Gatlinburg TN

Gatlinburg TN
I've been on a HUGE Gatlinburg area kick lately..... Here is a recent picture!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Midnight in the Garden Of Good and Evil by John Berendt

Before visiting Savannah for the 3rd time, I knew that I had to FINALLY get around to reading John Berendt's "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil."  Its one of those classics that I have wanted to read anyway, but planning a trip to Savannah gave me an excuse.

Before our 1st trip to the interesting town, I am sure I thought about reading this one...  but we opted to watch the movie instead.  I think that was a mistake, because the movie just wasn't memorable.  Even as I read the book recently, I only had a couple of "I remember that from the movie" moments.

AND, I hate to use overused sayings, but this is another clear case of the book being a lot better than the movie.  The book is so well written, and the characters are simply so weird....  You really become interested in seeing what happens next.

The book is centered around a murder that occurs in a very famous old house in Savannah.  The house owner ends up being tried for the crime four times before the book is over.  A parade of well described oddballs flows through the pages. 

Probably the most well known character in this book (and movie) is the late Lady Chablis.  She definitely stands out.  In the story, the author interacts with her almost as a side story (she really has nothing to do with the main plot involving the murder and the court cases).  She ends up being the star of the book.  There is a great scene towards the end where she really makes a point at a debutant ball.

Anyway, this is a great book, and I am glad that I finally got around to reading it before our latest Savannah trip.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Moon River Brewing Company- Savannah Georgia

We both really liked Moon River Brewing Company when we were in Savannah a few years ago, and we wanted to make sure we made it back there on this trip!

Plus, Moon River was a short, pleasant walk from our hotel.

I had a GREAT brie and turkey sandwich, and my wife loved her salad.

We had a really sweet, fun waitress.  I mentioned to her that I remembered seeing the Ghost Hunters episode some time ago where Moon River was investigated.  Well, our waitress offered to take us into the basement, where they had some of their best findings!  We thought that was pretty cool!

Our waitress said that she has had "experiences" there.  She said she felt some one push her up the stairs one day!




Friday, September 28, 2018

Old Fort Jackson- Savannah Georgia

We stopped by Old Fort Jackson on our way to Savannah from Tybee Island, making this our second Fort visited in one day.

This is another great Fort which has been around for over 200 years. 

During the Civil War, it served as the Headquarters for the Savannah River defenses.  When Sherman came to town, the Confederates left, allowing Fort Jackson to be controlled by the Union.

I think most people see Fort Pulaski, but skip this one, which is unfortunate.  This one is also spectacular.  Sadly, on the day we were there, I did not notice many other visitors.


Thursday, September 27, 2018

Fort Pulaski National Monument- Cockspur Island Georgia

We were on a bit of a time limit while we were on Tybee Island, but I did want to visit Fort Pulaski, which is technically between Savannah and Tybee Island, while we were in the area.

We were still able to cover a lot of ground while we were here, and I felt like we did explore the entire place (I can check it off of my bucket list).

This is a beautiful, and well preserved fort with a ton of Civil War history to it.

Early in the conflict, the Confederates felt that Tybee Island was too remote of a place for the Union to care about, so they abandoned the fort.  Since there were no Confederates there, the Union was able to establish a presence across the Savannah River.

The Confederates did try to defend it, briefly, when the Union attacked after asking for surrender.  The fight was brief, and ultimately, the Union took over the fort pretty easily.  With the fort under Union control, shipping to Savannah was blocked.  Toward the end of the war (and shortly after), the fort was utilized as a prison.




Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Crab Shack, Tybee Island, Georgia

When I read that the Crab Shack on Tybee Island had live gators that YOU COULD FEED, it became a "must stop" on our road trip.

We actually had some old friends that ended up meeting us here.  Luckily, they had a couple of young daughters who were super excited about feeding gators!

The gators are small, and they are in a nice fenced in area with a pond.  They seemed calm and cool in general, but once tourist started feeding them, they did perk up!


You could buy food pellets at the gift shop or from a server.  They were 4 for $3.  Around the gator area, there are fishing pole like sticks, with a small clip at the end of the rope instead of a hook.  You put your pellet on the end of the rope in the clip, then you cast your line out gently!

Like I said, the gators have been through this before.  They know when the food is coming over, and they start to get excited.  After a big chomp, they get their pellet!  I really enjoyed watching the gators getting their food.


Before we enjoyed feeding gators, we enjoyed some great food here ourselves.  I know places with a gimmick can sometimes have less than average food.  NOT HERE.  We had GREAT meals.

We all really enjoyed what we had.  I was actually looking forward to some shrimp, but the Crab Shack had some interesting looking lunch deals.  For $9 I had some amazing Brunswick stew and a very nice BBQ pork sandwich.  This was a great value, and it was quality food.  We were very impressed.

The Crab Shack is a "MUST SEE" attraction on Tybee Island.









Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Tybee Island Light Station and Museum Tybee Island Georgia




We spent a day on Tybee Island and visited the very famous Tybee Island Light House!

