If Florida writers were to select a place in the state that represents Florida’s literary image, most would select Cross Creek, the legendary farm and home of beloved Florida author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Rawling’s 1939 Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Yearling takes place in this area and her later masterpiece Cross Creek is almost autobiographical.
Located south of Gainesville a few miles east of I-75, Cross Creek captures the rural Florida of the Rawlings novels and cookbook.
At a time when the category of young adult fiction did not exist, Ms. Rawlings wrote a book that inspired Depression worn families and provided insights in how people survived those years in rural America. Although born in the District of Columbia to a white collar bureaucratic household and educated in Wisconsin and several newspaper jobs, Rawlings life was totally changed when in 1928 he took her family inheritance and purchased 72 acres of orange oranges in isolated Central Florida’s Lake Country.
It was here she decided to capture the fascinating people and places and wildlife of rural Florida, but not without angering some of her bewildered neighbors and losing her first husband who decided Cross Creek was not for him. Eventually, she and her notebook was accepted into the daily realities of Florida Cracker life by most of the area residents.
While her second husband, an Ocala hotelier, bought a mansion in Saint Augustine and converted the penthouse into Rawlings’ private escape, the author avoided the tourists and visitors by buying a beach cottage at Saint Augustine beach.
Rawlings loved her rural farm and it remained the focal point of her books. The beauty of the location is that people can tour the house, the barn, and fields, and then go down to the dock and quietly admire the rustic scenery. Maybe you could bring a Rawlings book to read.