A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

Canals, The Cheapskate Motel in Kiss-a-Me, and Car Trouble

Penny Wise and Pound Foolish Hotel Booking, Leu Gardens, and the Venice of America


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & AFV Winter 2006 & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

I wrote to the family:

After we got here to Miami on Monday, we unpacked and did the wash. I started sorting through my email, etc. I went to the AFV website and found that my Gautier MS reservation had been cancelled and one for New Orleans had been added. Plus the rate has gone up to $399/week (it was $364/week) which makes it not so much of a bargain. So I canceled the NOLA reservation (I was not sure I wanted to go back there right after Katrina.) Bob has been getting cranky and is talking about staying home next year.

Anyway - what I have now is:

Leaving here Friday Jan 20th and going to Kissimmee/Orlando for two nights (20-21) at the Super 8 ($40/night) - planning to go to Ocala National Forest for maybe a scenic boat tour. Other possibilities are the Cypress Gardens and the Warbirds Museum
Old planes (Warbirds)

Old planes (Warbirds)


Jan 22-23 - Lake Wales Super 8 (more expensive) to see Bok Tower and Sebring - Highlands Hammock State Park and possibly the Air Museum in Lakeland (homebuilt and experimental aircraft).

Jan 24th - going to Eglin AFB at $38.50/night. (because I couldn't get a reservation in Pensacola until the 25th) - possibly stopping to see the Maclay Gardens in Tallahassee

Jan 25-27 NAS Pensacola at $65/night, visiting Bellingrath Gardens
Flower at Bellingrath Gardens

Flower at Bellingrath Gardens


and the Gulf Islands National Seashore - the he Davis Bayou Area on the Alabama side. Also going to see if I can get one of my prescriptions refilled.

Jan 28th - Lafayette Louisiana at the Howard Johnson Express for $53/night. I wanted to go to Baton Rouge because I've never been, but all the hotels there were about twice as expensive.

After that we may go to Shreveport and Houston and end up at E's sometime around the 30th. BTW I have a prescription coming to E's. .

Friday 20 January 2006 - Driving to Orlando (i.e.Kissimmee)

Friday since our granddaughter's class had a field trip to the Everglades, we left after breakfast - about 8:30. We stopped at the Florida Turnpike Fort Pierce Travel Plaza for the bathroom about 11:15 and decided to eat there too. There was Burger King, Cinnabon, Smoothie, Starbucks and Sbarro. I went to Sbarro and had a piece of pizza ($3.19), and a piece of cheesecake ($2.89) although they also had a buffet available at $6.39/lb. The cashier wanted to know what kind of camera I had (Kodak DX6490) and we discussed it. Bob went to Burger King - his lunch cost $5.33 and mine was $8.34.

Outside they had displays and tasting stations for various citrus fruits.
Citrus tasting station at Fort Pierce rest stop

Citrus tasting station at Fort Pierce rest stop


They also had pecans, apples and strawberries and I would not have thought that those would be Florida products. As we left (half an hour later), I saw Kansas car with a sticker that said "Obedient woman are never remembered in history."

I got some brochures there, and among them was a Florida Turnpike information flyer. The exit recommended for our motel was exit 244 but according to the flyer, we would have no extra toll if we exited at exit 242, and it would be just about the same place on the road. So that's what we did about 1:15.

Right after we exited, we saw a Hess station with diesel for $2.49 but didn't stop, and all the diesel we saw after that was at least $2.59. I try to avoid Orlando and the whole Disney/theme park complex as much as possible as it has become WAY WAY too big and too expensive thus not so much fun. If I have to go through the center of Florida I try to go south of Orlando. Kissimmee is a bit South of Orlando. But still, every restaurant and hotel and attraction on the highway in Kissimmee is a theme park.

My first mistake in making the Super 8 reservation was in not asking about local calls. In common with many hotels in this area, the Super 8 requires a photo ID and imposes a penalty for not staying two days or for canceling.
Sign out front of Kissimmee Super 8

Sign out front of Kissimmee Super 8


The safe is a mandatory $1 extra which is automatically charged in advance. The Super 8 is between a Bennigans and a Denny's restaurants and across the street from some attractions, but although it advertises that it is close to the Disney gate (and has a shuttle to it), it is actually 2 miles from the park.

