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Georgia 0

Georgia Grandeur

Photo by Tammy Lee Bradley

Headed to one of my favorite places in the south. Follow my adventures for the next few days in Liberty County Georgia. Lots of holiday events and historic places.

@exploreliberty #VISITtheSOUTH #followme to #Georgia @exploregeorgia #setourism #historic #holidays #favoriteplaces #ilovegeorgia

Georgia 0

Georgia – “Best of the World”

Georgia makes list of National Geographic Traveler’s “Best of the World” Destinations for 2017  

Georgia is one of three U.S. locations and the only state featured

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Plein Aire Painter in Blue Ridge, Georgia – photo by Tammy Lee Bradley

 


Press Release:
The Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Tourism division announced today that Georgia has been selected as one ofNational Geographic Traveler magazine’s 21 “Best of the World” destinations for 2017. The highly coveted annual list released today will be featured in the December 2016/January 2017 issue of the magazine, available on newsstands nationwide starting November 29, and online today. The National Geographic Traveler profile puts the spotlight on Georgia’s rich music scene.

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Midway Historic District – Midway, Georgia – Photo by Tammy Lee Bradley


“What an honor it is to be recognized by National Geographic Traveler as one of the world’s best destinations,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson. “This recognition is a testament to the fantastic job our state’s tourism industry does to promote Georgia to visitors around the world.”

The National Geographic Traveler features Georgia in the culture section for our live music and music heritage. In fact, Georgia Tourism proclaimed 2016 the “Year of Georgia Music” and focused its marketing on the state’s rich music heritage, world-class venues and unique festivals. National Geographic Traveler took notice and called Georgia a site for great American music. A few of Georgia’s iconic music destinations noted in the feature include Macon, Dahlonega, Athens and Atlanta.

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St. Simons Lighthouse – Photo by Tammy Lee Bradley

 


“We are thrilled that National Geographic Traveler editors picked Georgia to be featured on this highly-coveted list,” said Kevin Langston, deputy commissioner of tourism at the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “The Year of Georgia Music was a catalyst to bring greater awareness to Georgia as a music destination, and our inclusion in “Best in the World” as a site for great American music will surely attract even more visitors from around the globe.”

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Evening at St. Marys Waterfront – Photo by Tammy Lee Bradley

 

 

According to National Geographic Traveler, the selection process for the sixth annual list was competitive and involved nominations from National Geographic Traveler’s worldwide network of editors, writers, and explorers. The destinations were all chosen by the Traveler editors and fall into one of three categories – Cities, Nature, or Culture. The list includes other notable travel destinations including Finland, Cloud Forests in Ecuador, Moscow and Madrid. With more than 8.5 million readers, National Geographic Traveler has the largest audience of any travel magazine in its category. Its readership is comprised of travelers with the highest passport ownership, most international and domestic trips, and most outdoor recreation spending than competitive magazine audiences.

For the complete list of National Geographic Traveler’s “Best of the World,” click here.

To plan your next Georgia vacation visit www.ExploreGeorgia.org or connect with Georgia Tourism on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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French Casks  at Chateau Elan Resort & Winery in Braselton – photo by Tammy Lee Bradley

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Escape to the Golden Isles

 

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Photos by Tammy Lee Bradley 0f Visit the South

 

Looking for a weekend escape?  Known for pristine beaches, historic sites, fine dining, acclaimed golfing, and mild weather, St. Simons offers something for everyone.

I invite you to come along on a visual tour with me as I explore all that the Golden Isles have to offer.


Beach Accommodations

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Poolside Dining at Echo. A great way for adult time while watching the kids play.

Every great weekend requires a hub for all your activities. St. Simons offers a variety of accommodations including resort hotels, rental homes, beachside bungalows, or even camping. Whether you are on a romantic getaway, family holiday, or business retreat, there is something for every lifestyle and budget.

My choice for the weekend- the Luxurious King & Prince Beach Resort offering oceanfront suites, poolside rooms, guest houses, and island villas.

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Poolside Lounging
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Echo

ECHO, located on property, is the island’s only oceanfront restaurant and bar. Chef James Flack serves  coastal cuisine in a casual atmosphere. They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.

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The Bar at Echo
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Cozy Gathering Spaces
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Welcoming Entrance
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Opulent Suite with sunken living room area
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Nice Details Abound
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Waterfront Rooms with Balconies and Walk-out Porches
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The view from second floor suite
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Local water sports

Barry’s Beach Service is located on the beach in front of the hotel. Rentals include beach chairs/umbrellas, kayaks, sailboats, boogie boards, paddleboards and more.

