“Roughing it”

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“Roughing it” in cottage number 2 in the beautiful campground under the pines, beside a lake, in the A.H. Stephens Historic Park–Crawfordville, Georgia.

(Writing from beautiful Summerville, SC)

In early December when we decided to make a trip to Atlanta, Savannah, Charleston, and Waynesville, we realized that Crawfordville, Georgia, home of the A.H. Stephens Historic Park, was kind of on the way to Savannah from Atlanta, and perhaps we could include a visit there. So we made a reservation for a two-night stay in one of the four cottages on the park grounds.

Our modern two-bedroom cottage was fully furnished and very, very comfortable. However, we were without Internet access, but our iPhones functioned well. Carolyn and I were the only folks residing there, and the quiet and dark of night was wonderful.

During the two nights there, we read, watched some of the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, and I managed to work in Scrivener to compile  my newest book and making some very good progress in getting the thing ready for publication. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can make that happen very soon.

Saturday morning was warm and beautiful, perfect for our tour of Mr. Stephens’ home and museum. The house was very impressive, as was the biographical

Liberty Hall…the home of A.H. Stephens
Liberty Hall…the home of A.H. Stephens

information presented by a very pleasant and knowledgeable young lady, who was our guide through the house and grounds.

We learned that Alexander Stephens was a very generous and caring man, best known as the Confederacy’s vice-president and Georgia governor. He is also my wife’s second-cousin twice removed, so there was just a bit more of a higher interest level involved here!

After our nice tour there, we asked where a good place to eat might be found. Everyone we asked said that there was only one restaurant–literally–of any kind within several miles. And they weren’t kidding, either!

That place was a rustic place called Heavy’s Barbecue, located about four miles southwest, and only open on weekends. Since this was Saturday, we were in luck. Heavy’s is pretty well known in the area, and it’s one of those classic places where the pork and ribs are delicious, and the surrounding atmosphere is the real thing.

Deer head trophies adorn the walls all around the dining room, as well as other stuffed wildlife in prominent places throughout the small log building. Nothing fancy, but the food was good and plentiful. Had we more time, we probably could have engaged a few of the locals and the waitress for some more tales and local color.

Carolyn about to enter Heavy's Barbecue, down the road, yonder, from Crawfordville, GA.
Carolyn about to enter Heavy’s Barbecue, down the road, yonder, from Crawfordville, GA.

As it was, one interesting piece of trivia we learned was that some bar scenes from the movie Sweet Home Alabama (2002), starring Reese Witherspoon, were filmed here. Outside, among various other “vintage” artifacts, is a sign used in the movie that reads “Stella’s Roadhouse.” Neither of us has seen the movie, but now it’s a must, just to see Heavy’s as it appears.

And so we were up relatively early Sunday morning, had our oatmeal at the cottage, picked the place up, and loaded the car ready to check out and once more hit the road. Of course, our “Welcoming Committee” of the two ducks was there to serve now as the “Send-off Committee” and they somehow managed to coerce another cracker or two from Carolyn before everything was stowed away.

After turning in the key at the park office, I programmed the Garmin and had our course charted to Savannah. Soon, under sun and blue skies, we set sail south and east through some of the most beautiful Georgia countryside, amidst so many towering pines and red clay of gently rolling fields. We’d arrive in Historic Savannah by early afternoon, ready for our next piece of this February adventure….CortlandWriter

One half of the "Send-off Committee"
One half of the “Send-off Committee”

Surviving Atlanta, illegal turns and all!

(Writing from beautiful Savannah, Georgia)

Margaret Mitchell’s home. She and her husband lived in the lower-left apartment, where she typed Gone With the Wind.

Right off the bat, let me say that in my last post I overreacted just a bit with my fears of navigating around Atlanta without getting killed this past Friday. In fact, our thirty-minute drive from our hotel to Peachtree Street, the location of author Margaret Mitchell’s home, was very pleasant and enjoyable.

Perhaps it was the gorgeous 55° morning that made it so nice, but whatever it was, we found where we wanted to be without a hitch, other than my piece of careless driving which involved turning the wrong way on a very wide one-way street. Fortunately, there were only a few oncoming cars whose drivers graciously slowed to allow me to hurriedly get out of their way and turned in the right direction, before pointing out what a total moron this guy from Illinois must be!

The tour of the house lasted about thirty minutes, and the most enjoyable part was going through Mitchell’s tiny first-floor apartment where she typed her masterpiece on a small Royal typewriter, which sits on a small table surrounded by dozens of manilla folders and envelopes in which she’d place her Gone With the Wind manuscript parts. The place is set up just as it was when she and her husband lived there.

The guide provided a pretty informative and comprehensive biography of Mitchell, who, it turns out, was like many creative folks: Lacking confidence in their work and afraid to show it to anyone. The story of how she wrote her one-and-only novel is very intriguing.

Of course, afterward, the inevitable gift shop drew most of my wife’s attention, so I waited patiently studying the map to figure out just exactly how to get out of Atlanta and on to our next destination: The A.H. Stephens State Historic Park in Crawfordville, Georgia, about two-and-a-half hours to the east. Originally, we had planned to visit the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, but since we arrived in the area much later than planned, we decided there wouldn’t be time. So when we finished with the Mitchell house, it was a quick hop, skip, and a jump to the interstate we needed to connect up with I-20. Soon, we were well on our way, leaving Atlanta in our rear view mirror.

The weather was very cooperative as we motored east through very pretty country. It was wonderful to see actual green grass and bushes and trees along the way. I even had my window down a bit to let in the fresh air and to blow out the stale winter poison we brought along from Illinois.

The “Welcoming Committee” at our cottage in the pines of A.H. Stephens Historic Park, waiting for some tasty treats!

Now it was time to become immersed in the life of the man for whom the state park is named, particularly since his home is there. I had very little knowledge of the man who was the vice-president of the Confederacy and governor of Georgia.

By Saturday, I had learned much and gained a respectful appreciation for A.H. Stephens. And our two-night stay in a very nice cottage on the park grounds was a fun and pleasant experience. After all, how bad can it be when a welcoming committee of two tame, friendly, and hungry ducks patiently waited for us to get the suitcases unloaded and to find some Fritos for them!

In my next post, I’ll write more about our time in the park, touring the Stephens home and museum, a “down-home” Georgia barbecue place, and our journey on to Savannah. Stay tuned…CortlandWriter