Spencer House Inn Bed & Breakfast
Table Of Contents
Welcome to Spencer House Inn of St. Marys, Georgia, your home while visiting Cumberland Island National Seashore.
Spencer House Inn Bed & Breakfast, circa 1872, is your ideal coastal retreat. The Inn is located in the heart of the Historic District of St. Marys, Georgia, and within walking distance to the ferry that takes you to Cumberland Island National Seashore. The Inn is perfect for quiet getaways, family reunions, business travel and seminars, weddings and receptions, honeymoons and your special occasion or event. Our warm hospitality, professional service and personalized attention to detail are unmatched. We are happy to help you with ideas of where to go and what to do in the area – assist you in planning your days of adventure in our gorgeous coastal location or leave you undisturbed as you relax in the calming environment of our beautiful Inn and village.
Spencer House Inn has 14 guest rooms each individually decorated and complete with a private bath. Some of the baths have the charming clawfoot soaking tubs, while others have tubs and showers. Each guest room has its own personality so please view our Rooms page for details and photographs. Each morning we serve a full breakfast buffet in our bright, welcoming breakfast room and in the afternoons we set out our signature peach iced tea and irresistible sweet treats for your enjoyment.
We are proud to have been recognized by many travel writers as well as organizations who inspect and approve properties, such as Select Registry, to insure quality, hospitality and value. Spencer House Inn is proud to announce that we have been selected by Trip Advisor as the #1 Bed & Breakfast in St. Marys and the Tribune & Georgian has recognized us as being the Best Bed & Breakfast in Camden County for the year of 2011 – Winner for 16 years in a row!
Be our guest and let us help you experience the charming lifestyle of our breathtaking Georgia coastline. We look forward to welcoming you to our Inn. Your adventures in St. Marys and on Cumberland Island begin here!
About the Inn
Built in 1872, Spencer House Inn was, in its time, distinguished as the finest hotel in St. Marys and southeast Georgia. Today it is an exquisitely preserved example of Victorian-era architecture. Spencer House Inn is named for Captain William T. Spencer who, along with his wife Harriet Louise, built the hotel while he was serving as the collector of customs for the port of St. Marys from 1871 to 1873.
Proprietors Mary and Mike Neff continue the Inn’s tradition of uncompromising luxury by combining the best of classic Southern hospitality with contemporary technologies. They have upgraded the Inn to ensure you have access to modern conveniences while surrounding you in the rich history of period furnishings and architecture. Original moldings, high ceilings and heart pine floors add warmth and beauty to the Inn, as does the warm glow of light from dozens of bright, sunny windows.
True to Spencer House Inn’s grand reputation for fine amenities, the Inn features richly decorated guest rooms, peaceful and refined common areas and three comfortable verandas with rocking chairs, sitting areas and pleasant views. Your guest room has a comfortable bed with luxurious linens, private bath, central air and heat, ceiling fan, fresh flowers, gourmet chocolates, specialty toiletries, complimentary wireless Internet access, clock radio, phone and flat screen HDTV with cable, HBO, ESPN and DVD player. In addition, the 3-story Inn has an elevator and outside ramp for your convenience.
Each morning the aroma of coffee and freshly prepared, mouth-watering entrees will entice you from your comfortable bed to our spacious breakfast room. While you sleep, we are busy preparing a variety of choices for your enjoyment. We take great pride in the endless compliments that guests give to our breakfasts. Awaiting you will be a rich and satisfying breakfast buffet with many items to choose from to delight any palate. Our breakfast at Spencer House Inn is the perfect start to your day. Read more about our breakfast on our Breakfast page.
In the afternoon the Inn offers many places to relax. Our comfortable living room, numerous reading nooks plus our library area and antique piano entice you to sit and rest a spell. We set out our delicious peach iced tea along with delectable, freshly baked treats. And our sweeping verandas with incredible views beckon you to linger awhile before and after exploring southeast Georgia and northeast Florida.
Spencer House Inn is known for its outstanding breakfasts. We take great pride in offering a wide selection of delicious foods made from the freshest ingredients. Every morning you will find a hearty breakfast buffet to delight your taste buds, including fresh fruit, mouth-watering homemade breads, muffins or biscuits, homemade granola, gourmet coffee and teas along with a daily hot entree that might include perfectly prepared eggs, heavenly orange french toast, delicious breakfast casseroles, fluffy bread pudding or one of the chef’s specialties. The choice will be different each morning of your stay.
Plenty of reading material is available including a daily newspaper, our local newspaper, the Wall Street Journal and other publications. As you start your day, enjoy some of the best cooking St. Marys has to offer.
