Winter in the Butterfly Garden

Although most of the plants in my butterfly garden are finished blooming for the winter, some of flowering plants continued to bloom in late December and early January.

The milkweed is blooming and attracting Monarch butterflies. Because Hurricane Irma destroyed my butterfly garden in 2017 there were no butterflies or caterpillars last winter. I replanted the garden in the spring of 2018 and in December, 2018 I was thrilled to find monarchs and caterpillars on the milkweed once again.

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Monarch on milkweed in January
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Monarch Caterpillar

Two days later, this caterpillar had changed into a chrysalis.

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Monarch Chrysalis December 24, 2018

I checked on the chrysalis every day. A week later, on New Year’s Eve, it was starting to change.

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Week old monarch chrysalis after rain December 31, 2018

I continued checking on it daily and I could see subtle changes each day. Just when I knew it wouldn’t be long before a butterfly emerged, I found it lying on the ground the morning of January 5. We did some research on the internet to find out if there was anything we could do to save it. We tied it to a branch with piece of thread and let it hang in a jar. It’s been over a week since then and still there is no change.

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We rescued the Chrysalis after it fell on the ground on January 5, 2019

I wish there had been a happier ending to this post. I’m sad to say that our butterfly didn’t make it.

 

Wandering Dawgs 2018 Year in Review

Our 2018 was filled with a few short RV trips, Daytona 500, parades, festivals, Universal Studios Orlando, gardening, Georgia Bulldogs, wildlife, beaches, mountains, and lots of fun!

 

Happy New Year!

Best Campgrounds of the year – 2018

These days we are taking shorter RV trips and staying close to our home state of Georgia. It’s no wonder that this year our top three parks are either in Georgia or Florida. All three campgrounds are parks we have returned to numerous times during the years.

Number 3 – Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, White Springs, FL

We’ve been returning to this park over and over since we first discovered it in 2009. This year we camped here twice. Spring flowers were blooming in late February and the Festival of Lights were the highlight of our December stay.

All of the sites are large with water and electric hookups, a fire ring and picnic table. The bells from the carillon tower can be heard all through the campground.

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Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park

Located on the Suwannee River, the park has a museum honoring Stephen Foster, hiking and biking trails (currently closed for maintenance), a gift shop and craft village with local artisans. Just outside the park is the historic Spring House and the town of White Springs.

There’s more about our latest stay at Festival of Lights and the Suwannee River

Number 2 – Pine Lake RV Campground in Bishop, GA

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Wandering Dawgs

Located less than 15 miles from Athens and the University of Georgia, this private park is well maintained with large sites, sparkling clean bath houses, full hookups, and fantastic staff.

Whether you stay here to attend a Georgia Bulldogs football game, to visit the University of Georgia or are just passing through, this quiet campground can’t be beat.

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Pine Lake Campground, Bishop, Georgia

Read more about our latest stay at A favorite campground and Georgia Bulldogs Football

Number 1 – Silver Springs State Park in Silver Springs, FL

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Silver Springs State Park

By far one of our favorite Florida state parks, we have returned to Silver Springs State Park a number of times since we first discovered it in 2009. The sites are all very large with fire rings, picnic tables, water and electric hookups. A few of the sites have been upgraded to full hookup. The bath houses are clean and each one has a washer and dryer.

Located close to the three campground loops are hiking and biking trails, an educational center, and observation decks on the Silver River. Just up the road at the Silver Springs Historic Entrance are the famous Glass Bottom Boat Tours, canoe and kayak launch and rental, more walking trails, a gift shop and snack bar.

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Glass bottom boat at Silver Springs
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Kayaking the Silver River at Silver Springs
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Silver River

Many birds and other wildlife can be seen in the park. Watch out for the monkeys!

