,I’m looking forward to a return trip to Cumberland Island. We visited last year and it was peaceful but stirringly beautiful in its history lying lightly on the grounds like a fog descending to earth.
To get there you board a boat in nearby St Marys Georgia. Down the river of the same name and out the mouth it shares with Florida’s Amelia Island the ferry turns north. This channel is shared with the Kings Bay Naval Station which hosts America’s east coast fleet of nuclear submarines. The giant boats and the associated bunkers can best seen not from the deck of our craft but from Google Earth.
Cumberland is a big island, almost 18 miles long, and the eastern shoreline is pristine with very little sign of human interference. LuLu will love it. Just a hundred yards from high tide he interior is a lush mix of sand dunes, marshes, moss draped Live Oaks and criss-crossing sandy paths. The history, like many of these sea islands, has a dark overlay especially from the attacks from the Spanish marauders and later the English who brought to the native population disease and violent death. Sound familiar?
Reportedly some of the live oaks were harvested to supply colonial shipbuilding including the USS Constitution. Later slaves were introduced to support the difficult cultivation of the prized Sea Cotton. Walking the nearly empty island paths now creates a sense – for me – of treading in an ancient graveyard with all the attendant reverence and imaginings of a grown up small town boy.