Allison guessed correctly! We went to Cumberland Island for the weekend! :)
The last gift he opened was the history book of the island with the following note attached:
Pack your bags with warm clothes! The ferry leaves the dock this Friday at 12:15 to take us to the Greyfield Inn!
Consider yourselves forwarned! There are a lot of pictures and commentary but I don't know how to leave any of it out. It really was the most perfect weekend; from the weather, the other guests staying at the inn, all of the little details and I don't want to forget any of it! Please excuse all of the obnoxious historical commentary. The history teacher in me is coming out and I have no idea how to hush her up! ;)
And before we begin, a little background info about the island and where we stayed:
Thomas Carnegie (brother to the more famous Andrew Carnegie) bought a large amount of the island in the 1880's to build a winter home, Dungeness. He died in 1886 before the mansion was completed, but his wife continued to live on the island and raise their 9 children. When each of her children were married, she offered them all $10,000 to build a "cottage" on the island, hoping to keep her children close. With this wedding gift, her daughter Margaret Ferguson built a home, Greyfield, on the island in 1900. Her grandaughter, Lucy R. Ferguson inherited the home and her family later turned the home into an inn, the Greyfield Inn.
Friday morning we boarded the Lucy R. Ferguson to head over to the island.
Tracking our location on Will's GPS as we rode over to the island.
The last bit of "civilization" we saw for the weekend before heading out into open water.
Buh bye real world!!
The ferry ride lasted about 30 minutes and while we rode, any stress and tension I had just melted away. Literally. By the time we pulled up to the dock and caught a glimpse of the inn through the trees, I was loose as a goose.
One of the Greyfield's employees met us down at the dock to walk us up to house, while the porter took our bags. She was explaining the some of the history of the island and the inn when we turned the corner and saw it.
Um, yeah. Nice "cottage."
It took all I had not to run up the front steps, burst through the door and yell "I'm home! I'm home!" It was like every history class, southern literature book, and daydream I have ever had about stepping back in time and living a hundred years ago CAME TRUE!
Am I a total nerd to admit that? Oh well!
She gave us a quick tour of the house. First stop, the front porch. I could have stopped there, but we continued on...
beach towels on the front porch for guests
talk about southern hospitality! Every need we could possibly have was already taken care of, before we even had to ask! It was like staying at your rich grandmama's house who had prepared everything for you before your arrival.
Our suite for the weekend
sitting room off of the bedroom
there were family pictures of the Carnegie family scattered all around the house. Like I said, like being at grandma's! But a very rich and famous grandma! All of the furniture, books, and pictures were original to the house.
After touring the house, we set out to explore the island.
The inn has bikes, kayaks, and fishing gear available for you to help yourself at your leisure. At this point, we had only seen the girl who gave us our tour. There is nobody around. ever. I think Will and I saw a total of about 20 people all weekend. You really feel like you have the run of the place.
everywhere you look, these gorgeous oaks with spanish moss are scattered around the grounds.
The island is basically uninhabited, but there are trails everywhere for biking and hiking.
We first explored the beach. The dunes are huge...reaching heights of 50 feet and there are wild horses that run free all over the island.
Then we headed down the main road to find the old mansion Dungeness.
Built in 1880's and abandoned in 1925, the mansion burned in 1959. Even though only the ruins remain, it still takes your breath away when you ride up the front entrance.
It had 59 rooms and took over 300 servants to keep it running!
the view of the marsh from the front of the mansion
wild horses taking a drink on the grounds of the mansion
After we left Dungeness, we headed to the Icehouse museum to read up on a little history of the island. This is a picture of Dungeness, back in the day, just to give you an idea...
and this is a picture of the Greyfield taken in 1908.
We learned how to use the self timer on the camera to take a picture since there was nobody around to ask!
At dusk, we headed back the the inn.
and snooped around the other rooms to see what they looked like. There are 16 rooms at the inn and only 2 other couples were there that night. This room reminded me of Anna Cate and Caroline and I found myself daydreaming, again, about living in this house a hundred years ago.
Will did a little reading in the sitting room while I showered for dinner.
another shot of our room looking into one of the dresser mirrors. If you don't like antiques, you probably won't appreciate the details but it really was like stepping back 100 years in time. There were very few lamps on and no electrical outlets. We were without television, internet, phone, and radio all weekend and it was heaven. All you heard was the wind rustling through the spanish moss outside and it was like therapy to just unplug from everything.
Before dinner, we went downstairs to the bar and fixed ourselves a drink...
...and then went into the living room to enjoy hor d'oeuvres by the fire.
At this point, we still had only seen 1 person at the inn the entire day.
However, all of that that was about to change as we were about to meet a lovely couple that would be the first of several different characters that we would encounter over the weekend!
to be continued...