Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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November 6, 2012

St. Marys is a Georgia gateway


See that and displays about the Gilded Age and Carnegie lifestyle on Cumberland Island, staying in downtown St. Marys to do so. This museum is on Osborne Street, a wide boulevard with a grassy median, shops and eateries, visitor welcome center and the Spencer House Inn.

I go to different restaurants on a vacation so why not different bed and breakfasts?

Emma’s is set back from West Conyers Street, a long view across the yard and up the wide front stairway. Spencer House secures the corner of Osborne and Bryant streets, a three-story home with verandas along the first and second floors.

Both serve sumptuous multi-course breakfasts, inviting lingering and conversation. Emma’s has a three-table screened porch.

Spencer House dates to 1872, today a member of Select Registry Hotels, with 14 guestrooms and an elevator.

Proprietor Mary Neff models the exquisite skill of valuing each person, no matter the comment or request. Watch her interactions, and believe our society could become civil again.

Picnics work in St. Marys; Emma’s and Spencer House will pack you one to take to Cumberland Island or the downtown waterfront park.

Loads of lush grass, the barefootin’ kind, swings and benches, brick walks laid in a herringbone design backed with low tabby walls. Two gazebos for shade.

Nearby sea oats, salt marshes, marine forests. Maybe it’s the national seashore spilling over to the city.

Get a sense of that in the little National Park Service museum before catching the ferry to Cumberland, or just to go to the museum.

Spotting special sights takes on a different dimension through the periscope at the riverfront inside the Submarine Museum.

Submariner Keith Post, the museum’s executive director, says kids like looking to the river, toward Cumberland Island and into downtown through the periscope but I’ll confess to being tickled doing it myself.

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