Posted by: RasmaSandra | June 20, 2018

South Carolina Off the Beaten Path

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Pleasant Ridge State Park is located in Marietta. Here one can see the abandoned stills of the moonshine industry along the nature trail in the scenic foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Part of the way the footpath follows a cool mountain stream along which wildflowers grow in the spring. The park’s 300-acres include wildlife such as white-tailed deer, racoons, bobcats, hawks and redheaded woodpeckers.

A popular feature is a lake with a beach and supervised swimming. Pedal boats and rowboats are available for rent. The park also provides fully equipped cabins, campsites with hookups, picnic shelters, a playground, a softball field and game courts.

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Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge in Chesterfield County has a long history. 55 million years ago the Atlantic Ocean’s incessant pounding of the shores created the dunes that stand there today. Settlers cut the timber and overworked the land in the area. Eventually, the soil was depleted and the farms were abandoned. In 1939 the Federal Government purchased 46,000 acres and established a wildlife reserve.

It now has longleaf pines, pond pines, mockernut hickories, and persimmons. Wildlife includes beavers, deer, cougars, rare woodpeckers, owls and wild turkeys. They are among the 42 species of mammals and 190 species of birds which make their home here.

Visitors can find an 11-mile drive, hiking trails, observation towers and platforms, spring wildflower tours and a photo blind here to provide access to the wildlife. At the Lake Bee Recreation Area, one can find picnic tables with stone fireplaces. Seasonal fishing is allowed in designated lakes and creeks.

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Rose Hill State Park – North of Whitmire, South Carolina this magnificent stucco mansion was built between 1828 and 1832. It reminds visitors of the life enjoyed by antebellum plantation owners and immortalized in Margaret Mitchell’s classic Gone with the Wind. The owner of Rose Hill was Governor William Henry Gist who was known as the Succession Governor. The mansion is furnished in authentic period style and contains several fine pieces that had belonged to the governor. In the second floor ballroom is an 1832 pianoforte and an 81-key piano. There are also two fireplaces and a sliding partition used to divide the ballroom into two bedrooms. Gist’s own bedroom contains his wardrobe and a four-poster bed with three hinged steps one of them concealing a chamber pot. The mansion has graceful front and rear porches built in 1860.

On the grounds enclosed by the original black wrought iron fence are boxwoods arranged in the pattern of two Confederate flags and several stately magnolias. Dogwoods line the entrance drive. A clapboard building houses exhibits of the local cotton culture and 19th c century plantation life. There are picnic tables and a pleasant quarter-mile nature trail going down to the Tyger River. Wild turkeys and deer may be seen.

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Craven House

Historic Camden Revolutionary War Park – More than 200 years ago Camden was the headquarters of Lord Cornwallis and the hub of British activity. Because of its strategic location, Camden was the focal point of two major Revolutionary War battles. Camden is the oldest existing inland town in the state and was part of a township plan ordered by King George II in 1730.

The 107-acre outdoor museum complex includes the townsite of 18th century Camden, the restored and furnished 1785 John Craven House,

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Cunningham House circa 1830 (tour office and gift shop), two early 19th-century logs cabins with exhibits,

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partially restored 1795 McCaa House, reconstructions of some of the military fortifications, the reconstructed

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and furnished Joseph Kershaw mansion, headquarters for Lord Cornwallis, a blacksmith exhibit and a .6-mile Nature Trail.

Those wishing to stretch their legs will enjoy the Old Camden Trace, a 3.5-mile walk through Historic Camden, the Nature Trail, the 1758 Quaker Cemetery and numerous other landmarks of early Camden.

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Parsons Mountain Lake Recreation Area in Abbeville is a quiet wooded area with a lake as the centerpiece which is devoted to tent and trailer camping, picnicking, hiking, riding and fishing. There is a large picnic grove by a supervised swimming area on the lakeshore and a boat ramp for fishermen. One can fish for crappie, catfish, bass and other species common to the region.

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The park also has a corral. A trail leads to a fire tower passing by a series of pits dug in the mid-1800s by miners in search for gold. From the top of the 80-foot tower, one has a panoramic view of the mixed pine and hardwood forests of the Carolina Piedmont. In the woods are deer and small mammals and a variety of birds. Indian paintbrush and lady’s slipper are among the wildflowers that grow along the woodland trails.

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Orangeburg National Fish Hatchery in Orangeburg was established in 1912 and has an aquarium where one can get a look at most of the species here. There are largemouth bass, striped bass, channel catfish, bluegills and sunfish which are bred here for stocking federal waters. Bluegills are also used to control algae in the rearing ponds. Mature fish brought to the hatchery by commercial fishermen are kept in a holding house from their egg-laying stage until the fry – two or three months old – are ready for release into the ocean.

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Santee National Wildlife Refuge – There are four separate units that make up this 15,095-acre tract all flanked by Lake Marion which is the largest lake in South Carolina. Here one can find a vast array of bird, mammal, fish, reptile and amphibian species that thrive in a protected environment.

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The visitor center on a cove called Scott’s Lake has a diorama, an aquarium and other displays that help to acquaint nature lovers with some of the wildlife found at the reserve including American bald eagles, ospreys, river otters, cottonmouths. striped bass and alligators.

Fort Watson located across from Scott’s Lake was recaptured from the British in 1781 by General Francis (“The Swamp Fox”) Marion. The area is ideal for hiking, biking and fishing. Lake Marion is known for its Atlantic sturgeon, freshwater eels, chain pickerel, and bluegills. Each unit in the refuge has its own boat ramp. Bird watchers can get a free printed checklist of the 293 species observed here. Among those that are permanent to the refuge are pied-billed grebes, little blue herons, blue-winged teals, and Cooper’s hawks. Visiting species include American woodcocks, Barred owls and rock doves.

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Rivers Bridge State Park – Here in February 1865 a force of Confederate artillery, cavalry, and infantry under General Lafayette McLaws fought in vain to stop General William T. Sherman on his devastating march from Savannah north to Virginia. Being outnumbered the Confederates could only delay Sherman for two days before he went on to burn McPhersonville and Columbia. The Confederate soldiers who died at that time were reburied in the park and a monument was erected.

The park facilities now include campsites, picnic areas, a swimming pool, a wading pool for children and a playground. There is a mile-long nature trail beneath pines and live oaks draped with Spanish moss. In early April one can observe colorful wisteria, dogwoods and native azalea. Fishing along the river and on a creek yields crappies, catfish, gar and largemouth bass. The war is recalled by a small brick museum which contains a battle flag that was flown here and other reminders of the conflict.

Rivers Bridge State Park is now on the National Register of Historic Places and is the only state historic site in South Carolina that commemorates the Civil War. The park also offers educational programs about the battle and military life during the Civil War.

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Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge is located in Awendaw. Basically, the area remains almost the same as it was in the days of the Sewee Indians who fished and hunted here and the days of the pirates who liked the maze of waterways. The refuge extends 22-miles along South Carolina’s Atlantic coast and encompasses 66,267 acres of barrier islands, salt marshes, intricate coastal waterways, long sandy beaches, fresh and brackish water impoundments and maritime forest. This makes it an ideal environment for such endangered species as the pelican and loggerhead turtle.

At the visitor center at Moores Landing one can get a bird list of the 262 species found here plus 76 which are considered rare. Wildlife frequently seen include white-tailed deer, southern fox squirrels and racoons. One can catch sight of river otters or dolphins cruising along the creeks and bays. Alligators should be kept an eye out for and the poisonous snakes of the area such as cottonmouths and copperheads.

