You know you’re nuts when sleeping in your trailer, which gets new scenery every few days, starts feeling ordinary. After months on the road, we had a craving to bring out the tent and spend a night on the ground.
We knew we would love Vermont. It has maple syrup, tons of craft breweries, very few Walmart’s and ZERO billboards. Vermont is one of 4 states that bans their use. No one trying to sell their business with gigantic pictures of greasy meat or confounding slogans and no lawyers to distract you into crashing your car so you can use their services. Instead there are acres upon acres of trees and grass land, farmhouses, and a plethora of local businesses. You immediately recognize it as “normal”, what normal should be anyway.
The Blue Ridge Parkway runs for 469 miles. Its northern extent begins in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and ends at Great Smoky Mountain National Park in North Carolina. However you choose to approach the trip, the drive alone is worth the visit, full of dynamic scenic overlooks and without the distraction of bill boards and major towns.
We had a sweet 24-hours in Savannah, Georgia. We parked it at the Savannah, Georgia visitor center, a fantastic find as it is only $8 per night to park your trailer downtown. With limited time, we were quickly turned onto the 10,000 steps self-guided tour through town (a map is provided in the Visitor Center). We began in the morning and found our way around the city, stopping at several of the block parks which are punctuated by manicured gardens, fountains and monuments.
We paused in Forsyth Park to nap under the tell-tall broad and overarching oak trees, dripping with Spanish moss. The fertile soil of the city is well cared for and can be found around every corner.
We pulled off the highway, just before entering Mississippi to visit the Rosedown Plantation in Louisiana, built in 1835 by the Turnbull family. The Turnbull’s were cotton planters who owned several plots of land as well as 444 slaves, 250 who worked on the Rosedown Plantation.
First and final thought, the plantation is a well preserved house and garden estate. It was built by the hands of slaves (preserved in later years by non-slaves). Do you forgive a home built by a family that owned slaves? Do you visit and fawn over the beauty? Do you feel envious and dream for greater things such as these? Or do you remember the slaves, who lived and breathed and toiled on the same land where their white owners thrived. Bottom line do you remember the slaves.
“History” might try and say the owners treated their slaves well, that they had a doctor that lived on the property, the slaves came back after the Civil War to work, the owners didn’t know any different. But how could they not?
As a white woman in the 21st century I can’t speak for anyone in this story. What I can do though is not neglect the history of such a place. I can remember the slaves. Yes it is beautiful and peaceful NOW, but I will not say that this is what it represents, beauty and peace. In so many ways it represents the opposite. This needs to be noted because the following pictures depict only beauty and peace and my guess is, it’s because it is now empty.
These are the categories for all things that take place in life:
- It worked out better than you imagined
- It worked out just like you imagined
- It did not work out like you imagined
We took a boat trip into the Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge near Lafayette, Louisiana and though it fell into the above Category #3 we take full responsibility. After New Orleans we were in search of a peaceful swamp tour to see alligators, birds and water bogged Cyprus trees. We found a reputable guide, who was lovely to spend a few hours with and took off into the swamp. Unfortunately, we chose to venture out on the weekend of a big bass tournament. This meant an influx in boat traffic which had a way of scaring off any and in our case all wildlife in the area. In other words, here are some beautiful pictures of Cyprus trees. Better luck next time.
New Orleans is the only place I have called home other than Denver. It was my first experience in the art of adapting. My prerequisite for personal space had to diminish in order to thrive in a city that is so open, free and friendly. If I had to identify a single positive personality trait for New Orleans it would be outgoing. It is not just the town of Bourbon Street and bachelor parties it is a city that has survived crippling storms and kept its lifeblood of music, art and culture flowing.