Travelogue: Cumberland Island: Plum Orchard: First African Baptist Church: Dungeness

It’s a long post, heavy with photos but if you stick around I think you’ll really enjoy the trip!

We recently traveled to Cumberland Island for a bit of R&R, a bit of work and to visit the First African Baptist Church on the north end. The island itself is absolutely amazing. Owned by the National Park Service with a few landhold families who live there for varied terms and arrangements many are the descendants of the original Carnegie and Candler owners of the Island. Cumberland Island limits daily visitors to 300 and arriving on the island takes place by ferry out of St. Mary’s Georgia and contracted through the NPS on the Cumberland Island website.

Cumberland Island is approximately 18 miles long and between one-half and 3 miles wide—or about 40 square miles.

Cumberland Island, Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia

golden isles, getaway vacation, luxury romantic hotel, georgia coast, oceanfront hotel

Most visitors are day visitors although there is camping at several sites as well as lodging at the Greyfield Inn. The ferry leaves at 9 and most visitors head back to the mainland on the 4:45 ferry although there is an earlier one for quick visits and to return campers and residents to St. Mary’s. On any day you could see jumping sting rays, manatee, or even a submarine from nearby Kings Bay!

You’re at the mercy of the elements and must carry on your own water and food as none is available. Pack it on, pack it off. Restrooms are few and far between but clearly marked on the map provided by the NPS. Most day visitors travel to the ruins of the Carnegie mansion, Dungeness, and it’s remarkable grounds. Wandering around the perimeter of the ruins, along sandy paths shaded by enormous live oak trees dripping with Spanish Moss and out to the beach along a couple long boardwalks over the marsh and over hot white sand is a once in a lifetime experience. While bicycles are available to rent, in all honesty they aren’t maintained very well and are useful only to travel the short walk to Dungeness. Biking further north is very VERY difficult due to the deep sand and intermittent washboard surface of the roads—- ask us how we know! :)  Our first trip to Cumberland was with the thought we’d bike up to the church where JFK Jr. married Carolyn Bessette. We were wrong and actually made it just a bit further than the Stafford Cemetery.  But this trip the focus was on reaching the church……. and focused we were. Arranging for a tour (after hours on the phone waiting to make a reservation), and arriving at Sea Camp, we boarded a van with 6 other guests of the island and had the opportunity to tour another unoccupied mansion on Cumberland, Plum Orchard. Enormous, magnificent, still showing off Tiffany lamps, beautiful wallpaper as well as many features ahead of it’s time (ice makers, elevator driven by water pressure and gorgeous bathrooms) touring the mansion and having lunch on the grounds with the wild horses was a treat.

Did I mention that approximately 140 wild horses have the freedom to wander all over the island and are seen everywhere? They aren’t terribly skittish around humans but approaching them is definitely not recommended!

Plum Orchard was amazing, I was so glad it was open for touring on our visit. Dedicated in 1898, it’s remarkable to me that tourists can take in just about every nook and cranny & find it is wonderful shape!

The mansion had lots of unique ‘tech’ that was not seen in ‘regular’ homes for many years such as the heated towel racks in the bathrooms, the bells that summoned the servants in the basement, and plumbing in the bathrooms that was so modern it was not hidden from view. Note one of the children’s dollhouse in the lower left! The bell on the lower right is engraved with the names George Carnegie and his wife Margaret who built the mansion. It was rung only when visitors were coming up the long drive or in case of an emergency.

There is still a squash tennis court as well as an (empty) indoor pool 9 feet at the deepest and quite large!

The kitchen was ENORMOUS taking up a huge space in the basement. Recently renovated with fresh pennyround tile and a fresh coat of paint I felt as if I could move right in and begin work!

Check out the electronic board on the upper left. A bell in each of the rooms of Plum Orchard could be rung and the staff summoned to exactly the right place! I got a kick out of one of the sinks in the kitchen on the lower right— it would be gorgeous in a kitchen today!

