Friday, May 15, 2015

Spring Fling 2015 - Part 1

We weathered another winter in Michigan, and decided we owed it to ourselves to head south for a spring fling in April.  We had a wonderful 3,200 mile journey through the southeast USA, taking about 25 days to make this trip.  Our main purpose was to find a location that we thought would be a good place to spend next winter, as we would like to think we have had enough winters in Michigan.  Summers are delightful here, and we plan to keep our cottage on the Indian Lake Campground and make the trek back to Michigan during the summer months...should we be fortunate enough to escape the winters here.

Our first destination point was Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.  However, we took two days getting there as we prefer to take our time on the side roads of America to see what we can see.  Six hours traveling per day is about our max.  Our first night was spent in Lima, Ohio.  We had eaten at Texas Roadhouse in Kalamazoo, Michigan with friends, and headed out after supper for the first short stretch.  Not that we were anxious to get on our way or anything!

As we traveled down through southeast Ohio I noted in the Atlas that we would be in the vicinity of Bob Evans Farm, where history was made in the form of delicious breakfast sausage.  We decided to take a side trip through Rio Grande and see the farm.  I toured through the family homestead (Bob and his wife had six children, and this house was purchased as a place they could grow up and have lots of land to play on).  

The farmhouse is now a museum, but the kitchen was kept exactly the same as it was when Bob and Jewell perfected their sausage.  TV cameras came in to make their advertisements of Bob Evans sausage in the spot where it was created.

Our second night on the road was spent in Wytheville, Virginia, after coming through part of the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia and the capital of Charleston.  As we drove down through North Carolina, through the Charlotte area, we began to notice how green everything was.  We love the blooming season of springtime.  It had not quite started when we left Michigan, so this was a treat to us, coming out of "winter" into Spring!!  From brown and gray to green...from death to life!!

We arrived at our Hilton Head resort late afternoon on a Friday and unpacked and settled in.  Our villa overlooked the pool, and beyond was the Atlantic Ocean!!  What a beautiful sight!  I could hardly wait to get down to the ocean front to walk on the white sandy beaches.  

Joining us for the weekend at our resort were good friends we met in the camping industry.  They are camp directors at the Nazarene Camp in Adrian, Georgia.  After they got checked in and unpacked, we headed out to Shelter Cove for our evening meal (we call it supper) at a really scrumptious Mexican restaurant, San Miguel's.  

The next morning we strolled along the ocean front a mile down the beach to Coligny Plaza, several stores and restaurants spread across a few blocks...a popular tourist spot.  On the way, we came across quite a few "items" on the beach, almost buried in the sand.  I had to ask what they were.

 The item on the left is a jelly fish, which probably comes in with high tide and gets left stranded (my uneducated guess).  The item on the right appeared to be a large tortoise, perhaps having been partially eaten by a shark????  Below is another look at a jelly fish, to compare for size.

Mid-day we drove to Skull Creek Boathouse at the Marina at Port Royal Sound to have a seafood meal...everyone except me...I had to have a hamburger as I don't care much for seafood.  After our meal we drove to the other end of Hilton Head Island to Harbor Town.  The lighthouse was once thought to be a folly of it's builder, but now it is the distinguishing icon for Hilton Head.  This particular weekend, following on the heels of the Augusta National Open golf tournament, golfers and fans were arriving at Hilton Head for the annual Heritage Classic golf tournament.  It's good we went there on Saturday, as by Sunday you couldn't get into that area without a pass, and it was bumper to bumper traffic.  

You can see how some traveled in for the action:

We climbed the 113 steps to the top of the lighthouse and looked upon the picturesque sight.  To the right is the view of the 18th fairway, all set up for the event.

It wasn't that busy on Saturday, and we wandered through the shops, had some ice cream, and sat out on the porch for a while.  Isn't the Liberty Oak an amazing tree!!

We headed back to our resort, Marriott Grande Ocean.  Here's another view from our balcony (second floor).  The resort is absolutely stunning, with so many courtyards, pools, and other outdoor amenities.  Enjoy some of these views:

I enjoyed my daily walks out at the ocean side.  Lots of other walkers, joggers, bikers, strollers, families, sunbathers, swimmers, and dog walkers.  Also some fine-feathered friends.

High Tide

We made a trip down to Savannah on Sunday to attend church with our friends Jeff and Peggy, and then went down to historic River Street to eat lunch.  As they headed back home, we hopped on a trolley to tour the historical sights of Savannah.

 There are many city squares, each with statues or fountains or other artifacts pertaining to Savannah's colorful history.  We passed by several churches and houses commemorating historical events.  At one point Forrest Gump got on the trolley to talk to us about how they made a movie of him.  If you preferred, you could take a horse and carriage tour.  

It was hard to capture pictures on the trolley...too many other people in the way.  And there was so much to learn about the city, that I couldn't keep up with it all.  I know Girl Scouts was founded there, perhaps in the house above???  Also, we went by Paula Dean's famous restaurant.

I had heard about Tybee Island, but had never been there, or really knew much about it.  We drove out there after our tour was over.  I guess it's where the people in Savannah go when they want to go to the beach.  Here are a few pictures: 

We left Hilton Head after a week of total relaxation.  We had very nice weather, lots of good food, and just enjoyed some laid back time at the resort at the putting green, the shuffleboard court, and reading a book by the poolside.  One day we went into Bluffton to an outlet mall, but we aren't much for shopping.  Went more just to walk around.  

When we left the Island, we headed to Adrian Camp and Conference Center...the Georgia District Church of the Nazarene camp.  It was one more chance to be with our friends.  I happened to stand on top of a fire ant colony at one point, but quickly realized my error.  Those are the smallest of ants, with the biggest of bites!!

We drove on into Atlanta, where we spent two nights.  Our purpose there was to go to Stone Mountain and see the laser show on Saturday night.  We went to an Ikea store, just because we had never been to one.  It was time for Mexican food again, so we ate at one of our favorite restaurants...On the Border.

We had not been to Stone Mountain since going there with our sons back in the 80's.  It's a natural phenomenon that you need to check out on-line, if not a personal visit.  The park has changed quite a bit since our last visit, but there is still a train running around the base of the mountain.  We were fortunate to catch an early spring laser show, which is shown on the side of the mountain after sunset, with lots of animation set to music.  To give you a perspective of the size of the carving on the side of the mountain, when it was being carved, a man stood inside the ear of one of the figures.  The figures are the leaders of the Confederate side of the Civil War:  Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis.  If you are ever in the area (20 miles east of Atlanta), this is an experience you must check out!!

 Well...I'm only about half way through our trip.  I think I'll break this blog post into two parts.  Come back soon for Part 2!

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