Jan 3, 2012

Places to Visit on the Way to Florida

Slow down! There are so many wonderful places in the United States and, of course, the whole world to see. Often we move too fast without seeing what is on the way. Now that we have the time John and I try to travel slow and stay in one place longer than we use to. People travel between New York State and Florida with the aim of getting to their destination as quickly as possible. Other people try to impress by saying, “I drove non-stop to Florida” or “I made the trip in x-number of hours.” Actually it makes me feel sad about all the great things they missed along the way. There are so many great places to stop when traveling to and from Florida. Consider Baltimore, Fripps Island, and Savannah.

Baltimore is one of those wonderful locations that has reinvented its harbor area. What was once an eyesore is now a dynamic inner harbor with museums, hotels, and restaurants. It is the location of one of my all-time favorite museums, The American Visionary Art Museum where there are works of art not seen anywhere else. They are all original artworks created by intuitive, self-taught artists that provoke, amuse, intrigue, and appeal to everyone. They say, “In short, visionary art begins by listening to the inner voices of the soul, and often may not even be thought of as 'art' by its creator.” If art is not your thing, Baltimore is home to the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum, Edgar Allan Poe’s grave, USS Constellation, a world-class aquarium, and Fort McHenry of “The Star Spangled Banner” fame.

No less exclusive but not as costly, Fripp Island is often overshadowed by nearby Hilton Head. We were on Fripp Island in October when we were the only people there and we loved it. The best pastime was doing nothing but walking along the beach, enjoying a good book, watching the ever-changing ocean, and spotting a Snowy White Egret catch his dinner. For campers the adjacent Hunting Island State Park is one of the most popular state parks and beach areas in South Carolina. Hunting Island is not just another beach it is a nature and wildlife paradise. The pristine sandy beach, natural setting, and warm Atlantic Ocean makes it perfect for camping or renting a cabin right on the beach. With an historic 1859-lighthouse, lagoon, fishing pier, wide sweeping beach, and nature trails it is a “kick-back” place for the whole family. Just a few miles away is the pretty, historic town of Beaufort.

There are many other places along the Atlantic Coast for an interesting stop when heading south. Savannah, Georgia is a place I would love to revisit. There is something about Savannah’s live oaks dripping with lacy Spanish Moss that makes it seem different from other US cities. I read “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” and watched “Forest Gump” which made visiting the city more interesting. Colonial Park Cemetery is the historic burial ground where, Button Gwinnett, a signer of the Declaration of Independence is reposed. During the Civil War bored soldiers changed the dates on the stones so it appears that some people lived 100s of years and others died before they were born. Visitors can take a walking, carriage, trolley or river tour to learn about the city’s history. Slow down and enjoy the trip.