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Safe places to play
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Friendly Locals
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Golfing – The King & Prince (photo)

The award-winning golf course offers a challenging layout amongst forests, salt marshes, and a vast lake at the 9th hole.


Decadent Dining

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From the local Irish Pubs to world class restaurants, St. Simons has no shortage of dining options.  My stay included meals at Echo, Gnat’s Landing, and the Georgia Sea Grill.

My favorite meals of the weekend included the Georgia Wild Shrimp.  If you haven’t tried this local seafood, you MUST.  There really is a difference. Sweet. Tender. Fresh! Yum.

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Bloody Mary Bar at Echo – The King & Prince Resort
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Breakfast Buffet at Echo – The King & Prince Resort
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A simple breakfast of local honey and homemade biscuits at Echo Buffet
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Caramelized Butternut Squash Soup with Pumpkin Bread Croutons at Echo Pairing Dinner
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Deep Fried Okra at Gnat’s Landing
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Eggs Benedict at Echo – King & Prince Resort
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Japanese Wagyu Filet, Beet Risotto, Confit Romanesco & Sauce Béarnaise at Echo Pairing Dinner
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Specialty drinks at Echo – The King & Prince Resort
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Deep Fried Pickles at Gnat’s Landing
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Roasted Brussel Sprouts at Georgia Sea Grill
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Spinach and Artichoke Dip at Gnat’s Landing
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Ahi Tuna Salad at Echo – King & Prince Resort
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Poached Pear with Asher Blue Panna Cotta Winter Salad and Balsamic Vinaigrette at Echo Pairing Dinner
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Fried Georgia Wild Shrimp Caesar Salad at Gnat’s Landing
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Coconut Chocolate Chip Pie with Salted Carmel at Georgia Sea Grill
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Crispy Calamari with Parmesan-Pecan Dust at Georgia Sea Grill
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Corn – Goat Cheese Ravioli in Basil Brown Butter and Arugula at Georgia Sea Grill
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Corn Battered Fried Georgia Wild Shrimp at Georgia Sea Grill
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Beer Tasting at Echo – The King & Prince Resort
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Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Pecans, Cherries, Arugula, Spinach, and Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette at Georgia Sea Grill
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Classic Caesar Salad at Echo – The King & Prince Resort
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Crab Cakes at Echo – The King & Prince Resort

Exploring by Land

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Grab a bicycle from Ocean Motion Bicycle Rentals and head to the south end of the island. St.Simons’ Pier Village district is a popular destination. The perfect spot for shopping, dining, fishing at the pier, visiting the historic lighthouse, taking the kids to the playground, and more.

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St. Simons Lighthouse and Museum

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Fans of Eugenia Price flock to St. Simons to learn more about their favorite author and to visit the tiny island that inspired her writing.

Price’s fiction includes The Beloved Invader (1965), New Moon Rising (1969), and The Lighthouse (1971), which make up the St. Simons trilogy; Don Juan McQueen (1974), Maria (1977), and Margaret’s Story (1980), the Florida trilogy; Savannah (1983), To See Your Face Again (1985), Before the Darkness Falls (1987), and Stranger in Savannah (1989), the Savannah quartet; Bright Captivity (1991), Where Shadows Go (1993), and Beauty from Ashes (1995), the Georgia trilogy; and The Waiting Time, published in 1997.

Although her early books focused on real people who lived in coastal Georgia during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries—James Gould, Horace Gould, John Couper, Mary Gould, Anna Gould Dodge, and Anson Greene Phelps Dodge Jr.—her later novels featured fictional characters. It is the earlier novels that bring tourists to St. Simons year after year, where they walk among the moss-draped oaks in Christ Church Cemetery, searching for the graves of the islanders brought back to life in Price’s books. – Pearman, Renee. “Eugenia Price (1916-1996).” New Georgia Encyclopedia. 25 November 2013.

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Scott McQuade, President and CEO of the Golden Isles Convention and Visitors Bureau welcomes us to the Golden Isles Visitors Center. Recently completed to provide visitor information, the Visitors Bureau houses a local art gallery, artisan gift shop and photography exhibit.  Around the corner, you can also see one of the island’s Tree Spirits carved by local artisan Keith Jennings.