We got to the motel at two, and the first problem was that check-in was at 3 and we were told we couldn't check in yet. Since we were tired from traveling, we just sat in the lobby. I noticed on the board that they required a $10 deposit for using the phone. Then I found that they charged 55 cents for each local call. If it wasn't that I wanted to hook up to the internet, that wouldn't matter - I could just use my cell phone. So I said that we wouldn't stay there, and they said that we had to have canceled 24 hours in advance. So I canceled the 2nd day right there. I didn't do the internet at all for ONE WHOLE DAY. Also the board said that if you checked out after 11 you would be charged $10 an hour from 11 to 1pm.
Sign behind the desk at the Super 8

Sign behind the desk at the Super 8


The desk clerk allowed us to check in a 2:30 (for no extra charge - probably to get rid of us)

The room was supposed to have had a microwave, a refrigerator and a dataport, and it had none of those things. A microwave was available for an extra $10.00 a day.

The bathtub looked as if someone had been walking in it with sneakers, and even though it was a non-smoking room it smelled of stale tobacco smoke in the bathroom. There was a sink, a hanging rack (no closet) and a three drawer chest with a TV, a two drawer chest with a mirror and wall lamp. A folding suitcase rack was leaning against the wall. There was a small round table with two chairs, and two double beds with a night table in between. The TV did have a sleep function on it. There was a TINY outdoor pool, and our room was on the backside with no convenient parking. In the morning at 6, there started being crashing noises like someone continuously emptying trash dumpsters. The price for a Super 8 is supposed to be the lowest but I saw some signs on other motels advertising $25/night. Sometimes it doesn't pay to try for the absolute lowest price.

We went to the room and I made a lot of calls on my cell phone. I called AAA and complained about the listing in their book which listed the dataport and microwave and refrigerator. I called Super 8 and complained. Then (since I wasn't using the internet), I called AAA back and asked for an equivalent accommodation, and they found us the Lakeside Best Western for $43.00/day. Bob also looked in the phone book for a Hess station and found one that was at Old Winter Park Rd. and John Young, and called them (on the cell phone) and found out that they had diesel.

After I took a nap, and we got up and walked next door for dinner. We had a choice between Bennigans and Denny's
Highway sign

Highway sign


and I picked Denny's.
Looking in the windows

Looking in the windows


They seemed to be a bit disorganized. The manager seated us at a table for 6 because when we asked for a table (v.s. a booth), none of the smaller tables was cleared. When I took my camera out, the waitress put her arm around Bob's shoulders and smiled and told me to take her picture with Bob, so I did.
Bob and waitress

Bob and waitress


Bob had a cold, so I told him to get soup, and he had chicken noodle with the senior turkey dinner ($6.89) with stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy and a side of corn. He had to ask for the cranberry sauce. I had the
Senior Fish with Hash Browns instead of fries $7.49

Senior Fish with Hash Browns instead of fries $7.49


and a side salad. I got all my food, but had to ask for utensils, and the waitress gave me Bob's. He said - Hey - those are mine. So she got him some from the next table.

Saturday January 21, 2006

We went up for the Super Start Breakfast
UN-Super Start Continental Breakfast

UN-Super Start Continental Breakfast


It consisted of some muffins (individually wrapped), some Danish (ditto) some bagels, coffee (Folgers) and two kinds of juice - apple and fruit punch.

We checked out and got a refund without any problem.
Super 8 in Orlando that we checked out of early

Super 8 in Orlando that we checked out of early


The check in time for the Best Western was 3 pm and so we had some time to fill. I had been completely unable to find the information (like when and where it left from and how much it cost) on the Ocala National Forest boat tour, so I decided instead to take the Winter Park boat trip instead. The weather reports said it was going to be hot and I thought a boat trip would be under cover and be cool and relaxing.

The previous night I did the route on the computer and wrote down the directions, and the first stop was to get fuel. It was $2.59 and we got 10.7 gallons. It was now 8:45. The boat tours don't start until 10 and the Waterhouse Shop and Museum (woodworking) which was another possibility didn't open until noon. I saw by looking at the map that the Harry P. Leu Gardens are near there, and they open at 9.00, So on a whim, I decided to go to these gardens - I thought it was an oriental sounding name and I mistakenly thought this was Lue Gim Gong "the Citrus Wizard" who did the work on oranges and citrus that we had learned about in DeLand last year (but I didn't remember his name until I looked it up just now).
Street decoration - Orlando downtown early in the morning

Street decoration - Orlando downtown early in the morning


We drove there with me using three maps each with different information. Fortunately when we got close, there were signs pointing to the site,
Sign to Leu Gardens

