This is the general route we took from the Sea Camp dock to the north
end of the island and back; I used two map sections so you
can read them:
Hopefully that configuration will show properly on your computer or
device! I usually center the photos but the easiest way to make the road
align in both sections was to place the north end to the right and the
middle part of the island to the left. You can see the full map of the island at this
We first rode north on the main island road for about 15 miles to the
farthest point in the tour, the old "Settlement."
The small houses in
this village were home to the servants and other workers at Dungeness,
Plum Orchard, Greyfield (all those were owned by the Carnegie family),
and other mansions on the island.
It's also the
location of the little First African Baptist Church, now better known as
the venue for John F. Kennedy, Jr.'s wedding:
All of us in the van had heard tales about the eccentric elderly lady named
Carol who continues to live in The Settlement. She has worked hard all
her life to conserve the island. Although some of the property owners
don't like even the maximum limit of 300 visitors a day to the island,
Carol is on good terms with the National Park Service staff.
We didn't see Carol but could see her property from the unfurnished
house we were able to tour:
Only a few houses remain in The Settlement. This is one
that was not restored:
On the return we stopped at the Cumberland Wharf ruins (now just some
pilings and a view of the Cumberland River).
We passed Robert Stafford's plantation and got out to see the little
Colorful shells in the old tabby
wall around the cemetery
We spent the longest time at Plum Orchard, a Georgian Revival mansion
built in 1898 for the Carnegie's son George and his wife. When he died a
sister also lived there.
The property was donated to the Park Service in 1971.
Anyone on the island can show up and a volunteer named Jeanne, who lives
on-site in January, February, and March, will show them around.
It's a large house -- 20,000 square feet -- and all of it except
two renovated "apartments" for Jeanne and a law enforcement ranger are
open during the tour.
It was interesting but since most of the furnishings are gone it's not
elegant like the Biltmore estate in North Carolina and some other grand
houses we've toured.
It was interesting to see the plumbing, electrical, generator, heating
system, indoor pool, and other mechanical things. Some of the woodwork
was really cool, too.
Pretty potty in the basement
Ranger David looks at an old
engine in the basement.
Small swimming pool in the
I enjoyed walking around the property outside during our lunch break. The estate,
which borders scenic Cumberland Sound, is mostly covered with sprawling live oaks dripping with Spanish
When we got done with the tour we had some extra time before the
afternoon ferry returned passengers to St. Mary's. Some of us got off at
the Dungeness ruins, wandered around by ourselves, and walked to the Ice
House dock. The others chose to walk out to the beach from the Sea Camp
ranger station and caught the ferry from the Sea Camp dock.
This is the route I took from the Dungeness ruins, pergola,
greenhouse, and boat dock out to the beach via the marshlands and back to
the Ice House dock, a distance of about three miles:
Race ya back to St. Mary's!
On the tour we saw lots of song birds and about twenty feral horses. All
but four of the horses were in the northern herd; they were
mostly in small groups.
David (ranger) said the horses that live in the northern part of the
island tend to look better and be more healthy than the ones in the
southern part but I couldn't tell any difference from the ones I've seen
in the south on five trips to the island.
Lush tail on a handsome wild "northern island" horse near the Stafford
While wandering near the marsh at Dungeness I saw four horses 'way out
in the marsh, which surprised me. David says they eat marsh grasses
about like moose. The ones we saw on the tour had mud to their knees, so
I shouldn't have been surprised.
On my walk a the end of the tour I also saw a pelican at the former
Dungeness dock, a raccoon near the pergola, and an armadillo along the sandy roadway.
I really enjoyed the Lands & Legacies tour and highly recommend it to others who are
interested in the history of the island and want to see more of it than
is readily accessible by foot.
[Ironically, Ranger David and his wife own a house only a few miles
from the one we sold in Virginia. His wife works in that area. David
works at warm-weather national parks in the winter and closer to home
along the Blue Ridge Parkway the rest of the year. While working at
Cumberland Island he's living in a motorhome at a private RV park close
to Kings Bay. I saw him again on the next trip I took to the island in
March, shortly before he was due to head back home.]
Photos from my third day trip to the south end of the island
continued on the
next page (these scenes are all new)
. . .