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IN A WORLD OF SITES, A PLACE FOR THE SENSES. Like the ancient waterways that wind through this corner of Georgia’s golden coast, there is a profound sense of slowing here. An emphatic sense of place and history. Of reward and relaxation. This is Cumberland Harbour, across the Intracoastal Waterway from Cumberland Island National Seashore. A serene and private coastal community admired for its rare oak-quilted beauty and ocean access, sought after for its gracious homes and grand homesites, and prized for its premier amenities, including Clubhouse, aquatics and fitness centers and proposed marina. And now, an unmistakable sense of opportunity prevails with a new collection of 54 homesites from the $280’s. All are densely wooded with some fronting the saltmarshes and waters of Point Peter Creek. To arrange an inspiring land and water tour of Cumberland Harbour, call 888.231.5263. Or visit

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

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.

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.

GLORIOUS LAND. GRACIOUS COASTAL LIVING. ON GEORGIA’S GOLDEN COAST. There is a place. A place along the Georgia coast’s rich bounty of tidal creeks, saltmarshes and rivers. A place you see every time you close your eyes. Where nature reigns, privacy prevails and the best of life awaits Bridge Pointe welcomes you to an unrivaled coastal lifestyle of boating and fishing, ocean access and enjoyment of the beaches, history and recreation of Georgia’s famed Golden Isles. Here, the inspiring landscape shapes compelling homesites with choices of sweeping marsh vistas, serene lakeside settings and wooded interior sites.

Call us today for a complimentary initial consultation.*

Jennifer J. Cox Michael J. Farnham Anthony J. DeBellis, CFP® 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. © 2005 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved. 400058Y-G17 11/05

Come discover why Bridge Pointe at Jekyll Sound will surely take its place among the most cherished of Coastal Georgia’s premier communities. Call ( 877 ) 673-5263 to arrange your tour.





Bridge Pointe at Jekyll Sound is located just south of Brunswick, Georgia. Take I-95 north to Exit 26. East on Dover Bluff Road for 3.5 miles to Sales Center on left.

Pictures shown may not be representative of the community. 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.

Letter from the Mayor

Welcome to St. Marys! From our little town of great history and intrigue, we extend a heartfelt invitation to experience St. Marys as our truly honored guest. We realize how fortunate we are to live here, year-round. We hope you’ll take the time to discover why we feel that way, and what makes a good town a great town. Your time in St. Marys will be a time of discovery. You may discover the legends of forgotten battles, pirates, great ships, and fallen heroes. You may discover the sweetness of honeysuckle and the succulence of our native rock shrimp. You may discover wild horses and sea otters and armadillos. You may even discover yourself. St. Marys is just that kind of town. The kind that reflects what is good. As our honored guest, we will take great pleasure in making your stay a most memorable one, and ask that you let us know what we can do to make your heart lighter, and your smile brighter. We know you’ll be back. And hope you’ll make it real soon. Sincerely,

Rowland Eskridge, Mayor City of St. Marys

Incredible Smiles... Exceptional Dentistry Enjoy the experience of complete dentistry at the office of Dr. Sid Parker and Dr. Jeff Pennington. If you, or someone you know, suffer from the inconvenience or discomfort of missing teeth or are embarrassed by the appearance of your teeth, there's hope for you. Many patients are experiencing for the very first time the comfort and confidence of complete dentistry. So will you.

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912-882-9602 4

St. Marys Magazine

368 Charlie Smith, Sr. Hwy St. Marys, GA (across from Sonic)

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


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Removal Of Brown Spots Laser Hair Removal 19 Facial Rejuvenation Microdermabrasion 32

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Facials Botox

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

New Location August 1st Winn Dixie Plaza 1351 E. Boone St. Suite 21 Kingsland, Georgia



By Land. By Sea. By Air.


What Ya’ll Said


St. Marys: The Seduction of Serenity


Where History Lives


America’s Treasure Cumberland Island


An Island Experience on the Mainland Cumberland Island National Seashore Visitors Center


A Norman Rockwell Christmas


A Good Time Was Had By All! St. Marys Magazine Launch Party


The Romance of a Resplendent River Retreat Cumberland Palms


Kissin’ Don’t Last Like Good Cookin’ Do


Swinging Safari Low Country Golfing


Around Every Bend is a Story Crooked Rivers Sisters Three


What’s So Funny? Toonerville Trolley


Cruizin’ St. Marys Style The Green Alternative


The Allure of a Coastal Oasis Marsh Arbors


Sweet Remembrances Sugarhouse Tabby Ruins


Old Towne Gallery


Treasure Hunting in St. Marys Caches of Historical Remnants


Acadians, Soldiers and Statesmen Oak Grove Cemetery’s Grave Mystique


Living the Good Life Laurel Island


Ready. Set. Retire.

74 D E PA R T M E N T S 8 26 34 46 58 62 70

St. Marys Magazine

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


Amaze Me.

Publisher’s Note Publisher Barbara Jackson Ryan Creative Director & Designer Jerry Lockamy Editorial Director Justin Lee Jones Editorial Advisor Linda Jackson Williford Marketing/Distribution Mack Mann Contributing Writers Alex Kearns Marianne Thomas Kristen Lockamy Julie Myers Contributing Artists David Friddle Matt Stevens Jill Weisberg Contributing Photographers Mike Newbern L.J.Williams Jimmy Smith Christine Spyker Fred Whitehead Debbie Britt Jenny Weaver Brenda Barber Taylor National Park Service

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 2006. All rights reserved.

“How can something so pretty be so smart?” This was just one of hundreds of flattering comments I received about the first issue of St. Marys Magazine. “Great work!” said another—w h i c h gave me pause. “How can something so fun and so easy be considered work?” I pondered. The success of St. Marys Magazine has far exceeded any commercial expectations my team and I might have had. Who would have thought that the second issue of a new magazine would reflect a growth of more than 50%? This is unheard of in the publishing industry. St. Marys Magazine was birthed from the heart—not from the purse. When I first came to St. Marys, I was so enamored, I knew I had to tell her story. A book, of course. But, a book would take too long. A newsletter, perhaps? Too undignified for so grand a lady. Her story had to unfold from a rich tapestry of words and pictures, and it had to be a continuing story. Welcome to St. Marys, Chapter 2. The stories to come will be endless because her treasures are boundless. And for you folks, the townspeople of St. Marys, who have embraced this publication and claimed it as your own, you have my blessings. This is your voice. Your stories and your songs. Tell them well and sing them often. There’s so much more to come.

Inspire Me. I

t’s easy to get to St. Marys no matter what mode of transportation you use. By land, St. Marys is located just 8 miles east of I-95 off Georgia Exit 1 or 3. By sea, an easy sailing up the Intracoastal, and into the St. Marys River just north of Florida, gets you right into St. Marys’ Downtown Historic District. By air, visitors have two great choices: St. Marys’ own little airport situated just minutes from the waterfront. Or Jacksonville International Airport—a mere 35 minute car ride away.

Fulfill Me.

Barbara Jackson Ryan Publisher

You are here! (Or wish you were.) For general information, advertising, or subscription service, call 912-729-1103 or visit 8 for email information.

Reward Me.