Moving out past Plum Orchard after having lunch on the grounds we stopped at Stafford Cemetery, and drove out past the Stafford mansion. The road got MUCH worse as the van moved through the center of the island past pig traps and the occasional camping sites well off the road. Once arrival at the north end of the island it was more than clear to me that there was no way in the world that we would have made the trip on bikes during our first trip over to Cumberland. The roads were that grueling, the rental bikes that bad.

That brings me to an iconic site, historic on it’s own yet having an attraction for today’s bride and all visitors! This remote location is 12 miles from the Sea Camp dock, the second stop of the ferry into the island, the ferry ride itself is 45 minutes long. The ride from Sea Camp is easily an hour, maybe more for horses in the road, trees blocking the way or any number of hazards. I’d love to go back again and  stay on at the Greyfield Inn!

The church sits at the end of the island before a river separates Cumberland Island from Little Cumberland Island, not accessible to tourists and privately owned. I have SUCH a hankering to go and see the lighthouse there! “This small, one-room church on the north end of Cumberland Island is where John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette were married on September 21, 1996. Constructed of whitewashed logs, it’s simply adorned with a cross made of sticks tied together with string and 11 handmade pews seating 40 people. It was built in 1937 to replace a cruder 1893 structure used by former slaves from the High Point–Half Moon Bluff community. The Kennedy–Bessette wedding party stayed at the Greyfield Inn, built on the south end of the island in 1900 by the Carnegie family.” (Fodors)

Goosebump stuff indeed.

Doesn’t everyone know the iconic photograph of JFK Jr. and his bride Carolyn Bessette Kennedy leaving the church?

© 1996 Denis Reggie

The wedding planned by Cumberland Island resident and Carnegie descendant Gogo Ferguson, “Carolyn walked down the aisle in a $40,000 pearl-colored silk crepe floor-length gown, hand-rolled tulle silk veil and long silk gloves by Narcisco Rodriguez. She also wore beaded satin Manolo Blahnik sandals. Her hair was pulled back away from her face and styled by George Kyriakos. A bun at the nape of her neck was pinned with a clip belonging to Jackie Kennedy. She clutched a lily of the valley bouquet, arranged by Rachel “Bunny” Melon, the same woman who designed the White House rose garden. The groom wore a single-breasted, midnight-blue wool suit, with a white piqué vest by Gordon Henderson and his father’s wristwatch. Following the ceremony, guests retreated to the Greyfield Inn for a reception. Dinner included shrimp, artichokes, grilled swordfish and lemon-raspberry ice cream. There was also a traditional three-tier white wedding cake covered with vanilla butter cream frosting and flowers.” (

Normally you’d never be able to squeeze in a trip to the southerly Dungeness ruins but our tour driver was kind enough to drop us off so that we could tour there and catch the ferry back from the main dock and not Sea Camp. I’d been before but it was no less magical!

Revolutionary War Hero General Nathanael Greene purchased land on Cumberland Island in 1783. Following his death, his widow Catherine Greene, constructed a four-story tabby home that she named Dungeness. Thomas Carnegie and his wife Lucy began building another Dungeness on the original foundation in 1884. The Carnegie’s Dungeness burned in 1959 and today only the ruins remain on the site. (NPS)

No doubt I’ll go back again to magical Cumberland Island

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Several groups of company have kicked my ass. Thoroughly. When the last car rolled away late Saturday afternoon I was completely exhausted. To. My. Toes. But I’m also a little bit crazy about getting it all back together so it was a whirlwind of clean sheets and laundry done, factor in the island living thing and the sand was deep so a vacuum and mop was also in order. By the time things were set to rights it was fall on the couch time.

In the WOOOOOOOOOT category is the fact that the center 4 sections of the Mitered Square Afghan are DONE! Time to join them together and add the borders. Well, once I catch up on work that is!

