COVERING THE LOWCOUNTRY FROM SAVANNAH TO NORTHEAST FLORIDA
Page 12 Move Over Hollywood! Page 24 Cropping the Fruit of the Sea Page 36 Hooked on St. Marys Page 42 Gold, Ghosts and Galleons
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Letter from the Mayor
mayor letter 23 q
1/7/17 9:42 AM Page 1 he health crisis of the last two years created a new awareness among many people of the St. Marys better than most our coastal neighbors Hurricane Matthew swept benefits andfared pleasures derived from of outdoor activities as wellwhen as a renewed appreciation through last fall. Our beautiful city and neighboring Cumberland Island were back for our natural surroundings. Since nature abounds in St. Marys, we have become anin even business almost immediately following the storm. If you are thinking of visiting in these Letter from theforMayor more popular destination visitors and for local resident staycations. cooler months, is still warmlate andspring inviting somean we encourage you,hiking your Mild winter temperatures inour the weather winter and beautiful days camping and friends and relatives to come on down! can be enjoyed here year round. Whether visiting the famous Cumberland Island or the OrMarys up, as thebetter case maymost be of asour wecoastal have neighbors many visitors arrivingMatthew from Florida as well. The St. fared when Hurricane swept Crooked River Statethan Park, healthy low cost adventures await. Kayaking has never been Georgia Welcome Center city at Exit 1 just as you cross from into through last fall. Our beautiful and neighboring Cumberland IslandFlorida were back in Georgia has been more popular and we have the rivers and marshes for beginners as well as experienced business almostand immediately following the storm. If you of visiting these re-furbished has re-opened to welcome allare tothinking our great state in and offering dozens of ideas enthusiasts. Fishing remains visitors residents cooler winter months, our weather a is favorite still warmof and invitingand so we encouragealike you, and your our ongoing efforts for spending time in St. Marys. friends and relatives to come on down! toWhile increase bike path opportunities brings those to our fair city. remain our most popular attractions, we enjoy and entryway to fans Cumberland Or up, asour the waterfront, case may be asrivers we have many visitors arriving from FloridaIsland as well. The Nature lovers can find so venues love about St. Marys forbeen a daytheatre trip, a weekend jaunt or full month away from year-round entertainment like steam rides and community presentations at aTheatre by the Georgia Welcome Center at Exit 1much just asto you cross fromtrain Florida intowhether Georgia has re-furbished and up has re-opened welcome to our state offeringtouring dozens of ideas colderKayaking climes north. Ofto course are notgreat justas about nature as excellent restaurants and lodging are to be an Trax. continues to grow we inallpopularity doand bicycle and races. Our History Walkoptions is proving for spending time in affordable. St. Marys. comfortable and Entertainment, art and unique small shopsvillage. add to the amenities. enjoyable historical stroll through the long history of our waterfront We city are known for our family friendly While our waterfront, rivers and entryway to Cumberland Island remain our most popular attractions, we enjoy parades and festivals with February featuring our very own version of the Mardi Gras. Our historic modern For those who enjoy a slower pace, I encourage taking advantage of our beautiful waterfront ambling through the year-round entertainment venues like steam train rides and community theatre presentations at Theatre by the park orhotel, motels, and charming bed and breakfasts provide lodging for all tastes and budgets while restaurants in midtown, Trax. Kayaking continues to grow in popularity as do bicycle touring and races. Our History Walk is proving to be an History Walk that highlights the amazing evolution of our historic city or just quietly enjoying a sunrise or sunset on the enjoyable historical stroll through longahistory of our waterfront village. We are known for our family friendly downtown and the west sidethe offer variety of casual dining options. waterfront of the river. parades and festivals with February featuring ouradventure very own version of the Mardi Our historic modernquiet, laid back and Whether you are here for an outdoor or just want toGras. enjoy in ahotel, peaceful, Although we arebed justand 20breakfasts minutes provide away from the I-95and freeway, aretime worlds away from the hustle and bustle of motels, and charming lodging forbusy all tastes budgetswe while restaurants in midtown, friendly community, St.offer Marys is the toenjoying spend a life. week, weekend or longer. Many will in who love visit and move downtown and the side a variety of place casual dining options. larger cities. Wewest believe in slowing down and Yes, our population is growing as fall many decidehere to toWhether call St.you Marys home. are here for an outdoor adventure or just want to enjoy time in a peaceful, quiet, laid back and move here and call St. Marys home. Yet, we remain small enough to retain our small town welcoming hospitality. friendly community, Maryshave is thetime, place please to spendstop a week, or longer. Many willor fall“hey” in lovedepending and move here Welcome! And St. if you byweekend City Hall and say “hi” on where you are from. areMarys proud to be a small Georgia coastal community that welcomes nature lovers from far and wide. We just ask all to to We call St. home. Welcome! And if you have please stopas bywe City HallIt’s and say “hi” or “hey” depending on where you are from. respect and protect our time, environment do. what makes us special. Sincerely,
John John Sincerely,
John Morrissey, Mayor John Morrissey, Mayor City of St. Marys City of St. Marys
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Next Time, Stay Here! Rockefeller Did!
tep into yesteryear at the newly renovated Riverview Hotel. This boutique hotel is the closest mainland accommodations to Cumberland Island, just steps from the Cumberland Island Ferry. With a storied past that includes steel magnates, literary greats, and famed admirals, the Historic Riverview is a destination in itself. Beautiful riverfront views from Captain Seagle’s, the main dining room, where fresh seafood, succulent steaks and creative cuisine abound…
THE HISTORIC RIVERVIEW HOTEL
Fun Entertainment in Seagle’s Saloon “Where Good Friends Meet,” and Sophisticated Evenings in the Speakeasy Martini Bar—it’s an overnight experience like no other. Come for a day, a week, a month—at the Historic Riverview Hotel, you will discover, in full, what we mean when we say...
“You may leave St. Marys, but St. Marys will never leave you.”
FEATURES 8 10 12 20 24 36 42 46 56 60 64 66
The Symphony of St. Marys White Oak Conservation Fills Tall Order Move Over Hollywood! Following the Footprints of History Cropping the Fruit of the Sea Hooked on St. Marys Gold, Ghosts, and Galleons Where Down Home Meets Broadway A Coastal Georgia Tradition: Brunswick Stew Fresh Crafts Made Daily Treasure Hunting on the Waterfront Pickin’ and a Grinnin’ in St. Marys
DEPARTMENTS 18 30 72
Media Darlings Literarily Speaking Mailbag
PHOTO: Cumberland Island
Publisher’s Note Publisher Barbara Ryan Harris Creative Director & Designer Jerry Lockamy Contributing Artists Steve Saley Editor Robin Cross Director of Public Relations Kristen Lockamy Contributing Writers Alex Kearns Skip Harris Susan Langenbahn Contributing Photographers Kyle Morgan Dave Webb Skip Harris Ashley Alexander Steve Royer
Historic St. Marys Magazine is a LowCountry Publishing publication. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the prior consent of official representatives of LowCountry Publishing. All contents Copyright 2022. All rights reserved.
Letters to the Editor or other Correspondence Email: firstname.lastname@example.org St. Marys Magazine 104 Bartlett Street St. Marys, GA 31558 For general information, advertising, or subscription service, call 954-290-9873 or visit www.stmarysmagazine.com
The most wonderful benefit of publishing a magazine is the opportunity to connect with an audience, to deliver a message one feels needs saying, to impart knowledge and give someone something to think about. That is why I use my Publisher’s Note to talk to you, my reader, rather than give you a preview of the editorial content that follows. Today, I want to talk to you about love. Perhaps it has been on my mind a lot because I recently married and my newfound happiness is just too big to contain in just one person. I must share. From songs and poems to novels and movies, love is one of the most enduring subjects for artworks. It is a mysterious force that brings people together. It overcomes mountains and turns the mundane into something really beautiful. It is—as said in a song—“what makes the world go ‘round.” In the movie “Don Juan DeMarco,” Johnny Depp captured the hearts of millions of women when he said, “There are only four questions of value in life—What is sacred? Of what is the spirit made? What is worth living for, and what is worth dying for? The answer to each is the same: only love.” The four types of love—Eros: erotic, passionate love; Philia: love of friends and equals; Storge: love of parents for children, and Agape: love of mankind—have much in common. There is a willingness to suspend hesitation and give one’s heart completely. In my day-to-day world, I often say, “Why can’t we just all get along?” I deplore war. Who doesn’t? I deplore the waste of life that happens when even one moment is spent harboring bad thoughts about another person. Life is way too short. So, to my point—a life with love will have some thorns. But a life without love will have no roses. Indulge me. Let others write their names upon your heart. Love and be loved. Let your love flow into this world in action. Then listen to Louis Armstrong’s words in his iconic song, “What a Wonderful World.” It really is.
