Georgia

Atlanta’s Attractions!

March 18, 2013

So I have been wanting to visit the Georgia Aquarium since it opened in 2005. I finally made it, and it did not disappoint. I mean really, FOUR whale sharks in captivity. The only other aquarium in the world with a whale shark is in Tokyo!

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The Georgia Aquarium is the largest in the world, with tanks holding 8 million gallons of water. 6.3 million gallons of water are reserved for the whales sharks that also share their space with FOUR manta rays, guitar sharks, enormous groupers, rays, and lots of other fish. The whale shark exhibit is the size of a football field and thirty feet deep.

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The whale sharks, that grow to forty feet in length feed on krill. The largest at the aquarium was 26 feet, but the tank is large enough to handle all four when they are fully grown. Each shark has an individual handler and is fed from a boat. The krill cannot be dumped into the water because the filtering system circulates 1 million gallons of water an hour!

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The sharks were actually saved from a Taiwan fishing kill and delivered to the USA by UPS! Now fishing for whale sharks, the largest FISH in the sea, is banned. The exhibit was so fantastic. There were multiple viewing areas, a presentation, and even a moving walkway that transported visitors through a tunnel. I could have stayed at this one exhibit, Ocean Voyager, for hours.  I think I was there for at least one hour anyway.

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What was special about the Georgia Aquarium was the amount of species of fish on display I had never seen before despite being a SCUBA diver. I went through the River Scout exhibit twice! This exhibit included albino alligators, piranhas, elephantnose fish, and an electric eel. I’ve never heard of an elephantnose fish that has electric organs in its tail to help it sense things in the dark. And while I have heard of an electric eel, I haven’t seen one and certainly didn’t know it could emit an electric shock of 500 volts!! It was so creepy looking.

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The Tropical Diver exhibit included a large coral reef with numerous tropical fish populating it. Since I dive reefs like this regularly, I probably took it for granted, but I loved the jellyfish display and the sea horse display. They were both fantastic, and I stood mesmerized by them. Sea horses are so hard to spot in the wild and the lighting in case made the jellyfish look beautiful instead of frightening.

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The Cold Water Quest Area was home to otters, Penguins (a type that a didn’t see in Antarctica), and FOUR beluga whales. The beluga whales were so curious and active as they whipped around the tank. They were so fun to watch. I also loved the sea dragons. I have only read about them and never seen one, so they were super cool to see float around.

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I never got my hands on one of the baby hammerhead sharks in the touch pool, just the rays, but really, a baby hammerhead!! Totally awesome. The only time I ever saw a hammerhead I was snorkeling around sea lions, and the hammerhead was hunting. I got out of the water…I didn’t want to be accidentally mistaken!

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The frog exhibit was hopping…pun intended because I’m running out of descriptive adjectives to use about this place! The most poisonous animal is not a snake or a spider, it is the Dart Poison Frog from Central and South America. It is beautiful too…multicolored…bright yellow and purple with a black, striped pattern. There were other neat amphibians too!

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I didn’t see the dolphin show because I had to head to the airport, but suspect it was as good everything else. I was pleasantly surprised by the aquarium. I knew it was the best around, but being spoiled by diving in the ocean and wanting to go see it for so long, I was afraid it might not meet my expectations. I must say, the Georgia Aquarium exceeded them…a must see!

I also completed a tour of the World of Coca-Cola. The World of Coca-Cola includes 13 exhibits ranging from meeting the Polar Bear mascot to tasting different colas from around the world, to unlocking the secret Coke formula, to admiring old Coke memorabilia and Coke commercials as well as surviving the 4D movie theatre. I would only recommend the 4D movie only if you choose the non-moving seats or unless you want a free chiropractic session. You don’t have to worry about motion sickness as suggested, only whiplash, as the row of seats jerk back and forth.

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My favorite exhibit, as always in places like this, was the Bottle Works center which explained the bottling process. I’m always amazed by the machines used to complete the process so efficiently. The bottling process starts with the clean in place unit which sends sanitizer and 180° F water to all the equipment in the bottling line.

