Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Not Too Far From Home - Historic Lakemont Village, Lake Rabun, Georgia

I would first like to apologize to my readers for the lack of new content here on the blog in recent months.  I have not really had much time to travel lately and since this is a 'traveler's journal'...well, you get the picture.  When I started this blog it was not my intent to let it sit idle for months on end and my neglect has bothered me.  So, in thinking about my original idea for this blog I have come to realize that I do not have to travel too far from home to find places I can share with my I begin a new series of posts entitled 'Not Too Far From Home'.

 Just a mere 13 miles from my home is a wonderful destination, Lake Rabun and Historic Lakemont Village.  This is a perfect place for anyone looking for a weekend retreat or just a Sunday drive.  Located within a 2 hour drive from most locations in the greater Atlanta area sits one of the most scenic and historic areas of the North Georgia fact Lake Rabun will be featured as one of 'the best lakes across the south' in the July issue of Southern Living Magazine 

 Even if you don't have a boat this is a beautiful lake to visit.  Lake Rabun Road hugs the lake's shore making it perfect for a scenic drive.  Picnicking or camping are both available as well as a couple of wonderful inns and several places to grab a bite on the run or sit down to enjoy a meal. 
The Lake Rabun Hotel and The Barn Inn are located on Lake Rabun Road just across from the lake plus just a few miles away on Bear Gap Road you will find Glen Ella Springs Inn

If you are looking for a great lunch spot 'Annie's At Alley's Market & Deli' offers a variety of delicious sandwiches and salads as well as snacks, soft drinks, beer and wine.  There are several tables available indoors and on the front porch for you and your family to dine in, or you may chose to dine creek side just a few steps away or take your lunch to go.  Annie's is also 'pet friendly'. 

On Lake Rabun Road you will find 'Louie's On The Lake' where lunch is available on Sat. & Sun. and dinner is available 7 nights a week.  Louie's wonderful New York Style pizza has been described as 'the best pizza in Georgia' and this writer concurs with that opinion.  You may dine in or take out.
Lake Rabun Hotel offers dinner Wed. through Sat. and brunch on Sat. and Sunday in their beautifully appointed restaurant and bar.

If it's art you are looking for you can find a variety of works by local artists at the Lakemont Gallery.  Housed in the newly renovated Lakemont Lodge the gallery includes Fine Art oil paintings, watercolors, photography, hand crafted glass jewelry, pottery, hand-woven baskets and hand-crafted wooden tables. 

Additionally you can find a few other artists's works in the upstairs gallery at Annie's At Alley's and in The Corner Cupboard at Seven Oaks where you can also find a variety of antiques and collectables.
I hope that you will check out the places I have spoken of here and visit Lakemont and Lake Rabun soon and often.  I believe that you will find it an enjoyable experience.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Time Passes...Memories Fade

Time passes...Memories Fade...A Picture is worth a 1000 words...I am glad to have so many pictures of my trip to Louisiana and Mississippi because sometimes words fail me and my memory is defiantly not what it used to be.  Even though it has been 2 months since my travels took me to Vicksburg Mississippi I have my photographs to remind me of what a splendid day I shared with my dear friend Gretta, thus allowing me to share yet another part of my journey here on 'Off The Beaten Path'.

One of the places we visited that day was the historic old Warren County Courthouse.  This beautiful building was built in 1858 by the Weldon brothers who used skilled slave labor to make the bricks and help with the construction of the building which stands today as Vicksburg’s most historic structure and has hosted such guests and speakers as Jefferson Davis, Ulysses S. Grant, Booker T. Washington, Teddy Roosevelt, and William McKinley.  You can read more about the history of the building as well as the museum at:

The courtroom on the second floor features a cast iron judge’s Dias and railings, and an intricate iron stairway connects the first and second floors.
Original iron doors and shutters remain on the building.

The museum is operated by the Vicksburg and Warren County Historical Society, a private, non-profit organization.  The museum houses wonderful artifacts relating to the history of Vicksburg, Warren County and the beautiful state of Mississippi. 
Among the 1000's of pieces of history contained within the walls of the Old Courthouse Museum are Confederate flags, including one that was never surrendered, the tie worn by Jefferson Davis at his inauguration as Confederate President, fine portraits, china and silver, exquisite antique furniture, antebellum clothing, toys, Indian and pioneer implements, and an original Teddy Bear given to a local child by Theodore Roosevelt. 
Below are 2 slide shows of some of the photos I took in the museum.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

St. Francisville Louisianna - On the Banks of The Mississippi River

So, let's see, where were we?  In my last post I had just crossed the Mississippi River by ferry and found myself in the beautiful town of St. Francisville, LA.  My first stop was at the welcome center run by West Feliciana Historic Society.  I spent a few minutes walking through the on-site museum and asking directions to the nearest place to find a good lunch.  I was directed to a little diner named 'Eight Sisters' where I enjoyed some delicious 'soul food' prepared and served by a couple of the 8 sisters who own and run it.  While eating I looked over the little phampelet I had picked up and decided that due to my time constraints I would have to settle for a walk through the grounds of Grace Episcopal Church and save the many mansions and plantation homes for another day.

