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Saturday, July 28, 2018

SOLO ROADTRIP: ATLANTA & LITTLE PARTS OF GEORGIA

this post concludes my solo roadtrip of the south. the next day was the longest drive-day of my trip topping off at a whopping 7 hours. most of the drive was on country roads, not freeways. everytime i hit a town i would see an old fancy city hall, a gas station, and maybe a piggly wiggly, and then i would be back on the highway. i left savannah early in the morning. so early, that i saw the sun rise. it was lovely. 

after 3.5 hours, i arrived to the small town of andersonville. andersonville was the location of fort sumpter, the most infamous prisoner-of-war camp during the civil war. the confederate camp held 4 times its capacity and did not have an adequate water supply. more than a 1/3 of prisoners died at the camp.

also at this site is the national prisoner of war museum. the purpose is to tell the stories of those who experienced being a pow first-hand. the most touching part was the exhibit that had interviews with the family members. the museum also serves as the visitors center for andersonville nhs.



the building was designed to look like a military prison from wwii.



pow memorial



reconstructed northeast corner of the prison.








it was lunch time and fortunately i spotted zaxby's, a fast food chicken place. the carolinian i had dinner with in charleston recommended it. interestingly their combo meals come with a slice of buttered toast.




after eating i made my way to plains, which is only 30 minutes away. it is an itty bitty town (with a population of less than 800) and the birthplace and current residence of president carter. here, there is the jimmy carter national historic site. the park is a complex that includes, his boyhood home, his high school, and his train depot campaign headquarters (and the home of tons of wasps). i was not here very long but i quite enjoyed. it was not busy, very quaint and picturesque, and the people were friendly.



the visitors center and old high school.




after seeing the visitors center i drove down the street to the single strip of businesses of the town. here there is a political memorabilia store with the little beauty pictured below. i got a matching magnet. the worker was very nice but so talkative. she wanted to talk about her 'mama' and the differences between a georgia and washington state funeral.







billy carter's service station.


after i had to drive a couple more miles to the even smaller town of archer (not plains). in archer is the boyhood home and farm of jimmy carter.




i thought i was maybe going to run out of time, but took a chance driving to the town of warm springs to see franklin delano roosevelt's little white house, a state park. unfortunately along the way there were 3 windshield casualties:  2 butterflies and a sweet little bird.

fdr built the house before he was president and retired there after. he was interested in the area because the warm springs (hence the town's name) was supposed to help his polio. the house is so cute. it is a very humble size with a beautiful view of the backcountry, wood panel walls and floors, and tons of model boats. he actually made one with some secret service staff.



secret service staff hung out in these huts to secure the property.



one of his model boats.

in 1945, elizabeth shoumatoff was painting a watercolor of fdr in his living room. fdr had a stroke, collapsed, and died later that day. the portrait was never completed.



the chair he collapsed in.



the unfinished portrait.


i completed my day by driving to atlanta. boy was it crazy. people drive so fast in atlanta when there is traffic! i thought la was bad, but atlanta takes the cake. i also got lost (freeways split quickly). streets are also misleading and soooo busy, but i found my way and wasted a ton of time along the way.



havana-ooh-na-na. to make me feel better, i picked up some cuban food.



a good ol' cuban sandwhich with rice and beans to go in my hotel room.


i stayed at a red roof inn. i really do like them, even though during my first night in durham the police were called. luckily i picked a place in atlanta that was away from downtown and in the buckhead district. it might have been less convenient, but it was nice to be a little bit away from the city center. also, there were tons of beautiful trees on the property and the hotel rested on a hill.




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the next day was my last full day. i was really nervous about driving back to the downtown area and was looking for alternatives, but once i found out parking was free at my destination i gained some courage. the first location of the day was the mlk national historic site. this site is a little different from most. it compromises of a few blocks that used to be known as 'sweet auburn,' a black wealthy neighborhood. not all the buildings are public (many of them being shotgun homes), but they do have to meet historic standards. the most notable public buildings are his childhood home, ebenezer baptist church, the visitors center, and a firehouse from 1894.




parking may seem confusing but it really isn't. i left pretty early (and got there 30 minutes before opening). i ended up leaving early because i had the time, but i was glad i did. there was already a line for a tour of his childhood home. because the house is so old, there are only a number of people allowed at one time. overall, the tour was not the best but i was glad i went.



mlk's childhood home (c.1895). he was actually born here too.



during his funeral procession, mlk's body was carried in this wagon and pulled by 2 mules . the wagon is in the visitor centers which chronicles his life and the civil rights movement.



mlk went to this church as a child, eventually became a pastor here, and had his funeral here.



i also visited the king center, here is where both him and his wife are buried.