A chi-chi shop of the highest order

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

On the cover: Sailboat on St. Marys River Photo: Jenny Weaver

St. Marys Magazine

St. Marys Magazine


WHAT YA’LL SAID Readers speak out about the premier issue of St. Marys Magazine: Excellent! It reminded me of why I chose to live here. Joyce Flenniken St. Marys, Georgia This is the loveliest publication I have ever seen. Hats off to your new publication! Scot Karp Boca Raton, Florida I love your new magazine! Brace yourself, though... I predict an upswing of tourists descending on you as a result of it! Congratulations—it really is exceptional. Catherine Kashou Ponte Vedra, Florida I have raved about your magazine to everyone I know. It is great! I even sent my friend in Tampa a copy because I had talked about it so much she wanted to see it. You’re going places with this idea. Joan Frazier Hendersonville, North Carolina Your magazine blew me away. My hat is off to you. You truly captured St. Marys....there was no “fluff” but pure fact for someone like me who has been here since the very first breath I took..I was breathless after reading your magazine through! Scott Thrift St. Marys, Georgia Received my beautiful copy of the magazine today! Wonderful articles and gorgeously laid out. My congrats to you and your staff! Jan Cullinane Cincinnati, Ohio My husband is in commercial real estate in Atlanta and last week a client flew in for a meeting with him in St. Marys ... LOVED the St. Marys Magazine and Bob sent a couple of issues back with him to Atlanta. Allene Groote Atlanta, Georgia It is certainly a well done magazine - much more than one would expect from a sleepy small town in Georgia. In fact I would say that it is better than the Cincinnati Magazine. Richard & Nancy Pistler Cincinnati, Ohio


Smashing success! The magazine is a jewel. The layouts, the articles—even the advertising is done with class. It is a great tribute to our town. Sheila McNeill Former National President, Navy League of the United States Brunswick, Georgia We were just given a copy of your magazine and how IMPRESSIVE! Wonderful content, look and feel... a definite winner for our town, and compliments to you.... Anne St. Marys, Georgia She’s a beauty! Worthy of all the excitement she stirred up. We’re very much looking forward to the next copy. Candy & Bob Barrie St. Marys, Georgia You have added something very special to our little town. Roger & Rosemary Rillo St. Marys, Georgia


What a truly unique publication your St. Marys Magazine is. I am certain it will be a smashing success! Christine Smiley St. Marys, Georgia

s if living only minutes from the captivating waterfront of St. Marys were not enough, Cumberland Palms residents are also just a quick boat ride to “America’s Most Beautiful Wilderness Beach,” Cumberland Island.

Wow! How impressive it is for our community. We owe you a debt of thanks. Mike & Kathie Wilson St. Marys, Georgia Bravissimo! That’s Italian for “you kicked butt!” Bill & Paula St. Marys, Georgia You have given the people of St. Marys an exciting pathway to the future with St. Marys Magazine. Congratulations on creating such a beautiful magazine. Jean Petrie St. Marys, Georgia You have been such a shining star for St. Marys. The first issue of your magazine was beyond belief. The “out of towners” were shocked to see such a professional magazine represent such a small town. Accolades to you and your team! Donna Boyett St. Marys, Georgia

St. Marys Magazine

Located on the North River in Historic St. Marys From the high $500s

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“I have found peace here,” is the oft-quoted reply when newcomers are asked why they moved to St. Marys. There is an indefinable “softening of the edges” that seems to permeate life in St. Marys. To live in St. Marys is to come face to face with serenity on so many levels. St. Marys’ enviable location just across the river from Florida puts it in an aquatic embrace surrounded by marshes, rivers, creeks, the Intracoastal Waterway; and just across Cumberland Island, the waters of the great Atlantic. Native Americans believed that for every day you spend around water, a day is added to your life. Could it be the water that is the source of St. Marys’ serenity?


Put yourself in this picture: The day is almost over. You take a lazy stroll down to the waterfront park and settle into an old-fashioned wooden swing hung beneath a rose-covered arbor. Before you, a setting sun casts a million points of gold onto the surface of a tranquil river. Dolphins dance in the distance. Seagulls soar and laugh in flight, their gracefulness mesmerizing, leaving you yearning for wings of your own. Is it the sunsets that hold the secret to St. Marys’ serenity? On an early morning walk through St. Marys’ Downtown Historic District, you catch the tranquilizing scent of gardenia and marvel at the fragile blossoms peeking

through a pristine white picket fence. Stately magnolias and moss-covered live oaks canopy St. Marys’ fertile yards, and parks and streetscapes. In the distance you hear the baritone echo of the Cumberland Queen as she sets sail for another day of adventure on Cumberland Island. You stop for a moment, close your eyes, and listen to the lulling birdsongs—more distinct calls than you’ve ever experienced at one time. You lean across another picket fence and trace the Braille marker of a Victorian home, replete with splendor that so defines the Southern landscape. Is it this—the feast of the senses—that gives us the spellbinding sense of serenity?

“We arrived at St. Marys at the hush of eventide. It struck me as such an exquisite blow that I could not find a word. In whose brain was born so glorious concept of community? What streetways! What nobility of space! What simple grandeur and what a peace lay over all!” Written by Pulitzer Prize winner Margorie Kinnan Rawlings after her visit to St. Marys sometime before 1931.

Or could it be the people? You’ve noticed the warmth in the voices of the merchants who happily open their stores to you—browsing perfectly acceptable. You’re stricken by the respect and politeness of the waiter at the little café on the corner, whose singular mission in life seems to be to make you happy. You immerse yourself in the friendly greetings and kindness of strangers you encounter on the streets, rich with the wisdom of the area and passionate in their eagerness to share. There is quietude about the town that bespeaks calm. Tranquility. Serenity. You have found peace here in this little town of St. Marys, Georgia. Perhaps for a day. Perhaps for a lifetime. 13

Where History Lives


ago women may have been a subdued force in society, a force they clearly were, for Rhoda decreed that the Clark House should be built in the New England style. And so it was. I am led through history with anecdotes, dates, and wars that shook this country to its core and saw it emerge changed and strengthened.

Alex Kearns

The War of 1812

Clark House

Major Archibald Clark

Living history—the phrase might evoke images of ancient live oaks, the fecund, mysterious marsh or the deep infinite breath of the ocean. But history has a very human face and is alive and well in St. Marys due to the extraordinary vision of such citizens as Tom and Catherine Nesbitt. 14

The Past

The Present

The Clark House has been in Tom Nesbitt’s family for nearly two centuries. Major Archibald Clark, having graduated from Litchfield Law School (Connecticut) traveled to Georgia with his wife, Rhoda Wadsworth, and purchased the house at 314 Osborne Street from the estate of Mr. Jackson. One wonders if, perhaps, a well-satisfied ghost smiles as it tours the rooms, for Mr. Jackson began building the home in the spring of 1801 and died that fall before it reached completion. Archibald and Rhoda built onto the house while crafting a life for themselves in St. Marys—he to practice law and to assume the office of Collector Of The Port (a position that he held, serving under nine presidents, until his death on Christmas Day, 1848). Henry Clark, Archibald and Rhoda’s son, sold the house to John Bessent in 1853 and it remained in the Bessent/MacDonnell family until Tom (the great, great, great grandson of Archibald Clark) and Catherine purchased it in 1999. A circle was finally closed and the house was, once again, in the hands of Family.

I had been told of Tom and Catherine’s extraordinary efforts to restore the Clark House to its original glory and am eager to meet these people who so respect the past that they would devote immeasurable time and resources to preserving it. I pause for a moment on the long front porch of the Clark House. The light slants softly against the boards and touches the line of rocking chairs that wait patiently for someone to pass the evening there. I indulge myself and muse upon the life that this porch has seen; the extraordinary history that unfolded before it, and the changes the past 200 years have wrought. Shaking free of the spell, I make my way to Tom’s office in the back of the house and, finding him there, introduce myself and settle in to listen and learn. Tom Nesbitt is an imposing man—tall, gruff and as solid as the glowing wooden floor beneath his feet. As he talks, I fall back in time and drift through the years led by his voice. He speaks of his ancestors, Archibald Clark and his feisty wife, Rhoda. Though two hundred years

The British Admiral commandeered the Clark House and, upon entering, commented snidely about the crown-centered rug at his feet saying, “I see, Madam, that you already have the British crown in your home,” to which Rhoda replied, “Indeed sir, but as you’ll note, we keep it firmly beneath us.” The same admiral was poised to destroy the house—and the independence that it symbolized. Fortunately, the signing of the Treaty of Ghent and the cessation of hostilities saved it at the last possible moment.

occupies. My first awareness is of the scent of the past. It is the warm, clean perfume of living history that breathes in the crevices and hallways. The floors are crafted of stately broad, thick planks, lovingly traced with the patina of age. How stunning is the magnitude of such a restoration and how apparent is the Nesbitts’ meticulous attention to authenticity and detail. On we go through room after room of breathtaking beauty. But this is no sterile museum piece. It is alive with benevolent ghosts and the things of modern life, living side by side in respect and companionship. Catherine arrives home, and the windows of the past are flung open by her vitality and welcome. We speak of the vast difference between “renovation” (replacing the old with the seeming-old), and “restoration” (the painstaking process of seeking out the truly authentic.) We speak of research and hunting, of recycling existing material in order to preserve the integrity of the project, of continued ...