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Scott explains the Tree Spirits of St. Simons
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Known for its breakfast buffet, Sandcastle Café is popular with tourist and locals alike.

 

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SSI Pride

 

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Every perfect small town has a locally owned bookstore. St. Simons is no exception.

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Learning about Bee Products downtown with Ted Dennard of Savannah Bee Company. An elderly beekeeper, Roy Hightower, sparked young Ted’s journey in the magical world of bees and honey and it’s been 35 years of it ever since. Ted backed into business in 1999 when his friend opened a store in Savannah and began selling his tupelo honey. Ted is  passionate about sharing the world of bees with others and introducing new honeybee products to market. – Savannah Bee Company.

 

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Local honey

 

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Bringing friends along makes every trip more enjoyable.

 

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Pier Market Village

 

 

 

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15 shops in quaint colorful cottages
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Fishing on the pier

 

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Sunday morning church service by the pier with St. Simons Community Church

 

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A quiet place to sit and watch the world go by

 


Historic Sites

 

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Aboard the Lighthouse Trolley Tours

If biking is not your thing or you want to see the outskirts of St. Simons,  Lighthouse Trolley Tours can help. Hop onboard and visit Christ Church where the Methodist Denomination was founded.  They also offer trips to the Avenue of the Oaks, Fort Frederica, Jekyll Island, and Ghost Tours.

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The Christ Church Frederica – St. Simons

Christ Church was built by the congregation of John and Charles Wesley. John and Charles Wesley, both evangelists, accompanied James Oglethorpe to Georgia in order to establish it as an English colony. They were both religious leaders. John is considered one of the greatest evangelists. Charles is famous for writing hundreds of hymns and poems. His most famous hymn is “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” – Christ Church

 

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Interior of Christ Church

The first church structure was built in 1820 but was partially destroyed by Union troops during the Civil War. In 1884, the Reverend Anson Phelps Dodge, Jr., built the present structure in memory of his wife, Ellen.

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Beautiful windows. There is even one by Tiffany
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The Dodge Family Plot

The grounds contain a cemetery with graves of the Dodge Family, early settlers, and many famous Georgians including the author Eugenia Price.

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Still taking care of the Anson Dodge Home Children

After the loss of their only child in infancy, Reverend Dodge and his second wife Anna Gould started an orphanage called the Anson Phelps Dodge Home for boys that remained in operation until 1956.


Sightseeing By Sea

 

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Cap Fendig and his wife Catherine

Takeing to the water is a great way to see St. Simons, Jekyll Island, Brunswick and Bird Island.  Cap Fendig of Cap Fendig Tours, a life long resident of St. Simons and a member of one of the oldest island families, provides various tour options.  Choose from dolphin tours, private sunset cruises, lunch and dinner cruises, fishing tours, wedding boat trips, and more.

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The white pelicans of Bird Island

The rare and beautiful white pelicans of Bird Island.  Created almost 10 years ago to provide refuge for all species of migrating birds, Bird Island is located off the coast of Jekyll Island. It replaces shrinking bird habitats with one protected from raccoons and other prey.

To the surprise of the birding experts, these White Pelicans, which are normally seen in the Great Lakes Region, have found their way to this tiny Georgia island. Each year the population grows and several are staying year round.   Like the tourists, I guess they know they found a welcome home on the Golden Isles.

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A Jaunt To Jekyll Island Club

 

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The Jekyll Island Club Hotel

 

The 240-acre Historic Landmark District of Jekyll Island Club is just a short drive south of St. Simons and a perfect afternoon excursion. A 90-minute guided tram tour includes entry into two cottages and Faith Chapel. For $16, I think it is an amazing value and history lesson. During your visit, you can also opt for a narrated horse-drawn carriage tour for $15 or a private evening tour for two for $40.

Founded in 1886, the Jekyll Island Club was once the private winter retreat of America’s wealthiest families with such members as Morgan, Rockefeller, Pulitzer and Vanderbilt. The club’s focal point for evening meals in the Grand Dining Room, guest accommodations, and social activities. Learn more about this Historic Landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places at http://www.jekyllclub.com/about-us/hotel-history/

The clubhouse is now the Jekyll Island Club Hotel and is the island’s only 5-star resort.

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The Jekyll Island Club Hotel
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Open-air tram
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Faith Chapel

Faith Chapel in the Historic District of the Jekyll Island Club was built in 1904 and added to the National Register in 1971.   Originally named the All Faith Chapel due to the various denominations of the club’s members, it was later shortened to Faith Chapel.

