Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Here, amid century old forest trees, serenely remote from the noise and dust of a work-a-day world, is Beaumont Inn- once the beloved Daughter's College of our mother's and grandmother's day, later Beaumont College. Fashioned in true Colonial style, with spacious halls and broad galleries, it breathes the spirit of peace and of welcome. And there is old country ham and yellow-legged chickens and beaten biscuits served in a way that suggests another and perhaps a better day. Come and let us bid you welcome. Rooms with or without bath."
This postcard, canceled in 1949 and carrying a 1 cent stamp was sent from a son to his mother in Kansas. He says that it is supposed to be one of the 10 best places to eat in the US.
This postcard left Kentucky for Kansas in 1949 and returned in 2010.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
I don't have a ton to say about Heritage USA in all. I should admit that I think it is fascinating. There is a lot of odd history tied to the place.
I knew we would be driving through the area late one night, but I still put the address on our travel map. I would hate to be close and not drive by.
Growing up in a very religious area, Jim and Tammy Bakker were household names. Everyone knew about them, and many families watched their show. I remember it being on our TV very early in the morning before I would get ready and catch the school bus. In our area, PTL was a respected program.
It was a bit mainstream too. I remember celebrities being on the show. I recall Tammy doing an interview with Mr. T.
You can find the history of Heritage USA all over the net. You can also find all sorts of recent photos of what was once known as Heritage USA all over the place. Here are mine.
We stopped by here well after dark one evening, and even though I had looked at some of the photos online, I was not sure of what to expect.
The main hotel was purchased by a group called Morning Star Ministries in 2004. They have tried to market it as a Christian type event center starting around 2007 and an assisted living facility. Here are their links:
It seems that the buildings current status is in limbo.
We stopped by and took a couple of photos. We were quickly approached by a very stealthy security guard who frankly scared me at first. She was a little suspicious of us taking photos at this time of night. I explained to her that I grew up watching Jim and Tammy, and I just wanted to stop by and get some pictures. We ended up chatting a bit with the very pleasant security guard, her name was Becky. She told us where the Upper Room was still located, and she encouraged us to come back during the day, as much of the place is easier to see. I think the security there spends a lot of time chasing kids away, especially in the later evening and night. Becky ended up being very nice, and I am glad we met her.
We did go by the Upper Room. There is a for sale sign in front of it. There is a group trying to preserve it. Check out their site:
This is one of those things that I have a little trouble wrapping my head around. I remember Jim Bakker's vision of Heritage USA being a sort of Christian Disneyland. A lot of people contributed a lot of work, time, effort and hope into seeing this place become a reality. You can look at it as a fantasy place that almost materialized, or as a lie that was doomed for failure from the beginning. Either way, a lot of people tried to make it work, and I think it is amazing that over 20 years after it formally closed up, there are still hopeful people trying to revive it.
In the Kentucky area, we went to the Fort Harrod settlers reenactment event last weekend. There wasn't a big crowd, I am sure because of the weather, but this was a really fun event, in a great little town. They are having an art/music/book event this weekend.
Again, check out my friend Jeremy's Frankfort site. I love the way it is set up and organized. I might try to reorganize this site a bit like his. I also might just start some separate blogs for Owensboro, Berea, Lexington, and maybe a few other towns in an effort to document old photos and histories of those great areas. I am at the very least going to start tagging my entries on this site.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
In 1958 the US Air Force accidentally dropped a bomb here. Seriously, I did not make that up!
It is a little hard to find, but you can still see the area if you walk through a short trail in the woods.
A near by museum also has some fragments of the bomb.
One guy lost his home, but no one was killed.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Growing up in small town Kentucky, a place like St. Louis, in my mind, was about as foreign as any place not in our solar system. I had no concept of a place like it.
I went there twice at different times growing up. I went there once with a friend's family to watch 4th of July fireworks. It was exciting to see them with the Arch in the background.
Another time I went with some friends to a concert.
Other than seeing the Arch the first time, I don't remember a lot of site seeing. In fact, especially when I went up with my high school friends for the concert, I remember feeling a bit intimidated by the place. I had nothing in my mind that I could compare it to.
