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Amelia and Cumberland Islands and the Okefenokee Swamp

Program Number: 11603RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/28/2012 - 11/2/2012; 10/12/2014 - 10/17/2014; 10/19/2014 - 10/24/2014; 10/26/2014 - 10/31/2014; 1/18/2015 - 1/23/2015; 1/25/2015 - 1/30/2015; 2/1/2015 - 2/6/2015; 2/8/2015 - 2/13/2015; 2/15/2015 - 2/20/2015; 2/22/2015 - 2/27/2015; 3/1/2015 - 3/6/2015; 3/8/2015 - 3/13/2015; 3/15/2015 - 3/20/2015; 3/22/2015 - 3/27/2015; 4/12/2015 - 4/17/2015; 4/19/2015 - 4/24/2015; 9/20/2015 - 9/25/2015; 10/11/2015 - 10/16/2015; 10/18/2015 - 10/23/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Fernandina Beach, Florida
Price starting at: $821.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Natural History Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 14; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Encounter vivid natural and human history on two beautiful islands and amazing Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. Hike the interior maritime forest of Amelia and Cumberland islands with a naturalist, boat into the Okefenokee Swamp and end your week with an Amelia River study cruise to view rare birds, dolphins and manatees.




Highlights

• Discover the historic streets and architecture of Amelia Island with an expert who shares the story of a visionary who stirred neighbors to move their entire town.
• A soldier in period costume details the fascinating history of Fort Clinch, an important 1800s fortress for both Confederate and Union forces.
• Venture deep into the mysterious Okefenokee Swamp on a two-hour boat ride and 1.5-mile boardwalk exploration to experience black water lakes, pond cypress and the American alligator.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to four miles on Cumberland Island day hike; optional shorter hike. Okefenokee boat trip in a covered motorized boat with open sides.



Coordinated by Center for Educational Adventure.




Fernandina Beach

This is the largest town on beautiful Amelia Island, the southernmost of the Sea Islands that trail down the Carolina and Georgia coasts. The Victorian element of Fernandina Beach's 4,000-year history is on view in the 50-block historic district.



Accommodations
Spacious suites with full kitchen, swimming pool, five-minute walk to Atlantic Ocean.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Tom Murray

Tom Murray is a graduate of San Jose State University but is a Southerner by choice, having spent more than 35 years in the South absorbing the culture, customs and history of the region. Tom specializes in coastal history with an emphasis on the sea islands of Georgia. Few people know and love beautiful Cumberland and Amelia islands better than Tom. He has spent 15 years lecturing and leading Road Scholar groups to sites from the mountains to the sea.
 
Ron Kurtz

Ron has been an Amelia Island resident for more than 20 years. After attending Hiram College, he graduated from New York University with a degree in educational theater. Ron served as the director of the Amelia Island Museum of History and wrote a highly regarded history of the island, now in its sixth printing, as well as a series of children's books. Ron has lectured on the history and architecture of the first coast for the Historic Preservation Trust as well as the Smithsonian Institution.
 
Kevin McCarthy

Kevin grew up in Gloucester, Mass. and settled in Fernandina Beach in 1968. He spent 41 years sailing the waters of northeast Fla. and southeast Georgia. He holds a 100 ton master’s license and developed his knowledge of the wildlife and history exploring the waters that surround Amelia Island, Cumberland Island and St. Mary's, Ga. Generations of Kevin’s family have been shrimpers, and he shares with participants his knowledge of shrimp farming and the future of the shrimp industry in the U.S.
 
Lynn Wadley

Lynn Wadley is a folk performer who makes music come alive. A past Florida mountain dulcimer champion, she presents six types of rare instruments in a program filled with songs and stories. A self-taught musician, Lynn has delighted more than 200 Road Scholar groups over the past ten years. She has taught folk music classes at Jacksonville University, John Campbell Folk School, The Mountain in Highlands, NC and many other workshops.
 