I’ve got a travelog to add soon from a recent trip to Cumberland Island, my second. After the first trip (which was amazing) I knew that I absolutely had to get back and all the way up to the north end to see the First African Baptist Church where JFK Jr. married Carolyn Besette. The day out there was glorious and the photos prove it!\

I can’t be the only one catching my breath on this Monday morning and getting it all back together! :)



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July Flies

I love July—- everything about it! And of course I hate the way July FLIES….. just zoom and it’s gone. I don’t even mind the heat, it isn’t like I didn’t know it was going to be hot in the first place!

July kicked off with a dash up to Savannah for work and took houseguests along to mix in a little bit of play. The request was to eat at Lady & Sons, Paula Deen’s restaurant downtown. It isn’t usually my first choice (I can eat pralines and bits and bites with a smile) but I’m always happy enough to comply. The special treat was that Paula herself made a visit to the restaurant that even surprised her staff. She was shooting footage for her new internet show (that I can’t wait for) and was ‘incognito’ in a brunette wig and a staff t shirt. We were waiting for a table having left our name with the desk and there she was in all her PD Glory! Hey y’all indeed!

Photo: Shh, y'all! I went undercover today at the The Lady and Sons to surprise some of my guests! What a hoot!

I loved Miss Paula then, during and now!

How can you not look forward to a hoecake served hot to your table?


Paula Deen’s Hoecakes
Servings: 16 hoecakes (give or take)
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 15 min
Difficulty: Easy


Oil, butter, or clarified margarine, for frying
1/4 cup vegetable oil or bacon grease
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
3/4 cup buttermilk
2   eggs
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup self-rising cornmeal, or from a mix (recommended: Aunt Jemima’s)
1 cup self-rising flour

Mix all ingredients together, except for the frying oil, in a bowl until well combined. Heat the frying oil or butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop the batter into the hot skillet. Use about 2 tablespoons of batter per hoecake. Fry each hoecake until brown and crisp; turn each hoecake with a spatula, and then brown the other side. With a slotted spoon, remove each hoecake to drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

Chef’s Note: Leftover batter will keep in refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen


Along with her on the visit to Lady & Sons was her son Bobby and his sweet wife Claudia Lovera (who’s social media skills are fierce!) Upon walking into the shopping side of Lady & Sons, I found Bobbi there hearing from my table mates how everybody always calls me Paula Deen, he smiled and pulled me in for a photo. Sorry, vanity rules here, I have the worst haircut in recorded history and I’m not going to share it! :)

The 4th came in a whirlwind and I was so happy to have my patriotic burlap flag banner on the front porch, it made me feel ready to have a great weekend—- which it was!!!

Around here, the 4th means you get on your bike to get around the island a. because it’s fun and b. because the traffic is horrible and you’re not likely to find parking anywhere! Sure it’s hot, who cares? The beach was packed to the point that I’ve never seen it so crowded!! Granted it was high tide when I took this photo so there was less sandy real estate, but still! No thanks, I’ll beach it up later! ;)

The highlight of the 4th for me is always the Golf Cart Parade!

{SO. MUCH. FUN!!!!!}

There were a record number of carts this year with locals & visitors

all decorated and wonderful!!

After a ride home for a bit of cooling and some rehydration, a quick bite to eat, it was time to get back on the bikes and head down for fireworks. This year with a nice low tide, we decided to ride along the beach and pick out a great spot with a good vantage point for viewing, with some of the “big houses” and their own displays large enough to pay my mortgage and car payment… and a quick egress from the beach to the road. With 45 minutes to burn we enjoyed fine people watching, the sounds of the surf, a little tiny nap and a stunning sunset! Sunsets here are usually gorgeous, this one seemed breathtaking as if Mother Nature wanted to show that her display was as good as the upcoming fireworks!

And finally, at about 9:05 the fireworks began, they raised up in all their glory above the bend in the beach and gave it their all. Then when our neighbors with money to burn (ha) joined in the fire-y display, it was magical indeed.

Riding home was easy going the back way and after a nice shower to wash the beach away it was time to think about a slice of watermelon to cap off the day.

Hope your holiday weekend was nothing short of spectacular as well!

