…my sister and I went to visit our mom and dad last week (in florida. gainesville to be precise) and my mom suggested a field trip to marjorie kinnan rawlings‘ home, cross creek. I admit to not knowing much about rawlings, except that she wrote a very entertaining cookbook – arguably less about cooking and more about old florida – (no, I never read the yearling…nor have I ever seen the movie!) – but my folks had visited a few years back and said it was well worth a visit and the tour of her home was not-to-be-missed.
I did a bit of research before we left and learned that her home (and the 72 acres of her citrus farm) is a state park and national historic landmark. it was a delightful trip. just a few miles – maybe a thirty minute drive? – from gainesville…it was indeed out in the middle of nowhere. but pretty nowhere. especially in late march.
|sign at the entrance to the park|
we arrived just before noon and used the hour before the next home tour at one o’clock to walk around the grounds.
|view of the house (see it way off in the distance) from the park entrance|
I enjoyed the farmyard – the rooster and the chickens were pretty tame around all the visitors (even holly),
but not so much the walk along one of the trails (where we – me! – saw a BIG snake…my mom hadn’t heard my snake scream in nearly forty years…) shaken, we returned to the barn to wait for the tour.
our guide – ugh, I can’t remember her name (mom? dad?) – was a gem.
|our guide, appropriately attired in 1930’s farm “style”|
obviously a huge fan of rawlings (I’m sure they’d be on a first name basis, so I will be too), her tour was packed with all sorts of interesting stories.
|the house, and a car similar to the one marjorie drove (she wrecked hers!)|
like how she used the proceeds from an early story to install indoor plumbing and then put flowers in the toilet when she invited the neighbors for a party to celebrate the new bathroom. and how spencer tracy had stayed with her before he quit the movie…and gregory peck had taken his place.
she made me wish I’d had an opportunity to visit marjorie at her home…to share a meal, or even to be a fly on the wall when she entertained f scott fitzgerald or gregory peck…but at the same time to be thankful I live when and where I do. with all the conveniences of a 21st century city (indoor plumbing, an electric oven, telephones, paved roads!).
|the table where marjorie wrote (on a screened porch)|
but most of all, she made me want to read cross creek, marjorie’s compilation of autobiographical sketches. my sister and I were, I think, the only two on the tour who hadn’t read it. and I was looking forward to getting it on my kindle that afternoon and diving right in.
only to learn that the book is out of print. I found a decent used copy on amazon and placed my order. it arrived today. I’m already enchanted.
|I wasted no time brewing a cup of tea (and taking a photo!)|
|this is the view out the window to the left of marjorie’s kitchen sink|