Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings came to rural Cross Creek in 1928 to find a home and a place to write. "I do not know how any one can live without some small place of enchantment to turn to," she later wrote in Cross Creek. Rawlings found that place on her small Florida farmstead and orange grove, and in the nearby wilderness bordered by lakes and Cross Creek. Her experiences were woven into the classic stories that continue to inspire others to live in harmony with the land. Rawlings' cracker farmhouse has original furnishings and is interpreted by staff staff in 1930s clothing. Near the house are ornamental plants of the varieties Rawlings cultivated and a seasonal kitchen garden with herbs, flowers and vegetables. A citrus grove of orange, grapefruit and tangerine trees surrounds the house. At the edge of the farm yard is the tenant house, a reminder of the many who worked the land and whose stories she told. In the magic of the grove, Rawlings found her greatest pleasure: "Enchantment lies in different things for each of us. For me, it is in this: to step out of the bright sunlight into the shade of orange trees; to walk under the arched canopy of their jadelike leaves; to see the long aisles of lichened trunks stretch ahead in a geometric rhythm; to feel the mystery of a seclusion that yet has shafts of light striking through it. This is the essence of an ancient and secret magic. "
In 1928, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings moved to Cross Creek, where she set up her home and wrote works that continue to resonate for the modern reader. Cross Creek remains now as she wrote about it then, "I do not know how anyone can live without some small place of enchantment to turn to."
Shown here with Martha Mickens in her earliest years at Cross Creek, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings came to understand the importance of land and the people in her life who helped to sustain it.
Nestled at the far edge of the orange grove, the tenant house was home to workers who helped Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings manage the farm and house. Some, like Martha Mickens and Idella Parker are featured in the novel Cross Creek. She writes, "Enchantment lies in different things for each of us. For me, it is this: To step out of the bright sunlight into the shade of orange trees ...."
The outdoor life was critical to Rawlings and her writing. Here she is shown with her second husband, Norton Baskin, on a hunting trip.
The oranges, flowers, birds and landscape of Rawlings' care still welcome visitors to Cross Creek. The garden was critical to life in Cross Creek. Rawlings always made room for herbs and flowers among the vegetables: "Cross Creek belongs to the wind and the rain, to the sun and the seasons, to the cosmic secrecy of seed, and beyond all, to time."