Thursday, July 24, 2014

Destree Fun Trip 2014- Cumberland Island, GA.

Our day trip to Cumberland Island is quite possibly the my favorite stop of the entire trip. There are places that I remember visiting when I was a kid that I stuck with me into adulthood. We saw the Tabor Opera House and Baby Doe Tabor's cabin in Leadville, CO. when I was in middle school and I still have very vivid memories of the experience. I even created a replica of the stage with real, moving curtains for a history project in 7th grade. I guess there are just places that you connect with. 

Cumberland Island is one of those places for me. 

Before we visited, I didn't know much about Cumberland Island. And by "much"I mean nothing. But as soon as we got to the dock where we would catch the ferry to the island, I knew this was going to be a special trip. 

Cumberland Island is Georgia's largest barrier island and one of the most spectacular natural habitats in the Northern Hemisphere. In addition, it is the only national seashore in the U.S. Cumberland Island is approximately 18 miles long and between one-half and 3 miles wide. It takes about 45 minutes by ferry to get to Cumberland Island from St. Mary's, GA. The island boasts many animals that make their home on Cumberland Island: Loggerhead Sea Turtle, cardinals (and many other birds), wild horses, armadillos, wild turkeys & feral hogs. 

While we were there we saw a herd of wild horses (and two foals), feral hogs & two tom turkeys. We saw so many different kinds of insects, birds and sea life. I saw my first live star-fish, fiddle crabs & horseshoe crabs. 

We took a historical tour of the island, led by one of the park rangers. Our ranger was knowledgeable funny & very personable. And she had and awesome southern accent, to boot! The history of Cumberland Island is rich and interesting and more than I can explain here. If you're interested, check out the national park website, but needless to say, Cumberland Island has a history that gets into your head and your heart. 

After the tour, we made our way to the most pristine, beautiful beaches I have ever seen. We spent the entire afternoon swimming and walking on the beach, collecting sea shells. And remember those horseshoe crabs I mentioned earlier? One of them decided to act upon his terror as I brushed my hand against his shell, and stick me with his pointy bits. I think I could have done without that part, but a few band-aids and some antibacterial gel and I was back in the water! 

While there, we only saw one side of the island. Apparently, you can camp there for only $4 per person. It seems to me, if you wanted to see the whole island, this would be the way to go.

We spent about 7 1/2 hours on Cumberland Island and I can't wait to go back. 

The Cumberland Queen II 
The boys, layering up the sunscreen 
Cumberland Island National Park 
The awesome park ranger, giving us the low-down 
The voyage to the island took around 45 minutes. Enough time to grab a picture with this guy 
Open Water

Beautiful Spanish Moss

The ruins of Dungeness 
The ruins of Dungeness
The ruins of Dungeness- From the back garden
The ruins of Dungeness- From the back garden
The recreation building. At one point, there was a indoor swimming pool in the building.
Wild Horses

Wild Horses
Beautiful Wild Horses

Magnolia Bloom

Historical Tour
The oldest tree on the property

Wild Turkey
The wood shop. Now the park service uses it for lumber and maintenance purposes.
Wild Horse

That was a warm walk, I'll tell you that much!

Empty, pristine beach

That is a happy girl!

Mama Destree, relaxing & waiting for the ferry to take us home.
Good bye, Cumberland Island!
"Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean – roll
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain.
Man marks the earth with ruin but his control stops with the shore".
Lord Byron

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Destree Fun Trip 2014- Charlotte, NC, Tybee Island & St. Mary's, GA.

After the Monster Bash, we headed down south. Our first stop was Charlotte, North Carolina. We got into our hotel in the evening, and due to some construction in downtown, it took us a while to get checked in.

On the Road

On the road

Charlotte, NC.

While we didn't really do anything special while we were in Charlotte, like so many places on our trip, we knew we need to come back there at some point to see what the city had to offer. The next day, we took some pictures in downtown to remember the beautiful skyline and then we hit the road!

Downtown Charlotte, NC.
Downtown Charlotte, NC.
Roof-top Swimming Pool
Swimming with Mama Destree
Beautiful Downtown Charlotte at night
The Fam in Charlotte 

Tybee Island

Since we started the planning stages of the trip, I had looked forward to getting to the ocean. Rick's mom & dad had planned to have lunch right on the water when we got to Georgia, so we drove though Savannah (which is another place we will need to go back to! BEAUTIFUL!) and went over the bridge onto Tybee Island. Tybee Island, also known as Savannah Beach, is a barrier island located 18 miles away from Savannah. 

While there, we had an amazing lunch at The Original Crab Shack. The restaurant is a restaurant, bar, home to exotic rescue birds, alligators & rescue cats. While there, we didn't have to wait to be seated (the restaurant seats over 600), but if you did have a short wait, there would be more than enough to keep your attention! You can feed the alligators, watch wild dolphins from the dock, visit The Crab Shack gift shop, pet the many cats that live on the property(all well-cared for, vaccinated and spayed/neutered), take pictures of the fun scenery or visit the rescue birds that live on site. I met a particularly sweet cockatiel, named Bonnie, who had once belonged to a band leader. The sign on her cage said that if you sang her a few verses of "My Bonny Lies Over the Ocean" she just might do a little dance. Despite my lack-luster singing, Bonnie rewarded my song stylings with a slow, steady rock. Needless to say, the owners of The Crab Shack are obviously animal lovers! 
The Original Crab Shack on Tybee Island, GA.

Crab Shack Cat
Crab Shack Cat
The Cat Shack- Home to some of the on-site kitties
I met a sailor who offered to take me out to sea! 
What big teeth you have! 
The Crab Shack Gator Band

After an amazing lunch of the freshest seafood I have ever tasted, we headed down to the beach to walk along the shoreline. Despite the dark clouds that rolled in while we ate, we still had time to take a few wonderful pictures!

Tybee Island Beach
Tybee Island Beach, with a storm rolling in 
Tybee Island Beach
This Guy....
Life Guard Station
Awesome Beach House

St. Mary's, GA.

Little buddy
Our adorable loft bed at Emma's Bed & Breakfast

From the Garden

From Tybee Island, we moved onto St. Mary's, where we stayed at a lovely local B & B named Emma's. St. Mary's was our home base for two days while we went to quite possibly my favorite stop on our entire trip.

But now I'm getting ahead of myself. You will have to wait for my next blog to hear about that! INTRIGUE!!