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Passport Gal

Danette Benton

The Civil War and Covid 19

My husband and I recently went on a little road trip up the East Coast. From Santa Rosa Beach, Fl to Fredricksburg, Va. We were feeling a little stir crazy with all of the Covid 19, news, etc... So, we loaded up the motor home with groceries and the dogs and headed out.

With no particular destination in mind, we headed out. My husband is a history buff, so we had a few battlefields and museums to check out.

1st night, we stayed at a nice RV park right off of I-95. Southern Retreat RV Park. Booked over the phone. This was the case for most of the trip. No in person contact with anyone due to Covid 19 protocols.

Our first stop was Jekyll Island, Ga. I love when you look at someplace on a map and say, "Hmmm....that might be a nice little stop." And it turns out it is a great little place to stop. The island is quaint with lots of trees and spanish moss. There are homes on the island, but the neighborhood has left the natural beauty in place. You can bike or walk down a very nice path for most of the length of the island.

We stopped at Driftwood Beach. What a cool beach! It was a very short walk down a path right off the road. Dog friendly and beautiful in a haunting way.

We walked the dogs and visited with people there at a good 10' social distancing range and had a very nice stroll. We drove around the island and took in the sites.

In the afternoon, we headed to Tybee Island, Ga. I had heard about Tybee Island growing up. I heard it had multi colored buildings and was a kitchy beach town. So, we decided to check it out. We stopped at Coco's Sunset Grill on the river before you get to the beach. Food was good. Service was good.

The beach was similar to a lot of beaches up the East Coast. The sand is coarse and the water is a deep blue. We found a nice lighthouse up in the middle of a neighborhood, so not really a good photo op. I never found the kitchy multi-colored houses. Nice town, nice people.

Left and made our way up the coast.

We stayed at the Florence RV Park in Florence, SC. Very nice!

 

Up early and made our way to Appomattox, Va. My husband toured the American Civil War Museum. He actually stayed until it closed, then had a long conversation at the front of the building with a very nice man that worked there. I took a hike with the boys and ended up at a small cabin at the side of the museum that had a garden next to it.

The next stop was the Appomattox Courthouse and the McLean House where Lee surrendered.

Wilmer McLean lived in Manassas, Va. His home and property were involved in the first battle of Bull Run. He moved with his family to Appomattox, Va and his property was the site of the surrender and end to the Civil War. Crazy to think his properties were involved with the beginning and the end of the Civil War.

We spent that night at Paradise Lake Campground near Appomattox in Spout Spring, Va. Another nice spot!

 

The next morning involved a trip to Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson. I went there many years ago, so I opted to stay outside and hike with the boys while my husband toured the grounds and house. I highly recommend a trip there. Jefferson was a brilliant man, not without flaws, but brilliant. It is always interesting to hear about the life of men that shaped and formed our country. To see where they lived and conducted daily business.

I took some macro shots of flowers outside Monticello. Had a nice conversation with the man that worked the gate at the exit. When he found out we were from Florida, he told me that he and his wife used to live in the Hamptons. Then it got too touristy, so they moved to Florida. Then it got too touristy, so they moved to Charlottesville, Va.

The too touristy part really resonates with me lately. Our sleepy little town used to be busy every summer. Now, it is crazy insane every summer!

We left Monticello and made our way to Richmond, Va. Richmond has an American Cvil War Museum. My husband headed into the museum. The boys and I did our usual "hike around and see what we can find." There is a beautiful bridge over the St. James River. Along the left side of the bridge are metal plaques, depicting a timeline for the battle. Along the walk path of the bridge are metal inserts with quotes from people who were in Richmond at the time.

The St. James River was very pretty. Running right through town. There were lots of people hanging out, strolling, jogging, walking dogs, and paddle boarding.

The boys and I had a wonderful walk along the river. Gus was very afraid of the bridge. He is that way at home with a boat dock. I guess he thinks there is a troll under there?

We left Richmond and headed towards Fredericksburg, Va. The Confederates built a rock wall on the high ground of this property and a terrible battle ensued.

When I visit these battle grounds, I feel such an oppression. It is always sad to me.

A statue for the "Angel of Marye's Heights."

 

We stayed at Fredricksburg/Washington D.C. South KOA park. This was a beautiful place to stay. A little pricey, but very nice. When I saw Washington D.C. on the name, I had to take a second look at the map. Yes, we were about 40 miles outside of D.C.

We visit Chancellorsville as our last battleground. Afterwards we head to Wegman's grocery store and stock up. What a great grocery store for an RV person. You can get pre made all kinds of delish! Throw a steak on the grill and nuke the rest of your pre made goodies in the microwave. Easy peasy!

We start the trek towards home and come across the Natural Bridge. They don't know how this was formed. You walk down a long staircase to the bottom and walk along the river. About 100 yards after you reach the bottom, you run into the Natural Bridge.  It was beautiful! A wedding ceremony was going on as we were there. The sounds of the river trickling and the music from the wedding echoing through the walls of the rocks was magical.

 

After leaving the Natural Bridge we stayed at Lakeridge Resort RV Park in Hillville, VA.

It was nice. We pulled in and the place was packed. Every slot was full and every slot had a corn hole game in progress. Friendly people riding around in golf carts and fishing at the little lake. Later in the evening, after much beer and corn hole, they started racing the golf carts on the road leading to our RV area. I think this may be a local vacation spot for people in the surrounding area with RV's. They were having an extra large time!

I have heard about the Blue Ridge Parkway for many years. I knew we did not have time to do an all out tour, but wanted to get a glimpse of some of it. We decided to take that route and see a little bit of the BRP. The BRP is a windy, curvy, 45 mph maximum speed road. If you are in a hurry, better not get on the BRP. Lots of scenic overlooks and forests. It was beautiful! Many hiking trails along the 469 mile stretch that starts in Rockfish Gap, Virginia and ends in the Great Smoky Mountains near Cherokee, North Carolina. Having spent quite a bit of time in Colorado and Wyoming, the "mountains" are a bit smaller, but no less the beautiful. I intend to go back and spend more time hiking and exploring this area. Especially in the Fall.

 

 

The last 2 days were spent at Tallulah Falls, Ga and the quaint little town of Clayton, Ga. We ate at the Rusty Bike Cafe. Excellent Southern diner! My husband did some shopping in Clayton, and this was one of the few places we ate out. We hiked out to the Falls and I took lots of photos. I put the boys in the RV when we got back that night from a hike. It was getting dark. Past their dinner time. I opened the door and they were looking at me as if to say, "Hey, I know we are hiking and swimming and having fun, but somebody is tardy with dinner!"

We made our way home and I did a major no no as a photographer. I imported my photos into Lightroom. Apparently we had a storm while gone and the power had gone out. I had to restart my computer and I thought the import was finished. I formatted my memory card, which deletes everything on the memory card, (without checking on the import) and lost all of the Tallulah Falls hiking pictures. Boy, I won't do that again! Live and learn!

 

 

We decided to do this road trip specifically to see Civil War battlefields, memorials, statues, museums, etc.. because we do not know how long they will be here. I am not taking a stance on whether they should stay or go. They are pieces of history. I believe we should always look back, reflect, and move in a direction towards being better as a people, as a nation. As an individual on this planet, I believe we should be in a constant state of metamorphosis. Look back, reflect, strive to be better.

 

 

 

 

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