Skip to main content

Amelia Islander

A Visit to Marjorie's House

Feb 01, 2013 02:00AM
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings came to rural Cross Creek, FL, in 1928, to find a home and a place that would inspire her to write. Her homestead and farm aroused her spirit and love for the landscape that would be the setting for several books, including The Yearling and Cross Creek. In 2006, her property became a National Historic Landmark, located southwest of Gainesville. Not exactly a stone’s throw from Amelia Island, but worth a day trip for MKR fans.

The heart of Rawling’s 72-acre farm was a citrus grove, where the author grew a variety of fruits including oranges, grapefruits, kumquats, and tangerines. The author used many of these fruits in her cooking and eventually published a book named Cross Creek Cookery. When visiting her homestead, you will walk through the grove and farmyard, graced by a beautiful and rustic barn, complete with chickens and ducks running about, along the pathway to the main house.

Thursday through Sunday you may enjoy a guided tour of Rawling’s home and her prized posessions, including the handmade table and typewriter on the front porch, where the author did most of her writing. All details of the house, from the homespun, chenille bedspreads and quilts, to the heart pine floors and wood burning stoves, are reminiscent of a simpler time. Considerably wealthier than most of her Cross Creek neighbors, however, Rawlings was one the first to install indoor plumbing, and her party-giving and gourmet dinners delighted all who knew her.

The guest room features a handcrafted bed, the oldest piece of furniture in the house. Among many of the famous people who slept in it were Robert Frost, Margaret Mitchell, Thorton Wilder, and Gregory Peck, all friends of Rawlings.

A portion of Rawlings’ property has been made into a true park, with picnic tables, and a play area for children, surrounded by live oaks dripping with Spanish moss. A nature trail circles the property and there is also a county boat ramp from where visitors can explore the lakes and creek that are featured in Rawlings’ writings. As Marjorie once wrote, “Cross Creek belongs to the wind and the rain, to the sun and the seasons, to the secrecy of seed, and beyond all, to time.”

For more information about Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park, call (352) 466-3672.