Spring Travels 2016 – East Coast #1

Bikes are loaded, bags packed and enough coffee for 300 miles

Bikes are loaded, bags packed and enough coffee for 300 miles

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.

Sunrise on a warm spring morning

Sunrise on a warm spring morning

Sunset last night on the beach before heading home

Sunset last night on the beach before heading home

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.

Pitcher Plant Bog on Weeks Bay near Foley, AL

Pitcher Plant Bog on Weeks Bay near Foley, AL

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.

Fairhope Art Fair with over 200 booths and a large food court

Fairhope Art Fair with over 200 booths and a large food court

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.

Lefty and hatchlings - Year two

Lefty and hatchlings – Year two

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.

On the beach with Jan, Larry and Amy

On the beach with Jan, Larry and Amy

Once again the Low Country Boil at its best

Once again the Low Country Boil at its best

Amy and Jan feeling the moment

Amy and Jan feeling the moment

Carnival Museum, King and Queen in full dress

Carnival Museum, King and Queen in full dress

Mardi Gras float with typical colors

Mardi Gras float with typical colors

Carnival Museum players

Carnival Museum players

Carnival Museum, some of these cost over $50,000

Carnival Museum, some of these cost over $50,000

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.

Perry, Florida first night out on the  road again!

Perry, Florida first night out on the road again!

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.

The boardwalk to the beach at Anastasia State Park St. Augustine, FL

The boardwalk to the beach at Anastasia State Park St. Augustine, FL

Anastasia Beach a great place to enjoy the water

Anastasia Beach a great place to enjoy the water

Anastasia Beach - Larry enjoying the surf and trudging through the foam

Anastasia Beach – Larry enjoying the surf and trudging through the foam

City of St Augustine Visitor Information Center a great place to start

City of St Augustine Visitor Information Center a great place to start

St Augustine walking tour starts here

St Augustine walking tour starts here

Larry, This walk looks like fun

Larry, This walk looks like fun

St Augustine historic house

St Augustine historic house

Great color on this vintage house

Great color on this vintage house

I liked the Spanish Moss on this one

I liked the Spanish Moss on this one

The oldest wooden school house is in St Augustine

The oldest wooden school house is in St Augustine

The El Galeon 16th century Spanish galleon 1/1 replica

The El Galeon 16th century Spanish galleon 1/1 replica

Lightner Museum and shop with colorful courtyard

Lightner Museum and shop with colorful courtyard

Lunch outside at the Backyard at Meehan's on the Matanzas

Lunch outside at the Backyard at Meehan’s on the Matanzas

Castillo de san Marcos historic fort dated to 1672

Castillo de san Marcos historic fort dated to 1672

Castillo de san Marcos west wall still looking good

Castillo de san Marcos west wall still looking good

Castillo de san Marco the main harbor is just a bit south, can you see the El Galeon?

Castillo de san Marco the main harbor is just a bit south, can you see the El Galeon?

Castillo de san  Marcos fort reenactment draws a large crowd

Castillo de san Marcos fort reenactment draws a large crowd

Next stop was Savannah where we stayed on Tybee Island a very popular place as the beaches are beautiful and close to the city.

Tybee Island sunset

Tybee Island sunset

Another Tybee Island sunset just over the sand dune

Another Tybee Island sunset just over the sand dune

The Tybee Island Light Station

The Tybee Island Light Station

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.

Ready to take on Savannah, tour guide in hand

Ready to take on Savannah, tour guide in hand

Savannah's Jones Street voted the most beautiful in American

Savannah’s Jones Street voted the most beautiful in American

Savannah  has many of these squares that are well kept

Savannah has many of these squares that are well kept

Forsyth Park, a 30 acre park in Savannah's historic district

Forsyth Park, a 30 acre park in Savannah’s historic district

We fell in love with the Savannah homes. They all come with a story which was fun to learn about.

Savannah Mercer  House has lots of history

Savannah Mercer House has lots of history

Owen Thomas House great Regency architecture plus it is just fun to look at

Owen Thomas House great Regency architecture plus it is just fun to look at

Davenport House is haunted so they say

Davenport House is haunted so they say

Pirate House where many sailors came up missing

Pirate House where many sailors came up missing

There was a lot to see just walking.

Paula Deen Restaurant and Store

Paula Deen Restaurant and Store

Micro-Breweries always catch my eye

Micro-Breweries always catch my eye

Lizzy's  a lunch stop on the balcony with great Margaritias and a great view

Lizzy’s a lunch stop on the balcony with great Margaritias and a great view

Savannah River Queen

Savannah River Queen

Savannah was once the King of Cotton

Savannah was once the King of Cotton

Cotton Exchange killed by the Boll Weevil about 1920

Cotton Exchange killed by the Boll Weevil about 1920

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.

Florence Martus aka Waving Girl would wave at all the passing ships from 1887 t0 1931

Florence Martus aka Waving Girl would wave at all the passing ships from 1887 t0 1931

In the evening we got to watch the sunset and the many ships making their way through the channel.

Tybee Island sunset with the ships passing in the night on the channel

Tybee Island sunset with the ships passing in the night on 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.

Our day seems to always start with a visitor center

Our day seems to always start with a visitor center

Iconic Church photo from across the park

Iconic Church photo from across the park

Charleston historic firestation

Charleston historic firestation

City Market Building

City Market Building

Charleston Market is bigger than you think

Charleston Market is bigger than you think

You never know who you are going to meet

You never know who you are going to meet

Historical Circular Congregational  Church - A round church is where the devil cannot trap you, right?  At least that is what my Mother told me!

Historical Circular Congregational Church – A round church is where the devil cannot trap you, right? At least that is what my Mother told me!

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.

