Category: Outdoors

Christ Church Frederica – St Simons Island, Georgia

Christ Church Frederica, on St Simons Island in Georgia, was established in 1808 and is the 2nd oldest church in Georgia. The original church building was constructed in 1820 but was burned by Union troops during the Civil War. In 1884, Anson Greene Phelps Dodge, lead the rebuilding of the church as an act of love and remembrance of his wife, Ellen, who had died recently. The church still stands today as a memorial to her. Ellen is buried beneath the alter. The author, Eugenia Price, brought the Dodge family and so many other interesting and inspirational families to life on the pages of her St Simons Trilogy. She’s buried here as well. Highly recommend her books if you love St Simons and the Savannah area and you appreciate novels that are inspired by real people.

San Francisco Plantation – Garyville, Louisiana

San Francisco Plantation

San Francisco Plantation, established 1860. This plantation home is one of the most ornate in the South. The story goes that the French phrase “son saint-frusquin,” or “the shirt off his back,” was a description of what the construction of the house cost its first owner, Edmond Marmillion. This became mistranslated into San Francisco.  The property and home is expansive and beautiful. You can opt for a guided tour of the home or, if you’re short on time, you can enjoy a self guided tour around the grounds.

Laura Plantation Slave Cabin – Vacherie, Louisiana

Inside Slave Cabin at Laura Plantation

Researchers  at Laura Plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana have been studying and interpreting the slave experience in Creole Louisiana for more than 20 years. It is a part of the history of the plantation and when you visit you will leave more informed about the slave experience on this plantation and their lives beyond the Emancipation Proclamation.

The tour is incredibly educational and really helps you to understand that although slaves were freed by the law of the land, their circumstances and ties to the plantations and lands where they worked didn’t allow many former slaves to experience freedom in their life.

Slave Cabin at Laura Plantation

Slave Cabin at Laura Plantation

Slave Cabin at Laura Plantation

 

 

Afton Villa Gardens – Saint Francisville, Louisiana

Afton Villa Gardens

The drive into Afton Villa Gardens in Saint Francisville, Louisiana is magical. It’s like entering a secret garden of sorts. And this is only the driveway to get to the gardens! If you’re planning a trip anywhere near West Feliciana Parish in Louisiana, make sure to add Afton Villa Gardens to your list. It only takes about an hour to tour the gardens and it’s worth your time. Read about the gardens and then go explore them!

Nocatula Legend – Athens, Tennessee

Legend of Nocatula Sculptures

On the campus Tennessee Weslyan College, you’ll find a marker and sculptures that tell the story of the legend of Nocatula and Connestoga.

An officer from a nearby fort had been wounded and was found and befriended by an Indian Chief. The chief’s daughter, Nocatula, cared for the soldier and the two of them fell in love and were eventually married. Over time, the officer was accepted into the tribe and took the name Connestoga which means, “The Oak”. A man who had been a suitor of Nocatula in the past became enraged over her new love. He attacked and stabbed Connestoga. Nocatula knew her love was dying and ran to him to pledge her undying eternal love. Connestoga died and Nocatula plunged a knife into her own chest, killing herself next to her love.

In preparation for the burial of Connestoga and Nocatula, the chief put a hackberry in Nocatula’s hand and an acorn in Connestoga’s hand. The acorn and the hackberry were symbols of undying love it and legend says that from the hackberry and the acorn, two trees grew and stood on the spot of Nocatula and Connestoga’s grave for over 150 years. A testimony of their eternal love.

Chapel of Ease – St. Helena Island, South Carolina

Chapel of Ease

The St. Helena Chapel of Ease was built around 1740 to serve planters in St. Helena Parish who lived at great distances from the parish church in Beaufort. During the Civil War, Federal troops occupied St. Helena and the church was used by several of the Northerners who had come to the island to educate and train the freedmen. It was also used as a sanctuary by Methodist freedmen as early as 1868. The chapel of ease was burned by a forest fire in February 1886 and was never repaired.

Starr’s Mill – Fayetteville, Georgia

Starr's Mill

Starr’s Mill is such a scenic Fayetteville, Georgia (about 40 minutes south of Atlanta). If you’re ever in the area and want the perfect place to enjoy a picnic and stretch your legs, it’s a must visit. Here’s the history of the site, courtesy of Georgia Info:

The property that became Starr’s Mill was owned by Hananiah Gilcoat who built the first mill here before his death in 1825. This site, on Whitewater Creek, was less than a mile from the boundary between Creek Indian lands and the State of Georgia. Hilliard Starr, who owned the mill from 1866 until 1879, gave the site its current name. After the first two log structures burned, William T. Glower built the current building in 1907. This mill operated until 1959, using a water-powered turbine, instead of a wheel, to grind corn and operate a sawmill. The Starr’s Mill site also included a cotton gin and a dynamo that produced electricity for nearby Senoia.

Bamboo Forest – Prattville, Alabama

Wilderness Park Bamboo Forest

Take a walk through Wilderness Park in Prattville, Alabama. Wilderness Park is a bamboo forest that was used by the U.S. military for Vietnam-era combat training. The forest provided a humid environment with vegetation more similar to that found in Southeast Asia than most training sites on this continent. Thankfully, the park was preserved as a place of beauty and peace. Areas of the forest have 60-ft.-tall bamboo with trunks 6 inches in diameter. Hundreds of varieties of plants are found here, including one of Alabama’s largest beech trees.

Historic Spanish Point – Osprey, Florida

Historic Spanish Point

Some days you just need to get outside and get out of your head and enjoy a peaceful walk. Historic Spanish Point in Osprey, Florida is a perfect combination of historic discoveries and peaceful environment to explore. I had no idea Spanish Point existed until I was on a business trip in Florida and had a Saturday to explore the area. A friend mentioned he knew I would love visiting this dreamy place and he was right!

Here you can explore 5,000 years of history and a variety of interests for your whole family including prehistoric Indian mounds, pioneer era buildings, nature trails, butterfly garden and more. As the Spanish Point website points out, this is “a 30-acre archaeological, historical and environmental museum on Little Sarasota Bay in Sarasota County, Florida.”  It it a one of kind Southern treasure so make sure to visit the next time you’re in the Sarasota area.