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The focal point for visitors is Bulls Island. A two-mile trail with informative plaques leads through a lush forest of live oaks, magnolias, and loblolly pines. Shrubs include cabbage palmetto, wax myrtle and holly. There is also a fine beach and fishing is available. In the ponds, one may catch largemouth bass and bream. Surf fishermen try for channel bass. Access to Bull Island is by ferry from Moore’s Landing.

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Currently, the refuge is actively working to aid the recovery of the threatened Loggerhead Sea Turtle which is a frequent summertime visitor to the refuge’s beaches. On Bulls Island and Cape Island, Loggerhead Sea Turtles lay their eggs and shorebirds nest on the refuge.

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Lighthouse Island’s two lighthouses are no longer operational but stand as historic sentinels to the past.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | June 16, 2018

Columbia South Carolina

Columbia is the capital city of the U.S. state of South Carolina. There are many things to do and see in this city.

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The South Carolina Statehouse is one of the top visited tourist attractions. It is an impressive example of Greek Revival architecture. This is the design work of John Niernsee and it is amazing to see that the capital rises up to 180 feet high topped with a patinaed copper dome.

Visitors enjoy walking around the grounds where they can see – The Revolutionary War Generals Monument, The American-Mexican War Monument, The African-American History Monument, and The Confederate Monument. 

There are also other statuary that honour George Washington, South Carolina Senators and fallen State Law Enforcement Officers. There are five stars along the building’s exterior that highlight where Union cannonballs struck the facade during the Civil War. Visitors can get free tours.

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Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is home to over 2,000 animals representing more than 350 species.

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At the African Plains, you can see giraffes, ostriches, zebras, African lions and baboons. The Ndoki Forest offers gorillas, elephants, and meerkats, Siberian tigers and Komodo dragons live at the Asian display and North American species represented are grizzly bears and California sea lions. The zoo also has a botanical garden.

Columbia has lovely historic homes that have been restored and can be toured.

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Robert Mills House and Gardens was built in 1825 in the Classic Revival style. It was the private residence of Robert Mills who designed the Washington Monument in the U.S. capital Washington, D.C. It is now a historic museum and features an extensive collection of period pieces and decorative arts. The gardens have been designed in the classic English style.

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The Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens was built in 1818 as a private residence and home to the prominent Hampton family. Later on, the home served as a Union Army Headquarters during the Civil War and then it became the Governor’s Mansion. The house is surrounded by the Antebellum Gardens.

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The Woodrow Wilson Family Home is the only presidential site in South Carolina. This is an Italianate-villa style mansion that was once the boyhood home of the 28th President of the U.S. Woodrow Wilson.

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Edventure is an incredible one-of-a-kind children’s museum. There are many hands-on exhibits.

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When you get to the museum you’ll be greeted by Eddie, the world’s largest child. This is a statue of a 10-year-old boy that is 40 feet tall and weighs over 17.5 tons. Kids can climb all over him. There are plenty of different activities to keep kids busy. They can climb on a real fire engine and stock shelves in the Neighborhood Market among other fun things to do. The Carousel Cafe has lots of snacks and meals that kids just love.

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The Columbia Museum of Art has over 25 galleries and is one of the most highly regarded art galleries in the southeast. Among the highlights is the Press Collection, a world-class assemblage of Renaissance and Baroque Art. There is also an impressive American art collection.

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Congaree National Park here the waters of the Congaree and Wateree Rivers overflow onto the floor of the low-lying hardwood forest. At the Hampton Visitors Center, you can pick up maps to help guide you. This is one of the tallest deciduous forests in the world.

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Hike the Boardwalk Trail that has marked rails that show numbers corresponding with your map.

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Cedar Creek flows through the centre of the park and is great for canoeing and kayaking. You’ll have to bring your own gear.

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Columbia Canal & Riverfront Park is a popular urban park that stretches along the Saluda River and the Columbia Canal. There are many paved paths for walkers, joggers, and bikers. The park even has an outdoor gym. You’ll find picnic table offering beautiful river views.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | June 13, 2018

Charming Charleston


Welcome to Charleston, a port city in South Carolina. It is known for its cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages and antebellum houses. The heroine of the classic novel “Gone With the Wind” Scarlett had relatives in this city and simply adored it.

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Waterfront Park stretches for over 1,000 ft. along the water and you can enjoy lovely views of Charleston Harbor. As you walk along there are old-fashioned park benches to rest on and double swings face the harbour. You can admire the sailboats and large ships.

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You’ll find many fountains here among them the Pineapple Fountain which is lit up at night. There are beautiful seasonal flower gardens.

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Middleton Place Plantation is a beautiful plantation with the honour of having America’s oldest landscaped gardens. There are landscaped terraces, hedged galleries and pools. The grounds have been created in 17th-century European design. The gardens bloom all through the year with rare camellias in wintertime and azaleas in the spring.

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Taking a tour of the 1755 house you will find out about four generations of Middletons and their slaves. You can see period furniture, silver, rare books, porcelain and portraits.

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The Plantation Stableyards demonstrate life outside of the house with costumed interpreters showing different trades such as blacksmithing, pottery, carpentry, cooperage and weaving.

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Magnolia Plantation and Gardens are America’s oldest publicly accessed gardens and first opened to the public in 1870. Here you’ll also find the nation’s last large-scale Romantic-style garden. Visitors can take a tour of the house, visit an antebellum cabin, take a boat tour, see exhibits and for children a nature centre and a petting zoo.

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South Carolina Aquarium is home to birds, land-dwelling animals, plants and reptiles as well as creatures of the sea.

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There are daily interactive shows like Shark Shallows where you can touch sharks and rays.  Visitors can take a look at animal care at the Sea Turtle Hospital. It is the only hospital for sick and injured sea turtles in South Carolina. The best-loved resident here is Caretta, a 220-pound loggerhead sea turtle, living in the Great Ocean Tank.

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The Old Slave Mart Museum is housed in the building where slaves were once auctioned prior to the Civil War. Visitors can take a self-guiding tour with signage the explains the history and gives personal accounts of slaves, artefacts and audio and visual exhibits.

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A block from there you’ll find the Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon with costumed guides who relate the history of pirates and patriots who were once imprisoned here.

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Patriots Point is located just across the Charleston Harbor. This is where you can board the USS Yorktown. This is a huge vessel that was the tenth aircraft carrier to serve in the United States Navy. It received the Presidential Unit Citation and earned 11 battle stars for service in WW II as well as 5 battle stars for service in Vietnam. She was the vessel chosen to recover the Apollo 8 astronauts and was in the 1944 documentary “The Fighting Lady”. The vessel is now retired to Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum. At this place, you can also tour aircraft, submarines and see maritime exhibits.

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Boone Hall Plantation is one of America’s oldest working plantations.

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It was built in 1681 and is best-known for its moss-draped, three-quarter mile Avenue of Oaks and for preserving original slave cabins. At the Boone Hall Farm Market, you can purchase fruit, berries and vegetables.

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The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge or Ravenel Bridge is a well-loved landmark that stretches across the Cooper River. It joins downtown Charleston to Mount Pleasant. This bridge was built to withstand in excess of 300 miles per hour wind and a 7.4-scale earthquake. There are multiple traffic lanes and a bicycle-pedestrian path known as Wonders’ Way.