Downtown St. Marys 912-882-4452

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Dine with a view and indulge in Lang’s Famous Shrimp and other great seafood. 912-882-4432

On the waterfront, Downtown St. Marys

continued ...

St. Marys Magazine

Aaron Burr, the third Vice President of the United States, and he of the infamous duel with his nemesis, Alexander Hamilton, had been Archibald’s companion in law school. How delightfully surreal to have heard of Burr in history class so many years ago and to now be walking through rooms that he occupied during his visits to the Clarks. General Winfield Scott partook of the couple’s hospitality as well when returning from the Seminole Indian War in Florida. This house, clearly, has played host to legends. Tom leads me on, sprinkling the narrative with stories that have been passed down through his family like cherished heirlooms. Through Civil War, World Wars, upheaval and massive social change, the house at 314 Osborne stood firm and watched history unfold. And then it is time to tour the house. My mind is alive with the individuals who built it and the world that it

St. Marys Magazine


Where History Lives

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the years and work and love that has created this home. She doesn’t mention the “Excellence in Rehabilitation” Award presented to them in 2005 by the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. I discover that later. I am shown brick fireplaces, unique in structure and function, gleaming furniture of the original period, small nooks and crannies where visions of children at play gild the air, and the voices of the past whisper. Birth, death, loss, laughter, grief and joy—this house is a glorious tapestry of the past and present, woven by the years and the love of its caretakers. As I leave, I pause once again to gaze back at the porch that overlooks Osborne Street. Perhaps I have been too long in the past this day for I could swear that I caught a glimpse of a man and woman (Archibald and Rhoda?) rocking slowly in the golden St. Marys light and waving a warm farewell. Living history: it’s a difficult and elusive goal but one that Tom and Catherine Nesbitt have dramatically achieved with the Clark House. It is a gift to us all. Reluctantly leaving the Clark House, I walk down Osborne Street toward the riverfront. Each person who passes bestows upon me that singularly southern, slow, soft smile and a quiet “Hey” of greeting. At times these salutations fall as gentle balm to the ears of northerners more used to the scurry and pound of busy city life, and I cannot help but think that perhaps the world would truly be a “kinder, gentler” place if all were to acknowledge strangers and neighbors this way. But enough reflection now…I am off to the next home in this feast of past/present delight—The Arnow House. continued ...

Camden County’s home town station. 16


Arnow House

5BD/4.5BA, Custom Home, Heart Pine Floors, Cooks Kitchen/Custom Cabinetry, Mother-in-Law Suite, Screened Porches and Deck overlooking marsh, Security System, Central Vac, Irrigation Well, plus much more.


The Past

The Present:

Joseph Arnow was born in St Augustine, Florida in 1798. After moving to St. Marys, he purchased a 50 by 150 foot lot on Ready Street for the price of $250.00. On this modest site he built an equally modest home: two rooms on the lower floor with two above and identical porches on the back and front. The floors were constructed of heart pine, each plank of which, quite extraordinarily, ran the entire length of the house. Mr. Arnow acted as the town postmaster while running a haberdashery on the waterfront Ready-made clothes weren’t available to the citizens, and thus his services were in high demand. Of great historical note: Sea Captain Samuel Flood of St. Marys discovered a keg full of pecan nuts floating in the ocean. Unwilling to let them go to waste he fished them out and brought them home to his wife Rebecca who planted some of the seeds and gave the rest to Mr. Arnow. Mrs. Arnow planted the seed nuts, and thus were the first pecan trees brought to the United States. One can visit a marker on East Weed Street commemorating the event. The Arnow House was sold upon Joseph’s death in 1883—he lies in Oak Grove Cemetery—and it passed from owner to owner through the years until it was “discovered” and purchased by Jennifer and Rob West two years ago. And what an amazing transformation has taken place since then!

I approach the Arnow House at 206 Ready Street and pause to take in its graceful, balanced lines. Though its pristine, white exterior gleams in the mid-day sun, the deep front porch beckons with the promise of cool shade, and I am tempted to sit for a time. (This is a phenomenon that is a feature of St Marys—this urge to simply sit and absorb the sweetly quiet streets and soft air). Jennifer West welcomes me into her home, and I am as impressed by her warm and gracious manner as much as I am by the stunning kitchen that we’ve entered. Air and light are everywhere, and the new and old rest comfortably side by side. A rough brick chimney rises from the wooden floor adding texture and character. My first introduction to this house is indicative of what I shall discover throughout for the Wests have created a home that is rich in color, texture and character. Graceful notes abound here—from the sumptuously ornate moldings to the jewel-like hues and furnishings that can only have been chosen by one with the eye of an artist. We walk through the rooms, treading upon heart pine floors that glow in the afternoon sun. I wander through doorways whose lintels tower above me; up stairs that flow with clean simple elegance; and by deep windows of original blown glass, into rooms that breathe life and vitality and beauty.

(912) 222-3144 CELLULAR PatrickOzanne

MARSH & CREEK FRONTAGE 4BD/4BA, Custom Home, Master Suite & Handicap Suite on 1st floor, Reclaimed Wood Flooring, numerous built-ins, state of the art Stainless Steel Appliances, includes Commercial Gas range, E-House Wiring, Full Golf Membership.


(912) 223-3094 CELLULAR NancyAvery

387 Sylvan Blvd. Office Phone: (912) 634-0404 St. Simons Island, GA Toll-Free: (966) 559-0404 For more information:

continued ...

St. Marys Magazine

St. Marys Magazine


Where History Lives

Arnow Kitchen

We’re Geeks so you don’t have to be! • Computer repairs • Small business support • Home networking We Specialize in Laptops.

Visitors: We’ll keep you connected!

Located in the Kings Bay Shopping Center 2603-V Osborne Rd. • St. Marys, GA 31558 18


Upon pausing at the landing on the stairs I am asked if I notice anything in particular. I gaze about but, beyond corners and lovely touches that capture my eye, I cannot. Jennifer presses against the wall and a narrow door opens. A stairway leads up into a space that dances with light—a playroom for the Wests’ two small sons and five-yearold daughter. Oh, how delicious for children—this secret passageway to a world of their own! Almost 1,500 square feet of living space has been added to this house by the Wests, and the addition is a seamless synthesis of the old with the new. The Arnow House stands as proof of the first principle of design: the true marriage of function and form is the Holy Grail of architectural creation. To preserve the integrity of the house itself and the reflection of its rich history while crafting a home that so profoundly reflects a young and growing family is a challenge of the first order. Jennifer and Rob West have not only met that challenge but exceeded it at all levels. I leave carrying with me a sense of gratitude for people such as The Nesbitts and Wests. How reassuring to know that in a world seemingly devoted to the new, the disposable, and the drive to eradicate the old for the “cutting-edge,” there are those among us who treasure the past enough to preserve it for the future. I am to learn that this is a hallmark of St Marys—this appreciation of heritage and true worth that serves to make all of its citizens protectors of history while embracing appropriate change. It is a delicate balance and one that this town guards fiercely for they know that St Marys is a gift from those who went before to those who shall come.

St. Marys Magazine

She’s 17.5 miles long and totals 36,415 acres of which 16,850 are marsh, mud flats, and tidal creeks. She’s rich with natural resources like ancient sea turtles, wild turkeys, wild horses, armadillos, sand dunes, maritime forests, and salt marshes. Her historic significance is the subject of numerous books and archeological studies. She is Cumberland Island, the largest of Georgia’s barrier islands, and the one most filled with romance, history, and intrigue. continued ... Photos Courtesy of Brenda Barber-Taylor: (Top to bottom) Plum Orchard Mansion, Oak Canopy, First African Baptist Church-site of JFK, Jr. wedding.

St. Marys Magazine


America’s Treasure Cumberland Island

America’s Treasure Cumberland Island Cumberland Island National Seashore is an American treasure. When visitors first set foot upon the island (via the Cumberland Queen ferry from St. Marys’ waterfront), there is an immediate sense of awe: that this island, like no other, should be mere minutes from mainland Georgia. Cumberland Island’s past is a tantalizing story of the Timucuan Indians, the French, the Spanish, pirates, wars, steel magnates, and cotton plantations. Her present is an extraordinary portrait of natural beauty, so much so that the Travel Channel named her “America’s Most Beautiful Wilderness Beach.” Her fame spread internationally when, in 1996, JFK, Jr. wed there in the tiny First African Baptist Church. She is an island of pristine sandy beaches and ancient oak canopies. She is an island of grandeur made richer by the voices of her past that beckon. You will come to her, perhaps, in search of quiet splendor. And you will leave with a mystical sense of wonder that will live in your heart for years to come.

