Cumberland Island National Seashore

Today, after more than a year in Florida, R&R (the boat and we who feed, clean and maintain her) crossed the border into Georgia. Only about seven miles beyond our prior stop at Fernandina Beach, FL is Cumberland Island, GA, former winter home of the family of Thomas Carnegie, younger brother and business partner of steel magnate Andrew Carnegie. Most of the island is now a National Park Service site.

Cumberland Island is a popular backpacking and camping destination. Only National Park Service motor vehicles are allowed in quiet Cumberland Island National Seashore, so walking and cycling are the only ways to see the natural beauty and historic sites on the island,

We anchored R&R offshore and drove the Dandy Dinghy to the island
Rhonda got her NPS passport stamped!
Most visitors come by ferry to walk, bicycle, and camp on the island
The island has many stunning live oak trees draped with Spanish moss
Ruins of Thomas and Lucy Carnegie‘s 37,000 SF mansion, Dungeness
Dungeness in its heyday

When Thomas Carnegie died in 1886 at age 43, he left his widow Lucy with nine children and an uncompleted Cumberland Island mansion. Lucy finished and expanded Dungeness and lived there for many years. She gave lavish wedding gifts to seven of her children, and many of them used the gifts to build their own estates on the island. One of them, Greyfield, is still operated by Carnegie heirs as an upscale Inn accessible only by boat.

When Lucy Carnegie died, her Will directed that her Dungeness mansion be maintained with income from other investments and that it not be sold as long as any of her nine children were living, unless all of them approved the sale. Lucy’s children did not agree to sell Dungeness, but they reduced maintenance and eventually closed the dilapidated home, and in 1959 the mansion was destroyed by fire. This unfortunate result is certainly not what Lucy intended, but a fortunate outcome is that in 1971 the Carnegie heirs gifted the property to the National Park Service.

Cumberland Island is home to a herd of wild horses brought to the island by former residents. These feral horses roam the island and are thoroughly unimpressed by human visitors.

We had considered anchoring overnight off of Cumberland Island, but decided to move on to our next stop, Jekyll Island, only about 25 miles north. For Loopers who understand the jargon, I uploaded Bob423’s GPX track to R&R’s chartplotter, converted it to a route, and had the autopilot followed it automatically. Sweet!

Little Cumberland Island Lighthouse, at the northern tip of the island
We passed this nuclear submarine base just north of Cumberland Island.

Today’s trip included smooth Captain/First Mate collaboration on anchoring, dropping the dinghy, and lifting the dinghy at Cumberland Island, and a docking at Jekyll Harbor Marina despite significant tidal currents. Kudos to the First Mate!