Paradise Untouched: Cumberland Island

June 5, 2012 by

Cumberland Island image from Wild Cumberland

Amid the many tragedies that have marked the Kennedy family legacy, several indelibly happy images still spring to mind alongside the legendary name. When John F. Kennedy, Jr. married public relations executive Carolyn Bessette in an ultra-private ceremony in 1996, the locale of choice was the First African Baptist Church, a tiny, rustic sanctuary on Cumberland Island, Georgia.

The quiet seclusion and abundant natural beauty of the island are its hallmarks, nestled between the Cumberland River and Atlantic Ocean and shaded by maritime forests. Its untouched quality, fittingly enough, lends a sense of intimacy suspended in time.

JFK Jr and Carolyn Bessette's Wedding - image from People Magazine

First African Baptist Curch photo from National Park Service

A favored destination for school field trips from neighboring Georgia and Florida towns, the Cumberland Island National Seashore, as it’s officially named, offers bicycle excursions and walking tours of the island’s historic gems, from the ruins of a Carnegie family home to the on-site history museum.

The attractions are accessible by 30 miles of unpaved roads winding through 9,800 acres of wilderness, home to loggerhead turtles, feral hogs and horses.

Dungeness Ruins on Cumberland Island - image via Chatting Inside the Rainbow

Nearby residents  have been vocal about their concerns for the island’s natural resources if affected by an abundance of careless visitors; as such a limited schedule of ferry departures take place each day to welcome guests onto the island.


Photo credits: Wild Cumberland, People, National Park Service and Chatting Inside the Rainbow

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