Our story since saying farewell to the schoolhouse
After some TLC from Karla and Charles, and a Thanksgiving in the incomparable Big House dining room, we hit the road in December.
Heading south as fast as we could to escape the chill, we visited Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, NC. Not much color in December, but still spectacular.
Queen of all she surveys! Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, Belmont, NC.
Aren't these fun! Garden sculpture ideas for the ambitious! Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden.
Despite the rain, Spartanburg, SC, is a town reinventing itself in this post-industrial period of it's history. Excellent museum, co-op bookstore, neat restaurants. We visited our good friend, June, who lives nearby, but we failed to take a photo. Sorry June!
Magnolia Plantation, just outside Charleston, was our next day trip. Beautiful gardens, with plenty of winding paths. Most places were gearing up for a Holiday light show, and this dragon was part of it. Look closely - every scale is a china plate!
Usually behind the camera, here is a rare sighting of Phil. At Magnolia Plantation.
We headed for Savannah, and found camping on Tybee Island, on the Georgia coast. Despite the rain, we liked it immediately, and ponied up for 2 weeks, as it became clear that campsites over Christmas were becoming scarce.
This is the River's End campsite on Tybee. It is run by the city and is excellent!
Our site at River's End, with the myPod and our bug tent, under a live oak tree with Spanish moss and resurrection fern. We loved the symbiosis between these widely prevalent species of southern flora.
We walked from the campsite along much of Tybee Island. It was sunny and hot, except when we stepped on the pier, where it was windy and cool!
The iconic Tybee lighthouse.
The lighthouse and museum were open for tours on Christmas eve. We never miss a chance to climb a lighthouse!
The kitchen of the keeper of the light.
A few minutes walk from the campground, were these cute little stores.
Lorna was very taken with the skirts made by Rachel at Sea Gypsies, from recycled polo shirts. So much so that we became friends with Rachel, who made the fitted masks some of you received from us as gifts.
No turkey for us last Christmas, but we did buy a gluten-free Shmoo Cake from Whole Foods in Savannah, and ate (some) of it for Christmas lunch!
A post Christmas dinner ambulation on the beach - and yes that might not have been water in my bottle!
We spent several days exploring Savannah - initially parking at the convention center and taking the free boat across the river, though we found it was easier to park at the metered spots in the city.
These are the boats. Terribly noisy, but a fun way to arrive.
Savannah is a beautiful city - the center has wide streets with squares every few blocks, usually with a statue or fountain as the center piece.
This is someone's garden, snapped through the railings of the cast iron fence.
Phil couldn't get enough of views featuring Spanish moss. Which is not a moss, but an air plant (OK, technically an epiphyte.) What you see are the roots.
A majestic way to see the sites.
Another of Savannah's many squares.
The Goose Feathers Cafe quickly became our favorite lunch spot, since they offered gluten-free alternatives for all of their sandwiches.
The southern edge of the center is bounded by a small park with this fountain.
There are tours available for many of the old houses, with good deals on multi-day tickets for some of the main sites. This is the Armstrong House.
This is the Mercer-Williams House made famous by the aforementioned book and movie. It was built by General Hugh W. Mercer, great-grandfather of the songwriter Johnny Mercer.
This amazing avenue is the drive into the Wormsloe Plantation. The founder, Noble Jones, experimented with growing exotic fruits, without any commercial success, though it attracted the interest of the noted botanist John Bartram. Click on the image for Bartram's Garden.
The founder of Savannah, John Oglethorpe, had initially wanted the city to be free of rum, slavery, lawyers, and Papists. None of these prohibitions lasted long, and on slavery, Savannah had its own struggles with civil rights.
No self-respecting member of the Association for Gravestone Studies could visit Savannah without taking in Bonaventure.
Sylvia Shaw Judson's 1936 statue, The Bird Girl, graces the cover of the book, "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." After intense interest sparked by the book, it was moved from Bonaventure to the Telfair Academy in Savannah.
This is the grave of Johnny Mercer, whose grandfather built the Mercer-Williams house. This seat is decorated with titles from his songs.
Another view of the seat at Johnny Mercer's grave.
The grave of the poet and writer, Conrad Aiken.
I like the epitaph, "Cosmos Mariner, Destination Unknown."
Another famous statue by the sculptor, John Walz, is that of, Little Gracie, whose story follows.
Our myPod decorated for the holidays. Thanks to Karla and Charles for the light kits!