As you can see from the photo the truck is pointed out, we are packed and ready to head north once again. Being in Gulf Shores in winter and out of the snow has proven to be a good thing for us. The weather on the coast has been good to us this winter and my take was a bit warmer than normal. There were only three or four days that you couldn’t go to the beach or go for a bike ride. There is always plenty to do keeping up with the community, exploring the region and taking in the many fun events.
For Larry It took some time to get the shoulder back in shape after surgery. Of course there is always plenty going on with his photography especially since there is a new camera. A new adventure is learning Spanish via Rosetta stone, plus the ongoing Snyder/Neitzke genealogy project and of course we are always actively planning the next trip or two. In true Snyder form the travel schedule for the next three years is coming together very nicely. For Jan, she spent many hours with the new piano keyboard learning what it can do as well as developing new techniques.
The trip north to Michigan will take us a month driving up the east coast. This blog will cover our stops in St Augustine, Savannah, Charleston and Colonial Williamsburg. Mid-August the plan is to head west. That trip will just over two months and is already booked for the most part. Stops will be Glacier NP, Cascades in Washington, Seattle, Mt Rainer, Olympic NP, Crater Lake NP, Redwood NP, Lassen Volcanic NP, Yosemite, Kings Canyon/Sequoia, Death Valley and Joshua Tree NP. The drive along the coast in Oregon gets high marks so the camera will be ready for action. There will be a stop in Tucson to check out the area for future trips then on to Texas. Stop there include stays in San Antonio, Padre Islands and Galveston. The final leg is Louisiana, Mississippi and then home to Gulf Shores getting back mid-October.
The beach calls both day and night. Here are a couple of favorite photos from the vast collection.
Here are some of the points of interest from our stay this year.
Exploring the area, we found this nature reserve dedicated to Pitcher Plants. It is a super interesting area and will be spending more time checking it out. Expect an update later when we get back in the fall.
If you every get the chance check out the Fairhope Art Fair. It is huge and a lot of fun. I can always find something good to eat that I shouldn’t.
For those of you who follow our travels Lefty is still hanging in there. Most days on my bike ride she brings out her three hatchlings from last year for viewing. You can see them in the photo if you look closely. The young ones already have an attitude.
Not many visitors from the north this year. Brother in-law Larry and daughter Amy came for a few days. Always a good time with walks on the beach, good food and a visit to the Mardi Gras Carnival Museum in Mobile. The plan is to catch up with Amy and family in Georgia next winter.
It was good to be on the road again. As soon as we left we easily slipped back into travel mode. This trip will be our first with a new tow vehicle. This winter the old grew very weary, needed a transplant and had to be retired from long trips. It had served us well with over 225,000 miles in 11 years from Prudhoe Bay to Corpus Christi and many points beyond.
St Augustine was interesting and educational for us. The city has so much history. Both of us love old historic houses, the period architecture and the craftsmanship of time gone by. The visitor center had an informative walking tour guide. It took us all day as we followed it, we walked a lot of miles and learned a lot about where the city came from dating back to the 1560s. The Castillo de san Marcos Fort is in excellent condition, lots of events going on and just fun to explore.
If you ever get the chance check out the Anatasia State Park. The beaches and RV sites are exceptional.
Next stop was Savannah where we stayed on Tybee Island a very popular place as the beaches are beautiful and close to the city.
Once again at the Savannah Visitor Center we found a walking guide. It was the same drill as St Augustine. We spent a full day walking the city taking in the sights, learning the history and just having a good time. The city has many squares and parks which are well design and well maintained.
We fell in love with the Savannah homes. They all come with a story which was fun to learn about.
There was a lot to see just walking.
There is a legend with the Waving Girl, Florence Martus. She greeted the ships in the harbor for many years. It was a surprise to see how many people were making their way down the water front to check out her statue.
In the evening we got to watch the sunset and the many ships making their way through the channel.
Charleston was a first time stop for us. The first thing we did was to get “that” walking guide. In a day we covered the city and had a good taste of its culture, where it came from and what it had to offer. It was different from the other two cities we just visited. It played a much larger role in the founding of the America.
Charleston seemed more commercial and business oriented than St Augustine and Savannah. It does have that southern charm though. The balcony is a common feature in many of the houses plus there are the striking southern colors which catch your eye. The developed waterfront area was well done. It has a nice downtown area which has withstood the test of time.
We strongly recommend the ST James Island County Park for our RVer friends. It is a great park with extensive trails, water opportunities and a 10-minute drive to the beach. The park was great and we wished we could have stayed longer.
You always hear about the weather on Cape Hatteras so we were determined to check it out for ourselves. After the three city tour we knew we would need a down day or two so this seemed perfect. It was short drive and two ferry rides to get to our site on the south end of the island. The plans quickly fell apart when we found out we need reservations for the ferry and tried to book too late. This meant a long day in the car to find a bridge to get us from the mainland to the Outer banks and south to our RV Park.
Once we got there we found the island a much different experience than we expected. It is very remote and has a personality that is unique. It certainly has its own culture and those that live there value the remoteness. Life there revolves around the water and the weather. It does have the summer tourist season which supports those who live there. It was nice that we were there early to talk with locals about their lives on the reef.
The east coast has impressive and very large lighthouses. Many of them you can climb if you are up to it.
Next stop was Kill Devil Hills to check out the Wright Brothers memorial.
It took us a couple of hours to do the exhibits and walk the grounds. It was good to see the place in person. The exhibits are very well curated some of the better ones that we have experienced.
Fifteen years ago we spent a day at Colonial Williamsburg. It was a good experience and we always felt we wanted to go back. Before making the trip this time we read the reviews which tended toward a more tourist based atmosphere and being pricey. It was decided to go back and check it off the list anyway. Arriving there in the afternoon we got a three-day pass then checked out the main street in effort to put a plan together for the rest of the time.
Williamsburg was an active city. In the late 20’s John D. Rockefeller, Jr sign on to help restore the city and make it a historic and living history museum. One of the interpreters told he had contributed over $60 million dollars. Contemporary houses were removed, original buildings restored and/or replicates were constructed. There is large staff of interpreters and volunteers many in costume. Williamsburg was founded in 1633 with the historic recreation focusing on the period through the establishing of independence from England.
The focus on historic trade and tradesmen is impressive with plenty of demos and recreation activities. Even if you are not into history, the grounds and gardens are worth a visit. This stop exceeded our expectations as we got caught up in experiencing and seeing all we could. This is a place where you could spend lots of time and never do it all.
We found the prices not out of line with other similar experiences. However, we did bring lunch.
There is so much to write about my strategy is to just add remarks to the pictures. Enjoy the walk back in time and to see what Historic Colonial Williamsburg has to offer.
John D Rockefeller, Jr and his wife Abby Aldrich Rockefeller set up a retreat at Bassett Hall an 18th century farm house adjacent to historic village. Abby brought the love of folk art which was not appreciated by her husband. This along with other art is exhibited at the art museum.
Next year the plan is to come back to see York Town and Jamestown
Now on to Spring Travels 2016 – East Coast #2, next stop Lewes, Delaware
Larry and Jan