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Drayton Hall is the oldest unrestored plantation house in America which is still open to the public. There are guided tours of the house. The interiors have been untouched and you can see how it all looked in the 18th century. It was one of the few plantation houses to survive the Civil War.

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There is an African-American cemetery which is among the oldest such cemetery in the nation still in use.

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Fort Sumter National Monument the Civil War began on April 12, 1861, at Fort Sumter when the Confederate pummeled the federal fort in Charleston Harbor. The ruins are well preserved. National Park Rangers tell visitors the story of the fort and how it helped shape history. Visitors ride to the island by boat.

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The Charleston Museum is known as “America’s First Museum” and was founded in 1773. There are permanent exhibits with displays of Native Americans and early settlers in the Low country History Hall. The Early Days Gallery has collections of 19th-century world travelers, an Egyptian mummy and case and Greek and Roman antiquities.

The Loeblein Gallery of Charleston Silver displays southern-made silver through the Victorian Era. The Historic Textiles Gallery has an outstanding collection of historic needlework, costumes and textiles. Kid Story brings to life the history of Charleston and the Low country with hands-on exhibits.

Visitors can take a peek into two aristocratic mansions:

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The Nathanial Russell House dating from 1808 is among America’s most important neo-Classical homes. It is known for its free-standing, three-story staircase and ornate plasterwork. It is furnished with fine and decorative art and also known for its lovely gardens.

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The Aiken-Rhett House dates from 1820. It remained in the same family for 142 years and later became a museum.

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The Calhoun Mansion represents a different era from the Historic Charleston Foundation’s antebellum homes. This is an 1876 Italianate mansion with Gilded Age decor. There are 30 main rooms that have outstanding collections of decorative arts of the late 19th-century era. Behind the mansion are formal English gardens.

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The Battery and White Point Garden – the promenade along the seawall by the Ashley and Cooper Rivers where they meet and form the Charleston Harbor became a public garden in 1837. Visitors can see historic mortars and cannons and a Confederate monument.

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From the gardens, you can have great views of Fort Sumter and Charleston Harbor.

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Charleston has many historic churches. Among them, the most interesting is the brownstone Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. This is a neo-Gothic structure that was built to replace the original lost in a fire. The pews are carved from Flemish oak and three original altars are made of white marble. There are impressive stained glass windows as well.

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The Circular Congregational Church was built in the Romanesque-style.

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The French Huguenot Church is home to the oldest continuously active Huguenot congregation in the U.S.

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Michael’s Episcopal Church is a National Historic Landmark dating from 1751. It is known for its four stained glass windows by Tiffany Company of New York and for the cedar pew where George Washington sat in 1791.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | June 10, 2018

Marvelous Myrtle Beach


South Carolina is a southeastern U.S. state that is famous for its shoreline sub-tropical beaches and marsh-like sea islands.

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Arriving in South Carolina you can enjoy yourself at the vacation town Myrtle Beach with beaches along the Atlantic coast.

The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk & Promenade is a 1.2-mile walkway along the ocean. It opened in 2010 and is made up of three sections.

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North Walkway features a raised wooden deck with dune vegetation and landscaping.

The next section offers beachfront arcades, cafes and shops and is the busiest part.

South Promenade is a seaside park with natural landscaping and benches You can see weekly fireworks shows at the 2nd Avenue Pier.

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You can catch great entertainment on the Grand Strand. The Carolina Opry offers visitors four productions with catchy and classic tunes. The performances showcase talented singers, musicians, comedians and dancers. There are laser light shows with classic rock music and during the holidays a Christmas special.

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Right next door you’ll find Dolly Parton’s Pirates Voyage. Guests are offered a dinner show. You sit in front of a watery stage and can watch acrobatic pirates from the Sapphire and Crimson crews battle each other for victory. Joining the pirates are sea lions, parrots and other live animals. If you like you can join in on the fun.

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Broadway at the Beach offers such attractions as Old Tyme Portraits, Ripley’s Aquarium and Fantasy Golf. There are plenty of dining places with a large choice of food. You can take paddle-boat rides and enjoy an after-dark stroll on the Broadway bridges that stretch over the Intercoastal Waterway.

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Barefoot Landing offers visitors a large selection of entertainment, food and shopping. Among the attractions here are Alligator Adventure, Mirror Maze

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and the T.I.G.E.R.S./Preservation Station where you can see tiger cube and take photos with them. In the evening you can watch a show at The Alabama Theater or the House of Blues. If you prefer you can join the Myrtle Beach Ghost Walk.

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The Myrtle Beach Sky Wheel opened in 2011 and will take you to the skies in 42 six-person gondolas. You can get plenty of great views in the 10-minute ride. If you like you can reserve the VIP options which is a 20-minute ride in a gondola with a glass floor. The wheel is illuminated at night by one million LED lights.

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At the Brookgreen Gardens, you can see intricate sculptures as well as native alligators, osprey and waterfowl in their natural habitat. Visitors can cruise on a 48 ft. pontoon along historic rice fields. Visitors learn from interpreters about the history of the estate and the surrounding area.

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You can tour a Civil War fort, the back roads of the Oaks Plantation and the cemetery where generations of the Alston family rest.

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Myrtle Waves is the largest water park in South Carolina. There are all kinds of slides, rides, rafts and chutes. Among the most thrilling slides are the Turbo Twisters, the King Cobra shoot on Snake Mountain and Night Flight.

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Myrtle Beach Safari offers a guided walking tour called the Wild Encounter Tour through the 50-acre wildlife preserve. The tour takes three hours and lets visitors see animals living in the wild.

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Most of them are African mammals like chimpanzees, leopards, orangutans, tigers and other endangered species. Tours are offered from March to October.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | June 7, 2018

Georgia – Off the Beaten Path

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Cloudland Canyon State Park is located in Trenton. The Sitton Gulch Creek has carved a large gorge through the western edge of Lookout Mountain making the elevation between the highest and lowest points more than 1,000 feet. There are wonderful scenic views of rugged rock faces, ridges, valleys and waterfalls.

Hemlocks, dogwoods, holly, mountain laurel and rhododendrons fill the forests. For hikers and nature lovers there is the 4.7 mile Rim Loop Trail which leads through thickly wooded mountain terrain. Along the way, one can see cardinals, red-tailed hawks, barn owls and pileated woodpeckers. Grey foxes and white-tailed deer can often be seen and on occasion a bobcat. There are several picnic areas and a playground.

Among the activities to be enjoyed here are hiking, camping, swimming and even tennis. Accommodations include rustic cabins with fireplaces and screened porches, family camping areas and more remote primitive sites accessible only on foot.

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Dahlonega Courthouse Gold MuseumProspectors came rushing to this area when word spread that gold had been found here in Cherokee country in 1828. This led to the illegal annexation of much of the Indian’s ancestral land. In less than 10 years time more than $1.7 million in gold had been shipped to the Philadelphia Mint. One of the new districts created from Cherokee Territory was Lumpkin County. Dahlonega takes its name from a Cherokee word meaning “precious yellow” and it became the county seat. Today one can visit the handsome 1836 brick building which served for nearly 130 years as the courthouse.

The Lumpkin County Courthouse is the oldest courthouse in Georgia. Here one can see many interesting reminders of the quest for gold. Visitors are introduced to the region’s history by a short talk and a 12-minute slide show. Exhibits and paintings illustrate the sad fate of the Cherokees and show the methods used in gold mining. Among the many fascinating displays are gold nuggets and coins, a working miniature model of a stamp mill and a chart showing Georgia gold-production totals from 1832 to 1942.