For your trip to Cumberland Island, or for your journey wherever your day takes you, don’t forget to take along a wonderful Spencer House Inn picnic lunch. Packed in an insulated soft-sided cooler, the picnic lunch is brimming with good things to eat. The sub sandwich has ham, turkey, cheddar cheese & lettuce, condiments on the side; piece of fresh fruit, cold drink, crackers, trail mix bar, chips and cookies; napkin, trash bag & hand wipes. Vegetarian or special dietary requests can be accommodated with advance notice.
Mary & Mike Neff became the Proprietors and Innkeepers of Spencer House Inn in March 1995. Having moved from Houston, Texas, and the corporate world of oil & gas, St. Marys, Georgia, was delightful change from a bustling metropolitan area. Mary & Mike quickly became enamored with the charm, history, legends and ambiance of living in the South, and especially living in Georgia. With the proximity of the Inn to Cumberland Island National Seashore, Mary & Mike can visit with their guests about everything the guest will experience on a day trip to visit the island. Mary’s warm hospitality makes the guests feel comfortable & right at home. She’s the “out front” person that might be answering the phone to take a guest reservation or greeting them as they arrive to check in or helping with a dinner suggestion and other questions about the area. Mike’s area of expertise is breakfast and the wonderful food but he can be coaxed out of his delectable smelling kitchen to visit with guests. Mary is active in the local community in groups such as the Kiwanis Club, Navy League, Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Board. As time permits, Mike enjoys working in the yard and garden, going to auctions and trying new recipes. Mary can be found reading the latest best seller, going for a walk to the waterfront park and staying in touch with family.
Make Spencer House Inn your home base for half day trips to the beach communities
of Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island, Florida to the south and St. Simons Island,
Jekyll Island and Sea Island, Georgia to the north, all within a 30 - 60 minute drive.
St. Marys Georgia Activities
Make Spencer House Inn your home for your visit to the coast of Georgia – whether you want to be active each day with a trip to Cumberland Island or Okefenokee Swamp or whether you would like to slow your pace and stroll the tree-lined streets of the village of St. Marys and spend your time immersed in history or perhaps shop for antiques and other unique items – whatever brings you to Spencer House Inn, we are so glad to have you as our guests – thank you for coming!
Here are a few of our favorite restaurants – it’s nice to be able to walk to several of the restaurants that are near the Inn and in addition there are others to choose from which are just a short drive away.
Within a short walk -
The Blue Goose Wine and Coffee Shoppe 478-233-1548; Tues.-Thurs. 10am-8pm, Fri.&Sat. 10am-9pm, Sun. 11am-6pm. The Blue Goose is a wine bar and coffee shop located right across the street from the Inn. They sell wine by the glass and by the bottle and you can also purchase coffee by the cup or by the pound along with a muffin or slice of cheesecake. You can enjoy your beverage of choice at outside covered tables or inside on comfy couches.
Lang’s Marina Restaurant 912-882-4432; Lunch Tues.-Fri. 11am-2pm; Dinner Wed.-Sat. 5-9pm; closed Sun. & Mon. Local seafood at its best, shrimp and rock shrimp are their specialties, seafood selections available, shrimp from Lang’s own boats, wine & beer, located beside the St. Marys River & the waterfront park.
Cedar Oak Cafe and Java Joe’z 912-882-9555; Mon.-Fri. 7am-5pm; Sat. 8am-3pm; Sun. 9am-3pm. Terrific selection of salads, sandwiches, smoothies, desserts and coffees.
Pauly’s Café 912-882-3944; Sun.-Thurs. 11am-9pm; Fri. & Sat. 11am-10pm. Almond crusted grouper #1 on the menu plus other seafood, chicken, steak, pasta dishes with an Italian flair along with salads, soups, sandwiches, fine wines & beer and specialty pies.
Riverside Café 912-882-3466; Tues.-Fri. 10am-9pm; Sat. & Sun. 8:30am-9pm; Mon. 10am-3pm. Dine across from the beautiful St. Marys waterfront & the ferry to Cumberland Island, inside or out on the porch – breakfast any time, casual lunch, dinner available, wine & beer, the menu is Greek & Mediterranean inspired & so much more including homemade desserts.
Captain Seagle’s Seafood Restaurant 912-882-2472; Sun.-Thurs. 5-9pm; Fri. & Sat. 5-10pm. Dine in history at the Riverview Hotel with fresh seafood including shrimp & grits, steaks, pasta, chicken plus sandwiches, salads, seafood bisque & desserts, full bar service.
Manna Life Grill (formerly Silver Star Steakhouse) 912-882-1845, Mon.-Sat. dinner only.
