cnhiNewsService - August - Horse Stamp Inn
Elegant new Inn near Georgia’s southern coast by Christine Tibbetts - CNHI News Service
Since I don’t have a horse to board in the barn of the luxurious new bed and breakfast inn near Georgia’s coast, I decided to swing.
Swings for grownups. Real swings to pump, legs stretched long, next to the pond full of catfish, bream and trout.
Horse Stamp Inn invites the outdoors indoors with big views of 16 acres between Jacksonville, Fla., and Savannah, Ga.
Sensible, lovely interlude for highway travelers.
Saltwater swimming pool and assistance for day trips to barrier islands.
Freshly painted and sparkly clean, this six-year old home just became an Inn. Here’s the point, say owners Tom and Kris Hutcheson.
“We’re making a place for people to do what they need to do,” Kris says. “Resting perhaps. Relaxing. Marrying. Thinking something through.”
This five-bedroom home is four miles west of Interstate 95. Even its exit is brand new; don’t look for it on printed maps.
Exit 22, Horse Stamp Church Road.
The Innkeepers are newcomers too. “First time ever to live on the Georgia coast,” says Tom, “and that’s exactly what we wanted to do after a lifetime in the west.”
Find their horse grazing in the meadow along the entrance drive framed with 18 crepe myrtle trees.
Overnight your own horse if one travels with you in one of four stalls, hay included.
Chickens call the barn home too, so eggs with shells of many hues find their way to the breakfast table.
Farm-to-table in multiple ways here, fresh blueberries among them, and eight raised beds for herbs and vegetables.
“This used to be a working orchard,” Tom says, “and today we have 22 pecan trees.”
Green Acres kind of farming, long-time entrepreneur and business owner Tom calls this, since “We’re learning too.”
Hop in his ATV for a tour of the property and the plans.
If I return, I’d see about catching a fish in the Inn’s pond, artesian and flanked by woods -- a serene setting.
Might help me meet whatever it is that I need to do, as Kris says: the point of Horse Stamp Inn.
Don’t you love someone affirming that relaxing might be just what you need to do?
In case swinging doesn’t charm you, a long screened porch runs the length of the house. Take a book. Listen to Tom play his drums or Kris the piano.
Two steps down from the porch is the saltwater swimming pool.
Lingering over breakfast, or early coffee in the kitchen calmed my soul. This kitchen with numerous glass-front cabinets is so big it easily supports a sofa-size cushioned bench.
Big but not pretentious. Well-appointed, chic, in a comfy way. That’s how I felt about the whole house.
The five bedrooms are named for horses. Not just famous race winners but a blend:
-- Dawn Run: 1986 Gold Cup winner at Cheltenham, a thoroughbred
-- Sugarfoot: Cartoon horse from the 1954 “Horse’s Tale”
-- Cimarron: synonymous with Mustang
-- April Love: Song from the 1957 movie with Pat Boone and Shirley Jones. I stayed in April Love, stupendous view of the sun setting over the pond.
-- Seabiscuit: 1938 Horse of the Year.
Exploring is possible too. I took a look at the intra-coastal waterways in Tom’s 21-foot boat, a 2012 Nautic Star.
Tim Cheeks is the captain, out of Hickory Bluff Marina.
Meandering to see osprey and egrets, heron and fish, ecosystems under the grasses suited me fine.
Cheeks has been handling boats here his whole life; generations preceded him in these waters, back to a 1700s King’s Grant he says.
He’ll take you to St. Simons Island for lunch and shopping, or perhaps even Cumberland and Sapelo, important barrier islands off the Georgia coast.
I didn’t take any driving day trips from Horse Stamp Inn but considered some. Waverly is the town and Woodbine’s not far. Population 1,283.
I rather like the concept of luxurious accommodations as my base for joining local rural people with a love of music with
regional roots. Can’t often find that combo.