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The syrup tank holds 1,000 gallons of syrup (a mixture of the Coke formula, sweetener, and water), which is enough to make 104,000 8 ounce bottles of Cola. Before the bottles can be filled, the bottles must be pressurized, drawing the beverage into the bottle with little or no foaming.

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A Bottle Inspector Machine takes a picture of every bottle to examine its interior for any defects. Good bottles are rinsed with de-ionized air and bad bottles are discarded. De-ionized air breaks the static charge and removes any particles clinging to the bottles.

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The Packaging Robot unloads empty bottles and puts them into production to be filled. It also stacks filled bottles as they come off the line. Most bottling plants use two different machines for these tasks.

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The syrup and treated water are mixed in the Blender. Then carbon dioxide is added to create the finished beverage. Once the bottle is filled and capped, a Fill Inspector measures the density of each bottle. If the fill level is incorrect, the bottle is discarded.

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With the exception of four year stay in a vault in a bank in New York, the secret Coca-Cola formula has always been protected in Atlanta. The formula was purchased by Asa Griggs Chandler for $2,300 is the late 1800’s.

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The Coca-Cola Company was incorporated in 1892 in Georgia. By 1912, Chandler was elected mayor of Atlanta. In 1919, the Chandler family sold The Coca-Cola Company for $25 million. Not a bad ROI!

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After my tour, I met up with another cousin, Fontaine and his girlfriend Cassie, for dinner. We went to the Juke Joint. It was packed on a Sunday night. I couldn’t help my curiosity and asked our waiter, “If it was always like this or was there a special event?”

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He replied, “Oh, on the weekends, you have to have a reservation. There is live music seven days a weeks, R&B, jazz…”

It was great. We had the best southern, comfort food! I went with grilled shrimp and grits (at least the shrimp were healthy). Fontaine and Cassie got fried chicken, greens, and Mac ‘n cheese (at least the greens were healthy) haha. That meal definitely called for an extra workout, but it was mouth watering good and fed a small army!! The jazz was good too! We got totally lucky that Fontaine randomly made a reservation on the website because he could…good move…and good times to catch up. It had been a few years given his service in the Air Force (Thank You!). A nice afternoon and evening in Atlanta…I’m looking forward to a morning at the Georgia Aquarium before heading back to Denver.

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Find notecards, key chains, and photos on canvas at www.notablenotecards.com or www.etsy.com/shop/nichenotecards

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Georgia

Alternative Atlanta Attractions

April 12, 2014

This weekend I made a quick trip to Atlanta for my cousin’s wedding. I arrived late on Friday and left Sunday morning, so I only got to enjoy one day, but it was action packed and fun!

I started out the morning using my coupon at the R cafe in the hotel lobby for a cup of Starbucks. Actually, it qualified me for two tall coffees, but I only wanted one. The nice lady at the cafe really wanted me to have both cups of coffee.

“You get two,” she said as I handed her the coupon.
“That’s OK, I only want one,” I responded.
As she pushes the coupon back to me, “She says but you can come back later.”
“I just want one small coffee, thanks,” I said.
“Well, do you want one bigger cup?” she asked.
Finally, I said, “I’ll just take two cups of coffee.”
The guy next to me started laughing as she decided to give me one large one and told me to keep the coupon for tomorrow too.
I replied, “That’s OK, I have another coupon.”
“But you need the coupon to get coffee tomorrow,” she replies.
“Yes, I have one, thanks.”
Whew! Getting coffee was harder than my 750 meter swim. I’ve decided to train for an Olympic Triathlon. I’m just starting out, and swimming is proving difficult! But I had a particularly good swim in the hotel’s warm, indoor pool with a little algae growing on the sides.

I took a short drive from the Renaissance Waverly Hotel to Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, home to a Civil War Battle. I wanted to go on a five mile hike. The ranger in the Visitor Center suggested with hesitancy, a loop that included climbing up and over the Kennesaw Mountain, over Little Kennesaw Mountain to Pigeon Hill, and then following a path around the mountain back to the park’s main entrance. What she didn’t like about the hike, however, was the steepness.