Open to the public as part of the tram tour or as a chapel only pass, it is worth exploring. Make sure to look for the original (and signed) Tiffany Stained Glass Window at the front of the chapel.


 

I hope you enjoyed the journey and thank your for exploring with me.  Make sure to follow along with VISIT the SOUTH on Instagram at @tammyleebradley and @visitthesouthEATS as I explore the beauty of the SOUTH!


All photos by Tammy Lee Bradley of VISIT the SOUTH™. Please do not download.

Disclosure: Complimentary accommodations, meals, and activities were provided by Leigh Cort Publicity and The King & Prince Resort. No other compensation was received for this review. This post reflects the honest opinion of my experience without outside influence.

Camden County 0

Cumberland Island National Seashore

Photo by Tammy Lee Bradley

Visiting St. Marys and Coastal Georgia? The Cumberland Island National Seashore is one of my favorite places to play.

Located just a short ferry ride from the historic waterfront district of St. Marys, it is a great way to spend an afternoon. Take a walk on the quiet beaches, run with the wild horses, explore the ruins of Dungeness, or visit the island’s museum. Guided and motorized tours are also available and the luxurious Greyfield Inn offers on-island accommodations.

For those more adventurous, there is Sea Camp Campground for stays as long as seven days, remote wilderness camping, bike rentals for visiting Plum Orchard Mansion, Stafford Cemetery, and the Settlement, and a total of 50 miles of meandering hiking trails.

It is a national park like no other.

If you are looking for a great place to stay in St. Marys within walking distance to the ferry, shoppes, dining, and historic sites, check out the Rose-Lovell guest house on W. Weed Street. This historic home sleeps ten people and is perfect for large families, girls’ getaways, reunions, and retreats.

For dining, give The Blue Goose Hostel and Cafe on Osborne a try. They have a very nice lunch menu. Anyone that makes a killer salad without onions is my friend.

Have you ever visited Cumberland Island or St. Mary’s? What do you like best?

Me? I like the uncrowded beaches and sound of the seagulls.

 

Georgia 0

The Top 5 Things To Do In Liberty County GA

1. Geechee Kunda Cultural Center – Riceboro

Jim Bacote of the Geechee Kunda Cultural Center just radiates joy and hospitality.

A visit to the Geechee Kunda Cultural Center in Riceboro is a must when visiting Georgia.  I spent hours with Jim Bacote and his sister Bethany and it still wasn’t enough.  It was my favorite stop on my journey through Liberty County.  Their genuine hospitality and desire to share the history of the Gullah/Geechee people was inspiring.

The kunda (which means compound or home of hope) is located on lands where the rice, cotton, and indigo once grew as part of the “Retreat Plantation.” It is now sacred land and a spiritual center for Africans in America.

“The Gullah/Geechee Nation exists from Jacksonville, NC to Jacksonville, FL. It encompasses all of the Sea Islands and thirty to thirty-five miles inland to the St. John’s River. On these islands, people from numerous African ethnic groups linked with indigenous Americans and created the unique Gullah language and traditions from which later came “Geechee.” The Gullah/Geechee people have been considered “a nation within a nation” from the time of chattel enslavement in the United States until they officially became an internationally recognized nation on July 2, 2000. At the time of their declaration as a nation, they confirmed the election of their first “head pun de boddee”-head of state and official spokesperson and queen mother. They elected Queen Quet, Chieftess and Head-of-State for the Gullah/Geechee Nation ).”

Exhibit galleries, local crafts, a gift shop, a family research center, and ongoing documentation are all part of the center’s efforts to keep the Gullah/Geechee culture alive and growing.

If you are fortunate enough to have Jim make you lunch, you are in for a treat. Fried lobster, whiting, sweet Georgia white shrimp, corn on the cob, pasta salad, and spinach salad with fresh strawberries were prepared just for us.  You won’t find a better meal in town.  I promise!

A historic building has been moved onto the property and will soon be restored for use again as a Praise Hall. Call and response praise events, complete with live music, are something I would like to see.

I look forward to returning to see Jim with my own family. They are constantly adding to the center so each trip will be a delight.

