Spring at Callaway Gardens

Our latest wandering took us on a short trip that was full of excitement. Our first stop was F. D. Roosevelt State Park, Georgia’s largest state park, in Pine Mountain. It was the perfect place for us to use as home base for exploring both Callaway Gardens and F.D.R.’s Little White House in Warm Springs.

After driving in the rain on the winding road through the park we arrived at the Visitor’s Center to check in just after a tornado warning had been lifted. Everything was fine in the campground and we set up camp just before another rain shower began.

“Connecting man and nature in a way that benefits both.” – Callaway Gardens Mission

With the sun shining the next morning we drove about 15 minutes from our campsite to Callaway Gardens.  Located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Callaway Gardens opened in 1952. Today, there are many different gardens to explore, a lodge, golf course, swimming beach, and even a zip-line adventure.

Our tour of the gardens began with a stop at the Pioneer Log Cabin. From there we strolled along the Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Trail with many Georgia native plants.  The Flowering Dogwoods and many other wildflowers displayed their brilliant spring colors.

Pioneer Log Cabin at Callaway Gardens
Pioneer Log Cabin at Callaway Gardens
Flowering Dogwood on Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail
Flowering Dogwood on Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail at Callaway Gardens
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail at Callaway Gardens
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail at Callaway Gardens
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail at Callaway Gardens
Azalea at Callaway Gardens
Azalea at Callaway Gardens
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail at Callaway Gardens
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail at Callaway Gardens

Next we walked on the trails to the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center for a look at some tropical butterflies. Butterflies of all sizes, shapes and colors fed on the colorful blossoms and sailed by our heads as they flew from flower to flower.

Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens
Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens
Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens
Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens
Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens
Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens

We learned about some of Georgia’s birds of prey at the Discovery Center. As our guide gave a very informative presentation, two different species of owl and a red tailed hawk flew over our heads during the program.

Juniper the Great Horned Owl at Birds of Prey program
Juniper the Great Horned Owl at Birds of Prey program
Barred Owl Birds of Prey demonstration at Callaway Gardens
Willow the Barred Owl Birds of Prey demonstration at Callaway Gardens
Red Tailed Hawk Callaway Gardens Birds of Prey Show
Red Tailed Hawk Callaway Gardens Birds of Prey Show

We must have just missed the Azaleas at their peak because most of the Azaleas on the Overlook Azalea trail had finished blooming. The Flowering Dogwoods and other trees added color to the landscape.

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Callaway Gardens Azalea Trail
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Flowering Dogwoods were in bloom at Callaway Gardens
Eastern Redbud Callaway Gardens
Eastern Redbud at Callaway Gardens
Callaway Gardens Overlook Azalea Trail
Callaway Gardens Overlook Azalea Trail

Our visit to Callaway Gardens included only a few of the many gardens there. It is a wonderful family destination and bicycles are a popular way to get around the park. There are several restaurants to choose from or you can have a picnic in one of the picnic areas.

Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Michigan

State 20:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next state is

Michigan

Michigan became the 26th state on January 26, 1837. The capital is Lansing. Michigan is the only state with two peninsulas.

Our wandering around Michigan took us to three great lakes, two national lakeshores, huge sand dunes, magnificent waterfalls, a beautiful island with no motorized vehicles allowed, a lock connecting two great lakes, lighthouses, and gigantic cliffs.

Our Michigan journeys included camping in Muskegon State Park on Lake Michigan and in Lakeport State Park on Lake Huron.

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Swan in Muskegon Channel
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Beach on Lake Huron in Lakeport State Park

We picked a beautiful day to explore Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on Lake Michigan.

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Dune Climb at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
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450 feet above Lake Michigan at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

We had a great view of the Mackinac Bridge from our campsite at Macinaw Mill Creek Campground. The campground was our home base for a visit to Mackinac Island.

Mackinac Bridge at sunset
Mama Swan with babies

 

After crossing the Mackinac Bridge we spent a few days in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, otherwise known as the UP. We spent a day marveling at the spectacular waterfalls in Tahquamenon (rhymes with phenomenon) Falls State Park.

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Upper Tahquamenon Falls
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Lower Tahquamenon-Falls

We drove up to Sault Ste. Marie for a look at the Soo Locks.

Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie
Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie

Another day was spent exploring Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

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Sable Falls
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Miner’s Castle
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Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Our campsite at Porcupine Mountains State Park was right next to the rocky shore of Lake Superior.

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We enjoyed seeing a few of Michigan’s Lighthouses.

