We went to St. Marys, GA today to catch the ferry to Cumberland Island, the largest of the Golden Isles of Georgia. Cumberland Island was designated a National Seashore in 1972. The national Park Service limits the number of visitors to the island through the use of the ferry. There are only limited runs daily and this time of the year there are none on Tuesday and Wednesday. If you want to camp, you have to bring everything with you and take it all off the island when you leave. There is one camping area with running water and bathrooms with cold showers; the other camping sites do not have facilities. Sounds like fun.
The earliest settlement on the island was built by the Spanish like Jekyll Island. The French and English also had stints owning the island. James Oglethorpe, first Governor of Georgia, built a hunting lodge on the southern part of the island in 1736 that he called Dungeness. The earliest American settlement was built by Revolutionary War General Nathaniel Greene's wife. She built a tabby, shell sand and mortar, house that was occupied until the civil war. It was burned down in 1866. Andrew Carnegie's brother, Thomas, built a 59 room Queen Anne style mansion in the 1880's that was called Dungeness. The Carnegie's eventually owned 90% of the island. They lived at Dungeness until 1925. After that it was pretty much abandoned and burned in an arson fire in 1959. All that remains of the house is the ruins that have been protected by the NPS since 1972.
Cumberland Island National Seashore is one of 7 Atlantic Coast barrier islands with feral horses. The best know is probably Chicoteague in Virginia. The herd on Cumberland numbers about 175 and they are pretty ratty looking.
We explored the southern part of the island around the Dungeness ruins and walked to the beach. I guess we walked about 5 or 6 miles. To see the whole island you need to take the tour that runs 6 or 7 hours by van on the dirt road the runs the length of the island or spend several days on the island camping. Sue's not used to walking that much and you can see from the pictures that the vultures were waiting for her to stop on the way back from the beach. She mad it alright and truth be told I was beat and my feet hurt by the time we got back to the dock to leave.
The ride on the ferry back to St. Marys was refreshing as the sun was beginning to set. We got to see a pretty sunset over the St. Marys River and Cumberland Sound. All in all it was a nice day on Cumberland Island. We'll be continuing our route south tomorrow. Stay tuned.