Barbara Ryan Harris Publisher Email me anytime with your thoughts or ideas for the magazine: Barbara@stmarysmagazine.com.
On the cover Darien shrimp boats as photographed by Kyle Morgan.
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Outpatient services such as pulmonary function testing, endoscopy, radiology, cardiopulmonary and 3D mammography are available. The Health System also owns and operates Senior Care Center-St. Marys, a 78-bed long-term care facility. You can count on us for all of your health care needs!
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. And by air, the Jacksonville International Airport is just thirty minutes away.
Waterfront Dining in the Historic Riverview Hotel
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melody recalls a lost moment in time. A voice summons the complex nuances of emotions. The magnum opus of Nature serves as the accompaniment to our lives. Each separate space and place possesses a unique signature of sound and thus it is with St. Marys. Listen. Just listen. The tide turns, and with its indrawn breath the winds alter almost imperceptibly. The sighing through the live oaks is lowered to a soft whisper as the palmetto fronds pause in their chatter. It is the sound of an eternal rhythm. In the moon-glow of a southern night a dog barks, and the evening chorus begins—then falls silent. We often wonder at these canine conversations: do they regale one another with tales of sun-basking, swims in the park, the antics of their humans? Or is it simply the “all’s-well” call throughout the town as another day draws to a close? As with any symphony, one may listen to the totality or disseminate the parts. The kettle-drum of approaching thunder entwines about the alto notes of church bells that fall like soft prayers upon the streets and corners. The timpani of
rain on a tin roof, the exhilarating woodwind cry of a hawk in full flight, the heartbreakingly lovely violin of high winds through ancient tree limbs, the gentle bells of boats in the harbor, the flutes of children at play, the oboes of slow, tranquil voices and quiet days: this is the music of Home. At times St. Marys is a lullaby that soothes the soul and redeems the spirit. She can also be the clarion call of a joyous brass band as festival throngs gather in the streets to celebrate our community. During the quiet dawn hours, the town is a sonata of infinite delicacy, while sunset is a concerto of such mastery and grace as to humble us all. There is a certain indefinable magic here in St. Marys that heightens the senses and opens the mind. You will find yourself tilting your head to better capture an elusive...something. It may be the splash of dolphins at play as they leap from the silvery reflection of a full moon. It may be the silent unfolding of a magnolia blossom or the rustle of an armadillo in the palmetto understory. Perhaps it’s even subtler and is but the stretching of the world beneath a healing sun. One can almost believe that that which is assumed to be soundless, is not: the fall of azalea blossoms in February, the mist of jasmine in June, the fog that shrouds the river or the scent of an oncoming storm. Senses merge and transform in St. Marys, and that which is seen and felt is often heard. “I can hear myself think”—a rare and priceless gift in these hectic times. Hear your thoughts, your dreams, your hopes, your heart. Hear color and emotion and aspirations and community. Hear the symphony of St. Marys. Listen. Just listen.
“Places I love come back to me like music, to hush me and heal me” –Sara Teasdale
t’s a girl! Say hello to the newest member of the White Oak giraffe family. She arrived this past summer at the 17,000-acre White Oak Conservation preserve just a short drive from downtown St. Marys. Did you know that giraffe calves are 6 foot tall and can weigh 220 pounds at birth? A giraffe’s gestation period is around 15 months. The long gestation allows the calf to be highly developed before birth, which means that within a few hours of being born, calves are able to stand on their own and follow their mother. Giraffes are predominantly found in open scrub areas. The males can weigh up to 3,000 pounds reaching 16-19 feet; Females – 1,500 pounds 14-15 feet. Their diet consists of leaves and shoots of trees. Their favorite trees are various species of Acacia. The name Giraffe is derived from the Arabic ‘Azarafah’ (one who walks swiftly, gracefully). Giraffes have been clocked at speeds approaching 37 mph. In the walking gait, the legs on one side move forward almost simultaneously, seen elsewhere only in camels and in domestic horses trained to do so. The giraffe is equipped with a 25 pound heart with 3 inch thick ventricle walls, and a pumping capacity of 16 gallons per continued ...
minute. The 17 inch tongue and the giraffe’s superior height allow for feeding high above the competition. Giraffes are gregarious and non-territorial, living in loosely organized groups. Females are faithful to particular calving grounds and their single offspring associate in nursery groups (creches). Vocalizations are rare, but giraffes are not mute. Calves bawl when alarmed or excited. Cows, when separated from their calves, may give a roaring bellow, and courting bulls occasionally emit a loud coughing sound. People often confuse the protuberances from the top of the giraffe’s skull with horns, when in fact they are ossicones (skin covered portions of the skull). Adolescent male hierarchies are often determined by the outcome of neck sparring, the delivery of head blows to the opponent. Once supremacy has been established such bouts are amicably terminated. White Oak has had giraffes since 1987. Some subspecies of giraffe are considered endangered. Current estimates have the population of 68,000 individuals across all (sub) species. This is a considerable drop in the last decade and shows that the plight of the giraffe is in real danger. Long dedicated to the conservation and care of endangered and threatened species, including rhinoceros, okapi, bongos, zebras, condors, dama gazelles, and cheetahs, White Oak Conservation’s mission is “saving endangered wildlife and habitats through sustainable conservation breeding, education, and responsible land stewardship.”
For more information about White Oak Conservation, visit whiteoakwildlife.org.
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ike the legendary phoenix, a new born development will be rising from the ashes of St. Marys’ old paper mill and on the drawing board are plans for entertainment facilities that would make Hollywood jealous. In a recent interview with Peter Chesney, one of the world’s most prolific film special effects experts, he talks about the vision set forth by mill property owner Jim Jacoby and how Chesney plans to help make that vision come to life. “We’ve spent a great deal of time studying the best use of what we feel is St. Marys’ most valuable real estate resource,” Chesney said. “Plans are underway for a marina and a residential/hotel/vacation rental/ retail complex but what I’m most excited about is our plan to build a state-of-the-art marine film studio.” He continued, “With Georgia’s ultra-attractive film & music production tax incentives, we’re confident we can draw major projects from all over the world.” Chesney says there will be no competition on continued ...
the east coast, especially considering the main attraction—the biggest film tank in North America. “You can see it from space –(Google Earth),” Chesney said. The current design uses the 10-million-gallon tank as 300 feet across (that’s a football field, you know) and will be half above ground and half below for surface and depth filming.
Film tank from space.
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In addition to filming use, the tank would be an excellent dive check-out facility—one of the best in the country according to Chesney. This is not Chesney’s first marine adventure with Jacoby. He has worked on several design and early master planning projects including one of Jacoby’s numerous massive ventures, Marineland, over the past 6 years between films.. In 1998, Jacoby acquired the aging Marineland property just south of St. Augustine, Florida. Originally built in 1938 to film underwater scenes and movies, Marineland morphed into a
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Florida tourist attraction featuring aquatic life exhibits and dolphin shows. After it was damaged by a hurricane, Jacoby acquired the dolphin attraction as well as related real estate and redeveloped the entire park to a modern dolphin facility focused on continued ...
education and animal/human interaction. Marineland reopened in 2006 with new programs and experiences available to the public. Jacoby has since sold the property, but aqua entertainment never left his mind. Jacoby sees a parallel with the upcoming marine studio in St. Marys. “Though designed as a commercial marine film facility, we see an enormous opportunity to develop eco-marine tourism and engaging educational exhibit spaces,” Jacoby said. “We plan to work with universities that have similar interests and would like to put marine science on the property as well.” Chesney and Jacoby both agree that the 1298-acre mill site is a prime aquatic property with its proximity to the ocean, the intracoastal waterway, several rivers, Cumberland Island, and a backdrop of expansive salt marsh vistas. “The North River is 18 feet deep at low tide which means we can dock tall ships here for filming,” Chesney said. “Many film studios use scale “parts” of tall ships or CGI for their movies but we can have the real thing.” Chesney is known in the industry for creating bigger than life scenery as he did in “Honey I shrunk the kids” when he built a 12-foot ant that miniaturized the people rather than using computer trickery. He’s also created junk yard “claws” that can grab speeding cars, 20-foot bees that actors ride and created more theatrical film “illusions” than he can count—all under the umbrella of his company “Image Engineering.”