Sign to Leu Gardens


and when we got there (about 9:15), I was surprised to see multiple people directing us to parking places. Um... I would not have expected there to be so many people here early on a Saturday morning in Orlando that they would need parking people. It turned out that the gardens have over 150 kinds of camellias, and this is the day of the big camellia show. So THAT'S what all the people are doing there.
Leu Garden overview

Leu Garden overview


This was serendipitous because the show and grounds were free instead of costing $5 (or $4 for seniors or other protected species like AAA members). We couldn't see the show until it opened at 1 pm because the judges were in there judging the specimens, but they had over 3 miles of garden paths.

Circled path

Circled path

Grasses

Grasses

Orange flowers

Orange flowers

Path with trees on one side

Path with trees on one side


The gardens were so wonderful that when we went later to Bellingrath Gardens, I was quite disappointed.

The gardens included:

  • America's largest Camellia collection outside California

Camelia bush

Camelia bush

Camelia at the Leu Garden

Camelia at the Leu Garden

  • The largest formal rose garden in Florida.

Rose garden with house in background

Rose garden with house in background

  • A house museum dating from the 1880's. (There was a tour, but no photos were allowed inside)

Side of the house from the rose garden

Side of the house from the rose garden

  • Two acre Tropical Stream Garden

389038905.jpgTropical Stream Garden

Tropical Stream Garden

  • Vegetable and Herb Gardens

Herb Garden

Herb Garden

  • Butterfly Garden (which we saw on the way out)
  • Palm, bamboo and cycad gardens

large_389040098.jpg

  • Floral clock

Floral clock

Floral clock


There also was a new Home Demonstration Garden with ten residentially-scaled "Idea gardens" including a fragrance garden, wildflower garden, courtyard garden,
Urban Patio Garden and Gazebo

Urban Patio Garden and Gazebo


evening garden, a shade garden and an enabling garden (for those guests with limited mobility).
Enabling Gardens - Bob taking photos

Enabling Gardens - Bob taking photos


Also in the Idea Garden were the Otfinoski Sculptures - seven metal sculptures were commissioned for the Leu Gardens. One of them is the
Girl flying a kite

Girl flying a kite


and another one was
Girl and mother (with Bobs shadow)

Girl and mother (with Bobs shadow)


More realistic are the
"Citrus Workers"

"Citrus Workers"


And then there was a huge wind vane in the shape of a grasshopper.
193156325866456-Grasshopper_..inter_Park.jpgGrasshopper windvane (Bob cut off the top) and explanation plaque about grasshopper windvane

Grasshopper windvane (Bob cut off the top) and explanation plaque about grasshopper windvane


One of the gardens sections which was very interesting was the Enabling Garden which used raised beds.
Cactus table

Cactus table

Succulents

Succulents

No fishing cactuses-(A joke planting)

No fishing cactuses-(A joke planting)


It demonstrated the latest trends including textured and fragrant plants and multi-colored paving. Raised beds allow gardeners to care for the garden more easily with little bending, stooping or reaching.
Flowers that spill over the edge

Flowers that spill over the edge


The plants were chosen for their beauty and appeal to multiple senses with bright colors, fragrance and texture.
Patterns and textures

Patterns and textures


Someone in a wheelchair or who needs to remain seated most of the time could still garden. They are also helpful to people with visual impairments because they're in closer range than the ground. Notice that someone in a sitting position can reach the long thin flower beds. Rather than sit in the chair, many people simply pull themselves from the chair onto the wide stone coping and garden.
Enabling Garden

Enabling Garden


For once, Bob took more pictures than I did. Not for the day, but just in the garden he took 40 pictures, and I only took 38. Bob took pictures of four of the 6 individual beds in the Enabling Garden and I just took some general views. We walked through part of the garden, and Bob took pictures of the signs and many of the individual plants. The individual plants were all labeled
Pineapple family plant-one of the 1st we saw

Pineapple family plant-one of the 1st we saw


Variegated leaves

Variegated leaves

Trumpet flowers

Trumpet flowers

Tradescantia pallida - Purpurea leviedatu

Tradescantia pallida - Purpurea leviedatu


Sometimes we split up - he took pictures of the herb garden and I went and looked at the little cemetery. It was started when David Mizell, the Orange Co. Sheriff, was killed from ambush, and when he was interred, it was the first Masonic funeral service in central Florida.
Family cemetery on the grounds

Family cemetery on the grounds


About 10 of 10, we went to the Leu house
Porch and side door

Porch and side door


and sat on the porch to wait for the tour.
Front Porch (where we waited)

Front Porch (where we waited)

Hanging plant on the porch

Hanging plant on the porch

View from the porch

View from the porch


We were the only two people there for the first tour (unlike the later tour - we saw about 30 people waiting when we came out).

