As Family Search missionaries, we have a regular schedule that includes working from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The facility that we work at follows the calendar established for the regular employees of the University of Florida and thus there are times when the facility is shut down. One such time was over Christmas. We enjoyed a break that started December 25 and continued through January 3. We took advantage of the break to continue our exploration of the sites within our mission's boundaries.
St. Marys and Cumberland Island
Cumberland Island National Seashore is a national park located on a barrier island in southern Georgia. There is a daily limit to the number of visitors who may travel to the island. The only access by visitors is by ferry. It is a wildlife and historical preserve.
At one point in time, the Carnegie family owned most of the island. Some of their mansions are still standing, while some are not.
Part of the attraction to the island is the presence of wild horses that were first brought here by the Carnegie family.
There are several points of interest on the island although it is highly suggested that one take advantage of the guided van tour that is available. We had an opportunity to see the small church that John F. Kennedy's son (John Kennedy Jr.) was married in.
President Jimmy Carter also visited an old friend that lived on the island. They would sit on the front porch of this house and discuss life in Georgia.
On the ferry ride on the way back from Cumberland Island we were able to enjoy a beautiful sunset.
We also enjoyed our stay in St. Marys, especially the bed and breakfast where we spent the night.
Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island
We also spent some time on Amelia Island where one of the attractions is a fort that was constructed by the Union Army during the Civil War.
There are also many attractions in the Gainesville area that we enjoy on Saturdays. In December, we visited the Dudley Farm.
Sugar Cane Festival at the Dudley Farm
At one time, sugar cane was an important crop in some parts of Florida including the Dudley Farm in Gainesville. They celebrate each year by having a festival where the sugar cane is harvested and then processed using the same methods that were used many years ago. Other displays depict the culture and lifestyle of the people in earlier times.
Dudley farm house
Grinding corn to make meal for chicken feed.
Music from that time period.
We enjoy the opportunities we have to visit the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens in Gainesville.
Kanapaha Orchard and Camellia Shows
In October, we enjoyed Kanapaha's annual orchard show. In January, we enjoyed their annual camellia show. Both are examples of the beauty in God's creation.
Our calling as Family History Missionaries is providing us with the opportunity to do meaningful work for those on both sides of the veil, while giving us ample opportunity to explore the many attractions within our mission while enjoying life in Florida. We are thankful for this opportunity.