St. Francisville is the second oldest incorporated town in Louisiana and began as a burial grounds for the Spanish Capuchin Monks who had established a church in the 1730's on the other side of the Mississippi River in Pointe Coupee Parish.  Because flooding in the area often made burial impossible they began carrying their dead across the river to the dry highland bluffs for burial.  Soon a settlement sprung up around their graveyard and was appropriately named for their order's gentle patron, St. Francis...and so the town of St. Francisville was established.  It was futher dignified by charter and 'plot plan' around 1807.
Grace Episcopal Church was organized on March 15, 1827 and is the 2nd oldest Episcopal Church in Louisiana.  The present Gothic stucture was built 1858 - 1860 with it's cornerstone laid by Leonidas Polk, the Fighting Bishop of the Confederacy.  I spent about an hour walking through the graveyard and church property...below are a few of the photographs from my time there. 

I hope to one day return to St. Francisville to tour some of the beautiful, historic and often haunted manions and plantations located in the town and surrounding countryside.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Crossing The Mississippi...New Roads to St. Francisville by Ferry

On day 4 of my journey I headed back to Jackson Mississippi along a route suggested by my son, a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.  He sent me off  the beaten path to explore the beautiful historic towns of New Roads and St. Francisville Louisianna and take a ferry ride across the Mississippi River which seperates them.  I only wish I had had more time to explore each of these charming towns as I discovered there is much there to do and see.  I definatly hope to return one day soon...meanwhile, let me share with you here those things that I did see and experience.
With my limited time in mind I chose to do a quick driving tour through the town of New Roads and move on to St. Francisville in hopes of touring one of the many plantation homes located there.  As I drove through town I snapped a few photos of a couple of the beautiful homes located there (photo on left and below), and a couple of an enchanting courtyard in the business district (above and below).

From downtown I drove north to find the ferry crossing.  I arrived just as the ferry was pulling away.  My first thought was that I had missed it and would have to back-track to find another way to cross, but my fears were soon put to rest as others began to arrive and form a line waiting for the next ferry.  I used my 30 minutes to snap a few photos of the river and surrounding area...
And then I was off on my ferry ride across the mighty Mississippi River and on to the enchanting town of St. Francisville Louisianna....

After dis-embarking from the ferry I continued on my jouney, making my way to the charming, historical town of St. Francisville where my first stop was for tourist information from The Museum of the West Feliciana Historical Society.  And that is a story for another day.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Windsor Ruins

With my trip now 2 weeks behind, and still many photos to catalogue, I want to begin sharing some of the things I saw along the way...those things that called for more than just a fleeting mention as I moved from place to place...places where I spent some extra time.

The first of those places is The Windsor Ruins, all that remains of a Mississippi treasure built between 1859 and 1861.  Located just  off a winding rural Mississippi highway in Clairborn County about 10 miles southwest of Port Gibson and Alcorn State University, this was by far the most 'off the beaten path' of any place I visited on this trip. 

Built by Smith Coffee Danial III (1826-1861) it was the largest antebellum Greek Revival mansion built in the state of Mississippi.  Designed by David Shroder and built primarily by slave labor, the mansion consisted of 29 forty-five foot tall columns supporting the projecting roof line with it's plain, broad frieze and molded cornice providing protection for the galleries which encompassed the house on the 2nd and 3rd levels. 

The first floor (or above ground basement) housed the family's own commissary, doctor's office, school and dairy along with the kitchen and storage area.  On the second floor were 2 parlors, a library, the dinning room and something unusual for that time...a 'master bedroom' with private bath and study.  The third floor consisted of 8 bedrooms and a bath.  And on a smaller 4th floor was a never completed ballroom and a roof top observatory from which Mark Twain is said to have observed the Mississippi River.  A water tank in the attic provided water to the bathrooms and each room had a fireplace for heat.  There was also a dumb waiter connecting the kitchen and dinning room.
Part of the sad legacy of this beautiful mansion is the fact that Smith Daniel only lived in the house for a few short weeks after it's completion, passing away at the age of 34 in 1961.  His family - wife and 3 children - continued to live there and it is said that many cultural events were hosted at their home.  Windsor was used as an observation point by the Confederates during the War Between the States and as a Union hospital after the Battle of Port Gibson in May of 1863.  It is also said to have been visited by several famous people including Mark Twain.

