We left with a vague idea of where
we wanted to go and what we wanted to see, and a Google map full of pushpins marking
anything and everything, that after 30 seconds of research, sounded like it
might be interesting.
We came back with lots of amazing experiences and about a million photos. So many things exceeded expectations.
This is the original planning map. Blue
indicates something we didn’t get around to. We updated a pushpin to green if we went there. Yellow marks a shul. A tent icon marks a place to camp. Knife and spoon is Costco, Trader Joe's, or restaurant (just a few). Bicyclist or hiker icon - self explanatory. Etc.
This map shows what we did.
And this shows just Florida, where we spent 12 weeks.
There were lots of surprising connections between various parts of our trip. Some examples:
1. We expected Forrest
Gump trivia in Savannah GA as well as in Beaufort SC. But then there was an
unexpected reference in NC - signs for republican Lt. Gov Dan Forest’s
gubernatorial campaign: “Run” ”Forest” “Run”.
2. At Monticello VA, we learned about how Uriah Levy, first Jewish Commodore of the United States Navy, saved
Jefferson’s Monticello. Later, in Savannah GA, we learned how (long story
short) in 1733, 5 months after Savannah was founded by James Oglethorpe, a boat of 41 Jews including 34 Portuguese
Marranos, landed at Savannah. It was during an epidemic, and the colony’s
doctor had died. Oglethorpe originally was not going to
allow the Jews to land, but when he found out there was a doctor, Dr. Diego (Samuel) Nunes, on board, the colony policy of “No Jews Allowed” became “Welcome Jews!”
between the two is that Dr. Samuel Nunes was the
great grandfather of Uriah Levy.
3. The really cool connection
between the Kennedy Space Center and the Wright brothers was pointed out to us at
Kitty Hawk by ranger Amiee Ginnever. “Orville Wright lived long enough to learn
of Yeager’s breaking the sound barrier. Also, Neil Armstrong, on the Apollo 11
mission, took fragments of the Wright brothers' 1903 flyer took to the moon and back.”
Here is Ranger Amiee holding up the famous photo of the first powered flight on the field where the flight took place, with the markers showing how far the first four flights went.
From the slideshow in the visitor center
Bob taking flight at the monument,
Assisting Orville (or was it Wilbur? I always get them mixed up) on the first flight,
And doing stunts on the first flight
Kennedy Space Center
Beam me up, Scotty
Here's a tie in from another trip. This was on our way home from New Mexico last June, taken on I 70 in Indiana, near New Lisbon, birthplace of Wilbur.
Huntington Beach State Park, SC. A few minutes from our campsite. One of the most amazing sunsets I have ever seen. Looking North-East. The reflection of the sky on the water just kept getting pinker and pinker.
Beaufort, SC. The second-oldest
city in South Carolina and totally charming
We strolled around
the historic downtown following the Visitor
Center’s “Historic Homes and Attractions” map.
Next, we decided to do a Forrest Gump scavenger hunt. Apparently,
a lot of the movie was filmed in the area.
Now I don’t remember much of the movie. But using the brochure
we bought at the visitor center as a guide, Lights, Camera, … Beaufort, 3rd
edition, by local author Ginnie Kozak, we found the building
used for the “Gump Medical Center.”
Next, we went looking for the tree which had a major role in
the movie, at least according to Ms. Kozak.
These are the directions from the brochure:
Now, first of all, everyone knows what it means when any
directions include the words, “It’s hard to miss ” ...
Secondly, notice there is no address given for the tree. Or any
street names in the directions other than US 21. A search
for “Carolina Shores subdivision” showed a place 199 miles away.
But after some creative googling,
and almost giving up, we found it! Let me know if you would like GPS coordinates.
Here are some non Forrest Gump related photos from downtown
This is the historic synagogue Beth Israel
When we peeked in on Sunday, it was rented out to this group
Fun Fact 1 - Spanish
Moss is neither Spanish nor moss.
I don’t know how
many times we heard this over the course of our trip. A guide or ranger told us this on practically every single tour
or guided walk we were on.
Spanish Moss is a actually a bromeliad (all the guides said it is related to the pineapple), and native to the Americas.
Fun Fact 2 - Spanish
Moss prompted the first automotive recall.
Henry Ford stuffed
the seats of his first Model T's with Spanish moss. He had to do a recall when it turned out that little
red bugs called chiggers live in Spanish Moss and were biting drivers on their
We heard this numerous
times over our trip as well. Not sure if is actually true or just a good story to
tell tourists. It is more likely that chiggers are found in moss that has
fallen to the ground than what is up in the trees.
Fun Fact 3 - The Spanish
Moss Trail is a rails-to-trails bike path in Beaufort County, SC.
Many trees along the way are draped with, you
guessed it -Spanish Moss.