Years (OK, decades) and more experiences later, the city doesn't seem so tough.
It is still big and there is a lot going on, but it felt pleasant to me this time.
We didn't have a lot of time, and we had a couple of very specific things we wanted to do. We were downtown next to the Arch the entire time. We parked at our hotel, walked to the Arch and walked to Busch Stadium.
See the photo of the Arch that looks boxed in? I took that one out of my hotel room window!We left our blinds open all night with that view. There is another photo with the Arch and the road next to it. That one was also taken out of my window. I stayed up one night just admiring the view. The stadium was also in view, to the left.
We went to the Arch and took the ride to the top! It is $10 a person to ride one of the egg shaped pods to the top and back down. It is something that must be done in a lifetime. The visitor center is under the Arch. They do have airport like security when you go in but it was quick. It was not that big of an issue.
The visitor center is busy and full. They have a couple of gift shops that were very nice. I got my National Park stamps and postcards at one. The other gift shop was pretty much a candy shop. I did find a cute replica Frozen Charlotte doll there. I also found some cool modern linen postcards here too.
The grounds under the Arch are maintained perfectly. We walked over the morning before we left to get some more pictures, and there were only a few other people walking around casually. It was relaxing.
We walked from the Arch area to the Stadium for a game. We had lunch at Joe Bucks which was great. The area has a lively but not rough game day atmosphere.
There was a great band playing at a bar (I did not catch the band's name but they sounded better than most bar bands. They were in tune!).
Monday, June 21, 2010
I think, when you travel, you try to match an area in your mind with somewhere else you have been before.
We simply could not do it with Savannah.
The water, the bridge and the fog reminded us of San Francisco. Savannah is more manageable though.
It does have a bit of a mysterious feel, comparable to Salem. That comparison really doesn't work either. The town is bigger, and the history is more established. It feels more current.
Savannah is unique. I cannot think of another place that is similar.
We only had a couple of days in the area, and we wanted to make the most of it. There were a ton of things we wanted to do and see. A co-worker friend used to live here and made many suggestions.
The main suggestion was to eat a lot of local food. No problem. To be honest though, I am not one to travel for food. I know a lot of people who put dining at the top of their list for reasons to travel.
I look at eating on vacation as a pleasant necessity. I would rather spend half an hour eating at a local sandwich shop and 2 hours site seeing than 2 and a half hours at a notable restaurant. My time on vacation is more valuable to me than that.
Still, we made time to hit a couple of nice places.
At the suggestion of some locals, we spent $11 each at Windows, the restaurant at the downtown Hyatt. For 11 bucks, you can have their buffet. This included an amazing sweet tea.
For the record, ALL sweet tea in Savannah is amazing. I think there must me a law in Savannah that restaurants must have perfect, fresh sweet tea. I would go back here for the sweet tea alone.
Windows was a nice place all around. I had some great crab soup, chicken, and salad. PLUS, they have an entire wall that is a window looking out. The bridge photo posted was taken from my seat inside of Windows.
The other great restaurant we ate at (again, a nice affordable buffet with sweet tea!) was the Pirate House. The meal was great. Oddly, they had some BBQ on the buffet that rivals any. They had some greens and pie that was perfect too, but they did their BBQ right.
Savannah Jim (one of our trolley drivers) told us that there were two pits in the Pirate House that pirates used for kidnapping! Savannah Jim was right, there were two pits inside! There is a pirate at the Pirate House that gives tours of the place too! I am glad we went to the Pirate House.
We went by the Mercer house, famous for its associations with Johnny Mercer and also for a murder later that inspired the film and book, "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil."
Johnny Mercer is mentioned everywhere! There is a cool statue, and our trolley drives sang and played "Moon River" more than once. It was actually very pleasant!
We stopped by the small shop that is entirely devoted to "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." I think is is so exciting that an entire store is devoted to a book! One book!
There are many other houses here to check out. The former homes of Flannery O'Connor and Juliette Gordon Low (founder of the girl scouts) are here.
