St. Mary’s, Georgia – historic downtown, Crooked River State Park and a marvelous evening with cousins

After saying goodbye to family in Ocala we headed a few hours north to St. Mary’s – a little town just north of the Florida Georgia line. We prefer short trips between destinations when pulling the travel trailer as does LizzieBelle. In fact, the shorter the better as traveling with her is sometimes like traveling with a young child. She doesn’t care for bumpy or curvy roads and I’m always trying to decipher whether or not she’s just grumpy or needs to stop for a potty break. So yea, short trips are most agreeable to all of us.

This trip was less than three hours and before we knew it we had finally left Florida after being there for three months in various locations throughout the state. Mind you, we weren’t far from Florida but we could now say we were in another state.

Our main reason for choosing to stop in St. Mary’s was to reconnect with my cousin and his wife whom I haven’t seen in, oh, maybe twenty five years or so. We’ve kept in touch with each others’ lives through Christmas letters but none of us could pinpoint when we had last seen each other. We surmised it was at a funeral of a loved one some 25 years ago since Ronnie had never met them and we’ve been married almost 23 years. Twenty five years is a long time so to say that I was thrilled that our schedules aligned is an understatement.

During our stay in St. Mary’s we camped at Crooked River State Park. It was a nice park with plenty of room between campers however relaxing in our camp chairs was limited due to the biting gnats. We did walk down to the river and enjoyed the view from a perfectly situated bench.

After setting up we checked out historic downtown St. Mary’s. It’s a quaint little town on the St. Mary’s river with some shopping and restaurants.

We ate at the Southern River Walk Bar & Grill then enjoyed a scoop of ice cream from Market on the Square – a fun little gift shop with an ice cream parlor in the back.

We spent a few minutes watching a boatload of people disembark from the ferry after a trip to nearby Cumberland Island.

St. Mary’s was hit hard by hurricane Irma in 2017 destroying much of the waterfront and sinking many boats. The town is recovering and is a lovely hidden gem.

In fact, those exact words were used by a fella we met in a laundry mat while in Salt Springs. He had lived in St. Mary’s and described it as a hidden gem. After he found out why we were going there he inquired about my cousin. I remember thinking what are the odds that this guy will know him and, lo and behold, he DID! They were neighbors at one time. Unbelievable! It truly is a small world.

The following day we went to my cousin’s house for dinner. I was thrilled at the invitation and was honored to have the opportunity to partake in what I knew would be a fantastic meal prepared by my cousin’s wife. She is a gourmet chef and has a reputation for hosting fabulous dinner parties. (I’ve seen photos on Facebook!)

Their house is on the river and has a gorgeous view.

It’s just so peaceful and serene. I could hang out there all day.

Another place I could hang out was the dining and sitting area just beyond the living room…

With all the windows one feels as though they are dining al fresco.

Another reason I love this room is all the plants.

I’m a plant girl. I believe plants warm up a space and extend an invitation to sit a spell and sit a spell we did as we enjoyed a delectable meal while catching up.

Here’s another gorgeous view with a couple plants on the windowsills…

With a view like that one (like me!) might actually forget they were at the kitchen sink!

Prior to the meal we savored hors d’oeuvres then dined on salad, salmon grilled to perfection and topped with a tasty sauce, sticky rice and sauteed corn and red peppers served with fine wine. Dessert was displayed on a cake stand and as we were touring the house Ronnie asked me if I thought it was real or not. I told him it was indeed real and not to touch it. I tell you I have to keep my eye on him but I’m glad he asked before he went poking his finger into it! Dessert was a beautiful and delicious Lemon Creme Brulee.

All that deliciousness was served on these stunning plates…

In fact, the entire table setting was splendid…

Do you see a theme here? Check out the foot of the wine glass. How cool is that?!

My cousin is a retired Captain in the Navy and we are extremely grateful for his service to our country. He and his family spent several years abroad throughout his career. During those years many beautiful pieces were collected and are now artfully displayed throughout the house. One room, in particular, showcases the beautiful collection that was amassed during the three years they were stationed in Japan…

… the guest bathroom! WOW! Ronnie and I felt as though we had been magically transported to Japan without ever leaving the house. So many beautiful pieces and works of art in a bathroom! I was told to take my camera and I can see why. In hindsight I should’ve taken more closeup shots but I was so mesmerized by the bathroom as a whole that I got caught up in trying to capture it in its entirety. Maybe next time.

Ronnie and I had a marvelous time. We were treated like royalty by our amazing hosts and all too soon the evening hour became late and it was time to bid farewell.

Cheers to a marvelous evening and catching up with cousins. We vowed our next meeting would be sooner rather than later.

Till next time my friends!