Our plan is to follow the Georgia coastline until we enter Florida. This is our first time in Georgia with the RV so I thought I would start off with a few interesting facts about Georgia.
- Georgia was founded in 1732 by British Member of Parliament James Oglethorpe as a felon colony. Oglethorpe wanted to give prisoners who couldn’t pay their debts a second chance in a new place.
- It was the 4th state to join the Union in 1788. However, it was also one of the 7 original Confederate states and after the civil war it was the last state to be restored to the Union in 1870.
- Atlanta is known as the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement and also has Martin Luther King Jr.’s home.
- Atlanta is also where I spent 12 weeks of training in 1982-83 with IBM to become a Systems Engineer.
- It is the 24th largest state but it is the 8th most populous with approximately 10.5 million people (60% in Atlanta).
- Georgia is known as the Peach State, but it’s also the country’s top producer of pecans, peanut, and vidalia onions. The state’s onions are considered some of the sweetest in the world.
- In Georgia funeral directors can lose their licenses if they use obscene language in the company of a corpse.
Once we crossed the state boundary, we stopped at the visitor centre to gather information on Savannah and the coastal areas. The movie Forest Gump was partially filmed in Savannah so we were on the lookout for Forest Gump. We had reserved 2 nights at CreekFire Motor Ranch as they had shuttles going into downtown Savannah. We booked the Old Towne Trolley 90-minute tour of downtown Savannah for the following day so we could learn about the city history and orient ourselves to downtown.
We were glad we were on the shuttle as there was lots of morning traffic and we got to sit back and relax. Even though it was a hop-on-hop-off trolley we decided to stay on because the driver was very knowledgeable. We then picked the stops we’d go back to later in the day. Savanah was a planned city that is known for it’s beautiful squares throughout the historic area. Each square is a mini park and seemed to be dedicated to someone, many of them being revolutionary war heroes. With all these squares the trolley took many twists and turns along the route. Some interesting facts from the tour:
- In her will Mary Telfair donated money to create a women’s hospital which opened in 1886. She even named the first president (a women of course). No men were allowed to work in the hospital, the only males allowed were ones born there 😊.
- Mary also donated a building for a museum but stipulated no alcohol was allowed. However, in this day to raise money you need to host events, so an addition was built, the only place you can drink is in the addition.
- Forest Gump’s famous “Box of Chocolate” scene was filmed in Madison Square.
- The fountain in Forsyth Park was ordered out of a catalogue in 1858 and put together in the park.
- The trolley stopped at 15 different locations including going along the cobble stone roads to the Savannah river front. This area used to be active for the cotton trade but now is lined with restaurants.
After the tour we headed over to the Market area where we had dessert before the lunch main course. We went into the Savannah Candy Store and had praline samples but weren’t tempted by the wall of candy. We then went to Bryd’s Cookies, a Savannah tradition since 1924 to have several samples at their cookie bar. Several sweet and savory purchases were made here. A quick lunch stop where Sharon tried the traditional Shrimp, Grits and Collard Greens. She’ll go for the shrimp and greens again but that might be the end of the grits tasting.
We had purchased a combo ticket with the trolley tour that included entrance to the Prohibition Museum. We’d recommend this museum as it had lots of great information and “intoxicating exhibits”. It made us think of the Tunnels in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan where we first saw some prohibition history. Prohibition in the US banned the production, importation, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages for 13 years, starting in 1920. Here are some fun facts:
- The movement started out with women, children and reverends advertising the evils of alcohol.
- Women protested outside saloons since they weren’t allowed in them at that time.
- The Temperance Movement lead by women was a key element in getting people to vote the country dry.
- A woman named Carry Nation really hated alcohol and would take an ax into bars and destroy them but she never hurt anyone.
- Knowing the vote was coming, people started stalking up on their alcohol. There was a club in Savannah that had enough supply to last them the entire 13-year prohibition period! It wasn’t illegal to drink alcohol you just couldn’t make, buy or transport it.
- Suddenly many people needed their medicine (alcohol) so Doctors were writing a lot of prescriptions. So many that the Walgreen Drug store chain grew from 20 stores to 525 stores due to all the profits from filling alcohol prescriptions.
- Once the law was passed many people that had depended on the liquor industry started to lose their jobs. Now the black market and smuggling began to flourish. There was money to be made so organized crime began to take over with the famous names like Al Capone and Bugs Moran being involved.
- Speakeasies started popping up, prohibition just moved the consumption of alcohol underground.
- Moonshiners started souping up cars to transport their illegal alcohol and this in turn led to the start of Nascar racing.
In 1933 there was a vote that ended prohibition!! As we moved into the roaring twenties, we did take a moment to step out of the museum and with our secret password entered the Speakeasy for a little refreshment before continuing with our day. Sharon had a Brandy Alexander Float and I had a Twelve Mile Limit. We really enjoyed learning all of the history around prohibition days.
We heard about how good Leopold’s Ice Cream was, so we had to check it out. Founded in 1919, now run by family members of Stratton Leopold (2nd generation) who went off to Hollywood to be a movie producer. It was REALLY good ice cream!!! Definitely worth the stop and I’m sure we walked off all the calories during the day. We had to watch our timing as we needed to be back at the shuttle stop by 4 pm to catch our ride back to the RV park. We finished our afternoon visiting the Colonial Park Cemetery, the Cathedral of St. John, the Forsyth Park fountain, the Girl Scouts of America first headquarters, and lastly Madison Square where Forest Gump was filmed. We could easily have spent another whole day exploring the downtown area, but we could only get a campsite at the RV park for 2 nights. This is part of the challenge of travelling around Christmas time. We left lots to see the next time we come through this area😉
The next day we packed up, got groceries and headed to Skidaway Island State Park for a six day stay, our longest so far. We will be here over Christmas, leaving on boxing day. We bought a Georgia State Park Pass, a great deal since you get 3 free nights of camping and 20% off all future nights. The free nights of camping paid for the pass. We set up and then walked around the park checking out the outdoor exercise equipment. The next day we took advantage of the weather and got out on our bikes to ride the Big Ferry Trail, the Earthworks Trail and around the campground for an 8 km loop. Good thing as the day after the rain came in heavy, so we were inside the RV for two straight days! At least we got a bit ahead on our blog. Hard to believe but this state park has cable TV!! This came in handy during our rainy days.
After 66 hours of rain it finally finished, and we got nice mid 60 temperatures. We wanted to do the Sandpiper and Avian Nature trails. The first day we went the whole trail was underwater, the second day we were able to do the Sandpiper trail (after getting soakers) but there was no way we could do the Avian trail, we would have needed rubber boots! The ground is simply not that used to so much rainfall in a short time period so it takes several days before the water can soak in. On Christmas eve we had shrimp and salmon for dinner. On Christmas day we had Prosecco and pancakes for breakfast and then had BBQ’ed Rock Hens for dinner. It was a very nice day talking with family and enjoying the sunshine. It’s boxing day now and we’re moving on to Fort McAllister SP. Over the next week we’re booked into 3 different campgrounds but in each one we have to move camp sites mid way through due to how busy things are at this time of year, many locals go camping for New Years week. The last shot shows the Samuel Adams Winter Classics Variety Pack and my favourites were the Chocolate Bock (which even Sharon liked) and the Holiday Porter.