I had made reservations well in advance to assure we could get there during our week-long stay. But, alas, this is the sign we saw when we went to the Visitor Center: Cumberland Island National Seashore closed until further notice.
Hurricane Mathew ruined our plans (a very minor inconvenience, of course, in relationship to the massive damage suffered by many in FL, SC, and NC) to see it. We learned that the dock was seriously damaged, lots of downed trees, and other issues were still being assessed on the island by the park service. Our reservation fees were refunded a couple of days after the planned trip. Their website (www.nps.gov/cuis) reports that the island reopened for limited operations effective October 28, 2016.
We walked around the waterfront area as it was a lovely day. The City of St. Marys Waterfront Pavilion provides great views of nearby St. Marys River, part of the Intracoastal Waterway. Nearby is Langs Marina. We always miss Destiny, our 36' Trojan Sport Fisherman Yacht, (that we sold when we started full time RVing) when we are in a place like this! There are also public docks for boaters traveling the Waterway. Check out this beauty!
The Riverside Cafe (www.riversidecafesaintmarys.com) with both indoor and outdoor seating (dogs allowed on porch) looked inviting, so we decided to have lunch. The Greek salad with grilled salmon, a special for the day, was divine! There are several other restaurants in town along the waterfront.
The St. Marys area was first explored in the mid-16th century as part of the settlement of Spanish in Florida. The town was was established in 1787 by 20 charter members who each got four town lots and one marsh lot (4 acres each). It was recognized as a town in 1792 and made a port of entry to the US in 1799. St. Marys was the Camden County seat from 1869 until it was moved to Woodbine in 1923. In addition to its proximity to Cumberland Island National Seashore, it is also the location of the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base.
Near the waterfront, historic St. Marys is a lovely small town. There are several historic churches include the First Presbyterian Church (established in 1808 and still active) and Christ Episcopal Church (established in 1812 and also still active).
Several Bed and Breakfast Inns can be seen on the main road to the waterfront. Below is the Sandford-Goodbreed House (c 1885) and the Spencer House Inn (1872) decorated for Halloween.
Our last night in St. Marys (a few days later), we returned to the waterfront for our "farewell" dinner at Lang's Marina Restaurant (www.langcharters.com). First, though, we went to the St. Marys Waterfront Park next to the restaurant. This is such a peaceful setting with the fountain, shaded playground, pavilion and pier.
After dinner we caught the lovely sunset over the river.
The light after the sun is down is my very favorite. Breathtaking.
We expect to be in this area again in the not-so-distant future to visit Cumberland Island National Seashore. Maybe next time we will stay in Jacksonville, FL, as it is not too far away from here. Regardless, we enjoyed our stay here.