Tracking down history, one dirt road at a time

I enjoy discovering new places and seeing new things, whether across the country or in my own ‘back yard’.  Recently, I set out to find some historic churches in my area.  After mapping out some locations, my journey began.

I had to travel down dirt/sand roads, but the churches were worth the effort.

I found the Chapel at Burnt Fort in Camden County, where I live.  It was restored several years ago.

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Several miles away, in Brantley County, Georgia, I got to see two Primitive churches:

 

Pilgrims’ Rest Baptist

Pilgrim's Rest

 

and High Bluff Baptist

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For the full article about my journey, check it out here.

Travel Back in Time in Coastal Georgia

Located in southeast Georgia, sleepy St Marys is best known for their waterfront and being the ‘gateway’ to Cumberland Island.

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However, this picturesque Navy town has a gorgeous Historic District as well.  Nestled on palm-tree lined Conyers Street are two historic churches.

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St Marys Methodist Church was established around 1799, making it St Marys oldest congregation.  John Garvin was the church’s first pastor; however, missionary George Clark shared the gospel with residents starting in 1792.  The present building, which has been renovated several times, was built before the Civil War.  During the war, the building was utilized by northern troops as a Quartermaster’s Department.  The church was given a deed to the land in 1878.  Since it was founded, over 105 pastors have led services at this historic church; Roy White is the current pastor.

methodist church st marys

 

Located a block away from the Methodist Church is the stunning First Presbyterian Church.  Build in 1808, it served as a meeting place for those in St Marys and the surrounding area.  In 1822, Horace Southworth Pratt  became the church’s first ordained pastor.  In 1828, the church was known as the Independent Methodist Church, but it was changed to the current name in 1832.  The church is currently headed by Pastor Rick Douylliez.

1st Presbyterian Church St Marys

Both churches still have services every week, and welcome visitors.  If you’re ever in my coastal town, be sure and check out the churches and the other beautiful buildings in the Historic District.

 

 

History restored in Burnt Fort

Just off a lazy two lane road, at the end of an unpaved sandy path, you’ll find a tucked-away treasure.

Burnt Fort Two

The Chapel at Burnt Fort, Georgia, was originally built in the late 1800s.  It was used until the mid 1940s, when low attendance forced the doors closed.  The building collapsed in the 1960s, but a decade later,  local residents (including some descendants of the original settlers of the area) restored the church to its former glory.  The property also houses the only one-room school house left in Camden County, Georgia

Burnt Fort

There is also a cemetery, with marked graves dating back to the 1850s, and numerous unmarked graves as well.

burnt fort threeThis beautiful chapel is definitely off the beaten path, but completely worth the drive.  I love visiting new places and finding unexpected surprises, so it was a great day.  If you’re ever in beautiful southeast Georgia, be sure to see it for yourself.  You won’t be disappointed.

 

 

Amelia Island Florida

As much as I love long road trips, it’s also fun visiting attractions “in my own backyard”.  We recently enjoyed a day trip to Fort Clinch on Florida’s Amelia Island.  This quiet state park is located just north of Jacksonville, and we had a blast discovering all this park had to offer.

There are plenty of scenic turnouts and miles of trails to explore.  We stopped and walked down a short path that looked out over a marsh and provided a great view of the lighthouse.

Fort Clinch 2 (1)

 

After a short walk down a boardwalk, we enjoyed a relaxing time at the beach; there is nothing more calming than sea breeze and crashing waves.  The beach is great for swimming, surfing, shelling and shark-tooth collecting.

 

 

Fort Clinch 3

Of course, the crown jewel of Fort Clinch State Park is the Fort itself, which can be accessed through the visitor center.

 

fort clinch 1

 

There are numerous buildings to explore, and someone is on site every day to answer any questions you may have. If you are ever in northeast Florida, be sure and check out the fort.  You won’t regret it.

