Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Home At Last!

Hi Everyone! I'm finally back to blogging and have lots to tell you. First off, I apologize for my extended absence and want to thank all of you for your thoughtful comments and emails. The move turned out to be more physically and mentally challenging than I ever imagined. I've had highs and lows, but I'm finally at the point where it is coming together and I'm beginning to settle in to my new home.

As most of you know, I had planned to move to the country in South Georgia to be close to family members from both my mother's and my father's sides. I was all set to do this and then found out that those small towns do not have FAST internet connections. With the work I do as a graphic designer, this would not work well. I started searching around to find a town that could provide me with the speed I need and still be in South Georgia. My daughter is the one who found the place I have moved to, so where did I end up you ask?

Historic St. Mary's, Georgia!

I live just a couple of miles from the St. Mary's River and let me tell you — it is beautiful! What I discovered and found most interesting is that the river begins deep within the Okefenokee Swamp and flows along a twisting and turning 130 miles before it empties in the Atlantic Ocean, only forty air-miles from its point of origin. On a personal note, my great grandfather was born in the Okefenokee in 1867 and during the Great Depression, my mother's family lived in the swamp. Then, great-granddaddy engineered the train and grandpa drove a lumber truck for the logging industry. Funny that I've ended up in the town where that rivers meets the ocean, don't you think? I guess I've come full circle with some of my ancestral roots.

St. Mary's is the smallest town, by far, that I've every lived in, but it is charming. The downtown riverfront park is lovely as you'll see in a few photos I took when I first came to check it out. Interestingly enough, is the fact that the St. Mary's Rives is the easternmost border between Georgia and Florida. In this first photo of the park the land you see across the river is Florida! 

This is an aerial view of town from St. Mary's website. Lots and lots of trees!

The sun over the river, isn't this a peaceful photo? I found this one on the town's website also.

The closest "big city" to me is Jacksonville, FL and all of the local news on NBC, CBS and ABC comes from there. It is very strange to live in one state and local news comes from another. Even more interesting is that the closest beach to me is Fernandina Beach in Florida. As the crow flies, this beach is only seven miles away, but because the only way to get there is by ferry or boat, I have to drive back up to the interstate to cross the border and drive back down to the beach. This only takes about 35–40 minutes, so you can just imagine how happy this beach girl is to have such a beautiful beach close by. I took these photos of my first glimpse of my new hangout:

Anyone know what kind of plant this is? It looked so unusual growing in the sand. The Gulf Coast of Florida doesn't have enough wave action (understatement) for surfing, so I was thrilled to see this surfer out with his board. Didn't look like a good surfing day to me, but I know there will be many to come!

Sandy Bottoms, I just have a feeling I'll be sipping on a few mojitos in this joint soon!

There is a lot of history in this area and lots of places to explore and share with you. Cumberland Island is just a ferry ride away and I am fascinated to learn more about it. There are wild horses that have lived on the island for generations and although there seems to be a controversy on the impact they have on the environment, I think it is very cool. I've always loved seeing horses on the beach, so to be able to see wild ones is something I'm looking forward to.

The wild horses of Cumberland Island. The first photo is from the town's website and the second is from Fans of Cumberland Island and St. Mary's on Facebook. I can't wait to see them for myself!

So my dear, dear friends, I'm finally home and have lots to share. For now I'll leave you with this snippet of my new life, I'm anxious to surf around and visit with all of you. I've missed you all beyond words and can't wait to see what you've been up to now that the cold weather has left us and Spring is here!

I figured Outdoor Wednesday was the perfect day to get back to blogging and share a tidbit of my new town with you. Be sure to stop by Susan's at a Southern Daydreamer and see what my friends have shared today. See y'all soon!

34 Thoughtful Comments:

Loui♥ said...

Oh Shelle..
how I've missed you!
welcome back..
can't wait to hear all your new stuff..
and see the eye candy of your new haunts..
warmest mermaid hugs..
and laughing teary smiles!!

Lady Patchy said...

what a lovely place!

Completely Coastal said...

