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Visiting St. Marys and Coastal Georgia? The Cumberland Island National Seashore is one of my favorite places to play.
Located just a short ferry ride from the historic waterfront district of St. Marys, it is a great way to spend an afternoon. Take a walk on the quiet beaches, run with the wild horses, explore the ruins of Dungeness, or visit the island’s museum. Guided and motorized tours are also available and the luxurious Greyfield Inn offers on-island accommodations.
For those more adventurous, there is Sea Camp Campground for stays as long as seven days, remote wilderness camping, bike rentals for visiting Plum Orchard Mansion, Stafford Cemetery, and the Settlement, and a total of 50 miles of meandering hiking trails.
It is a national park like no other.
If you are looking for a great place to stay in St. Marys within walking distance to the ferry, shoppes, dining, and historic sites, check out the Rose-Lovell guest house on W. Weed Street. This historic home sleeps ten people and is perfect for large families, girls’ getaways, reunions, and retreats.
For dining, give The Blue Goose Hostel and Cafe on Osborne a try. They have a very nice lunch menu. Anyone that makes a killer salad without onions is my friend.
Have you ever visited Cumberland Island or St. Mary’s? What do you like best?
Me? I like the uncrowded beaches and sound of the seagulls.
The charming Spencer House Inn Bed & Breakfast in St. Marys Georgia. My gracious hosts for the Haunted History Tour and Halloween Express last week.
Centrally located for everything the Historic St. Marys Waterfront District has to offer. The Blue Goose is open next door for great lunches, if you even need one after the huge breakfast provided by Mary and her staff.
The Cumberland Island Ferry is a very short walk from the inn and the quaint Once Upon A Bookseller bookstore is right across the street.
Make St. Marys a destination next time you are on the Georgia coast. You will be smitten.
I’ll be sharing more from this area over the next few days.
A few photos from an amazing evening at the St. Marys Haunted History Tour.
A fun Halloween activity in historic downtown St. Marys. Lively storytellers in period costumes performed skits at St. Marys most notable sites including Oak Grove Cemetery, the waterfront pavilion, Gilman boathouse, Little Catholic Church, Goodbread House, Porter-Bachiott-Hartung House, Orange Hall, and the Clark House.
Follow along on Instagram as I share more images of the area at @tammyleebradley
Sponsored by St. Marys Downtown Merchants Association, St. Marys Little Theatre, St. Marys Antique Mall, City of St. Marys, Georgia, WKBK, St. Marys Magazine, Theater by the tracks and K-Bay 106.3
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My tour tonight was sponsored by Spencer House Inn on Osbourne.
Thank you Janet for coming to my rescue.
Copyrighted images. Please share post directly. Thank you.
Cumberland Island is an amazing place to explore with a camera. The terrain is flat and easy to hike for the day. The ruins are just a short walk from Dungeness Dock, the 1st ferry stop. I am also sharing images at @roselovellhouse if you’d like to follow along.
The lovely First Presbyterian Church in historic Saint Marys, Georgia where Christians have gathered on the corner of Osborne and Conyers Street for more than 200 years. Built in 1808, it is the second oldest church in Georgia. It is considered to be one of the finest examples of church architecture of that period. The church is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily for self guided tours.
A 1907 Historic Home located in the heart of the historic district of St. Marys, Ga. A traditional ‘foursquare’ design, and one of the first homes in the area constructed of an unusual type of block (known as granitoid, rarely seen in South Georgia). The home has five bedrooms, three full bathrooms, a formal dining room and comfortable living room. While the home has been modernized (central heating and air conditioning, modern kitchen, and more), one can still appreciate the original details of hardwood floors, large windows, dramatically high ceilings and two large porches – all surrounded by a half acre of camellias, azaleas, roses, magnolia, oak, camphor, cedar and persimmon trees, scuppernong grapes and a variety of other lush plantings.
James Oglethorpe first built on Cumberland Island in 1736, building a hunting lodge that he named Dungeness. The next Dungeness was the legacy of Revolutionary War hero Nathanael Greene, who had acquired 11,000 acres (45 km2) of island land in exchange for a bad debt. His widow built a four-story tabby mansion in 1803, over a Timucuan shell mound. During the War of 1812 the island was occupied by the British, who used the house as a headquarters.
In 1818 Henry “Light-Horse Harry” Lee, a dashing cavalry commander during the Revolutionary War and father of Robert E. Lee, stayed at the house until his death on March 25, 1818 cared by Greene’s daughter Louisa, and was laid to rest in nearby cemetery with full military honors provided by an American fleet stationed at St. Marys, Georgia. The house was abandoned during the U.S. Civil War and burned in 1866.
In the 1880s the property was purchased by Thomas M. Carnegie, brother of Andrew Carnegie, who began to build a new mansion on the site. The 59-room Queen Anne style mansion and grounds were completed after Carnegie’s death in 1886. His wife Lucy continued to live at Dungeness and built other estates for her children, including Greyfield (now the Greyfield Inn) for Margaret Carnegie, Plum Orchard Mansion for George Lauder Carnegie, and Stafford – a sea island cotton plantation. By this time, the Carnegies owned 90% of the island. The Carnegies moved out of Dungeness in 1925. In 1959, the Dungeness mansion was destroyed by fire, alleged to be arson.
Now home to the island’s most famous residents, the feral horses of Cumberland Island, the grounds are a reminder of a time gone by. The ruins are preserved by the National Park Service as part of Cumberland Island National Seashore much to the delight of travelers like myself.
Cumberland Island is an amazing place to explore with a camera. The terrain is flat and easy to hike for the day. The ruins are just a short walk from Dungeness Dock, the 1st ferry stop. We walked the entire southern loop from Dungeness Dock to Sea Camp Beach to Sea Camp Dock with plenty of time to spare.
At Sea Camp Dock there are also a limited number of bicycles to rent. The concessionaire rents bikes on a first-come-first serve basis when ferry is at dock. Fee: $16.00 per person per day, $20.00 per person for overnight
Restrooms and water fountains are the only services on the island. Please remember to bring a lunch and your own water bottles. The Ferry concession does sell some snacks such as crackers, candy bars, water and sodas but we still drank four bottles of water.
Stay hydrated! It is very important in a location this remote.
Where We Stayed:
Separate blog post forthcoming. (Spoiler Alert – We loved it.)
Rose- Lovell: A 1907 Historic Home located in the heart of the historic district of St. Marys, Ga. A traditional ‘foursquare’ design, and one of the first homes in the area constructed of an unusual type of block (known as granitoid, rarely seen in South Georgia). The home has five bedrooms, three full bathrooms, a formal dining room and comfortable living room. While the home has been modernized (central heating and air conditioning, modern kitchen, and more), one can still appreciate the original details of hardwood floors, large windows, dramatically high ceilings and two large porches – all surrounded by a half acre of camellias, azaleas, roses, magnolia, oak, camphor, cedar and persimmon trees, scuppernong grapes and a variety of other lush plantings.
I will definitely return to Cumberland Island soon. Tent camping at the Sea Camp Campground is high on my bucket list.