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Old 11-02-2017, 07:27   #1
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Best town for sailors between Savannah, GA, and Georgia, FL

Tom and I are looking to retire and move from nyc to a coastal town between Savannah and Jacksonville. Taking a trip there in May. The areas we've identified are around Darien and St. Simons Island, GA, St Marys, GA, or the Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island areas in Florida. We plan to buy a monohull for day sailing and short trips along the coast. Any info you have about living and sailing between Savannah and Jacksonville would be helpful. Thanks, Jackie
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Old 11-02-2017, 07:45   #2
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Re: Best town for sailors between Savannah, GA, and Georgia, FL

Was born in that area and keep my boat just south of Jacksonville on the St John's River.

If you're coming from the city hope you understand you will be moving to a mostly rural area unless you are close in to Savannah or Jacksonville so very little available in the way of restaurants, shopping, entertainment. If you plan to travel much the only airports with reasonable flights and connections will be Savannah and Jacksonville with JAX I believe offering more options.

I much prefer Savannah as a city compared to Jacksonville. Savannah is much prettier and has a lot more character. To me most of Jacksonville is just urban sprawl but is nicer away from the urban/suburban areas when you are around the beach or ICW. Amelia Island is very nice and not too far from JAX airport. Also for a small town area there are more options for eating out since it's a vacation and resort area. Also a couple of marinas around Amelia to keep a boat.

Be aware that in the coastal marsh areas the no-see-ums and mosquitos can be bothersome in the summer months. Winters mild and generally very comfortable with occasional cold fronts that usually pass by after a few days.
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Old 11-02-2017, 08:36   #3
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Re: Best town for sailors between Savannah, GA, and Georgia, FL

Savannah is well away from the Ocean, Thunderbolt is I guess the only Marina?
We plan on spending this years Hurricane season in Brunswick Ga
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Old 11-02-2017, 16:43   #4
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Re: Best town for sailors between Savannah, GA, and Georgia, FL

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Tom and I are looking to retire and move from nyc to a coastal town between Savannah and Jacksonville. Taking a trip there in May. The areas we've identified are around Darien and St. Simons Island, GA, St Marys, GA, or the Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island areas in Florida. We plan to buy a monohull for day sailing and short trips along the coast. Any info you have about living and sailing between Savannah and Jacksonville would be helpful. Thanks, Jackie
WOW ! You picked a dozy of a area. I spent several months fixing a boaty outside Darien where I had bought it. You will have to contend with surly natives who hate outsiders, eternal 10 ft tides, swamp everywhere with lots of alligators and snakes-not to mention zillions of gnats year around. It is lightly populated for a very good reasons. Plus -due to the high tides very few good docks. I also stayed at a boatyard at St Marys - same conditions as above but the people a little less backward.
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Old 11-02-2017, 16:50   #5
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Re: Best town for sailors between Savannah, GA, and Georgia, FL

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WOW ! You picked a dozy of a area. I spent several months fixing a boaty outside Darien where I had bought it. You will have to contend with surly natives who hate outsiders, eternal 10 ft tides, swamp everywhere with lots of alligators and snakes-not to mention zillions of gnats year around. It is lightly populated for a very good reasons. Plus -due to the high tides very few good docks. I also stayed at a boatyard at St Marys - same conditions as above but the people a little less backward.
Beware of the Sheriffs in this area as they make their living running speed traps and collecting outrageous "Bonds" .Plus they never let anyone go when stopped with outrageous Bonds as they are in collusion with their selected "Bondsman". Its legal to do this in "good ol boy' Georgia- each Sheriff has only one bondsman he "works with". My My
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Old 11-02-2017, 16:52   #6
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pirate Re: Best town for sailors between Savannah, GA, and Georgia, FL

Is that not the area where when going down the ICW they recommend going outside to avoid it..
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Old 11-02-2017, 16:58   #7
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Re: Best town for sailors between Savannah, GA, and Georgia, FL

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Beware of the Sheriffs in this area as they make their living running speed traps and collecting outrageous "Bonds" .Plus they never let anyone go when stopped with outrageous Bonds as they are in collusion with their selected "Bondsman". Its legal to do this in "good ol boy' Georgia- each Sheriff has only one bondsman he "works with". My My
I was stopped for speeding 37mph in a 30mph zone (in Darien) and a dirty License Plate My "Bond" was $675 cash or Jail. (no refunds) . Fine was $320+$135=$475. I saw a Lawyer and he said they just prey on all outsiders as a way of life. He also said its revenge for being in a poor area and the previous Sherrif was much worse than the current one! Good Luck there -worst place Ive ever been world wide.
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Old 11-02-2017, 17:35   #8
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Re: Best town for sailors between Savannah, GA, and Georgia, FL

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Is that not the area where when going down the ICW they recommend going outside to avoid it..
They should! The ICW zig zags like crazy going thru the swap savanna and nearly doubles the crow flies distance-- plus there are also very strong currents
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Old 11-02-2017, 18:38   #9
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Re: Best town for sailors between Savannah, GA, and Georgia, FL

Florida has no income tax if that is an issue. Jax is a big city with everything that goes with it. The St. Johns River has tons of yards and marinas and skilled folks to maintain boats. Green Springs Cove probably has more marinas than all of Georgia combined.

