Custer State Park in South Dakota

Custer State Park in South Dakota
We saw a LOT of these guys at Custer State Park in South Dakota!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Christmas Tree near Elizabethtown

The Christmas Tree near the side of the road in the E-Town area is decorated again!  I mentioned it first in 2011 here

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Kennesaw House in Marietta, GA

In addition to seeing the General while we were near Atlanta, I wanted to see the Kennesaw House!

The plotting of the "Great Locomotive Chase" went down in this building, as James Andrews and his Union pals planned things out.  A couple of years later, Sherman used the House as his headquarters, as he was burning up just about anything he could set fire to.  In fact, he ordered the Kennesaw House burned.  Luckily, only the roof and a balcony were lost.  As you might imagine, Sherman is not popular in this area.

Now, the building houses the Marietta Museum of History.  Not only is the building majorly historic, but it houses an infinite amount of treasures.  The museum seems to go on and on with displays relating to businesses that have thrived in the community.  There are also very old household items and clothes.  There is an incredible military display, including weapons and uniforms from the Civil War, on up through our most recent conflicts.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park in Eva, Tennessee

After visiting the state park dedicated to the Battle of Johnsonville, we made our way to the Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park.

We split our visit to these two parks over one day.  It is nice that they are so close together, and really work together in many ways- so seeing them both in one trip is possible, but I am already hoping to devote more time to each at a later date.

Just like in Johnsonville, we encountered some great staff and rangers here.  The stereotype of Tennesseans being exceptionally friendly is true.
We talked to a very informative ranger at the visitor center.  He wanted to make sure we knew how to get to the museum, which is a short (but steep!) drive about a mile away.

The visitor center itself was packed with local arrow heads, turtle shells, and other great relics.  It is a nice museum in its own right!

We went to the site museum next.  You have to drive almost straight up to get there!  There is a sign out front declaring that it is at the highest point in West Tennessee. 

Just outside of the actual museum center is a beautiful and relaxing look out area, where you can see across the river.  There is a tree stump with a checker board painted on top.  There is some bragging rights!  How many people can say that they played checkers, on a tree stump, at the highest point in West Tennessee?

Inside of the museum, we talked to the very kind lady running the place.  She said that she was actually related to Forrest, and was very proud of the park and museum.  She showed us around and talked about what the site had to offer.

One thing that I really admired about this museum was the very cozy theater.  Popcorn and other snacks were available.  AND, pretty much anyone at anytime can come in and request to watch any of a number of movies available about the Civil War.  This is such an amazing resource.  I thought that, if I lived in the area, I would be here all of the time.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The General- Kennesaw, Georgia

One of the coolest relics of the Civil war, in my opinion, is housed in Kennesaw Georgia.  At the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History you can see "The General."

In April of 1862, James Andrews (a civilian) led a group of Union soldiers to swipe a train from the Kennesaw area, not far from Atlanta.  The plan was to drive it towards Chattanooga, and to do as much damage along the way as possible, in an effort to handicap the Confederates ability to move troops north.

Though they were able to hijack the train, and even to get within 20 miles of Chattanooga, their plan was not a success.  They really had too few participants in the plot, not much time, and the train ran out of gas.

A couple of significant movies have been made about the chase (one staring my favorite actor, Buster Keaton).  It is very hard to imagine a movie about a train chase during the Civil War being made now... unless the trains transformed..... and were sports cars, and not trains.

The main attraction at the museum is easily the General, but there are some great basic displays on the Civil War too, and there is a huge play area for kids.

This area is a bit of a Mecca for Civil War fans.  We had a great time in Kennesaw, Marietta, and at the National Park battlefield.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Johnsonville State Park- New Johnsonville, Tennessee

We took a trip around the Land Between the Lakes area recently, mostly to try to visit some of the spots not associated with LBL that we have missed on other trips.

We realized that two Civil War state parks would be on our path!  Johnsonville State Historic Park would be our first stop!

This is a very unusual site, in that it celebrates the 1864 Battle of Johnsonville.  Well, THAT town was put underwater with the creation of Kentucky Lake in 1944.  New Johnsonville is the site of the State Park.

Luckily, on the day we visited, the museum was doing cannon firing demonstrations!  Actors dressed in Union uniforms were showing how the old cannons were fired, and how a team operated the cannons.  A ranger gave a thorough, yet easy to understand narration of the team and the process.

