Thursday, March 19, 2009

St. Mary's GA to Hunting Island SC

We ate continental breakfast at the Sleep Inn and were on our way to the Cumberland Island Visitor Center. We looked at the exhibits, took a photo or two, and got the passport stamp. Ben got one on a slip of paper when he and Steve were here but now we have it in the passport book. It has been at least 30 years since Jane was here and nothing seems the same. She remembers a sleepy little town and now it is bustling even on a Sunday morning. Ben of course has been here numerous times with scouts and his hiking friends. We found our way back to I 95 and headed to St. Simons Island for our visit to Fort Frederica. Jane had visited this island numerous times for Red Cross meetings at Sea Palms. She had even gotten the passport stamp at Fort Frederica but did not visit the fort because no one else wanted to pay the fee and no one had Golden Eagle Passes at that time. The stamp was in our original passport book anyway – which was lost in the rental car in Arizona some years ago – the only good thing about that loss is it encourages us to repeat visits to places we had been. St. Simons is a beautiful island and even more so now with the azaleas blooming. We watched the movie at Fort Frederica – it was a British fort in the 1730’s. It was built to protect the colony sent from England and the colony of GA from the Spanish who were in St. Augustine area where we were yesterday. There were only 1 or 2 battles and the British won. But when the troops were withdrawn the colony just disappeared when the people left for other areas. It has been preserved very nicely – not many structures left but all the foundations of buildings are still there and identified. It was a very pretty area and well worth our visit. We then drove down the island to the lighthouse for Jane to take a photo. We ate some snacks and decided to go on to Tybee Island for lunch. We got back on I 95 and headed north to visit Tybee Island and Fort Pulaski. A huge traffic jam kept us at a snail pace for miles somewhere along the way - we think it was a wreck. We just got to listen to more of The Hostages. The main problem with Fort Pulaski is the only way to reach it is to go through the middle of downtown Savannah. Sunday afternoon might have been better than other times except everyone was having St. Patrick Day parties. Green flags flying, green clothes, lots of people drinking beer, and even people with green hair were to be seen. The GPS did a great job, we made it with little trouble arriving at Fort Pulaski about 3:00 to eat lunch in the picnic area. We had great fish sandwiches made from most of the fish leftover from our platter last night. This fort was part of 30 forts built along the east coast of the US in the second half of the 18th century. They were all similar and Fort Pulaski was very similar to Fort Jefferson on Dry Tortugas. There was a moat, mounds for magazines, etc. It was however much smaller than Fort Jefferson. Visiting the other forts will have to be left for another trip. Jane got some photos and we walked around some but did not stay too long as we knew we had to get back through Savannah and on north to a campground for the night. The trip back through Savannah was OK but we were a little concerned when the GPS took us across the river and into South Carolina without going back to I 95 the way we had come. Ben has “Home” in as our final destination so it choose the shortest way to home – luck was with us that it was headed in the right direction – we selected Hunting Island as our next camping location after Jane called and they had lots of sites available and did not close until 9 PM. We followed a back road towards Hilton Head and Beaufort before turning towards the beach and Hunting Island. We had camped here before but Ben remembers little and Jane remembers less. We arrived about 6 PM and easily got a campsite very near the water. There are surprisingly many campers here in this 200 site campground. The campsites are fairly far apart under high pine trees. The ground is covered with pine needles on the sand which makes it much nicer than sand for camping. We immediately said – let’s just stay two nights! So back to the camp store we went, got a site for 2 nights and set up our tent and settled in. It is cloudy and was very dark since the moon is not giving any light. There is a wide beach to explore tomorrow, a lighthouse, and boardwalk nature trail so we will have plenty to do tomorrow. We called Jeff to say we would be there to visit Tuesday night, cooked supper of beef stew and cornbread and went to bed about 10PM. The cornbread was great cooked from cornbread mix – using slightly less milk than called for and cooking like pancakes in the skillet. I guess instead of cornbread we had corn cakes.

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