Setting: St. Marys sits amid the salt marshes of southeast Georgia, about 40 miles south of Brunswick and 30 miles north of Jacksonville, Florida.
Attractions: The St. Marys River is perfect for kayaking, boating, fishing, and crabbing. Cumberland Island National Seashore, a 45-minute ferry ride away, has 16 miles of sandy beach and the First African Baptist Church, site of John F. Kennedy Jr.'s wedding to Carolyn Bessette. The Howard Gilman Memorial Park is a prime spot for manatee sightings, outdoor concerts, and weddings. Jacksonville International Airport is 40 minutes away.
Drawbacks: Temperatures can surpass 90 degrees in the summer. Sand gnats and mosquitoes may be bothersome. Large shopping malls and movie theaters are a 45-minute drive away in Jacksonville. Jobs are scarce due to the absence of a big, industrial employer.
Housing: The average price of a three-bedroom house is $150,000 to $200,000. Marsh-view homes can be found for $400,000 to $2.5 million. Houses in Osprey Cove, a planned community, cost from $300,000 to more than $1 million. Northern Camden County is the hot spot for new developments. Home prices in Marsh Arbors, a downtown condo community, range from $375,000 to more than $1 million.
Your next-door neighbors: World War II veterans, young families, museum volunteers, fishermen, retirees, shrimpers, boutique owners, schoolteachers, community college students, antiques dealers, and lawyers.
How you'd spend your free time: Cruising around in a golf cart, exploring the boutiques on Osborne Street, teeing off at the Osprey Cove Golf Course, practicing for the annual kingfish fishing tournament.
(published January/February 2007)