Tag Archives: GA

Four Foto Friday is Back!

It’s been quite a while since our last FFF back on Florida’s Space Coast and we’ve been pretty busy since then. Much of this time was spent at our home in Connecticut (we stored the RV in Georgia and drove back up for the holidays and a nice long “winter break” from our travel). We resumed our roadtrip  2 weeks ago and, just yesterday, we crossed the Mississippi River! This quick swing through the south took us to some terrific cities: Atlanta, Nashville, and New Orleans.

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Mural outside MLK National Historic Site

Atlanta: Jen and I lived, met, and got engaged in Atlanta, so in many ways, it still feels like home. We had the good fortune of spending a few days with our dear friends (Shannon, Annie, and Richie), and it was great seeing their families, too. Our boys enjoyed (I think) getting dragged down memory lane and hearing stories of the people and place in our past. In terms of educational activities, we attended a gallery opening, climbed Stone Mountain, visited two excellent museums (Atlanta History Center and Center for Civil and Human Rights), and explored the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park. It was MLK Day while we were there, so the Civil Rights Museum and Historic Park were especially lively and poignant.

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Outside the Honky Tonks on Broadway

Nashville: Nashville was a destination for us for a couple of reasons. First, we wanted to visit our niece, Maddy, who is a senior at Vanderbilt University. We loved seeing this impressive campus and hearing about her college life in the Music City. And music, of course, was the other big attraction for us. We toured the historic Ryman Auditorium, home to the Grand Ole Opry from the 1940s-1970’s. We also visited the Country Music Hall of Fame which charted the course of country music from its roots to the present. We enjoyed live music at the Honky Tonk bars on Broadway (well, the ones that had music during the day and allowed for kids). All this, combined with great eating (BBQ and Hot Chicken) made for a fun couple of days.

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Detail of Mardi Gras Float

New Orleans: From Nashville, we followed the same path as the 1960‘s Freedom Rides through Birmingham, Montgomery, Selma, and Jackson, reading and learning more about these civil rights landmarks along the way. New Orleans, however, felt like we had arrived in a different country altogether. While there was still some evidence of the devasting blow recieved from Hurricane Katrina, the city seemed vibrant and alive with color. In this week before Mardi Gras festivities begin, the mansions of the Garden District were decorated in purple, green, and gold ribbons and beads. We visited Mardi Gras World, where hundreds of floats received their final touches before parades that will happen in coming weeks.

One unexpected highlight from New Orleans was the National World War Two Museum. We didn’t really know about this until our arrival, but we were certainly impressed with the scope and depth of this very important museum. The exhibits included a great variety of first hand accounts and the multimedia presentations throughout kept us engaged for the entire day… a must-see for any visit to the Big Easy.

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Street musicians in Jackson Square.

The streets of the French Quarter were also bustling. At the national park visitor center, we saw performances from a ragtime pianist and a jazz ensemble. In and around Jackson Square, we listened to brass bands, acoustic performers, and even an opera singer. Local foods attracted us as well, especially in the French Market, where we found spicy jambalaya, savory po’boy and muffaletta sandwiches, and sweet beignets. We topped off our visit with a Cajun dinner and performance, and Jen impressed the boys by getting up and dancing the two step (with the help of an 83-year old couple who really knew how to move!). Good fun in New Awlins!

It’s good to get back to Four Foto Friday, and we’re looking forward to many more posts between now and early summer. For those interested in our winter break, which included time at Walt Disney World and Connecticut, I’ll also be posting December and January photo albums within the next few days. As always… thank you for following us!

Four Foto Friday – Deep in the Southeast

This week, we took the opportunity to venture even deeper into the Southeast with several cool side trips in the region. Here are some highlights:

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Beaufort, SC: Just an hour south of Charleston lies the beautiful city of Beaufort. This quaint place is full of southern charm, with historic homes, shaded avenues, and a lovely waterfront. It’s been used as the set of several movies, including Forest Gump. During the Civil War, this area was controlled by the Union and was a focus of the country’s Reconstruction efforts. We visited the home of Robert Smalls, an escaped slave who rose to status of US Congressman following the war, as well as the Penn School, one of country’s first freedmen’s schools.

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Okefenokee, GA: Continuing down I-95 for a couple more hours, we came to the Okefenokee Swamp. It was really interesting to learn about this unique environment (plus, it’s just fun to say Okefenokee!). This National Wildlife Refugee had a nice interpretive center, auto tour, and boardwalk hike. We also took a boat trip into the swamp with a guide who pointed out the various plants and animals.

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Although it was unseasonably cold (high of about 50 degrees) we had good sun and some bright autumn colors. We saw several alligators, egrets, herons, hawks, and a very large but sleepy snake with a big lump in its belly. Cool stuff!

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Congaree National Park: By midweek, we started our inland trek toward the mountains of western Carolina. Along the way, we stopped just outside of Columbia, SC to visit one of our newest National Parks. Congaree is also swampland, but it’s cooler and at higher elevation (thus no gators). We spent our day canoeing through the narrow waterways and enjoying the sights and sounds of a bald cypress forest. We saw a raccoon and heard what we think were wild boars squealing in the distance (really, I’m not just referencing the movies). It was a beautiful place, in a primordial sort of way.

The weekend has us visiting good friends (the Freeman family) in Asheville, NC. From here, we’ll drive the short distance to my parent’s house. They live in the town of Traveler’s Rest, SC which sounds like the perfect place to turn off our engine, enjoy a home cooked meal, and spend time with family. Happy Thanksgiving!!