April 9, 2011.
By the time we got home yesterday I figured we walked a little better than 6 miles. By evening it would be fair to say that I was more than a little stiff. Except for the walk from the dock up to Terri & Larry’s house we hadn’t been off the boat since Vero Beach a week ago.
We woke this morning to wild horses grazing along the shore next to the boat.
We decided to try something new while we’re here. We grabbed one of the pamphlets from the ranger’s office and checked out what they had to offer. And since we have internet we did a little online research as well.
Thomas Carnegie (Andrew’s bro) and his wife at one point owned 90% of the island living on their estate known as, Dungeness. As each of their children came of age they gifted them a plot of land and built them their own mansions. It’s a lot like Christy and I would have done had we been dirty filthy rich and had our own island. Anyway, one of the children’s mansions was called Greyfield and is still operated by sixth generation Carnegies as a bed and breakfast. I don’t think for a moment that the chambermaid is actually a Carnegie but they do still own the joint.
We’re anchored on the approach to the Greyfield Inn and watch as the guests of the Inn are brought out to the island by motor launch. The Inn seems to be a bit on the pricey side with rooms running around $895 per night for the primo rooms to $500 per night for the porch rooms, two night minimum, with a shared bath, of course. These people are what we call the “haves”. We can readily identify with the “haves” as we arrived at the island on our own private “luxury” sailing yacht.
Most of the rest of the visitors to the island arrive tightly packed like sardines on tourist boats. These people are called “the have nots” or more affectionately known as “my people”.
Today rather than cross the island and get as far from the rest of the islands visitors as we could, we decided to dinghy down to the Dungeness Estate and tour the estate with “my people”. The Park Service provides a guided tour and walking history lesson.
The ranger (Rene) who acted as our tour guide was awesome. She took people from the crowd and gave them names from the areas history to help keep things straight as she led us through the islands past. I got to be Revolutionary War General Nathaniel Greene, crony of George Washington (cool), who settled on the island before taking a 19 year old wife (cooler yet), having 5 kids and then dying of sunstroke (not so cool).
Dungeness was the Carnegies “winter estate”. Since it’s on an island everything had to be shipped in and the huge home was completed in 1885 at a cost of $250,000, which sounds like a lot at the time, until you consider that the Carnegies were worth about $680 million back then. While we were beachcombing for shells I also kept an eye out, in case old Thomas dropped his wallet. But no…………
Most of the island has been donated to the government and has become a national park. The main house of the Dungeness estate mysteriously burned shortly after a poacher was shot to death by one of the island caretakers in 1959. The ruins are still an impressive reminder of the wealth of a few people during the American Guilded Age.
We were home from the tour just after noon so we had lunch, cleaned our shabby looking waterline and tightened up the rudder post stuffing box. At about 1530 Christy proposed walking across the island to walk the beach during low tide. Crap. Sure honey.
We ended up taking the handheld GPS and clocking another 4 miles of beachcombing. The pickings were slim but we did find a few treasures and had a nice walk…..
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