Longstreet Highroad Guide to the Georgia Coast & Okefenokee
Two bed and breakfasts and one hotel are great places to stay in the quaint historic district. The Riverview Hotel, 105 Osborne Street, built in 1916, has a funky charm that would not be out of place in New Orleans or Key West. One expects to see Hemingway leaning over the veranda telling fish stories to a friend in the street. An excellent restaurant, Seagles, is located in the building, and you only have to cross the street to fish off the pier or board the Cumberland Ferry. A small lounge is a great place to rest your sore legs and nurse your sunburn after an expedition on Cumberland. Be sure to ask for a room that opens out on the veranda. Moderate. (912) 882-3242. Two B&Bs within walking distance of each other in the historic district are good alternatives to the Riverview Hotel. I recommend reviewing both before making a decision. Spencer House Inn, 200 Osborne Street, was built in 1872 by Capt. William T. Spencer and was regarded as the finest hotel in St. Marys and southeast Georgia. It has a veranda and 14 beautifully furnished rooms, each with private bath. Moderate. (912) 882-1872. The Goodbread House, 209 Osborne Street, is a smaller, 1870s historic home with an eclectic charm. All the rooms offered here have fireplaces and private baths. Moderate. (912) 882-7490. Emma's Bed and Breakfast , 300 W. Conyers St., sits on a large property 3 blocks off of Osborne St. There are 5 rooms in the main house with typical B&B charm. The 3 rooms in the carriage house offer something a bit different. Loved by the young and young at heart they are more themed. One has a red heart shaped jacuzzi tub. All rooms have private baths and offer a full breakfast, complimentary cold drinks, wine, and baked goods. Moderate. Toll free at 1-877-749-5974. http://www.emmasbedandbreakfast.com/
Chain motel lodging and many chain restaurants are found along GA 40 (also known as Kingsland-St. Marys Road), at Exit 2/3 and Interstate 95. There are at least 12 choices here, including Best Western, (800) 728-7666; Comfort Inn, (912) 729-6979; Holiday Inn, (800) 322-6866; and Quality Inn & Suites, (912) 729-4363. (See Crooked River State Park)
Cabin Bluff, run by the Sea Island Company of The Cloister fame, is a rustic retreat on the Cumberland River that has a view of Cumberland Island to the east and 50,000 acres of natural surroundings to the west. The retreat features the historic main lodge and six cabins that can host up to 32 people, who have hunting, fishing, horseback riding, and other outdoor recreation offerings at their beck and call. A 3,000-square-foot conference center is available to those who want to pretend they are working. The property was owned and developed by Detroit automobile millionaire Howard Coffin, who developed Sapelo and Sea Island. It was used as a hunting preserve by Coffin's Cloister and Sapelo guests, until he went broke in the 1930s and was forced to sell it to the Brunswick Pulp and Paper Company in order to hold onto Sea Island. Sight-seeing is available aboard the Zapala, one of the first gasoline yachts built before World War I. Coffin had the boat built to his specifications, which resulted in a 124-foot vessel, weighing 159 gross tons with a cruising speed of 15 knots. Expensive. (800) 732-4752.
Near Interstate 95, one option is located at Exit 3/7 with access to Harriett's Bluff and Cabin Bluff, and two options are located at Exit 1/1. King George RV Resort, Exit 3/7, West Harriett's Bluff. New clubhouse, pull throughs, full hookups, bathhouse, fishing in Crooked River. (800) 852-1206. Country Oaks Campground & RV Park, Exit 1/1, 0.25-mile west, general store, water and sewer, pull throughs, laundry, bathhouse. (912) 729-6212. K.O.A. Campground, Exit 1/1, West Scrubby Bluff Road. Daily, weekly, monthly rentals, daily cabin rentals. Full hookups, country store, laundry, bathhouse, and pool. (800) KOA-3232. (See also Crooked River State Park.)
Several good choices are found in the St. Marys historic district that are convenient to the Cumberland Island Ferry. Seagles Waterfront Café. 105 Osborne St. Located inside the Riverview Hotel is a charming restaurant that uses fresh local seafood in its delicious recipes. Rock shrimp, which are caught in boats located steps away, are served fried, blackened, grilled, or in Rock Shrimp Diane, which features rock shrimp sautéed in Cajun spices and mushrooms served over pasta. If fish is your fancy, try the lemon butter grouper, a fresh filet of grouper sautéed in a lemon butter sauce topped with grilled pecans. Open Monday through Saturday for dinner. Moderate. (912) 882-4187. Trolleys Food and Spirits. 104 W. St. Marys. This is a casual, wings-nachos-burgers kind of place, with a deck across from the ferry and river. Inexpensive. (912) 882-1525. Lang's Marina Restaurant. 307 W. St. Marys Street. Enjoy fried shrimp and other seafood dishes with a view of the marsh. Lunch and dinner. Tuesday-Saturday. Moderate. (912) 882-4432. If you are tired of seafood, a very good Georgia barbecue choice just off I-95 is Jack's Famous Wood-Cooked Bar-B-Q. If smoke is pouring out of the building, then pull in for some tasty pork, ribs, chicken, or smoked turkey. Jack Sutton for 30 years has used a combination of live oak and hickory for true low-country flavor. The Brunswick stew is homemade and delicious. Open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week. Inexpensive. Two locations: Exit 3/7 (Harriet's Bluff) next to Shell Station, (912) 729-1500; and Exit 4/14 (Woodbine) near Sunshine Plaza, (912) 576-4073.
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