Within 5-10 minute drive -
Borrell Creek Landing Restaurant 912-673-6300; Lunch Mon.-Fri. 11am-2:30pm; Dinner 7 nights a week 5-10pm. Beautiful panoramic view of the marsh & sunset, for dinner a nice selection of seafood, steaks, chicken, duck prepared with flair; full bar service; separate areas for group events.
Mad Hatter Tea Shop 912-576-3645; Mon.-Fri. 11am-2pm; closed Sat. & Sun. Delicious sandwiches, salads, crepes, quiche, soup of the day & a wonderful selection of teas & the specialty scones to top off any lunch.
DOC’S – House of Chicken & Waffles – 912-882-9019 – Wed. 11am-8pm; Thurs.-Sat. 11am-10pm; live jazz in the courtyard Thurs.7-10pm; closed Sun.-Tues. In true southern tradition, chicken & waffles are a delicacy but there are plenty of other selections on this Cajun-influenced menu – gumbo and shrimp & grits are great choices.
With our beautiful coastal location and our moderate year round temperatures, St. Marys and the southeast Georgia coast are a perfect location for outdoor activities all year long.
Learn more about Cumberland Island which is just a short ferry ride from St. Marys. You can also view our Cumberland Island Map.
Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Another jewel in the Georgia Coastal crown, the Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge is located 45 minutes west and is the largest national wildlife refuge in the eastern United States and contains the impressive Okefenokee Swamp. A visitor’s center with a short movie; plus hiking trails, boardwalk & observation deck, picnic tables are all added features for a fun time at the swamp.
Okefenokee Adventures A 90-minute scenic boat trip through the Okefenokee Swamp is offered several times a day. Canoe, kayak, boat and bike rentals are also available. 912-496-7156
Crooked River State Park 500 acre park features picnic sites, boat dock & ramp, nature center, bird blind, bicycle rental and 4-mile hiking trail – 10 minute drive or 30 minute bike ride from Spencer House Inn. On the way, stop at the McIntosh Sugar Mill tabby ruins.
Camden Bicycle Center Bicycle sales, service and rentals 912-576-9696.
Colonial Coast Birding Trail The Colonial Coast Trail aptly weaves bird watching into the state’s historical roots, encouraging visitors to stop at Civil War forts and plantations, as well as at freshwater wetlands, woodlands and tidal rivers. Though the driving route parallels Interstate 95, the many visitors’ centers along the way and their staff will offer plenty of suggestions that will get both skilled birders and novices off the beaten path.
The Cumberland Sound Ferry The ferry travels between St. Marys, Georgia and Fernandina Beach/Amelia Island, Florida and runs for special events & festivals only but can be booked for a private charter. This ferry is a passenger ferry but you can take bikes. We hope they will resume full service at a later date.
East Coast Greenway The Greenway connects Georgia to Florida via The Cumberland Sound Ferry and is a long distance paved urban trail system with a 3,000 mile route linking cities along the Atlantic coast.
Short drives – make Spencer House Inn your home base for half day trips to the beach communities of Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island, Florida to the south and St. Simons Island, Jekyll Island and Sea Island, Georgia to the north, all within a 30-60 minute drive.
Up the Creek Xpeditions A wide array of guided half day and full day kayak tours of Georgia’s scenic waterways, for all levels – salt marshes, rivers, swamps and beaches. 912-882-0911
Offshore & Inshore Fishing
Fish the Atlantic Ocean, St. Marys River, Satilla River and Crooked River with experienced guides or on your own – public boat ramps available.
Fish Masters Charters 912-729-5214
Lang Charters 912-882-4262
Salt Grass Charters 912-674-8238
Lang’s Marina is a full service marina. Lang’s offers a deep water marina with direct ocean access. 912-882-4452
There are two championship golf courses in the area, Osprey Cove, a Mark McCumber designed 18-hole course on the tidal marsh with beautiful views, and Laurel Island Links, which was designed by Davis Love III and is also an 18-hole course nestled in the marsh lands. A third course, Trident Lakes Golf Club, on the Kings Bay Naval submarine base is also available and is a great value.
Laurel Island Links 912-729-7277
Trident Lake golf course 912-573-8475
Osprey Cove 912-882-5575
Tennis – lighted public areas.
Museum, Parks and Historic Places
St. Marys, Cumberland Island and Camden County, Georgia are rich in history – as you explore the various venues in the area, you’ll be surprised at the many facets of Americana that permeate our southeast Georgia locale.
