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Okefenokee Re-opens After Fires

July 28th, 2011 by Mckenzie

American Alligator In The Okefenokee Swamp

Due to the spread of wild fires, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge had been shut down for over a month. Well, lucky for us, we can now officially say they are back in business. Although the fires caused extensive damage in the swamp, they also added more unique characteristics to the land & wilderness area. The smoke affected many surrounding towns including our own St. Marys. Many firefighters went to work on the fires, battling night and day to try to contain them. We had a few good rains that also helped to put the fires out. With the re-opening of Okefenokee NWR, not everything is available yet but there are many things to do from guided boat/kayak/canoe tours to driving/walking trails. Reservations are required for the guided kayak or canoe tours,  please call at least 24 hours in advance. The park opens a half hour before sunrise and the first guided boat tour will depart around 9am; the last boat leaves around 5pm and the swamp closes at 7:30pm. Tours last about an hour and generally there is one every hour. If you are interested in canoeing or kayaking on your own, Okefenokee Adventures has resumed rentals. Private canoes and kayaks may be launched but, at this time, the refuge rangers do not recommend the use of  private motorized boats because of the low water levels.  The Okefenokee and its prairie is a great authentic swamp homestead. While visiting the swamp you could run across many kinds of critters from American alligators to great blue herons to cute and playful otters. It really is a different and special experience now because of  the fires. You can see first hand how the fires altered the swamp and how fast it is recovering – there is even some green growth showing through the burn. If you decide to stop and have some lunch, there is the Camp Cornelia Café. They serve sandwiches, salads and vegetarian fare and they can also prepare group meals, as well as cookouts and shrimp boils. It takes about 45 minutes to get to Okefenokee from St. Marys. For more information and prices on all these activities go to www.okefenokeeadventures.com. The visitors center, where the films and exhibits are, is open daily from 9am to 5pm. If you have any questions, please call the visitors center at 912-496-7156.

P.S. Do not forget your cameras as you never know what you might see.

Cumberland Island Campsites

July 3rd, 2011 by Mckenzie

One of the great camp sites on Cumberland Island

Camping is a great outdoor activity for anyone. The wild horses and gorgeous beach lines make for an amazing camping trip.

Cumberland Island National Seashore has many campsites.  Sea camp is the one developed campground with showers and bathrooms, and the rest are backcountry campsites.  Stafford beach is a primitive campground right near the beach. Brickhill Bluff is a lovely backcountry camp site. It overlooks the marsh and has amazing sunset views.

Reservations are required to camp on Cumberland Island. Trail maps are provided. For more information, contact the National Park Service, 912-882-4336.

White Deer On Cumberland Island

June 29th, 2011 by Mary

White Deer on Cumberland Island

Terry & Betty Ann from Tennessee are wonderful guests that stay with us every year before they head to Cumberland Island to camp for a few nights. They also stay one night coming off the island for a good night’s rest, hot shower and dinner out before heading home.

Terry enjoys hiking and photographing on Cumberland Island and he was able to capture this great shot of a small white deer napping and waiting for its mother to return.

Le Petit Futé visits Spencer House

June 23rd, 2011 by Seth

Joanna & Loic enjoyed the porches here at Spencer House Inn

Joanna Dunis & Loic Hoff, writers for the French Travel Publication Le Petit Futé, paid a visit to the Spencer House Inn as they visit different places in the south for an upcoming guidebook.

After visiting Cumberland Island for a day of hiking, photographing, and relaxing, the duo settled in at Spencer House

A Wedding Celebration at Spencer House Inn

June 19th, 2011 by Seth

Daphne and Guy Happily Married in the Park

Daphne & Guy were married in the beautiful Howard Gilman Memorial Park. Their simple wedding, with the St. Marys River serving as a beautiful backdrop, turned out to be just right.

We wish Daphne & Guy well!

Take a Tour of the Plum Orchard Mansion

June 2nd, 2011 by Seth

The Plum Orchard Mansion

This Classical Revival style mansion on Cumberland Island was completed in 1898 for George Carnegie as a wedding gift from his mother. When she spoke with the architects who were designing Plum Orchard, she told them that she envisioned a “simple house.” However, Plum Orchard is nothing short of magnificent.

Tours of this wonderful home are offered on the 2nd & 4th Sunday of each month. You will be able to see how the Carnegie’s spent their time on Cumberland Island, how they entertained, how they relaxed, and how they have influenced the area’s rich history. You may even see one of Cumberland Island’s many wild horses on the lawn.

Riding Motorcycles from Savannah to St. Marys

May 15th, 2011 by Seth

Joe & Liz get their bikes ready for the scenic drive to Savannah

Joe & Liz stopped by the Spencer House to for some much needed R&R.

They took Highway 17 from Savannah to St. Marys. This stretch of road, also known as Ocean Highway, makes for beatiful riding. With its great views of the salt marsh, ocean, and many different rivers, it is no wonder that Joe & Liz chose this route on their way to Spencer House.

Amelia Island Shrimp Festival

April 30th, 2011 by Seth

A group of guests heading to the Amelia Island Shrimp Festival

April 29, 30 and May 1, 2011
with the Pirate Parade on April 28, 2011
 
The best way to experience the Shrimp Festival is to take the Cumberland Sound Ferry. Amelia River Cruises is offering a ferry that runs between downtown St. Marys and Fernandina Beach every hour on the hour Saturday 9am-5pm and Sunday 9am-4pm for this festival weekend. You will not have to worry about fighting the traffic or finding a parking space and they provide a great narrative about the history and the wildlife of the area. For more information about the ferry, call 904-261-9972 or visit AmeliaRiverCruises.com. For information about the festival, visit ShrimpFestival.com.

Periscope Returns to Submarine Museum

April 12th, 2011 by Seth

Workers prep the new periscope for installation

 

After being out of commission for some time, the periscope has returned to the St. Marys Submarine Museum. Thanks to the Trident Refit Facility for donating the new periscope.
The periscope is very popular with visitors. Everyone likes to look around St. Marys. You can even see Fernandina Beach across the St. Marys River.
The Submarine Museum houses nearly 20,000 artifacts from submarines throughout history. Lining the walls of the museum are historic documents and photographs to give you a behind-the-scenes peek into

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Up Close with Cumberland Island’s Wild Horses

March 30th, 2011 by Seth

Catherine taking a photo of a wild horse on Cumberland Island

Catherine and her family spent the day on Cumberland with her mother and father. They explored the island and had a great time. As you can see, they were able to get some great pictures of Cumberland Island’s wildlife, specifically the wild horses.

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