John Mizell (David Mizell's son) built the first part of the house in 1888, and then a millionaire from NYC Duncan Pell bought it because he wanted to divorce his wife and marry Helen Gardner a film actress and the laws in Florida on divorce were less stringent. Pell sold the house in 1906 to the Woodwards. When they died in 1928, the house went into a trust until 1936 when Harry Leu bought it. He put in the bathrooms.

Most of the furniture isn't original but was donations from various Orlando families, but it was an interesting tour none-the-less. The bathrooms reminded me of the newer bathrooms in my grandfather's house.
Bob's photo of me

Bob's photo of me


Afterwards, we went to look at the rose garden which smelled wonderful, but was hard to photograph in a way that would do it justice.
Roses in the rose garden

Roses in the rose garden

Fountain among the roses

Fountain among the roses

389083705.jpgRoses around a circle

Roses around a circle

White rose

White rose

2689345-Rose_Garden_Orlando.jpgHybrid Tea Rose "Perfect Moment"

Hybrid Tea Rose "Perfect Moment"


Bob took 8 close-up pictures of individual flowers, most of which were excellent.
Bob in the Rose Garden

Bob in the Rose Garden


While he was doing that, I walked over and took a picture of the floral clock.

We left by way of the butterfly garden.
Butterfly garden that we saw as we left

Butterfly garden that we saw as we left


Although there were butterflies they were too fast for me to catch one with my camera.
Bob walking back

Bob walking back


Then I used the bathroom and looked in the gift shop for iris artifacts to buy for my mother who was an iris judge (but didn't find any), and we got back into the car.

We set off for Winter Park. The Winter Park Area is billed as "The Venice of America". We got there about 11:00, and the boat rides were every hour on the hour. I thought maybe we'd eat in Winter Park, but that proved to be a town like Fernandina only with less parking.
Winter Park Streets

Winter Park Streets


We found a place near the boat dock, and had to decide whether to wait 40 minutes for the next tour, or go and eat and not have a place to park when we got back.
Winter Park lakes map

Winter Park lakes map


We decided to wait.
Signs at tour boat facility

Signs at tour boat facility


So we got our tickets ($10 for adults and $1 off for AAA membership) and sat in a shed in the dock gazing out on the lake.
Another boat on the lake

Another boat on the lake


There were a number of kayaks and canoes,
Canoe on the shore

Canoe on the shore


plus some little power boats zipping around and making wakes for the kayaks
Kayaks on the lake

Kayaks on the lake


and the
Men standing in little skiffs fishing

Men standing in little skiffs fishing


men standing in little skiffs fishing.

About 11:45, a man pulled up to the gas pump in a SeaRay.
Getting gas

Getting gas


After some ineffective tying of the boat to the dock, the two women got off to go to the bathroom and he got about 10 gallons worth of gas. Now they wanted to leave but could not. The two women were still in line for the bathroom. They got away from the dock just before the tour boats started coming in.
Pontoon boats for tours

Pontoon boats for tours


These were pontoon boats which were open (no bimini) and there were three of them. Since we had been there early, we were in the one that was loaded first and were among the first called, but the front seat was taken, so I sat in the back. There was a speaker by my knee, but I had a little trouble hearing the guide sometimes.

We soon found out why the boats had no tops. In the 1880s, canals had been built to float the logs out. These canals have been repaired and can be used to go from one lake to another, but the boats have to go under road bridges, and the bridges aren't high enough for the boats to have biminis.