12-foot ant. Now headquartered in California, Chesney has already moved a good portion of his equipment to the St. Marys Airport property and will be www.StMarysMagazine.com
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stay at The Federal Quarters just steps away from St. Marys’ waterfront is an immersion in yesteryear. Though renovated and modernized, the oldest home in St. Marys still holds the enchantment of the past. Recipient of the “Excellence in Rehabilitation Award,” The Federal Quarters was built in 1801 and is registered with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Lots of amenities including the use of a 1929 Model A replica. Find photos of this exclusive historic inn, reservations and rates on most Vacation Rental websites, or call 912-729-7501 direct.
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bringing staff to St. Marys as the Marine Film Studio develops. Chesney’s collaboration with Jacoby (who developed the highly successful Atlantic Station in Atlanta) will be a prime example of “the whole being equal to greater than the sum of its parts.” With their combined vision, Jacoby’s gift for optimizing the potential of real estate, and Chesney’s relentless dedication to engineering and performance perfection, the “Phoenix-rising” Marine Film Studio is bound to be a success. “It’s going to be a movie magnet for any film with water scenes in their production,” Chesney said. But beyond the big screen, the developed facility will be a natural for reality series and there is a vision for that as well. Jacoby can see a popular environmental scientist character coming to life in a locally-filmed series that could interest Netflix, Amazon, or Apple TV. He envisions a reality fishing show supported by one of the other major fishing entities. He wants to bring a nationally-recognized fishing tournament to town. Film tourism, eco-tourism, and even music tourism can be the rewarding results of the upcoming development. An envisioned outdoor theatre and research resort would add to the filming value and draw visitors to our community as well. “We’re cross-collateralizing our investment,” Jacoby said.
“Honey I Blew Up the Kid.” continued ...
More Film News “Bees.” Camden County Film Commissioner Doug Vaught heralds the planned film studio and its associated components as a giant leap in the economic development of downtown St. Marys and Camden County. “This opens the door to unparalleled opportunities in the worlds of entertainment, tourism, and the marine industry,” said Vaught. “With the assistance of our local economic and governmental organizations including the Joint Development Authority, Camden County, and the City of St. Marys, we can look to the future with renewed optimism.” When you put together an Award-winning film engineer and a renowned land developer, St. Marys is standing by, waiting for the magic to begin. Move over Hollywood! St. Marys is getting ready to take her rightful place in the entertainment world. www.StMarysMagazine.com
Coastal Georgia Film Alliance
Local film producer Dave Webb continues his filming of the full-length feature movie “The Key” in his studio on the airport property and in residences in the community. A recent filming of a commercial for 21 Queen Street Coffee Company facilitated by CGFA co-founder and Camden County Film Commissioner Doug Vaught. 17
“St. Marys Magazine” makes a great travel companion. We’d like to know where you’re taking us. To become one of our media darlings, simply have your photo taken in a distinguishable location, holding a copy of the magazine, and email the photo with names and location to email@example.com.
Deb Rockow, Mary Ackerman and Patty Rohrman in Englewood, FL
Dennis Gallo and Skip Harris in Fort Lauderdale.
Allen Langenbahn in Nassau, Bahamas.
The Torgersen Family at Lake Superior.
Jim Rohrman, Skip Ackerman and Steve Rockow in Englewood, Florida.
olly Verlin has done her homework. Before she embarked on developing the really cool St. Marys Historical Walking Tour, Molly delved into the city’s 350-year action-packed history with passion and fervor. And that passion shows as she takes groups around our beautiful town, beguiling them with true tales of heroes and scalawags and all in between. First stop: the Pavilion at the riverfront end of Osborne where Molly tells how Georgia was once the southernmost point of the United States directing the group’s gaze to what was Spanish Florida just continued ...
across the water. She tells of the hundreds of tall ships docked in St. Marys’ Harbor during the tall ship era and describes how the Pavilion was once used for social dances after its construction in 1918. A watch tower was erected on top during World War II to warn of approaching enemy craft. Just across the way, she stops her group at the historic cannon explaining its best theory origin from a Spanish shipwreck off the coast. Molly thinks the first two stops of her tour comprise an interesting narrative of St. Marys in its golden days of prosperous shipbuilding and international trading plus her war-torn history. At the Historic Riverview Hotel on the corner, she takes her group inside and introduces them to the Brandon sisters (portrait) who ran the hotel in its infancy. Molly talks about how columnist Roy Crane made St. Marys famous by featuring the town in his nationally-syndicated cartoon and shows them the earliest clippings showing Orange Hall, the Riverview, and other locales. She tells of the Carnegies and Rockefellers and other notables who have stayed at the hotel. At the Spencer House, Molly educates non-southerners about the “haint” blue paint that graces ceilings around town. “The color scares away the haints but also deflects the bugs that think it’s the sky,” she says. The little Catholic Church on the corner is explained continued ...
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as the first masonry bank building in Georgia. It was donated to the Catholic Church to use until their much bigger building was constructed several blocks away. But the little church remains in service as well. Molly takes her group inside the charming Goodbread House Bed and Breakfast, revisiting the history of Captain Goodbread who piloted “The Hildegarde” steamboat taking passengers from the Golden Isles to Cumberland Island and Fernandina Beach in the late 1800s. Two blocks up, she stops at the Washington Oak site. The tree was planted after George Washington’s death in his honor. When it was cut down, the oak was used to restore the USS Constitution. Molly points out the stately Federal Quarters (once known as the Clark House) and tells of the story about how Aaron Burr escaped to the house to be sheltered by his law school friend Archibald Clark after Burr shot Alexander Hamilton. At Conyer Street, Molly talks about the Civil War and how the Methodist Church was saved from burning because the Union soldiers used it for a butcher shop. Just before City Hall, Molly stops at the Toonerville Trolley that was also featured in Roy Crane’s comic strip. The Trolley was the first rail transportation that took passengers from St. Marys to Kingsland. continued ...
Molly Verlin (far right) with a tour group.
At Orange Hall, she talks about the secret tunnels that lead to the First Presbyterian Church across the way and explains the reason for their existence. You’ll just have to take the tour to find that out and tons of other tidbits that makes St. Marys an intriguing walk through history. For the more enthusiastic historians, this writer also suggests a visit to the Company House (next to the Riverview Hotel) where they can view a pictorial history of St. Marys in the form of a mural that features major milestones in St. Marys’ history. Following the footprints of history in St. Marys is a highlight for any visitor, but residents get to immerse themselves in the richness of her spellbinding past every day of the year. Editor’s Note: St. Marys Historical Walking Tours happen twice daily. For more information and/or reservations, search Eventbrite under “St. Marys Walking Tour,” call 904-735-8243, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Kyle Morgan 24
“Anyway, like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, sauté it. Dey’s uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. Pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, cave shrimp, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger. That’s about it…”—Bubba Gump
t one time there were as many as 1,500 shrimp boats off the Georgia Coast, but recent counts show about 200 registered with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and about one-third of those are out-of-state vessels. Commercial farms across the world and increasing rules and regulations have forced most shrimpers out of business. In its heyday, as many as 30 boats operated from St. Marys, delivering their catches to one of three docks downtown. St. Marys shrimpers unloaded more shrimp than anywhere on the east coast. St. Marys remembers the great shrimping family names like Dickey and Miller and Lang who pioneered the industry for St. Marys back in the 1930s. At one time, Calvin Lang owned and operated seven shrimp boats out of St. Marys. He is credited for making rock shrimp a local delicacy back in the early 1980s, when he began harvesting them in about 200 to 300 feet of water 30 to 40 miles offshore. Back then, shrimpers would push the rock shrimp overboard, then people realized how good they were. The shells were hard but Lang got a peeling machine and shipped processed rock shrimp to
Pete Brandon repairing net.
