston Funnel,” a double track which serves as the main artery for railroad traffic into and out of Florida. Train lovers will delight in the numerous trains from different railroads that constantly pass through the town. For more information, visit

Woodbine, Georgia – Approximately 30 minutes. Woodbine is a quiet community where visitors can relax and enjoy the scenic beauty and the history of Georgia. The city’s Waterfront Park, located on the shore of the Satilla River, allows nature enthusiasts to observe birds and wildlife and offers a boat launch, fishing pier, covered picnic areas, public restrooms, bike racks and parking facilities. The Waterfront Park is also the site of the annual Crawfish Festival and the Woodbine Farmer’s Market. The city is also home to the Bryan-Lang Historical Library which holds historical documents and artifacts telling the history of Camden County and Coastal Georgia. For more information, visit


DayTrippin’ Darien, Georgia – Approximately 1 hour. Darien welcomes visitors with the Waterfront Park on the Darien River, a boardwalk where fleets of shrimp boats dock and visitors can enjoy picnic tables and public docks for fishing. The city is a shopper’s paradise with a downtown historic district filled with a variety of antique, gift and arts and crafts stores. Darien is also home to Georgia Islands Factory Shoppes, an outlet mall where shoppers can find brand name merchandise at extraordinary values. There are also numerous historic sites including the Smallest Church in America, Butler Island Rice Plantation and Fort King George Historic Site with living history demonstrations, battle re-enactments and walking tours. From Darien, visitors can take a short ferry ride to the pristine Sapelo Island. This barrier island features beaches, and the newly restored lighthouse and the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve (SINERR), dedicated to the research, education and stewardship for coastal resources in Georgia. Guests to the island can explore the nature trails that weave through the maritime forest and along the marsh and salt pans surrounding the facility, or take a guided tour. For more information, visit

Amelia Island, Florida – Approximately 30 minutes. Amelia Island is known as Florida’s Golden Isle, and is one of a chain of barrier islands stretching from South Carolina. Filled with rich history, Amelia is the only location in the United States to have been under eight different flags. Guests enjoy the 13 miles of coastline and the island’s picturesque sandy beaches. The area features a wide array of fine restaurants, boutiques, galleries, golf courses and outdoor activities and is host to numerous festivals and world class events, including the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance and the Bausch & Lomb Tennis Championships. For more information, visit

Jacksonville, Florida – Approximately 45 minutes. Jacksonville, Florida is a big city with a small town feel. Geographically the largest city in the contiguous 48 states, Jacksonville is an exciting and vibrant city with an array of activities for all ages. Some of the city’s most popular attractions include the Budweiser Brewery, greyhound racing at Jacksonville Kennel Club and Orange Park Kennel Club, the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens, Timucuan Preserve/Kingsley Plantation, more than 50 golf courses, theaters, art galleries, numerous museums, cruises and charters, and miles of sand and surf on the Jacksonville Beaches. The city offers year-round sports with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Jacksonville Suns professional baseball and Jacksonville Barracudas Hockey Club. Visitors can enjoy a whole day of shopping at the Jacksonville Landing, regional malls and quaint neighborhood boutique districts. Visitors can also explore the area’s past at Jacksonville’s historic sites including the Fort Caroline National Memorial and the Walter Jones Historical Park. For more information, visit

Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art


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St. Augustine, Florida – Approximately 1 hour 15 minutes. Founded in 1565, St. Augustine is the oldest, continuously occupied European settlement in the continental United States. The city is home to more than 80 attractions and historical sites. Visitors can ride sightseeing trains, take historical tours aboard one of the trolleys or carriages, or explore the Castillo de San Marcos, which is the last fort still standing since the city was founded. From the famous Wax museum to wineries and alligator farms, St. Augustine’s combination of historic sites and modern-day storytelling makes the city a delight for all ages.

St. Marys Magazine

St. Augustine’s Attractions Bring History, Adventure, and Romance to Life in the Old City. With four centuries of colorful local history to draw from, the more than 80 unique, themed attractions and historical sites in St. Augustine bring the history and romance of the Old City to life. Complementing the historically-themed attractions are contemporary adventures ancient explorers never imagined. The combination of historic sites and modern-day storytelling make the attractions of St. Augustine one of the most popular features of the oldest, continuously occupied European settlement in the continental United States. Historic Sites Travelers can step back in time by walking amidst the authentic coquina walls and hand-hewn cedar beams that are evident in St. Augustine’s Oldest House (Gonzalez-Alvarez House, 1727). Guests experience the lifestyles and craftsmanship found in 1740 at the living history Colonial Spanish Quarter Museum. A stop at Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archeological Park (1903) takes visitors through Christian Indian burial grounds and provides the opportunity to sip from the legendary Fountain of Youth. The Ponce de Leon Hotel, a lavish, 18th-century Spanish Renaissance structure, was completed in 1888 by millionaire developer Henry Flagler and is now home to Flagler College. Other historic attractions include the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse and the authentic Old Jail. Old St. Augustine Village – offers an entire block of restored homes and gardens in the historic district. Nine homes, a country store, formal gardens, and authentically-costumed guides tell the story of St. Augustine and its colorful


DayTrippin’ inhabitants dating back to the 16th century. The first Easter Mass held in the New World was at St. Augustine’s Mission of Nombre de Dios. Masses are still held today at this peaceful site along the bay. Two national monuments remain as guardians over the area of St. Augustine. Castillo de San Marcos (1695) was never conquered and endures as the nation’s oldest and only remaining 17th-century stone fort. A smaller Spanish fortress named Fort Matanzas (1742) once protected the inlet from pirates and British vessels approaching St. Augustine from the south. Museums In St. Augustine A collection of museums display the most impressive mementos and historical artifacts that Florida has to offer. The Government House Museum, on the corner of St. George and King Streets, dates back to the 1600s, when it was the political center of Florida. One of the world’s most impressive collections of American Brilliant Period cut glass is

housed in the Lightner Museum (1888), originally the elaborate $1.5 million Hotel Alcazar built by Henry Flagler. Other authentic pieces of history can be viewed in the Museum of Weapons and Early American History. Native American artifacts, guns of all types and one of the finest Civil War collections in the United States can be found in this exhibit from the 1500s to the 1900s. With 219 steps leading up the 165-foot tower, the candy-striped St. Augustine Lighthouse provides visitors a panoramic view of St. Augustine and the beaches. The Lighthouse Museum displays maritime artifacts and provides visitors with a look at what life was like for lighthouse keepers and their families. 20th-Century Fun Visitors looking for some prehistoric adventures can find more than 1,000 hungry reptiles as the main attraction at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Park – the only facility in the world housing every species of crocodilian. Seeing is believing at the original St.

Augustine’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Also a first-of-its-kind in America, Potter’s Wax Museum holds more than 160 life-size figures, including historical, political, royal and motion picture characters from Beethoven to Sylvester Stallone’s motion picture c h a r a c t e r “ R a m b o . ” Vi s i t o r s t o Whetstone’s Chocolate Factory Stores receive tasty chocolate samples after a free tour through Whetstone’s chocolate factory. At the St. Augustine San Sebastian Winery, adult visitors are treated to samples of fine wine and, for youngsters and non-drinkers, grape juice is provided. At I-95 and State Road 16, the Family Fun Factory provides a state-of-the-art arcade, go-carts, batting cages, and even opportunities for paintball shoot-outs. On St. Augustine Beach, Fiesta Falls, a pirate-themed miniature golf course and picnic facility, can provide a fun-filled day for the entire family. For more information,visit

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St Marys Magazine Issue 001  

This is the first issue, launched back in 2006.