It’s been a quiet relaxing stay at Crooked River State Park near the Florida border. We’ve biked and hiked, and spent a lot of time looking at birds by this pond. Yesterday Russ scoffed at this sign, but today we could see him sunning on the opposite bank.
Just down the road is the sweet little historic town of St. Marys, but on Sunday morning, the only thing open are churches.
When the government isn’t shut down, you can catch a ferry over to Cumberland Island National Seashore where only foot and bike transportation is allowed. We’ve heard great things, but will save that for another visit.
For all you oyster connoiseurs, here are the answers to yesterday’s “Test Your Oyster IQ.”
Today was a traveling day for us, but we had time to visit the nearby Pin Point Heritage Museum. We’ve camping at Skidaway Island State Park, and Pin Point lies right across the Moon River, named after the song written by Savannah son, Johnny Mercer. The words to that song ring true for Russ and me – “Two drifters off to see the world. There’s such a lot of world to see.”
In the early 1950s, nearby Hilton Head Island had a population of only 300, and the people who lived there were mostly descendants of freed slaves. Pin Point is one of the last Gullah/Geechee communities that hasn’t succumbed to developers. Here you can see restored buildings of the thriving oyster and blue crab business that sustained this area from 1926 to 1985, and hear the stories of those who live and worked in this close-knit community.
OK folks, it’s time to test your oyster IQ! You can answer in the comments, or play along quietly. I’ll post the answers tomorrow.
This morning we ventured to Wormsloe State Historic Site, a 1745 colonial estate on nearby Isle of Hope. (Love that name!) One of the first English settlers of Georgia, a carpenter named Noble Jones, built his fortified home of tabby (a mixture of sand, oyster shells, lime and water). It’s the oldest standing structure in the Savannah area, but only the ruins of the original house remain.
In the early 1890’s, 400 live oak trees were planted by one of the descendants to commemorate the birth of his son, creating the longest alleé in the world (1.5 miles). Twenty years later a grand masonry archway was added in recognition of the son’s coming of age.
This afternoon we paid our respects to Noble Jones and others who now lie in Bonaventure Cemetery. The beauty of this place is hard to capture, and we spent several hours wandering the pathways, taking in the historical significance of those who are buried here. Johnny Mercer and Conrad Aiken find themselves in very good company!
“Death is never an ending, death is a change; Death is beautiful, for death is strange; Death is one dream out of another flowing.” Conrad Aiken, The House of Dust
You can count on blooms in Savannah year-round, but even the camellias have suffered because of this winter’s extreme cold. The good news is – things are warming up!
Ah, Savannah – a city of quiet southern charm laid out in a friendly grid, with beautiful squares providing bursts of natural beauty every few blocks. It’s great to stroll the streets, but not when the breeze is brisk and temps are well below average (last night it was 24º). This sign is posted on all the water spigots in our campground.
Girl scouting played a huge part of my life, and Savannah is the birthplace of its founder, Juliette Gordon Low. We headed for a nice warm tour of “Daisy’s” home, only to find that it’s closed during January for it’s annual cleaning.
A quick stop for coffee (well, a chai latte and hot chocolate) and we came up with plan B: The Telfair Museums (art, history, and architecture). One of the exhibitions featured art and technology, which included a virtual reality experience – fabulous!
We topped off the day with a 3-mile walk along some of the beautiful trails in the park where we’re camping.
Unlike the beautiful, shining city of Montgomery, a veil of the past hangs over the streets of Selma. The National Historic Trail marks the 54-mile voting rights march between Selma and Montgomery, beginning at the Edmund Pettis Bridge. As we walked across the bridge, we could only imagine what it was like that ‘Bloody Sunday’ in 1965 when peaceful marchers were attacked by law enforcement officers, and the subsequent marches that eventually led to the steps of the state capitol.
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute tells the whole civil rights story – the bus boycott, the sit-ins, the freedom rides, the marches – all in factual, gruesome detail. It’s located across the street from the 16th Street Baptist Church, where a Ku Klux Klan bomb killed four little girls one Sunday morning in 1963. Two of the three perpetrators were finally convicted on four counts of murder in 2001 and 2002. The third died in in 1994, and was never charged.
We had hoped to round out our civil rights tour with a visit to the Ebenezer Baptist Church and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, but time ran out. We squeezed in a nice dinner with Russ’ cousin, Skip, and his husband, Rob, before setting our sights on home.
We took the Old Savannah Trolly Tour (great suggestion, Tommy), then spent some time walking around this historic beautiful city in bloom. Had a fabulous lunch at Belford’s (best turnip greens ever!), paid our respects to Juliette Gordon Lowe (founder of the Girl Scouts), then headed back for a quiet evening at the campground.
Life in the slow lane, taken on the road to the campground. Our campsite is in the distant woods on the left. Heading to South Carolina tomorrow.
Surrounded by wetlands and far from any roads, we woke this morning to nothing but birdsong and woodpeckers tapping away. A Great Blue Heron made a close fly by, then perched like a sentinel in a tree at the edge of our campsite. We were enthralled by its mournful sounds, wondering what messages it was sending. At the opposite corner, a Wood Stork landed. and was soon joined by two others. These birds are huge, measuring 44 inches with long, slightly curved beaks, and apparently making a comeback from the endangered species list. I’m afraid my phone camera was woefully inadequate in capturing the magnificence of this bird, so take a closer look here.