If you ever wondered what it’s like to live aboard a schooner, take a seat between Anne Stone and John Fazzio on the Steelaway.
That’s what I did when I went out to interview the husband and wife, who built the schooner together, had their wedding on board, and continue to live on the ship in the waters off St. Marys.
The back-and-forth between the couple was hilarious.
“She married me for my boat,” Fazzio joked at one point.
“I’m the captain,” Stone reminded her husband several times.
A longtime sea captain, himself, Fazzio adored the beautiful, old-fashioned schooners he saw from time to time on the water. Later in life, he decided to build one for himself, and he just happened to be talented enough to pull it off.
Now the couple offers free educational tours on their ship once a month at the waterfront park in St. Marys’ downtown historic district. They’ll let you and your children climb on board and take a tour, both above and below deck, while maritime experts talk about tall ships and maritime heritage. They also offer special programs for groups like Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, which must be arranged ahead of time.
The view aboard the Steelaway is lovely, and the way the couple manages their daily tasks is fascinating. They have a working kitchen, a wood stove, and a very environmentally-friendly commode on board, not to mention a good sized bed and a working shower. They even have a desk and computer with Internet access.
Fazzio loves the way kids marvel at the tall, beautiful ship.
“There’s not a boy who comes down that ramp that doesn’t say, ‘Daddy, daddy, look! A pirate ship!'” he told me.
Note: This is not a stroller-accessible venue. You need to be able to climb the ladder into the ship (using both hands) in order to take the tour.
If you want to go:
When: 12 to 5 p.m. one Saturday a month (They announce which Saturday on their Facebook page each month)
Where: Howard Gilman Waterfront Memorial Park, Downtown St. Marys, GA
For more information: Call Anne at 919-704-0630, visit them at http://schoonersteelaway.com/ or befriend them on Facebook. They’re listed under the name Steelaway Stone.