Cumberland Island, Georgia
Unwind on a hidden and primordial seashore

From the March 26, 2001 Issue of New York

Long before it became a national seashore and wilderness area, Cumberland Island had a reputation as a magical piece of real estate. "Earth in something close to its original state" is how John McPhee described the eighteen-mile-long island, which lies just off the southern coast of Georgia. The beach is 300 yards wide in places, and a favorite breeding ground for sea turtles. After the turtles came the Carnegies, who once maintained the island as a private residence. These days, you can tour their ruined mansions, camp under the stars, or bicycle to the beach down long alleys of palmetto and Spanish moss. The only accommodation on the island is the Greyfield Inn, a commodious old-world establishment owned by descendants of Thomas Carnegie. (This was the site of John Kennedy Jr.'s secret wedding reception.) If you're up to it, visit the church where the doomed couple was married.

Delta, 800-221-1212, and US Airways, 800-428-4322, fly nonstop to Jacksonville from La Guardia; car service to Fernandina Beach, Florida: Aero Transportation, 888-289-4919; the Greyfield Inn, 904-261-6408 (doubles start at $290, including meals and ferry).