Homemade baskets at the Geechee Kunda Cultural Center
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Shrimp and Lobster made by Jim for our lunch
Geechee Kunda Cultural Center
Geechee Kunda Cultural Center
Geechee Kunda Cultural Center
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A sample of rice still grown in the USA by a coastal plantation
Geechee Kunda Cultural Center
Bethany playing a handmade Xylophone
More handmade instruments in the gathering hall
A mural at Geechee Kunda painted by a local artist. Jim is part of the painting (top) and his wife Pat is in the center.
Jim explaining the use of the sugar cane mill
Over 100 years old, this fire pit was used for boiling down the sugar cane and more
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A cornerstone of an old building.  Made with from local shells
Red, a sweet rescue, is the Geechee Kunda welcoming committee.
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Tiny home lovers will swoon over this little round building. I wanted to move in.
The sugar cane mill still operational and in fantastic condition
History and artifacts are sprinkled all over the area
Old pots with the museum building in the background.
An overview of just part of the Geechee Kunda Cultural Center
Look what I found!  Sadly, It didn’t fit in my suitcase as a gift for Chris.

Come explore this wonderful historic location for yourself.  You will be glad you did.

Geechee Kunda,  622 Ways Temple Rd.,  Riceboro, GA  (Located off I-95 Exit 67 on Hwy 17 South between  (Mile Marker 3 and Mile Marker 4). Follow the Historic Liberty Trail signs once you are in Riceboro.


2. Midway Historic District – Midway

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A favorite stop during my stay in Liberty County Georgia, the Midway Historic District was educational as well as enchanting. The museum’s Executive Director Diane Kroell, dressed in period costume, provides visitors with an in-depth tour of the Midway Museum, the Midway Congregational Church, and Cemetery.

I was particularly smitten with the interior of the church. The construction, millwork details, high ceilings, sweeping balcony, and swinging pew doors are exquisite. The balcony was a later addition to allow blacks and whites to worship together. The blacks sat in the free seats in the balcony and the whites in the family owned pews below. As I sat in the balcony, I kept thinking of the pastor in the movie Pollyanna. I could just picture a sermon being delivered from the lofty pulpit as children squirmed and ladies in proper church attire cooled themselves with fans.

Across the street from church is the Midway Congregational Church Cemetery. It is a treasure trove of history. One could spend an entire day wandering through the headstones and wondering about the story each person would tell of life in this colonial period. The graves of James Screven and Daniel Stewart, two American generals of the Revolutionary War, are located in this cemetery. A large granite monument in the center was dedicated in 1915 to them.

Due to the fragile nature and historical value of the items within the museum and separate kitchen building, photography is not allowed inside. I encourage you to visit for yourself. In the museum, you will learn more about Lyman Hall, Button Gwinnett and George Walton, three Georgia men that signed the Declaration of Independence. To help with planning your trip, you can also visit The Midway Museum website.

A bit more information from the National Park Service:

“Once an influential center for political, economic, and religious life, the colonial town of Midway was founded by New England Puritans in 1752. These colonists were strongly in favor of independence from Great Britain, and during the Revolution the church and most of the buildings in the town were burned by the British. The church was rebuilt in 1792. Also remaining to represent the colonial era of Midway are the historic 1756 cemetery and a segment of the historic “Old Sunbury Road” now a portion of Georgia highway 38. A museum modeled after the houses that once stood in Midway is also located in the district.”

The Midway Historic District is at the junction of US Highway 17 and Georgia Highway 38. The museum is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00am – 4:00pm with the last tour beginning at 3pm. Closed Sundays, Mondays and all holidays.

Admission: Adults: $10, Seniors & Military: $8, Students 5-19: $5.

Note: All group tours will need to make an advanced reservation. Please call 912-884-5837.

Special Upcoming Events:

December 10, 2016 – Christmas Tea, 11 – 4 pm* Reservations Required

 

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Executive Director Diane Kroell

 


 

 

3. Dorchester Academy and Museum – Midway

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Dorchester Academy – Midway, Georgia

The Dorchester Academy and Museum in Midway Georgia. This historic site is located at the corner of East Oglethorpe Highway (US Route 84) and Lewis Fraser Road.

The starting point for each tour is the museum located in a small building in front of the dormitory. Inside you will be greeted by a friendly volunteer staff and be given a brief tour. You learn about the history of the buildings, the young men that attended the school, and those that were activists for African-American education and civil rights. My tour guide, Mr. Bacon, commented on how my eyes lit up and how history “just gets in your blood.” It does indeed. Have I mentioned lately how much I love historic coastal Georgia?

