Amelia River Cruises has just started running a passenger ferry over to St Mary’s, Georgia. St Mary’s is the jumping off spot for trips the Cumberland Island and guests used to have to drive there in order to catch the boat to Cumberland. Now they can enjoy a scenic boat trip instead. The ferry’s schedule is timed to match departure and arrival times for the boat to Cumberland as well. If you’re not going to Cumberland you can take the ferry and explore St Mary’s for as little or as much time as you want. That’s what we did yesterday.
We caught the ferry ($15 for round trip) at the marina and headed out into Amelia River. Shortly after we left a flock of hundreds of white ibis took off out of the marsh grasses on Tiger Island. We also saw some roseatte spoon bills, often mistaken for flamigos, flapping around. The boat trip took about 50 minutes and we arrived at the dock in St Mary’s.
The first thing we did was check out a couple of the local B&Bs. The Spencer House in was built in 1872, 4 years before the main house at the Addison, and the inn also has 14 guest rooms. We had a nice chat with Mike, the Spencer’s owner. Veronica took us on a tour of the property which included a look in their kitchen. The Spencer has a huge kitchen, maybe three times the size of ours. We were envious.
Then it was across the street to the Goodbread House, complete with a pirate on the front lawn. Mardja gave us a tour of their romantic-themed rooms including the Scarlett and Rhett room, the Bogie and Bacall room and the Lucy and Desi room (so named because of the twin beds).
We wandered up Osborne Street looking in the shops and checked out the menu at Marianne’s Southern Cafe. Marianne converted a huge Victorian home on a really nice park-like piece of property into a restaurant with several dining rooms and more secluded dining rooms upstairs for private parties. We didn’t eat there but it sure smelled good. We’ll save that for next time.
St Mary’s has a beautiful little park right on the waterfront. The park has a central fountain, gazebo, playground for the kids with picnic tables and some arbors with garden swings where you can sit and watch the boat traffic.
On the first Saturday in October St Mary’s has their Rock Shrimp Festival. Shrimp is served from 11AM to 6PM and they have a parade, entertainment and arts/crafts vendors. We’ll have to live vicariously through our guests and have them give us a trip report on the festival if they get back in time for our Happy Hour.
After all that it was time to get back on the ferry and head back to Fernandina Beach. A thunderstorm had passed around us and the clouds parted so most of the trip was in sunshine. All in all, a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon.