Come Ride the Pirate Express in St. Marys

Come Ride the Pirate Express in St. MarysSt. Marys, GA – In a brand new adventure created for St. Marys Express, pirates from the Fernandina Pirates Club will take part in the May 16 & 23 Pirate Express Rides in St. Marys. Trains depart Theater by the Trax at 10 am, noon, 2 pm, and 4 pm each day, taking passengers on a journey through picturesque woodlands and marshlands with entertainment all along the way.

Kids from 2 to 92 will enjoy the antics of the rascally pirates roaming the train. At the Midway stage, more mayhem ensues as the pirates invade Tortuga and bring a new adventure to life. Cannon shots and a life-sized pirate ship round out the day’s adventure. “The Pirate Club of Fernandina adds a new element of fun to our train rides,” said Barbara Ryan, entertainment director for St. Marys Express. “Passengers will be enchanted by these highly experienced mateys and wenches.”

Ryan went on to say that special appearances by such infamous pirates as Captain Hook and Blackbeard are on the slate as well.

“More and more we are seeing our train riders come in early or stay later with overnight stays at our charming bed and breakfasts and historic inns,” Ryan continued. “What’s more interesting is the fact that we have so many repeat riders since every excursion offers a different theme.”

“The St. Marys Express train rides are giving people who have never come to St. Marys a reason to visit,” St. Marys Tourism Director Angela Wigger said. “This gives us an opportunity to introduce a whole new market to our other destination assets including Cumberland Island, our museums, our waterfront park and the many historic features of our town.” St. Marys is enjoying much recent acclaim with high ratings in the areas of desirable destinations and great places to live, according to Wigger.

The Pirate Express departs from Theater by the Trax, 1000 Osborne Street in St. Marys, at 10 am, noon, 2 pm, and 4 pm on May 16 and 23. Tickets are $20 for adults and $14 for children 12 and under. Children two and under ride free. Tickets can be purchased at www.stmarysrailroad.com or by calling 912-200-5235. Special group discounts are available for groups of ten or more by calling 912-729-1103.

Future St. Marys Express excursions slated for this year include America’s Birthday Express, Railroad Days, Halloween Express, and Santa Express. A complete train schedule can be found at www.stmarysrailroad.com.

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2014 St. Marys Home and Living Show

2014 St. Marys Home and Living Show St. Marys, GA – Whether you are updating your current home, building a new home or just completing your honey-do-list, there is something for everyone at the 5th Annual Camden/Charlton County Board of Realtors Home and Living Show.

This year’s event will be on Saturday, April 12th from 8am – 2pm at the Kings Bay Shopping Center in St. Marys, GA.

Admission is free!

Come out and see what products and services are available to you. Featuring insulation ideas, heating and air, pools and spas, landscaping, patios and decks, home security, and so much more!

The primary benefactor will be college scholarships awarded to Charlton and Camden County high school seniors. The Board of Realtors is passionate about supporting our youth in their post-secondary education efforts and hope you will join in this worthwhile objective. Additional proceeds will benefit local organizations.

To become a vendor at this event or for more information, contact Patricia Gibson at (912)673-7373 or visit www.cccbor.com.

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Monkeys, Tassels and Tiaras

Monkeys, Tassels and TiarasApril 21, 2012 brings an evening of Monkeys, Tassels and Tiaras to South Georgia’s Theatre by the Trax, located at the gateway to Downtown Historic St. Marys, just 10 blocks from the waterfront at 1000 Osborne Road.

Monkeys, Tassels and Tiaras is a delightful show that includes Belly Dancing, Humor and other ridiculous things presented by Island Tribe Belly Dance. The live show is rated PG13 for vaudevillian bawdiness at its best! Tickets are just $10.00 in advance and only $15.00 at the door. The show begins at 8:00 PM.

Formerly operated as a locomotive workstation by St. Marys Railroad, the building is filled with history and echoes of yesteryear and now hosts productions by St. Marys Little Theatre and other noted groups. With a 90′ x 40′ stage and seating for 140, Theatre by the Trax is an excellent venue for productions of all sizes including concerts, plays, awards ceremonies, and other special events.

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Paul Davis Emergency Services Donates to The Salvation Army

Paul Davis Emergency Services Donates to The Salvation Army

Paul Drayton, Charlene Sears, and Rana Killough

St. Marys/Kingsland, GA – Paul Davis Emergency Services in Camden County, Georgia, recently completed a local project with the donation of time, labor and materials to help The Salvation Army’s resale shop in St. Marys, Ga. The Paul Davis office helped to improve the non-profit’s indoor air quality in order for the organization to continue to assist those in need.

“The Salvation Army is so thankful to Paul Davis Emergency Services for providing necessary and professional cleaning services,” said Charlene Sears, director of The Salvation Army. “Paul Davis allowed us to carry on our mission to assist others who are struggling financially. The emergency services company helped us with some expensive cleanup issues,” she said. “I would highly recommend Paul Davis Emergency Services.”

Each year, the Paul Davis office provides help for those in need through its Restoring America program, an annual home improvement initiative designed to help those who cannot afford or are physically unable to mitigate their homes – providing time, labor, and materials to a Camden and Waycross area beneficiary.

“We are very appreciative of the services and programs The Salvation Army makes available to the community,” said Rana Killough, owner of Paul Davis Emergency Services. “The Salvation Army’s contribution to those in need is invaluable. The organization deserves to have a business take notice and help them,” she said. “We wanted The Salvation Army staff to have a healthy environment without spending their treasured budget on clean-up. This will assist the organization with funding for much needed, local programs.” The Paul Davis office donated the services at no charge.

About Paul Davis Emergency Services
Paul Davis Emergency Services provides emergency response to residential and commercial property catastrophes that are caused by water, mold, storms, and other forms of property damage. For more information about emergency property damage, call (912) 342-2220 or email rkillough@pdes-usa.net. Visit the website at www.pdescamden.com.

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more than 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 82 cents of every dollar The Salvation Army spends is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.

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Doc’s House of Chicken and Waffles

Doc's House of Chicken and WafflesIf you are a fan of down-home style southern cooking, then you are in luck. Doc’s House of Chicken and Waffles is located just across the state line in St. Marys, Georgia. Owned by local physician, Marvin Jones, Doc’s provides customers with traditional southern cooking in a family dining atmosphere.

The restaurant offers made-to-order dishes such as the signature chicken and waffles, pot roast, pork chops, and breakfast all day, along with all of the mouthwatering southern sides. The sides include collards, black-eyed peas, fried okra, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, yams, onion rings, and grits.

The staff makes you feel like you are one of their own (I am sure this would be true even if my last name were not Jones). My family and I enjoyed everything we ordered, from the pot roast with a mess of greens and black-eyed peas to the bread pudding with whisky sauce. Everything we tried was fantastic!

In addition to the great food, they also have a full-service bar in the restaurant and from time to time, they offer entertainment including music or poetry reading. Outdoor seating is available for these perfect “Chamber of Commerce” fall days we are know to have.

Doc’s House of Chicken and Waffles is located at 708 Osborne Street in St. Marys not far from the waterfront. Take a look at the menu here. If you are in the mood for some down home country cooking, or just a great dinner, then this is the place for you.

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St.Marys Lost A Claim to Fame

St.Marys Georgia Waterfront

In 2005, our neighbour to the north in Georgia, St.Marys, received an unsuspected claim to fame when archaeological surveys done prior to the startup of construction at the Cumberland Harbour residential community revealed that the “apparent” last battle of the War of 1812 was not fought in New Orleans, as commonly believed, but in St. Marys four days after Gen. Andrew Jackson gained a major victory against British troops on Jan. 12, 1815, in New Orleans.
Well that was enough reason for some locals spearheaded by State Representative Cecile Hill to start preparing for the 200th anniversary of the battle with talks of creating an event to commemorate the war in St. Marys.

Just to get a better picture of the scale we are talking about, here is the war episode in all its glory:

The British HMS Dragon, with 74 guns, sailed from Cumberland Island to attack a battery at Point Peter, a lightly defended frontier outpost at what was then the southernmost point of the United States, with Spain kind of on and of owning Florida to the south. Outcome of the skirmish is spotty.

Another indicator of the “earth shattering importance” of St.Marys discovery, should be that the War already had ended several weeks earlier, on December 24, 1814 with the Treaty of Ghent. Yet some archeologists with a mistaken sense of drama called the battle “The Forgotten Invasion” and actually hailed the conflict between British and American troops as the last battle of the War of 1812.

It turns out they were wrong on several accounts!

A member of the Guale Historical Society and resident of St.Marys, Barry King, not only found proof that the last battle was actually fought weeks later on Feb. 8, 1815, at Fort Bowyer in Mobile, Alabama, he actually had the ‘audacity’ to publish the proof in the name of Truth in History.
King, as resident of a town in search for a reason to party, had better kept quiet about his discovery. He took away an opportunity when he claimed that he discovered the information while researching the Point Peter battle to prepare his presentation on pirates in the area two centuries ago. (I wonder if he has some surprises in store for Amelia Island’s Piracy Legacy as well)

“I just want the truth out”, he defended his ‘unpatriotic’ move as if claiming that Christoforo Colon was not really Chris Columbus and it was time to reprint history books.
John Mitchell, a National Park Service historian and curator of the Cumberland Island National Seashore Museum where many artifacts from the battle are on display, insisted that the information “doesn’t change the fact, continuing that this wouldn’t be the first time mistakes were made.”

Well hello, time to change the study books then?  Naah. It may be better to change focus and find another claim that can stand up against time for a while. According to Mitchell, the battle at Point Peter is significant because it was the site of the last occupation by British troops, he said. “St. Marys was a frontier fort,” he added. “It was right on the cusp of Spanish-held territory.”

The War of 1812, a tame affair, had no relation to Florida being Spanish

Not so much actually Mr. Mitchell, considering that Amelia Island here to your south had just temporarily introduced another flag to its claim to fame of being the Isle of Eight Flags, Spain’s influence was fading rapidly. The so-called “Patriots of Amelia Island” overthrew the Spanish and hoisted their own flag on March 17, 1812 and replaced it with the U.S. flag the next day but Spain whiningly demanded return of the island but by 1817 were out of the picture. In your defense, times were very confused in this neck of the woods

The War of 1812 was in particular between England and the provinces of British North America (Canada at a later day). Everyone involved expanded the war in 4 different theaters, none of which had anything to do with the Spanish held territory of Florida and had everything to do with England boycotting its arch enemy France in any possible way they could.

Reminiscent of George W’s stance against the world in 2002, “if you’re not with us, you’re against us”, the Brits tried to force the young USA to abandon their trade relations with France. Since the US refused to comply, the British Royal Navy blockaded our merchant fleet from doing business with the French and so, on June 18, 1812 the United States declared war on Britain. Less than a decade earlier French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, upon completion of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 had already smartly stated, “This accession of territory affirms forever the power of the United States, and I have given England a maritime rival who sooner or later will humble her pride.” Devious man, that Mr. Napoleon, as he smartly had manipulated the new United States on his side against the Brits.

To follow history a little closer, this war was kind of half hearted, as the major global theater of war for most parties involved was Europe and Bonaparte’s expansionist wars.
So why would quaint and beautiful little St.Marys want to ride the coat tails of a war that was hardly a war, based on a battle that was hardly a battle, more likely a bar brawl, which was fought outside of the official ending of the war (never mind that the capture of Ft.Boyer, the so-called last battle of the War of 1812, near Mobile Alabama, took place two months after the Peace Treaty was signed.

Well, as soon as archaeologists had released the later mistaken rumor about St. Marys being the site of the last battle, State Rep. Cecily Hill, R-St. Marys, as in a typical political fashion quickly rushed to the forefront and introduced legislation in Atlanta to create a War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission to coordinate activities to commemorate the conflict.
Hill claimed the attention the town would receive would be a boon to the local economy. Georgia State legislators however decided to focus on the Civil War, after all, war is war and in Atlanta that means Sherman and Gone with the Wind. Stubbornly Hill says even today that she plans to get support for the event as the 200th anniversary of the “battle” nears. Will that be 2012, Christmas Eve 2014 or the actual date in January of 2015?

Also news of the last battle being in Alabama surprised Hill, she claimed last week, which prompts me to suggest that she needs a researcher on her staff who knows how to operate a computer, as that fact has already been recorded on Wikipedia for quite a long time. In an exact passage Wikipedia says: Once Britain defeated France in 1814, it ended the trade restrictions and impressment of American sailors, thus removing another cause of the war. The United Kingdom and the United States agreed to a peace on December 24, 1812 with the Treaty of Ghent that left the prewar boundaries intact.

Still stubborn Hill said last Friday that the battle in St. Marys should still be commemorated as a way to attract economic input. “We were a part of the War of 1812 even if we weren’t the last,” she said. “History books have never mentioned we were part of it. I feel like it’s worth celebrating.” I do admire a representative standing up for the rights and the good of his or her constituents, I really do. But please use the verified and correct arguments for doing so. Good will alone gets you easily in hot water.
When Hill said it’s just as important to ensure the city’s history is accurately portrayed, she got herself in hot water.
“If it’s not history, it’s not real,” she said. “We will have to celebrate under a different title instead of the last battle,” which in my opinion has a scent of desperation.