There’s more about this year’s visit at Historic Silver Springs

Honorable Mention:

  • Always a favorite, we camped this February at Stephen C. Foster State Park, Fargo, GA, Number 2 in our “Best Campgrounds of the Year – 2016“.
  • River Vista Mountain Village, Dillard, GA – This large, well maintained private park  in the north eastern Georgia mountains is a great location to use as a home base to explore the area. There’s more about our latest stay at Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Wishing you a very happy and healthy 2019 filled with safe travels and happy trails!

Athens, Georgia – The Classic City

Nearly 50 years ago I first stepped foot on the University of Georgia campus in Athens, Georgia as a freshman. Through the years I have returned to Athens too many times to count. I have so many wonderful memories of Athens – walking through campus on my way to class, meeting my husband and getting married in Athens, eight years in a row as parents of UGA students, and many Georgia Bulldogs home football games.

We recently enjoyed wandering around Athens and the University campus on a beautiful late fall afternoon.

We stopped to see two interesting sights unique to Athens.  A double barrelled cannon, the only one known of its kind, stands in front of City Hall. The Tree that Owns Itself  grows in the middle of a quiet neighborhood.

Athens has always been famous for it’s music scene. Bands like the B-52’s, R.E.M., Drive By Truckers, Pylon, Love Tractor and many others performed at the 40 Watt club in their early days. Widespread Panic played at Fraternity houses back in the early 1990’s. When the Georgia Theatre, a beautiful historic concert hall, burned in 2009 it was restored and reopened in 2011. Wuxtry Records, opened in 1976, is still selling vinyl records.

The University of Georgia is the birthplace of higher public education in America. Established on January 27, 1785, the University of Georgia is the nation’s oldest land grant university. North Campus is right across the street from downtown Athens.

Down the hill a short way from north campus is Sanford Stadium, home of the Georgia Bulldogs. We’ve seen several expansions to the stadium over the years and have spent many Saturday afternoons and nights in the stands cheering on the Dawgs.

Greek life is a big part of student life at the University of Georgia. As we drove along Milledge Avenue we passed by many of the beautiful fraternity and sorority houses. The Theta Chi house is my favorite. I’m a little biased because it’s Henry’s fraternity.

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Theta Chi Fraternity

Through the years many restaurants have come and gone. These are three memorable places to eat in Athens.

A lot has changed in Athens over the years but a visit there will always bring back good memories for me.

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

For the second year in a row we made a fall trip to River Vista Mountain Village in Dillard to explore the beautiful north Georgia mountains. Last year we explored Black Rock Mountain State Park, visited waterfalls in North Carolina and wandered around Tallulah Gorge State Park.

This year we had adventures in two new places. One day we went to the top of Brasstown Bald. Another day we drove an hour and a half to Blue Ridge, Georgia to take a ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway.

Our seats were in an open air car for the hour long ride beside the Toccoa River. The train departed the station right on time at 11:00.

As we traveled along at a whopping 10 mph we were able to enjoy the scenery and snap a few photos. A few trees were starting to show signs of autumn but we were too early for the brilliant oranges, reds and yellows that will come later in the season.

Our destination was McCaysville, GA/Copperhill, TN. There was plenty of time to explore the town before the scheduled 2:00 departure. It’s hard to tell which town is which since the state line runs right through the middle of town.

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GA/TN state line

As we wandered around the town we crossed back and forth between Georgia and Tennessee several times. The state line even runs through the middle of some buildings. “Dine on the Line” is the motto for the Copper Grill restaurant where we had lunch. Their address is Tennessee but the state line goes right through the restaurant.

It was nice to sit back and relax on the return trip to Blue Ridge. Before driving back to Dillard we walked across the street from the depot for some fried apple pies from the Mercier Orchard downtown restaurant and store. These pies have been featured on the Food Network and are melt in your mouth delicious!

What’s not to love? A scenic train ride, cool mountain air, beautiful scenery, fresh trout and catfish for lunch, going back and forth between two states just by walking through town, and delicious fried pies! A great day!