Cranes, roosters, snakes and an antique yellow Olds! These are among the attractions (or distractions) in Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park, the home of the Pulitzer-Prize winning author of The Yearling, made into a movie by the same title.
In late September, we visited the home of Rawlings, best known for her sensational novel, The Yearling (1938). She also wrote a combination memoir & writing guide titled Cross Creek (1942) which immortalizes her life among the hard-scrabble Florida “crackers,” settlers who loved the land and made their living on it, though barely. The blurb for her memoir declares:
For many years Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was the leading citizen of the tiny, remote Florida Hamlet of Cross Creek. Her intimate and vivid narrative of the people, scenery, and wild-life of the Florida back-country has all the humor and the boundless human appeal of her Pulitzer prize-winning novel. Her genius for character portrayal and description is unequalled and so recognizable.
We hiked a trail, we spoke to volunteers cleaning the house, we took pictures, steeping ourselves in 1930s rural life in a tiny community not far from Gainesville and the University of Florida. Here is my six-point invitation to visit Rawlings’ home, literally a time-capsule of the 1930s.
1. Explore a state park and walk the short trails.
2. Appreciate wild life, cranes, and botanicals, including citrus.
Actually, we didn’t see any snakes on our visit!
3. Take a hike on the trails, find wisdom on the signposts along the way.
4. Step inside Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ house.
5. Imagine eating at Marjorie’s table in her dining room.
According to Christian Science Monitor, her singular admitted vanity was cooking. She said, “I get as much satisfaction from preparing a perfect dinner for a few good friends as from turning out a perfect paragraph in my writing.” (quoted in Wikipedia)
My own dish made with a recipe from her cookbook
6. Leave the hectic world behind, visit a peaceful place.
I loved reading her memoir: Strolling through the park felt like turning the pages in her book!
We also visited our two oldest grandsons, freshmen at the University of Florida, home of the Gators, just 25 miles away.
Are you familiar with Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings writings? Did you read The Yearling or Cross Creek?
Have you visited the homes of other authors you’d recommend?
Where have you found enchantment?