Welcome back, Rhonda!!! I've heard about St. Marys! The internet connection things is funny..., never thought that could be an issue in this day and age... In the meantime I have a new blog..., you should check out Jeannie's Atlantic Beach blog on my blogroll there, she lives in Atlantic Beach, just south of you and blogs about Atlantic Beach, Neptun Beach and Fernandina Beach!!!

Maya @ Daily Vitamin Sea (& Completely Coastal).

Lindsay-ann said...

Hi Rhonda
Wishing you lots of happiness in your new home and town. It looks gorgeous there. I really enjoyed seeing the pictures. You are so lucky. You MUST get some pictures of those wild horses. It looks like my kind of dream place.
Welcome back to blogging. I look forward to reading all about your adventures in your new home town.

Magdalena said...

Oh Shellbelle, I missed you so much!! Oliver and I always to check to see if you posted, he will be so happy when he comes home from school and sees your new post!! Everything looks so beautiful, maybe I'll swing by one day and have a mojitos with you!! I am so happy for you dear friend, you are in a lovely place. Many blessings

Unknown said...

hello, hello, pleased to meet you! yes, i've been up in your town, only once in ten years, but i need to get back your way. indeed it iS lovely. i love the beach too; and i am so glad we can walk to it (ask me that when a hurricane's coming...but...) anyway, i've added myself as a follower and I look forward to seeing all your posts from St. Mary's !!

thanks for saying 'hi' and if you come here, let me know!

Ms. Bake-it said...

Welcome back Rhonda! Looks like you have moved to a very lovely place! Love the wild horses! Cannot wait to hear about your adventures.


Kat said...

I swear, you must be psychic! Last night I was thinking that I needed to e-mail you or check your blog for an update, when lo and behold who do I see a comment from? YIPPEE! It's so good to have you back Rhonda. Your new little town looks just beautiful, and it sounds like a really interesting area. And I'm sure you are thrilled to be so close to the beach :) Hope you are settling in nicely, and I really look forward to seeing post about your new adventure! Hugs, Kathy

Cindy said...

Omg, you have found an absolutely stunning place to live! I love the river photos, and the beach photos are equally delicious. I could live very happily in a place like that. I hope you are very, very happy there!
Hugs, Cindy S

Completely Coastal said...

Rhonda, I just added your button to my Friends/Blogroll on Daily Vitamin Sea... Would you change out the buttons when you have a chance and replace A Beach Lovers Place with the new blog. Thanks so much.

I'm so glad you're back!!! And I hope to see many more photos of St. Marys and the beaches. See, I'm still looking for the perfect beach town to live in!!! And you'll be featured on DVS soon!

Big hug for the giveaway button!

Maya @ Daily Vitamin Sea & Completely Coastal

Sissie's Shabby Cottage said...

What a lovely place to call home.

Welcome back.


Aimee said...

How exciting! I missed your entries. It is nice to see that you are still nearby a beach. The town looks very beautiful and quaint:) Cant wait to read about more of your advs. in your new home

Sue said...

Rhonda-what a wonderful place! How fun to just pick a place and move there. We always get transferred because of my husband's job...never get to choose. I guess retirement will bring that luxury. I hope to have a beach near me in the future you know:)

Thanks for you sweet visit today. I've missed you.


iLoveShelling said...

Welcome Baaack! You have been missed! I just love that first photo with the water as smooth as glass with the reflection of the masts. Your new town looks like a wonderful place to be and a good place to grow.

Ebie said...

Wow, it is a beautiful place you now call home!!!

Happy blogging!

Arabella said...

Glad I found your blog through Daily Vitamin Sea! Love all your beachy pics and posts.


jmac said...

Been checking often to see if you'd settled. So glad to see you back and sounding so happy!!
Can't wait to hear more....

CrazyCris said...