Currently undergoing extensive restoration, the main building, a beautiful two-story Georgian Revival dormitory, was built to educate freed slaves after the Civil War.  By 1917, the fully-accredited high school consisted of multiple buildings and almost 300 students. Unfortunately many of the buildings were destroyed by fire in the 1930’s or torn down after the school closed in 1940.

As you walk through the halls and the auditorium, you can get a feel of the building’s past and imagine the lives that were changed by the availability of such a high level of learning. Our tour guide mentioned that the education provided surpassed what was standard at the time and allowed many of the boys to proceed into high level positions without the need of college.

In 1961, the remaining building was converted for use as a civil rights center and Dr. Martin Luther King stayed on site before his march on Birmingham in 1963. A room which bears his name can still be seen as you tour the facility.

The Dorchester Academy, while having one foot in the past and rich in African-American history, has a very bright future. The nearly complete restoration process will enable the building to be used once again by the community. I look forward to a return visit. The history book for this site has many more chapters.

Note: In front of the museum there are paver stones with names of people that have donated to this wonderful Liberty County site. I encourage you to purchase one. You never know who’s life it will change

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Dorchester Academy – Midway, Georgia
Learning more about the Dorchester Academy – Midway, Georgia
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Dorchester Academy – Midway, Georgia
Tribute to Martin Luther King at the Dorchester Academy – Midway, Georgia
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A 1940 Diploma from the Dorchester Academy – Midway, Georgia
Dorchester Academy – Midway, Georgia
The restoration process at Dorchester Academy – Midway, Georgia
Dormitory Room used by Martin Luther King during his stay at the Dorchester Academy
In the Martin Luther King Room at Dorchester Academy
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Restoration Continues at the Dorchester Academy – Midway, Georgia
Work in Progress at the Dorchester Academy – Midway, Georgia
Painting the trim at Dorchester Academy – Midway, Georgia
Dorchester Academy – Midway, Georgia
Dorchester Academy – Midway, Georgia
Dorchester Academy – Midway, Georgia
Dorchester Academy – Midway, Georgia
Dorchester Academy – Midway, Georgia
Dorchester Academy – Midway, Georgia
Dorchester Academy – Midway, Georgia

4. Brewer Christmas Tree Farm – Midway

Brewer Christmas Tree Farm

Brewer’s Christmas Tree and Blueberry Farm – a family owned choose and cut, pick your own farm  located at 1067 Robert Hill Road in Midway, Georgia.

Resplendent with blueberries, oriental persimmons, Muscadine grapes, figs, fresh vegetables, Christmas trees, and southern charm, the Brewer Farm is a wonderful way to spend the day. I enjoyed wandering among the fruit trees and picking fresh blueberries. Mr. Brewer, the farm’s owner, even gave me his wife’s blueberry pie recipe to take home with me.

While quieter during the summer months, this is a busy location come holiday time. Visitors come from all over the area to get their Christmas trees and fresh pine wreaths.

I look forward to visiting again this winter. Next time I want to take a hayride, visit their Christmas Shop, with the goats at their seasonal petting zoo, and capture the joy of the families that come year after year to partake in this 30 year old tradition.

Fresh Blueberries
Mr. Brewer showing us the ripening blueberries
among the trees
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Brewer Christmas Tree Farm
Fresh Fruit
More Blueberries
Mr Brewer is a wealth of information
The farm
Grapes vines
Fresh Pearss
Brewer Christmas Tree Farm
Make sure to come back for the holidays

5. Liberty’s Waterfront – Sunbury

Greetings from the sweet coast town of Sunbury, the original county seat of Liberty County Georgia. A short drive from the new county seat of Hinesville, Savannah to the north, and Saint Simons Island to the south, Sunbury is well worth seeking out.

You will find wonderful views of Sunbury Harbor at the Sunbury Crab Co. This laid back dining establishment has sweet fried shrimp, calamari, and the best coleslaw I have ever had. And lots and lots of  lemonade! I was parched after a day of exploring.  They just kept them coming.

At the local pier and boat ramp, you can also drop a line. It is fully accessible to the handicapped and a good spot for river fishing or just enjoying the views.

Fort Morris, an 18th century earthwork fort and nature site, is also nearby for a bit of local history.  When I return in December, I would like to join them for A Colonial Christmas being held on Saturday, Dec 3, 2016 from 5 PM to 8 PM. The park staff will be offering colonial refreshments, a yule log, bonfire, 18th century music, caroling, dance and firing of the Christmas guns.