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Traveler’s Rest is located east of Toccoa. In the early 1800s, the Tugaloo River Valley was inhabited by the Cherokee Indians. It became a busy crossroads for stagecoach and riverboat travellers. An enterprising local plantation owner Devereaux Jarrett bought a small wayside inn in 1833 and expanded it into a long, rambling structure with eight rooms on the ground floor and five more above. The building housed an inn, a store, a post office and a home for the Jarrett family.

It was also the headquarters of Jarrett’s 14,000-acre plantation.  It became known as the Traveler’s Rest and stayed in business until 1877 but it remained in possession of the Jarrett family until 1955. It has now been restored to its mid-19th-century appearance as a combined plantation hall and hostelry. It is panelled throughout with wide, unpainted pine planks and contains many original pieces including a roundtable with a Georgia marble top, a 1840s cherry plantation desk and a 1840s walnut corner cupboard. One can see the original second-floor post office and a common bedroom with a tin tub and two beds (each large enough for three guests). The outbuildings surrounded by white oaks and American holly include slave cabins and a loom house. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark on January 29, 1964.

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Etowah Mounds Historic Site – From 1000 A.D. to 1500 A.D. the Etowah Indians lived on this 54-acre site. Here along the river that is in their name, the Indians built a village with two public squares or plazas, three great earthen mounds with flat platform tops and several lesser mounds. The plazas were used as gathering places for the villagers and other Indians who came for commerce, important festivals and burial ceremonies. The largest of the mounds (63 feet high, with a platform a ½ acre in extent) is thought to have been a temple as well as the priest ruler’s residence. Excavations of one of the smaller mounds revealed the burials of more than 500 of the tribal elite.

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Today the plazas are overgrown with grasses and the great mounds loom over them in silence. One can see traces of the moat and the borrow pits from which earth was taken to construct the mounds. Climbing atop of the highest mound you can see on the eastern horizon a deep notch in the Allatoona Mountain range. When the summer solstice (about June 22nd) arrives the sun rises through this notch, a phenomenon that may have figured in Etowah rituals. Near the entrance of the site is the Etowah Archaeological Museum which displays artefacts, slides, and a diorama depicting the life of the Etowah.

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Uncle Remus Museum in Eatonton is where the fabulous characters from the Uncle Remus stories were born – Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, Sis Goose and others. The author Joel Chandler Harris was born in Eatonton and the slaves “Uncle” George Terrell and “Uncle” Bob Capers worked on Joseph Addison Turner’s plantation. Turner was a lawyer, a scholar and the publisher of a small newspaper. He gave Harris his first job at the age of 13. The museum is housed in two connected slave cabins. In these simple log structures the world of tar-baby, the laughing place and the brier patch are brought to life by dioramas and other exhibits.

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Colourful scenes in each of the windows depict the countryside of a southern plantation during the antebellum days. A replica of Uncle Remus’s fireplace is at one end of the cabin and around it are displayed the various 19th-century household articles mentioned in the tales. Against one wall of the cabin hangs a large portrait of Uncle Remus and Joseph Sydney Turner, the Little Boy in the stories and the son of Joseph Addison Turner. The first editions of many of Harris’s works, including his stories of the Old South and the Reconstruction days are on display and copies of his and other children’s books are on sale.

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Providence Canyon State Park is a scenic 200-acre canyon area (massive gullies as deep as 150 feet were caused by poor farming practices during the 1800s) which is dominated by the 1,208-acre park. Here wild plants and shrubs grow including the rare Plumleaf Azalea whose flowers range in color from orange to various shades of red. It blooms from July to September. Other indigenous plants include verbena, maypop, wild ginger, and prickly pear.

There is a two-mile trail called the Canyon Rim Trail which has 20 overlooks. It winds past clumps of sumac and stands of hickories and slash pines. One may see racoons and opossums and hawks circling overhead. The park also offers picnic groves, two short trails leading to the canyon floor and an eight-mile backpacking trail. Camping and cottages are available at nearby Florence Marina State Park on beautiful Lake Walter F. George.

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Seminole State Park was named for the Indians that lived in the region before settlers came. This 300-acre park is known for its water sports – boating, water skiing, canoeing and swimming. The main feature here is Seminole Lake which is a favorite with fishermen. The lakes shallow waters contain more species of fish than any other lake in Georgia. It is reputed to have the best largemouth bass fishing in the U.S. Other fish to be caught here are crappies, jack, bream, catfish, and yellow perch. Along the lakefront one can find picnic tables some beneath shelters.

You can also view the lake from rented cottages, tent and trailer campgrounds which are shaded by longleaf pines, poplars, sweet gums and cedars. Pioneer camping is available in the more remote areas of the park where the blooming of dogwoods and wild blackberries signal the arrival of spring. Bird watchers can view several species of large hawks and the gopher tortoise which is an endangered species can also be found here. Observant visitors may also see alligators, osprey, bald eagles and other wildlife.

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Cumberland Island National Seashore – This historic sandpit which is the southernmost of Georgia’s sea islands has been inhabited for some 4,000 years. To help protect their holdings in Florida the Spaniards built a fort here in the 16th century. A Franciscan mission was established and many Timucan Indians were converted. The Spanish called the island San Pedro. In the 18th century, an Indian who had visited the Duke of Cumberland in England suggested changing the name of the island in honor of him. This small island, about 18 miles long and 4 miles at the widest point supports a fascinating range of ecological zones, each with its own population of plants, birds, and animals.

The beach is great for swimming and is frequented by shorebirds that follow the tides. The grasses and the sand are stabilized by sea oats and low-growing plants carpet the meadows between the dunes. At the place where the soil is the deepest a maritime forest of oaks, magnolias, red bay, and various pines has been established and a salt marsh sanctuary on the estuary side supports its own waving sea of cordgrass. The sloughs and ponds are home to alligators, otters, and minks. Wild horses may also be seen. The island has walking trails and camps for backpackers. There is a museum displaying Indian artefacts and interprets the history of the island.


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Posted by: RasmaSandra | June 5, 2018

Amazing Atlanta


Atlanta is the capital of the U.S. state of Georgia. It played an important role in both the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. The city had the honor to host the 1996 Olympics.

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The World of Coca-Cola is a fun museum that lets you take a look at Coca-Cola all through the years. You’ll learn about how it was developed and see lots of memorabilia and Coca-Cola artifacts. There is a 4D theater that celebrates the experiences of people with Coca-Cola all over the world.

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The Georgia Aquarium is home to 120,000 marine animals including California sea lions and dolphins.

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The marine animals have ten million gallons of water to swim in. You can see rare albino alligators and watch trainers interact with the California sea lions. Visitors can even dive or snorkel in a tank with sharks. To participate you must have a SCUBA diving certification. There is an impressive acrylic tunnel to walk through and view fish all around you. The aquarium also has a 4D theater, a restaurant and offers “behind the sea” tours about how the aquarium operates.

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Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site celebrates the life and achievements of well-known civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. This national historic monument takes up several blocks just east of downtown Atlanta.

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There is a visitors center which offers information and a map of the site. There are exhibits that focus on racial segregation and violence that occurred in America and were the basis of King’s work.