DUNGENESS RUINS The mansion that set the social scene for Carnegies and Rockefellers

Cumberland Island—an historical perspective Pre-history 1562 1566 1578 1587 1597 1603 1683 1736 1740 1748 1765 1776 1783

(photo: Brenda Barber-Taylor)

1786 1803

One of the most famous estates on the Georgia coast was Dungeness, owned by Revolutionary War hero Gen. Nathaniel Greene, who commanded the Southern Department of the war. He died in 1786 before he was able to complete his plans for the mansion. His wife, Catherine, remarried 10 years later to Phineas Miller, followed through on Greene’s designs, building a huge, four-story tabby mansion on top of an Indian shell mound. The mansion, with 6-foot thick walls at the base, featured four chimneys and 16 fireplaces, and was surrounded by 12 acres of gardens. Dungeness was the scene of many special social galas where statesmen and military leaders enjoyed the Millers’ hospitality. When the island was briefly occupied during the War of 1812, the British used Dungeness as their headquarters. Tragically, the original Dungeness burned to the ground in the middle of the century. The property was later purchased by Andrew Carnegie’s brother, Thomas, for his wife Lucy in 1882. The “new” Dungeness was built, along with several other island homes, for Lucy’s children: Plum Orchard mansion for her son George Lauder Carnegie, and Greyfield House (which is now operated by Carnegie descendents as Greyfield Inn) for her daughter Margaret. The Carnegies moved out of Dungeness in 1925 because of costly upkeep, but the mansion was maintained through Lucy Carnegie’s estate. In 1959, Dungeness was again burned to the ground by suspected arson. The ruins remain, though, and include what is called Tabby House, the oldest house on Cumberland Island and the only building the Carnegies spared when they rebuilt the area from the ruins of the Greene estate. continued ...


St. Marys Magazine

1812 1818 1840

Timucuan Indians occupy French land on island and befriend Timucuans Spanish name island San Pedro, build fortification. Jesuits arrive to set up missionary and are killed by Timucuans Franciscian Spaniards arrive, successful conversion of Timucuans begins Missionary established Missions abandoned after Guale Indian revolt Spanish return, rebuild church English take possession Georgia founder James Oglethorpe visits island with Creek Indian “King’s” nephew, Toonahowi. Toonahowi renames island after his befriended Duke of Cumberland English construct Fort Prince William Cumberland becomes neutral territory between Spain and England and refuge for criminals, debtors, and dissenters from both sides Earliest record of first Dungeness hunting lodge (named after Duke’s county seat, Castle Dungeness) Revolutionary War—Island mostly abandoned during war. British occupy Island for staging area before attacking Savannah in 1778 General Nathaniel Greene purchases land on Cumberland for timber harvesting, hoping that income from timber will get him out of debt Greene dies suddenly of sunstroke, leaving property to wife, Catherine, and children Phineas Miller (husband of General Greene’s widow), dies. The Dungeness tabby mansion is completed. Eli Whitney, inventor of cotton gin and friend of Miller family, is frequent visitor War of 1812, British Troops on island General “Light Horse” Harry Lee (father of Robert E. Lee, and subordinate to General Greene) arrives ill, requesting to die on Cumberland. Island becomes mostly developed plantations with many slaves continued ...

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America’s Treasure Cumberland Island

1862 1868 1872 1880 1881 1885 1886 1893 1898 1900 1913 1916 1920 1925 1937 1955 1959

1962 1970 1972


Cumberland falls to Union forces in Civil War. Dungeness mansion is burned after the war (some thought drunken debauchery) Robert Stafford, Jr. (and others) are permitted to reclaim their lands. General William George Mackay Davis, former Confederate general, friend of President Jefferson Davis, purchases Dungeness. General Davis’s son, Bernard M. Davis, accidentally shoots his son and later died (a suicide?). Theory is that the Miller-Greene cemetery on the island (discovered in 1996) contains both bodies. General Davis sells land to Thomas Carnegie (younger brother to Andrew Carnegie) Main portion of new Dungeness mansion is completed Thomas Carnegie dies leaving all to his wife, Lucy Coleman (as in Coleman Camping Gear) First African Church is built (also used as schoolhouse) Plum Orchard mansion is built Greyfield House construction begins. Lucy Carnegie now owns 90% of Island General “Light Horse” Harry Lee’s remains moved to Washington and Lee University Cemetery Lucy Coleman Carnegie dies, allowing no lands to be sold while any of her children were alive Nancy Carnegie’s marriage—last time Dungeness is used Dungeness too costly to maintain, left vacant First African Baptist Church is replaced by current structure Study by U.S. National Park Service ranks Cumberland Island 2nd only to Cape Cod as places of national significance along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts Dungeness overseer shoots deer poacher on Island. Poacher escapes and ends up in hospital. Several days after poacher is released from hospital, the Dungeness yacht is sunk and the Dungeness is set afire. No direct evidence found, nor charges filed. Last of Lucy’s children dies. Estate divided up to heirs. Some sell land to investors Electricity is brought to Cumberland Cumberland Island National Seashore established

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An Island Experience on the Mainland

An Island Experience on the Mainland

The City of St. Marys and the National Park Service collaborated to ensure that the new Visitors Center would serve as a bridge to history by designing a building based on the original Miller’s Dock. For more than 50 years, Miller’s Dock served as the hub for seafaring industries that developed St. Marys.

Cumberland Island National Seashore Visitors Center

“Wilderness hosts answers to questions man has not yet learned.” Nancy Neuhall This passage, showcased on a colorful ecosystem display at the Cumberland Island National Seashore Visitors Center, speaks volumes. The mystique of Cumberland Island’s wilderness is presented dramatically in captivating vignettes throughout the waterfront Visitors Center. One exhibit tells the intriguing story of how the legendary loggerhead sea turtle burrows for, lays, and hatches its eggs. Another takes visitors into the maritime forest to view the quaint antics of the white tail deer. Yet another brings visitors face to face with pictorials of laughing dolphins. You can trace the trail of fiddler crabs to ancient Timucuan Indian camps. And see first hand the life cycle of the melodic cicada. Learn about right whales and sea oats and sand dunes. And even listen to the sound of the noisy oyster catcher. Cumberland Island’s three distinct ecosystems are portrayed beautifully with sight and sound and a story that echoes long after a visitor has left the center. The Cumberland Island National Seashore Visitors Center is truly a feast for all the senses. Visitors can even touch the delicate layers of a 426-year-old live oak. continued ...


At the core of the Visitors Center is an undeniable sense of place and history. A sliver of the opulent Carnegie lifestyle is on display as well as a timeline that takes one back through wars, fires and other family tragedies. A poignant moment is inescapable as one gazes into “The Quarters,” Martin Pate’s moving portrait of life in the slave quarters at Cumberland Island’s Stafford Plantation (circa 1850). Whether guests enter the Cumberland Island National Seashore Visitors Center on their way to the Island ferry launch, or just drop by for an escape into nature and history, their visit will be all about the “experience.” From the breathtaking river and salt marsh views, to the clever pine needle basket kits in the gift shop, to the interactive exhibits that educate and entertain, the Cumberland Island National Seashore Visitors Center experience is one to be repeated again and again.