Three sister houses the same but different

Three sister houses the same but different

The balcony a common Charleston feature make for a nice presentation

The balcony a common Charleston feature make for a nice presentation

Very large and colorful homes down on the waterfront

Very large and colorful homes down on the waterfront

Cool old commercial building restored

Cool old commercial building restored

Cobble Stone Street of Charleston

Cobble Stone Street of Charleston

Historic Dock Theater city owned and with public restrooms

Historic Dock Theater city owned and with public restrooms

Dock Theater nicely restored and still in use

Dock Theater nicely restored and still in use

Nice photo opt, very inviting, don't you think?

Nice photo opt, very inviting, don’t you think?

Charleston River walk along the Cooper River

Charleston River walk along the Cooper River

Riverfront docks

Riverfront docks

Charleston Riverfront Park

Charleston Riverfront Park

Arthur Ravenel Bridge over Cooper River

Arthur Ravenel Bridge over Cooper River

Downtown Charleston

Downtown Charleston

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.

St James Island County Park residents

St James Island County Park residents

St James County Park pond

St James County Park pond

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.

Cape Hatteras is known for its Weather

Cape Hatteras is known for its Weather

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.

Cape Hatteras caters to the tourist who come after Memorial Day

Cape Hatteras caters to the tourist who come after Memorial Day

Cape Hatteras has outstanding beaches

Cape Hatteras has outstanding beaches

Life along the Outer Banks has its own style

Life along the Outer Banks has its own style

The Outer Bank beaches are great for long walks

The Outer Bank beaches are great for long walks

The east coast has impressive and very large lighthouses. Many of them you can climb if you are up to it.

Cape Hatteras lighthouse is big

Cape Hatteras lighthouse is big

The lighthouse near Kill Devil Hills

The lighthouse near Kill Devil Hills

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.

Wright Brothers Visitor Center at Kill Devil Hills

Wright Brothers Visitor Center at Kill Devil Hills

Wright Brothers Museum has several replica planes

Wright Brothers Museum has several replica planes

Where Air Flight Began, the museum is well curated

Where Air Flight Began, the museum is well curated

Memorial to Wilbur and Orville

Memorial to Wilbur and Orville

Wright Memorial

Wright Memorial

Marker for the first four flights - Number one

Marker for the first four flights – Number one

Marker two

Marker two

Marker Three

Marker Three

Marker 4

Marker 4

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.

Entrance to Colonial Williamsburg

Entrance to Colonial Williamsburg

Flag at the visitor center - blowing in the wind

Flag at the visitor center – blowing in the wind

Welcome sign if you are driving

Welcome sign if you are driving

Lots to see at Historic Colonial Williamsburg

Lots to see at Historic Colonial Williamsburg

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We found the prices not out of line with other similar experiences. However, we did bring lunch.

Tailgating for lunch

Tailgating for 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.

Historic iconic windmill at the Great Hope Plantation

Historic iconic windmill at the Great Hope Plantation

Colonial Williamsburg walk to the Great Plantation

Colonial Williamsburg walk to the Great Plantation

Traditional rail fence for sure

Traditional rail fence for sure

The Governors Palace

The Governors Palace

Palace grand staircase

Palace grand staircase

Governor Palace Ball Room

Governor Palace Ball Room

Palace warming machine

Palace warming machine

Slave quarters up to 10 people would occupy a house this size

Slave quarters up to 10 people would occupy a house this size

Construction Tradesmen constructing  a farm building

Construction Tradesmen constructing a farm building

This Baker has been making cookies here in this wood fired oven for a long time

This Baker has been making cookies here in this wood fired oven for a long time

Palace kitchen where the cook was consider key personnel

Palace kitchen where the cook was consider key personnel

Middle class kitchen

Middle class kitchen

You  see a lot of period dress

You see a lot of period dress

The Brick House Tavern a place to stay the night

The Brick House Tavern a place to stay the night

We discussed Revolutionary War strategy with George Washington at the Wythe House for the British Siege on Yorktown.  He made this his headquarter for this defensive here.

We discussed Revolutionary War strategy with George Washington at the Wythe House for the British Siege on Yorktown. He made this his headquarter for this defensive here.

Formal gardens are at the palace

Formal gardens are at the palace

Gardens at the palace

Gardens at the palace

Garden at the Wythe House

Garden at the Wythe House

Garden along the Duke of Glouster Street

Garden along the Duke of Glouster Street

Fun gate to the garden

Fun gate to the garden

I like this setting, nice photo

I like this setting, nice photo

Nice presentation inside the Millinery Shop

Nice presentation inside the Millinery Shop

Artistic photo from the general store

Artistic photo from the general store

You want to be on the right side of bars here

You want to be on the right side of bars here

Nice view looking out

Nice view looking out

Iconic Williamsburg

Iconic Williamsburg

George Wythe House an original building

George Wythe House an original building

Randolph House

Randolph House

Cabinet Maker's House

Cabinet Maker’s House

Great style

Great style

Interesting...

Interesting…

This a period color mostly for show

This a period color mostly for show

Along Gloucester Street

Along Gloucester Street

Along Gloucester Street

Along Gloucester Street

Along Gloucester Street

Along Gloucester Street

Bruton Parish Church

Bruton Parish Church

The Capitol Building

The Capitol Building

Inside the capitol

Inside the capitol

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.

Bassett Hall - John D Rockefeller Jr. Home

Bassett Hall – John D Rockefeller Jr. Home

Bassett Hall

Bassett Hall

Art Museums at Colonial Williamsburg

Art Museums at Colonial Williamsburg

Art Museum Influenced by Abby Rockefeller's love of folk art.  A different experience than the Revolutionary City theme

Art Museum Influenced by Abby Rockefeller’s love of folk art. A different experience than the Revolutionary City theme

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

God Bless,

Larry and Jan

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