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The High Museum is an impressive modern building and is known for its world-leading art exhibitions. It was designed by architect Richard Meier and enlarged with three new buildings designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano. It is known for its artwork by 19th-century French artists and there’s an extensive collection of 19th and 20th-century American art. Visitors can also delight in European paintings, decorative art, modern and contemporary art, photography and African art. The museum also hosts an annual film series that features foreign, independent and classic cinema.

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The Centennial Olympic Park was built for the 1996 Summer Olympics hosted by Atlanta. It is now a popular public park

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The highlight of the park is the Fountain of Rings. Four times during each day the amazing water feature “plays”.

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The Center for Civil and Human Rights was added to the park in 2014. It pays tribute to both the American Civil Rights and human rights movements all over the world. One memorable part of the museum shows a powerful simulation of what being a protestor at the Woolworth’s Lunch Counter was like in the 1960s.

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Next, to the park, you’ll find The Children’s Museum of Atlanta. This is a museum built as a “museum without walls” and takes up 30,000 square feet of space. Children love it and there are different interactive exhibits.

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College Football Hall of Fame features college football which is a vital part of American culture. It has three floors, lots to see and an interactive experience based on which team you support and an attempt to kick a 20-yard field goal.

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The Fox Theater in Midtown is both an iconic landmark and a venue for the performing arts. It offers entertainment like operas, ballet, rock concerts and movies. It was built in the 1920s as the Yaarab Temple Shrine Mosque with an Arabian-themed design. It has a prominent place on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Inside the 1929 appearance has been preserved.

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The theater also has two ballrooms – the Egyptian Ballroom and the Grand Salon. Both are available for special events. Visitors can get a tour of the theater, exploring ten different locations including the orchestra pit and the largest working organ of its kind in the world.

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Stone Mountain Park is one of the most popular places to visit near Atlanta. It is located 16 miles east of the city center in DeKalb County. At the heart of the park is an 863-foot-high mass of exposed granite with a circumference of five miles.

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On the east side of the hill is a relief of the three Confederate leaders – President Jefferson Davis and his two generals, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. Visitors can climb to the top of the hill or take a cable car. Around the hill runs a 1940s locomotive on a five-mile circuit through the park. You can enjoy endurance courses of suspended rope walks and bridges through the treetops, a petting farm for small children, a land/lake tour on a 1940s Army DUKW that includes some local history, a restored antebellum plantation and a museum with Native American artifacts and exhibits.

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The CNN Center is the headquarters of CNN. There are several news programs filmed in the building. The best thing here is the studio tour which lets visitors see how news is broadcast and meet some of the stars of the morning news broadcasts. You’ll find the world’s largest and longest freestanding escalator here with a model of the earth at the top.

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In the center of the city is Grant Park which is home to Zoo Atlanta with tigers, elephants, and flamingos.

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Its most popular residents are the panda cubs. A huge mural on the southern edge of the park depicts the Battle of Atlanta.


The Turner Field Baseball Stadium is an iconic landmark and home of the Atlanta Braves. It opened in 1997 and is one of the most state-of-the-art baseball stadiums in the U.S. Tours are available.

The Atlanta History Center is located in the historic area of Buckhead. It portrays the history of the city.

This large complex includes:

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The Atlanta History Museum,

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the Centennial Olympic Games Museum, Swan House, Smith Family Farm and the Kenan Research Center as well as a number of historic gardens.

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Swan House is the former home of Emily and Edward Inman. This mansion was built in the neo-Classical style and is one of the finest period homes in the city. There is a double stairway leading up to the house, separated by a cascading water feature. This is an open house with costumed performers.

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Nearby is the Margaret Mitchell House with the apartment where Mitchell wrote “Gone With the Wind”. Guided tours include a look at this room and a brief film and exhibition on Mitchell.

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There are six historic gardens. The Frank A. Smith Rhododendron Garden is the loveliest in the spring when rhododendrons and azaleas bloom.

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There is also the Tullie Smith Farm with a 1860s-style garden.

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The Botanical Gardens include formal flower beds and majestic trees. Some of the highlights here are the Orchid Display House, the Winter Garden, the Japanese Garden, the Conservation Garden and the Desert House.

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Two of the major specialties are the Rose Garden and the hydrangeas. There is a special garden for children and an elevated boardwalk that gives visitors tree-top views of the forest below.  You can see tortoises and frogs in natural environments.

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The First Ebenezer Baptist Church is the church where Martin Luther King Jr. was the pastor as well as his father and grandfather before him. This is also the church where his mother was murdered by a gunman as she sat at the organ. It has been preserved in the style of the 1960s.

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The New Ebenezer Church just across the street holds Sunday services.


The Carter Center features the history of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. There is a Japanese style garden with butterflies.

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The Oakland Cemetery is located about a mile from downtown Atlanta. It is the final resting place of some of the city’s most important residents. Tours are available on the weekends.

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You can find the final resting places of Bobby Jones and Margaret Mitchell. The cemetery was declared a National Historic Landmark. There is also parkland with gardens, sculptures, and wildlife. Here you’ll also find a Visitor Center and Museum shop.

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Piedmont Park is the oldest and largest park in the Atlanta metro area. The grounds were the site of the Battle at Peachtree Creek during the Civil War.

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In the park, you can find walking and running trails as well as off-leash dog parks, gardens, sports fields, a lake with a fishing pier, playgrounds for children, a swimming pool at the Piedmont Park Aquatic Center and a splash pad for children at the Legacy Fountain.

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On Saturdays, local farmers and artisans gather for the Green Market where you can purchase almost anything. From 11 AM to noon are chef demonstrations. On Saturday mornings from April through November there are free guided walking tours available and on the first Saturday of every month special bird walks, exploring the many different habitats in the park. The park plays host to different events, from musical entertainment to fitness programs.

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Varsity is a modern-day Atlanta icon. It is a fast food chain serving classic American food like burgers and hot dogs.

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The flagship restaurant in downtown is the largest drive-in burger joint in the country and has room for 600 cars. It is most popular with the students at Georgia Tech especially when football games are held.

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Six Flags Over Georgia is a Six Flags theme park. It is the most popular family attraction in Atlanta. In 2016 a virtual reality rollercoaster was added. There are thrill rides like Superman: Ultimate Flight and the Great American Scream Machine.

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The Museum of Design is the only museum in the southwest of the U.S. dedicated to the appreciation and history of design. Exhibits change regularly. Children enjoy the Lego workshops that teach the fundamentals of design.

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The Center for Puppetry is one of the few museums dedicated to the puppetry art.

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The museum teaches visitors about the beginnings of puppetry through interactive exhibits and shows them how entertaining puppet shows can be.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | June 1, 2018

Spectacular Savannah

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Our armchair travels have taken us from the U.S. state of Florida to Georgia which is just above Florida. Our first stop will be the coastal city of Savannah which is separated from the state of South Carolina by the Savannah River. Georgia is a southeastern state.

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Forsyth Park is a lovely green and lush landscape. There are 30 acres of flowers, foliage, and trees. You can have a relaxing time, catch open-air concerts and find a farmer’s market every Saturday.

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The most well-known feature in the park is the large fountain located at the north end. It was built in 1858. There are benches all around the fountain and on St. Patrick’s Day the fountain spurts green water.


The is the Confederate Monument in the center of Forsyth Park. It is a large ornate column with a bronze soldier on top. It is dedicated to all the men who fought on behalf of the Confederacy during the Civil War.