continued ... www.StMarysMagazine.com
Cal and Virginia Lang in front of Seagle Brandon’s boat in Key West. Shrimp catch from Miss Peggy.
locations throughout the nation twice a week. St. Marys was once known as the “Rock Shrimp capital of the World,” with Lang shipping thousands of pounds to Boston and New York two times a week. The Langs always “followed the shrimp,” casting their nets in Texas and the Gulf Coast, Key West, and even Cuba. For years, they were the top producers in Texas and known far and wide by other shrimpers. Cal Lang said, “You would hear them on the radio saying ‘Here comes the Lang Gang,’ as his daddy motored into port. The Lang name continues to play a role in today’s shrimping industry with Calvin’s son Cal and Cal’s wife Lisa running “The 5th Day” and partnering with Pete and Kathy Brandon on “Miss Peggy.” (The 5th day is when God created the creatures of the sea.) The 60-foot “Miss Peggy” showcases the unique profile of the shrimp boat, long a romantic fixture on the horizon for visitors and residents alike. It features the side nets (outriggers) while “The 5th Day,” (40 foot) pulls its nets from the stern. The Langs and Brandons are making present day shrimping in St. Marys a real family affair, husbands and wives operating the boats together and both families helping each other. “Shrimping is hard work,” Lang said. “But the harvest continued ...
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remains steady and it continues to be a thriving industry. Fewer boats mean a bigger slice for those of us still at it.” Luckily Pete and Kathy Brandon have a penchant for remodeling and put their skills to work when they and Lang acquired “Miss Peggy.” Pete also does most of the net repairing, saving the team a good bit of money on upkeep. Both Brandon and Lang started shrimping when they were very young and have built some of life’s most treasured memories aboard a shrimp boat. As has Corey Higgenbotham in Woodbine. Three shrimp boats grace Higgenbotham’s dock on the Satilla River: “The Cessa Lucille,” the “Miss Laura,” and “The Dixiana,”—all outriggers. Higgenbotham has been shrimping ever since he was 7 years old when he would go out with his father, Hank Higgenbotham. He now owns his own construction company and has made a respected name for himself with his crane and barge business, building docks all over Coastal Georgia and Northeast Florida. Higgenbotham mostly shrimps between Jekyll and Cumberland Island. He says that wild Georgia shrimp are “the very best.” “The biggest pleasure is just being out on the water,” he says. “It’s like a whole ‘nother world.” continued ...
The 5th Day.
Pete Brandon and Cal Lang on The 5th Day.
Shrimp boats at Corey Higgenbotham’s dock in Woodbine.
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His wife and 11-year-old daughter agree, often accompanying him on his shrimping excursions, serving as “strikers” (crew). Of all of Coastal Georgia, Darien is, perhaps, most prolific when it comes to shrimping today. The Darien-McIntosh County Chamber of Commerce hosts an annual “Blessing of the Fleet” that has drawn as many as 35,000 people in the past. Celebrating the industry of shrimping, this year’s Blessing of the Fleet is scheduled for April 1-3, 2022. The waterfront of Brunswick, Georgia, also boasts silhouettes of shrimp boats, and you can even do a shrimp boat tour there (visit www.shrimpcruise.com). As more and more people realize there is no comparison between the taste of farm-raised shrimp and wild Georgia Shrimp, the shrimping business continues to play a vital role in the personality of Coastal Georgia and the legacy of shrimping lives on in St. Marys. As Bubba Gump would tell you, “That’s about it.”
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An Island Love Story By Barbara
love nothing more than reading something that teaches me something. I’ve always been in love with words and when I discover one I didn’t know existed, my little logophile heart takes an extra beat. So when I saw the cover of Rita Welty Bourke’s new book titled “Islomanes of Cumberland Island” I knew I was in for a good read. Islomania definition: an obsessional enthusiasm or partiality for islands. Clearly, the author of this book, Rita Welty Bourke, and the family in the book are true islomanes. Year after year, the family made the trip to Cumberland Island, each time discovering more and more the history and the secrets of the island which Bourke shares passionately with her readers. Wrapped by a lovely family story, Bourke’s island adventures reveals chunks of knowledge that even I, a studied Cumberland Island devotee, did not know. For example: Royalty was involved in the marriage of an island resident (1903). The feral horses that now graze the island were at one time bred with thoroughbreds, Appaloosas, Polo Ponies, Paso Finos, and Tennessee Walkers. Charles Frazer came close to continued ...
Rita Welty Bourke at the Dungeness Ruins.
turning the island into another Hilton Head (I knew that), but I didn’t know that the ranger building at the Sea Camp dock was built for him to headquarter in while trying to convince the Carnegies the merits of his grand plan which included a bridge to the island. I gleaned many other interesting tidbits from the book revealing the author’s intense dedication to research. From the Timucuan Indians to Civil War heroes to steel magnates and beyond, the challenges and triumphs of the island come to life in page after page of discovery. From the Dungeness ruins to slaves quarters to standing mansions, the story unfolds. “Islomanes of Cumberland Island” is an easy read and one to get lost in, most especially if you’re reading it on the island itself which I did on my recent honeymoon. Through this book, you will come to know for sure why Cumberland was saved for future generations and the meaning of this preservation for all Americans. Editor’s Note: You can get “Islomanes of Cumberland Island” at Once Upon a Bookseller in downtown St. Marys or on Amazon.com.
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“If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles.” Doug Larson
itticist Doug Larson had it right. Lots of folks in St. Marys would agree that the sight of a swooping blue heron skimming the early morning waters is simply soothing. Especially if witnessed from the wooden plank seat of a small fishing boat. And what is sweeter than the laughter of a five-year-old as he reels in his first baby catch? Or the adrenalin rush of winning a two-hour fight with a 100-pound tarpon? These Americana moments are alive and well in the quaint fishing village of St. Marys. They flourish amid tidal estuaries of the marshlands and the deep blue water of the Atlantic. And in the area’s five rivers, the Intracoastal Waterway, and Cumberland Sound. These moments are whipped up with ancient dime store cane poles and with fifteen hundred dollar Penn 130 rods and reels. These are moments that inspire modest re-tellings as well as the tallest of tales. Anglers of all ages have discovered the intoxicating world of fishing in Coastal Georgia’s varietal waters. Hundreds of years after the Timucuan and Guale Indians literally lived off the bounties of these waters, locals and visitors continue to enjoy the thrill of angling continued ...
Jerry Brumbelow, Dale Royer, and Chuck Molanar
Mike Dees and his redfish catch.
as well as the savory tastes of the local catch. St. Marys Resident Mike Dees has been fishing the waters of St. Marys for decades. Almost always coming back with a good catch, he—like many others—has his own secret fishing holes which vary with the season. Recently, he garnered a “fine mess” of speckled trout at the rock pile on North River. Jerry Brumbelow, proprietor of Knucklehead’s, a bait and general store in the waterfront park, shared his knowledge of what’s biting and when. “The best fishing around here is October to March and June to August,” he said. “In October you get the big redfish that go up the river in the bull run.” As the warm weather turns cooler, a migration of the breeding stock starts to push the largest 3 to 4 year old redfish up the river for spawning season. “You get good trout in the winter when they’re hanging out in deep holes and creeks,” Brumbelow said. (And rock piles too, right Mike?) continued ...
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In February you can count on big sheepshead. Crooked River is a good spot for catching sheepshead. According to Brumbelow, the whiting come in around March as well as huge black drum that come up the Intracoastal—some weighing up to 100 pounds. Just offshore, you can catch 40-pound redfish year ‘round, but June is the big season. Cobia is another good nearshore fish which Brumbelow says is some “real good eating.” August is the biggest month for tarpon. Even though people think you have to go offshore for tarpon, that’s not true. It’s not terribly rare to catch a 100-plus pound tarpon nearshore. When Brumbelow puts on one of his traditional fish frys, he likes to cook whiting, trout, redfish, black drum and sheepshead. He mixes them up and says people can’t tell the difference. “They’re all good eating fish,” he said. Brumbelow grew up fishing and still fishes in a bass tournament once a month at lakes in Georgia and Florida. Tripp Lang also grew up fishing. He still remembers the thrill of his first catch from his Granddaddy Calvin Lang’s boat. For those who’d rather a professional do all the heavy lifting, Tripp Lang’s Fishing Charters offers inshore, continued ...
