Princess Place Preserve is an oasis of natural Old Florida on 1500 pristine acres north of Palm Coast, Florida.
The preserve is located on a wooded site at the mouth of Pellicer Creek and the Matanzas River. It is on the west side of the river across from Marineland.
It is a tranquil place, a glimpse of what Old Florida was like and what many of us miss. The day I visited, the only sound on the property was the wind whispering through the many trees. The only motion I was aware of were the gentle movements of the branches and leaves of the many trees.
Birds were singing, and the marsh grasses along the shoreline were rippling in the light breeze.
Even though it is a quiet oasis, there are still plenty of things to do. Equestrians love the place because there is a campsite for them and many miles of riding trails.
The natural environment is laced with numerous hiking trails. It's a great place to ride, hike, explore in a kayak or canoe, camp, go fishing or have a picnic.
Or do as I do, and just sit the porch of the lodge and rock in a chair overlooking the river. I was there on a Tuesday in late September and was the only visitor.
From the minute you cross the covered bridge into the preserve, you will feel refreshed and ready to relax.
A man named Henry Cutting bought the land in 1886. He built a hunting lodge on the property he named "Cherokee Grove". The lodge still stands and a visitor's room has a continuing video showing you the various rooms in the place.
You can also take a tour of the lodge every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 p.m., weather permitting.
Henry died at a very young age and left the lodge and property to his widow, Angela. She got married twice after Henry died, and her third husband was Prince Boris Scherbatow. Boris was an exiled Russian prince, so Angela became known as a princess.
Not long after that event, the lodge began to be called "Princess Place".
In addition to the lodge, the preserve also has an old livery stable, a bath house, and the first in-ground swimming pool in Florida. The pool was fed by artesian well water.
From I-95, take Exit 298 to US Highway 1. Go south on US-1 toward Bunnell. Turn left on Old Kings Road. The entrance to Princess Place Preserve is about 1.5 miles on the left.
Old Kings Road is a historical route, as the historical marker shows. It is paved, but the driveway to the preserve is not. It is a well maintained dirt road, however, and is no problem for a regular car or bicycle.