Start Your Own Attraction

St.Marys should develop its economic input attraction from scratch, controlled and focused. Fernandina Beach’s Shrimp Festival did not start until the mid 1960’s!
In my St.Maarten years, the island of Anguilla, just 4 miles to the west was always jealous of St.Maarten’s many festivals and attractions, from the annual Heineken Regatta to Carnival and Summerfest as it attracted tens of thousands of people. One day Anguilla figured out that if they would build a Welcome Day for anyone and everyone, call it a holiday weekend and attach some music and festivities to it, they may have an economic stimulator. That day is now called “August Monday” and attracts many thousands every year for the first weekend in August.

As to the question of truth in history, there are too many examples of the truth being bend or broken for economic gain, for the question to really matter. From Columbus to Blackbeard and Captain Kid to Anne Bonny and Mary Read, they are all “abused” in some or another community for economic gain, reliving stories they never experienced. The Island of St.Thomas went even so far that it created a pirate’s legend around BlueBeard, who apparently used the island as his marauding headquarters. BlueBeard was a fiction, but try to tell that to the millions of cruise ship passengers visiting the island.Sailing around Amelia, Cumberland and Saint Marys

If you want truth in history I suggest you get your hands on a copy of Will Cuppy’s “The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody” It took him 40 years of research to track the facts. You’ll be amazed at how different you will look at history and it’s a great read.

And as to St.Mary’s need for an economic generator: ever thought about a midway Sailing Race for Cruisers and Charter Yachts that go up and down the east coast twice a year from the Caribbean Islands to Chesapeake and up?
Hundreds (if not thousands) of vessels sail down the Eastern Seaboard in late November/ early December and sail back up in May to avoid hurricane season in the tropics. Just a thought.

St.Mary’s Coast Guard Unit Is Needed

Coast Guard in Action

Our neighbors to the North, St.Mary’s and Camden County are on the short list to  possibly lose the economic and more importantly the security impact of a Coast Guard unit, that was placed in St.Mary’s after 911. The Coast Guard is decommissioning five of 12 similar units, the Maritime Safety and Security Teams, as part of a 3.3 percent budget cut that will also eliminate 1,100 active-duty positions.

But the Georgia House of Representatives unanimously voted yesterday to urge the U.S. Coast Guard not to disband the unit based in St. Marys that was organized in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, as the 85-member port-security unit has an economic impact on Camden County of about $9 million yearly. The St. Marys unit has six vessels and three teams of experts in demolition, marksmanship and canine handling for the detection of weapons and explosives for harbor protections and in addition shares many cost saving facilities and buildings with local government and law enforcement outfits.

Even though State Representative Cecily Hill, R-Kingsland uses the economic impact as her initiative for sponsoring this bill, it should be noted that  military bases are never put anywhere to provide jobs or for the benefit of a community’s economic stability.
When a mission is no longer needed in an area, then it’s time to disband and leave is the general approach.
Reason why Hill’s plea, based on the claim that “Camden County has lost 100 businesses to this recession”, maybe begging at the wrong door.

The St.Mary’s location for this Unit was chosen to primarily cover the major ports in North Florida, Georgia and South Carolina and with Jacksonville, Fernandina, Brunswick, Savannah and Charleston in the immediate vicinity, this Coastguard Team’s functionality and strategic deployment should be considered of utmost security importance to the area. All these ports combined have a major economic impact on the US economy, which should be the first and foremost reason for this Bill. In the Coastguard’s initial proposal to the intended budget cuts, the remaining units on the East Coast are in Miami, Boston, Chesapeake Bay and Galveston, Texas. Not much marine protection for major ports in our neck of the woods. The Florida Tidal Coastline alone is a good 2,200 miles. One team and six vessels in Miami are not going to make a difference if the need should arise.

I’m all for less government spending, but for heaven’s sake, use intelligence when it comes to defining where to save and what to protect. Sea Ports need more attention than Airports and air marshalls are a complete waste.

The measure next goes to the Senate for consideration. If passed there, copies will be sent to the Coast Guard and President Barack Obama.

Offshore Towers to be Removed

Submarine

Offshore Towers to be Removed

By: Jamie Deonas

If you have ever ventured offshore Amelia Island then you certainly have seen the 2 offshore towers located just north of the St. Mary‚Äôs channel. These 2 towers have been in place since the mid 80’s when the channel was re-routed to facilitate naval submarines en route to Kings Bay navel re-fit facility. They are roughly 75′ tall and equipped with solar panels and a small “shed” to house batteries and weather tracking monitors. The purpose for these towers is to aid in navigation for all inbound marine traffic by providing visual signs, high intensity lighting and horns to keep boats in the middle of the channel.

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