Knitting? Not a lot done. Houseguests kept me feeling like I ran a B&B so there wasn’t much. I can report there is ONE square left of the mitered square afghan! WOOT!  The next couple of posts I’ll show her center section complete and being sassy!

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Happy 4th!

I’m in the middle of company 1 and company 2…. the changing of the guard happens this weekend. It’s fun to have company and we have a lot of it, when you live near the beach it’s expected.

For this one I’m a little tired and a little cranky. Sigh.

Regardless, hope your 4th of July (if you of the American persuasion) is happy and safe!

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Shifting to a Close


 Count ‘em,

One. Two.

The mitered square portion is almost over. I know you’re as tired of hearing about it as I am of the lamentations! Then it’s likely time for the moaning about the endless borders.  :)

Happy Monday!

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Foundation Friday: Estimating Yards in Fabric & Yarn

If you were to ask a quilter, a knitter or a sewist of almost any kind the number one irritating practical problem they face it would be estimating yardage for a project. Unless you are using a pattern and relying on the exact number of yards called for, you’re in the guessing realm. Even for written patterns, almost all depend on a system whereby they round UP….. meaning you have too much, OR if you’re like most creatives you make a pattern your own by adding (or subtracting) length, sleeves, ease, style or size of a quilt or home dec project.

You can guess, or round WAY WAY up— but that leaves a lot of money on the table that could be better used for another project, right?

Quilters can use any number of quilt programs for PC or Mac where you can input the block type and add fabric to the blocks resulting in a fairly accurate yardage count.

Sewists can look at a similar pattern and guess–

Knitters can do the same.

But it all relies on a basic foundation.

Quilters need a block type and count + sashing + backing

Sewists need length and body width, knowledge of how many pattern pieces they’ll be cutting and their length (ex. bodice front and back, sleeves, facings, etc.)

Knitters need garment type and gauge.

With these foundations in place you can much better estimate yardage needed. Add to that some excellent resources on the web and you’ll dial down the zone quite a bit.


From Jimmy Beans comes a favorite yarn calculator (and there are others!).

This example uses a cardigan style sweater 40″ in chest size with a worsted weight yarn. The assumptions are given on the right. There are lots of variables to use the calculator.


Again there are lots of resources:

White Quilt with Bold and Patterned Blocks From a blog on Craftsy comes good advice

& a quilt yardage calculator from Quiltbug makes it easy for main yardage and binding:

A backing and binding calculator from Quilters Paradise is very useful as well:

Sewing Garments for Misses, Men or Kids? There are calculators and estimators as well!

From (believe it or not) Dummies comes a useful list:

You still won’t be Bang On Accurate, but you’ll be close.

Closer Yet requires some sketching and some time…… you may want to estimate and call it good. If you are using a particularly expensive fabric and can’t layout your pattern in the store (!) a layout is a good idea. Draw out the length and width of the fabric and TO SCALE add your pattern pieces in an economical layout. (Use the layout/cutting instructions from your pattern if need be). You’ll be close but I suggest you add in a little bit of extra just in case!

Keep an idea ‘in your head’ (sounds scary) of the garment….. and how it is likely to fit on fabric. A skirt? Unless you are more than 90 inches in circumference you will need only one length of fabric. Length? How long do you want with allowance for hem and waistband. Shirt? Usually one length for the front, one for the back, add sleeve length and any extras like facings, cuffs, linings, etc.

Lastly, keep notes! Many knitters, quilters or sewists keep a sort of journal with each garment made. When you add a sketch or photo of each project with the yardage requirements of fabric or yarn you’ll soon get your own built in estimator. Having a written record helps jog the memory!

Plan well and have fun!

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Tutorial: Large Flat Bottom Project Bag

I love project bags and have quite a few of them. Last weeks trip meant I needed a new one to fit into a large tote….. you know, one of those larger than a purse and smaller than a full on suitcase deals! Consolidating the current knitting project into a project bag that would bit into my tote with other essentials meant one less thing to carry.

