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.
There’s something special about covered bridges. Even the oldest of covered bridges have a picturesque quality to them. Alabama appreciates the beauty of them and even has a Covered Bridge Trail you can drive along to see the 11 remaining historic covered bridges across the state.
One of the bridges on the trail is the Kymulga Covered Bridge in Childersburg, Alabama. The 105 foot covered bridge, built in the 1860s, spans Talladega Creek. Nearby you’ll find the Kymulga Grist Mill, which is still operational. The Kymulga Covered Bridge leads park visitors to a series of nature trails, perfect for romantic walks and exploration of the land that was once populated by Native Americans, farmers and craftsmen. You can learn more about the bridge, mill and events held here throughout the year here.
Visiting Rodney, Mississippi takes some patience and intention. If you get there, you were headed there. The drive involves back roads and some dirt roads and once you arrive you have no cell service. But once you see this old place and the architectural treasures and historic sites here, it’s worth the bumpy roads! There are two old churches here including Old Rodney Presbyterian Church that holds a unique connection to the Civil War.
When I was standing in front of the church taking photos I heard a fellow visitor ask a friend “Why on earth would someone attack a church?” He was responding to someone’s mention of Confederate troops shooting in Old Rodney Presbyterian Church. It really happened. The reverend of this church invited crew members of the Union’s USS Rattler to join the church service on Sunday, September 13, 1863. After all, there was a Sunday truce in place and the reverend believed he was doing the right thing. Confederate scouts heard there were Union troops in the church and showed up at the door to demand they leave. When the troops refused to leave, the Confederates starting shooting into the church. Retaliation from the Union followed soon after when they fired a cannonball at the church and damaged the front. And that cannon ball is still in the church. You can see it above the window in the photo below.
Rodney is one of those places where you feel like time stood still. And you can clearly hear and see history here because there are few distractions and little noise to cover up the story of what happened here. If you plan a trip to Rodney, do not rely on your GPS. Look up directions and screen shot them like I did. Or follow the basic direction below. You may need a back up because at some point your phone will not have service.
From US 61 go west on 552 towards Alcorn. Turn left on Fellowship Rd (it’s a big hill) and then take Firetower Rd to Rodney Rd on right. Go 10 mi., Rodney Rd is paved until near Rodney.
The Butler Island Plantation are located just south of Darien, on what is now US Highway 17. The site is owned by The Nature Conservancy, and the land is open for picnicking, fishing and birding.
This was once one of the largest plantations in the South. The story of the plantation and former owners is an interesting one that began in the 1790s with Major Pierce Butler, an officer of the American Revolution who helped to draft the U.S. Constitution. Butler planted rice on his land on the Altamaha Delta. The marshlands and surrounding area provided perfect conditions for growing rice which led to a wealthy Southern enterprise.
When Major Butler died in 1822, the Butler Island Plantation passed to his grandson, Captain Pierce Butler. He was married to the noted English actress and writer Fanny Kemble who became a major advocate for the slaves on the plantation. She deplored the living conditions of the slaves on the farm and complained to her husband about the horrible treatment of the slaves by his manager, Roswell King, Jr. Kemble became an advocate for the abolition of slavery which created ongoing tensions with her plantation-owner husband. He threatened to take her daughters away from her if she published her views about slavery. Following their divorce, and after her daughters were grown, Kemble published her Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation.
At the time her book was published, Great Britain was considering the possibility of intervening in the Civil War, on behalf of the South. Kemble’s book is credited with persuading the British to oppose slavery and ending any possibility of the British joining the Confederacy’s fight during the Civil War.
(Source: Explore Southern History)
Thomas Wolfe, an Asheville native, reached international fame after his first full length novel, Look Homeward, Angel, was published in 1929. There are many incidents in the book that reference his mother’s boardinghouse that was known around town as “Old Kentucky Home”. In the book, he referred to it as “Dixieland”. The Victorian home was constructed in 1883.
Wolfe’s vivid references to Asheville and his “Old Kentucky Home” led to Look Homeward, Angel being banned from public libraries in Asheville for seven years. Time heals all wounds and Wolfe is now honored as one of the city’s most famous sons and the “Old Kentucky Home” is a well preserved memorial and museum that honors one of the giants of 20th century literature. Asheville is a lovely city with such a diverse history. If you’re ever passing through I highly encourage you to make the time to visit the “Old Kentucky Home” and take a tour.
Anytime I visit Asheville I stop by my favorite local coffee shop, Izzy’s Coffee Den, and I grab a coffee to go. Then, I head over to Tom’s place at 48 Spruce Street to pay my respects and sit in a rocking chair on the front porch and have a cup of coffee. If you ever come here, I recommend you do this after the tourist center closes and it’s quiet and peaceful. And if you’re looking for some great books to add to your reading list, add one of Wolfe’s four novels to your list:
If you’re up for a road trip that truly takes you down some beautiful back roads in Mississippi, have I got the road trip for you!
Today is National Thomas Jefferson Day so I had to share a Monticello snap. What you don’t see in the photo is the line of people that stand behind the beautiful gardens that line Monticello to get a photo of the house and flowers.
Monticello is a historic treasure. It’s worth the time and money to visit, even if you think you already know Thomas Jefferson. I had read so much about his life but seeing his architectural dream that he brought to life is inspiring. Jefferson dedicated his adult life to designing and redesigning Monticello. His dedication to detail and willingness to tear some things apart and start over again to make it better, remind you that you can do the same thing with your life.
Springtime reminds you that dreams are worth dreaming and you should continue to pursue them, even when obstacles stand in your way. You just may build something beautiful!
Some of my favorite pictures have been taken thanks to “I pulled over for this” moments. I’m sure you’ve had that moment when you’ve been on the road. You pass by something fascinating or beautiful and you make the call to delay your trip, get off the road and capture and embrace the moment. That’s what happened when I was on a road trip along the Great River Road in Louisiana.
We had visited a few plantations and were trying to find a restaurant for lunch and as we were driving we passed this church. I looked at her and she looked at me and we knew we just had to pull over and see this beauty, St. Philip Catholic Church, right as a storm was moving in. I was thankful to be able to get a few photos before the rain came down.
Bonaventure Cemetery is a place of beauty. I know what you’re thinking…”a beautiful cemetery? that sounds creepy!” But the moment you drive through the gates of this cemetery and begin to explore you’ll see what I saw when I visited for the first time. Beauty all around. The best way to describe Bonaventure is as an outdoor museum of art with exhibits such as this angel that greets you at the gates.
I love how Keith Eggener described historic cemeteries in an interview with The Atlantic: “… you leave behind the mercantile world outside the gates and enter into the space where you can meditate, where you can come into contact with spirituality and concentrate…You suddenly have large pieces of ground, filled with beautiful sculptures and horticultural art.”
So true! That’s what makes Bonaventure Cemetery one of the most beloved and most photographed sites in Savannah, Georgia. If you’re up for exploring Bonaventure, make sure you connect with The Bonaventure Historical Society for more info and to schedule a tour. It’s an expansive cemetery so it’s best to have a guide for your first visit.