On February 18, 2011 I stood amongst all that remains of what was once the grandest of all of Mississippi's mansions...the 23 columns standing starkly against the February sky.  I learned only later how this once grand mansion had burned to the ground on February 17, 1890!  It is said the fire was started by a lighted cigar left laying on a upstairs balcony, or tossed carelessly in a pile of debris, by a guest.  The fire burned from top to bottom making it impossible to extinguish. All was lost including plans, drawings and any pictures of the house. 

The drawing to the right is said to have been made by a Union soldier while traveling through the Windsor area during the Civil War.  Discovered years later it is the only known depiction of what Windsor actually looked like when complete.

Below are several of the photos I took that day as I strolled beneath the remaining columns 121 years and 1 day after the destructive fire.  I am in awe of the construction of these columns that still stand after all this time.  I imagined the things that may have taken place here, the history that was made, the people who loved, laughed, cried, danced and otherwise lived their lives in this beautiful place.  I smiled at the sun and blue skies over head that day and imagined the beauty of this once grand home. 

In closing let me say that if you are ever in the Port Gibson, MS area it would be well worth the time to go 'off the beaten path' to visit the Ruins of Windsor.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Automotive Memories - Day 2

On the second day of my trip to Louisiana I came across some great old cars on a frontage road running next to I-20 between Jackson and Vicksburg MS. It was the first great find of my day, and the trip. I stopped and spent about 30 minutes rambling around amoung them and snapping photos.

I have an on-going love affair with old cars that began back in the late 60's. Back then I hung out with a bunch of 'car guys' who restored, souped-up and otherwise worked on cars most of the time we weren't in school. Summer's were spent cruising the boulevard, scrounging parts in junkyards and parts stores, hanging out in garages and driveways...strange places for a teenage girl but I loved it! I was as proud as they were to show off the latest creation, the fastest hotrod, the lowest lowrider.

So when I saw these cars all lined up along the road I was drawn to them like a bee to a flower. One of the main things that attracted me to them was that these were the cars of my youth...mostly 50's and 60's models, all American made cars!!! There were Chevy's, Ford's, Oldsmobiles and even an old Edsel wagon. Not only did I remember these cars from the 'car guy days', I also remembered riding in them as a child to picnics, the drive-in movies, church and vacations... these were the cars of my youth.  And so as I wandered around this old junkyard snapping photos my mind wandered back to the days of my youth...Oh the memories, sweet memories these wonderful old rusted autos brought to mind.  When I had a chance to look though the photos I decided that the best way to share them here was a slide show and so I give you...
Old Cars

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Places Of Interest in Vicksburg MS - Day 5

After visiting the Eagle and Owls we went on to downtown Vicksburg...

We ate lunch at 'Monsour's At The Biscuit Company', a wonderful resturant owned by the Monsour family and located in the old Biscuit Company Building.  At a table overlooking the mighty Mississippi we dined on wonderful salads of crisp greens, tomatoes and cheese topped with fried crawdad tails or small grilled shrimp...Delicious!!  Gretta told me how this resturant had been a favorite since her teen years in Vicksburg and introduced me to the owner. 

Next we took a walk around the old depot which which is currently under will soon be home to a new railroad museum and gift shops with office spaces available in the 2nd level.  I will look forward to returning to see that when it is up and running.

Our next stop was in downtown Vicksburg to pick up some camera batteries and bottled water...we stopped at this Fred's store on S Washington Street.  I believe it to be one of the original stores from the 50's...the first Fred's store was opened in Coldwater MS in 1947.

After picking up what we needed from Fred's we headed to our next destination...The Historic Courthouse Museum.  This is one of the places that will defiantly need an entire blog post dedicated to it...the building and grounds are beautiful, the museum inside is amazing.  What an great collection of American memorabilia!

After the courthouse our next stop was the Mississippi River Bridge where we arrived just in time to watch a train come over the rail bridge.  Gretta told me about what it was like when as a child she used to travel across the bridge with her parents.  At that time the car bridge and train bridge ran side by side and she said it was very frightening to have the train right next to the car on some occasions.

From there we headed over to the Vicksburg National Military Park where we took a short drive through the park and stopped to walk through the cemetery.   They have an amazing collection of bronze statuary of which this is only one example.

Our final stop of the day was for dinner at Anchuca a historic mansion and inn built in the 1830's where we enjoyed a lovely dinner.  The owner was also a friend of Gretta's whom she has known for many years.  It was a lovely dining experience.

As we drove home to Gretta's house in Jackson we watched the beautiful almost-full moon was the perfect ending to a lovely day.