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts

Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Louisiana

State 16:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next state is

Louisiana

Louisiana became the 18th state on April 30, 1812  and the capital is Baton Rouge.

Ever since I started working on this post about Louisiana the following lyrics from the Hank Williams song “Jambalaya (on the Bayou)” have been going through my head.

Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and fillet gumbo
‘Cause tonight I’m gonna see my ma cher amio
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-o
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Each time we visited Louisiana we tried as much of the delicious local food as we could get. We sampled everything – boudin, crawfish etoufee, gumbo, dirty rice, cracklins, shrimp po’ boys and more! Chef Paul Prudhomme’s K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen  in New Orleans served up one of the most amazing meals I’ve ever had. Is your mouth watering yet?

We’ve visited New Orleans three times – twice to watch our Georgia Bulldogs play in the Sugar Bowl and once to take our children when they were young. We wandered around the French Quarter, attended a performance of New Orleans Jazz at Preservation Hall, rode a streetcar to the Garden District, took a riverboat ride on the Mississippi River, chowed down on amazing Cajun food, and of course had coffee and beignets at Cafe Du Monde.

New Orleans Jackson Square
New Orleans Jackson Square
Cafe du Monde
Cafe du Monde
Calle D Borbon
Calle D Borbon

There is so much more to Louisiana than food and music. Our lake front campsite at Lake Bistineau State Park was perfect for watching the wading birds search for food among the huge cypress trees on the banks of the lake.

Great Blue Heron at Lake Bistineau
Great Blue Heron at Lake Bistineau
Great Egret in Lake Bistineau
Great Egret in Lake Bistineau
Lake Bistineau
Lake Bistineau

The rain didn’t stop us from enjoying our campsite on one of the ponds at Poche’s Fish N Camp. After a delicious meal at Poche’s Meat Market and Smokehouse I stocked up on Cajun goodies like homemade boudin, Andouille sausage and tasso ham to take home.

Pavilion at Poche's Fish N Camp
Poche’s Fish N Camp

We are one of the families who always has a bottle of Tabasco sauce on the table along with the salt and pepper. A visit to the Tabasco Factory on Avery Island was a must for us.

The world's best known hot sauce
The world’s best known hot sauce

We even took a tour of the Duck Commander headquarters in West Monroe.

Duck Commander Headquarters, about 3 blocks south of I-20 in West Monroe, LA
Duck Commander Headquarters, about 3 blocks south of I-20 in West Monroe, LA

I started writing this post right before Mardi Gras and have been hungry for Cajun food ever since. On Fat Tuesday I made a big pot of Shrimp and Andouille Gumbo using Alton Brown’s recipe (I added okra ). Yesterday I made Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Jambalaya (I left out the oysters). Now if I could just find some crawfish tails I’ll make that crawfish pie.!

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky

Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Hawaii

State 9:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. Time to travel across the Pacific Ocean to

Hawaii

Aloha! Hawaii became the 50th state on August 21, 1959 and the capital is Honolulu on the island of Oahu.

Obviously we didn’t take the RV to Hawaii! We spent two weeks in paradise exploring Oahu and Kauai.

I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves.

Turtle Cove on the north shore of Oahu
Turtle Cove on the north shore of Oahu
Green sea turtle on the beach at Turtle Cove, Oahu
Green sea turtle on the beach at Turtle Cove, Oahu
Hawaiian Monk Seal on the north shore of Kauai
Hawaiian Monk Seal on the north shore of Kauai
View of the Na Pali Coast from the beach on Kauai
View of the Na Pali Coast from the beach on Kauai
The Ne Ne is the State bird of Hawaii
The Ne Ne is the State bird of Hawaii
Kilauea Point Lighthouse on Kauai is the westernmost lighthouse in the United States
Kilauea Point Lighthouse on Kauai is the westernmost lighthouse in the United States
Waimea Canyon on Kauai
Waimea Canyon on Kauai
Bali Hai on Kauai
Bali Hai on Kauai
Beach on Kauai
Beach on Kauai
Opaekaa Falls on Kauai
Opaekaa Falls on Kauai
We hiked to the top of Diamond Head for this view of Waikiki
We hiked to the top of Diamond Head for this view of Waikiki
Diamond Head Lighthouse from the top of Diamond Head
Diamond Head Lighthouse from the top of Diamond Head
Dole Plantation Oahu
Dole Plantation Oahu
At a Luau on Kauai
At a Luau on Kauai
We could see surfers in the water from this overlook on Oahu
We could see surfers in the water from an overlook on Oahu
Watching the waves on Oahu
Watching the waves on Oahu

Mahalo for stopping by!

