Sunday April 6 and Monday, April 7
Savannah and Pine Mountain GA
Well Sunday was Sunday and rainy. We took it easy. Even full time travelers need some down time. Although on reflection, with Destin and Miami Beach on this trip, we have had more relaxation days than usual.
Sunday we went to the 10 AM Mass at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. It is a beautiful church and during our Saturday walks we had a brief tour with a docent who mentioned the 10 AM Mass would have the full choir. The music was very good and the church was crowded. Like a number of other buildings we have seen, paint was used to simulate marble (here on the columns). There is a painted cloth frieze along the top of the walls which looks like a painted mural.
After church we did some exciting stuff. Laundry. The Hampton Inn did not have guest laundry and we found a laundry in the outer portion of town run by a former Marine. Clean and well supervised and it did accept coins-unlike some nowadays where you buy a prepaid card to use which normally means you leave town with money still on the card.
After lunch we went back to the hotel and took the rest of the day off. It was still raining and we figured we had seen enough maritime museums, history museums, coastal fortifications, etc. I also put on several more doses of cortizone cream. Somewhere, probably on Friday at Fort Frederica, I must have run into a batch of no-see-ums; those almost invisible bugs that like to bite. Since I was wearing shorts and Chris pants, she has been spared. Major problem has been sleeping but I think the worst part is over.
The rain continued today (Monday) and at times was quite strong. We avoided driving during the worst parts by stopping at Ocmulgee National Monument and then having lunch at a local bar b q joint. Thus, the driving was fine but we could see swollen drainage ditches and ponding.
Ocmulgee National Monument is on Ocmulgee River by a ford and the area appears to have been habited as far back as 10,000 BCE. The main item(s) of interest here are mounds used for ceremonial and civic purposes by Indians of the Early Mississippian period. There are other examples of Mississippian mounds in the U.S. (we saw Emerald Mound along the Natchez Trace and there are older burial mounds in St. Paul).
Ocmulgee was made a national monument in 1936. Local efforts were critical in saving the area. The mounds had been reduced by construction of railroads, farming, use of the dirt to construct roads, etc. even though the uniqueness had been identified as early as 1774 by naturalist William Bartram. The earliest archaeological efforts were undertaken during the depression era by CCC/WPA workers supervised by an archaeologist from Harvard. It was the largest archaeological excavation ever in the U.S. up to that time.
The area and mounds were and are considered sacred by the Indians who lived in this area. Even as they were being pushed off their lands by Europeans in the early 1800s, this was the last piece of land the Indians gave up. We do not know the entire history of the area, several different cultures have lived here. The building at the national monument have detailed displays of items recovered and the best estimates of the various cultures that existed here. Since it was raining heavily, we did not go for any of the walks.
We arrived at Callaway Gardens a little after 4 pm. Our room, and many others, were not ready yet for check-in. Some computer/communications problem was the reason cited. We drove over and began our tour of Callaway Gardens. The rain had stopped and trails were wet. We started at the Butterfly House which is indoors.
At Ocmulgee it appeared that our camera had died so at Callaway we took photos only with the iPhone. The butterflies fly a lot and sit a little and I found taking close-ups a little difficult. The pictures are adequate but do not do justice to their diversity and color.
We had just enough time before the garden closed for the day to make one stop to view azaleas. The colors are still vivid and we have hopes that tomorrow will only be cloudy. I will save background data on Callaway for the next posting.
Side comment one: Is it just the South or have we not observed this elsewhere? The soda pop/water glasses are HUGE, like 64 oz size and then people when they leave get a to-go cup and take some more with them.
Side comment two: Now that restaurants seem to be uniformly suggesting tip amounts at 15-17-20% increments (is this a reflection on our lack of math savvy?); why is the percentage based on the food/drink amount PLUS the tax? What does the tax have to do with the quality of service?
Ed and Chris April 7 10:15 pm