We got there VERY early on a hot day, but we still wanted to make the stair climb to the top.  We were told that there were around 178 steps, and, on this day, it seemed like twice that.

We bought our tickets and made our way up.  There is a landing/place to rest every 25 steps or so, so its actually not that bad.  Also, it did seem to get cooler as we went up.

The steps are a bit skinny though...  at least they seem skinny as people are walking both up and down on them.  On our way back down, we did have to stand towards the center of the stairs to allow groups with small kids to walk up and continue using the hand rail.  This might be a tough situation for people with claustrophobia issues on a crowded day.

There was a great view of the area once at the top.  There were some interesting views through the windows on the way up too.  Of course, once we were at the top, there is that scary feeling as you realize how far up you are.





Monday, September 24, 2018

Tybean Art and Coffee Bar, Tybee Island Georgia

Tybean Art and Coffee Bar on Tybee Island was open at 8 while we were in the area, and we were so glad about that!  We like to get a good, early start, and, since we got to town early...  we were just glad that they were doing their thing!

The inside of their shop is small...  there was a line of maybe 5 people when we went in, which seemed much bigger than it was.  The line moved fast though.

This coffee shop has a very cool octopus logo, and they have made the most of their branding.  I couldn't resist a small logo sticker and a coffee mug.  Coffee mugs have become my thing to pick up at cool coffee shops and B&Bs lately (my wife hates this and insists that there is no more room for them at our house).

There was a very nice area outside for coffee drinking.  Though it was a hot day, there was plenty of shade thanks to some trees here.




Sunday, September 23, 2018

Tybee Island Georgia

After driving down through Greenville and Charleston South Carolina, we made our way to Tybee Island Georgia!  This was our first trip to Tybee Island, though it is pretty close to Savannah (you could think of it as Savannah's bonus round).  Anyway, if we would have known how great this island was, I am sure we would have visited before.

We stopped by the Tybee Island Visitor Center first, and this has to be one of the friendliest visitor centers anywhere!  I didn't catch her name, but there was a very sweet lady who obviously loves living on the island, and she told us all about the place.  AND, the visitor center has FREE postcards!  I thank that is a HUGE bonus!  They also had several racks of brochures about things to do on the island AND in Savannah.  This was a really nice stop for us when we first got to the island.

We drove around some, ate at a great restaurant, and visited several of the main attractions in town.  More on all of that later, but I am really glad that we were able to spend some time on Tybee Island.


Saturday, September 22, 2018

Magnolia Cemetery in North Charleston, South Carolina


We drove through the amazingly ornate Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston South Carolina to visit the final resting place of the Hunley Crew.

Here are just a few photos we took.




Friday, September 21, 2018

HL Hunley in North Charleston South Carolina

Visiting the H.L. Hunley has been VERY high on my list of things to do for some time!

Much has been written about the HL Hunley.  The crew, the sub's accomplishment, and its being lost and found are the subject of MANY books.

Everything about this submarine is fascinating, and you really should look it up in detail, but, I will tell you some of the basics.

The HL Hunley was the first submarine to sink a ship in war.  The Confederate HL Hunley sank the USS Housatonic, which went down in 5 minutes.  The Hunley would not be seen again until over a century later.

AND, THREE crews suffered fatalities on the Hunley- the 2nd and third (the final crew in the lost sub) crews losing all 8 crew members.

After the Hunley was lost, it wouldn't be seen again until 1995, and it would take another 5 years to get her out of the water.  Even then, very special equipment would be needed for that purpose.

Even finding her involves some controversy.  One shipwreck hunter, E. Lee Spence claimed to find it in 1970.  Author Clive Cussler claimed to have discovered it in 1995.  Debates and lawsuits would follow.

Now, it is at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in North Charleston, South Carolina. It is in a tank, and from my understanding, it is pretty much soaking in a solution during the weekends.  On the weekdays, they are working on it directly, trying to restore and preserve it.

So, it is only available for visitors to see on the weekends.  You can't just stop by and see it whenever.  They actually have tour groups coming in, at timed breaks,  to see and hear about it on Saturdays and Sundays.

We did a tour as we were in the area, and it was very cool getting to see it, even in a tank.  And, if it is ever fixed up and ready to display in a museum, we can say that we saw it while they were still working on it!

There is a great museum here too, where various displays about the Hunley are set up.  There is a model that was used for a movie.  You can get in and see how tight the sub was for its crew.  It is interesting to note that the replica is actually 10 percent bigger than the actual sub.....








Thursday, September 20, 2018

Bessinger's Barbeque in Charleston South Carolina

A few years ago, we were able to stop by Melvin's Barbeque in South Carolina.  There are SEVERAL barbeque places in South Carolina that are linked to the Bessinger family.  Different siblings have started their own BBQ places.

Anyway, on this trip we were able to swing by Bessinger's Barbeque in Charleston.

I love places like this.  Great BBQ, and they just give ya a lot of tasty food.

Everything was great, and there was a LOT of it.  I came close to finishing mine, but I couldn't get it all.