After a hearty breakfast we left Wakulla Springs and drove 20 minutes to St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. The lovely woman in the Visitor's Center showed us their two resident Alligators and directed us to a walk through the nearby woods and around a pond.
Here at Wakulla (pronounced Wa - cull - ah) State Park the main attraction is the spring that feeds the Wakulla River, that then empties into the St. Marks River that in turn empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The park operates narrated boat tours in the river to view the wildlife. The boats have solar panels on their roofs that power their electric engines. The abundance of creatures make both the camera aficionados and the nature lovers very happy.
The past two weeks have been great fun. We've had new adventures daily. From here on in our main goal is relaxation.
This morning we went to the Tallahassee Museum of History and Nature. It is a combination of Fauna, Flora and History.
You too should go out of your way to experience these wonderful people and their art.
When web surfing for odd places to visit Harry came across the website for Butch Anthony's Museum of Wonder in Seale, Alabama. The descriptions were intriguing enough for us to plan our route so that we would be in the vicinity. We are so glad that we did. Upon arriving we found the ramshackle museum building and first met John Henry Towney outside his log cabin. John Henry directed us to drive further down the road and find Butch at his home which we did.
Ah Southern Georgia - where the 30 foot tall billboards proclaim that only Jesus can save you. Interestingly these are interspersed with billboards advertising Stippers, Fireworks (the Bang Band Lady) and the World's Largest liquor store.
Today we visited the Andersonville National Historical Park. The Andersonville National Historic Site comprises three distinct components: the site of Camp Sumter military prison, the Andersonville National Cemetery, and the National Prisoner of War Museum, which opened in 1998 to honor all U.S. prisoners of war in all wars. A local resident, Kevin Frye has collected a lot of information about Andersonville if you want to explore further.
Another slow morning with time to do some stretching and yoga and enjoy breakfast on the balcony of Larry and Suzie's condo high on a hill with the Atlanta skyline in the distance. It was warm enough to sit outside and bask in the sun. That is it was warm enough and Harry and Marsha. Larry and Suzie both were nice enough to come out and join us but soon retreated.
Our only activity for the day was to drive back downtown to the edge of the Olympic Park and go for a ride on the new Atlanta Streetcar. The shinny new electric streetcar does a loop through that goes through the downtown area and to the MLK Jr. National Historic Park as well as other tourist sites. It was a pleasant ride and we got off and walked around the MLK sites.
Aaron, Niki and Eli joined us for a nice family dinner to cap off a very relaxed day.
We started slow this morning so it was midday when we arrived at the Center for Civil and Human Rights. The museum is located in the area that was the Centennial Olympic Park and is now bustling with activity as "The World of Coca Cola" and the "Georgia Aquarium" are also on the site.
The first floor had an exhibit of select documents from the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection. There were speeches written on yellow legal pads in King's on hand, telegrams written by King to President Kennedy, planning documents for rallies and marches and many more interesting documents.
The second floor was dedicated to telling the story of the American Civil Rights Movement.
There were many interactive exhibits including one where we sat down at a mock up of a Woolworth's Lunch counter, put on headphones, closed their eyes and were bombarded by the taunts and threats experienced by those that participated in the sit ins. It was a disturbing experience and only a small part of what those brave people experienced.
The third floor concentrated on the Global Civil Rights Movement. This included lifelike portraits of activists and told their inspirational stories. There was also an area where you stood directly in front of life sized projected images of individuals relating their personal experiences of discrimination.
Then it was off to Mary Mac's Tea Room an Atlanta tradition since 1945. We arrived in the middle of the afternoon and the parking lot was full and there was a brief wait for a table. By the time we finished our delicious meal the lobby and sidewalk outside were jammed packed with those waiting for tables. All with good reason as the Fried Chicken, sweet potato soufflé, fried green tomatoes, and fried okra on our plates was really delicious. Accompanied by some ice tea and topped off with shared plates of Peach Cobbler and Bread Pudding we were truly sated. So much so that none of us has uttered a word about dinner.
Ah the joys of driving for six hours in the rain. Starting in Bristol, Virginia and crossing into Tennessee and then into North Carolina and finally Georgia. I remembered that our last visit to the Smoky Mountains was in similar weather. At least this time we weren't trying to camp out.
We arrived in Atlanta in time for appetizers and a lovely Shabbat dinner with my brother Larry, sister-in-law Suzie, their son Aaron, his wife Niki and their son Eli. It was good to be enveloped by family at the end of a long day.
Two interesting stops today: First, Bedford VA where more soldiers died on D-Day than any other US town (per capata) and second, at the new home of our friends Bernie and Lynn Cosell who relocated from Lexington 22 years ago to Pearisburg VA to raise sheep.
We said goodbye to Richmond this morning and headed into the countryside.
By midday we were at Appomattox Court House National Historic Park the site where General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General U.S. Grant. The two introductory slide presentations and exhibits were woefully outdated and featured overly dramatic sound tracks that made me think that Alfred Hitchcock would appear at any moment. The saving grace was the Park Ranger led walk through the village and tour of the surrender site. We learned about the history of village, why the two armies ended up at this particular place and about the two leaders and how they each dealt with the situation.