Sunday, January 31, 2016

High School Confidential

I had a great high school experience but there is no way I want to go back to high school.  This fact was made abundantly clear while attending a local play.  My niece was recently in the play High School Confidential performed by the Live Arts Theater at the Belfry Playhouse in the basement of the Norcross Presbyterian Church.  The play which includes music but is not a musical explores topics on the forefront of teenage lives--lunch, quizzes, and dances.  The play opens on the bus ride to school on the Monday following a weekend tragedy and is at times serious and at times hilariously funny and very accurate to the day to day lives and concerns of teens.  

We are very proud of Jessica, she did very well.   We love seeing local actors in local venues--so much talent in Georgia!



Friday, January 29, 2016

Monroe Cultural & Heritage Museum

Looking for something to do on a rainy cold day in Monroe, Georgia?  Go to the Monroe Cultural and Heritage Museum.  The museum opened this past November in the building which was at one time City Hall and the Fire Department  The exhibits represent the history of Monroe before it became Monroe until the present day.  Some key exhibits include Native American inhabitants, the Battle of Jack's Creek, the founding of Monroe and origins of its name, the Monroe Girls Corps, and the formation of the Walton Tribune.  

Walton County which was formed as a part of the Lottery Act of 1818 was laid out and named in honor of George Walton, one of three Georgians who signed the Declaration of Independence.  The county seat of Monroe was incorporated in 1821 and named after James Monroe, the fifth president of the United States.  Elisha Betts of Virginia gave the land on which many county buildings and the town was built.

I have two of these items at home from Lawrenceville

The extensive display of arrowheads is very impressive

At some point (I confess I do not remember--I have to make another trip) a photographer named Mr. Carnes came to Monroe to record the growing city.  The cameras below are the types used at this time.  While we are fascinated by the changes in the camera over the years, we are very curious about the tiny chair beside the camera.  Any of my photographer friends care to contribute as to this chairs use?  We were thinking a small child or baby could be strapped in but that seemed a little uncomfortable.  

Having taught Business Education (aging myself) for many years--I had to get a closer look at this typewriter.  It's a Smith Corona! 

The museum is open Thursday & Friday 10-4 and Saturday 10-2.  Plan to go early and then visit one of the great restaurants in Monroe.  We chose Milos for the Vegetable Platter and Reuben, but Amici and Butcher Block area also great local spots for lunch.  Our thanks to Pam Parish who is a volunteer at the museum for explaining everything and making our visit welcoming!  


Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Few Pictures from Lainey

Our youngest daughter, Lainey has been traveling while we are exploring the St. Johns River.  She is off studying  in Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos.  

Captain Lainey

My oh my how college has changed...


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Please Close the Gate

The gate was open when we arrived--promise!!!

Indiana Jones in Welaka?

I couldn't track down Walt Harding aka Indian Jones of Welaka.  Kim Hilton is also known as T.K. Hilton, a local country music singer.   He and his father wrote the song below about the river we have been exploring. 

St. Johns River, St. Johns River, St. Johns River;
River of love;
Love, love, love, love, love;
River of love.
I love your beautiful shores and your waters so deep;
I thank God for you before I go to sleep;
Roll on St. Johns for everyone to see;
You are a mighty river, you’ll always be;
The good old St. Johns flowing north to the sea.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Welaka and the Sandhill Crane

Ninety miles south of Jacksonville situated on the St. Johns river with a population of less than 1000 is a tiny town or village named Welaka.  It is home to the Welaka National Fish Hatchery and Mount Royal an archaeological site of a Timucua  Indian village. The Fish Hatchery is a short walk from our stop at the city dock, Mount Royal is about 3 miles outside of town--too far for us to explore by foot.

Wandering through town and neighborhoods toward Acosta Creek Marina we were delighted to meet up wtih a single Sandhill Crane.  The cranes are known for what their "unison calling" during mating.  Cranes are also known for dancing, running, and leaping in the air during mating season and other times of the year.  Most live in freshwater wetlands--Welaka is the perfect place for the cranes to take up residence with the freshwater of the St. Johns.  The cranes have been known to live at golf courses, airports and suburban neighborhoods.  We found one who was quite territorial and not bothered by us at all as we got closer and closer to take a picture. 


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Time for Church in Welaka

Small towns with their small churches make me smile.   Perhaps my interest is because  my grandmother, MawMaw took us (her five grandchildren) to church with her on many occasions.  In the summer she made sure we  were enrolled as many sessions of Vacation Bible School as possible.  

Welaka has two small clapboard sided churches begging to be photographed.  I was happy to oblige. The Emmanuel Episcopal Church has the red door like many Episcopal churches.  Check out the bell tower.

The  Welaka Methodist Church has a nice bell tower as well.  On our next visit, I will have to make sure we are in town on the hour to hear the bells. 


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Fort Gates & The Palmettos

Little Lake George is south of Welaka.  At the point where Little Lake George narrows must past Buzzards Point is an area called Fort Gates.  This area is home to the oldest operating fearing in Florida which is a part of  the Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway.  The Gateway Ferry connects the east bank of the St. Johns near Pomona Park to the West bank near Salt Springs and the Ocala National Forest.  We watched as the ferry took a truck and trailer across the mile width from one side to the other.  I would love to go explore this area by car-not just because of the ferry.  The clouds were out on the morning we passed through giving me a great opportunity to see a Victorian gothic home named The Palmettos.  

The clouds were out on the morning we passed through giving me a great opportunity to see a Victorian gothic home named The Palmettos.  This home built in 1877  by the editor of the Putnam County Journal, was purchased by a tourist cruising the St. Johns by steamboat.  J. Monroe Taylor was so enamored by the sight of the property on a visit 1887 that he vowed to purchase the estate when he stepped off the steamboat.  The next day, when the steam boat returned--The Palmettos had a new owner from New York.  It was for sale in 1965 to the state of Florida for $125,000 but the state found that price much too high.  The home and acreage were divided and auctioned.  In 2001, the home and about 1 1/2 acres were purchased by a young couple intent on restoration.  It appears from our view on the river that they were successful.

Looks like great place to enjoy the river in the summer

Anyone want to go visit with me?


Friday, January 22, 2016

Row, Row, Row...

The St. Johns narrows at Huntoon State Park giving us a great view of everything happening on both sides of the river from our slip at the park.  A booming voice over a microphone caused us to take a look at the water.

We were treated with front row seats to watch Rowing Teams from up North practicing in Florida.  Rowing, or crew is an ancient Egyptian sport propelling a racing shell using oars through the water.  These women were highly competitive trained athletes.  We ran across another group further South at High Banks Marina.  

The folks in the coaching boat above seemed more interested in our little dinghy with Piper and Jack aboard.