Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Trip to St. Mary's on the River

Crooked River State Park Site #6
St. Mary's, Georgia

Up at 7:00 to the sweet tune of Diesel truck engines.  I wasn’t expecting this until tomorrow morning imagining no one would leave on a Saturday morning but rather on Sunday.

Even more Brrrrrrrrrrr 39 degrees outside and 56 inside.   Two electric space heaters work OK but one and the furnace tripped the breaker so we are jumping back and forth between using the hotpot to heat up water and using the microwave and the water heater and the furnace so we don’t trip the protection in this 30 amp site.  Not as much of a problem as it sounds since we don’t have to be in a hurry to do anything.  J

Just after breakfast two fellows in pick up trucks came around raking up the pine needles that a park employee had blown off the road yesterday using a blower attached to the PTO of a farm sized  tractor.   We couldn’t figure out why the park would care if those needles were on the black top and it was even more noisy than the guy at Ocean Pond with his leaf blower.   So if any of you know what’s the problem with pine needles on black topped roads, could you let me know?  

In any case these guys were just local fellas who wanted the needles for mulch and were out picking them up together on a fine fall morning.   It was fun watching them raking and pitching and stamping and covering.

The folks in our favorite site #11 left today and we thought seriously about moving over there.  It’s a terrific water front site as you can see

But that was the site we had when we were here previously and had the low voltage troubles which ultimately cost us about $50 in replacement florescent ceiling bulbs.   Thank goodness it wasn’t anything worse.   So we opted not to move for the trouble and the peace of mind.  But it is a fabulous site and we can see it out our windows from the one we are in.

We made up one of Howard and Linda Payne’s favorite crock pot recipes to cook and set out for a trip to St. Mary’s to check out the Visitor’s Center and ferry to Cumberland Island National Seashore and to use free wifi to post the blogs from Wednesday through Friday.

Isn't this a great tree lined street?  We parked just in front of the Welcome Center which is on the left in what is apparently the city hall "complex".

Went into the Welcome Center

Where we were given all the information we needed and more by the very cheerful welcomer whose name I sadly don't remember.  I've never been good at remembering names.  Great at faces but the name thing seems to be getting worse so I must apologize to this lovely lady who enthusiastically told me I was welcome to sit right down on their comfortable sofa and use their wireless to post for as long as I wanted.  So here I sat for about an hour putting up back posts in order to catch up but not add to our air card totals.

David went out and about checking the area and when he came back we walked on down Osborne Street which is a boulevard with lovely trees on all sides and parking on all sides as well.  Closer to the water front it becomes nose in parking.

A number of scenic old churches are along the street. 

As well as interesting old buildings from the 1800's and early 1900's all spruced up

Here's a closer shot of the side of the one above.  I just loved its awnings and the door shutters, bench and tree painted on it.

A real working saloon. Not a replicate to tour.  It was a bit early to check out the inside. J

The hotel next door is a great place to stay I understand

We arrived at the base of Osborne and the waterfront street named,...you guessed it....St. Mary's Street.
The National Park Service's Visitor's Center for Cumberland Island National Seashore is right there so in we went.
It's a really nice little set up on the second floor (elevator available).  We took the stiars and talked with the ranger on duty about taking the ferry to the island.  Then we looked at the exhibits which are very well done and give a good history of the island and cover its flora and fauna in interesting ways.  Information for adults.  Information for children.  After reading and experiencing it all , I went into the store nook looking for the National Parks Passport Book.  I've had one for years but simply could not find it before we left for this voyage.  I know, I know, if I'd get rid of ALL my STUFF I would have come upon it for sure.  But I thought I might just pick up another one in case I didn't.  And of course that was the one thing they were out of.  Probably an omen that I'll find mine as soon as I get back.   Money saved is always a good thing.J

The center has a second story outdoor walkway just outside the exhibit area.  This is a snap of the water from there.  Sailboats anchored.  Only one was out today and he was running under his engine power despite it being what seemed to me like a great breeze for sailing and a week-end yet to boot.

Here is St. Mary's Street from that same outdoor wraparound balcony.