Welcome back! :o)

I so glad to see from your comment (some of those books are so wonderful I'm not surprised most of the comments have been people agreeing with them... Tous pour un, et un pour tous!) that you were back in action, so I immediately headed on over here! Looks like you've found yourself a delightful spot to settle down in... for now or for good? Great photos! Definitely got to be some gorgeous little nooks and crannies and walks and paths and coasts and woods to discover 'round there! ;o)

And I got a laugh when you mentioned the Okefenokee Swamp! I never knew it existed, but I have this childhood memory of a period of time saying "okefenokee" instead of "odkeydokee"! :p Big smile on my face right now!

Glad you're settled in, can't wait to see/read you as you discover your new surroundings! :o)


Linda@Coastal Charm said...

WELCOME BACK! We have been missing you here in blogland and we are happy that you back:) The little town looks and sounds like a neat place and near the have it made!


Tootie said...

A beautiful place! :)

Sierra said...

Hi, so glad that you made it to your new home safely! The sights are all so gorgeous and yay for the beach and for horses, two of my favorite sites! Thanks for your sweet comment on my mom, I love going to the beach with her! Can't wait to see more of your adventures.

Supply Your Soul said...

Wonderful post and great photos - I really want to visit all these places! Your plant is a thistle - the leaves are very prickly. The seed heads will travel long distances in the wind and that's probably how it ended up by itself there on the beach!

Magdalena said...

Hi Shellbelle, just want to pop back over to let you know I'm doing a giveaway for a pretty linen perfect for cinco de mayo!!
And again, I am so glad you are back

Our Porch in Hillsborough said...

Welcome back! And congrats on moving to such a pretty town. I hope small town life is perfect for you.

Julie@beingRUBY said...

Dear Rhonda
How wonderful to have you back.. have thought of you often.... and just noticed you in my sidebar when you popped up in my comments.. [I've been a little slow at blogging myself lately]..

Well.. your photos are incredible.. just so beautiful..the 2nd one is my favourite.. just so peaceful... and then you have all the activity of the beach not too far away... starting to look a lot like a blessing in disguise... and I think from now on I will call you Sandy Bottom!! hahaha...

So that flower.. plant looks very much like some of our Australian flora.. but some reason I'm thinking scottish.. will have to go look it up now.. has me intrigued. thanks for posting my giveaway in your sidebar.. you are the best!!! So glad to have you 'back home'... take care.. xxx Julie

Jane said...

Welcome back, Rhonda!!! I have missed you tremendously!

You have certainly landed in a beautiful place. St. Mary's is such a charming town...and the location is fabulous! Fernandina is a gorgeous beach, too. My aunt and uncle retired there (after running hotels in Jekyll Island, and living on a houseboat on Lake Lanier (GA)) and absolutely LOVED living there.I look forward to learning more about your new community...

Hope you assimilate quickly into the new, slower pace of coastal GA/FL.

ps Email your address to me. I have a little something for your new home.

The Fajdich Times said...

It looks like you are getting along very nicely. Love the beach....I have missed you and welcome you back. I am taking a little break, but will be back soon. Enjoy your days on the beach!!:)

Simple Daisy said...

What a beautiful place!!! Lovely:)

gayle said...

Glad you are back and so glad you found a place you like!!

Tootie said...

Thanks for your visit to my blog and your very kind remarks. :)

Kendall@ Finesse Your Nest said...

Yay, you're back! I'm glad the move went well and you are settled in your new place. Can't wait to see it! Your new town looks JUST DREAMY!

Low Tide High Style said...

Welcome "home" Shell! I'm so happy that life has brought you full circle, and back to such a beautiful place!

Kat :)

Kristen said...

Your new home looks so beautiful.... and I am so, so, SO grateful there is a beach nearby! I am excited to see more pictures as you settle in and learn more about St. Mary's!!

RottenMom said...

So good to see you again! I've missed you! Your new beach hangout looks beautiful!

I love the beach and everything that goes with it! I love the waves lapping at my feet. I love the feel of the sand between my toes. I love the roar of the Pacific and the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. Let's talk about beaches around the world, bonfires, building sandcastles, swaying palm trees, flamingos, clambakes, sunrises and sunsets. If it's tropical, it fits this blog!


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