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july 4 Old-fashioned Celebration, parade, festival & fireworks july 15 Starry Nights on the Waterfront—Crooked River, Sisters Three Vignettes aug 19 Starry Nights on the Waterfront—Best of Camden Karaoke sept 1–4 Catfish Festival—Woodbine, GA sept 16 Starry Nights on the Waterfront—Bluegrass Band sept 22–24 Coastal Outdoor Weekend sept 30 Starry Nights on the Waterfront—Laser Light Show oct 7 Rock Shrimp Festival— Downtown St. Marys oct 15–nov 4 Hay Days—Scarecrow Stroll nov 2–4 National Memorial Service WWII Subvets nov 7 Downtown Merchants Open House nov 28 White Lighting Ceremony dec 9 Historic Candlelight Tour of Homes

feb 8–11 Creative Palette Convention feb 16–17 Mardi Gras Celebration feb 17 Mardi Gras Ball april 27–8 Crawfish Festival—Woodbine, GA july 4 Old Fashioned Celebration— Parade, Festival, Fireworks sept 1–3 Catfish Festival—Woodbine, GA oct 6 Rock Shrimp Festival— Downtown St. Marys oct 18–nov 2 Hay Days—Scarecrow Stroll nov 1–4 National Memorial Service WWII Subvets nov 13 Downtown Merchants Open House nov 27 White Lighting Ceremony dec 8 Historic Candlelight Tour of Homes st. marys convention & visitors bureau 406 osborne street st. marys, georgia 31558 866·868·2199 (toll free) 912·882·4000 visit for details.

DID YOU KNOW? St. Marys sits on the westernmost point of the eastern Seaboard. St. Marys Magazine

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7437 Hwy 17 • Woodbine, GA 31569 (3.5 miles north of Kingsland) 912-729-3585 Open by Chance or Appointment Call: Brenda 912-674-1983 (cell) Glenda 912-891-8399 (cell)


“It’s all about capturing the spirit” Brenda Barber-Taylor


er photographs hang in the offices of congressional leaders and in the homes of steel magnate descendents. She has been featured in national magazines, and has won numerous artistic awards. Her name is synonymous with the pictorial preservation of wildlife on America’s most beautiful wilderness island. And yet you get the sense that little has changed in the heart of this South Georgia girl since her growing up days on the banks of the Satilla River. Brenda Barber-Taylor does not belie her rural upbringing. When she talks about her dad’s gator hunting and being one of six children, there is an understanding that her artistry and her roots are as intermingled as the light and shadows she so brilliantly frames in her most intriguing photographs. Barber-Taylor’s career as a photographer came about quite serendipitously. As a caretaker on Cumberland Island, she often conducted tours for visitors, among them National Geographic photojournalists who came to capture the beauty of the unspoiled sanctuary. She was a good observer with a great eye, and soon was expounding on the techniques she observed. “I started taking photographs just so I could share the beauty of the island with friends,” Barber-Taylor explained. continued ...


St. Marys Magazine

Art a La Carte Brenda Barber-Taylor “Instinctively, I knew my photographs would not live unless they had a spirit to them. So, I learned to purposefully choose scenes and subjects that had a spirit worth capturing.” To view a Barber-Taylor photograph in person is to understand that spirit. Rearing wild horses on a white-sand beach, haunting ruins of a vine-covered mansion, and endless depictions of nature at its most stunning—these are the subjects upon which Brenda Barber-Taylor has most often inscribed her legacy. As an Island caretaker, Barber-Taylor’s responsibilities stretched far beyond her gender’s typical reach. She could change a carburetor or a starter, as well as do plumbing and carpentry work. In fact, she was charged with a start-to-finish hands-on renovation of the famous Stafford House on Cumberland Island, home to several generations of Carnegies. For six and a half years, Barber-Taylor served as

The Prudential Magnolia Realty All-Star Team! Island caretaker, doing whatever it took to keep the homes in her care updated. She lived in the old generator house behind Plum Orchard, working hard, and taking photographs when time allowed. Most of the Island homes have at least one of Barber-Taylor’s photographs now hanging in a place of prominence. Barber-Taylor continues to be prolific in her photo-taking, always acquiring new skills and employing advanced technology. She participates in eight to ten juried shows a year and this year walked away with the first place photography award for one of her “sailboat at dock in St. Marys” photographs. You will find Barber-Taylor’s photographic art on covers of books and magazines, on notecards and bookmarks, but a visit to one of her gallery showings is sure to bring you face-to-face with some of the Southeast’s most remarkable photographic displays. In Camden County, Barber-Taylor’s work can be viewed at Olde Towne Gallery in the

French Quarter building just a block from St. Marys’ waterfront, or at the Coastal Camden Art League Gallery in the Kings Bay Shopping Center just three miles from the waterfront. She currently serves as President of the Camden Art League. Recently, Barber-Taylor and her sisters, also artists, opened a gallery about a half mile north of where Harriett’s Bluff Road runs into US 17. Whether you’re gazing at one of Barber-Taylor’s wild horses or armadillos, or at one of her stirring sunsets or rainbows, of this you will be certain: you are witnessing the capture of a moment and the essence of a spirit as seen through the eyes of a truly gifted artist.

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St. Marys has a way of softening the edges of the day for people fortunate enough to have a home here. And for those who have a home at the edge of our intriguing marshlands, this is even truer. The concept of Old St. Marys was kept sacred as the designers of the only new marsh-front community in Downtown St. Marys was being planned. The stately live oaks dripping with Spanish moss majestically salute the swaying grasses as a gentle breeze breathes across the marshes toward the verandas of Marsh Arbors. The architecture, itself a tribute to the coastal villages that have been home to “Old Salts” for centuries, puts one’s mind back to softer times and gentler people. This is Low Country living where front porches and rocking chairs are as much a part of the landscape as are the magnolia trees, wisteria and camellia bushes. When Jamesway Corporation, the developers of Marsh Arbors, asked a renowned St. Simons Island architect to create a design for the 128-home community, the emphasis was most decidedly to design homes that would become part of the living landscape. Meticulous detail was put into creating floor plans and building layouts that maximize the stunning views of the pristine marshes and tidal estuaries. And the exteriors of the homes themselves are in harmonious keeping with the charm and quaintness that makes St. Marys such an enticing place to live. Marsh Arbors’ residents will live a life of sun-washed days and starry, starry nights. The generous terraces (many as large as some people’s entire apartment) will beg for the laziness of an island hammock and the serenity of an oldfashioned rocking chair. It will be difficult to leave the comfort and ringside seat


viewing of the panoramic marshes as golden sunrise light transcends into evening lavender and pink sunsets. But, once inside, the luxury of the interiors continues to affirm the lifestyle that is coveted by many, but available to few. Terrace entrances into the breakfast area, living room, and master suite meld the outside to the inside, fully optimizing the total living space (nearly 3,000 square feet for some units). Entertaining is one of the great joys in a Marsh Arbors home with open floor plans that unfold the heart of the home into a setting of congenial hospitality and warm family gatherings. The ensuite master bath in models like The Cumberland is a study in pampering itself. And the appointments? This is where luxury is having its say. Deep crown molding, granite countertops, marble bath floors, rich wood cabinetry, hardwood floors— these are the features one would expect to find in a grand, single family home. In fact, though Marsh Arbors attracts many buyers because of its “maintenance-free” component,

St. Marys Magazine

the homes themselves live like single family homes. Jamesway Corporation Vice President of Development Faye Patterson explained the master plan. “We knew that St. Marys is one of the most desirable village settings on the east coast, and the great challenge would be creating homes that equaled the charm and personality of the Low Country,” she said. “Innovation combined with an unwavering respect for tradition was our goal.” Those who visit the Marsh Arbors site for a personal tour say that the architect and developers should take a bow. “I’ve witnessed it dozens of times—taking a couple out on the gazebo at the edge of the marsh, and watching them close their eyes, immersing themselves in the feel of total tranquility,” continued Patterson. “It is always then that I know we’ve captured their hearts. But, when they view the floor plans and take a closer look at all the unexpected extras, that is when we know we’ve captured their minds as well.” Patterson explained that the capturing of both mind and heart for the Marsh Arbors buyer is critical because many of the buyers are looking at the community for a second home or a home in which to retire, and “the dollars must make sense as well,” she said. Patterson is finding that the buyers at Marsh Arbors are as diverse as the homes themselves. Professional couples, executives, vacation home buyers, and young retirees are drawn to Marsh Arbors. The retirees entertaining Marsh Arbors as their well-deserved reward for a successful career run are not the cliché age group one would imagine. Most are in their 50s and early 60s. “They’ve worked hard, and now they’re ready to relax and learn to play again,” Patterson said. And what a playground they’ve chosen! A gigantic playground! Located halfway

St. Marys Magazine

between resort destinations like Jekyll and St. Simons Island and metropolitan Jacksonville, Florida, the “day-tripping” excursions for those with leisure time are pretty impressive. Old St. Augustine is just over an hour away, and the international airport just a quick 35-minute drive. Clearly, Marsh Arbors’ location is perfect for those who continue to live a life of adventure. Marsh Arbors is a gated community that lies like a string of fine pearls, curving around a sparkling infinity pool, spa tub, barbeque area, shimmering fountain, kayak launch area, private fishing dock, and romantic gazebo–into the arms of a radiant, wind-swept marshland. The Marsh Arbors lifestyle is one of peaceful seclusion with the option of rich village life just a short bike ride away. Offered by Jamesway Corporation, an acclaimed builder with more than 25 years of award-winning experience, the homes of Marsh Arbors lie in wait. For those seeking the perfect antidote for life in overdrive, the allure of this coastal oasis is irresistible.