“What I don’t like about the trail is it goes straight up and straight down,” she said.
She almost had me convinced not to do it and do visit another part of the very long park, when she said, “But it’s doable.”

I really didn’t want to drive to the other part of the park as the place was packed. I almost didn’t even get a parking spot in the overflow lot. So I turned left out of the visitor’s center and tried my luck. I followed the well groomed trail beneath blooming trees about one mile to the peak. As I climbed, I reminded myself the populated areas of National Parks generally are not that hard. I didn’t find this trail that difficult, but then again, perhaps I’m used to the steepness and altitude of the Rockies.

I wasn’t quite used to the humidity and broke a sweat almost immediately. It was a relatively cool day for Georgia though, so shorts and a T-shirt were perfect me. I would have boiling had I been in long sleeves, sweats, pants, and double shirts like many of my fellow hikers. It’s amazing how the body adjusts to the places one lives!

The peak of the mountain featured four canons replicating the Confederates defense position as they fought the General Sherman’s Union Army. The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain took place on June 27, 1864 after Johnston’s soldiers retreated from several battles to the north beginning May 9th: Rocky Face, Resaca, Pickett’s Mill, New Hope Church, and Dallas. Sherman’s forces continued encroaching until they reached Atlanta. The Confederate President, Jefferson Davis, exasperated with Johnston’s retreats, relieved him of his duties, and placed General Hood in command. It was too late, however, and the Union troops occupied Atlanta by September 2nd leading to the end of the war.

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Having previously mentioned hiking up the mountain was not terribly hard, I will say, if I had a canon in tow, it would have been a different story. The only Canon I had in tow was a digital Elph! The mountain peak provided a smoggy view of Atlanta. I could hardly see the high rises. I’m not sure if the area is always this smoggy or if it was due to fire nearby.

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After reaching the peak, I hopped over the rocky trail and stopped to snap photos of the sporadic pink, purple, yellow, and red wildflowers. During my slow pace, a few young ladies were slowly catching up to me. It wouldn’t have bothered me too much, except one girl with a shrill-like voice jabbered incessantly about her friend’s cancer, pet scan’s, and good and bad doctor’s. I somewhat wondered if she really wanted me to know about her friend’s illness. I finally stopped and let them pass. In fact, I heard lots of interesting conversations on my walk. I’ll sum them up with there were a variety of folks on the trail today!

On my way to Pigeon Hill I passed by trenches dug by the Confederates, some groups resting half-way up the trail from the grueling hike thus far, a few cutoff trails, a cute green lizard, and a guy with a shirt that said, “I bust mine, so I can kick yours”. Upon reaching Pigeon Hill, I realized I was supposed to take one of those cutoff trails, so back I went up the mountain! My misdirection only added a quarter mile to my hike, so it was no big deal.

The cutoff path was mostly, crossed a few creeks or spring and set me up perfectly for a two mile run. Off I went on a slow jog when I came upon four deer! In addition, to the deer, I passed by areas that were home to old barracks, tool sheds, and educational facilities for CCC during the depression. What a fun hike this became as it offered a little bit of everything.

I worked up an appetite and found a sports bar by the hotel called Jock’s and Jill’s. Surprisingly, they were holding a Dallas Cowboy event. Dwayne Harris, who rocks at punt returns and should be on the starting offense, as well as George Selvie were there signing autographs!

It was three o’clock and the fun had only just begun. It was time to get ready for my cousin’s wedding at Canoe, a restaurant with gardens on the shore of the Chattahoochee River. The atmosphere was lovely for the quaint wedding. We enjoyed a lovely sit down dinner and dancing after the bride and groom promised their love to each other. The weather was perfect…not too hot and no bugs! The lovebirds couldn’t have asked for a nicer day in Atlanta to tie the knot. Family from around the country joined in celebrating, and it was great. Here’s to Fontaine and Cassie! ETB

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Georgia

Georgia Aquarium…The Largest in the World…A Must See!

