What a great and glorious day! The National Park Service provides a boat ride to the largest barrier island in Georgia that is full of history and natural wonders.
A park ranger gave a talk while walking (strolling) to the remains of the Dungeness Estate. I learned a lot about the inhabitants and trees and animals around us. Nathaneal Green came here after the Revolutionary War and tried to make money by harvesting live oak trees and selling them to the Navy for boat building. He died in 1786, but his widow remarried and built the first Dungeness estate. Slaves worked the plantations and enabled Sea Island cotton to become an important source of income for the Green family. Louisa, Nathaneal's wife, brought in olive, orange, fig, date, lime, and pomegranate trees and had quite a grove!
Louisa also cared for Henry Lee and buried him on the grounds when he died. In 1913, Lee's remains were removed to Virginia where they were placed next to his son, Robert E. Lee.
The ruins of Dungeness we see today are from the grand estate built in the mid 1880s by Thomas and Lucy Carnegie, younger brother and sister0in-law of financier Andrew Carnegie.
Thomas died in 1886 in his 40's but Lucy built on to it, gardened, expanded the estate to include 90% of the island, and built houses for each of her nine children when they came of age! Dungeness burned in 1959 by an arsonist.
The horses on the island are descendents of Carnegie's horses. They are considered wild but are used to people being around. Because of the open fields, the horses on the southern part of the island are very healthy, while the horses on the north side seem to be gaunt. There are white-tailed deer, raccoons, turkeys, armadillos, alligators, snakes, and other reptiles, besides lots of crabs and other shellfish. I saw a few horses and deer today.
After seeing the estate, I walked to the beach via the salt marsh on a boardwalk, then walked barefoot on the beach for 1.5 miles to the path for the campground and other park amenities. The sand was very hard on the shore so today I developed blisters on the balls of my feet. I'm such a wimp! The love oak trees are just on the other side of the sand dunes and it felt like being in an enchanted forest! Campsites are nestled under these huge trees so they are shady and somewhat cool on this hot day! Everything besides the tents are hung from the trees or locked inside a raised enclosed cabinet. This is a carry in and carry out park with no supplies on the island. People are allowed to camp for up to a week and I can see why!
I highly recommend this adventure to anyone passing by the southeast corner of Georgia! Thanks to Deb & Laura for telling me about this!