We spent a lot of time on a trolley tour this time around. We spent more time on the trolley this time around for a couple of reasons.
We arrived in Savannah on a very rainy and cloudy day. We planned on doing a haunted/ghost type tour that evening. We changed our mind at the last minute, because of the weather.
The concierge at the Hyatt recommended a trolley ghost tour. Not only that, but he helped us get a great deal on a historic trolley tour the next day!
I think this was our 1st ghost trolley tour ever. We usually do the lantern thing. I do prefer walking on the side walks and taking late tours like this on foot. It feels more authentic and creepy. The trolley felt like a safe bet, considering the weather..
That's a personal preference though. The trolley tour was still very fun. This tour was a bit more theatrical than tours we have taken in other towns, which was an enjoyable change. Our tour guide was witty and comically creepy (she was almost a female version of the Crypt Keeper). There was a stop on the tour when we went into a small pirate themed theater for a short presentation from a period dressed actor. This was effective and fun.
The next day, we took the historic trolley tour around town. This was well worth the ticket price. There were 15 trolley stops and pick up areas around town. The drivers talked non stop about the sites and places of interest. It was very informative. Plus, with the on/off privileges thing going on, you could hear about the sites and get off for a closer look. We took the tour around once, and then took it around again getting on and off several times. Savannah Jim was one of the many drivers we really liked. If you are going to Savannah, check out the orange and green trolley tour guys.
The river front shopping area is a lot of fun here in town. In addition to finding a bunch of t-shirt and postcard type shops, there are some amazing candy shops around. They all were very attractive with fun to watch furnishings (one candy shop had a conveyor belt transporting pieces of candy to a display from the back of the shop to the front). Most were giving away samples as you walked in.
This is a great town for statues and monuments too. In addition to historic cemeteries, there are some nice war monuments, and some great statues. Check out my photo of the Johnny Mercer statue and my photo of the torch monument from the Olympics.
All of the locals and our tour guides gave a lot of praise to local Paula Deen and the Savannah College of Art and Design. It seems the College has restored a lot of historic buildings and really made some places look better than they did previously. I heard nothing but praise for those guys. I think Paula Deen is just popular everywhere. I love her.
The town feels very historic, but also very happening. There is the history and the past. There is also the now. You feel the history here, but you also feel like more is going to come out of the area. There are names of legends from the past who have lived here- and you also hear the names of legends in the making.
And, as the area moves forward, there is a deep respect for the past. I think that is what I enjoyed most about the place. Walking down the streets you see well preserved homes and park areas left and right- all well maintained. This is a very attractive town.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Muffler Men, in my books, are one of the coolest and most underrated attractions around. I love them. I think they are stunning.
Check out the map of known muffler men and the history of them at one of my favorite sites: roadsideamerica.com
You don't see many of them these days. In fact, they were really pretty rare to begin with. On our recent trip through North Carolina, we missed an exit near Asheville and found this one a bit by accident.
I took a photo of him up close at night and I saw him again the next day near the road. They really get your attention!
Friday, June 18, 2010
I was reading a book recently about settlers in the 1850s travelling West. They were covering about 10 miles a day on a good day.
It is nothing for me to get in my car on any given day and just drive. 120 miles is an easy day trip. I can drive several hundred miles and go somewhere on a weekend trip. Give me a week, and I can cover half of the US in my car.
We just got back from seeing St. Louis and Kansas City within 5 days, leaving from Cincinnati. We probably put 1,500 miles on the car and made the trip to St. Louis, then to Kansas City, and back home very casually. The drive was easy. We stayed in comfortable hotels and we had no worries of weather. We had cell phones if needed for an emergency.
I thought about the same trip, if made 150 years ago. The same travelling may have taken 6 months or more.
Plus, with the Internet, it is so easy to google, or look at wikipedia for quick information about a tourist destination.
It is funny, I remember when mapquest became so popular. You could type an address in and instantly, you could print out a map and specific directions! Life became even easier!
Now, with a GPS, it is even simpler.
I still consult with mapquest to get a rough idea of where a new business in my area is located. On longer trips, I might check googlemaps for an idea of what the landscape might look like for a destination.