March 18, 2013

So I have been wanting to visit the Georgia Aquarium since it opened in 2005. I finally made it, and it did not disappoint. I mean really, FOUR whale sharks in captivity. The only other aquarium in the world with a whale shark is in Tokyo!

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The Georgia Aquarium is the largest in the world, with tanks holding 8 million gallons of water. 6.3 million gallons of water are reserved for the whales sharks that also share their space with FOUR manta rays, guitar sharks, enormous groupers, rays, and lots of other fish. The whale shark exhibit is the size of a football field and thirty feet deep.

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The whale sharks, that grow to forty feet in length feed on krill. The largest at the aquarium was 26 feet, but the tank is large enough to handle all four when they are fully grown. Each shark has an individual handler and is fed from a boat. The krill cannot be dumped into the water because the filtering system circulates 1 million gallons of water an hour!

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The sharks were actually saved from a Taiwan fishing kill and delivered to the USA by UPS! Now fishing for whale sharks, the largest FISH in the sea, is banned. The exhibit was so fantastic. There were multiple viewing areas, a presentation, and even a moving walkway that transported visitors through a tunnel. I could have stayed at this one exhibit, Ocean Voyager, for hours.  I think I was there for at least one hour anyway.

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What was special about the Georgia Aquarium was the amount of species of fish on display I had never seen before despite being a SCUBA diver. I went through the River Scout exhibit twice! This exhibit included albino alligators, piranhas, elephantnose fish, and an electric eel. I’ve never heard of an elephantnose fish that has electric organs in its tail to help it sense things in the dark. And while I have heard of an electric eel, I haven’t seen one and certainly didn’t know it could emit an electric shock of 500 volts!! It was so creepy looking.

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The Tropical Diver exhibit included a large coral reef with numerous tropical fish populating it. Since I dive reefs like this regularly, I probably took it for granted, but I loved the jellyfish display and the sea horse display. They were both fantastic, and I stood mesmerized by them. Sea horses are so hard to spot in the wild and the lighting in case made the jellyfish look beautiful instead of frightening.

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The Cold Water Quest Area was home to otters, Penguins (a type that a didn’t see in Antarctica), and FOUR beluga whales. The beluga whales were so curious and active as they whipped around the tank. They were so fun to watch. I also loved the sea dragons. I have only read about them and never seen one, so they were super cool to see float around.

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I never got my hands on one of the baby hammerhead sharks in the touch pool, just the rays, but really, a baby hammerhead!! Totally awesome. The only time I ever saw a hammerhead I was snorkeling around sea lions, and the hammerhead was hunting. I got out of the water…I didn’t want to be accidentally mistaken!

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The frog exhibit was hopping…pun intended because I’m running out of descriptive adjectives to use about this place! The most poisonous animal is not a snake or a spider, it is the Dart Poison Frog from Central and South America. It is beautiful too…multicolored…bright yellow and purple with a black, striped pattern. There were other neat amphibians too!

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I didn’t see the dolphin show because I had to head to the airport, but suspect it was as good everything else. I was pleasantly surprised by the aquarium. I knew it was the best around, but being spoiled by diving in the ocean and wanting to go see it for so long, I was afraid it might not meet my expectations. I must say, the Georgia Aquarium exceeded them…a must see!

Find notecards, key chains, and photos on canvas at http://www.notablenotecards.com, http://www.etsy.com/shop/nichenotecards

Georgia

The World of Coca-Cola and Juke Joint in Atlanta, GA

March 17, 2013

I took a long drive from Hilton Head to Atlanta via back roads through Augusta. I have to say I was a little disappointed in the longer drive. While I passed by some interesting swampy areas and a few lodge pole pine forests, I think I was still on the winters side of things, so most the trees were still bare.

In addition, with the Masters being so prestigious, I expected Augusta to be upscale, at least in the sense of the buildings being well maintained. Perhaps I missed the “nice” areas. I did a quick drive through of Olde Augusta…a quaint downtown. The fountains were colored bright green, the tulips were in full bloom, and the azaleas were beginning to flower. In other words, the median was lovely. The surrounding downtown buildings, however, needed a facelift. A little paint would have livened up the place! Oh well, I satisfied my curiosity.