Redfish catch from Tripp Lang’s Fishing Charter
Tarpon caught during Trip Lang’s Fishing Charter
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backcountry, and nearshore trips. “It’s fun to watch the pleasure other people get out of fishing,” Lang said. “There are so many opportunities where we are, and we usually have a good day most every cast.” Tripp’s preferred bait is live shrimp. He does year ‘round charters inshore, around the jetties and Cumberland Island, and up the St. Marys River on his 20-foot Pathfinder. He will clean his guests’ catch for them. “For those who have never fished before, it’s an easy walk-through,” Lang said. “They catch on real quick. I especially love watching the young kids pull in their catch.” “If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles”—surely a wise and apt observation because fishing is not just about the fish. No matter your equipment or the location, your fishing experience around St. Marys is bound to be as sweet as the catch. Sunrises, sunsets, dancing dolphins, mesmerizing horseshoe crabs, graceful white egrets, sparkling waters, and soft breezes— you’re sure to enjoy the “reel” world of St. Marys where “getting hooked” takes on a whole new meaning.
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lackbeard, “Gentleman” Stede Bonnet, Jean B Lafitte—these are but three of the names of dark By
legend and cinematic intrigue that echo still along the Georgian coast. You will find quiet neighborhood streets christened “Pirate’s Cove” or “Blackbeard’s Way” throughout the Coastal Georgia area: seemingly incongruous perhaps, for a safe and serene environment. But one has only to stand upon the long marshwalk on St. Marys’ downtown marshfront on a moonlit night to imagine ghostly galleons slipping silently into the harbor. The barrier islands of South Carolina and Georgia proved to be ideal havens for the pirates who traversed the eastern coast. From Jamaica
and the Caribbean they came, sailing a northerly path of destruction, fear and power. The inlets, harbors and rivers of the South offered myriad escape routes and resting places for the crews that reaped a violent harvest from the sea. And wealth was not all that they sought. Fame, too, was alluring as the temptation to write their bloody signatures upon the pages of history proved irresistible. The king of pirates, Blackbeard, plied the waters from New England to the Virgin Islands in search of unwary prey and easy money. Imagine now the terror that ran through the hearts of an innocent crew as they witnessed his dark ship bearing down upon them. Blackbeard (born Edward Thatch—or Teach as some would have it—in Bristol, England in the late 1600s) perfected the art of psychological intimidation through appearance and manner. Standing an impressive 6’ 4” and weighing in excess of 250 pounds, he further embellished his blood-chilling image with a wild tangle of ebony hair and a flowing beard that he adorned with ribbons and ropes. There are tales of this man at the bow of his ship www.StMarysMagazine.com
beneath the night skies, towering over his quarry, bristling with knives, the wind in his hair and his beard aflame with the pieces of burning rope that he’d attached. A master of his ungodly craft, Blackbeard claimed to be “the brother of the devil”—and so he appeared. The tales of The Pirate King’s cruelty are legion. He showed no mercy to his captives or his men and historic reports speak of outbursts of random rage wherein he would simply shoot members of his crew to demonstrate his complete mastery of their fate. From 1716 to 1718 this scourge of the seas ran amok, in part due to a pact signed with the governor of North Carolina: the law would turn a blind eye to Blackbeard’s affairs if he would allow ships into the seaports there. Finally a Royal Navy force, dispatched from England to hunt Blackbeard down, succeeded in capturing him in 1718. The indestructible Edward Thatch was decapitated, and as a warning to other pirates, his head was suspended from the bow of the capturing sloop. In 1996, divers in Beaufort Inlet, SC, discovered a sunken ship continued ... 43
that dated back to Blackbeard’s era. In 1997, archeologists were able to examine completely the shipwreck site and their findings confirmed the site’s identity as undoubtedly that of Blackbeard’s lost ship, “Queen Anne’s Revenge.” The recovery of this ship released its secrets and breathed new life into the ghost of Blackbeard. Blackbeard took full advantage of the tidal rivers and inlets of the Georgia coast, striking at passing ships and then slinking back to cloak himself and his crew in the depths of the inland waters. Did he deposit his treasures here? Many think so, and the sight of hopeful fortune-hunters with metal detectors is common in our area. For those who are brave (or foolish) enough to seek the blood-soaked ghost of the nefarious Edward Thatch, there is an island that awaits you between St. Marys and Savannah. The Blackbeard Island National Wildlife Refuge, just northeast of Sapelo Island, was acquired by the Navy Department at public auction in 1800 for use as a source of naval stores for shipbuilding and is one of the oldest properties in continuous federal ownership in the country. Preserved as a part of the Bureau of Biological Survey in 1924, the island’s astonishingly beautiful 5,618 acres officially became Blackbeard Island National Wildlife Refuge in 1940. Today, this extraordinary island serves as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds such as waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds, songbirds, and raptors as well as a variety of more earth and sea-bound creatures, including the endangered loggerhead turtles. It is a wonderland of dunes, freshwater marsh, salt marsh, maritime forest, and pristine beaches open year-round for visitors to explore. Blackbeard Island is the sea island that was most frequented and favored by Blackbeard—and it is widely rumored that he chose this remote locale as the final resting place of his valuable treasure. (However, he was, above all, a canny man and trusted no single place for the totality of his spoils). But he did brag that “no one but me and the devil know where it’s hidden, and the one who lives the longest can keep it.” Based upon this, one would think the devil to be very rich indeed! Legends speak of Blackbeard’s skull having been made into a ghoulish silver-plated cup, and that his headless
ghost guards the treasure still. So beware: when the sun sinks beneath the horizon, wildlife may not be all that roams this mystical island. On the other end of the piracy spectrum—if there were such a thing— we find “Gentleman Stede Bonnet.” Born of a wealthy British family on the island of Barbados, gently raised and liberally educated, Bonnet turned to piracy after marrying Mary Allamby in 1709. Apparently Mary was an extraordinarily materialistic woman and a first-class nag. In A General History of the Pyrates (Charles Johnson), we find these words: "Bonnet took to the seas in desperation due to the discomforts he found in a married State.” Despite his complete lack of sea-faring experience and knowledge, Mr. Bonnet purchased a vessel, set out upon the high seas and began his systematic, though somewhat clumsy, life of plunder. Along the American eastern seaboard he sailed, capturing vessels, stealing their cargo and creating legends. In keeping with his erudite and polite ways, Bonnet actually paid his crew weekly wages (a practice unknown in the circles of piracy). In 1717, enroute to the pirate’s haven of Nassau in the Bahamas, Bonnet and his crew waged a mighty battle with a Spanish Man-of-War. Grievously wounded, Bonnet rested there—and met Blackbeard: a meeting that was to sign his fate. Weak and ill, Bonett allowed Blackbeard to take command of the ship. It was to be a short-lived partnership as disgust with the treachery and wanton violence of the new commander weakened the Gentleman Pirate’s already precarious physical condition, leaving him longing to escape the life of crime. Blackbeard ended their association by stealing the majority of the ship’s crew and stores and departing—much to the relief of Mr. Bonnet! Bonnet finally resumed command of his vessel and continued alone. His career proved brief, however, for he was finally captured by a posse on Sullivan’s Island and brought to trial in Charleston. Gentleman Stede Bonnet was sentenced to death. Though he pleaded with South Carolina Governor Charles Johnson for clemency—going so far as to promise to have his own arms and legs amputated in
penance—the governor turned a deaf ear. Many Carolinians supported Bonnet, for his genteel demeanor and comely face had won him a place in romantic legend (particularly among the smitten female population). The handsome and polite pirate was hanged at White Point in Charleston on December 10, 1718. In St. Marys, the ghosts of the sea-wolves howl in the night––for those who have the ears to hear. Resting, as we do, but a short distance from St. Simons Island (a mere 45-minute drive north), we feel the reverberations of the bloody battles and violent past. Pirates of the late 17th century so ransacked and terrorized the Guale village of St. Simons that the people fled, never to return. Nearby Jekyll Island lures history buffs and treasure-seekers alike, for it is also here that legend tells us Blackbeard buried his greatest cache. It is said that he left a copper hook embedded in a twisted live oak tree to mark its location…leaving one to wonder whose hook that may have been. Between 1650 and 1720, there was no town, harbor, or settlement that was safe from the rapacious hunger of the thousands of pirates who cruised the waters of the Coastal South. Blackbeard, Bonnet, Olonnois (famed for the beheading of 90 captured men by his own hand), William Kidd, Henry Morgan––these are but a few of the names that still make young children shiver in their beds and grown men hunger for lost treasure. Before we condemn all piracy out of hand, however, we must acknowledge the pivotal roles that these men played in the formation of the United States itself. During the American Revolutionary War, the contribution of the privateers cannot be denied for they were instrumental in the defeat of the English. During the duration of the Revolutionary War, the total number of pirate ships outnumbered the ships of the Continental Navy by eleven to one. The Continental Congress even went so far as to issue a proclamation sanctioning and encouraging privateering against English ships. The pirates amassed great wealth––often the deciding factor when young men considered joining the battle. Riches, romance, and patriotism combined to create a compelling case. continued ...