The area also offers one family-owned bed and breakfast, Dunham Farms located on a 30 acre estate. The gorgeous tree lined road shown below is on the way to their location. While I did not stay here during this trip, this coastal hideaway has a solid 5 star rating on TripAdvisor and offers many activities to truly enjoy the area.

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http://www.visitthesouth.com – images by Tammy Lee Bradley

Camden County 0

Spencer House Inn

 

Photos by Tammy Lee Bradley

 

The charming Spencer House Inn Bed & Breakfast in St. Marys Georgia. My gracious hosts for the Haunted History Tour and Halloween Express last week.

Centrally located for everything the Historic St. Marys Waterfront District has to offer. The Blue Goose is open next door for great lunches, if you even need one after the huge breakfast provided by Mary and her staff.

The Cumberland Island Ferry is a very short walk from the inn and the quaint Once Upon A Bookseller bookstore is right across the street.

Make St. Marys a destination next time you are on the Georgia coast. You will be smitten.

I’ll be sharing more from this area over the next few days.

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Once Upon A Bookseller by Tammy Lee Bradley

 

 

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A Visual Tour of Chateau Elan Winery and Resort

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Painting: Chateau Elan Winery by Tammy Lee Bradley

Recently my friend Kay and I visited the french-style Chateau Elan Winery and Resort located in the town of Braselton, Georgia for an evening of wine, food, and delightful accommodations.  Set on 3,500 acres with a winery, golf, spa and inn, the resort is a short drive from Atlanta making it a perfect destination for year-round weddings, romantic southern getaways, and corporate retreats.

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It’s harvest time at Chateau Elan!

It was harvest time during our stay.  I enjoyed walking through the vineyard taking photos.  It went something like this… Click once. Eat a grape. Repeat.

This vineyard grows the Muscadine species of grapes and as a resident of Florida and lover of our local Florida wines. I was very excited to try Georgia’s version. I found that Chateau Elan’s wines showcase the sweetness of this southern grape variety perfectly.  A few wines that feature the Muscadine grape prominently are their Duncan Creek and Muscadry.

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A view of the vines and the new Hampton Inn & Suites
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Decadent rooms in the Chateau Elan Inn
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Luxurious Hotel Bath and Beauty Products
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View from my room
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The serene pool area at the Chateau Elan Inn

The resort-style pool at the inn is a great way to escape the heat of the day or unwind after a hard day of wine tasting and golf.   Make sure to say hi to Sem at the pool bar, he is one of the interns visiting from the Netherlands.  He will gladly whip you up a Bahama Mama or cocktail of your choice.

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View from the Pool
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The spectacular architecture of the Chateau Elan Inn
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The lunch buffet at Versailles Restaurant offers options for everyone

For a quick bite to eat during your stay make sure to check out the gourmet buffet at the Versailles Restaurant with a full compliment of salads, entrees, side dishes, and desserts,  I tried Halibut cooked in Lemon Honey Butter for the first time.  It was a light flaky delight.  Make sure to sample the Pecan Pie as well.  TO DIE FOR!  We also had our eye on the Cheesecake but couldn’t fit another bite.

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There are healthy options at that buffet for your spa stay.
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Or maybe you want to splurge on the perfect piece of pecan pie
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Did you know they plant roses to help monitor the health of the vines?
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The tasting room, Wine Market and little friend.

At the winery, you will enter the tasting room where you will await your tour guide.  This area also houses the Wine Market, which features the Chateau Elan wines and culinary gift items for you to purchase.   The winery also offers weekend cooking classes in The Viking Culinary Studio and Saturday afternoon cooking demonstrations. Make sure to visit their website for a long list of upcoming events.

Are you a foodie?  An Epicurean Escape package is also available if you would like to combine dining, wine-pairing, accommodations, and a hands-on cooking class.  Also, if you are lucky enough to live nearby, stop by for their Unwined Wednesdays with $15 wine tastings and 15% discount on all wine purchases.

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Behind the scenes of the Winery tour

The best place to start an adventure at the most awarded winery on the east coast for the past two years in a row is in the Vat Room.  The wine tour gives you an in-depth look at the wine-making process, the history of the winery, and a glimpse at the future of this growing southern winery under the tutelage of Internationally Award Winning & Italian Executive Winemaker Simone Bergese.

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Imported French Casks specially made for Chateau Elan
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Exploring the Vat Room at Chateau Elan
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The bottling room of Chateau Elan
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Samples of the Chateau Elan Wines on display in the bottling area
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Our guide during the Winery tour.

