Posts Tagged ‘Cumberland Island Wild Horses’

Find Your Park at Cumberland Island

February 4th, 2016 by Mary

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Last week I blogged about the Find Your Park initiative from the National Park Service – this week I want to expand on that by giving you an overview of St. Marys’ neighboring park, Cumberland Island National Seashore.

Accessible only by water transportation, whether you take the Cumberland Island ferry or your own seafaring vessel, Cumberland Island is more than 36,000 acres of almost completely undeveloped wilderness – 9,800 acres of the land is Congressionally designated Wilderness. It is the largest and southernmost barrier island off the coast of Georgia, protecting the mainland from the harshest effects of coastal storms. The west side of the island is bordered by the Cumberland River and Cumberland Sound, both part of the Intracoastal Waterway, and to the east is the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. All sorts of wildlife call Cumberland Island home – from wild horses grazing on the grounds of the Dungeness ruins to ghost crabs hiding in their holes along the beach to shorebirds cruising above the salt marshes. The island also houses numerous ecosystems – the saltwater marshes on the western shore, the maritime forests that cover the island’s interior, or the pristine beaches along the Atlantic Ocean.

Cumberland Island is a nature lover’s paradise – there are 50 miles of hiking trails that meander all over the island and numerous sites for camping, whether you camp at the primitive sites in the Wilderness or at the developed sites with restroom facilities. Bikes are available for rent and can be used on the main road – expect a bumpy ride! If you prefer a more leisurely adventure, explore the 17 miles of white sand beaches while collecting shells and shark teeth that the tide has brought in. The Lands & Legacies van tour is an excellent way to experience the full scope of the island in a day – you are driven by a knowledgeable guide up the single main road to the north end of the island, a 16 1/2 mile journey from Sea Camp Ranger Dock. Along the way you stop at the Settlement, which once was home to African American workers; the First African Baptist Church, where John F. Kennedy, Jr. was married; and Plum Orchard, a fine mansion that once belonged to the Carnegie family at the turn of the twentieth century. These standing structures are evidence of past development on the island. There is another example that is no longer standing – the ruins of the Dungeness mansion, which are on the south end of the island. The first Dungeness was built in the late 1700s; another was built on the same site in 1884 but burned down nearly 80 years later, and since then the ruins have remained undisturbed.

In 1971, most of the owned land on Cumberland Island was given to the National Park Foundation, and the next year it was designated as a National Seashore. Since then, the NPS has endeavored to preserve the island for future generations to enjoy. Only 300 visitors are allowed on the island each day – this includes both campers already on the island and daily passengers on the ferry. Maybe Cumberland Island can be your park, whether you’re a fan of the outdoors or a history buff – there’s something for everyone on this wild piece of paradise. If you’d like more information, visit the Cumberland Island section of our website or the NPS Cumberland Island page.

 

 

Cumberland Island Lands and Legacies Tour

August 8th, 2013 by Mary

After seven years of planning, The Lands & Legacies tour began August 2011 and has been a must do for Cumberland Island visitors ever since. This much sought after tour takes a limited number of people a day, 16 miles each way – that they would otherwise have to bike or walk, to the north end of this captivating island.  For $15/adult and $12/senior or child – in addition to the ferry fee, day-trippers and campers the like are able to tour historic sites such as, the extravagant Plum Orchard Mansion, the First African Baptist Church (where John F. Kennedy Jr. & Carolyn Bessette were married) and learn about the wilderness and wildlife that live and grow on the island, as well as its intricate human history.

Your tour begins shortly after an enjoyable 45-minute ferry ride on the Cumberland Queen leaving from the St Marys waterfront at 9am and arriving to the Sea Camp dock, the second dock on Cumberland Island. This is where you will meet with your National Park Service ranger/tour guide and load onto a white, 10 passenger, air conditioned van. From there you will embark on a 5-6 hour journey on the rugged unpaved “Main Road”, awe struck with the islands never ending beauty. As your tour continues, be sure to keep an eye out for wild horses, hogs, turkeys and many other forms of wildlife that inhabit the island.

After breaking for lunch, your tour guide takes you through the enchanting Plum Orchard Mansion. Walk through those beautiful white, double doors and you are suddenly taken back to the early 1900’s – greeted by a room so warm and welcoming, you already feel at home. This 22,000 square foot mansion is southern comfort at its best. From dining room to bedrooms and basement to indoor pool, you won’t want to miss a beat.

As the Cumberland Island van tour draws to an end, you are taken back to the Sea Camp dock. If the tour ends early enough, you then have an opportunity to venture to the beach for the remainder of your day on the island or just a mile down the road to Dungeness. Dungeness was another Carnegie mansion, it was burned to the ground in 1959, but the ruins and grounds are just as eye catching. The brick chimneys and stone skeleton still stands as a glimpse into the past of the grandeur that once was Dungeness. Just a short walk away is the Dungeness Dock, where you will catch your 4:45pm ferry back to the St. Marys waterfront – don’t miss the ferry because that’s the last one until morning.

Taking the Lands & Legacies Tour is just one way to experience Cumberland Island National Seashore and its vast natural beauty and history. If you are interested in exploring the island by foot or van tour, reservations are strongly recommended – to make a reservation call 912-882-4335, Monday – Friday between the hours of 10am – 4pm. For more information on Cumberland Island, camping, and tours please visit: www.nps.gov/cuis

 

Cumberland Island Campsites

July 3rd, 2011 by Mckenzie

One of the great camp sites on Cumberland Island

Camping is a great outdoor activity for anyone. The wild horses and gorgeous beach lines make for an amazing camping trip.

Cumberland Island National Seashore has many campsites.  Sea camp is the one developed campground with showers and bathrooms, and the rest are backcountry campsites.  Stafford beach is a primitive campground right near the beach. Brickhill Bluff is a lovely backcountry camp site. It overlooks the marsh and has amazing sunset views.

Reservations are required to camp on Cumberland Island. Trail maps are provided. For more information, contact the National Park Service, 912-882-4336.

Le Petit Futé visits Spencer House

June 23rd, 2011 by Seth

Joanna & Loic enjoyed the porches here at Spencer House Inn

Joanna Dunis & Loic Hoff, writers for the French Travel Publication Le Petit Futé, paid a visit to the Spencer House Inn as they visit different places in the south for an upcoming guidebook.

After visiting Cumberland Island for a day of hiking, photographing, and relaxing, the duo settled in at Spencer House

Take a Tour of the Plum Orchard Mansion

June 2nd, 2011 by Seth

The Plum Orchard Mansion

This Classical Revival style mansion on Cumberland Island was completed in 1898 for George Carnegie as a wedding gift from his mother. When she spoke with the architects who were designing Plum Orchard, she told them that she envisioned a “simple house.” However, Plum Orchard is nothing short of magnificent.

Tours of this wonderful home are offered on the 2nd & 4th Sunday of each month. You will be able to see how the Carnegie’s spent their time on Cumberland Island, how they entertained, how they relaxed, and how they have influenced the area’s rich history. You may even see one of Cumberland Island’s many wild horses on the lawn.

Up Close with Cumberland Island’s Wild Horses

March 30th, 2011 by Seth

Catherine taking a photo of a wild horse on Cumberland Island

Catherine and her family spent the day on Cumberland with her mother and father. They explored the island and had a great time. As you can see, they were able to get some great pictures of Cumberland Island’s wildlife, specifically the wild horses.

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