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The City Market is fantastic to see with four blocks of open-air shopping. It is surrounded by restored warehouses in which you can also find shops, art and even dining. It is a great place to sit and watch people going by. In the evening the bars can get lively here.

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The Owens-Thomas House is an impressive example of English Regency architecture. It was built in 1819 by a Bermuda merchant and late purchase by a congressman.

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Today it is a National Historic Landmark. There is also a carriage house, the parterre garden and one of the earliest urban slave quarters.

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Telfair Museum of Art is the oldest art museum in the South. It has found its home in a classical Regency mansion that was designed by an English architect and purchased by the son of the Georgian government. It was completed in 1819. There was a sculpture gallery and a rotunda added to it. Visitors can see the restored interior rooms, paintings from German Impressionists and American French period furniture. The museum is also home to the largest public collection of paintings by Kahlil Gibran, a Lebanese-American writer, poet and visual artist.

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The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is referred to as the most impressive building in Savannah. It has towering spires and stained glass.

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You can attend a religious mass or enjoy a guided or self-guided tour. The cathedral was built in 1876 and after a fire, it was rebuilt.

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The Historic Savannah Theater is the oldest continually operating theater in the U.S. It was built in 1818.

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It sits on Chippewa Square. It offers nightly shows.

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Right outside of the theater is the bench where several scenes of the movie “Forrest Gump” were filmed.

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Wormsloe Historic Site is so lovely with mossy oak trees hanging over a beautiful lane.

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There is a wonderful avenue lined with oaks and Spanish moss that leads up to the ruins of Wormsloe, a colonial estate. This is the oldest standing structure in Savannah.

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You can visit the museum with colonials artifacts and hike the nature trail that takes you through the ruins, to a march, and around the grounds. There are guided tours available.

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The Savannah Waterfront stretches along the Savannah River. You can walk the cobblestone streets and check out the businesses in the warehouses right on the river. You can find it all here – shopping, dining, drinking, and galleries.

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The Wilkes House offers the finest in Southern cooking. On the menu, you can find food like fried chicken, sweet potatoes, okra, gumbo, cornbread and biscuits and so much more. The menu changes daily. The seating here is family-style where everyone pays a flat price for dining.

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The Bonaventure Cemetery with ghostly Spanish moss and some Southern ghosts can take you on a real adventure. This is one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world. You can take a tour or just wander about. You can get a free guided tour on the second Sunday of each month.

Among the famous graves are:

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Johnny Mercer (1909 – 1976) who was the founder of Capitol Records.

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Poet Conrad Aiken 

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The grave of Little Gracie Watson is perhaps the most famous grave in Bonaventure Cemetery is that of Little Gracie Watson a little girl who died of pneumonia in 1889. She was popular with people because her father managed the famous Pulaski Hotel at that time and she was adored by all.

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Old Fort Jackson is the oldest standing brick fort in Georgia. It was built in 1808 and attracts 50,000 visitors every year. The fort was named after a Georgian governor who freed Savannah from British rule.

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There were additions made to the fort during the War of 1812. There are self-guided tours available and from the top, you can get spectacular views of the Savannah River.

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Fort Pulaskee National Monument was built in the 1800s and stands on an island in the Savannah River, between Savannah and Tybee Island. It was the first Confederate masonry fort to fall under Union cannon fire, marking a turning point in military history. There are trails like the North Pier Trail to explore. The trail goes through the original construction building an passes a 19th-century battery.

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There is a lighthouse, a historic dike system, bike paths and much more.

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Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace is a house museum that was created especially for girls and celebrates the woman who founded the American Girl Scouts.

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Low was born in this house which now belongs to the Girl Scouts of the U.S. She established the Girl Scouts in 1912. There are 45-minute guided tours available.

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The University of Georgia Aquarium is a marine education center and aquarium on Skidaway Island. Here you will find exhibits on the marine animals that live nearest the state. You can also see wooly mammoths and mastodons, ancient creatures once living in this area.

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The Mercer-Williams House was once the home of lyricist Johnny Mercer. It was also once the home of Jim Williams who found fame among the pages of the book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” by John Berendt. He is the only person in the state of Georgia who was tried four times for the same crime. It was a grisly murder that occurred in this very house. You can explore the house with furnishings dating back to the 1700s but you cannot see the murder site.

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The Andrew Low House was built in 1848 and features an Italianate exterior.

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This was the family home of Juliette Gordon Low. After Low died it was purchased by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America

Tri-centennial Park is where you can find three different museums.

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The Savannah History Museum and Battlefield Memorial Park

The history museum offers a self-guided introduction to the economic and cultural history of Savannah from the pre-Colonial period to the present day.

The Battlefield Memorial Park is a memorial to the hundreds of soldiers who fought and died for freedom On October 9, 1779, over 8,000 troops of three armies fought during the Revolutionary War Battle in Savannah. It was the second bloodiest battle of the war and about 8,000 troops died or were wounded.

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The Georgia State Railroad Museum is thought to be the largest and most complete Antebellum railroad repair facility still in existence in the world. Visitors can walk about the ground and learn the function of each building. You can also take part in scheduled activities such as a train ride, rail car tours, the hand car and children’s activities in the Baggage Car.

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The Savannah Children’s Museum is an entirely outdoor museum that features many programs and exhibits specially designed for the imagination of children among them an exploration maze, reading nook and sensory garden.

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Leopold’s Ice Cream is a little ice cream shop that has remained the same since 1919. It was opened by Hollywood producer Stratton Leopold.

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The ice cream is made on site with fantastic ingredients and recipes passed down through the generations. Its signature flavor is Tutti-Frutti.

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The Olde Pink House Restaurant offers a lovely setting with chandeliers, 18th-century architecture and a beautiful dining room fireplace. The cuisine is Southern. It also has some ghostly visitors. It is one of the oldest and most haunted buildings in Savannah.

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Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum has found its home in the house of the man who owned the very first steamship to successfully cross the Atlantic Ocean. It has one of the largest gardens in the Savannah historic district. The museum was founded in 1966 and exhibits ship models, paintings and maritime antiques most from the great era of Atlantic trade and travel between America and England in the 18th and 19th centuries. The house was built for William Scarbrough, one of the principal owners of the Steamship Savannah and president of the Savannah Steamship Company. The lush gardens are available for weddings and corporate events.

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Colonial Park Cemetery dates from 1750 and has many graves from some of the very first colonists.

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There are also graves of those who died from the yellow-fever epidemic. It has become the place for ghost hunting after dark.

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Fort McAllister State Park is famous for sustaining many attacks during the Civil War. It finally fell under General Sherman. You can camp on site if you like. See the museum with many Civil War artifacts and enjoy the nearby wetland wildlife.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | May 30, 2018

Florida Off the Beaten Path

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Blackwater River State Park is one of the few remaining sand-bottom rivers in the Southeast and even though its water is tannin-stained it is one of the cleanest. It is located in Holt, Florida. The park offers both canoeing and swimming and has fine sand beaches. There are nature trails which wind through more than 600 acres, a boardwalk across a swamp and a picnic area. The ecological systems here include the river floodplain with swamps, sand levees, and small lakes. In the woods, one can see white-tailed deer and turkeys.

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The river otter roams the floodplain. One of the largest and oldest Atlantic white cedars stands among the other trees that line the river.

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You’ll find the Paynes Prairie State Preserve in Micanopy. It was named in honor of the Seminole Indian King Payne who was killed in a battle with American settlers near the Georgia border in 1812. In 1970 the state purchased some 18,000 acres to make a habitat for wildlife.