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I arrived in Atlanta just in time to make my 4 p.m. tour of the World of Coca-Cola. The World of Coca-Cola includes 13 exhibits ranging from meeting the Polar Bear mascot to tasting different colas from around the world, to unlocking the secret Coke formula, to admiring old Coke memorabilia and Coke commercials as well as surviving the 4D movie theatre. I would only recommend the 4D movie only if you choose the non-moving seats or unless you want a free chiropractic session. You don’t have to worry about motion sickness as suggested, only whiplash, as the row of seats jerk back and forth.

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My favorite exhibit, as always in places like this, was the Bottle Works center which explained the bottling process. I’m always amazed by the machines used to complete the process so efficiently. The bottling process starts with the clean in place unit which sends sanitizer and 180° F water to all the equipment in the bottling line.

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The syrup tank holds 1,000 gallons of syrup (a mixture of the Coke formula, sweetener, and water), which is enough to make 104,000 8 ounce bottles of Cola. Before the bottles can be filled, the bottles must be pressurized, drawing the beverage into the bottle with little or no foaming.

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A Bottle Inspector Machine takes a picture of every bottle to examine its interior for any defects. Good bottles are rinsed with de-ionized air and bad bottles are discarded. De-ionized air breaks the static charge and removes any particles clinging to the bottles.

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The Packaging Robot unloads empty bottles and puts them into production to be filled. It also stacks filled bottles as they come off the line. Most bottling plants use two different machines for these tasks.

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The syrup and treated water are mixed in the Blender. Then carbon dioxide is added to create the finished beverage. Once the bottle is filled and capped, a Fill Inspector measures the density of each bottle. If the fill level is incorrect, the bottle is discarded.

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With the exception of four year stay in a vault in a bank in New York, the secret Coca-Cola formula has always been protected in Atlanta. The formula was purchased by Asa Griggs Chandler for $2,300 is the late 1800’s.

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The Coca-Cola Company was incorporated in 1892 in Georgia. By 1912, Chandler was elected mayor of Atlanta. In 1919, the Chandler family sold The Coca-Cola Company for $25 million. Not a bad ROI!

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After my tour, I met up with another cousin, Fontaine and his girlfriend Cassie, for dinner. We went to the Juke Joint. It was packed on a Sunday night. I couldn’t help my curiosity and asked our waiter, “If it was always like this or was there a special event?”

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He replied, “Oh, on the weekends, you have to have a reservation. There is live music seven days a weeks, R&B, jazz…”

It was great. We had the best southern, comfort food! I went with grilled shrimp and grits (at least the shrimp were healthy). Fontaine and Cassie got fried chicken, greens, and Mac ‘n cheese (at least the greens were healthy) haha. That meal definitely called for an extra workout, but it was mouth watering good and fed a small army!! The jazz was good too! We got totally lucky that Fontaine randomly made a reservation on the website because he could…good move…and good times to catch up. It had been a few years given his service in the Air Force (Thank You!). A nice afternoon and evening in Atlanta…I’m looking forward to a morning at the Georgia Aquarium before heading back to Denver.

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Find notecards, key chains, and photos on canvas at http://www.notablenotecards.com, http://www.etsy.com/shop/nichenotecards

Georgia, South Carolina

Second Largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the World!

March 16, 2013

Today I decided to venture to Savannah for the second largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world. Supposedly only New York City’s is larger, but some locals like to contest this. Savannah’s first parade was held in 1813 by a small group of Hibernians. Now the parade consists of 350 units. The parade is always held on March 17th, unless the 17th falls on a Sunday, in which case it is held on Saturday the 16th…a perfect scenario for me!

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Being an out-of-towner, not familiar with the area, and having to deal with a mass of 500,000 people congregating into a 2 mile parade route, I was not quite certain I was going to enjoy the hassles of driving and parking while trying to follow directions on my smart phone! I was lucky to have spoken with an old colleague whose daughter attends SCAD, and he suggested I go to the Westin on Huthinson Island and take the River Ferry across. Not a bad idea, I thought, especially, since I was coming from the north and have a Westin parking pass from Hilton Head. His idea was golden! The convention center was next door to the Westin and parking was $15.

