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History by the Sea: Study & Stay on Cumberland & Amelia Islands

Program No. 1379RJ
Experience beautiful Cumberland Island as you enjoy an exclusive two-night stay at the 1890 Carnegie compound and delve into 4000 years of history on sun-dappled Amelia Island.

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Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.


Standard 1 Bed (king or queen)
Jan 12 - Jan 17, 2025
1 Bed (king or queen) 2,349
Feb 16 - Feb 21, 2025
1 Bed (king or queen) 2,349
Sep 14 - Sep 19, 2025
1 Bed (king or queen) 2,349
Dec 7 - Dec 12, 2025
1 Bed (king or queen) 2,349


Standard 1 Bed (king or queen)
Jan 14 - Jan 19, 2024
Standard 3,519
Feb 4 - Feb 9, 2024
Standard 3,569
Sep 15 - Sep 20, 2024
Standard 3,519
Dec 8 - Dec 13, 2024
Standard 3,469
Filling Fast!
Jan 12 - Jan 17, 2025
1 Bed (king or queen) 3,649
Filling Fast!
Feb 2 - Feb 7, 2025
1 Bed (king or queen) 3,649
Feb 16 - Feb 21, 2025
1 Bed (king or queen) 3,649
Filling Fast!
Sep 14 - Sep 19, 2025
1 Bed (king or queen) 3,649
Dec 7 - Dec 12, 2025
1 Bed (king or queen) 3,649
6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5B 4L 4D
View Full Itinerary

At a Glance

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. Stay at the Greyfield Inn, a unique and historic venue that’ll give you the rare opportunity to connect with nature at its most pristine. Discover 9,800 acres of protected dune fields, forests, marshes and beaches, and hear an expert naturalist interpret the island’s sensitive ecosystem.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to three miles daily on sandy paths, sand dunes and beaches. Accommodations on Cumberland Island in historic inn and surrounding cottages uses stairs to third and fourth floor bedrooms; cottages within 170 yards of inn.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • 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 wildlife.
  • Spend two nights in the only accommodations on the island, the Greyfield Inn, which was built in 1900 by the Carnegie family.