The Historic St. Marys Waterfront

America’s #1 Small Town St. Marys’ best planned communities Just across from the Stimson Gate of the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in St. Marys stands the McIntosh Sugarhouse Ruins, the haunting remains of an 1826 tabby structure. It is the largest and best preserved of all tabby remains in the Southeast. Visitors to St. Marys will note that many St. Marys’ structures are built of this hardy substance made simply of oyster shells, water, sand, and lime–the historic Riverview Hotel on the waterfront, for example. The tabby walls stretch 148 feet back almost into New Canaan Swamp, the name given to McIntosh’s 1200 acre cane producing plantation. When the sugarhouse was in operation, there was a grinding room powered by cattle turning the giant grinding wheel that ground the sugarcane into juice. Then boilers in the center room were fired by wood to reduce the ground cane to syrup. The syrup was then put into barrels in the curing room where it turned into crystallized sugar. The excess was drained off and sold for molasses. Most of McIntosh’s sugar was taken to New York to be exported to Europe. The building burned in the mid-1800s, and was never rebuilt. What remains now is a sweet reminder of South Georgia industry, stoically standing amidst a passive recreational area with hiking trails and picnic tables.

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McIntosh Sugarhouse Tabby Ruins 32

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verybody loves Charlie.” These sentiments, expressed by Donna Boyett, proprietor of St. Marys’ French Quarter, seem to echo around the entire Camden County community. Charlie Smith, Jr. is a native son who has gone far beyond even the ambitious expectations dictated by his heritage. Thousands of cars a day travel a local road named after Charlie’s father, Charlie Smith, Sr. whose banking career segued into a state senatorship and two terms in the Georgia House of Representatives. Charlie’s grandfather served as superintendent of Camden County Schools. And Charlie perpetuated the family’s gift for public service during his ten-year sojourn in the Georgia House of Representatives. His list of political “firsts” and “ o n l y s ” i s l e n g t h y, b u t t h e highlights include his chairmanship of the Education Finance and Facilities Subcommittee. At the time he was the only freshman in the House to chair a subcommittee. When he was appointed secretary of the Committee on Natural Resources and Environment, he was the only freshman committee officer in the House as well. In 1994, Charlie was named Legislator of the Year by the Georgia Supporters of the Gifted for his work in the area of gifted education. He was the first recipient of the Georgia School Boards Association’s Friend of Education Award. In 1999, Governor Roy Barnes named him house floor leader, and he was appointed to the powerful House Rules Committee. Over the next four years, Charlie handled more than 80 legislative bills, all but one of which became law. History was made many times over during Charlie’s representation; possibly the most poignant was the changing of the Georgia state flag back to its pre-1956 design. “It was the most difficult vote I ever made, but as floor leader, I had to do it, and in retrospect, it was the right thing


to do,” Charlie said, then brightens intensely when asked about his involvement in the Education Reform Bill. “That’s the one I’m most proud of,” he continued. And rightfully so. Charlie’s dedication to improving the quality of education in Georgia is renowned. He became even more involved during his tenure on the board of directors of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education. Other Camden County movers and shakers are quick to point out that Charlie Smith, Jr. is as stalwart as they come.

Charlie Smith, Jr., woodturning a one-of-a-kind bowl for his signature collection “Charlie is one of those rare individuals who makes things happen—a power broker of the best kind,” said Sheila McNeill, immediate past national president of the Navy League, of which Charlie is a life member. “He is a stellar example of the philosophy that if you don’t care who gets the credit, you can get a lot done. And with all his power, he still is one of the nicest gentlemen I have ever known.” As prolific as Charlie has been in the political arena, it is but a sliver of the man who St. Marys Magazine has deemed worthy of “Real People” status. Character begins at an early age. For Charlie, the counseling of his father to

“always pay your debts” ingrained in Charlie a sense of responsibility perhaps earlier than most young boys. Yet, he had his moments of frivolity that, you might say, bordered on disaster. With his friends, Charlie would swim in the St. Marys River and Borrell Creek, and hang around the abandoned shipyard where barrels of zinc perilously beckoned the young boys. Charlie and his friends knew that if you mixed zinc dust with sulfur—easily acquired from the riverfront drugstore—you could concoct a right decent rocket fuel. And so they did—often. One particular day, Charlie used a commercial size vegetable can for his rocket and filled it generously with the dangerous mixture. It was important to test the integrity of the mixture before lighting the “rocket,” so he did. Just poured a little on the ground, and put match to it—a bit too close to the loaded can. A spark jumped to the can and sent the rocket into a sideways blast that burned Charlie’s eyebrows and charred his exposed skin. Charlie’s parents never mentioned his appearance at the dinner table that night. Never asked what happened. They figured the results were enough of a preventive measure. Two lessons learned that day. Charlie’s tinkering with science might have been a precursor to his lifelong occupation had it not been for his high school trigonometry teacher. “I just couldn’t get it,” said Charlie, and as much as he wanted to be a scientist, it wasn’t going to happen without mastering trig. So, Charlie decided to be a lawyer instead. He was astonishingly successful at “fighting for right” while a trial assistant District Attorney in Atlanta a couple of years out of law school. Participating in more than a thousand felony cases— murders, rapes, armed robberies, drug cases—his conviction rate was more than impressive. He would take a week to prepare for a case, then a week for continued on page 36

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Real People Charlie Smith, Jr. trial. His success rate surprised no one, least of all his best friend Gary Willis, President/CEO of Satilla Community Bank. “Charlie is just so smart,” said Willis. “He is the most thorough attorney I know, and his intents are always focused on accuracy. Whatever he wants to accomplish, he accomplishes at the highest level, and with the most integrity.” Perhaps it is Charlie Smith’s razor-sharp mind that has driven much of his professional success, but his easy personality is an irresistible magnet for clients and friends. With a southern charisma befitting great literary figures manifested by such authors as Tennessee Williams and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charlie weaves his web of charm. In some ways, he is still that little boy, swimming the creek and testing the limits of homemade rocket fuel. Laughter comes easy and often in Charlie’s presence. When he talks about his recent 60th birthday celebration spent at Rio’s Carnivale, his enthusiasm is contagious. If he starts up about his beloved Georgia Bulldawgs, you might want to remember an appointment you’re late for. And if he begins to wax poetic about his family, just put your watch away, for there is nothing that brings Charlie Smith greater joy than his family. The sun rises and sets in his two sons. And his adoration for wife, Tricia, a Camden County School Board member, is evident. “She’s the smart one,” he says, giving her full credit for his involvement in education. The facets of Charlie Smith’s passions seem endless. An instrument-rated pilot, he soloed at the age of 16. He’s a certified open-water SCUBA diver, and holder of the highest amateur radio license. The athletic Charlie boats and skis and dives. Then there’s the artistic Charlie. In the center of his office conference table sits a stunning wooden bowl turned from Georgia’s native trees. It is a masterpiece that could have been


created only by a true artist. Charlie Smith, Jr., it seems, has achieved true artistry in a medium that demands patience, time, and an eye for beauty. His woodturning has become a family affair, having gotten sons, Brian and Joel, involved as well. A collection of beautiful wood pens grace his office, and even though many are for sale, it’s hard to imagine Charlie parting with them. There’s a big chunk of Charlie in each of these bowls and pens. It’s easy to see his fascination for the wood as he talks burled cypress and pine and live oak. “It’s where I forget my worries,” he says of his woodturning. Worries? One gets the sense that here is a man who looks in the mirror everyday and personifies that touching poem, The Man in the Glass, by Dale Wimbrow, that goes, in part:

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“When you get what you want in your struggle for self, And the world makes you long for a day, Just go to the mirror and look at yourself, And see what THAT man has to say. For if it is not your father or mother or wife Whose judgment upon you must pass. The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life Is the one staring back in the glass.” It’s more than a calculated guess that Charlie Smith, Jr. is pretty okay with “the man in the glass.” From his political acclaim to his exemplary contribution to education to his many business and charity boards for which he has served admirably over the years, Charlie Smith is one good scout. In fact, just recently the Okefenokee Council of the Boy Scouts of America so honored Charlie during a moving ceremony at White Oak. And once again, in that “aw shucks” manner he practically authored, Charlie Smith turned the tables to focus the accolades and credit on just about everyone in the room— except the man in the glass.