Patrick Leary

Patrick Leary is a lifelong naturalist and birder who is committed to coastal bird conservation, and conducts surveys and monitors populations of shorebirds year round. He is a contributing member of the American Oystercatcher and Red Knot Working groups, and collaborates with researchers studying Piping Plovers on the continent and in the Bahamas. Pat contributed to Florida’s initial Breeding Bird Atlas and has co-authored a local bird guide.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Residence Inn by Marriott Amelia Island
  Fernandina Beach, Florida 5 nights
 Residence Inn by Marriott Amelia Island
Type: Hotel
  Description: Near Atlantic Ocean beach - three tenths of a mile - easy 5 minute walk Evening Reception Swimming Pool Pets Allowed-extra charge Kitchenette Interior Corridors Local restaurants within easy walking distance Barb que and/or picnic area
  Contact info: 2301 Sadler Road
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034 USA
phone: 904-277-2440
web: www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/jaxar-residence-inn-amelia-island/
  Room amenities: Alarm Clock, Coffee maker/tea service, individual climate control, iron and board Luxury bedding-crisp linens, thicker mattresses, custom comforters, fluffier pillows Pillows: down/feather Pillows: foam Pull-out sofa bed Roll away bed
  Facility amenities: Swimming Pool Non-smoking High-Speed Internet Pets Allowed Kitchenette Fitness Facility All-Suites Property Dry Cleaning/Laundry Meeting Rooms Interior Corridors
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Call for seasonal rate. Participants responsible for making additional nights reservations.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Call for seasonal rate. Participants responsible for making additional nights reservations.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Hotel check-in begins at 4 p.m. in the hotel lobby. Road Scholar check-in and orientation begins at 5:00 pm You will be staying at Residence Inn by Marriott Amelia Island that night.
  End of Program:
Program concludes with the morning presentation which ends by 10:00 a.m. Hotel check-out is 12 Noon. You will be staying at Residence Inn by Marriott Amelia Island the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Parking is free for length of the program at the hotel.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Fernandina Beach, Florida
  Nearest city or town:  Jacksonville, FL
  Nearest highway: Hwy A1A
  Nearest airport:  Jacksonville International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location: Fernandina Beach, Florida
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Jacksonville, FL to Fernandina Beach, FL

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Amelia Island Shuttle and Transportation
phone: 904-753-6480
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$47 one way; $94 round trip up to 6 people no additional cost
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

35 - 40 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

25 - 30 miles

 

Jacksonville, FL to Fernandina Beach, FL

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
GO Airport Shuttle
phone: 904-353-8880
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$35 for 1st person, $8 for each additional person. Return trip to airport is $55 up to three people.
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

35 - 40 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

25 - 30 miles

   

Call for most recent pricing. www.gojacksonvilleairportshuttle.com/ Round trip rate is $90 for up to three people.

 
Driving Directions
  To Residence Marriott at Amelia Island - South to North on I-95 Take Exit 373, Callahan/Fernandina Exit. Take SR200 E/SR A1A toward Yulee/Amelia Island/Fernandina Beach. After the Shave Bridge, turn right at the 2nd traffic light onto Sadler Road/CR-108. Hotel will be located on your left - approximately 1.5 miles.
  To Residence Marriott at Amelia Island -North to South on I-95 Take Exit 380, US-17 South toward Yulee. Turn left onto US-17/FL-5S. Take SR200 E/SR A1A toward Yulee/Amelia Island/Fernandina Beach. After the Shave Bridge, turn right at the 2nd traffic light onto Sadler Road/CR-108. Hotel will be located on your left - approximately 1.5 miles.
Equipment Requirements: No special equipment is required. Binoculars are handy for birding on Cumberland Island and in the Okefenokee Swamp but are not required.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival, Registration, and Orientation
(Sunday, October 28)
   
