Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summer Vacay Part 3: Cumberland Island

On Wednesday we boarded a ferry bound for Cumberland Island, a mostly uninhabited barrier island off the coast of Georgia.

The Cumberland Queen ferry
Studying the map!
Ready to ride!
Allie LOVES islands so this seemed like the perfect place to take her on our tour of the southern coast! She was so excited! :)

On the ferry

Arriving at Cumberland and beginning our trek into the wilderness!
Live oaks are everywhere on the island. In fact, Revolutionary war hero Nathaniel Greene purchased land on Cumberland in the late 1700s to harvest the trees for ship building.
Cumberland Island has a really intriguing history. Only a handful of people have ever lived on the island, mostly notably the Thomas Carnegie family (brother of Andrew Carnegie) back in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Thomas and his wife Lucy bought close to 90% of Cumberland to make a winter retreat. Thus, Dungeness, their mansion, was born.

Dungeness was design as a 59-room Scottish castle. They also built pools, a golf course, and about 40 other buildings to house the 200 servants who worked at the mansion. Cumberland was a place of grandeur and extravagance among a beautiful, island backdrop. Sadly, due to the Great Depression, the Carnegie's eventually abandoned Dungeness and the island. The last time Dungeness was used was for a Carnegie wedding in 1929.

Dungeness sat vacant for about 30 years before a fire destroyed it in 1959.
The source of the fire is a bit of a mystery, but most believe it was arson, set by a poacher who had been shot in the leg by a caretaker a few weeks before. Today, Dungeness is left in ruins.

At the steps of Dungeness

Cars from the 20's left to deteriorate where they were last parked.
Cumberland Island also boasts a bands of feral horses.
The origin of the horses is somewhat unknown, but people believe they were either shipwrecked or abandoned by Spanish explorers in the 1500s. We had been on the island maybe 5 minutes and 3 horses came barreling down the road we were walking on. It was crazy! We saw many horses all over the island during our stay. It's kinda strange because they come so close to you it's almost like they don't even see you're there.

Horses on the beach
We also rented bikes on the island to help us get around quicker. It was really fun and Allie did an amazing job keeping up with us and pedaling through some thick sand!
 Zach and Allie biking

Zach at the marsh.
We also hiked through some serious sand dunes to get to the beach on the east side of the island. Allie looks so cute rockin' Zach's hat on our walk down the boardwalk.
Once we got to the beach, we had a blast playing in the waves and looking for shells. It was really strange/awesome to be at the beach with maybe 2 other families and no buildings, boats, or hotels in sight!

Razor shells

Floating, not dead. LOL.
Looking like a flamingo. :)

Cumberland Island was so amazing! We love this wild place! After our ferry ride back to St. Mary's, we jumped in the car and headed to Jacksonville to see my sister and BIL. Stay tuned for part 4 of our vacay!

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