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
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
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
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
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
Once again the Low Country Boil at its best
Amy and Jan feeling the moment
Carnival Museum, King and Queen in full dress
Mardi Gras float with typical colors
Carnival Museum players
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!
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
Anastasia Beach a great place to enjoy the water
Anastasia Beach – Larry enjoying the surf and trudging through the foam
City of St Augustine Visitor Information Center a great place to start
St Augustine walking tour starts here
Larry, This walk looks like fun
St Augustine historic house
Great color on this vintage house
I liked the Spanish Moss on this one
The oldest wooden school house is in St Augustine
The El Galeon 16th century Spanish galleon 1/1 replica
Lightner Museum and shop with colorful courtyard
Lunch outside at the Backyard at Meehan’s on the Matanzas
Castillo de san Marcos historic fort dated to 1672
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 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
Another Tybee Island sunset just over the sand dune
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
Savannah’s Jones Street voted the most beautiful in American
Savannah has many of these squares that are well kept
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
Owen Thomas House great Regency architecture plus it is just fun to look at
Davenport House is haunted so they say
Pirate House where many sailors came up missing
There was a lot to see just walking.
Paula Deen Restaurant and Store
Micro-Breweries always catch my eye
Lizzy’s a lunch stop on the balcony with great Margaritias and a great view
Savannah River Queen
Savannah was once the King of Cotton
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
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
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
Iconic Church photo from across the park
Charleston historic firestation
City Market Building
Charleston Market is bigger than you think
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!
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
The balcony a common Charleston feature make for a nice presentation
Very large and colorful homes down on the waterfront
Cool old commercial building restored
Cobble Stone Street of Charleston
Historic Dock Theater city owned and with public restrooms
Dock Theater nicely restored and still in use
Nice photo opt, very inviting, don’t you think?
Charleston River walk along the Cooper River
Charleston Riverfront Park
Arthur Ravenel Bridge over Cooper River
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 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
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 has outstanding beaches
Life along the Outer Banks has its own style
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
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 Museum has several replica planes
Where Air Flight Began, the museum is well curated
Memorial to Wilbur and Orville
Marker for the first four flights – Number one
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
Flag at the visitor center – blowing in the wind
Welcome sign if you are driving
Lots to see at Historic Colonial Williamsburg
We found the prices not out of line with other similar experiences. However, we did bring 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
Colonial Williamsburg walk to the Great Plantation
Traditional rail fence for sure
The Governors Palace
Palace grand staircase
Governor Palace Ball Room
Palace warming machine
Slave quarters up to 10 people would occupy a house this size
Construction Tradesmen constructing a farm building
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
Middle class kitchen
You see a lot of period dress
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.
Formal gardens are at the palace
Gardens at the palace
Garden at the Wythe House
Garden along the Duke of Glouster Street
Fun gate to the garden
I like this setting, nice photo
Nice presentation inside the Millinery Shop
Artistic photo from the general store
You want to be on the right side of bars here
Nice view looking out
George Wythe House an original building
Cabinet Maker’s House
This a period color mostly for show
Along Gloucester Street
Along Gloucester Street
Along Gloucester Street
Bruton Parish Church
The Capitol Building
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.