 Afternoon: HOTEL CHECK IN: You may check in beginning at 4:00 pm. PROGRAM REGISTRATION: Please register with the Road Scholar program staff at our desk in the conference room beginning at 5:00 pm. You'll receive your arrival packet containing the most up-to-date schedule and program information at that time. You'll have an informative overview of the program to come plus an opportunity to meet the program staff and your fellow participants during an introductory get-acquainted session at 5:00 pm. We'll review the updated schedule, answer any questions you may have, and cover responsibilities, safety guidelines, and emergency procedures. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of any changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding!
 Dinner: 6:00 PM Buffet style dinner. Catered meal in hotel meeting room.
 Evening: 7:00 PM History of Fernandina - The Eight Flags of Fernandina
   
Accommodations: Residence Inn by Marriott Amelia Island
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Field Trip to Cumberland Island/Continue Cumberland Excursion/Free Evening
(Monday, October 29)
   
 Breakfast: Hot breakfast buffet served daily with fresh fruit, eggs, biscuits, waffles, pancakes, danish, bacon or sausage.
 Morning: A 45 minute ferry ride will take you to Cumberland Island National Seashore and the state's southernmost and largest barrier island. The island has three major ecosystem regions. Along the western edge of the island there are large areas of salt marshes. One will also see gnarled live oak trees covered with Spanish moss and the palmetto plants at the edge of Cumberland's dense maritime forest. Cumberland Island's most famous ecosystem is its beach, which stretches over 17 miles. The island is home to many native interesting animals, as well as non-native species. There are White-tailed deer, squirrels, Raccoons, Nine-banded Armadillos, Wild Boars, American Alligators, as well as many marshland inhabitants. It is also famous for its wild horses roaming free on the island. Your guide will lead you on a slow 4 mile easy walking field trip of the southern most region of Cumberland Island. For those who do not want to go the 4 mile distance, you may opt to take the short hike of 2 miles.
 Lunch: You'll enjoy your lunch on the ferry as you travel to Cumberland Island. It is about a 45 minute ferry ride and you may see dolphins and other wildlife on the way.
 Afternoon: Continue Cumberland Island field trip. The afternoon ferry leaves at 4:45 pm for St. Marys dock. Your motor coach will be waiting for you for your return trip to Fernandina. Arrival in Fernandina is usually around 5:45 pm.
 Dinner: A catered meal will be in the meeting room of the hotel.
 Evening: Due to a long day on Cumberland Island, participants may rest or get suggestions from coordinator for local activities.
   
Accommodations: Residence Inn by Marriott Amelia Island
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Amelia Island Field Trip/Fort Clinch/Island Ecology Presentation
(Tuesday, October 30)
   
 Breakfast: Hot breakfast buffet served daily with fresh fruit, eggs, biscuits, waffles, pancakes, danish, bacon or sausage.
 Morning: Today will be a day of fascination and historical adventure as you explore the downtown historic district with your historian as your guide. Hear the story of the visionary whose exhilarating dream so stirred his neighbors that they agreed to move their entire town to the site of a plantation he owned, creating "New" Fernandina in the 1850?s. From the "giant" Timucua Native Americans, to Spanish and French explorers, to the lawless spirit of pirates, to the dignified air of Victorian-era residents, Amelia Island has been home to diverse cultures that have left a truly exciting heritage. Expect the rare privilege of observing the uniquely gracious and historic homes of another century. Allow yourself to get in touch with efforts to preserve the nearly extinct, pristine architectural styles within a small, gifted American town struggling to retain its fragile sense of family and community as well as its birthright and historical integrity.
 Lunch: Relax and enjoy lunch at a popular local restaurant located inside a charming historical building in historic downtown Fernandina Beach. An eclectic palette of colors and furnishings and a large garden patio shaded by huge oak trees invites you to a fun and unique culinary experience.
 Afternoon: Fort Clinch State Park is a 1,086 acre outpost of pristine beaches and dunes, nature trails, ponds and salt marshes and the island's only campgrounds. Fort Clinch, named for General Duncan Lamont Clinch, an important figure in Florida's Seminole War of the 1830's who also fought in the War of l812, is one in a system of permanent coastal fortifications. Construction began in 1847 and was occupied briefly by the Confederate forces until being overrun by the Union troops. It has been meticulously preserved and will give you the feeling of life as it was over 150 years ago. A period, uniformed re-enactor will take you back in time as he leads your field trip. Reliving your ancestors life in this old fort is an incredible, historic adventure! Close your eyes for a moment and you can almost hear the roar of the cannons!
 Dinner: Held in hotel meeting room.
 Evening: Presentation on island ecology in hotel meeting room.
   