The camera’s lens, the potter’s wheel, the painter’s brush—these are the tools that the masters have long used to weave visual life from feelings and concepts. Art is said to “distill sensations and embody them with enhanced meaning.” Non-artists covet the talents of those among us who “create.” Oscar Wilde was once quoted as saying that “no great artist sees things as they really are; if he did he would cease to be an artist.” No matter one’s taste in art, it is the nature of mankind to be moved by a powerful work of art…or a whimsical work of art, for that matter. In Historic Downtown St. Marys, one’s thirst for art can be quenched by a visit to the Old Towne Gallery, located in the French Quarter just a block from the waterfront.

I-95 Exit 3 East • 2710 Osborne Rd in St. Marys, GA

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Thirteen artists comprise the consortium that drives the Old Towne Gallery. From sculpted gnomes that fill your heart with mirth, to the soothing pastels of delicate water colors, to nature jewelry crafted from snake vertebrae and armadillo shells—the Old Towne artists are making firm inroads into “washing away the dust of everyday life.” If only for a moment, their artworks can transform, question, portray, inspire, and kindle our most basic instincts. Jacquie Cushway’s handcrafted baskets evidence thousands of hours of work—each a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. These are the “Blind Lady Creations,” and she even credits her guide dog Beau in her marketing continued ...

St. Marys Magazine


Old Towne Gallery

materials. Debbie Moffat’s fabric weaving talents have followed many visitors home in a shopping bag as eclectic gifts that are perfect for special friends. Tom Trahan’s gorgeous wooden bowls and vases are the pride of many collectors. One piece was turned from the branch of a great magnolia tree that graced the grounds of Orange Hall. Photographer Margaret Rose displays photographs of everyday objects rendered from a perspective most of us would miss in real life, like her multi-colored peppers that are vibrant with color, and her stirring driftwood photograph. The watercolors at Old Towne Gallery are among everyone’s favorites. Tess Sopp’s work has traversed the globe in the form of beautiful notecards—sweet renditions of local historical homes and nature scenes— you can purchase from most of the local gift shops. Noted watercolorist Billie DuBose creates card sets as well, connecting her visual art with original poems. Donna Robertson beautifully interprets life through her stirring watercolors and pastels, and her pet portraits are especially endearing. Twin sisters Brenda

Barber-Taylor and Glenda Barber create art from nature—Brenda with her award-winning photographs (see Art A La Carte feature in this issue). And Glenda’s center tree of nature jewelry is nothing short of fascinating. She’s found the most delightful ways for clients to wear parts of alligator, sea urchin, snake, armadillo, whale, and other creatures that find themselves demised. Micheline Hammerschmidt paints dramatic oils that portray poignant moments and scenes such as her painting that depicts a departing soldier. Natalie Schulze’s edgy personality sculptures like her “Chicken Coop” are great conversation pieces. Shannon Middleton’s multimedia paintings evoke a plethora of emotions. Her “Three Faces” piece sweeps you right into the painting. Perhaps the most fun exhibit at Old Towne Gallery is Janice Kirkland’s “In search of wee people.” continued ...

Here you’ll find gnomes, elves, fairies and trolls of the most delightful variety. Be sure to p i c k u p o n e o f J a n i c e ’s brochures to learn more than you ever thought there was to know about gnomes. Whether you fancy capricious gnomes or gentle water colors, snake rib jewelry or handcrafted baskets, the Old Towne Gallery is a wonderful place to explore, to learn, to appreciate art from the heart.

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Extraordinary People Offering Extraordinary Services!


6308 Hwy 40 East 2 St. Mary, Georgia 31558 38

St. Marys Magazine

St. Marys Magazine


Donna Boyett, proprietor of The French Quarter and Southern Antiques

oldest house in town as well—A. Clark Antiques. This is the home visited by Aaron Burr after his deadly duel with Alexander Hamilton. And this is the house over which famed Archibald Clark’s spirit reigns. And this is the house where you’ll find rare books, antique silver, Bavarian China, teapots, cut glass and a collection of some of the best smelling balms and sprays and lotions one could ever hope for. On the same side of the street, just four blocks farther, Elizabeth Gray of Gray’s Gallery has set a stage of incredible art—her original water colors and an excellent collection of gently worn antique furnishings. Rich woods and highly-prized patinas reflect a beauty appreciated by the most discerning of collectors. Across the street sits Red Wall Antiques where Holly and David Gibson display a well-rounded mix of grand antiques and bargain-priced collectibles. Vibrantly colored Oriental rugs line the walls, forming the perfect backdrop for Deco armoires, primitives and Victorian pieces for every room. Next stop, just next door: JTP Trading. Forty vendors under one roof have earned JTP’s the highly deserved reputation of being the “best variety shop in town.” At the entrance, glass cases sparkle with relics of long ago wars, badges, coins and the earliest of cameras. A professional violinist shares his collection of old instruments in one booth, while antique linens and glassware decorate another. A favorite of visitors is The Painted Lady booth which features distressed furniture and art. From a continued ...

First stop: Southern Antiques. In the first block of Osborne Street, Southern Antiques & Interiors is housed in the same building as The French Quarter, where proprietor Donna Boyett hosts both stores. Customers take a walk on the “chi-chi” side to get to the entrance of Southern Antiques which is graced by delightful Christmas trees alit throughout the year. Donna’s skills as an interior decorator are evidenced in the cleverest of displays. Each one is like a little drama—a zebra-striped fainting sofa beneath a colorful umbrella, a bistro set that begs for cocktail time, red velvet chairs arranged for deep parlour conversation. “Your husband called and said you can buy whatever you want,” reads the sign out front. If ever there were shops where you’d want this to be true, Southern Antiques and The French Quarter are truly the ones. Treasures old and new await the eclectic shopper across the way, just down Bryant Street, at The Golden Pineapple. Immaculate icons of history are interspersed with contemporary charm—furnishings, jewelry, home accessories, handbags and wonderfully whimsical gifts. Proprietor Teddie Lockhart has an eye for achieving Architectural Digest-like interiors. And the bargain hunter will want to make a side trip to her Bargaindale’s shop just a few minutes away, where high-quality antiques for the more budget-minded are housed. Appointments for Harriet Alvarez Bargaindale’s can be made at The Golden Phone: 912-673-6502 Pineapple. Cell: 912-674-5981 Just two blocks up Osborne Street sits the Email: oldest antique shop in town. Actually, it’s the 1891 Highway 40 East, Suite 1102

hink of St. Marys as one great big T treasure map. It is only natural that a city this old would harbor impressive caches of historical remnants in the form of antique furnishings and collectibles. Surprising, though, is the quantity and variety of merchandise offered by the antique stores, galleries, and consignment shops. Visitors can start at the waterfront, stroll north up Osborne Street, and along the way discover untold treasures that just may make one’s heart beat a little faster, especially after viewing the bargain price tag. continued ...