after i made my way to the atlanta history center, definitely a highlight of my trip. the museum consists of changing exhibits and an outdoor museum of historic buildings. i saw exhibits on the american civil war, folk art, and the history of atlanta using oral and individual stories (rather than the big picture).




the outside museum includes the wood family cabin (a simple log cabin from the 1820s), 
the tullie smith house (an antebellum home from 1846), and the swan house (a 1920s mini-mansion). besides these main buildings there are gardens, wooded areas, and mini victorian playhouses. 

this part was definitely my favorite. there was beautiful warm weather and the workers were so friendly and knowledgable. most of these structures (other than the swan house) were transported here from surrounding areas.



the tullie smith house is a collection of buildings including the main house, a barn, a kitchen house, a blacksmith shop, and a slave cabin. today it interprets farm life in 19th century georgia. above is the barn.






the house has a resident, dodger the cat who at night sleeps in the barn with the goaty goats.



in the house, you can touch everything and there are volunteers who work on  crafts and play the guitar.



inside the one room slave cabin.


next was the swan house. the house is in the style of the rennaisance revivial with classical details. inside the house are historical reenactors that include members of the family and the servants. when you enter, the maid opens the door and there is 1920s jazz playing. i love feeling like i am stepping back in time.



the formal entrance. the engagement party in the hunger games was filmed here.



a shot of the informal entrance.



there are also a couple old cars at the back entrance.



handpainted wallpaper.



one of the formal bedrooms.



the childens room.


the servants loft on the third floor.



the wood family cabin has an exhibit on the native creek indians and exploration of settlers.



i also ate lunch at their cafeteria. i had a pork and chicken stew, a sweet side salad, a cookie, and a roll. yum, carbs.



this made me laugh.


i did not have anything planned for the rest of the day (even though it was not even 4 in the afternoon). i decided to have a last hoorah for my last night and drive to the nearest cracker barrel. the nearest one was not in atlanta but marietta, so i had to be brave and face driving the freeways during rush hour. what should have been a 15 minute drive took 45, but it was a good decision.



i really do love cracker barrel.



i decided to be a tourist and have the sampler. this included sugar cured ham, chicken and dumplings, meatloaf, fried okra, mac n' cheese, green beans, and biscuits. and of course i had the delicious goo goo cluster latte.

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the next day was my flight, but i did have a few hours to explore more. i had even more time because my flight got delayed twice.



the last selfie with my travel companion.


i decided to visit the atlanta bontanical garden. it was lovely, but not necessarily one of my favorites. honestly from my entire trip, i would place this on the top of my list to skip. it also did not help that there was a ton of construction and it was quite expensive for what there was to see.








the last destination was the delta flight museum. this is actually at the airport and you have to pass security just to park at the museum. the museum explains the history of the company, but i was more interested in being able to go inside some planes they have there. it is located in 2 hangars from the 1940s. outside of the hangaars, there is a delta ship 6301 that you can tour and see areas that are normally a no-no for passengers (the cock pit and the flight attendant quarters).





this museum was fun.


overall this was a really great trip. as i have said before, this was not meant to be a solo trip but i am glad it did end up this way. i learned that i really do not mind solo road trips. it was not as stressful as i thought and i ended up looking forward to my drives alone. i felt a strong sense of freedom in driving alone and navigating to a new destination. also, the destinations were great. the history, art, and customs of the south were memorable. now done with the ranting. this post is long enough.

now for a song. i thought i would choose a recent one because it fits the scene. it is quite folksy. also there is a great live rendition when she is singing during a storm. the harp is lovely. enjoy!



Saturday, June 30, 2018

SOLO ROADTRIP: SAVANNAH [GA]

sorry for the delay. i started a new assignment at work with overtime, and boy is it exhausting. anyhoo the next day, i decided to have a late start on the road so i could visit the mcleod plantation. i had planned to do this when i arrived to the city, but ran out of time. also it was recommended by a ranger at fort sumpter (rangers always have the best recommendations).



but first, coffee. i went to a small local place.


the mcleod plantation home was built in 1858 and constructed by slaves. the family made money off of sea island cotton. the area is a gullah heritage site. the culture was influenced by african, low country, and coastal culture. they speak a type of creole. not only is there still a large community in charleston, but savannah. also the freedmen's bureau was temporaily located here.




the family stayed in the home until the 1990s.



one of the original structures has the fingerprints of a child slave. children were forced to make the bricks.



a magnolia. honestly this was the only one i noticed during my trip, even thought the carolinas and georgia are known for them.





original slave cabins. crazy to think people, mostly blacks, rented these until the 1990s.



this is either the wappoo creek or ashley river.


i then made my way to savannah. the drive was not too far, but along the way i found a cute little old gas station that was transformed into a local goods market. it mostly has preserves, cider, and dessert. i bought a rocky road pecan bark and had a cider sample. it was a cute little stop.




