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Historic Amelia & Secluded Cumberland: Island Adventures in the South

Program Number: 1379RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/21/2014 - 9/26/2014; 3/6/2016 - 3/11/2016; 10/2/2016 - 10/7/2016;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Fernandina Beach, Florida
Price starting at: $999.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: History & Culture; Natural History; Science & Nature
Meals: 14; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Gluten Free; Vegetarian; Low Fat; Low Salt    

Discover two Southern islands close in proximity but a world apart in character, including a rare two-night overnight on remote Cumberland Island. Begin on Florida’s historic Amelia Island in the Victorian seaport village of Fernandina Beach where you learn about the island as a historical crossroads for native peoples, European explorers and lawless pirates. Then board a ferry to secluded Cumberland Island, Georgia, a National Seashore restricted to no more than 300 visitors per day. Discover 9,800 acres of protected dune fields, forests, marshes and beaches home to wild turtles, turkeys, horses and armadillos. Hear an expert naturalist interpret the island’s sensitive ecosystem and enjoy a special privilege: two nights’ lodgings at the historic Greyfield Inn.


• Discover the rich history and culture of Amelia Island at Fort Clinch and the Victorian Village of Fernandina.
• On the backwaters of Amelia Island, glide along rivers, creeks and marshes during a study cruise in search of dolphins and manatees and learn about island ecology from a naturalist.
• Spend two nights at the Greyfield Inn, owned by the Carnegie family and the only historic inn on Cumberland.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles daily on paths, sand dunes and beaches.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, Fla., 3 nights; boat to Cumberland Island, Ga., 2 nights; boat to Fernandina Beach, departure.

Coordinated by Center for Educational Adventure.

Cumberland Island

Georgia’s largest and southernmost barrier island, Cumberland Island boasts one of the most spectacular natural habitats anywhere. Its pristine maritime forests, undeveloped beaches and wide marshes are home to wildlife like scurrying fiddler crabs, sea turtles and shorebirds. Much of the island has been designated protected seashore or wilderness.

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.

Amelia Island: Hotel in historic Fernandina Beach. Cumberland Island: Historic Greyfield Inn, the 19th-century retreat of the Carnegies and an exceptional value for Road Scholar participants.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
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.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hampton Inn and Suites
  Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, Florida 3 nights
   Greyfield Inn
  Cumberland Island, GA 2 nights
 Hampton Inn and Suites
Type: Hotel
  Description: Enjoy a restful night’s sleep in our Standard King or double Queen guestroom. We provide hairdryers, coffee makers, 2-line speaker phones, and cable TV in every guest room. Select rooms are available with harbor front views or with High-Speed Internet Access. Please let us know if you require a handicap accessible guestroom.Victorian seaport village with small-town charm, southern hospitality, and rich history. Take a step back in time in Fernandina Beach, Florida. Yesteryear . . . It's easy to picture in your mind's eye images of late nineteenth century days past, when you take a stroll down Centre Street, the main corridor of quaint shops and historic buildings, called "downtown" by locals. In this enchanting 55-block historic district (National Register of Historic Places), of Amelia Island's Victorian seaport village, Fernandina Beach, one feels somewhat suspended in time -- there still remains the aura of simpler days past. Licking ice cream cones, sipping gourmet coffee, nibbling homemade fudge and chocolates, and browsing the quaint shops, both visitors and local residents enjoy the relaxation and simplicity of Fernandina's historic downtown district. History buffs will certainly enjoy guided tours of bed & breakfasts and historical buildings.Your hotel is located right in the historic district and facing the intracoastal waterway.
  Contact info: 19 South 2nd Street
Fernandina Beach, FL 320347 USA
phone: 904-491-4911 xor18004267866
  Room amenities: Multi-line speaker phones, hairdryer, alarm clock, data ports, coffee maker and television with cable.
  Facility amenities: Upper deck pool and exercise facility.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Call hotel for rate. Participants are responsible for making their own reservations for any additional nights or early arrivals.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM

 Greyfield Inn
Type: Inn
  Description: The Greyfield Inn is a grand and graceful mansion located on Georgia's largest and southernmost coastal island, Cumberland Island. Built in 1900, and opened as an inn in 1962, Greyfield is furnished today as it was at the turn of the century, decorated throughout with family heirlooms and antiques, giving each room a distinctive character.Family portraits still hang in the parlor; horsehair chairs flank a massive fireplace. Even the original books, including first editions are in place in the library. There is no check-in desk, no televisions or phones or ice machines or spa services. Just a rambling house with a spacious old verandah, dining rooms, bedrooms on this floor and that, large bathrooms with clawfoot tubs and pedestal sinks. Bedroom windows face massive live oaks or the salt marshes along the Cumberland River. In true southern fashion, they take great pride in their kitchen. Each morning, awaken to a full and satisfying breakfast which includes fresh-squeezed orange juice and fruit, homemade muffins and breakfast meats, as well as eggs, pancakes or one of the chef's specialties. Midday, enjoy the day's explorations with a satisfying picnic lunch. During cocktail hour each evening, Greyfield serves hors d'ouvres in the Inn's well-stocked bar while sharing stories with fellow guests. Dinner is a casually elegant affair, served in the glow of candlelight. The nightly entrees feature fresh and creative cuisine, accompanied, if desired, by a selection from the wine cellar.This grand Carnegie southern plantation is a step back in time. The dedicated staff is there to ensure that the stay on their idyllic, private island is the perfect retreat.
  Contact info: Box 900
Fernandina Beach, FL 32035-0900 USA
phone: 904-261-6408
  Room amenities: There are no phones nor television at Greyfield.
  Facility amenities: Gift Shop, complimentary bicycles for guests use.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: Some shared baths. Participants may only request a private bath if due to medical problem. Still a private bath can not be guaranteed.

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Hotel check-in begins at 4:00 pm. Road Scholar check-in and orientation is at 5:00 pm in the 2nd Floor Cafe at the Hampton Inn & Suites. You will be staying at Hampton Inn and Suites that night.
  End of Program:
Hotel check-out is 11:00 am. Participants return to mainland from Cumberland Island by 11:00 am. You will be staying at Greyfield Inn the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. None
  Parking availability:
Parking is free at hotel for the duration of the program.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, Florida
  Nearest city or town:  Fernandina Beach
  Nearest highway: Hwy A1A
  Nearest airport:  Jacksonville International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location:  Cumberland Island, GA
  Nearest city or town:  Fernandina Beach, FL
  Nearest highway: I-95
  Nearest airport:  Jacksonville International Airport
Travel Details

To Fernandina Beach from Jacksonville, FL


From Airport




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


Per Person/One Way:


$47 flat rate up to 6 people, gratuity not included
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


30 minutes 




30 miles


Advance reservations are required and may be made by going to:


Jacksonville, FL to Fernandina Beach, FL


From Airport




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


Per Person/One Way:


$47 for 1 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 




25 - 30 miles


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

Driving Directions
  I-95 Take Exit 373 and follow the signs to Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island. Go approximately 10 miles and over the intracoastal waterway bridge onto Amelia Island. Go through six traffic lights and turn left at the very next street (no light) onto Ash Street. Continue for six short blocks until you come to 2nd Street. Turn right on 2nd Street. The Hampton Inn and Suites is at the corner of Ash and 2nd Street.
Equipment Requirements: Binoculars are nice to have for birding 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: Hotel Check-in/Registration/Orientation
(Sunday, September 21)
 Afternoon: Check-in is at 4:00 at the hotel. If rooms are ready before then, you may check-in earlier. Road Scholar registration is at 5:00 pm in the hotel conference room. You will receive your weeks schedule at this time.
 Dinner: Catered meal at hotel following check-in.
 Evening: Enjoy the evening as you prepare for the beginning of an adventure you will long remember on two beautiful islands. Your coordinator will go over the weeks schedule and will be available to answer any questions.
Accommodations: Hampton Inn and Suites
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Amelia Island Field Trip/Fort Clinch/Cumberland Island History
(Monday, September 22)
 Breakfast: Breakfast is a full American breakfast in the Garden Room of the hotel.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Today will be a day of fascination and historical adventure. We will board an authentic trolley at our hotel and be chauffered to the downtown historic district. You will be greeted by an historian who will begin by giving a brief history of Amelia Island. 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. This trolley tour is slow paced and will be stopping at points of interest...a really great field trip!
 Lunch: Lunch will be at a popular restaurant in the historic district.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: A part of the park system since 1935, Fort Clinch is one of the most well-preserved 19th century forts in the country. Although no battles were fought here, it was garrisoned during both the Civil and Spanish-American wars. During the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps began preserving and rebuilding many of the structures of the abandoned fort. Daily tours with period reenactors depicting garrison life bring the fort to life for visitors.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
 Evening: Presentation on Cumberland Island history will introduce you to the island where you will reside until Friday at the conclusion of your program.
Accommodations: Hampton Inn and Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Amelia Island River Cruise/Lunch At Historic Florida House Inn/Free Afternoon/Entertainment
(Tuesday, September 23)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the Garden Room
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: A naturalist will give you the details of everything from the land to the sea on your Amelia Island River Cruise. Come along with us and enjoy the spectacular views and 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.
 Lunch: Constructed in 1857 the Florida House Inn is considered the state's oldest surviving hotel. It was built by David Yulee and served as a boarding house for railroad workers. During the Civil War, the area was seized by the North and served as a boarding house for officers. After the war ended, the Florida House was bought by Major Leddy and his wife. In 1865 the Leddy family added on the dining room and additional living space. In 1882, Mrs. Joseph Higgins added onto the building, which now serves as an additional eight room guest house. The Inn proudly displays the eight flags the city has been under along the front of the building. A famous cast of characters have stayed and enjoyed the Inn including Ulysses S. Grant and Cuban revolutionary Jose Marti. The Inn was a popular destination for northerners who flocked to the "Newport of the South" in the late 1800's. Mary Pickford, Henry Ford, as well as the Carnegies and their prestigious guests including the Rockerfellers, Goulds, and Morgans, would travel from Cumberland Island to enjoy the Inn's famed hospitality and celebrated Sunday suppers. In the old days it was said that the Carnegies stayed at the Florida House Inn, played at the Palace Saloon and prayed at St. Peter's Church. When lunch is over, you are free for the afternoon. You are already in the historic district so you can walk anywhere. You may even want to go to the beach (2 miles) and sit out all afternoon. Your coordinator will be happy to assist you with ideas.
 Afternoon: Coordinator will help you with sites to visit and places to go.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
 Evening: 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.
Accommodations: Hampton Inn and Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Ferry to Cumberland Island/Cumberland Island Activities/Presentation By Naturalist
(Wednesday, September 24)
 Breakfast: Breakfast will be in the Garden Room.
 Morning: You will take a boat ride to Cumberland Island, which takes about 35 minutes from Fernandina Beach. You are right across the street from the marina where you will board your private boat for Cumberland.
 Lunch: Greyfield Inn is known for its exquisite food and lunch is no exception. You will have a picnic lunch waiting for you in the Greyfield Inn kitchen. Staff will retrieve your luggage from the ferry and take it up to the Greyfield Inn so you don't have to worry about carrying your own luggage. After picking up your lunch, and while waiting on the staff to put your luggage in your room, you may select a spot to enjoy your picnic. Try eating under some of the huge old live oaks, down by the water, on the patio or just where ever you wish. You can't go wrong because the scenery is just so beautiful anywhere you go.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Guided activities around Cumberland Island. A naturalist will take you on a jeep safari for a guided field trip on Cumberland Island. The group may be split with half on the safari and half going on a nature and beach field trip.