If you would like indulge your winemaking fantasies, you can now book a private 2 hour Winemaker’s Tour with Simone Bergese.  Simone will personally guide you through the vineyards and production facility where he will explain his winemaking philosophy and process from vine to bottle.  After the tour, you will enjoy a private super-premium wine tasting led by Simone. Since Joining Château Élan in 2013, his wines have won over 150 awards at prestigious wine competitions and he has brought the wine offerings to over 20 styles of wines.  This is an opportunity that should not be missed.

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Make sure to try their Amazing Rose wine
Grab a glass and pull up a chair! The favorite part of our stay was the deluxe wine tasting. In a private room, our wine stewardess Tiffany helped us to select eight wines each and taught us the correct way to do a tasting.
Kay and I have such different palates that we tried a total of 14 different wines.  Make sure to try the Moscato and the Port, the selections we both agreed on and loved. The one hour winery tour plus this 2 hour tasting event followed by dinner at Paddy’s Pub was the perfect way to end the day.
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A few of our wine selections

This image sums up our experience. My selections were light and sweet with an essence of raspberry, peach, and strawberry. Fun summery labels and screw caps, shown on the left, are definitely my style. Kay’s choices were drier wines with elegant labels and corks. She’s clearly much more sophisticated than I.  Either way, we enjoyed every drop.

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Paddy’s Irish Pub located next to the winery
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Shephard’s Pie at Paddy’s Irish Pub

Following our wine tasting, we wandered over to the Irish Pub for some dinner.  After eight glasses of wine something simple was in order and a thick Reuben Sandwich sounded perfect.  As far as sandwiches go, it is the standard (in addition to the classic Caesar salad) that I hold every restaurant to.  If you make a great Reuben, I’ll be a diner for life.  Paddy’s Irish Pub did not disappoint.  Kay loved her classic Shepard’s Pie. For an appetizer, give the pretzel rolls and creamy cheese dip a try. We left wanting more.

 

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Painting: Harvest Time by Tammy Lee Bradley

 

Thank you Chateau Elan for inviting us to visit and the southern hospitality.  We will be back soon for that slice of cheesecake and another glass of port.


The two paintings shown are available for sale as prints, canvases and more.


Disclosure: Complimentary accommodations, meals, and activities were provided by Chateau Elan . No other compensation was received for this review. This post reflects the honest opinion of my experience without outside influence.

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Darling Darien

Photo by Tammy Lee Bradley

The shrimp boats of Darien Georgia. 

A visit to Darien has been on my travel bucket list for the past year. While I only had an hour to spend exploring the docks, I finally get to check it off. 

Darien is located halfway between Savannah, Georgia, to the north, and Jacksonville, Florida, to the South. The perfect place to stay while exploring all that the Georgia coast has to offer.

I will return again soon to see more of this historic town, Sugar Marsh Cottage Specialty Confections, and the Darien Waterfront Inn but until then I have plenty of inspiration for paintings and art. Watch my website some new pieces soon.
#VISITtheSOUTH #Darien #exploregeorgia #coastalliving #goldenisles

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White Pelicans 

Photo by Tammy Lee Bradley

The rare and beautiful white pelicans of Bird Island, Georgia.

Created almost 10 years ago to provide refuge for all species of migrating birds, Bird Island is located off the coast of Jekyll Island. It replaces shrinking bird habitats with one protected from raccoons and other prey. 

To the surprise of the birding experts, these White Pelicans which are normally seen in the Great Lakes Region have found their way to this tiny Georgia island. Each year the population grows and several are staying year round. 

Like the tourists, I guess they know they found a welcome home on the Golden Isles. 

Make sure to make a boat tour with Cap Fendig part of your vacation experience. It is the best way to see this special island.
#visitthesouth #goldenisles #stsimons #jekyllisland #birding #exploregeorgia Daytrip from the @kingandprince with @lighthousetrolleys and Cap Fendig @exploreGeorgia

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Inside Christ Church

Inside the historic Christ Church Frederica. You didn’t think I’d share only the outside, did you? The interior is amazing! Complete with stained glass windows, one of which is an original Tiffany. Make sure to make this a stop on your explorations of St. Simon’s Island. The @lighthousetrolleys tour is a great way to see all the sites and learn more about the local history.

#VISITtheSOUTH #stsimonsisland #kingandprinceresort @kingandprice FAM tour @exploregeorgia