Accommodations: Residence Inn by Marriott Amelia Island
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Amelia Island River Cruise/Free Afternoon and Evening
(Wednesday, October 31)
   
 Breakfast: Hot breakfast buffet served daily with fresh fruit, eggs, biscuits, waffles, pancakes, danish, bacon or sausage.
 Morning: Explore as you cruise the backwaters of Amelia Island and Cumberland Island and enjoy the spectacular views. Watch for rare birds, dolphins, manatees and other wildlife as you glide back in time along the rivers, creeks and marshes that surround Amelia Island. The boat is covered and may be closed to protect guests against inclement weather. Come aboard for an inspiring cruise experience that takes you along salt marshes, wilderness beaches, and historic river banks.
 Lunch: After our scenic and informative cruise, lunch will be at a local water front restaurant overlooking the intracoastal waterway.
 Afternoon: This is your free afternoon to spend at the beach, the Amelia Island Museum, historic village, read a book at the beach, or just take a nap. Your hotel is located three tenths of a mile from the beach - a 3-5 minute walk. See website for more suggestions: www.ameliaisland.com/area-services/entertainment/exploring-amelia-island/outdoor/
 Dinner: Dinner on your own to enjoy local cuisine or a complimentary hamburger/hot dog cookout provided by the Marriott Residence Inn. Coordinator will be happy to make suggestions for dinner for local restaurants. The Marriott van is available for shuttle to local points of interests including restaurants, etc.
 Evening: Free evening.
   
Accommodations: Residence Inn by Marriott Amelia Island
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Okefenokee Swamp Field Trip/Musical Entertainment
(Thursday, November 1)
   
 Breakfast: Hot breakfast buffet served daily with fresh fruit, eggs, biscuits, waffles, pancakes, danish, bacon or sausage. Y
 Morning: Note: Approximately 500 square miles of the Okefenokee Swamp has burned in 2011. Our Road Scholar field trips will continue to the Okefenokee as we learn about the benefits of fire to the swamp. Lack of fire threatens the healthy diversity of forests and wildlife habitat, and leads to a buildup of vegetative fuels in the forest's understory. Swamp fire is beneficial for forest health and wildlife habitat, as well as for public safety through the reduction in frequency and severity of wildfires. A naturalist will lead a field trip to one of America's most famous national wildlife refuges. The Okefenokee Swamp has been officially designated as a "Wetland of International Importance" but that doesn't begin to describe its incomparable beauty or the complex web of life that exists. Rich in history, "swamp culture", flora, and fauna, this one-of-a-kind giant peat bog contains uplands and islands covered in pine & oak forests; black-water lakes of varying sizes; and interior freshwater marshes (locally called "prairies) dotted with floating mats of "botanical gardens" interspersed among stands of pond cypress, black gum, mixed-bay trees, and shrubs. The Okefenokee also provides significant wilderness habitat for large populations of Florida black bear and American alligator. Boat ride is approx. 1.5 hours into the swamp.
 Lunch: Enjoy a cookout at the swamp with homemade peach cobbler and ice cream for dessert.
 Afternoon: Take a drive along Swamp Island Drive and view the19th to early 20th century farmhouse located deep in the swamp that was home to a family that lived in the swamp for several generations. Its ability to survive the wet swamp conditions serves as a reminder of the swampers who once lived there. They were able to save the Chesser Homestead from the fire of 2011.
 Dinner: Located in hotel meeting room.
 Evening: Enjoy the music of a a delightful singer / storyteller, folk music performer and teacher from Jacksonville, Florida. She is mostly self-taught on many unusual instruments - Autoharp©, Mountain Dulcimer, Hammered Dulcimer, Psaltery, Concertina, and the weird and wonderful SAW.
   