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A panoramic view can be enjoyed from a 50-foot observation tower. Birding is superb here and at the visitor’s center, one can get a list of the 215 species making their home at the preserve. There is a recreation area at Lake Wauberg and Sawgrass Pond that is popular for picnicking, swimming, boating, and fishing.

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The preserve also has several miles of riding trails and a corral.

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Buffalo and other wildlife can be seen and there are guided observation walks available.

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Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Historic Site – Marjorie Rawlings came to live in Cross Creek in 1928. At that time she was an unknown writer and lived in poverty. Seven years later she sold her first story and her reputation started growing.

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Finally, she wrote her most famous work “The Yearling” which won a Pulitzer Prize. Her home is a typical Cracker homestead which is designed for optimum cross-ventilation. The house consists of three clapboard units which are connected by porches and shaded by wide overhangs. The home is surrounded by orange trees and magnolia. In 2007 Rawlings house and farmyard was designated as a National Historic Landmark, in 2008 the United States Postal Service released a commemorative stamp honoring her and Marjorie Rawlings was honored as a First Floridian by Governor Charlie Crist in March 2009.

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Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Canaveral National Seashore – Merritt Island was inhabited by Indians since about 7,000 B.C. This refuge shares a border with the John F. Kennedy Space Center.

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There are 13 miles of unspoiled golden sand between Apollo and Palyalinda Beaches. One can hike and take the time to swim and gather seashells. One can also shellfish, and surf cast for pompano, bluefish and other species. Boating, canoeing, and fishing can be enjoyed at the adjacent Mosquito Lagoon. The refuge has two nature drives which can be explored by car and on foot two short hiking trails. There are 250 bird species to be observed. Birds such as great blue and green herons, snowy egrets and the rare anhingas and black skimmers can be seen here. There are also 19 endangered species most notably the southern bald eagle and the brown pelican.

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Offshore one can occasionally see porpoises, manatees, and whales. The Canaveral information center offers a slide show on the history of this tidal area and the wildlife it supports.

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Fort Foster Historic Site is located south of Zephyrhills in Florida. The log fort and the wooden bridge that spans the Hillsborough River are reconstructions of the originals that were built here in 1836 during the Second Seminole War which is said to be the most costly Indian War in United States history. The fort was meant to safeguard the bridge along Fort King Military Road from Tampa Bay to what is now Ocala. The frontier bastion remained garrisoned until June 1838 and during its last few months was in the command of General Zachary Taylor who was later to become the 12th U.S. president. The fort may be visited only by one of the tours leaving hourly on weekends from adjacent Hillsborough River State Park.

A quarter-mile trip by van from the park’s visitor center takes one to a shelter 900 feet from the site. Then visitors continue on foot along the old Fort King Military Road to the fort. Rangers in the uniforms of those 2nd Artillery soldiers who manned the fort in 1837 explain the events of that time and the life of the artillerymen posted here.

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Hillsborough River State Park is noted for its beautiful scenery and flanks 10 miles of riverfront.

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There are some 3,000 acres of hardwood, hammocks, pine flat woods and marsh.

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The river and its rapids attract fishermen, who catch bass, catfish, garfish and other game fish. The park also has a swimming pond, a network of trails and canoe rentals.

Elliott Museum and Gilbert’s Bar House of Refuge is located on Hutchinson Island, Stuart.

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At the Elliott Museum, one can see replicas of 19th-century shops – an ice cream parlor, tobacco and apothecary shops, a shoe store, a millinery, and a combination general store and post office complete with display items and original fixtures. Children will be fascinated by an elaborate four-ring toy circus with animals, performers and spectators, and a furnished dollhouse of the Revolutionary War period. Some of the other hundreds of items to be admired are model trains, lead soldiers, a collection of clocks and watches, classic automobiles, glassware and Indian artifacts. These exhibits reflect the interests of Harmon P. Elliot who built the museum in memory of his father, Sterling. Both father and son were prolific inventors and between them, they obtained more than 220 patents. One of the more intriguing innovations to see is the father’s knot-tying machine which was patented in 1881.

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Gilbert’s Bar House of Refuge was named for the pirate Don Pedro Gilbert. It opened in 1876 and served until 1945 as a way station for seamen shipwrecked off the treacherous coastline here. It has been completely restored and is included in The National Register of Historic Places. The clapboard house contains some fine Victorian furniture and an array of antique nautical equipment, woodworking tools, and memorabilia. On display are such lifesaving devices as a Lyle gun, used to fire lines from shore to ship, and a breeches buoy.

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Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples includes over 11,000 acres of wilderness. There are pine flat woods, wet prairie, swampland, and typical hardwood hammocks. Native plants can be enjoyed on foot along a beautiful 1 ¾ mile long boardwalk overhung by Spanish moss. It is the home of the nation’s largest surviving stand of virgin bald cypress trees many of which are about 700 years old. One can see lettuce lakes, cypress knees, floating russocks, water hemlock, ropes of the strangler fig, ferns and lilies, brilliant hibiscus, royal palms and various epiphytes (plants such as the tree-growing butterfly, cigar and clamshell orchids that grow on other plants).

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Among the birds seen here are cardinals, red-shouldered hawks and rare birds known as limpkins and the country’s largest colony of wood storks. There are also alligators, Florida water snakes, mosquito fish, and turtles. At the visitor’s center on display are photos of the wildlife found in the swamp and a diorama of the ecological profile of a swamp. The sanctuary is managed by the National Audubon Society.

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Biscayne National Park is an oceanic expanse of 175,000 acres encompasses the keys and living coral reefs of southern Biscayne Bay. It is one of the largest marine preserves in the United States. Waters here are turquoise and crystal clear. They are great for fishing, boating, snorkeling, scuba diving and marine gazing in general. The best way to explore the park is by boat. Visitors can launch their own at Convoy Point, the mainland information center or take a tour. One can take a 1 ½ hour excursion in a glass-bottom boat along the mangrove-fringed shoreline. It gives a colorful view of the grassy seabeds and the shrimp, lobster, green turtles, sponges and exotic tropical fish lurking along the bottom.

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Visitors can also take an excursion on a 50-foot excursion boat to Elliott Key seven miles offshore. Here one can find a small swimming beach on the ocean side and get a chance to snorkel or dive around coral reefs. There is a boardwalk on a 1 ½ mile nature trail through a hardwood hammock. The visitor center on Elliot Key presents programs on the ecosystem of the wetlands and the plants and wildlife inhabiting them. At Convoy Information Center visitors are familiarized with the local coral, sponges, and shellfish. Along the shore are picnic tables with grills beside tree-high sea grapes and mahogany trees. Here you can watch brown pelicans, double-crested cormorants, white and blue herons, terns and gulls. The fish most often caught are bluefish, pompano, striped bass, and groupers. One can also catch blue crabs and crayfish. Lobstering is not permitted because this preserve is a sanctuary for this shellfish.

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Flamingo Area Everglades National Park – Flamingo on the shore of Florida Bay is the center for sightseeing in the southern sector of the primeval Everglades. Visitors can choose foot trails, canoe trails or privately operated cruises. There are four walking trails.

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The most popular is Snake Bight Trail along which one can go on foot or ride the wilderness tram which starts near the park ranger station. There are some 345 bird species and nearly 100 kinds of butterflies including such rarities as the dingy purple wings, least Florida skippers, mimics and byssus skippers.

