Hello!

 

This past March Jim and I took a road trip from our home in Wisconsin to Savannah, Georgia. We stopped on the way to visit with family and friends who live in Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Alabama and Georgia.

 

In preparation for the trip, we packed a cooler with all the fixings for salads to share with each other along the way. I chopped up a head of romaine lettuce, a few sweet peppers, onion, cucumber and carrots. I put each vegetable in a separate sealed plastic bag. I added a bag of grape tomatoes and one of black olives. A few foil packets of tuna and salmon and some small jars of mayonnaise, along with salt and pepper rounded out the mix. At least once each day we found a nice wayside or park where we could stop to have our fresh dinner together with a cup of coffee, or, if we were stopping for the night at a hotel, a glass of wine.

 

We left home on Monday, March 7. We used my smart phone and Siri to find places to stay. The first night, in southern Illinois, I asked Siri “Where is the nearest cheap hotel?” She gave me a list of places near the highway. It was late in the night. We were tired. It was dark. We chose the place nearest our route and checked in. Only one lamp in the room functioned. I checked for bedbugs, found none, so we went to bed. 

 

It wasn’t until daylight that we noticed the eleven (old) bullet holes in the wall. Most disturbing was our realization that they had come from the room next to ours. Upon closer inspection we noticed, too, that daylight could be detected completely around the frame of the door leading from our room to the outside. While the room was, indeed, clean, it hadn’t been painted in a very long time. Lesson learned. Next time, don’t ask Siri to find a “cheap” hotel.

 

We continued our drive through Indiana into Kentucky where we stopped to visit with the first of my five cousins who live along our planned route. We hadn’t seen one another in several years. Our visit was lots of fun. I shared some of my soaps with Linda and her husband, Nick. She shared some of her lovely, handmade glass beads with me.

 

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were filled with stops in Tennessee and North Carolina where we met up more cousins. Joan and her friend welcomed us at their home in Gatlinburg, TN. Peggy and her family fed us a marvelous home made dinner in Hendersonville, NC. We also visited my cousin, Beth, and aunt and uncle, who gave us tickets to see the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. 

 

While touring this historic site had not been in our plans, we were delighted to have had the opportunity to see it. Built in the six years between 1889 and 1895, it is the largest private residence built in the US. The finished home contains over four acres of floor space, including 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces. The 8000 acres of manicured grounds include a winery and farmyards.  To learn more about it, please go to biltmore.com.

 

On Friday, March 11 we arrived in Savannah! Upon entering the city there were signs that easily directed us to a visitor’s center. We purchased tickets for a trolley tour of the historical district. We used Siri to find a lovely B&B in the historical district where we would spend the next three days and nights.

 

During those three days we hopped on and off a trolley that took us to see such places as Battlefield Park, the Juliette Gordon Low (founder of the Girl Scouts) birthplace, Mercer-Williams House (the scene of the murder in the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil), the Forsyth Fountain, Massie Heritage Center (site of the first school built “for the education of poor children”) and much more. The trolley route traversed 22 of the famous original 24 squares laid out in the city center. 

 

Our tickets included a horse and buggy “ghost tour” of the city on Friday night. Our guide told interesting stories as we traveled around the squares past elegant antebellum (pre-Civil War) homes, each with its own story.The tickets also included a Saturday afternoon riverboat tour of the Savannah River shipping district. For a leisurely two hours’ ride on a lovely paddle boat we were treated to a guided tour of the river north and south of Savannah which included some history of the Civil War in that area as well as the growth of commerce.

 

Saturday night the city was packed with partiers! Saint Patrick’s Day is a big deal in Savannah, which holds the second-largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the world, second only to New York City’s. Celebration goes on for a week before and several days after the 17th and we were in the middle of it! Traffic was a nightmare. The best way to get around was to call a pedicab, which is a bicycle with a two-person cart on the back. With just 10 minutes’ notice a driver shows up wherever you are to take you anywhere you want to go in the city. Those bikes could dart through standing traffic and around the crowds like lightning. 

 

 

Sunday was filled with more walks around the beautiful squares (that is I, in the photo above, sitting on a bench with my knitting on Sunday morning while we wait for the Juliette Gordon Low house to open), more tours of historical landmarks, dinner on the River walk (I had bouillabaisse, Jim had shrimp). We, of course, had to buy some wonderful pecan pralines to take home with us!

 

Monday morning arrived way too soon for me, as it meant that we had pack up and move on. We enjoyed our last breakfast at Savannah Bed & Breakfast Inn and then we made our way to the Roundhouse Railroad Museum. Afterward we took a quick drive to Tybee island so that we could wet our feet in the Atlantic ocean, and, finally, before leaving Savannah, we drove through the absolutely, breathtakingly beautiful Bonaventure Cemetery.

 

On our way back home we stopped to visit with yet another cousin, Mary, and her husband, John, who fed us a magnificent dinner of shish-kabobs done on the grill and then invited us to spend the night in their lovely home. 

 

Tuesday we found our way to an antique mall in Alabama where I bought a very interesting Queen Anne chair for my living room (it fit into the back seat of our car!) before stopping to visit old friends who ALSO invited us to spend the night in their home after having a nice dinner out together. 

 

Wednesday morning we left Alabama (and the warm, summery weather!) to make our way home with a short stop in Illinois to visit a friend for dinner out. We arrived home shortly before midnight on Wednesday.

 

It was a wonderful trip! Jim and I enjoyed each other’s company the whole time. Breaking up the drive with visits of family and friends was such a treat! We can’t wait to do it again next winter, this time with New Orleans as the destination. Jim has five cousins he has never met who live between here and there. We hope to look them up.

 

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Moments after birth, Princess is cleaning her lamb.

 

 

Separated from the flock in their own pen.

 

 

My sheep barn.

 

We arrived home just in time for lambing to begin. To date we have one healthy lamb and three more ewes expecting any time now. I have four sheep shorn (I do it myself, by hand with a scissors) and two left to go. I enjoy this process. Each fleece has its own special characteristics. I wash each fleece as I shear them and I enjoy imagining what I will make with the beautiful wool.

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As always, I enjoy hearing from you!  Keep in touch!