once i arrived in savannah, i went to old fort jackson (named after james, not andrew). it is located along the savannah river (south carolina is across the river). the brick structure was built in 1808-1812 on top of a revolutionary war battery. president jefferson built it for the expected war with europe...again.




during the civil war, the fort saw battle in the attack on savannah. the fort was confedorate headquarters until the surrender of the city in 1964.








there were 2 cannon demonstrations while i was there. the first one is for tourists. the historical reenactor shoots the cannon towards a boast of tourists sailing along the river. the second one is an actual historical demonstration. in between, there was a an educational demonstration about the fort.



the reenactor was walter. turns out he's from echo park and moved to georgia as a child. he also has a degree in history (and is a cutie patootie).


after, i drove to the georgia state railroad museum (i looove the one in sacramento, ca). this one was definitely not as big and there was not much to see, but it was worth the ticket. there is a combo ticket you can get where you can visit 3 out 5 museums thats are run by the savannah coastal society. the train museum, old jackson fort, and the savannah city museum were all under this ticket. the museum consists of locomotives along a roundhouse and passenger trains.




one interesting fact is after diesel trains beat out steam engines, the train depot was literally sold brick by brick. the bricks were seen as very valuable. they were made in the city and to this day, nobody knows how they were made and of what. also, i was able to see a segregated passenger train from the 1960s. there is only one other in the country,.

driving to my hotel, which was an econolodge, was a trip. every street was just filled with oak trees and moss. it feels like you are in another world or something out of dr. seuss. i was hungry, but didn't want to drive so i ate somewhere within walking distance. the only place was a panda express, so that was dinner.

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the next day i was going to take a bus to the historic area, but the hotel receptionist advised against it. so i sucked it up and paid for parking in a lot. the first stop was the savannah history museum, which was okay. the museum was a bit outdated and i did not think the most interesting, but it was one of the attractions that opened up the earliest.

after, i walked through several squares. savannah is knows for its public squares, which are really small parks with benches and maybe a statue.



i think this is pulaski square.



lafayette square.


i bought a sandwich and iced latte at a little cafe across from chippewa square. i knew this was where the famous box of chocolates scene in forrest gump was filmed. while i was eating, i was trying to google my way to find out where in the square was it filmed. funny thing, it was filmed literally in front of me. also there wan't a real bench. it was a movie prop that is now inside the savannah history museum (i saw that too).



the scene was filmed below the one way sign.




colonial park cemetery.


the next museum was the american prohobition museum. it was a bit gimicky, but i had fun. i still don't really understand why in savannah, but georgia was a state where the discussion was polarized. for being gimicky, it was still quite immersive. there was a lot that you can touch (and also a ton of wax figures). you can also buy a combo ticket and get a drink at the speakeasy.




now for some interesting facts. prohibition contributed to walgreens growth. during prohobition, liquor was only legal through presctibtion and walgreens issued the most medicinal liguor prescribtions than any other drugstore.



"mother's in the kitchen washing the jugs, sister's in the pantry bottling the suds, father's in the cellar mixing up the hops, johnny's on the front porch watching for the cops."



i felt weird taking this photo, but the worker offered. apparently this is a real gutted tommy gun, whatever that means. the worker had to show me how to hold it. across from my view were wax figures of people shot to death in a car. lovely.




also on a side note, the older woman at the gift shop register called me sugar. i love the southern terms of endearment. i then made my way to the riverwalk, along the savannah river. there is not a ton to do, just eat and shop at touristy shops. the buildings are cool. they were early 20th century cotton warehouses. 



a cool antique store.



to go down to river front, you have to go down steep, dangerous, and historical staircases.



a memorial to those brought over during the slave trade, and the irony of a cargo ship sailing down the river in the distance.


funny story about this. i love affogatos, vanilla ice cream with a shot of espresso. i saw this little greek place that also sold ice cream and coffee and thought maybe they made these. i have seen them sold in the most random places including old town san diego and oatman arizona (a mining ghost town). when i went inside and asked, the worker got the owner (i did not mean for it to go this far). an older man with a thick greek accent came out, asked what it was, said he would make it, and broke me off a piece of his graham cracker. he was very nice and i got me my treat :) 



my affogato.


after walking along the storefronts, i took a free bus to forsyth park, the biggest park that i visited in the city. i would also say it is the most popular. the fountain is a famous photo spot. there were even wedding photos being taken when i was there.



the fountain is from 1858.




instead of taking the bus to my car, i walked. there were so many little details.





i then made my way to my hotel and picked up some panera. sometimes you just need a good ol' salad.



my room in savannah.


now for a song. i have always enjoyed kasey musgraves' music and my favorite song from her album is slow burn. i also discovered this song during my trip. enjoy!