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One of America’s most inspiring examples of Greek Revival architecture resides just two blocks from St. Marys’ waterfront at Orange Hall. Serving as St. Marys’ house museum, Orange Hall’s doors are open to visitors for a first-hand look at the grandeur of the Antebellum South. Graced with period furnishings donated by local citizens and Carnegie family items on loan from the National Park Service, the interiors of the three-story beauty are rich with tales of yesteryear. Built sometime between 1829 and 1839 (the age is still under study), Orange Hall is constructed of mortis and timber with wooden pegs. Doric columns crown the wide veranda that overlooks the stately oaks of Osborne Street. In 1973, Orange Hall was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is now a beacon for history buffs and romance seekers. Visitors are entranced by stories of the grand lifestyle of Orange Hall residents and by St. Marys’ most famous spirit, little Jane, who, it is said, can be seen peering out an upstairs window, or heard pattering across the floor. She has been known to move toys and dolls in her room during the night as well.


“Pinch me!” That’s what a guest at St. Marys’ Goodbread House Bed and Breakfast Inn kept saying over and over again as she sat in the turn-of-the-century parlour on Christmas Eve. An eight-foot tree ablaze with lights and adorned with old-fashioned ornaments twinkled in time to the soothing rhythm of her favorite Christmas carol. The lady hailed from New England, and having experienced her share of old-fashioned holidays, was still enchanted by the magic going on inside and outside the 1870 inn.

Whether you’re reading this article in July or November, you might want to consider a “destination Christmas” this year, as is becoming more and more the trend. Nobody does Christmas better than St. Marys, Georgia. If you visit anytime between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, you can’t avoid the feeling you just stepped into a Norman Rockwell Christmas card.

The enchantment begins with St. Marys’ White Lighting Ceremony scheduled for November this year. Santa leads the townsfolk (hundreds) in parade down Osborne Street, waving his magic wand to ignite tens of thousands of white lights canopying the roadway. The parade culminates at the waterfront where a giant Christmas tree awaits as the grand finale. Carolers stroll the streets, and the doors to the old Catholic chapel fling open to reveal another Norman Rockwell setting. Children’s laughter dances through the moss-laden oaks, and “smile after smile” greets neighbors and visitors throughout the village.

In December, people from all around the country come to St. Marys for the Historic Candlelight Tour of Homes. Luminaries light up sidewalks, and host homes embrace their guests with a warmth that lingers well into the season.

“Pinch me,” she says again. For like so many who have come before the nice lady in the nice parlour in the nice little town of St. Marys, she can’t help but feel she’s immersed in a dream–a dream from which she’s in no hurry to awaken.


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311 Osborne Street

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