 Dinner: During cocktail hour each evening on your Road Scholar adventure, you are served hors d'oeuvres in the oceanfront resort Inn's well-stocked bar while you share stories with fellow guests. Drinks are on your own. Dinner is served in the glow of candlelight and alcoholic beverages may be purchased with your dinner. Tea, coffee, and water come with the meal. The nightly entrées feature fresh and creative cuisine, accompanied, if you desire, by a selection from the wine cellar.
 Evening: Meet in the living room for a presentation by the island naturalist.
Accommodations: Greyfield Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Breakfast/First African Baptist Church on Cumberland Island/Plum Orchard/Social
(Thursday, September 25)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at Greyfield is a treat. Each morning, awaken to a full and satisfying breakfast which includes fresh-squeezed orange juice and fruit, as well as eggs, pancakes or one of the Chef's specialties. You may choose from a light breakfast to a large Southern breakfast in the dining room. Either way, you can't go wrong.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Guided activities around Cumberland Island. You will visit the First African Baptist Church, where John Kennedy and Caroline Bissett were married. Cumberland Island is 17.5 miles long and totals 36,415 acres of which 16,850 are marsh, mud flats, and tidal creeks. It is well known for its sea turtles, wild turkeys, wild horses, armadillos, abundant shore birds, dune fields, maritime forests, salt marshes, and historic structures. Your natural experience on Cumberland will include: sun and sand, beautiful vistas and relaxing atmosphere. You will also visit Plum Orchard, an 1898 Georgian Revival mansion building by Lucy Carnegie for her son, George and his wife, Margaret Thaw. This mansion was donated to the National Park Foundation by the Carnegie family in 1971.
 Lunch: Lunch at Greyfield Inn between all your activities will be a satisfying picnic lunch.
 Afternoon: Some guided activities and some activities on your own. You are very close to the beach - about 1/2 mile walking distance. Most of the afternoon is free to stroll the beach or explore the maritime forest or just sit on the porch of the Greyfield Inn. Bikes are available free of charge for anyone staying at the Greyfield Inn. It is absolutely the most beautiful place in the world. Don't miss it!
 Dinner: Dinner at Greyfield Inn.
 Evening: Social and farewell
Accommodations: Greyfield Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Porch Sitting, Ancient Live Oak Goodbyes/Depart Cumberland Island For Mainland
(Friday, September 26)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at Greyfield.
 Morning: Relax on the porch or sit under one of the ancient live oaks as you say goodbye to an island you will never forget. Staff will gather your luggage from your rooms and load the ferry for your trip to the mainland. A 35 minute boat ride back to Fernandina Beach should put you there by about 11:00 - 11:30 am. Program is over at this time and your car is right across the street at the Hampton Inn and Suites.
 Lunch: Program ends at 11:30 am on dock arrival to Fernandina Beach from Cumberland Island and Greyfield Inn.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, Florida Amelia Island Boating
From sailing to kayaking to fishing charters, the waters surrounding Amelia Island offer myriad opportunities for boating. Outfitters such as Kayak Amelia, Fly Fishing Amelia, and Up the Creek Xpeditions offer a variety of guided, open-water and river kayak tours around Amelia Island. Windward Sailing offers sailing charters and tours out of Fernandina Beach Marina. For additional information, visit and
  Amelia Island Museum of History
Learn why Amelia Island has captivated its settlers for thousands of years. The Amelia Island Museum of History takes visitors on a fascinating trip through time that explores everything from the island’s first inhabitants, the Timucuan Indians, to modern-day preservation programs in Fernandina Beach and Nassau County. Permanent exhibits relating to Amelia Island and the Civil War, Spanish Missions, and Florida Railroad are also on display. For additional information, visit
  Golf on Amelia Island
In true Florida fashion, golf reigns supreme on Amelia Island. Designed by the industry’s top golf course architects, Amelia Island golf courses offer exceptional play that honors the island’s diverse landscape of oceanfront dunes, oak forests and marshlands. Fernandina Beach Golf Club, North Hampton, Manicipal Golf Course, and The Golf Club of Amelia Island at Summer Beach also beckon golfers. For additional information, visit
  Historic Downtown District
Fernandina Beach Historic Downtown District.Fernandina Beach’s historic roots as a Victorian seaport village are best experienced in the town’s Historic District. Spanning 50 blocks, the Fernandina Beach Historic District features distinctive 19th century Victorian homes and cottages, brick-façade building, shopping, art galleries, and dozens of restaurants. Fernandina Beach’s historic corridor is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For additional information, visit
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

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 Beaches are Moving

Author: Kaufman and Pilkey

Description: Our oceans are eroding, sinking, washing out right under our houses, hotels, bridges; vacation dreamlands become nightmare scenes of futile revetments, fills, groins, what have you - all thrown up in a frantic defense against he natural system. The romantic desire to live on the seashore is in doomed conflict with an age-old pattern of beach migration. Yet it need not be so. Conservationist Wallace Kaufman teams up with marine geologist Orrin H. Pilkey, Jr., in a evaluation of America's beaches from coast to coast, giving sound advice on how to judge a safe beach development from a dangerous one and how to live at the shore sensibly and safely.

The Big Sand Dune & the Beach Lady on an African American Beach

Author: Annette McCollough Myers

Description: Broad age range, about an historical presence on Amelia Island: Environmental Activist; Historian; Opera Singer; Unique Character!

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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