The sky was overcast, so it wasn't as sunny and hot as I thought it would have been
Under the bridge

Under the bridge


We went from lake to lake. The tour guide pointed out various parks
Park

Park

Man with stroller jogging in a park

Man with stroller jogging in a park


(such as Dinky Dock Park), and from the water we saw the campus of Rollins College,
Rollins College

Rollins College

Art museum/Rollins College steeple

Art museum/Rollins College steeple


the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, and the Albin Polasek Museum.
Victorious Christ - Albin Polasek Museum

Victorious Christ - Albin Polasek Museum


Under the road bridge between lakes

Under the road bridge between lakes


We could look right into the back yards of the houses.
Lego sheep in the yard

Lego sheep in the yard


The only way to really see the opulent private homes
Large estate on the lake

Large estate on the lake

Arbor-like vines

Arbor-like vines

Italian villa

Italian villa


and exquisite estates sprawling along the shores
house back in the trees

house back in the trees

Boat has just come through the bridge

Boat has just come through the bridge


is either by taking a pontoon boat cruise (as we did)
Boathouse from the boat trip

Boathouse from the boat trip

House and boathouse

House and boathouse

another less fancy boathouse

another less fancy boathouse


or renting a boat or bringing your own boat.
Big house on the lake

Big house on the lake

Gazebo

Gazebo


These exclusive properties can't really be appreciated from land.
Dinghy type Boats pulled up on shore

Dinghy type Boats pulled up on shore


There are all kinds of signs telling boaters what they can and can't do
Idle Speed sign

Idle Speed sign


Idle Speed - No Wake Strictly Enforced
Fern Canal to Lake Osceloa-No wake, no swimming

Fern Canal to Lake Osceloa-No wake, no swimming


NO Swimming
Another sign

Another sign


NO Mooring
No Wave Jumping (for PWC operators)
Do not Litter
Venetian Canal sign

Venetian Canal sign


Please be courteous and Obey all Traffic Rules.
Be courteous sign

Be courteous sign


Speed Limit Day 40 mph Night 25 mph
Speed limit sign

Speed limit sign


If you encounter other boats in a canal, boats closest to the mouth of passing area must back up.
Low Bridge with another boat coming

Low Bridge with another boat coming


In one case, we had to back out of the canal because someone else was coming through, and in another instance the three tour boats were almost through the canal and met two other boats coming the other way.
Bald Cypress with bald eagle

Bald Cypress with bald eagle

Dead tree with birds

Dead tree with birds


It was an interesting trip and I got a lot of photos

We got back about one o'clock,
Orlando Museum

Orlando Museum


and started for the new hotel in Kissimmee. We stopped at a KFC/Long John Silver combination restaurant,
May your fish always be bigger than the holes in your net

May your fish always be bigger than the holes in your net


and Bob had chicken, cole slaw and biscuit, and I had a
My combo

My combo


combo which was fries, a fried chicken strip and a piece of fried fish, plus two hush puppies and something called 'crumbs' which are fry crumbles. It was $7.98 before tax. I swapped my fries for Bob's biscuit - he doesn't care for biscuits and does like fries.

On the way to the hotel, we tried to find the Warbird Museum down by the airport but it seems to be mostly taking people up for rides rather than a restoration facility. But we did see an S2 there (the plane Bob flew for a lot of his time in the Navy) and I took a picture through the fence..
S-2 through the fence

S-2 through the fence


As we were going to the new hotel at about 3:00, Bob suddenly said his brakes were failing, so he drove cautiously.

The motel which was formerly the La Quinta Lakeside is now a Best Western Lakeside. It is a huge place (15 two story buildings with rooms opening to the outside but no elevators), and it has plenty of parking. We liked this place MUCH better than the Super 8 although it was a little more expensive. The Super 8 was $40.22/night (including taxes), and this was $52.09/night (including taxes) for the two of us.
Courtyard

Courtyard


We checked in and asked for additional days to get the car fixed and they said no problem. I called to cancel the Super 8 in Lake Wales and the Super 8 people said I'd have to do it with the motel myself because they were prohibited from canceling less than 48 hours in advance. When I called the Lake Wales Super 8 they said that there might be a charge by the travel agency that made the reservation (namely AFV where I made the reservation). But there wasn't.

We took the stuff out of the car. Bob said he had no more brake fluid (he usually carries things like extra oil) and suspected (which he has now confirmed) that there is a pinhole in the brake line to the rear brakes. I called AAA, and they wanted to know where we wanted the car towed to, but at that point we didn't know of course.