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia

Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Georgia

State 8:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically and the next state is my home state!

Georgia

Georgia was one of the original 13 colonies and became the 4th  state on January 2, 1788. The capital is Atlanta where the capital dome is covered in gold leaf from the Georgia Gold Rush in Dahlonega during the 1830’s.

I was born in Georgia but did not grow up here. When I was a child, our summer vacations were spent visiting relatives in middle Georgia where my mother grew up.  I first moved to Georgia as a freshman at the University of Georgia in Athens and I’ve lived in the state ever since. Even when we are wandering I always have Georgia on my mind.

I’m afraid I won’t be able to do our state justice. How I condense a lifetime of memories into one post?

With the city of Atlanta, the north Georgia mountains, National Wildlife Refuges and National Forests, The Okefenokee Swamp, peach and pecan groves, cotton fields, lakes and streams, the Grand Canyon of Georgia, Athens the Classic City, Stone Mountain, antebellum homes, historical lighthouses, salt marshes, barrier islands, beautiful beaches, friendly small towns, and many historic sites Georgia has much to offer. And did I mention the delicious sweet tea, barbeque, grits, fried green tomatoes, fried chicken, low country boil, fresh wild Georgia shrimp and blue crabs, peach cobbler, banana pudding, and all the other amazing food around the state?

Unfortunately I am missing photos from many places around the state. No matter where you go there are interesting things to see and do in the Peach State.

Peach County, Georgia
Peach County, Georgia

Georgia is the Peach State and Peach County produces many of those peaches. There is nothing in the world that’s better than a fresh Georgia peach plucked right from the tree when it is perfectly ripe in the summer time. You know it’s perfect when you bite into it and the nectar drips down your chin and all over your hands. And fresh peach cobbler is a staple around our house when the peaches are in season.

In Georgia, you can watch the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean or watch the sunset over one of the Georgia’s many lakes.

Nothing says springtime in Georgia like azaleas, peach blossoms,  and flowering dogwoods.

With ancient live oak trees dripping with Spanish Moss, squares, a beautiful historic district, museums, historic forts, and one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the United States, Savannah is a popular vacation destination.

Tybee Island Light Station 4th of July American Flag
Tybee Island Light Station 4th of July American Flag

Three lighthouses protecting the Georgia Coast are accessible to the public. The Tybee Island Light Station is the tallest lighthouse in Georgia.

Cockspur Lighthouse at Fort Pulaski National Monument
Cockspur Lighthouse at Fort Pulaski National Monument

 

A trail at Fort Pulaski National Monument winds through palmettos for a close up view of the Cockspur Island Lighthouse.

St. Simons Lighthouse
St. Simons Lighthouse

 

 

The St. Simons Island Lighthouse was rebuilt after it was destroyed by the Union Army during the War between the States.

 

Brer Rabbit stands in front of the Uncle Remus Museum in Eatonton, GA
Brer Rabbit stands in front of the Uncle Remus Museum in Eatonton, GA

Joel Chandler Harris, Alice Walker, and Flannery O’Connor are just a few of the writers from Georgia. The Uncle Remus Museum in Eatonton celebrates the creator of Brer Rabbit, Joel Chandler Harris.

Laurel and Hardy Museum at Harlem, Georgia
Laurel and Hardy Museum at Harlem, Georgia

Georgia also has a close connection with the film industry. Many movies and tv shows have been filmed in Georgia. Oliver Hardy was one of the stars who was born in Georgia.

You know your shrimp is fresh when you see the shrimp boats that caught them.

Shrimp Boats in Darien
Shrimp Boats in Darien

Atlanta is the capital and the home to companies such as Coca Cola, UPS and Delta Airlines. Atlanta also hosted the Centennial Olympic Games in 1996.

Centennial Olympic Park, Atlanta
Centennial Olympic Park, Atlanta
Centennial Olympic Stadium 1996 - Reconstructed after Paralympics to become Turner Field
Centennial Olympic Stadium 1996 – Reconstructed after Paralympics to become Turner Field

The birds and other wildlife are abundant all over the state.

The Iron Horse was originally placed on the campus of the University of Georgia in Athens and later moved to the middle of a field near Greensboro.

The Iron Horse stands tall in the middle of a cornfield
The Iron Horse stands tall in the middle of a cornfield
Our fifth wheel has a new look
Our fifth wheel has a new look

We Georgians love our sports teams! When we travel in our fifth wheel, there is no doubt which college team we support!  How bout them Dawgs!

As I put the finishing touches on this post the Atlanta Falcons are preparing to take on the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl in Houston.  Go Falcons!

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida