Byline: Madelyn Merwin
Q: I remember reading about an exclusive island off the coast of Georgia where John Kennedy Jr. was married. I think the name of it is Cumberland.
Is that island open to the public? Are there accommodations, either camping or hotels?
A: Cumberland Island National Seashore is indeed open to the public, and it is where JFK Jr. was married.
It's a fascinating island because, of all the islands along the Atlantic coast, this one is closest to its unspoiled, natural state. It's just 18 miles long and 3 miles wide, covered with moss, oaks, palmettos, marshes and empty beaches. Wildlife includes ibises, ducks, alligators, wild turkeys and wild ponies. Loggerhead turtles return annually to lay eggs in the dunes.
Before I get into accommodations, let me give you a little background. Gen. James Oglethorpe, founder of Georgia, built a hunting lodge on the island and called it Dungeness after a castle in Kent, England. After the Revolution, Gen. Nathaniel Greene of the Continental Army acquired the structure, planning a magnificent mansion. His widow completed it after his death in 1786.
In 1881, Thomas M. Carnegie (brother of financier Andrew Carnegie) and his wife Lucy bought Dungeness and it became a favorite retreat for the family. Carnegie died in 1886, leaving his widow and nine children. Mrs. Carnegie added to the house and built three others - one of them, Greyfield, for her daughter. This is where young Kennedy was married.
Unused since the 1920s, the Dungeness mansion was burned by vandals in 1959. …