Cumberland Island – A Great Nature Escape

Cumberland Island – A Great Nature Escape

We had to get away. You know, that unpredictable time when two calendars align and it’s just a matter of Where do we go? You go through the list of places you’ve been meaning to go.

We’ve never been to Paris together? But November isn’t exactly a great month for Paris.

You’ve always said you wanted to get back to Denali! I thought we were talking about November?

There’s always Florida? There’s always Florida.

With distant memories of a undeveloped beaches, wildlife and a historic inn, my wife and I chose Cumberland Island, Georgia. A chance to set aside busy schedules, enjoy a beautiful outdoor setting, and balance time spent exploring with time being pampered. With a flight into Jacksonville, an overnight stay in Amelia Island, and a boat ride up a coastal river, we arrived at our three day nature escape.

Cumberland Island – A Great Nature Escape 2

Cumberland Island is the home of the Greyfield Inn. With their emphasis on southern hospitality, it’s hard not to slow down and be at peace with the world. It took a few ….hours for me to slow down. With binoculars and telephoto lens in hand, I was encouraging my wife to hurry through lunch so that we could be early for the first nature walk. The theme for our first afternoon turned out to be the wild horses on the island. Even though they seem more plentiful than squirrels on the island, it’s still a rare site for us mainlanders.

Cumberland Island – Side Lit Wild Horse
Cumberland Island – Black Vulture Under Fog

After a very enjoyable dining experience and a good night sleep in one of their historic cottages, I was off the next morning on my first nature ride. Though the wildlife wasn’t that active that day, the novel scenery and interesting light was enjoyable enough.

Although I shouldn’t have been surprised, Cumberland Island has a very rich history, including significant property ownership by the Carnegies from the 1880s through the 1960s. By 1972, the island became the Cumberland Island National Seashore. We enjoyed multiple mid-day tours of the buildings on the island and particularly liked hearing the stories, not always positive, of the Carnegie family over the years.

Cumberland Island – Plum Orchard Swimming Pool
Cumberland Island – Dungeness Mansion

With the third day on the island arriving, we were sure to slow down and enjoy our last few hours. Wildlife activity had picked up on the early dawn wildlife tour. The guide helped us find a rare “piebald deer”, which I assumed was a different species of deer but turns out is just a genetic variant of white-tailed deer.

Cumberland Island – Piebald Deer

Our mid-day departure quickly approaching, we enjoyed one last lunch out on the Greyfield’s lawn and enjoyed watching the wild horses graze.

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