Tag Archives: Cross Creek

MARJORIE KINNAN RAWLINS STATE PARK:THE SCENT OF ORANGE TREES IN BLOSSOM

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Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings loved her Florida Farm. Here she did most of her best writing. Many of you are familiar with her stories. She won the Pulitzer for her novel The Yearling. Her story of living and working the farm is told in Cross Creek, a memoir. Her short stories touch readers emotions and paint lively pictures of the life of the local crackers in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Cross Creek Cookery is filled with recipes she and her housekeeper prepared in the small kitchen on the farm.

Her books displayed in the house.

Her books displayed in the house.

An open page from Cross Creek Cookery on the kitchen work table.

An open page from Cross Creek Cookery on the kitchen work table.

A view of the garden

A view of the garden

A hen scratches in the dirt of the open barn door.

A hen scratches in the dirt of the open barn door.

This time of year the grounds of the house are filled with the scent of orange blossoms and the visitor is at once transported to old Florida. The orange trees, the garden, the chickens, the palms and greenery that surround the home suggest the spirit of this writer.

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The place speaks to me of Marjorie’s happiness whether I am touring the house, investigation the barn, admiring the flowers on the tenant house porch or meandering the nearby trails and grounds.

Tenant house porch

Tenant house porch

Washing work happened at this end of the tenant house porch.

Washing work happened at this end of the tenant house porch.

She loved it there surrounded by the orange trees. The hens and roosters chortle and crow. Otherwise the place is mostly quiet.

A view from the front porch toward the yard and later addition to the house.

A view from the front porch toward the yard and later addition to the house.

Marjorie sat at her typewriter and wrote on the front porch, a most inviting spot.

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The farmstead is located between Orange Lake and Lochloosa Lake. These are connected by Cross Creek. On a good day breezes flow from the lakes through the hammock, the orange groves and into the house .

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The layout of the house, including portions built at a later date by Marjorie to accommodate such guests as poet Robert Frost, authors Margaret Mitchell and Thornton Wilder, features small rooms and connecting verandas, hallways, porches. It is a cozy place, inviting and comforting.

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The house is constructed of heart pine and much of it is board and batten siding, painted white. In past years heart pine was the center of old growth pines, predominately longleaf pine. The wood was dark colored, decay resistant and more stable than yellow pine.

The kitchen veranda

The kitchen veranda

The dogtrot or breezeway.

The dogtrot or breezeway.

Breezeway: a good place to work.

Breezeway: a good place to work.

The dining room and kitchen with pantry are a separate building connected to the house with a breezeway or dogtrot and many windows to facilitate ventilation.

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The cornhusk broom standing in the corner of the kitchen appears in many short stories.

The cornhusk broom standing in the corner of the kitchen appears in many short stories.

The kitchen pantry stocked with pans and utensils.

The kitchen pantry stocked with pans and utensils.

In this place one hears Marjorie Rawlins’ whispers and shouts. One can discover a bit of the life she knew and recreated so vividly in her writings. For Ms. Rawlins it was an enchanting place and with its museum quality restoration it holds magic for many who visit there.

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Close-up of the crazy quilt on Marjorie's bed.

Close-up of the crazy quilt on Marjorie’s bed.

The Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park is located at 18700 S. County Road 325, Cross Creek, Fl 32640. You can learn more at FloridaStateParks.org

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