Later, during the War of 1812, one of the most decisive battles was won with the assistance of the notorious Jean Lafitte. When the British forces threatened to overtake the city of New Orleans, Andrew Jackson himself had Lafitte released from prison to defend the town. Without his invaluable knowledge and support, the United States would have lost control of New Orleans entirely. The history of America and tales of piracy are as interwoven as the flaming rope braided through Blackbeard’s hair it seems. Walk by the St. Marys harbor on a still night when the stars look down from their balcony seats and the moon rides high. Look out beyond the gentle structures of civilization to the water’s depths, and you may catch a glimpse of a wraithlike galleon or hear the faint echo of eerie laughter. Saints and devils dance among us here, for the past and present are entwined. Keep a sharp eye out, Mateys, for a glimpse of the Skull and Crossbones. If you dare.
ARTICLE I: Every man has a vote in affairs of the moment; has equal title to the fresh provisions, or strong liquors, at any time seized, and use of them at pleasure, unless a scarcity makes it necessary, for the good of all, to vote a retrenchment. ARTICLE II: Every man shall obey civil command; the captain shall have one full share and a half in all prizes. The Quartermaster, Carpenter, Boatswain, and Gunner shall have one share and a quarter. ARTICLE III: If any man shall offer to run away, or keep any secret from the Company, he shall be marooned with one bottle of powder, one bottle of water, one small arm, and shot. ARTICLE IV: If any man shall steal any thing in the Company, or game, to the value of a piece of eight, he shall be marooned or shot. ARTICLE V: If at any time we should meet with another pirate, that man shall sign his articles without consent of our Company, and shall suffer such punishment as the Captain and Company shall think fit. ARTICLE VI: That man that shall strike another, whilst these Articles are in force, shall receive Moses' Law (that is 40 stripes lacking one) on the bare back. ARTICLE VII: That man that shall snap his arms, or smoke tobacco in the hold, without cap to his pipe, or carry a candle lighted without lantern, shall suffer the same punishment as in the former Article. ARTICLE VIII: That man that shall not keep his arms clean, fit for an engagement, or neglect his business, shall be cut off from his share, and suffer such other punishment as the Captain and Company shall think fit. ARTICLE IX: If any man shall lose a joint in time of engagement, he shall have 400 pieces of eight: if a limb, 800. ARTICLE X: If at any time you meet with a prudent woman, that man that offers to meddle with her, without her consent, shall suffer death.
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riving toward the beautiful and quaint downtown area of St. Marys, Georgia does not bring the hustle and bustle of New York and Broadway immediately to mind. And yet, for coming up on twelve years, St. Marys has enjoyed a taste of the excitement and theatricality that is Broadway Theatre. Our St. Marys Little Theatre (or SMLT – the name of the group doing all of the amazing things at the Theatre by the Trax – the name of the actual building) is not professional nor does it seat 500. What it does is provide the live theatre experience that many residents and guests to our fair city may never experience elsewhere. It is a community theatre in its truest sense, with everyone involved sharing their unique talents in all aspects of live theatre, including art, technology, and performing arts. Volunteers lend their clerical skills and even continued ...
brawny backs at times to bring the theatrical vison to life. Manning the box office and selling tickets, creating and publishing programs, cleaning the theater, managing the costumes, the music, the lights, creating the sets for the stage – the list goes on and on. Most important, the audiences that attend the theatre productions and the generous donors make all the hard work worth the effort. That is not to say there are no similarities between our “Home Grown” Theatre and Old Broadway. SMLT has produced a number of fine Broadway plays, including Camelot, Man of La Mancha (the very first production by SMLT at Theatre by the Trax), The Fantasticks, Steel Magnolias and 9 to 5 – The Musical. During our current season the hilarious and popular production of Off-Broadway’s Nunsense delighted audiences for two weekends in October. Fortunately, St. Marys and surrounding areas are home to many amazingly talented people. Like famous playwrights and composers who got their start on Broadway, some of our local and nearby residents have had original plays and songs premier at SMLT. Often more popular than nationally known programs, the “home grown” productions sometimes reference local places and people and leave the audience to guess continued ...
whether they personally influenced a certain character. Sadly, like Broadway, our 2020 season was shortened by the pandemic that crippled the country in all aspects of industry. But, as soon as it possibly could, our Theatre came back with a second reprisal of River of Life in September. The acclaimed production, based upon the history of St. Marys, includes original songs and characterizations of historical and colorful local figures. As L.J Williams, Vice Chair of SMLT said at the time, “it brought together all the great cultures that contributed to the diversity of Coastal Georgia.” In 2021, SMLT’s schedule included an original musical Smokey’s Blues, the annual variety show An Evening with the Stars (hosted by Lucy and Ethel), Broadway Musical Nunsense and a heartwarming original Christmas production Twas the Night Before Christmas.” The 2022 season is shaping up with a March showing of Evening with the Stars, in May Cabaret, an original musical Call of the Swamp in October, and ending with another Christmas spectacular. As SMLT Founder Barbara Ryan Harris has been 4045 Spencer Street, Suite B42 • Las Vegas, NV 89119 quoted before, “Our theatre is all about inclusivity and diversity. It is not how great an actor or tech performs, 702-551-2075 | FAX 702-724-1681 but it is the greatness within that person that grows each time they are involved in a production.” continued ...
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Ann Walsh, who is a performer and sometimes director for SMLT, once summed up the feeling that is pervasive throughout the SMLT experience by saying community theatre should be welcoming and provide a learning environment for people with no experience all the way to seasoned semi-professionals. If you ever wanted to take a star turn on stage, design a program or a set or make a costume, learn how to light up a stage or fill a theatre with sound, be a director or a producer or just “learn the ropes” and find out where you fit in, SMLT has a place for you. So much by so many goes into each production you are bound to find a wonderful and fulfilling use for your talents and your time. Let your own “home grown” theatre fill you with wonder and magic where “Down Home” meets “Broadway” at 1000 Osborne Street in St. Marys.
Editor’s Note: To get involved in St. Marys Little Theatre, visit www.stmaryslittletheatre. com and state your interests.
