Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park - Cross Creek, Florida

Some of the best known and most loved books about life in Florida in the early 20th century were written in this picturesque frame home in the small community of Cross Creek, Florida.

It was the home of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, a Northern-born writer who came to Florida permanently after visiting the state with her husband in 1928. The couple bought a 72-acre farm in Cross Creek, which is located on the east side of Orange Lake between Gainesville and Ocala. Her husband didn't care for life in the hot scrub and pine woods, but Marjorie remained to become one of the best-known writers in American history.

The books she wrote and based on the landscape and her neighbors in and around Cross Creek included "Cross Creek" and "South Moon Under." Her 1938 book, "The Yearling," was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1939 and was used as the basis for a popular movie of the same name.

The farm at Cross Creek has been beautifully preserved and looks much as it did when Rawlings lived and wrote there. Visitors can walk through the rusty iron gate and into the orchard described in her writings, tour the house where she lived and entertained an array of famous visitors including poet Robert Frost, novelist Margaret Mitchell and actor Gregory Peck.

Tours of the house are now given Thursday through Sunday, but the grounds can be explored daily. To learn more, please visit

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