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.
it rained all day. We got lost around Orangeburg. We didn't see anything
we had expected to find. In Savannah I 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.
and Steve moved last year to The
, a planned
community between Ocala and Orlando in central Florida. It is
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
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.
Grace & Steve
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
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.
went out one night for dinner at
to hear Rocky &
-- 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.
addition to giving us tours of the sights and amenities of The Villages,
Steve took us on a tour of nearby
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.
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. Winnie is enjoying a cool drink of water on this
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.
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 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 he was happier at
Wellspring where he could
watch TV every night with Mary.
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). This is clever
but by no means the most elaborate. It is
common for the owners to put their names and license tags
from the home state on the carts.
After an enjoyable couple
of days with Grace & Steve, we bid farewell and drove to Winter
Springs to see my brother Emmett and family.
also had a great time visiting there. The
Seminole County Museum
is in Sanford where Carroll does substitute
teaching. 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.
Afterwards we had lunch in the historic district at a fabulous
German restaurant, the Willow
Olivia having a fun moment. Livy is a darling three-year-old.
an all-too-brief visit with our families, we headed back home to Virginia.
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.
My ancestors lived along the banks of the
back in the 18th century
before relocating to Louisiana.
I imagine that they
felt right at home there since this area of South Carolina is very like Louisiana
and south Mississippi.
took us into Orangeburg where we finally found downtown. There was
nothing 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
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.