The reenactors hung around a campsite and talked about the battle, the area, and history.  One of the reenactors told us that cabins reproduced on the state park grounds were built using descriptions from a diary.

There is a very impressive museum/visitor center here too.  A very kind lady was in charge here, and she told us all about what the park had to offer on this day, and in the upcoming weeks.  it seems that they are frequently showing movies here.  A 90 minute film on the Lincoln assassination was being shown while we were there.

This park has a lot more going on, in addition to the many Civil War related features.  We noticed a lot of boats in the area.  There are many trails too.  We were excited to see a vibrant woodpecker while we explored!

Check out my photos, this is an incredible park that I hope to visit again soon!

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Big Chicken in Marietta Georgia

I first learned about the Big Chicken in Marietta Georgia from one of my favorite sites,  This is one of those things that I probably wouldn't go too far out of my way for, but if I am in town, I want to see it!

We were in the area, mostly to visit the Civil War related sites- so we had to check this one out!

I did read about how its eyes and beak move, but it doesn't hit you until you are there looking at it.  There is actually a lot of movement going on with this guy!

And he totally dominates the area.  You see him from a ways off and you instantly grab for your camera.

AND....  Everyone in town mentions him!  We asked for directions a few times.  It seemed that the given directions started off with a, "go down to the chicken....."

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sixteenth Street, Savannah Beach, Georgia

The back of this postcard says-

A view of the business district at 16th St. Savannah Beach is a popular summer recreation and resort area featuring boating, fishing, and other outdoor sports.  It is 18 miles from Savannah, Georgia.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Woodrow Wilson Boyhood Home Augusta GA

We were able to tour the Woodrow Wilson Boyhood Home in Augusta Georgia!

Unlike our experience at the Wilson home in Columbia, there was no huge group going through here.  We had a very pleasant tour, with a great tour guide, and with a small family that seemed truly interested in the 28th Presidents home.

Check out the photos.  Like many historic sites, a nice film is shown to start things off, and then a thorough tour is given.  Our tour guide let me know that they're fine with people taking photos.  I really enjoy taking pictures like this, and I love it when great, historic homes like this don't mind.

I was unable to get my camera to focus on it, but one of the really cool moments on the tour was when our guide pointed to some letters on a window.  They are pretty sure that a young Woodrow Wilson (then going by "Tommy") had started to scratch his name in the glass!

Right next door to the Woodrow Wilson House is the Joseph Rucker Lamar Boyhood Home.  Lamar would serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.  This home is now used as the visitor center for the Woodrow Wilson Boyhood Home.

This is a must see if you are in Augusta!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Battle of Richmond Visitor Center- Richmond, Kentucky

Its funny how you can stumble upon great places in your own back yard!

Well....  I have driven by the Battle of Richmond Visitor Center literally hundreds of times, but finally stopped there the other day!

As you know, I have been on a bit of a Civil War kick for some time now.  I had heard of the visitor center, plugged the address in to my Garman, and went searching.  I felt a little silly when I realized where it was.

This classy visitor center/museum really impressed me.  First off, it is FREE!  Seriously- there is no admission AND they have a ton of freebies!  I had a great time, learning about the Civil War Battle that occurred here, AND I left with a handful of free brochures and magazines!  There is a donation box near the front, but our very kind guide didn't even mention that.  I hope that any visitors do make a small donation, and sign their guestbook.

So....  one of the many cool things about the visitor center here is that it was a part of the battle with a direct connection!  Also, the Mt. Zion Church is a short drive from it.  It was standing at the time of the battle.  Wounded soldiers spent time on the pews inside of the church!

Inside of the visitor center, one can see three very well done films about the Civil War in the area.  One film is shown near a map model of the battle.  Laser lights help show the formations and progress of the fighting.  This is a very unique and fun display.

There are a few nicely done replica outfits and uniforms here, but there are MANY authentic relics from the battle displayed.

One item that really impressed me was a photo of Union General Mahlon Manson.  Our host at the museum told us a great story about how the photo was acquired.  He then let us know that the sword on display is the ACTUAL one in the photo!  If that doesn't give you goose bumps.... 

Another item from 1862 that made my jaw drop was a Confederate belt buckle with a bullet in it!

Part of one room was filled with arrow heads and other Native American relics found nearby.  The arrow heads, and most of the Civil War items were found locally.

This is a really nice museum.  As I mentioned, there are other sites relating to the Battle of Richmond nearby, including a trail.  We were told that there is also a reenactment coming up!

Check this place out!  I know I will be back!