This morning, we took the 9:00 ferry from St. Marys to Cumberland Island, the largest and southernmost in a chain of barrier islands extending the length of Georgia, known collectively as the Sea Islands or sometimes as Georgia’s Golden Isles.
Actually, Cumberland Island is a complex ecological system of interdependent animal and plant communities. The three main flora zones are the saltwater marshes (which we only skirted), the maritime forests (thick with saw palmetto and other palm shrubs and canopies of live oak trees (some more than 400 years old) and beaches, some of which are close to 100 yards wide when the tide is out.
We had taken our lunch and ate it on one of the expansive beaches on the Atlantic side of the island. The water wasn’t overly cold.
As time, dictated by the departure schedule of our return ferry (there are no stores, restaurants or accommodations on the island … other than the Greyfield Inn where the nine rooms start at a bargain rate of $495/night), was limited, we were only able to see the southern part of the island. Fortunately, that included the two Dungeness estates … on land owned or inhabited at various times by Revolutionary War hero General Nathaneal Greene, the founder of Georgia, James Oglethorpe, Andrew Carnage’s younger brother, Andrew, and other Robert E. Lee’s father, Henry Lee III, and other lesser well-known Americans.
A variety of horses roam free on the island and as of last year numbered just over 141. They are descendants of horses brought by the Spanish in the 16th century and other breeds which were introduced by later inhabitants.
A return to St. Marys and Cumberland Island is a MUST for next year’s winter trip to the Southeast and Naples!