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Multiple ferries were operating. I waited in line for the next one, cruised across the river in a few minutes, and disembarked on River Street. I walked around the store front, up the narrow stairs, and found a place on the already packed Bay Street just in time for the parade to start at 10:15! I was toward the end of the route, so I didn’t expect to see any participants for an hour or so which proved true. In the meantime, I just watched all the celebratory spectators. Amazingly they were rather tame given it was suggested that anyone who wanted a shady spot in a square should arrive at 6 a.m. and anyone who wanted a shady spot on the street should arrive at 7 a.m.

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The parade included multiple Irish bagpipe bands, high school bands, floats, The Bulldogs (all the way from Indiana), prior parade masters, the bishop from the Catholic Diocese of Savannah, the military, and my favorite – the Budweiser Clydesdales, to name a few! Of course, it wouldn’t have been a St. Patrick’s Day parade without spotting a leprechaun…there were plenty! While I hear the parade lasts for 3-4 hours and I’m certain the party continued on River Street, I only stayed for a few hours as I had a more important event waiting at the Country Club of Hilton Head later in the evening!

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We had a great time celebrating Roy and Szilvia’s special day. The outdoor setting was lovely, dinner fantastic, and dancing fun! It was another nice night of hanging out with my aunts and cousins catching up on the years that have passed us by so quickly. I think the Ukraine might be on my travel list in 2014. I’m not sure how much longer Roy and Szilvia will be there. Should they move, hopefully they will come back to America, and I will see them more than once every twenty years! ETB

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Florida, Georgia

Day 77 – Georgia’s Colonial Coast Part 2

Georgia and Florida…

I thought it might be the afternoon before the dogs got a good, long walk, so we made a short stop at a roadside park called the Marshes of Glynn Overlook Park where the dogs got to stretch their legs and I got to enjoy the view of expansive salt marshes.  Salt marshes surround the area, and we passed over several as we crossed the bridge to St. Simons Island, part of the Golden Isles.

On St. Simons we visited the remains for Fort Frederica and its surrounding town.  Englishman James Edward Oglethorpe helped establish Georgia, the last colony of the original 13.  Georgia served a buffer between Spanish occupied Florida and the English land to the north. Approximately 114 English immigrants settled Fort Frederica under Oglethorpe’s guidance.  The town thrived as long as there was a Spanish threat as English soldiers were stationed at the fort and helped support the economy.  Oglethorpe, his troops, and his Indian allies successfully defended the fort and Georgia from Spain for the last time in the 1740s.  Thereafter, the troops disbanded and the town slowly faded into demise.  Only foundations of a variety of buildings remain of this abandoned town.

After visiting the fort, we stopped at a nearby St. Simons Lighthouse.  The original lighthouse, built between 1804 and 1810, stood 75 feet high.  During the Civil War, when Georgia was invaded by Federal troops, the Confederates destroyed the lighthouse before evacuating so that the Federal forces could not use the lighthouse as a navigational aid.  Ten years later, in 1872, a second lighthouse was constructed just to the west.  This lighthouse was designed by Charles Cluskey, one of Georgia’s most noted architects.  Additional renovations were made over the next 75 years.  In 1950, the lighthouse became fully automated.

I failed in snapping any photos on Sea Island, Georgia, mainly because I wasn’t allowed past the guard house situated just near the bridge that spans the marshes separating the island and the mainland.  The Reader’s Digest Book suggested visiting The Cloister, a hotel visited by movie stars and presidents on the island, but the guard, who came running out to the stop sign when VANilla approached, stated the island was exclusive.  I told her I thought there was a hotel called The Cloister, and she replied, “Yes, are you checking in?”  Of course my answer was “no”.  “Well then”, she said, “You can make a U-turn right here, the island is exclusive.”  Got it!  Unwelcome there, I continued on to Jekyll Island and Jekyll Island Clubhouse.

