Cold Hike at Magnolia Mound Plantation

Magnolia Mound Plantation is a well-preserved historical landmark that harbors an eerie silence as you transcend into another century. Unlike other plantations I’ve visited, this particular adventure down history’s memory lane left me feeling low. Perhaps with everything happening in the country regarding racial division, seeing a plantation only reminded me of how far (and not so far) we’ve come. 

I love the hike across the wide-open spaces as you tour one home to another. The French architecture made the homes appear romantic ad inviting. I imagined myself opening large French doors to a gorgeous two-story house with a wrap-around porch. I am floating on cloud imagination until I gaze at the slave cabin and realize the reality behind this plantation’s beauty. The crooked, uncut wood boards used as doors struggled to operate o their hinges. There are no fancy locks. Inside was an old school locking system where a board is placed in two hooks to keep the doors from swinging open. Inside the cabin is nothing more than a studio apartment. The bed mattress looked stuffed with toilet tissue. It caved heavily in the center. I could only imagine the back issues resulting from such a bed. Iside the homeowner’s home, the mattress is high and fluffy, resting on a proper frame for support. The rooms where separated. No issues with soot and ash from a fireplace. The two buildings symbolized the inequality of races during those times. It reminds a tourist of the same economic and racial divide of today.

Don’t get me wrong, the plantation is a dream. The landscape is nicely kept, the grass a bright and healthy shade of green. The vegetable garden is filled fence post to fence post with fruits, vegetables, and herbs. The garden is my favorite. I am always fascinated by Mother Nature and watching mere seeds grow into fruitful products. The plantation provided a very decent lesson in history, but that cold, eerie silence remains. The moment your mind dives into reflection, silence takes over. The reality of what was and what is coming to light. 

I am grateful to visit these plantations. As an African-American, I think it’s essential that we visit them. In my opinion, by not visiting these historical landmarks, we turn a blind and ignorant eye to all our ancestors went through. It doesn’t matter whether the tourist is black or white. What happened at the plantation and in most of the South did happen. African-American and other slave descendants owe it to our ancestors to visit these places and gain first-hand knowledge and experience what slaves endured. Caucasian-Americans or slave owner descendants should visit to understand and be rid of ignorance. 

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Sweet St. Mary

I don’t think I’ve given St. Mary Georgia the attention it deserved. I am so eager to get to Cumberland Island, I fail to see the small city for what it is. Granted, there isn’t really much to see unless you’re on the Atlantic coast. That seems to be the only place where you can get a slice of old world livelihood. The old style mansions with wrap-around porches and mom and pop shops. Anything beyond that and you run into Corporate America’s Popeye’s Chicken, Walmart, and Dollar General.

After a trip to Cumberland Island, I was in no real rush to go back to my home city Jacksonville, so I took a little tour of the front coast. I got to sit on outdoor swingsets that faced the marina. What a view. They had a lovely fountain at the center that people threw their lucky pennies into in hopes of making some form of a wish come true. A small white church further down the street had some famous burials in its backyard Cemetery. That creeped me out too much to go and check it out (sorry). There seemed to have been a bed and breakfast house on every corner. It must be a favorite thing in these cutesy small Georgia towns and cities. Lastly, was the marina itself which house a large ship with all the ropes and sails, and wooden planks just like from pirate films.

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I must say St. Mary may not have had much to show off, but it’s doing well enough to keep tourism high. (Despite being the port of entry for Cumberland Island). Hopefully, in the future, I will definitely give more time to St. Mary. If the citizens are willing to invest in its small economy, then so shall I.