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May 1, 2014

8

Georgia On My Mind: Florida to Georgia

by frankandems

After leaving Daytona, we trucked on up through the state with only a brief stop in St. Augustine. And then we thought we’d just “keep on truckin’.” (Okay, how many of you over the age of 50 had a poster or a sticker on your notebook that said that when you were young? Or was that a West Virginia thing?) Anyway, the weather had some different ideas for us.

First, St. Augustine. We took a mooring ball in somewhat unsettled waters/wind which made for a long and somewhat wet dinghy ride in to land. We did get off the boat a bit and met up with our friends Brian and Jane from Mar-a-lago (from the B to B Fleet. We keep crossing paths!) We had to stay in St. Augustine an extra day due to some bad weather moving through. As Frank likes to say, “You’ll have that.”

Sites and scenes in St. Augustine

Sites and scenes in St. Augustine

Leaving St. Augustine

Leaving St. Augustine

Next we wanted to go to Fernandina Beach. We missed it on the way down . . . and guess what? We missed it on the way back up, too. (You’ll have that.) Between the stretch of unfavorable weather and the fact that there was a trawler (boat) gathering in Fernandina, it just wasn’t in the cards. There was more bad weather coming and we wanted to make SOME progress north, so we made it to a marina on the southern side of Jacksonville and sat there for three days waiting for storms to move on through. We managed to get out for a couple of good, long walks up the highway to visit the Publix grocery store and the Waffle House. There were also two fun restaurants on the premises, so we made the best of our days there.

Front and back of sign at the ABC store. I think somebody be celebrating already!

Front and back of sign at the ABC store. I think somebody be celebrating already! The one on the right was on the gas station side of the sign. I think I know where the extra “s” came from!

Beach Marine in Jacksonville, FL - our stay during some weather.

Beach Marine in Jacksonville, FL – our stay during some weather.

Next stop, Cumberland Island, Georgia! This is a place we had heard so many good things about and wanted to visit. It is a National Seashore and only reachable by boat. One of the things it is known for is the wild horse population. I most definitely wanted to see the wild horses! We were off and in search of them. There are three distinct areas to explore on the island: 1) The trails and camp sites in the marsh lands, 2) the beach on the Atlantic side, and 3) the ruins of an old mansion that had been owned by the Carnegies at one point. The horses roam the entire island – or so we hear.

We anchored by the island and took the dinghy to the dock where the daily ferries arrive from St. Mary’s, GA and where the ranger station is located, and began exploring.

Captain happy to be anchored at Cumberland Island.

Captain happy to be anchored at Cumberland Island.

This is the ferry that brings visitors over from St. Mary's - the main means for people to visit the island. We were able to park our dinghy here.

This is the ferry that brings visitors over from St. Mary’s – the main means for people to visit the island. We were able to park our dinghy here.

It was a chilly, overcast day which actually made for comfortable hiking. First, we followed the paths through the live oaks and spanish moss. Gorgeous!

Following the marked paths on Cumberland Island.

Following the marked paths on Cumberland Island.

Spanish moss on live oaks - beautiful and spooky looking.

Spanish moss on live oaks – beautiful and spooky looking.

Kept looking for wild horses . . .none to be found.

Then we cut across to the beach. It was practically deserted with just a few other people wandering the island. We looked up and down. No wild horses . . . we kept walking.

 

The beaches were wide open and stunning.

The beaches were wide open and stunning.

Eventually we got to the Dungeness Ruins. (Dungeness is the name of the mansion and grounds – kind of like “Tara” from Gone With the Wind.) What a history of this site. I will give you the headlines. It’s pretty interesting, and remember, this place can only be reached by boat.

– Original mansion was designed by Revolutionary War hero Nathanael Greene. He got the land in exchange for a bad debt. His widow built the original, four story tabby mansion on the site in 1803.

– Dungeness is occupied by the British during the War of 1812 and used as a headquarters. (I’m wondering if Mrs. Greene was tearing the draperies off of the windows to make a dress . . . )

– In 1818, Robert E. Lee’s father, Henry, moved into the house and stayed until his death and was buried there for a time.