General Notes

All rooms at Greyfield Inn have either one king or one queen bed. As such, we cannot accommodate requests for two beds, and roommate matching is unavailable for solo travelers on this program. No rollaway beds or cots are available. Two rooms share a bathroom. This is picked at random, by the Inn, and means there could be 3-4 people in one bath for the 2-night stay at Greyfield.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
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.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Kevin McCarthy
Kevin McCarthy View biography
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.
Profile Image of Ron Kurtz
Ron has been an Amelia Island resident for more than 30 years. After attending Hiram College, he graduated from New York University with a degree in educational theater. He 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.
Profile Image of Terrie Dal Pozzo
Terrie Dal Pozzo View biography
Terrie was raised in New Orleans and moved to the U.S. Virgin Islands at the age of 18. She became the youngest woman in the Virgin Islands to obtain a Coast Guard license to operate motor and sailing vessels. Terrie skippered sailing vessels, taking guests on journeys through the Leeward Islands, teaching them to sail and snorkel and educating them on island life. She later lived in Kitzbuhel, Austria and Perth, Australia before returning to the Virgin Islands. She currently lives in eastern Tennessee.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Yesterday's Reflections II, Nassau County Florida
by Jan H. Johannes, Sr
County history with historic photographs/ Adult
Legendary Locals of Amelia Island
by Rob Hicks Dr
Amelia Island has been host to remarkable people throughout its 500-year history. These people are responsible for giving Amelia the distinction as the only place in the United States to have seen eight different flags. A new railroad followed the Civil War and brought those who sought to take advantage of the burgeoning shipping center. As opportunities waned, the island became a sleepy, blue collar community supported by the local paper mills. Prior to civil rights legislation desegregating the South, Fernandina's American Beach flourished as an African American coastal community. Meanwhile, local visionaries oversaw tight-knit communities and set the stage for the large resorts that came to the island's south end in the 1970s. Today, Amelia Island is a national tourist destination and home to a diverse of community of longtime residents and newcomers, both with remarkable talents and interesting stories to tell.
Cumberland Island: Strong Women, Wild Horses
by Charles Seabrook
In Cumberland Island, Charles Seabrook uses his talent as an award-winning environmental writer to describe the island's natural bounty and to tell its long and intriguing history. You'll meet Catherine "Caty" Greene Miller, the widow of Revolutionary War hero Nathanael Greene and the woman who inspired Eli Whitney to invent the cotton gin. She was also the inspiration behind Dungeness, the 30-room tabby mansion built on Cumberland Island in 1803. Another strong woman who currently resides on the island is Carol Ruckdeschel, a naturalist who was the subject of a John McPhee profile in the New Yorker in 1974. GoGo Ferguson and Carol were great friends until they disagreed on the future of the island. Their ensuing feud reveals the continuing debate among residents, conservationists, and developers about how the island should be managed. In Cumberland Island, Charles Seabrook provides a fascinating look into the history of one of America's greatest natural treasures.
Cumberland Island: A Place Apart
by Thornton W. Morris
This book by Thornton Morris, the President of the Conservancy, exists in order to tell, in a personal, and sometimes amusing way, the story of how Cumberland Island was preserved and is now one the our nation's most treasured national seashores. It is a book about the relationship between life and death, a dynamic with which few of us consciously deal in the twenty-first century, but which is a day-to-day issue on Cumberland Island. It tells the story of why Cumberland was saved for future generations and the meaning of this preservation for all Americans.
The Big Sand Dune & the Beach Lady on an African American Beach
by Annette McCollough Myers
Broad age range, about an historical presence on Amelia Island: Environmental Activist; Historian; Opera Singer; Unique Character!
Amelia Island
by Rob Hicks Dr (Author), Amelia Island Museum of History
Tiny Amelia Island, in the northeast corner of Florida, was once among the most important ports in the western hemisphere. Before Florida was granted statehood, the island served as an international gateway between Spanish Florida and the English colonies that would later become the United States. Where Spanish monks and pirates once roamed, the island eventually developed into a significant seaport that exported the rich resources of Florida's interior in the late 1800s. This era was known as the Golden Age of Amelia Island and the town located on its north end, Fernandina. The railroad that connected Amelia Island to the Gulf Coast was largely responsible for the Golden Age, as it brought a burgeoning economy and many of the South's most prominent and wealthy figures. Today the island is best known as a resort community but retains the influence and charm of its remarkable past.
Cumberland Island: A History
by Mary R. Bullard
Cumberland Island is a national treasure. The largest of the Sea Islands along the Georgia coast, it is a history-filled place of astounding natural beauty. With a thoroughness unmatched by any previous account, Cumberland Island: A History chronicles five centuries of change to the landscape and its people from the days of the first Native Americans through the late-twentieth-century struggles between developers and conservationists. 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.
The Golden Age of Amelia Island, Revised
by Suzanne Davis Hardee and Kathleen Davis Hardee Arsenault
Late 19th Century history/Adult
The Beaches are Moving
by Kaufman and Pilkey
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.
Untamed: The Wildest Woman in America and the Fight for Cumberland Island
Carol Ruckdeschel is the wildest woman in America. She wrestles alligators, eats roadkill, rides horses bareback, and lives in a ramshackle cabin that she built by hand in an island wilderness. A combination of Henry David Thoreau and Jane Goodall, Carol is a self-taught scientist who has become a tireless defender of sea turtles on Cumberland Island, a national park off the coast of Georgia. Cumberland, the country’s largest and most biologically diverse barrier island, is celebrated for its windswept dunes and feral horses. Steel magnate Thomas Carnegie once owned much of the island, and in recent years, Carnegie heirs and the National Park Service have clashed with Carol over the island’s future. What happens when a dirt-poor naturalist with only a high school diploma becomes an outspoken advocate on a celebrated but divisive island? Untamed is the story of an American original standing her ground and fighting for what she believes in, no matter the cost.
A Natural History of Cumberland Island, Georgia
by Carol Ruckdeschel
Having lived on Cumberland Island for more than forty years, Carol Ruckdeschel's goal has been to document present conditions of the island's flora and fauna, establishing a baseline from which to assess future changes. Since the late 1960s, she has witnessed many changes and trends that are often overlooked by those carrying out short-term observations. This compilation of data, along with historic information, presents the most comprehensive picture of the island's flora, fauna, geology, and ecology to date. This volume will satisfy a general interest in the ecology of Cumberland and other Georgia barrier islands. New information on individual species is presented, contributing to its value as a reference for the Southeast.

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