Why Princess Place Preserve is a great destination on a beautiful Florida day: history, eagles' nests, camping, canoe/kayaking, and crafts.
Wondering what to do on a beautiful day as a Florida retiree? In Flagler County, there is always the beach, the 26+ miles of bike/walking paths, restaurants, shopping, gardening, and more, but one place you might want to visit is Princess Place Preserve, a 1500 acre Flagler County Park and historical site. There’s lots of history, relaxation, eagles’ nests, camping, hiking, kayaking, and canoeing, and the Creekside Festival:
History: Princess Places is the oldest homestead in Flagler County Florida, built in 1888 and constructed in Adirondack camp style. The construction of the homestead used local materials - the wood of the surrounding trees and coquina stone from the nearby beaches, a wonderful rock composed of shell fragments. Before construction of the homestead, the site had been known as “Cherokee Grove.”
The original owner of the homestead, Henry Cutting, at 26 married Angela Mills, then 19 and the couple had two children and used the home to entertain and live. When he died in a boating incident only four years after they were married, Angela Mills Cutting inherited the home.
More history: In 1901, Mrs. Cutting remarried - a Mr. John Worden, a wealthy stockbroker from New York and Palm Beach, but divorced around 1920. She then married a third time - romantically in Paris in 1923 to an exiled Russian prince - Boris Scherbatoff. And, so, Mrs. Angela Cutting Worden became a princess and the property, once named “Cherokee Grove,” came to be called Princess Place.
If you go there, you can see and visit the lodge (check the times it’s opened and when tours are available) and see Florida’s first in-ground swimming pool….feed by the aquifer.
Relaxation: One of the most peaceful activities in all of Flagler County is to sit on a rocking chair on the porch of Princess Place, looking out over the Matanzas River and Pellicer Creek and feel the breeze tickle your hair! There are a bunch of rocking chairs and it’s seldom crowded.
You can gaze out at a lovely, large stretch of water and see distant motor boaters fly by on the Intracoastal Waterway and view nearer flats boats, kayaks and canoes paddle by. See the picture below and check out this youtube clip of an aerial view of a day in the park.
Eagles’ Nests: There are eagle nests in the woods with viewing sites to drive to. You have to be careful of other wildlife when you walk out to view the nests (like snakes!). It’s also a good idea to bring a hat, binoculars, sunscreen, and a chair if you are going to sit and observe the nests during their active times. In May of this year, a rehabbed fledgling eaglet was released in the park to join the other eagles.
Camping, kayaking, hiking, and more: There is a charge to do overnight camping - and both primitive and equestrian sites are available (yes, you can ride horses in Princess Place, but bring your own!) and online reservations are necessary. Since the park faces northeast, you will get lovely sunrises. Some of the primitive sites are near the water; others in the woods (primitive means they include a fire ring, a grill, and a picnic table!). Kayaking and canoeing are just bring your own, launch it in and go!
Creekside Music & Arts Festival: This year is the 14th annual Creekside Festival, October 6 & 7, 2018. In past years, the festival has drawn crowds of 8,000 and more people over the two days. With bands such as The Florida State Bluegrass Band and others, it is a family friendly event where there is a free kids zone, a food court, lots of crafts, a beer garden, and lots of beautiful scenery.