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sk 100 folks from the southeast United States how to make Brunswick stew and you’ll probably get 100 different answers! Potatoes or not? Chicken or squirrels? Beef or pork, or both? Okra or not? And on and on… Ask the same people who makes the best, and you’ll get another 100 answers. My mom, my dad, my uncle, my aunt, my grandma, my granddad, one of many local BBQ joints, and me, of course! You get the picture. There are lots of opinions about how to make Brunswick stew and whose recipe is the best! Brunswick stew has been a tradition around these parts for more than a century, and most southerners love it. It’s a wonderful meal in
and of itself with bread or a fantastic accompaniment to a delicious BBQ dinner. It’s great the day it’s cooked; even better warmed up a day or two later after the flavors meld. And it freezes nicely to be pulled out and warmed up for a quick lunch anytime. It’s especially delectable on a cool wintry day, but equally as good at a Fourth of July weekend party. A big steaming pot of Brunswick stew is always a crowd pleaser. It’s easy to prepare in large batches, easy to serve, and fairly inexpensive to make. What could be better? Given the rather large number of variations in what people think are the best ingredients, it may come as no surprise that historians continued ...
can’t agree on the origins of Brunswick stew or when it was first stewed up. It seems there are several states and at least one foreign country that lay claim to inventing Brunswick stew. For folks around St. Marys, it seems fairly obvious that it would have been invented just up the road in Brunswick, Georgia, right? Ask around and you’ll find stories of families all around southern Georgia passing along family recipes from generation to generation dating back to the 1800s. Often these prized recipes are closely guarded secrets. St. Simons island has an annual Brunswick Rockin’ Stewbilee each year that centers around a competition for the best stew. There is a large metal stew pot atop a concrete pedestal at the visitors center claiming the first pot of Brunswick stew was cooked up in that very pot on July 2, 1898. Other similar recipes from this region with different names like camp stew are known to exist prior to the civil war. As obviously authentic as our local claim seems to us here in St Marys, it is certainly disputed by the good folks up in Brunswick County, Virginia. Now I’ve never been to Brunswick County, Virginia, but I’d be willing to bet that if I’d roam the rural backroads of the county stopping at local BBQ joints and talking to old timers, I’d hear just as many stories from locals about how Brunswick Stew was invented right there in their own backyard. In fact there’s a roadside marker in Brunswick County, Virginia as well, claiming a camp cook named Jimmy Matthews stewed up some squirrels, butter, onions, stale bread, and seasoning way back in 1828, and that’s the original recipe. Although there is no official monument or marker I am aware of in North Carolina claiming it originated there, I have heard people from North Carolina tell me it comes from Brunswick in their home state. A quick internet search will certainly show there is no shortage of “North Carolina” recipes out there that incorporate North Carolina’s famous pulled pork and Carolina mustard based BBQ sauce. It turns out there are 15 towns in 15 different states in the “new world” named Brunswick from Maine, to Minnesota, to Texas, to our neighbor just up the road. I haven’t heard any claims that Minnesotans make the best Brunswick stew but there are more possibilities than just the good old USA. In her 1943 Cross Creek cookbook, author Marjorie
Rawlings claims the origins go back to the Victorian era. It is said that it was a favorite of Queen Victoria and originated in the Duchy of Brunswick-Luneburg in Germany. Given that the Virginia county and our neighboring city both share the namesake of the duchy in Germany, there might be some credence to this theory too. Aside from the mystery of its origins, there are also widespread differences about the basic ingredients. While there’s no mention of tomatoes in the Virginia road marker, I’m pretty sure most every Brunswick stew aficionado would agree that the basic recipe is a tomato-based stew with meat and vegetables. Most recipes I’ve seen include more than one meat including chicken, beef or pork, and the vegetables corn, okra and some type of beans. From there, there is a wide divergence. Some say it must have squirrels to be real Brunswick stew. Others say if it has okra, it’s a gumbo and not Brunswick stew. My good friend Greg and I disagree about potatoes or not, just like the spelling of the word itself. Ketchup or BBQ sauce? Worcestershire? Garlic, green peppers, celery or all three? How much butter? Is it a thin soup-like mixture or thick slurry like my family recipe. Wild game? Opossum? Only smoked meat? Peas or Lima beans? I could go on and on but you get the idea. There does seem to be some regional trends with the Virginia versions being thinner and including potatoes more often than not. The North Carolina versions have smoked pulled pork, and the Georgia versions have okra and no potatoes and are pretty thick. That said, I wouldn’t dare argue with a proud Georgian or Virginian who thickened their stew with potatoes or omitted okra. I might not eat it or like it, but I wouldn’t argue. I’ve been making Brunswick stew a couple times a year for over 40 years. I was taught by my dad who was taught by his dad who was taught by his dad and so on. My recipe is unique to me but closely follows a version my grandfather recorded in his diary back in 1939. He noted at the time he could make 8 gallons for $6.50 or 80 cents a gallon. A far cry from today’s prices. My sister recently found one that she can make in an hour using all canned stuff. Both are great! continued ...
Skip’s Brunswick Stew
while until the onions are translucent and start adding five or six large cans of diced and/or crushed tomatoes. I’ll add I usually start a day ahead of time a whole bottle of ketchup, a whole small bottle of going through my freezer to see what kind of meat I have. Worcestershire, a can or two of Campbell’s tomato soup There’s usually some venison, probably some quail, and and salt and pepper to taste. Once I get that mixture to a many times some frozen left-over smoked pork from a boil, I’ll add in all the meat I Boston butt I’ve smoked that year. Then I’ll run by the prepared earlier and bring that back to a grocery store and pick up a whole boil. Depending on how much meat I’ve chicken, some more pork, and a beef added, I’ll thin it out using the chicken shoulder roast plus all the other broth I saved the night before. When I ingredients I need that I don’t have on get it to the consistency like I like it, I hand. Later that evening before bed, I’ll dump in a whole big bag of frozen corn, boil all the birds in a large pot, pick and a whole big bag of frozen Lima beans, chop the meat and save the broth. Just and an extra big bag of frozen cut okra. before bedtime, I’ll put all the meat in a Finally I’ll add just a little hot sauce to crock pot with some Lipton onion give it a bite, but I don’t add much soup mix and water and set it on because I serve it with Worcestershire low overnight. and Tabasco as accompaniments and When I get up in the morning, I’ll you can add as much as you like later. shake the meat off the bones and chop That process takes an hour or two it up on a large cutting board. I get in the morning with the chopping and my huge Brunswick stew pot from the all. Now it’s time to stew it at a simmer garage and throw in a whole pound of all afternoon stirring it often. butter, some chopped celery, a whole My recipe is never exactly the chopped onion, a green pepper, maybe same, and I never use a measuring cup. My Granddaddy a red pepper and a couple of cloves of It’s better that way. Over the years my Linton Ivy Harris, Sr.’s recipe. shaved garlic and fire it up. I cook that a continued ...
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Brunswick Stew has had squirrels, elk, bear, pheasant, and other wild things I prefer not to reveal because some folk wouldn’t eat it otherwise even though they never uttered the first complaint as they ladled out their second helping. Even with the differences in meat, it tastes surprisingly similar each time. Served with a big hunk of crusty bread makes the meal complete. My sister, Lynda, had a batch on the stove last year when we all arrived at her house for Thanksgiving. My brothers and I were floored she took the time to stew up a batch what with all the prep work she had to do for dinner.
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Lynda Humm’s recipe. After us raving about that for a while, she showed us the hand-written recipe someone had given her earlier that year and told us it only took 20 minutes! It didn’t taste quite as good as mine, but it was a real good impression. So, regardless of where it was invented and what the exact ingredients are, I think most people will agree that Brunswick Stew is an awesome concoction and a fabulous and fairly easy way to feed a small army on any number of occasions any time of year. Feel free to try these recipes and I hope you enjoy! www.StMarysMagazine.com
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ingsland, Georgia, St. Marys’ neighbor to the west, is experiencing an exciting revitalization in their downtown area and leading the way is one really cool place—The Makery on Lee. Proprietor Angela Halliwell says that every day brings a new experience and new rewards when she sees how happy (and often surprised) her customers are after having completed their own DIY project. “People just love the feeling they get from making something themselves,” Angela said. “The Makery gives them an opportunity to get creative, learn a new craft, and make something truly one-of-a-kind.” Angela had always dreamed of owning her own business, but it wasn’t until her family was stationed in Pearl Harbor (husband Shawn is a Navy man) that she discovered what her business should be. Starting as a stay-at-home mom, she was
trying to pass the time during deployments and learn some crafts which led to her “carving out a path to my yellow brick road.” She began to share with friends and teaching others and after their return to Camden County (Angela is a local girl and loves her hometown community), she realized there was a need in the market for an authentic “Makery,” a dedicated DIY makers space.
