Florida to Georgia coast

 

10 Mar 05, Thu - 13 Mar, Sun:  Lee's Country CG, White Springs, FL, (continued)

 

On Thursday morning we decided we should check out the neighboring town of Live Oak with the idea of having lunch and getting a few essentials.  We were pleasantly surprised to come upon a Golden Corral so wheeled in.  The hostess was quite chatty, and when we told her we were staying in White Springs, she offered that her boss who owned this Golden Corral also owned the Telford Hotel where we've enjoyed a couple of delicious buffets.  She added that they come over from the Hotel on Friday night to pick up Golden Corral food.  We got a big kick out of this as we'd noticed the similarity, especially in the outstanding seafood salad!

 

This afternoon we entered another area of super hiking trails, one of which circled the Loblolly sinkhole-1.9 mile-hike today in perfect 70-degree weather.

 

Friday, 11th:  Bob and Helen arrived around 2 p.m., stopping in with their new Windsor Coach for an overnight with us on their way to an RV rally in Georgia.  The Telford Hotel was appropriately decorated for a wedding rehearsal dinner so we four enjoyed our buffet dinner in a separate room from the festivities.

 

Saturday, 12th:  Bob and Helen are off to the rally, and later in the day we hiked 2.6 miles to Suwannee River's Little Shoals.

 

Sunday, 13th:  This afternoon we returned to the Loblolly-sinkhole-area for another super hike.  Today's trail led us to Gar Pond, around another sinkhole and totaled 2.7 miles in these beautiful woods.

 

14 Mar, Mon - 27 Mar, Sun:  King George RV Resort, Woodbine, GA

 

We're ready to look at something different and have Georgia on our minds.  We'll be exploring the coastal area for a while, so returned to this park in Woodbine where we stopped a couple of years ago.  They lost 36 trees in the hurricane so it looks very different from what we remember.

 

15-18 Mar, Tue-Fri:  The Accu-weather report we received on Monday proved to be right on target:  clouds, rain--heavy at times, temperature in the 40's for 5 days.  So our activities were pretty much limited to our cozy coach until Friday when we drove to Kingsland.  When we saw a number of tradesmen's pickups parked in front of Steppen's Restaurant, we took that as a sign that it's a good place for lunch.  Sure enough, an excellent meal, reasonably priced. 

 

This cold, dreary day was perfect for visiting the Submarine Museum in downtown historic St. Mary's where a wide variety of Submarine artifacts, memorabilia, and information is available for viewing.

 

19 Mar, Saturday, dawned bright and beautiful - a real treat to see the sun again.  We headed for St. Mary's.  We selected the Trolley Restaurant and climbed a spiral staircase to a porch on the second floor where the wide St. Mary's River, lined with docks and boats, stretched before us.  What a perfect place to enjoy a fish sandwich in the sunshine while watching the marine activity on the River.

 

Next on our agenda was a walking tour of this delightful, historic town located at the mouth of the St. Mary's River.  One of the most interesting places on our tour was the A. Clark house.  The plaque reads, "In this house Aaron Burr, fleeing after duel with Alexander Hamilton and later General Winfield Scott returning from Indian campaign in Florida, were entertained by Major Archibald Clark."

 

20 Mar, Sun:  Another sunny day so perfect for a return jaunt to Florida where Amelia Island was our destination.  Amelia is Florida's northernmost island.  It's thirteen miles long and two miles wide; the northern and southern tips of the island are park preserves, making up nearly 10 percent of the entire island.  It's surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, Intracoastal Waterway, the Nassau Sound and Cumberland Sound.  Thirteen miles of pristine beaches encircle the Island.  We parked at North Beach for a delightful, vigorous hike and then checked out the nearby campground.  We're very impressed with the natural beauty and peace of this Island, plus there are hiking trails and more beaches, all of which need to be pursued another time.

 

We visited Fort Clinch on the northern end of Amelia.  "It's one of a series of masonry forts constructed between 1816 and 1867.  The fort was built at the mouth of the St. Mary's River to protect the natural deep-water port of Fernandina-the eastern link of Florida's only cross-state railroad.  Never fully completed, it still served as a military post during the Civil War, Spanish-American War, and World War II."  Our timing was perfect as this was the day for a reenactment involving the firing of a cannon and four rifles. 

 

24 Mar, Thu:  Since this day dawned bright and beautiful, we drove west to Folkston, one of the three entry points to the Okefenokee Swamp Wildlife Refuge.  It's a vast mosaic of land, water, and wildlife covering more than 700 square miles of South Georgia and North Florida. 

 

A stop at the Visitor Center resulted in the purchase of tickets for a boat tour into the Swamp on the Suwannee Canal.  The Canal was dug in a failed attempt to drain the swamp and is now used for boat tours such as ours, and rental boats and canoes are available for those wanting to fish or explore on their own.  Moss-draped cypress trees border the canal and our guide picked a bay leave (such as used in cooking) for us to smell.  We left the canal to enter a prairie; just as the name implies, it's an open area with few trees covered with water-loving vegetation.  Wildlife was practically nonexistent this particular day, not even an alligators lazing about.

 

We drove to Chesser Island, site of the Chesser Homestead where Tom and Iva Chesser raised their seven children in the early 1900's without electricity or running water.

 

>From there we walked through the woods to the 4,000-foot boardwalk over the Swamp.  A sandhill crane was busy feeding and oblivious to tourists so we got a good picture on our way to the 80-foot observation tower at the end of the boardwalk.  From this vantage point, a wood stork and ibis were spotted and we listened to critters talking things over, but they were hidden from our view.

 

Friday morning was off to a noisy start when thunder, lightning and pouring rain were suddenly joined by half-inch hail pounding upon our roof.  It was actually a bit scary as we wondered if we might sustain some damage, but all was well. 

 

We'll be hanging out along the Georgia coast a while longer - we're totally happy down here while we wait for NH to warm up and dry out.

 

Cheerio - Cal and Connie