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The park is also host to Seminole bats, nine-banded armadillos, black bears, Everglade minks, and bobcats. On the Rowdy Bend, Bear Lake and Christian Point trails one can see other facets of this unique ecological system. Four cruises go along the local waterways, three of them along scenic Florida Bay. At low tide, you can expect to see brown pelicans, egrets, great blue herons, and other large birds looking along the shoreline for food. For those who are interested in seeing the inland waterways and plant life there is a pontoon boat that goes into the Everglade wilderness. Any of the five different trails can be taken by canoe. There is even a 100-mile Wilderness Waterway which takes one through the backcountry between Everglade City and Flamingo. Canoes, skiffs, outboard motors, pontoon boats, bicycles and fishing gear may all be rented.


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Posted by: RasmaSandra | May 28, 2018

Fantastic Florida


The U.S. state of Florida has much to offer tourists. We will take a look at some of the tourist attractions.

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One of the most popular of all the tourist attractions in Florida is Walt Disney World. It offers much joy to both children and adults. There are many things to do and see among them thrill rides like Space Mountain.

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Children enjoy the Disney characters roaming about the park. It opened on October 1, 1971, This is a very large property that includes four theme parks, two water parks, twenty-seven themed resort hotels, nine non-Disney hotels, several golf courses and other entertainment venues.

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Universal Studios or Universal Orlando in Orlando is a working movie and TV studio as well as being one of the most popular amusement parks in the U.S. There are a wide range of rides and adventures to be had.

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There are two theme parks, a water park, a nighttime entertainment complex and six Loews Hotels. The park hosts a large selection of live entertainment, shopping, and restaurants.

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Kennedy Space Center has been the site for the most important space shuttle launches in American history. Visitors can take a bus around the vast complex and visit the different displays and exhibitions in the  Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center. There are tickets available for the viewing of certain rocket launches.

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Busch Gardens in Tampa is an animal theme park with many thrill rides like the roller coaster Cobra’s Curse and SheiKra, a floorless roller coaster with a 200-foot vertical drop. Besides exciting rides, this is the place where you can also see many different animals and birds.

The Bird Gardens has many tropical birds from around the world among them parrots and flamingos. The Walkabout Way is like an Australian outpost and you can see and hand-feed kangaroos and wallabies. There are kookaburras, magpies, black swans and frogmouths. You can see lorikeets at the Lory Landing.

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At Edge of Africa, you can see a Nile crocodile named Sobek, meerkats, two prides of lions, a pack of spotted hyenas, two hippos named Moyo and Kita, vultures and lemurs.

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The Serengeti Plain offers you the Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, addax, white rhinoceros, eland, impala, ostrich and marabou stork. In a secluded area, you’ll find a black rhinoceros named Jodi.

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Miami Beach is located on an island that is linked to mainland Florida by a series of bridges. Its beach is famous for golden sand and art deco beachside buildings. Along Ocean Drive, you’ll find hotels and restaurants.

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The Daytona 500 Race is legendary and looked at as one of the most important in the NASCAR cup series. It is held at the Daytona National Speedway and starts off the racing season in February.

florida dali museum

The Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg is housed in a building resembling a glass sphere. Here you can find a fascinating collection of artwork by Dali and you can take a look at his life.

 florida st. augustine castillo

St. Augustine’s Historic District is one of the oldest settlements in Florida. Here you can see some impressive architecture and interesting historic sites.  It is home to the oldest masonry fort in North America, the Castillo de San Marcos.

florida st. augustine flagler

There is also the 19th century Flagler College. The site was built in the 19th century and is well-preserved.

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Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami has found its home on the former estate of wealthy businessman James Deering. Here you can see more than 2,500 pieces of art and there are ten acres of formal gardens.

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More than 200,000 visitors come here every year. It has served as a diplomatic seat in the past playing host to visitors like the King of Spain and Queen of Great Britain.

florida gator

Gatorland south of Orlando offers thrills to visitors viewing hundreds of crocodiles and alligators.

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There are feeding shows. The reptiles provide great entertainment just by being themselves.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | May 25, 2018

Terrific Tallahassee



Tallahassee is the capital of Florida.

talla museum

Tallahassee Museum of History & Natural Science consists of 52 acres of manicured gardens and wilderness and is located on the outskirts of the city.

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The museum offers living exhibits of flora and fauna native to Florida.

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Here you can see the rare Florida panther and red wolf and the otters have found a new home.

talla mission

Mission San Luis is a mission that once was home to Spanish colonists and the Appalachian tribespeople. The compound includes the soaring Council House. Tours are available. There are costumed interpreters. You can get an idea of how life was 300 years ago.

talla knott

Knott House Museum has found its home in a white-columned 1843 house. During the Civil War, it was occupied by the Confederates and later Union troops before the Emancipation Proclamation was read here in 1865. Free tours are available.

talla capitol

Florida State Capitol is most impressive rising up 22-stories. At the top floor is an observation deck from which you can get 360-degree views of the city.

talla capitol old

Florida Historic Capitol Museum has made its home in the former Florida capitol building dating from 1902. It is a political museum that includes a restored House of Representatives chamber and governor’s reception area. There are many portraits and exhibits on immigration, state development, and the infamous 2000 U.S. presidential election.

talla university

The Florida State University is a liberal arts school with over 35,000 undergraduate and graduate students. There are free campus tours.

Lake Ella and Fred Drake Park

talla lake ella fountain

Lake Ella is situated right in the center of the Fred Drake Park.

talla lake ella fred

Here you can enjoy fountains, shaded picnic areas and walking trails. You can walk, bike or skate. There are ducks, geese, and turtles.

talla alfred

The Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park is a lovely botanical garden. This is a U.S. Historic District named the Killearn Plantation Archeological and Historic District. There are many historic buildings and the park was first opened to the public in 1823.

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You can see lovely flora and fauna including azaleas and camellias. There are Japanese maples and dogwoods. You can enjoy walking, cycling, hiking, and fishing.

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The Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park is located on the south shore of Lake Jackson. This park has an archaeological significance in the area. The mounds are thought to date from 1950 to 1500 A.D. Two of the mounds can be visited and are listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

talla mounds lake

The park has many wonderful walking trails and you can enjoy the lovely Florida landscape.

talla mark

The St. Marks Wildlife Refuge opened in 1931 and is one of the oldest wildlife refuges in the U.S. It stretches for 68,000 acres with plant life from the Gulf of Mexico area and marshlands, inlets, creeks, and estuaries.

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Among the wildlife making their home here are coyotes, bobcats, and black bears. If you like you can also go fishing and boating. All through the refuge are hiking trails and if you like you can go cycling.

talla mark lighthouse

St. Marks Lighthouse dates from 1831 and is also part of the refuge. It is the second oldest lighthouse in Florida and registered on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

talla goodwood

The Goodwood Museum and Gardens has a plantation house that was built in the 1830s.

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The gardens surround the house and there are rolling lawns and lush foliage. It still has the original features like glass work, antique furniture, period porcelain, textiles and vintage artwork including paintings and etchings. The plantation house is also known for its fresco ceilings.

talla forest

The Lake Talquin State Forest has an amazing 17,000 acres of land. Here you can hike, horseback ride and bike and if you wish you can camp in the forest.

talla forest bird

There is a lot of local flora and fauna. Among the animals, you might see are bobcats, deer and wild turkeys. There are also lovely oak trees and maples.

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