– Mansion is abandoned during the Civil War and burns down in 1866.

– In the 1880s, one of the Carnegies buys the place (Thomas, Andrew’s brother) and begins to build a 59 room Queen Anne Style mansion on the original foundation. Although he does not survive to see it finished, his widow continues to live there and builds three other mansions on other parts of the island for her children. (Do you notice a theme here? The guys start the place, die, and the widows end up living in there. Hmmm…)

– The Carnegies move out in 1925 and leave the mansion sitting empty.

– The mansion burns in 1956 – arson is suspected. The remains of Dungeness are now preserved.

The grounds of Dungeness.

The grounds of Dungeness.

Dungeness then and now

Dungeness then and now

image

 

It is a beautiful piece of land with amazing views of the woods, marshes and shoreline. Any sensible horse would LOVE to hang out here! Still nothing. Let me point something out: Here are pictures from the blogs of some of our water buddies:

 

From Magnolia's blog and a visit about two weeks ahead of us: these horses were too lazy to even move out of the trail for the.

From Magnolia’s blog and a visit about two weeks ahead of us: these horses were too lazy to even move out of the trail for them.

This horse stood and posed for Anthony!

This horse stood and posed for Anthony!

And here Brian is just showing off with the horses on the beach.

And here Brian from Mar-a-lago is just showing off with the horses on the beach. This was a few days after our visit there.

And here’s what we’ve found so far: It ain’t right.

Hoof prints and other "evidence" of horses. Hey - poop happens.

Hoof prints and other “evidence” of horses. Hey – poop happens.

At last, far far in the distance, way far away, I spot . . . could it be . . . if I had binoculars I’d know for sure . . . yes, it appears there are two or three wild horses!

 

I think there are horses out there.

I think there are horses out there.

That was as close as we ever got. Sigh. I’m changing the words to the Rolling Stones song “Wild Horses” to ” wild horses … couldn’t drag themselves out….” It was a delightful visit to Cumberland Island IN SPITE of the fickle horses.  What a beautiful and interesting place.

Frank in the marshes.

Frank in the marshes.

After that stop, we buzzed right on through the rest of Georgia, pausing only to anchor overnight by Raccoon Island south of Savannah.

 

After that we headed into the Carolinas. Next post (coming soon), we’ll catch you up on our Carolina travels. Right this second we are sitting in North Carolina, so yes, I’m a little behind again, but we’ve been hauling gas! (minus the “g” and plus the “s”) We have stayed put for the last couple of days to let the bad weather pass through . . . we did well seeming to be just north or south of the worst storms (or as we sometimes call the, free boat baths.)

And so, the trek towards home continues!

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Tara Hall
    May 1 2014

    Hi there! Just wanted to say hello and I really enjoy reading your travel blogs of your adventures!!!! I haven’t been to St. Augustine since I was 10 so it was nice to see pictures of that area again! Too bad you didn’t get to see the horses on that island…next time bring apples and carrots…you might just get their attention! Stay safe and enjoy! Tara H.

    Reply
  2. I really think you are a nice person and have no idea what the horses would have against you….”just say’n” Be Safe WF

    Reply
  3. Ellen Kelly
    May 1 2014

    Love the mansions, Thanks for sharing!! Smooth sailing! Ellen

    Reply
  4. Jo
    May 3 2014

    Fantastic blog….loved the mansions, the stories, the pics and hearing about your trek home! 😉

    Reply
  5. Cheryl duvall
    May 3 2014

    Love the stories and especially the humor! Always!

    Reply
  6. Caroline Rapking
    May 9 2014

    Frank and EMS (although I suspect this is really addressed to EMS) — sorry for the belated comment, but horse poop? Really? We believed you, honestly, we did! 🙂 Pretty pictures, otherwise!!!!!!! C-

    Reply
    • May 10 2014

      Frank tried to talk me out of it, but I couldn’t resist!

      Reply
  7. Jun 19 2014

    Thanks for sharing. We put Cumberland on our list and I was very happy to read about your trip!

    Reply

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