Florida State Parks are in various stages of accessibility, and are working to improve access to services and facilities. Should you need assistance to enable your full participation, please contact the individual park office as soon as possible. Sometimes as many as ten days may be needed to schedule a particular accommodation.

Management & Protection
Florida State Parks are managed as natural systems. All plant and animal life is protected in state parks. Hunting, livestock grazing and timber removal are not permitted. Do not remove, deface, mutilate or molest any natural resources. For your safety, do not feed any animals. Intoxicants and firearms are prohibited.

Pets are not allowed in camping areas, on bathing beaches, in concession areas and may be restricted in other designated areas of the park. Where pets are allowed, they must be kept on a six-foot, hand-held leash and well-behaved at all times. Service dogs are welcome in all areas of the parks.

State Park Guide
To discover and experience all of the Real Florida at Florida's 145 state parks, ask a Park Ranger where you can pick up a copy of the Florida State Park Guide, or call 850/488-9872.

Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tours available Thursday through Sunday at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and hourly from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for $2 per adult; children 6-12, $1; children 5 and under, free. Each tour is limited to 10 people. House tours are not offered during the months of August and September. School groups and those interested in arranging a workshop or seminar should call or write for further information.

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Cross Creek is a bend in a country road, by land, and the flowing of Lochloosa Lake into Orange Lake, by water. We are four miles west of the small village of Island Grove, nine miles east of a turpentine still, and on the other sides we do not count distance at all, for the two lakes and the broad marshes "create an infinite space between us and the horizon."

So Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings began the story of her life in this rural Florida community. Coming to Cross Creek in 1928 with her husband Charles Rawlings, she settled into her new life in this "half-wide, backwoods country," growing oranges, cooking on a wood-burning stove, writing down her impressions of the land and her Cracker neighbors. Immediately, she felt an affinity for the place and made a lifelong commitment to it: "When I came to the Creek, I knew the old grove and the farmhouse at once as home."

She sat most often on the wide veranda at her typewriter, writing the books that would endear her to the world and capture forever the beauty of Florida and the spirit of its people. The Yearling, an American classic and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, is the story of young Jody Baxter's coming of age in the big scrub country which is now the Ocala National Forest. Cross Creek is a chronicle of her life at the Creek, a "love story," she called it, where she reveals her favorite haunts, marvels at the passing of the seasons, introduces the reader to her friends and neighbors and shares with the whole world her love of Florida. Here, the land and its people roused her, and her writings blossomed into works that have placed her among the best known names in American literature.

Her farmhouse "sat snugly then as now under the tall old orange trees, and had a simple grace of line, low rambling, and one-storied." Three separate structures connected by a bathroom, screen porches, open verandas, comprise the eight-room house built of cypress and heart pine. The house has withstood the "wind and rain and harsh sun and encroaching jungle" for nearly 100 years. The Cracker-style architecture is well-suited for the hot Florida climate and includes open porches, tall ceilings and plenty of windows and screened doors to take advantage of the cool breezes. In the winter, four fireplaces and the wood-burning stove took the chill off the rooms.

Outside, the citrus grove of orange, grapefruit and tangerine trees surrounded the house. In the magic of the grove, she 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 oranges 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 her groves, Marjorie Rawlings found peace and inspiration.

Her book Cross Creek ends with these words: "It seems to me that the earth may be borrowed but not bought. It may be used but not owned. It gives itself in response to love and tending, offers its seasonal flowering and fruiting. But we are tenants and not possessors, lovers and not masters. 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."

Divorced from Charles Rawlings in 1933, Marjorie Rawlings stayed on at the Creek alone through the Great Depression and into more prosperous times. In 1941, she married Norton Baskin and divided her time between their St. Augustine home and her Cross Creek retreat where she continued to write up until her death in 1953 at the age of 57.

The Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Historic Site has been officially listed on the National Register of Historic Sites since 1970. It is a microcosm of Florida farmland, marshland and succeeding hammock and represents a history, culture and architecture that typifies a rural Florida that has all but vanished. Eight acres of the historic site have been managed by DEP's Division of Recreation and parks since 1970. The remaining 60 acres of the original homestead are managed by Alachua County Parks and the University of Florida Foundation.

The house is open only to public tours. Tours are given Thursday through Sunday at 10 am, 11 am, and each hour from 1 pm to 4 pm.

Adult- $3
Children (6-12)- $2
Children (5 and under)- free.

Each tour is limited to 10 people, and a waiting time is not unusual. Tours are not offered August and September as we work on preservation projects. The yard , grove, and nature trails remain open through-out the year. School groups and those interested in arranging group tour should call or rate for further information.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Historic Site is located in Cross Creek, off S.R. 325.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Historic Site
Route 3, Box 92
Hawthorne, FL 32640

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