Monday, December 19, 2011

Florida panhandle

I last posted from the southeastern tip of Georgia just a few miles north of the Florida border.  We next took a rather long jaunt into the panhandle of Florida.  Twenty years ago we had visited the area from Panama City to Destin and loved the beaches and little towns so we found a campground within driving distance (not so expensive like the ones on the beach).  We found that the beaches still have that amazing fluffy white sand and are just as beautiful.  What has changed is the cities have grown out of control.  Back then Destin was a small, nice little town but it is now a major traffic laden city.  I guess that is to be expected but I can't help but feel it is too bad.

The campground search had landed us near DeFuniak Springs.  This turned out to be one of those lucky stumbles.  We had a nice campground pretty much to ourselves and DeFuniak Springs turned out to be one of those little historic gems that we love.  It has 250 buildings on the National Register of Historic places, many of which line a round lake in the middle of town.  We took the historic walking tour around the lake on one walk and walked around a couple other times at night to enjoy the Christmas decorations (the display in the park boasts 6 million lights).

DeFuniak Springs Library

Chautauqua Building

Cottage on Lake DeFuniak

House on Lake DeFuniak
We have now ventured about 100 miles west of there in Alabama.  We are about half way betwen Pensacola and Mobile.  We'll be here a month with plans to visit things in Pensacola, Mobile and Gulf Coast after the holidays.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Golden Isles of Georgia

Old Glynn County courthouse
From Charleston we made the relatively short drive to the "Golden Isles" of Georgia for a couple of weeks.  The drive was nice and easy on Hwy 17 and then we got onto I-95 south.  Wow, the traffic on the Sunday after Thanksgiving was something else and we were glad we weren't going very far.  We got settled into our campground in time to drive into Brunswick to check out the historic district.  There wasn't much to it compared to other old towns but the old county courthouse was really cool.  Unfortunately I forgot my camera so I'm borrowing a little one off the web.

Cottage on Jekyll Island
The next weekend we visited Jekyll Island.  Our first stop was the Georgia Sea Turtle Center.  The coast from northern Florida up along Georgia and into South Carolina is a nesting area for sea turtles.  The Georgia Sea Turtle Center is a turtle hospital with a visitor center which was very informative.  We enjoyed visiting the patients and learning the stories of their rescues and hopes for release back into the wild.  (

Jekyll Island Club
Next we visited the historic district of the island.  In 1886 the entire island was purchased by the "Jekyll Island Club" which was comprised of a group of the wealthiest people in the country.  They built a "club house" and many built "cottages".  The buildings, as you can imagine, were extravagant.  It was a beautiful day to walk around the buildings and try to imagine how it was back then. (

Driftwood beach
We left the historic district and drove out to "driftwood beach".  The beach is named for the piles of large driftwood logs on the beach. 

Fort Frederica
On Saturday we went to St. Simons Island following a driving tour provided in a brochure.  We did a quick drive down the Avenue of Oaks, checked out the beach, and went to Fort Frederica National Monument. The monument was at the site of a British fort and the second city founded in Georgia (after Savannah) in 1736.  There was very little left standing but there were a lot of building foundations and city streets were marked allowing the imagination to roam. (  After the Fort we went down to the St. Simons Island Village to check it out and have some lunch.

This weekend we planned to go to Cumberland Island but the weather wasn't cooperative.  We didn't want to walk around in the rain and cold north wind for 4 hours.  Instead we visited historic St. Mary's, a small town on the coast.  There are a number of very old homes with history dating as far back as the war of 1812.  They are still working on getting the information out but we got enough to enjoy it.  We were lucky enough to walk around during a break in the rain.