2014 Trip Two, April 8, Deep South

Tuesday, April 8 Pine Mountain GA

This trip is winding down, we should be home by Saturday night. In the meantime we are enjoying the improvement in the weather. Today was in the mid-60s and morning clouds gave way to sunny skies this afternoon.

Breakfast was at the local dive but the food was good and inexpensive. A 16 oz glass of cold milk was $1.95. It made me recollect on the 6 oz glass for $3.50 last year in Escalante UT at some upscale foodie restaurant. The men in the booth behind us were complaining about Obamacare and how our forefathers would be rolling over in their graves if they could see how our country is doing now.

Roosevelt's Little White House

Roosevelt’s Little White House

Since the morning started cool and cloudy, we drove over to Warm Springs, the site of FDR’s “Little White House”. Franklin D. Roosevelt was stricken with polio in 1921 at age 39. There was no known cure at that time. Wealthy and active in politics, the disease put him out of public sight for several years. In 1924 he was informed of a “cure” that had helped numerous people at a facility in Warm Springs, GA.

At Warm Springs he found a facility using natural warm spring water rich in minerals. Exercising in the warm spring waters did not cure him, but gave him renewed energy and a place to exercise. He came here frequently and upon strong encouragement from his wife Eleanor and a friend Louis Hobbs, he returned to politics. (His mother, Sara, had a strong, domineering personality and opposed it but on this issue she lost out.) The facility at Warm Springs was not doing well financially and FDR ended up buying it and making it a permanent polio treatment facility.

The Unfinished Portrait

The Unfinished Portrait

The site is a state park with a detailed display area and the home itself. The house is modest and plainly furnished, FDR had it built to suit his needs. You can see the seat where FDR was sitting when he suffered his stroke on April 12, 1945. There is a minor reference to the presence at the home of Lucy Mercer Rutherford, the woman supposedly his mistress for many years. She had brought a painter friend to the Little White House to paint FDR’s portrait. When FDR had his stroke, Lucy and the painter friend left immediately and the unfinished painting is now hanging in the state park museum.

The day was warming up and the sun started coming out. We came back to Callaway Gardens. Callaway was begun by a family that made a fortune in textiles; at least this wealth was not based on slave labor. The family bought land in the area, surrounding a lake. Over time, they developed a large home and gardens and later made it into a public garden. Of course, the gardens today are run as a non-profit. Calloway Gardens added golf courses, resort homes, zip lines, the world’s largest, man-made, white-sand beach, and of course, more gardens and open space.

Brightly blooming azaleas

Brightly blooming azaleas

The gardens are more of an open space planted with various flowering shrubs and trees than acres of blooming plants. Thus, we observed azaleas and flowering white and pink dogwood. Callaway does not have rose gardens and only small beds of flowers. There is a horticultural center with blooming plants and a butterfly center.

azaleas at Callaway Gardens

azaleas at Callaway Gardens

The azaleas are gathered in several areas, enhancing the impact of the multiple colors. We are able to enjoy the azaleas, walking from area to area. The dogwood are more spread out. A two hour bike ride allows us to both get exercise and view the dogwood as we ride through the forest. The ride was pleasant, not too hilly and the wind was almost non-existent. With the rain Monday, streams leading to the lakes were running fast. Even with tour buses, the crowds were sparse.

Biking at Callaway

Biking at Callaway

It has been a pleasant experience. Not as spectacular as Buchart Gardens or Norfolk Gardens, but beautiful nonetheless.

Ed and Chris April 8 8:30 pm

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