In 1886, names such as Rockefeller, Pulitzer, Vanderbilt and Goodyear purchased Jekyll Island and built the Clubhouse.  Today it operates as a hotel and guests can play croquet on the front lawn.  I took a quick peek inside, but a raw bar on the water was beckoning me for oysters and a beer.  I took a seat on the wooden deck, ordered a Corona Light, and ½ dozen oysters on the half shell.  Basking in the sun and a cool breeze, I felt like I was part of a Corona commercial except I wasn’t on a beach.  A few minutes later, the wait staff informed me they were out of oysters, one of only three items on the menu!  Hmmm…I didn’t really want either of the other options, so I just left and made my way to St. Mary’s where a ferry runs to Cumberland Island.

The only transportation on Cumberland Island is via visitors’ own two feet except for hotel guests who may use bicycles.  I wasn’t certain if the ferry would allow dogs, but thought I would give it a shot as I was interested in seeing the Dungeness Ruins of the 1880 Carnegie mansion and to enjoy countless trails around the island.  I never got the chance to see if the ferry allowed dogs as it doesn’t run on Tuesdays or Wednesdays during the winter season.

The dogs had been patiently waiting for a long walk, so I headed a few miles south into Fernandina Beach and took them for a walk along the beach.  I saw a lady looking rather intently in the sand as waves ebbed and flowed on the sandy shore.  I found out Connie was looking for sharks’ teeth.  She had found two black ones which she told me were over 10,000 years old.  She said the white ones found in gift shops come from deserts.  All I found were jellyfish!  Before we parted ways, she gave me the teeth and suggested I go to St. Augustine, Florida.  After some “Krabby Bites” from a beachside restaurant, the dogs and I traveled south to the St. Augustine Walmart for the night. ETB

websites:  www.jekyllisland.com

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Georgia

Day 76 – Georgia’s Colonial Coast

We got a very late start to the morning today.  It was almost afternoon by the time I left my cousins as both the dogs got belly aches.  It must have been the rawhides I gave them.  Regardless, I had to do a little washing and drying before we left!

We spent a few hours at our first stop, Savannah, capital of the Georgia Colony in the 1700s.  We parked near River Street complete with candy shops, restaurants, tourist apparel, street musicians, and riverboat rides.  The dogs and I crossed the cobblestone lane, climbed the stairs, and passed over the iron pedestrian bridges of Factors Walk to begin our walk to the fountain in Forsyth Park.

The sidewalk led us past restored homes, historic buildings, cafes, and shops as well as through countless squares.  Each square, lined with Spanish moss covered Live Oaks and Magnolias, featured a fountain or statue honoring war heroes, governors, and the like.  Ornate ironworks enclosed the statues and intricately designed brick sidewalks wrapped through the squares.

Forsythe Park was conceived in the 1840s by William Brown Hodges who donated 10 acres of wooded land to be developed into Savannah’s first recreational park.  The park is named for former governor John Forsythe.  The park is not only home to a lovely fountain, but also a large field, statues, and a variety of activities.  After our stroll through downtown Savannah, we continued south to Fort McAllister State Historic Park.

Fort McAllister State Historic Park is located on the banks of the Ogeechee River among salt marshes and giant live oaks.  Fort McAllister was a three gun earthwork battery.  Union ironclads attacked the mud earthworks seven times.  The Confederates didn’t fall until Union General William Sherman captured the fort during his March to the Sea from Atlanta to Savannah.

After our walk through the fort, we headed farther south to a roadside church which is the Smallest Church in America.  The 10 by 15 foot chapel seats 13 and is open 24 hours a day to all denominations.  According to the docent, the church was built by Agnes Harper, a rural grocer, in 1949. The church includes a small pulpit, wooden pews, and stained glass windows from England.  Just kidding, there wasn’t a docent for the tiny chapel, but there was a pamphlet!  The church was a final stop on this shortened day before proceeding to a Walmart near Darien.

websites:  www.gastateparks.org/info/ftmcallister

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