We're just back from our second day ashore this barrier island, a national seashore. It's a fascinating place comprised of salt marshes, maritime forests, a few buildings and one of the longest and emptiest beaches we have ever seen. There are no cars, just hiking trails, and we've covered a fair few of them.
The Carnegie family very much commandeered the island in the late 1800s to mid-1900s when the younger brother and his wife raised their nine children here. Every time one of them married, their parents built them a mansion here to keep them close by. Sadly the parents' home burned down and only the ruins remain but it's obvious the sheer scale of the place.
This morning we went 6 miles north in the dinghy, a somewhat bumpy ride, to visit the house they built for their eldest son and his wife in 1898 for the sum of $10,000. The property, Plum Orchard, was handed over to the national park in the 1970s and it was interesting to see. With it's own diving pool, stables, squash court and tennis court, the sheer size of the place clearly demonstrates just how wealthy the Carnegies were. Apparently they sold out their steel works to J P Morgan at the turn of the twentieth century for $300 million ... just imagine how much that would equate to today.
We're moving on tomorrow morning to Fernadina Beach all being well where Paul will take to the skies.