Using favorite fabrics from stash I made quick work of it. The fabric is a long out of production Alexander Henry in a pink and black colorway, skulls with knitting needles, skulls with scissors and a print of a cartoon like sewing machine repairman. This version is unlined, if you wanted to add a lining simply make two and insert wrong sides facing before you stitch the casing in.

I’ve always loved the fabric and it was time to actually USE it!

The front and back were each one color with the pocket the novelty print

Two rectangles were cut 21 inches by 33 inches

the pocket is 8 x 16″, folded in half, stitched with an opening left to turn.

Topstitch pocket closing the opening.

The rectangles were joined on one side and finished with a zig zag (I still haven’t replaced my serger)

Attach the pocket by edge stitching around the sides and bottom. Add velcro to close.

Pin down the top edge a quarter inch and press and then turn down another inch and press for the casing.

Mark the center on one side of the casing, stitch a buttonhole vertically there to feed the ribbon out of the casing.

My ribbon is vintage pink grosgrain and the inch channel was just the right amount.

Fold up the casing carefully (so you can stitch a smooth side seam) & with the wrong sides together stitch the other side seam & finish. Stitch the bottom seam and edge finish.

Fold the casing back in place and stitch close to the folded edge.

Use a bodkin or safety pin to feed through the ribbon.

Press flat & turn inside out.

Mark the corner:

Fold the sides into points with the front on one side and the back on the other.

Mark 3 inches straight across and stitch, then trim.

Inside and outside views of the corner that will make the bag sit flat.

NOTE: Lining the bag will make it sit nicer, interfacing the bag even more so.


You’re done!

I love my project tote. It’s large enough to fit the last quarter of the Mitered Square Afghan and then some!

I just may interface and line it at some point. I’ll make a bag exactly like it, fold down to where it will fit inside just above the casing line and machine stitch a line around the top, not interfering with the casing itself.

How many project bags do YOU have?

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No Place Like Home



Worst Wedding EVER.


2 1/2 hour delay on a stopped dead interstate coming home.


Yes, knitting happened. FIVE SQUARES LEFT on the mitered square afghan. FIVE!!!  My Knit Picks order for more navy yarn to finish the last row arrived while I was away on bride duty and sat on a wet stormed on porch— so glad they wrap in plastic!!

The new knitting bag worked out perfectly and allowed me to haul one less bag.

Tutorial coming!

The week kicks off getting back into the groove and preparing for a huge wedding this coming weekend along with back to back company on the horizon.

Happy Monday!

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The Best Foundation (Friday)’s are FOOD!

As I head off for a short and sweet roadtrip I leave you with the best summer foundation of all:

Cornbread & Butter Beans.

Say Amen.

Photo: Cocktail or two on the front porch. #fourroses small batch. Yum!

If you’re not a fan of butter beans (shame shame)

how can you argue with bourbon and cheesy h’ors d’oeuvres?

I swear, if the mosquitos didn’t want to carry me off I could live on the front porch!

Posted in Chat

Little Footstool Re-Cover

The footstool is still in great shape “on the inside”…. and started as a red floral matching a chair. Then I recovered it with dropcloth—- which I still love. The slipcover needed a slipcover and a cool summer blue was just the thing.

I used outdoor fabric with a small diamond quilt texture and laid it over the stool wrong side down. Pinching a dart on all four sides brought  it in with a bit of shape—– but not TIGHT. I cut it short enough for the pleated under-skirt to peep out like a petticoat. (Hasn’t it been a long time since you’ve heard that word????)

Finding 8 great aqua and white buttons (with a 40% off coupon) echoing the chevron on the rug was great! Each “pleat” got a button on each side giving this little recover recover a fantastic summer pop for little time and little money.

Love that!

My sweet boy dog doesn’t seem very interested….. does he? Poor Price has had one thing after another, recently his left hind leg has been giving him fits and at times he can’t put it down. A trip to the vet shows no real damage except to my bank account. Good thing he’s the most wonderful dog ever and so cute, good indeed!

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