All photos are mine except the one of the fort, which is courtesy of http://www.floridastateparks.org/fortclinch

 

Georgia Paradise

I spent some time on St Simons Island, Georgia today.  I love “the island” and plan to return again soon.  In addition to numerous shops and restaurants, there is beautiful ocean-front park featuring a lighthouse.

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There are several miles of shoreline, including both rocky and sandy beaches.

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There are so many ways to create a perfect day on the island:  bicycling, strolling along the sidewalks enjoying the shopping and dining options, fishing off the pier, or just relaxing on a bench taking in the sights and sounds of the ocean.

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St Simons Island is a peaceful oasis offering something for everyone.  

Branson’s most unique store

Branson, Missouri has no shortage of one-of-a-kind stores and attractions, but one stands out from the rest:  Dick’s 5 and 10.  I got to spend some time looking around, and was amazed by their inventory.  They had lots of things I needed, and a bunch more that I didn’t know I needed until I saw them.

Be sure and check them out when you’re in Branson.  To read more about the store, click here.

5 and dime 15 and dime 2

Daytona Beach: Birthplace of Speed

In Daytona Beach, the roar of the beach is rivaled by the roar of the engines.  Daytona International Speedway is home to numerous races each year, including NASCAR’s Coke 400 and Daytona 500.  In front of the building is the “Walk of Fame” which honors those NASCAR drivers who have won at the 500.

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You can see tributes to racing legends, such as Dale Earnhardt Sr.

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When there is no event, the speedway offers a track tour.  It’s amazing to see first-hand the steepness of the track’s banks; seeing it on television doesn’t do it justice.  If you listen close enough, you can almost hear the most famous words in motor sports:  “Gentlemen, start your engines”, and the second most famous words:  “Boogity, boogity, boogity:  let’s go racing boys”.

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Another highlight of the tour is a tour of a garage area:

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After the track tour, you get to watch a short film highlighting racing heroes.  As you are leaving, you get to see the car that won the previous Daytona 500, which was Dale Jr. when we were there.

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It’s a great experience;  if you want more information, click here.

Relaxing at Bahama House

We stayed at the Bahama House in Daytona Beach Shores during a recent trip to the area, and it was an amazing experience.  The front desk employees were cheerful and pleasant, which set the tone for the rest of our stay.  We stayed on the seventh floor in a corner room.  We had views of the ocean from our breakfast table…..

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as well as from our balcony.

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The beautifully appointed room included a kitchen area, complete with a toaster.

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For those who don’t want to cook while on vacation, the hotel offers a free breakfast each morning.  In addition, there is a nightly complimentary cocktail hour.

The Bahama House is a great place to stay while in Daytona Beach Shores.  The rooms are clean, the staff is helpful, and the views can’t be beat.

Sun Viking Lodge Daytona Beach

I was fortunate enough to spend two nights at the Sun Viking Lodge in beautiful (and quiet) Daytona Beach Shores.  I can’t say enough great things about the family-friendly accommodations.  The staff was super-welcoming and set a great tone for our stay.

The room was immaculate and the view of the Atlantic from our eighth-floor balcony was spectacular.

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The room had two ultra-comfy beds…….

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and a fully-stocked kitchen that had everything you needed to cook a quick meal.

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Sun Viking features both an indoor pool, complete with a rock formation waterfall, and an outdoor pool (which has a water slide).

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In addition, it offers a hot tub, a kiddie pool, a fitness center, and a beachfront picnic/bbq area.

The most pleasant surprise of all was the list of activities that Sun Viking sponsored.  They had things for all ages:  bingo, shuffleboard, poolside games, Wii competitions, a basketball goal, and beach volleyball.  The staff even popped popcorn and screened a movie against the side of one of their buildings.

I highly recommend the Sun Viking Lodge for anyone seeking family-centered lodging.  Several guests I met during my stay had been coming to Sun Viking for years; I know I will be back every chance I get.  Before your next Daytona vacation, make sure to check out Sun Viking Lodge.