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Posted By Robin & Jim

Cumberland Island National Seashore remains a favorite anchorage and place to explore.  It's right above the Florida-Georgia border, and is a natural barrier island with 17 miles of pristine beach, dunes, and maritime forest.  It is known for its wildlife as well as its history as a private winter resort for the Carnegie and Rockefeller families. 
There is too much to say about Cumberland Island, but our favorite part is the knarled maritime forest of live oaks (and long-leaf pine to the north), swept by ocean winds.  The trees are covered in Spanish moss and resurrection ferns, and armadillos, wild turkeys, deer, and feral horses wander the landscape.

maritime forest

The horses were left behind when the wealthy abandoned most of the mansions on the island, and the Park Service doesn't interfere with them.  We saw several colts as we toured the island - they are so sweet.

colt and mother

The Park Service started offering a more extensive tour of the island last summer - Lands and Legacies.  It was a perfect way to see the more distant sights, especially since the road is rutted sand and dirt and the distances are too long for walking and difficult for biking.  On a hot July Fourth, the air conditioned van was just perfect!
We got to see the elegant Plum Orchard mansion, with amazing luxuries and capacity to entertain many people in high style (and it was only a small mansion!).

plum orchard

One of the highlights for me was to see the tiny little First African Baptist Church (founded in 1893) at the north end of the island.  This is where John F. Kennedy, Jr. got married.

first african baptist church

Some of the live oak trees on the island are incredibly old - some may be 500 years old or more.  The older ones have branches that droop to the ground and then angle upwards - they're huge and dramatic, and I wonder about all the history they have lived through.

old live oak

Temperatures were in the mid-90's and humid with the awful heat wave, but we spent the late afternoons swimming in the ocean to cool off, and then running back to the dinghy to avoid the mosquitos that thrived after all of Tropical Storm Debby's rain.
It was a great visit to one of our favorite places, and yes, we realize how lucky we are to be able to enjoy all this.


 
1 Comment(s):
jim and val said...
Wow, Cumberland Island sounds and looks like one for the bucketlist with Donald when he gets older. I've only seen the feral horses on Assateague Island. That tree is crazy looking, I'm sure if they could talk the stories would be great and old.
August 21, 2012 10:05 AM
 
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