It is hard for me to think of a way to make travel any more simple. Life, and travelling, is good!
Thursday, June 17, 2010
I had read about it at the Roadside America site and at other places. I still was not sure of what to expect. I didn't know if I should expect a crowd or not. I also did know what exactly South of the Border was.
I read a couple of descriptions that made me think that it was a theme park type of place.
It was actually very calm and uncrowded when we stopped by recently. In fact, I was wondering how the place stays in business if so few people stop by.
I asked one worker there about the crowds. She assured me that my time there (early on a weekday) was not normal, and that there are some summer days that the place gets very crowded.
I would almost describe South of the Border as small themed town. There are several gift shops and restaurants with a South of the Border theme. It is not one big building, or a gated theme park.
I talked to one lady who gave me a bit of a history lesson on the place, and she seemed to take pride in working there. I could have talked to her for hours!
I went inside of one gift shop (the main one connected to the big sign) and found some deals. Most of the stuff they sell is novelty items. They had plenty of items with the destinations name on them. They had cheap fun toys too. I love a place that has cheap postcards too, and S.O.B. has postcards 12 for $1!
Another bargain is their sombrero tower, which is similar to a space needle type attraction. It is a buck to go up on it!! A dollar! You get a fun view from the entire area at the top too! I don't know how they make a profit!
There are a ton of funny billboards on the interstate on the way there too.
If you are travelling through the Carolinas, I would really try to stop here because it is so much fun AND things are cheap!
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I was very saddened today to hear that, last night, lightning struck the famous Jesus statue in Cincinnati and he was destroyed.
AKA Touchdown Jesus and Butter Jesus, this young piece of art has made a name for himself (he has even been immortalized in a song by Heywood Banks!).
I think even those who are not religious had to stop and admire the big statue. He was really something. He was a great monument for the area, and brought it some attention.
I really feel for my friends at the Solid Rock Church today.
I know that in one of the church areas at Berea, a painting of Jesus was vandalized. The painting was restored and was put back on display.
I am not trying to be prophetic here, but..... I don't think this is the last we have seen this Jesus either.
Cleveland is in a neighboring state, but it is on the very other end of that state. I am personally very familiar with it. I found this stunning postcard recently, and thought it was worthy of mention here.
"Cleveland's Public Square, 4.4 acres in the heart of the business section. It was laid out in the original plan of the city conceived by its founder, General Moses Cleveland in 1796. This view shows the new Union Terminal Group on the southwest corner. The Soldiers and Sailors Monument, a Civil War memorial, occupies the center of the south-east section."
Monday, June 14, 2010
"While visiting here, Stephen Collins Foster, author of many popular negro melodies, wrote "My Old Kentucky Home." The house was the former home of Judge Rowan. It is now a state shrine."
A "grandma" sent this to a granddaughter in Independence, MO. on May 11th, 1939! I brought it back to Kentucky in June of 2010.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
The replica of Old Fort Harrod in Harrodsburg is becoming one of my favorite historic hang outs. Here are some great old post cards I found of the location lately.
The back of the top one pictured (Mansion Museum) reads:
Property acquired in 1830.. house erected by Major James Taylor, whose grandfather, Samuel Taylor, was one of the first town trustees of Harrodsburg, also a member of the convention that formed the first constitution of Kentucky in 1792. Direct descendants of Major Taylor have owned and occupied this home until June 16, 1925, when the Kentucky Pioneer Memorial Association acquired it as a historic shrine.
The next card showing the entire fort, says:
The desire to preserve tangible symbols of life which made their freedom possible has brought about a reproduction of the log stockade "Fort Harrod", which was built from an original drawing by Sen. W. W. Stephenson. It was founded by James Harrod and a company of Virginians in 1774 and is located at Harrodsburg.
The bottom postcard has this description:
At Harrodsburg, KY., an authentic replica of Old Fort Harrod does honor to the pioneers who settled there in 1774. Within the enclosure are replicas of the settlers' log cabins, the first school house in Kentucky and a spring.