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Historic Princess Place Preserve is Off the Beaten Path

| Updated Jun 19, 2023

Have you ever wondered how a princess would live in the USA?  

Princess Place Reserve florida
Location of Princess Place Reserve

You can find out along the Atlantic coast of Florida, near Palm Coast, at the Princess Place Preserve.  

It starts, as so many things in Florida do, with a land grant from the King of Spain.  

Just after Spain ceded Florida to the United States in 1819, one of the first orange orchards on the continent, the Cherokee Grove, was established here.

The trees were descended from those brought to Saint Augustine by Ponce de Leon three hundred years earlier.

How Princess Place Preserve came to be

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Pellicer Creek and across Anastasia Island to the Atlantic

Henry Cutting, a wealthy New York sportsman, bought the property in 1880 and built a home here.  

Unique among local dwellings, the home is a New England-style hunting lodge with big stone fireplaces and a full wraparound porch. It sits on a point overlooking Pellicer Creek and across Anastasia Island to the Atlantic.  

After Cutting bought Cherokee Grove and several adjacent  parcels to grow his holdings to 1,500 acres, he enlisted artisans already brought to St. Augustine by his friend, railroad magnate Henry Flagler, to construct his Adirondacks-style lodge between 1886 and 1888.
The artisans' use of indigenous materials – cabbage palm and cedar trunks to support the wraparound porch and tabby (a mixture coquina shells and cement) and pink coquina mined from the nearby beach for its exterior – produced an excellent feat of adaptation.

from the Visit Florida website

Cutting didn’t stint on the buildings. His new wife was an equestrian, so he built a large and spacious stable, as well as the first in-ground swimming pool in Florida, fed by an underground spring. Beside the pool is a changing house with heat and running water.

While sailing down from Saint Augustine one day, Cutting died aboard his ship.  The cause is a matter of some speculation.  

How his widow became the real Princess behind Princess Place Preserve

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He left his 26-year old wife and two young children to go it alone at Cherokee Grove. On a return trip to her home in New York, Angela Cutting met, and later married, an exiled Russian Prince. 

Cherokee Grove came alive again, with frequent parties and visitors from New England and Europe. And it got a new name, Princess Place.  

Eventually, Princess Place was sold to Flagler County and has been in public hands for almost seventy years.

Princess Place now sits on more than two thousand acres of estuarine research land. Miles of trails offer a chance to walk through wetlands, along the coast, among cypress and mangrove swamps, and through the hardwood forests of the coastal uplands.  

Is there an RV Campground at Princess Place Preserve?

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There are picnic shelters and benches liberally scattered through the grounds. And even though several websites say that RV camping is available, it seems that only tent camping is allowed at the moment. You can always call ahead and ask (386) 313-4020.

You could easily spend several days enjoying what this park has to offer, hiking and fishing, walking the grounds, and poking through history.  

Or you could do what we did. Bring a thermos and a pair of binoculars and settle into a rocking chair on the big porch overlooking the estuary and just relax, right there off the beaten path. 

Mike and Jennifer's Favorite Places in Florida – all 3 ebooks!

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We RVers may wander far and wide but it’s true for most of us that we end up with some favorite “Go-To” places – places that draw us back again and again.

Florida is one of those places for us. And we know it is for many RVers looking to get away and explore during the winter. 

That's why we've created three guides, covering Florida's Atlantic Coast, the Gulf Coast, and the Keys. 

Each of these guides is a seven-day guided exploration of one of the coasts. And each stop is a curated view of the best things that we’ve enjoyed on this trip and want you to experience.

Altogether these guides are over 300 pages of content! 

RV Lifestyle

Published on 2021-07-26

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