I spent several years working in SE Georgia and never had a problem with LEOs; but I always observed the speed limit. Brunswick has quite a bit of old money and some huge mansions and can be enjoyable. Cost is probably lower in Georgia than Florida for lots of stuff, especially if you spent any time getting to know what the locals do. I have to say some of the best BBQ I ever ate was in SE Georgia. Not to mention in season fresh produce is a real treat and at prices that are shocking low. Problem for me is a lot of paper mills in the area stink, and that is putting it mildly.

While there is some insurance advantage to staying North of Florida in hurricane season my advice would be to go to the Keys or West Coast of Florida. Problem with the East Coast of Florida and Georgia is your boat will be behind barrier islands and getting to clear water will mean going through cuts that often have tides you don't want to be in at certain times; so day sailing is limited. On the West Coast and Keys it is often less than half hour till you are easily in the ocean or Gulf with no worry about cuts.
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Old 12-02-2017, 05:43   #10
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Re: Best town for sailors between Savannah, GA, and Georgia, FL

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Originally Posted by geoleo View Post
WOW ! You picked a dozy of a area. I spent several months fixing a boaty outside Darien where I had bought it. You will have to contend with surly natives who hate outsiders, eternal 10 ft tides, swamp everywhere with lots of alligators and snakes-not to mention zillions of gnats year around. It is lightly populated for a very good reasons. Plus -due to the high tides very few good docks. I also stayed at a boatyard at St Marys - same conditions as above but the people a little less backward.
Interesting - I lived for several years in the Darien area and found the people to be most enjoyable. Like most small population areas it takes a bit of time to be accepted, but on the whole I think you get treated with the same attitude you bring.
Tides max out at about 8' usually 2-3 days per month IIRC. That can be very handy when trying to navigate the local ICW, which has not been maintained to project depth for some years, due to lack of funding for the Army Corps of Engineers.
Like most rural areas, there is more wildlife than in a big city, including insects and reptiles.

And, with the exception of occasional pulp and paper mills, the whole area is gorgeous.
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Old 12-02-2017, 05:49   #11
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Re: Best town for sailors between Savannah, GA, and Georgia, FL

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Interesting - I lived for several years in the Darien area and found the people to be most enjoyable. Like most small population areas it takes a bit of time to be accepted, but on the whole I think you get treated with the same attitude you bring.
Tides max out at about 8' usually 2-3 days per month IIRC. That can be very handy when trying to navigate the local ICW, which has not been maintained to project depth for some years, due to lack of funding for the Army Corps of Engineers.
Like most rural areas, there is more wildlife than in a big city, including insects and reptiles.

And, with the exception of occasional pulp and paper mills, the whole area is gorgeous.


Have never run into surly natives myself, even when driving through with a Florida tag. I think in general the reception someone gets corresponds to the attitude he or she puts out.
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Old 12-02-2017, 07:15   #12
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Re: Best town for sailors between Savannah, GA, and Georgia, FL

Thank you for your thoughtful replies! The snakes and reptiles give us pause, and the sparseness of communities within driving distance, South of Savannah. The other area we're considering is outside Jacksonville, maybe Fernandina Beach area. Are there other areas you suggest?

The more research we do, the more living within a 30-minute drive of good restaurants is a priority. (New York city has spoiled us. While I love to cook, don't want to have to do it every night.)

So any other info we welcome!
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Old 12-02-2017, 07:30   #13
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pirate Re: Best town for sailors between Savannah, GA, and Georgia, FL

Friend of mine moved down to St Augustine from Oriental, NC... seems to really like it there.
Dunno if its in your parameters but she likes quiet with quality nearby..
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Old 12-02-2017, 07:54   #14
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Best town for sailors between Savannah, GA, and Georgia, FL

I all honesty, if you are from NY, or at least NY City, you will not enjoy the Low Country.
Completely different world. I for instance cannot stand NY City, although I am certain there are areas in NY State I would enjoy immensely.
Now this was long ago, when most of us were children,but worth reading
http://www.atlantatimemachine.com/misc/ludowici.htm

Then honestly watch this movie, it's not really that bad, but it isn't far off the mark, really
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104952/plotsummary
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Old 12-02-2017, 08:11   #15
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Re: Best town for sailors between Savannah, GA, and Georgia, FL

The link to the Atlantatimemachine blocks access. Have watched My Cousin Vinny but Tom hasn't so it's in our cue. Thanks!
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