Accommodations: Residence Inn by Marriott Amelia Island
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Speaker/The Shrimping Industry
(Friday, November 2)
   
 Breakfast: Hot breakfast buffet served daily with fresh fruit, eggs, biscuits, waffles, pancakes, danish, bacon or sausage.
 Morning: A local expert on the shrimping industry will speak about what is going on in the world of shrimping. He comes from a family of shrimpers and you'll be surprised to learn what is happening as shrimpers try to make a living.
 Lunch: The program ends after the morning lecture around 10:30 am.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


The Seasons of Cumberland Island (Wormsloe Foundation Nature Book)


Author: Fred Whitehead


Description: In The Seasons of Cumberland Island, naturalist and photographer Fred Whitehead captures the unique allure of the island's flora and fauna in 118 stunning full-color photographs. Moving through seasons punctuated by the comings and goings of such animals as the migratory birds that rest here in autumn and the loggerhead turtles that nest here in summer, the photographs reveal the subtle but important effect of cyclical change on the island's ecosystem. The lush color images, which are often paired with detailed captions, include spectacular views of muscadine vines and Virginia creeper in autumn, a prowling bobcat in winter, a springtime nest of pileated woodpeckers, and a green tree frog announcing an impending summer rain. Featuring a introduction on the importance of the complex ecosystems of barrier islands like Cumberland, the book informs as it enchants. Here is a stunning tribute to Cumberland's sublime treasures that also serves as a thoughtful reminder to respect and protect the wildness of our barrier islands.



Cumberland Island: A History


Author: Mary Bullard


Description: Author Mary Bullard, widely regarded as the person most knowledgeable about Cumberland Island, is a descendant of the Carnegie family, Cumberland's last owners before it was acquired by the federal government in 1972 and designated a National Seashore. Bullard's discussion of the Carnegie era on Cumberland is notable for its intimate glimpse into how the family's feelings toward the island bore upon Cumberland's destiny.



Trembling Earth: A Cultural History of the Okefenokee Swamp


Author: Megan Kate Nelson


Description: This innovative history of the Okefenokee Swamp reveals it as a place where harsh realities clashed with optimism, shaping the borderland culture of southern Georgia and northern Florida for over two hundred years. From the formation of the Georgia colony in 1732 to the end of the Great Depression, the Okefenokee Swamp was a site of conflict between divergent local communities. Coining the term "ecolocalism" to describe how local cultures form out of ecosystems and in relation to other communities, Megan Kate Nelson offers a new view of the Okefenokee, its inhabitants, and its rich and telling record of thwarted ambitions, unintended consequences, and unresolved questions.



Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach


Author: Ron Kurtz


Description: Eight flag history with contemporary photographs/Adult....Older children can benefit from the photography and the story



Ghosts of Amelia Island and Other Tales


Author: Maggie Carter-de Vries


Description: Adults and Children



Images of Amelia Island


Author: Rob Hicks in association with the Amelia island Museum of History


Description: Light text with historic photographs, many from the Museum's collection/ Adult...Older children can benefit from the photography



The Golden Age of Amelia Island, Revised


Author: Suzanne Davis Hardee and Kathleen Davis Hardee Arsenault


Description: Late 19th Century history/Adult



Yesterday's Reflections II, Nassau County Florida


Author: Jan H. Johannes, Sr


Description: County history with historic photographs/ Adult





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