Saturday, March 30, 2013

Spring Adventures on Cumberland Island

 By the time my friend and I boarded the ferry to return to Historic St. Marys, we were exhausted.  Cumberland Island had proved to be more vast that we had thought, but we enjoyed exploring every inch that we could. 
When we arrived at Cumberland Island at the Seacamp Dock around 10, and even though it was late March, the temperature was in the low forties and extremely windy.  We were determined not to let to temperature put a damper on our day.
When we had planned the trip, we knew that we wanted to rent bikes ($16 all day), so we made sure to ask where we could find them.  Next to the building at the Seacamp Dock are numerous bike racks filled with beach cruisers, mountain bikes, and a few children's bikes.  We claimed our bikes and waited as the man from the ferry to come over.   Both bundled up in two layers of pants, three shirts, two jackets, gloves, and hats, we took to the main dirt road. 
Bikes were the way to go.  Once we had them, we took off North, occasionally exploring the side trails and the beach.  This seemed to be the opposite direction that most of the people on the ferry decided to take.  The majority began their day by walking South to Dungeness.  After making it out to the small cemetery around Stafford (and we saw two horses in the field!), we turned around to explore the southern end of the island. 
The bike ride was long, and we were ready for a break by the time we reached Dungeness.  Mind you, my friend and I do not pedal leisurely.  We booked it for most of the trip so that we could see as much as possible.

The entrance to Dungeness was stunning, as it is so different from the landscape we had already experienced.  We quickly found a nice spot on the lawn behind the ruins, set out a towel, and rested out bikes in the grass.  Lunch was a quiet, picturesque picnic in the sun.  Those viewing the ruins and area around Dungeness were still bundled up in coats and hats, but we had shed our layers to tanks and shorts because of the long bike ride.  We relaxed, stretched out on the towel, and took in the sun.  It was a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky.  After we rested, we walked around the ruins, down to the marshes, and then East to the other structures. 
We finished our day trip by returning to the towel and sketching the landscape.  Just as we had become absorbed in our drawings, a mare and her foal approached us.  As two of just six or seven people at Dungeness, we sat as quietly as possible enjoying the moment.  The mother led her baby across the field and soon the rest of the herd followed.  They grazed along the tree line and eventually made their way down to the marsh, the foal clearly hesitant to make the jump off of the ledge.
My friend and I both agreed that it is amazing that a place such as this even exists.  The trees, the silence, the history, we could not get over it.  I highly recommend making the trip, and I will again soon.  I want to be able to explore more of this place.  It is a treasure. 


If you plan on making a trip to Cumberland Island, I recommend bringing:

  • Layers of clothes.  The island is cooler than Historic St. Marys, and the wind on the ferry can be harsh.  Even if it is Spring, you could easily need hats and gloves.
  • A bag large enough to hold those layers.  A comfy backpack worked well for me.
  • A small wallet
  • Water bottle(s)
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug repellent
  • Lunch and snacks
  • Plastic bags
  • Towel
  • Book/ paper to sketch.  It is so nice to sit somewhere quiet and to relax
  • Camera and battery
  • Band-Aids
  • Broken in shoes
  • Paper towels

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