This shot is of the lovely courtyard just outside the Park Service Visitor's Center entrance and shows the distance from St. Mary's Street to the water

Directly across the street from the Visitor's Center is what seems to be everybody's favorite downtown eatery.  I can see that it might be mine since they serve breakfast all day.  That's my favorite meal.  Might have to do that the morning we need to be out early to catch the ferry.

A last view of the water from our second story perch.  David particularly likes this pink muhly grass.

We left the center and walked on down St. Mary's Street by the water to the city park which is just my idea of the perfect small town park.  It is picturesque beyond words.  Here's the sign at the entrance listing what you aren't allowed to do in this park.  Love that last one.   You may have to click on this picture in order to read all the prohibitions.

But what was really funny was that we had to step aside while reading the sign as nearly half a dozen bicyclers came riding out of the park.  Perhaps there is no sign outlawing bicycles on the other side but there were clearly obedient citizens parking their bikes on this side.   I would have gotten a shot of the law breakers if I'd known at that time they were criminals but I hadn't read the sign yet.  J

We walked into the park and past the gazebo which every perfect park must have.

And over to the water front porch swings of which there were three groups of two.  That's David waiting for me to join him.  We sat there for a while enjoying the lovely day and the other folks out having a good time.

There were a number of piers off the brick water walkway on which the swings were located (conveniently under trees I might add).  We walked out on the closest one and I took this shot of a fabulous looking sailboat.  Wonder what it would be like to full time on that??

We looked across at the city boat launch and dock where a young man was yelling to his mother about what he'd caught in his net.  This is the boat launch we would use to kayak over to Cumberland Island and spend a few days camping.  We'll have to look into that.  I think it is 6 to 8 miles over.  So a round trip in one day isn't a possibility for me.  I'd really like to go over and camp for a couple of days but I've read that the tidal currents are really strong so you have to plan carefully to be going with them both over and back.  There also are NO services on the island so you must take everything you need including water.  But it's a trip I intend to plan out and do.  Just not this time.  J

As the young fisherman sent his net out one more time, I got this picture of him clearly having a great time.

This also looked  to me like a great idea of a place to read.

We went up to the park's center where there was of course a fountain.

There was also the absolutely necessary band shell off to the left of the fountain but apparently I didn't get a picture of it.  Since I love concerts in the park, I'm very surprised about that.   Sorry you don't get to see it.

Leaving the park, we walked further down St. Mary's Street toward the Marsh Boardwalk.  Pretty good view of the marshes just from street side I thought.

But the boardwalk allows you to go further out

and see more of the different types of grasses

and colors of grasses

From there we headed back to the car walking up the opposite side of Osborne Street this time.  Where we noticed for the first time a building which appeared to be made of an historic  local building material called tabby.  Or perhaps it was the newer "pseudo tabby" I'm not sure but it was very pretty.  The buildings along this street were certainly old enough to have been made of original tabby.  But the designs on the section next to the tabby looking area cause me to doubt.

Tabby is a type of  building material used in the coastal Southeast from the late 1500's to the 1850's.  True tabby is made of equal parts lime, water, sand, oyster shells and ash.  The ash is a byproduct of preparing the lime, but its presence contributes to the hardening of the end product.  Tabby can be poured into molds for foundations, walls, floors, roofs, columns, and other structural elements.  Although that use of traditional tabby virtually disappeared after 1925, tabby construction is not totally extinct in Georgia.  Most new buildings that appear to be constructed with tabby are really made of "pseudo-tabby" or Portland cement with shell applied to the surface.   We plan to go see a "tabby ruins" in the next day or two and will report back on our updated opinion of this building.  But it is certainly pretty whichever.  And the designs on the one next to it are as well.

I'll leave you with this final shot of what I thought was a great sign in a shop window although it didn't motivate me, as a pretty serious non shopper, to go inside.

We had a very fine afternoon in St. Mary's and the only thing missing was our inability to see the Cumberland Island Museum which was on Osborne street and is open Thurs-Sunday  for free with enticing historic pictures in the window.    As today was Saturday we were expecting to be able to see it and I was especially disappointed to find it closed as we won't be here next week-end.  Oh well, you can't see it all.

Who knows what's up for tomorrow.  Check back to see if we figure it out!  J

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