Kingsland, GA 31548


St. Marys Magazine

St. Marys Magazine

Elizabeth Hanzi Phone: 912-673-6502 Cell: 912-617-1440 Email: 1891 Highway 40 East, Suite 1102 Kingsland, GA 31548


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one-dollar trinket to a $3,000 mandolin, JTP Trading truly does have something for everyone, and the friendliness of manager Janet Kane makes one want to linger long after purchases are complete. If a movie called for a scene in an antique store, St. Marys Antique Mall would easily serve as the quintessential setting. More than 16,000 square feet of antiques and vintage furniture and accessories fill the spacious building just two blocks up from JTP Trading. Owners Beatrice and Jack Coon, along with manager Ann Jackson, have created an environment that begs for a couple of hours of time in order to get the full tour. This, St. Marys’ newest addition on the treasure map, is an antique lover’s dream. The inventory, as attractive as it is, changes constantly. An 1850 Dresden washstand, a late 1700s cradle, an 1871 Christening gown, authentic Indian arts, gorgeous paintings, and relics from every era combine to give the Antique Mall an awe-inspiring sense of past. One of the Mall’s true delights is a throne-like chair at the front of the store where visitors perch to have photos taken. It’s a regular stop for the renowned Red Hat Ladies. More than 150 vendors will eventually comprise St. Marys Antique Mall as it grows in the coming months. Your treasure hunt continues about ten blocks farther at The Cottage Shop. Just walking through the door awakens your senses as you take in the intoxicating smells of handmade soaps, candles and potpourri. Like a page out of a “shabby chic” magazine, the shop personifies its name, instilling a desire for cottage living even for those who dwell in 4000 square-foot mini-mansions. Owners Tem and Felicia McDonald are great practitioners of the art of enchantment, and it will be hard to exit without a filled shopping bag on one’s arm. Bargain hunting has been raised to a high art at Heavenly Treasures, just a hop and a skip across the way from The Cottage Shop. Here, shoppers will find a hodge-podge of treasures: a dolphin-based glass coffee table, matching black leather saddle bags, original drawings, dolls, a carousel horse, an old chicken carrier, and Jimmy Dean posters. A small portion of the inventory is on consignment, but owners Tanya continued ...

St. Marys Magazine

and Robert Bohlender have done a great job pricing items to move them fast, so you really never know what’s going to be in stock. It’s the kind of place where you’d want to treasure hunt as often as once a week. Even though it has a Kingsland address, The Southern Charmer is but a few minutes farther, and well worth the visit. Proprietors Steve Rodgers and Mark Mullis have orchestrated a collection of interiors that can only be achieved with the talents of professional interior designers. One-of-a-kind items deserving of a one-of-a-kind home fill every nook and cranny. But the lovely part is that even if it’s not in the shop, Steve and Mark have a limitless collection of resources that enables them to acquire furniture and furnishings to match each individual’s tastes. Elegance has found a home, and it’s called Southern Charmer. And charmed, indeed, you will be. What would a small town be without its own flea market? On Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays—after the yard sales, of course—real treasure hunters will find themselves exploring the grounds of St. Marys Flea Market, owned by Rocky Espenschied, Jason Hamm, and Tracy Howle. Like its hometown, it ain’t very wide, but it sure is deep. Lots of treasures await those with browsing fever. The sign on Osborne Street near the old mill property leads visitors easily into its entrance. As if antique malls, flea markets, galleries, and consignment shops were not enough to entice the great treasure hunter, the spirit of a good old-fashioned auction is one more experience awaiting the St. Marys visitor. Every other Thursday and Friday night, Ink Factory Auctions serves up entertainment in the way of fun-loving bidding and light-hearted banter. The merchandise is excellent (small stuff on Thursdays, the big stuff on Fridays), and the prices are terrific. The auction house is located sixteen blocks from the waterfront on Osborne Street. For both the novice and the professional, the hunting grounds for treasure are fertile in the streets of St. Marys and her surrounds. It’s just one big treasure map, awaiting exploration and discovery. Happy hunting!

St. Marys Magazine

Own A Piece of History!

The Crown Jewel of St. Marys Waterfront Since 1916, Riverview Hotel has played host to St. Marys’ most important visitors including John D. Rockefeller.The grand lady overlooks St. Marys River just across from the Cumberland Island Ferry dock where up to 300 visitors a day board. Owners are retiring. Call Paul Talley The Riverview Hotel Circa 1916 912-882-3621 Historic Downtown St. Marys, Georgia Tri-City Realty 18-room Inn Restaurant & Saloon Steps from local attractions National Register of Historic Places Candidate for historic preservation funds & tax incentives


Brookshire Retreat Many first-home buyers find Brookshire Retreat the perfect opportunity to live the good life in luxury and still afford great vacations while building a solid savings program. Couples whose children are out on their own as well as couples seeking a getaway home also find Brookshire Retreat irresistible. The homes of Brookshire Retreat are filled with unexpected architectural and design extras like granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and Berber Carpet. Oversized windows showcase an abundance of light bringing the outdoors in—and what an outdoors it is. Homes are either graced by the tranquility of a sparkling lake or tucked snugly among native Georgia woods. And just steps away are the lighted tennis courts, pool, children’s play area, and picnic pavilion.

Fiddler’s Cove The setting is ethereal—nestled in the curves of Georgia’s enchanting marshlands amidst shimmering waters and undulating fairways. The location is ideal—halfway between the resorts of the famed Golden Isles and the cosmopolitan nightlife of Jacksonville, Florida. And the lifestyle—inimitable. This is Laurel Island, Coastal Georgia’s tribute to living the good life. For golfers, the good life begins with the 18-hole championship golf course designed by PGA legend Davis Love III. For tennis buffs, perhaps an invigorating game before lunch on the immaculate tennis courts. For those who covet leisure, there’s poolside lounging, a lazy stroll down shaded lanes, or a picnic parkside. And for the social set, the clubhouse awaits with interesting people and fun activities seven days a week. Laurel Island residents have perfected the art of “leaving the rest of the world behind,” coming home each day to their own embracing sanctuary. The beautifully landscaped entrance is a revealing prelude to the entire Laurel Island community—immaculate, colorful, refreshing. Three


distinctive neighborhoods comprise Laurel Island. From maintenance-free villa living to the grandest of estate homes, the developers of Laurel Island have infused the good life into every design and lifestyle element of every home.

Laurel Landing The unique concept of single-family attached homes presents families on the move with an exceptional, carefree lifestyle. Combining the best of both worlds— spaciousness and easy maintenance design— homes in Laurel Landing feature lavish interiors, double car garages, and gourmet kitchens. “I never expected to find a home where someone else takes care of my lawn and leaves me with plenty of time to entertain my friends in my dream kitchen,” a recent Laurel Landing move-in remarked. “And living on the fairway has always been my husband’s dream,” she continued. Laurel Landing residents get to choose from the excitement of a golf course home or the intimacy of a wooded home site.

St. Marys Magazine

Privilege and distinction are alive and well in the heart of Laurel Island’s prestigious Fiddler’s Cove. The grandeur of residences in Fiddler’s Cove rivals America’s most cherished homes with opulent architectural details and spacious floor plans applauded by the area’s most discerning home buyers. Many Fiddler Cove homes are purchased by “move-ups,” families who live in Laurel Landing or Brookshire Retreat, and have fallen in love with the Laurel Island lifestyle. The choice of home sites in Fiddler’s Cove makes the decision to stay inside the “Island” easy—stunning marsh views, invigorating lake views, and serene wooded lots. Homebuyers may choose from the impressive portfolio of homes offered by the developer, or select a home site on which to build a custom home. A proposed amenity center exclusively for Fiddler’s Cove will feature a pool, fitness center, children’s playground, and basketball and volleyball courts. In the meantime, Fiddler Cove residents enjoy all the benefits of the Laurel Island Country Club amenity center. No matter which of Laurel Island’s three communities offers a homebuyer the greatest appeal, it is evident that

St. Marys Magazine

Laurel Island developer Sawyer & Associates has perfected the blueprint for “the good life.” Led by company president Ronald Sawyer, the Sawyer team has spent more than two decades creating award-winning residential communities, office complexes, hotels and other commercial properties. And what is most appreciated by those who become residents of Laurel Island is the fact that the same talented team of professionals who build the homes also sell the homes. And these same individuals, for the most part, are neighbors as well. “This has endowed a significant trust factor amongst our residents,” said Sawyer & Associates Marketing Director Amanda Johanson. Clearly, the developers of Laurel Island continue to raise the bar for setting the standards of “the good life” in Coastal Georgia. The Laurel Island story begs to be told again and again—from a lazy rocker overlooking a mesmerizing marsh sunrise, from the enchanting wooden bridge that takes golfers through woodlands and wonder, from a warm gathering of friends and neighbors in the friendly clubhouse setting—this is living the dream, living “the good life” South Georgia style.


St Marys Magazine Issue 002