Saturday, May 28, 2016

What I Did on My Summer Vacation (part 4): Cumberland Island

I copied this from the Cumberland Island website because they said it better than I ever could.

"Welcome to Georgia's largest barrier island and one of the most spectacular natural habitats in the Northern Hemisphere. The greatest and most lasting value of the Island is its ability to change us. It is a place of transformation. It is this intangible feature that seems to be the most important benefit which Cumberland Island has for its guests. This spiritual quality is what, year after year, its visitors, residents, and Park Service employees seem to believe is its most important contribution to our people."

 To get to Cumberland National Seashore, you have to catch the ferry boat, the Cumberland Princess, in St. Marys, Georgia. Cars are not allowed on the island, and although some people did bring bikes with them, they're not allowed on the trails.

 St. Marys waterfront park.

The ferry lets you off near the Dungeness Ruins.

Getaway's Anna Hider has summed up the history of the place without going into too much detail:

" of the most interesting and important estates in American history is this ruined mansion out on Georgia's Cumberland Island, part of the Cumberland National Seashore. More than one famous figure occupied the island (as far back as the 1730's!) and yet the remains have been left to crumble.

James Oglethorpe, the man who founded the state of Georgia, was the first to occupy the island. He built a hunting lodge he called "Dungeness" there in 1736. After that, the next major owner was Revolutionary War hero Nathaniel Greene, who.... built another iteration of Dungeness on the estate in 1803. The island played a big role in the War of 1812, when the British occupied it and used it as a headquarters, and Robert E. Lee's father stayed in the mansion for a few years before his death. The island was abandoned during the Civil War, and Dungeness II burned down."

Finally Thomas Carnegie (brother of the famously wealthy Andrew Carnegie) and his wife built yet another Dungeness, a 59-room Queen Anne style mansion.  The Carnegie family left the island in 1925, and the house burned down and fell into ruin. Now cared for by the National Park Service, the island is designated as a National Seashore.

There were originally about 40 outbuildings; the ones that are left are eerily beautiful.

Many were quarters for the family's approximately 200 servants.

I'm pretty sure this was a barn...

From Dungeness, I think it's about a mile walk to the beach.

On the way, we saw several wild horses.

Mama and baby were running around playing amidst the trees...

At one point I was walking along the path when I heard and then saw a horse galloping full-speed right at me. I barely had time to jump out of the way, and since there was thick vegetation alongside the path, it missed me by only a few feet. (Not this horse; I didn't get a shot of it for obvious reasons.)

The path to the beach passes through a very large area of huge sand dunes, which are beautiful, but not that easy to walk through...

Cumberland Island beach. See all the hotels and condos lining the beach? No, me neither.

There was hardly anyone there... mostly just us and the birds...

On the way back, the sky looked threatening...

...but we lucked out and it never rained.

We got back on the ferry at Sea Camp, the island's small, beautiful camp ground.

Goodbye, Cumberland Island!

I hope you all enjoyed my little tour. If you like wild, unspoiled nature, I strongly recommend taking the trip!


  1. Every photo...beautiful! Such amazing ruins, dunes and wild horses. It is a world unto itself...thanks for the tour.

  2. Glad you enjoyed it, Mary Ann! It really is a peaceful and beautiful place.


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