Now that Jim's sister and my brother and their families live in Florida, we thought it would be good to make a visit to see everyone. Instead of flying down and renting a car, we decided to drive and do some sight-seeing on the way. We hated to leave Virginia in the most lovely section of spring, but the first week of April was the only time we could get away.

The sightseeing portion of our trip down didn't result in any pictures. We drove as far as Columbia, SC, the first night and planned to visit the area around Orangeburg on our way to the next night in Savannah, GA. Unfortunately it rained all day. We got lost around Orangeburg and didn't see anything we had expected to find. In Savannah I just left the camera in the car. We contented ourselves with riding around town in the free tourist bus and catching a bite to eat while planning what we would do next time.



Golf Carts Grace and Steve moved last year to The Villages (warning - music plays at this link) ,which is a planned community between Ocala and Orlando in central Florida. It is primarily geared to active older adults. Golf carts are the accepted mode of transportation with special golf cart paths or golf cart lanes on roads throughout the development.

During the evening entertainment at the nearby town square, it was hard to find a place to park your cart. Parking an actual car would be even more daunting.

Personal Style They had purchased their own cushy cart, but it only had space for two. Since there were numerous friends and family visiting this spring, they rented a spare. Steve was very annoyed that the rental had a top speed of only 18mph!

Since I've done a lot of golf cart driving in connection with horse show volunteering, Jim let me do the driving. It's rather more intimidating to drive a cart along a major thoroughfare than around a horse show facility! But we survived.

Rocky & the Rollers We went out one night for dinner at Katie Belle's to hear Rocky & the Rollers, which is one of Grace's favorite bands. They put on a great show to a packed house. The dance floor was crowded with patrons of all ages.

Many of the bands and individuals that perform locally actually live in The Villages.

Ocala In addition to giving us tours of the sights and amenities of The Villages, Steve took us on a tour of nearby Ocala with its numerous horse farms (hundreds in a 50-mile radius). We weren't able to arrange any stable tours in our limited time, but we did enjoy seeing the lovely countryside.
Band Concert Back in The Villages we drove downtown to the Lake Sumter town center for an afternoon concert. Grace and Steve take their little dog Winnie with them everywhere. Here Winnie is enjoying a cool drink of water on the hot afternoon.
Dancing There is entertainment almost every afternoon at the town centers. This is just an ordinary Tuesday with a live band, dancing, and a craft fair. Almost every seat was taken -- except when the occupants were dancing.
Happy Hour After enjoying the music we retired to a nearby BBQ joint for dinner. Winnie can belly up to the bar with the best of us, but she is limited to official doggy treats. The Villages is very pet-friendly.

We were sorry that Hoppy doesn't enjoy travel much any more. He likes riding in the car, but he doesn't like staying in a different motel every night even though we bring along his home kennel. He would have enjoyed seeing Winnie, but we think he was happier at Wellspring where he could watch TV every night with Mary.

Funny Cart I took lots of pictures of custom golf carts (my brother tells me I take way too many pictures of places and too few of people). Although this was by no means the most elaborate, I thought it was clever. It is quite common for the owners to have their names on the carts and license tags from the home state are also very popular.

After an enjoyable couple of days with Grace & Steve, we bid farewell and drove to Winter Springs to see my brother  Emmett and family.

Old Folks Home We also had a great time visiting there. Here we are at the Seminole County Museum in Sanford. From left to right are Olivia, Anne, Carroll, Emmett and Jim.

The museum is located in the "Old Folks Home" built in the early 1900s.

Carroll also took us by Sanford High School where she does substitute teaching. Afterwards we had lunch in the historic district at a fabulous German restaurant, the Willow Tree Café.

Olivia & Anne Anne & Olivia having a fun moment. Livy is a darling three-year-old.

After an all-too-brief visit with our families, we headed back home to Virginia.

Edisto River We hadn't planned on doing any sight-seeing on the trip home, but heavy traffic on I-95 and a beautiful day tempted us onto US-21. This is the Edisto River. My ancestors lived along the banks of this river back in the 18th century before relocating to Louisiana.

I could imagine that they would have felt right at home since this area of South Carolina is very like Louisiana and south Mississippi.

Orangeburg US-21 took us into Orangeburg where we finally found downtown. There wasn't anything we could find from the 18th century. This park is located on the site of the original courthouse, which was burned during the Civil War -- along with most, if not all, civil records pertaining to the inhabitants prior to that time.

As luck would have it, however, the church record of births and marriages was preserved in ... the Netherlands! Transcriptions and scanned images may be found online in the Orangeburg Book of Record.

We were glad to visit our family, but even gladder to return home and find that the dogwoods and redbuds were still in bloom. Although the daffodils are all gone, tulips and lilacs have taken their place.