Cumberland Island National Seashore Museum Located across the street from Spencer House Inn in St. Marys, the museum houses a collection of artifacts from Cumberland Island dating from the first inhabitants of the island & includes unique pieces from the Carnegie family collections. A new exhibit features the Forgotten Invasion of the War of 1812. These exhibits are open to the public and include pieces from the lives of Native Americans, African Americans, the Carnegie family and others who lived on the island in the 19th and 20th centuries.
St. Marys Submarine Museum A fascinating walk through the history of submarines and the men who operate them and a peek through an actual periscope. Tues.-Sat. 10am-5pm, Sun.12-5pm, closed Mon. 912-882-2748.
Orange Hall House Museum Tour one of the best examples of Greek Revival architecture in the southeast.
Historic Oak Grove Cemetery Established in 1788, many graves date back to as early as 1801 and are a history of “who’s who” in Camden County, Georgia. A section of the cemetery has headstones that are in French & camellias bloom all winter & azaleas bloom in the spring.
Howard Gilman Memorial Waterfront Park Stroll, sit or swing at this beautiful park in a natural setting along the St. Marys River, a beautiful spot any time of day but especially at sunset. The park features a gazebo & arbors, a Charleston-style fountain, children’s playground, picnic area, stage, river piers for walking & fishing – boat launching & docking nearby – wonderful site for a wedding or special event.
Can walk to – waterfront pavilion, dock, boat ramp and marsh walk
38 National Register sites
Historic churches – Presbyterian, Methodist, Catholic and Episcopal
Washington pump and oak
St. Marys Aquatic Center Open May-September; drift lazily down the “continuous river” on your inner tube, swim a few laps or ride the twister slide & explore 1,000 ways to get wet in a fun atmosphere.
Shopping, Antiques and Art
Downtown Historic Area
Market on the Square 912-882-2215 – delicious homemade fudge, terrific assortment of ice cream and that cute gift, trinket or t-shirt to take home as a souvenir – try the variety of Torani flavors for espresso, cappuccino & lattes – don’t forget that treat for your pet – open 7 days a week.
The Cottage Shop 912-882-9171 – Unique gifts, household and garden decor, accessory pieces, antiques, linens, framed prints – something for every room of your house – open Mon.-Sat. 10am-5:30pm.
French Quarter 912-882-8899 – Overflowing with unique, thoughtful and sometimes humorous items – you’re sure to find just what you’re looking for in this special shop – open 7 days a week.
The Golden Pineapple 912-882-0616 – Beautiful pieces sure to enhance the décor of your home. Unique antiques, sculpture, ceramics, paintings, jewelry and gift items.
Once Upon a Bookseller 912-882-7350 – Pick up the latest best seller to read on your vacation. Better yet, browse the interesting and varied selection of books about Cumberland Island and other historic places in the area. Open Mon.-Sat. 10am-6pm.
Olde Town Gallery 912-673-0102 – Local art on display and for sale is a wonderful example of the incredible talent here in our small coastal community. The gallery is staffed every day by volunteer artists who are members of the Coastal Camden Art League.
Read ‘em again Books 912-576-7888 – Over 12,000 used, rare and hard-to-find books in this charming shop. Sip a cup of specialty coffee or tea while you browse – open 7 days a week. Visit Mud Pies & Lullabies children’s shop next door.
Local Art Gallery 912-882-9336 – Dedicated to local artistic creations of various media.
Gray’s Gallery 912-882-3226 – Affordable local art and custom framing by owner/artist Elizabeth Gray. Nice selection of candles and also antiques.
St. Marys Community Market – every Saturday at the waterfront pavilion 9am-1pm.
Area Events & Festivals
Mardi Gras Festival & Parade
Historic Downtown St. Marys
February 18, 2012
Amelia Island, FL
March 9-11, 2012
Crawfish Festival & Parade
April 27 & 28, 2012
Shrimp Festival & Pirate Parade
Fernandina Beach, FL
May 4-6, 2012
Arts & Music Stroll
Historic Downtown St. Marys
May TBA, 2012
Fun in the Sun Festival
St. Marys waterfront park
June 9, 2012
Independence Day Festival, Parade, & Fireworks
Historic Downtown St. Marys
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Catfish Festival & Parade
September 1-3, 2012
Rock Shrimp Festival & Parade
Historic Downtown St. Marys
October 6, 2012
Historic Downtown St. Marys
October 13-October 31, 2012
Okfenokee Festival & Parade
October 13, 2012
White Lighting Ceremony & Parade
Historic Downtown St. Marys
November 27, 2012
Christmas in the Park
Gilman Waterfront Park, St. Marys
December 1, 2012 11:30 AM
Christmas Candlelight Tour of Homes
Historic Downtown St. Marys
December 8, 2012 - 5:30-9 PM