On our last Lowcountry Unfiltered kayaking trip on the Savannah River Larry Easler and I drove back along Highway 301. We were amazed at the number of old motels and abandoned tourist spots along the way. I knew it had to have once been a major thoroughfare, now bypassed by I-95, but I wanted to know more about it. What was its history? How did this highway through one of the most desolate parts of South Carolina become such a major route? The answer turned out to be much more interesting than I could have possibly imagined.
In a previous post I wrote about the old auto trails that predated the US Highway System, and the business associations that promoted these routes and the tourist amenities along them. Here’s the story about how Highway 301 became known as The Tobacco Trail, one of the most important north-south routes along the Eastern Seaboard. Continue reading “The Tobacco Trail – An Introduction”
The time that I was in Florida and not in the Keys I spent a LOT of time on my my kayak. I was probably out everyday. My typical MO was to head out after having a cup of coffee. Sometimes Amy would join me, and sometimes Laura would. We even got Amy’s dog out on a boat for the very first time.
Continue reading “Florida Wrap-Up”
So far our Key Largo getaway was going just like we wanted – lots of pool time, some kayaking, good food, and several delicious rum-based drinks. On Wednesday we decided that we’d had enough direct sunshine, so we decided to ride a bit. It seemed a shame to get this close and not make it all the way down to Key West, so we set off in that direction. Continue reading “Key Largo Getaway – Part 2”
It’s been a stressful few weeks. We have been making trips to Florida to help out with Laura’s mother. While I’ve been able to make the trip to Ireland, Laura hasn’t had a vacation. So, on this latest trek down to Florida we decided to extend trip a few days and head down to Key Largo for an escape.
We drove down on a Monday. The drive from Fort Pierce to the Keys is not the most exciting stretch, until you reach the end of the Turnpike. There, US 1 takes over, and the two-lane route leads over wetlands and mangroves. While beautiful, the area is fenced, and there is nowhere to stop. Eventually we reached the bridge crossing Blackwater Sound and arrived at Key Largo. Continue reading “Key Largo Get Away – Part 1”
We were running errands up in Vero when I spotted the following sign along US 1:
Hmmm….”3 Days of Family Friendly Piracy.” Sounds a bit…oxymoronic to me. Truth be told, I’ve always thought that the Disney ride “Pirates of the Caribbean” was a bit weird, long before the movie series even came out. I’m not a prude, but a ride celebrating raping and pillaging just didn’t seem quite right. Sure, the real violence has been sanitized into something suitable for kids, but given historical realities and real incidents of piracy off the African coast, I’m often left scratching my head over the popularity of pirates.
We had some free time away from household duties, so we decided to check out the Vero Beach Pirate Fest. Continue reading “The Big Business of Piracy”
On our way back from Ireland Stephen asked me what my favorite thing was about the trip. I had to say that it was the pubs and music that impressed me most. I loved the atmosphere and life that radiates from those places. While they all seem similar and familiar, each is unique. If I could do one thing over, it would be to spend more time in the pubs listening to traditional music. Granted, we did quite a bit of that anyway. Continue reading “Pubs and Music”
As promised, here’s the brief day-by-day rundown of our trip to Ireland. I’m only going to include the time that I was there. My brothers went out a couple of weeks early and saw sights up in Dublin, Belfast and further north. I came out for the last part of the trip.
Stephen has shared his photos from that part of the trip, and I guess I could snag their journals. However, I’ll leave it to them to tell that part of the tale. Continue reading “Taylor Invasion of Ireland – The Rundown”
It’s a story that’s been told to us many times by our father. Nearly 240 years ago our ancestor, William Taylor, Sr., loaded his family onto a ship called The Earl of Donegal and sailed for Charleston, SC. They left Belfast in 1767 and landed in Charleston in 1768. William was given a land grant for 350 acres in Laurens County. He donated a few of those acres for Rocky Springs Presbyterian Church.
The first home I can remember was on a farm that had once been part of that land grant. As children we scrambled over the rocks and stream that gave the the church its name. We would wander through the old cemetery and see generations of Taylor ancestors, starting with my great-grandfather and going back from there. With so many of our ancestors close at hand, it’s no wonder that our family developed a keen sense of genealogy. Continue reading “Taylor Invasion of Ireland”
The past couple of weeks have been a blur. I realize that I haven’t posted anything in that time, which is unusual for me. While lots has happened, it’s been in bits and pieces that didn’t seem like they needed, or weren’t quite read for an entire blog post. Those events include the following: Rambling … Continue reading Busy Spring Update
The Blue Cypress Conversation Area is a large lake/swamp area west of Vero Beach near the community of Fellsmere. We’ve visited this spot before, taking a short walk along the banks of the lake. We had made note of the air boats along the banks on that trip, and said we needed to come back and take a tour. Amy decided to take Friday off, so we decided it was the perfect time to take one.
Turns out this is a popular time of year for air boating. We couldn’t get reservations on our first choice, but there was space available with Florida Airboat Excursions. At the appointed time we drove on over. Continue reading “Spring Break in Florida – Part Four, Air Boating in Blue Cypress Swamp”