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Angel Halliwell at her storefront. What exactly is a “Makery” you may ask. First of all the maker movement is a cultural trend that places value on an individual’s ability to be a creator of things. We call them “Makers.” And a Makery is a place where makers can gather to get inspired, to learn, to share, and to use tools that might not be affordable on an individual basis. Such is what Angela Halliwell is providing at 111 Lee Street in Kingsland. Angela has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of appreciation and support from the community. “A day hasn’t gone by that someone hasn’t come to me and offered a helping hand in my endeavor,” Angela said. Clearly, people are having fun and stirring up their creative inner spirit which Angela says some people don’t even realize they have. continued ... www.StMarysMagazine.com
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“Sometimes people come in reluctantly just to be with a friend or family member, and that is the most fun for me when they leave with a big smile on their face, so proud that they have created something beyond what they thought their abilities were,” Angela said. She said that all ages are discovering the fun of being a maker and often take home their newly learned skill to create things on their own. Angela guides her customers through the “making” process every step of the way, providing the materials and know-how that makes the creating easy. Her husband, Shawn, has been an advocate for Angela following her dreams for many years.
The Halliwell family. “His ability to enable me to see my potential has been a driving force in this business development,” she said. “He often helps me with machinery operations and runs the bookkeeping side of the business. Together we make a great team.” When asked what inspires Angela on a day-to-day basis, her answer comes quick: “Kindness. Everyone deserves to experience it and also deserves the opportunity to experience new things in life.” Looking around Angela’s shop, you continued ... www.StMarysMagazine.com
see hints of kindness in the creations she designs and you feel the kindness and camaraderie during her popular workshops. As more and more people discover The Makery on Lee, her workshops are filling up with birthday parties, corporate events that include team building, bridal showers, and a real favorite—Ladies Night Out. “When my customers walk out the door with a new-found sense of ability and accomplishment, I realize what a blessing it is to have a business that I love and customers that come back again and again,” Angela said.
Editor’s Note: The Makery on Lee is located at 111 South Lee Street in downtown Kingsland. Call 912-576-1988 for more information or visit them on FaceBook.
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t is well known that St. Marys loves her military families. And with good reason. When people visit their loved ones based at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base, they discover the magic of St. Marys and often move here or plan to retire here. Such is kind of the case for Karen Streiff and her brother Gregory Spencer. They had an idea that Karen’s son (new to the Navy) might be fortunate enough to get a Kings Bay Naval Submarine assignment. They were taken with the charm and pleasurable lifestyle of Coastal Georgia. Little did they know that they would be relocating here and going into business here as well. That’s where Pamela Jones (former proprietor of The Merry Mermaid) comes in. Karen visited the store, a conversation was started, and now the new owners of The Merry Mermaid are enjoying their own customers who frequent the store location just a few steps from the St. Marys waterfront. Karen has experience with estate sales and eBay trading and has a sharp eye for spotting treasures that display well in a retail environment. The store was already filled with a plethora of antiques and collectibles, but the brother/sister continued ...
duo are adding their own stock and have a vision for enhancing the store even further. “We’re going to create different themed rooms,” Karen said. “One will be just for children, a nautical room (of course), a parlor room with antique furnishings and distinctive décor pieces, and the back room will feature farm-centric items.” A walk through the Merry Mermaid is like taking a treasure hunt with tons of items telling their unique stories— colorfully and joyfully. It just makes you want to “sit a spell” to take it all in, soaking up the smells and whispers of times gone by. Karen is passionate about maintaining an inventory that includes something for everyone. “We hope people will come in searching for that one hidden treasure, and we make sure that there are plenty of treasures to be found for people of all ages and interests,” Karen said. There are numerous Mermaid-related items to pay off the whimsical name, and plenty of coastal, retro, out-of-the-ordinary finds that are sure to jump off the shelf and into the hands of some lucky shopper. There are lots of interesting food products as well that visitors love to take home as a souvenir of our beloved South. The brother/sister duo are very pro-military and offer a special military discount every day. As one customer put it in their review on Facebook, The Merry Mermaid has some really “cool” stuff. Editor’s Note: The Merry Mermaid is located at 112 Osborne Street. You can find them on Facebook, or call them at 760-213-0551.
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David Grier Richard Smith
t was a fine autumn evening in downtown St. Marys. Just across the street from Theatre by the Trax, 50 people sat in Jerry’s Jam Room (at Jerry Lee’s Music Store) in anticipation of being entertained by a legend in the making. David Grier, considered one of the greatest flat picking guitarists in the world and three-time winner of the prestigious International Bluegrass Music Association’s Guitar Player of the Year Award, is about to take the stage. Some in the audience were avid fans. Some were seeing Grier perform for the first time. But when Grier struck his first notes, when his fingers began to literally fly over the strings of his acoustic guitar, they were all captivated. And they stayed captivated throughout his performance—charmed by his down home repartee, and intrigued by the stories of his songs, but mostly transfixed by his movements across the strings in impossible ways. It’s stunning crosspicking that they are witnessing performed by a man who as a small boy was continued ...
influenced by the late great Bill Monroe with whom Grier’s father performed. “Bill Monroe was often at our house,” Grier said, who started playing guitar at the age of six and remembers running around backstage at the Grand Old Opry. Later, Grier was heavily influenced by Clarence White. It was Clarence’s brother Roland White who helped Grier master the art of crosspicking. “David sounds like at least two guitar players in one,” Jerry Lee, an accomplished musician himself, said about Grier. The community appreciates what Lee is accomplishing in what has become known as “Jerry’s Jam Room” locally. Located in his Jerry Lee’s Music Store building, the jam room is home to many Saturday afternoon jammin’s. It’s impressive to see names like David Grier appear in the jam room and Jerry Lee has big plans with big names yet to come. In January, Richard Smith, who has a long list of titles including “National Fingerstyle Guitar Champion” and “Thumbpicker of the Year,” took the stage at Jerry’s Jam Room. Like Grier, Smith started playing the guitar at a very young age—five years old. Focusing early on with the fingerstyle guitar of Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed, he began transcribing classical music, jazz, bluegrass, ragtime and the blues. Smith has played with Chet Atkins and Les Paul and numerous other guitar greats. He appeared on the Chet Atkins show, and Atkins once said this about him when Smith was only 11 years old: “This young man knows and can play every song I ever wrote and every song I ever played so if I forget one, I just call him.” Like Grier, Smith is also mesmerizing audiences with the dexterity that dazzles. Both guitar virtuosos look forward to their return appearances in St. Marys which Grier fondly referred to as “Mayberry.” What great fun to anticipate more world-renowned artists coming to our little ole town of St. Marys, and Jerry Lee is committed to making that happen. www.StMarysMagazine.com
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Continuing to expand his anchor business “Jerry Lee’s Music Store,” Lee is creating a brand new custom framing shop on premises. So here’s the deal: You attend one of the Jam Room concerts, take you own photo with a world-famous artist, then bring back the print to be framed right where you took it. Pretty cool, huh? To find out more about the music scene in St. Marys, follow Jerry Lee’s Music Store on FaceBook, come by some of the local bars like Seagle’s where Jerry Lee hosts open mic night once a month, or just drop into the music store. Jerry Lee and his lovely wife, Susie, are pretty much always there where Jerry sells some of the music industry’s finest performing instruments and where you can also get guitar lessons. Jerry Lee’s Music Store is located at 101 West St. Patrick Street just 11 blocks from St. Marys’ Waterfront right past the railroad tracks. Call 912-576-4401 for more information.
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You do a wonderful job on the St. Marys Magazine. We are scheduled to be in the RV park at King’s Bay Submarine Base this fall and winter. Your magazine has really helped us look forward to visiting your area and experiencing the culture of the waterfront and interesting attractions. Mitzi Weekley Gray, Georgia
The new St. Marys Magazine is just beautiful. It has a lot of wonderful new articles such as about the front porches and about the elephants at White Oak. I also enjoyed reading about the Okefenokee Swamp. I enjoy our subscription and look forward to the next one. Carolyn Mitchell Williamsburg, VA
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Another great issue! The magazine continues to amaze us and we continue to enjoy. Love your new word “Mudita” as featured in your Publisher’s Note. Your article on front porches is timely and we are so in tune with your thoughts on that. Ralph and Janet Perry Tallahassee, Florida Congratulations on St. Marys Magazine Issue #32! As usual, an excellent publication. Chuck Porter St. Marys, Georgia The new magazine looks awesome! Ray & Jennie Middleton St. Marys, GA What a nice article about the Okefenokee! Reading this makes me want to return to the swamp for another visit. Matt Richardson Bluffton, SC
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