Cumberland Island National Seashore

After more than a year in Florida, R&R (and the people who feed, clean and maintain her) crossed the border into Georgia today. Only about 7 miles beyond last night’s stop at Fernandina Beach, FL is Cumberland Island, GA, former winter home of the family of Thomas Carnegie, younger brother and buisness partner of steel magnate Andrew Carnegie. Most of the island is now a National Park Service site.

Only NPS 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, which is popular backpacking and camping destination.

We anchored R&R offshore and dinghied in 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.

Now in the category of unintended estate planning consequences: Lucy Carnegie’s complex Will directed that Dungeness be maintained with income from other investments, and prevented the division or sale of any of her Cumberland Island land property as long as any of her nine children were living, unless all of them approved the sale. Lucy’s children never agreed to sell Dungeness, but over time maintenance was reduced and eventually the dilapidated home was closed. In 1959 Dungeness was destroyed by fire, leaving the ruins seen today. This is certainly not what Lucy’s intended, but even this sad unintended consequence kept the property intact and led to another, happy, unintended consequence: a 1971 gift of the island property by Carnegie heirs for use as a national park.

Cumberland Island is home to a large 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 farther north. For boaters who understand the jargon, in navigating today’s trip I uploaded Bob423’s GPX track to our chartplotter, converted it to a route, and automatically followed it with the autopilot. Sweet!

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

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