The room had a safe and a table with four chairs in front of the window. The TV had a small dorm size refrigerator in the cabinet under it,
TV

TV


and there was a mirror on the wall (not centered) and a dresser.
Dresser with lamp

Dresser with lamp


There were two double beds with a night stand in between them with a phone and lamp. There is a coffee maker but no microwave. Laundry facilities are available. I took some pictures in the room while I was there to see if the camera worked, and they are not really good, but I include them anyway

Local calls were free. Although the La Quinta had a free breakfast, now that it is a Best Western, the breakfast has been discontinued. There are several heated pools, baby pools, jungle gym play area,
Children's playground

Children's playground


and an exercise room. The grounds are nicely landscaped. They also have a shuttle to DisneyWorld. There is a small deli, a restaurant for breakfast and lunch, and a bar and grill for dinner with a limited menu. We went there for dinner and I had a steak and onion rings and cole slaw for $12.95 and Bob had spaghetti and meatballs for $5.95 and then I had an ice cream cone for $1.75.

There is also a Pizza Hut Express and ice cream is available. You can easily walk to the Wendys, Burger King and a Steak and Seafood restaurant that is associated with a miniature golf course. There is a Red Lobster and a Sizzler across the street.

We spent the evening watching "Keeping Up Appearances"

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Today we've just been hanging around the hotel. I edited the pictures we took yesterday. Bob talked to the Midas place just down the road, so we are going to have it towed there tomorrow (Monday) - they aren't working on Sunday.

I went for a swim in the pool nearest our room - it is a heated pool and was very nice
Pool area

Pool area


except for some adolescent children who kept hanging on the line that divided the deep end from the shallow end.

We walked to Wendy's for lunch. I tried to get a taco salad and they forgot the chili, and Bob got two junior hamburgers. I had the frosty with M&M bits in it, and Bob wanted to know if the candy bits were someone's broken stuff, so we started looking at all the packages - they were all marked with something like "Manufacturer number 2045".

After the Pittsburgh Denver game we walked over to the big miniature golf place next door - the restaurant is called the Magic Mining Co.
Magic Mining

Magic Mining


Magic Mining Company model train garden

Magic Mining Company model train garden


Magic Mining Company

Magic Mining Company

Magic mining menu

Magic mining menu


I had a bbq chicken which came with a salad, rice, vegetables and a piece of cornbread, and Bob had clam chowder and a
Steamed shrimp appetizer

Steamed shrimp appetizer


for a total before tip of $24.50.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Since AAA wouldn't take the advance calls for towing on Sat., I called them Monday morning about 8:30 and told them that Bob would wait at the entrance to the hotel. They gave me the usual spiel - that the driver would be there within an hour. Bob walked over to the hotel entrance, and I waited in the room. I had intended to give him the cell phone to take with him, but it was charging, and he walked off without it. In about 15 minutes, the towing company called me back and said that it might be more than an hour before they got to us, and that they would call me back.

They hadn't called by 9:30, so I went out to look for Bob. I didn't think to look and see if the car was there first. Bob was nowhere to be found, but I mailed the complaint card for the Super 8 that I had made out. Then, I called AAA and they said that Bob had already reached the Midas shop. They hadn't called me back - they had just picked the car up. After they repaired the brake line, Bob came back to the hotel and was ready to go to lunch.

I had brought my taco salad from Wendy's (and the coleslaw from the night before) back to the room and put them in the refrigerator. But Bob turned the refrigerator to full cold to refreeze the bottles of ice we have in the cooler, and both salads were frozen solid. I had eaten most of the taco salad anyway. Bob went to Burger King and brought food back - I asked him for a bacon cheeseburger.

That evening, able to drive for the first time, we went across the street to the Sizzler American Grill that was in the Westgate Towers. This was one of those all-you-can-eat salad and food bar + entree places. We both got a half slab of St. Louis bbq ribs for $13.99. In reality, we could have just gotten the food bar
Food bar

Food bar


without the ribs - in addition to the salad bar, which also had fruit on it, there were vegetables (corn, mashed potatoes, gravy, broccoli, and rice), soups and various entrees such as curried chicken, sausage and peppers, rigatoni, beef stroganoff.
Curry chicken, BBQ sausage and peppers

Curry chicken, BBQ sausage and peppers


Bob got some more chicken noodle soup. The BBQ ribs came with a large baked potato,
Ribs and baked potato

Ribs and baked potato


and a small pot of baked beans topped with grated cheese. The dessert bar was a little anemic - it just had soft ice cream and cones, and pound cake with chocolate and caramel sauces.

Leaving, Tuesday, January 24, 2006

We loaded the car back up, and checked out of the motel. The bill totaled $52.09/night. We drove west on US 192 and then went north on US 27 toward I-75.

After we got out of the congestion around Kissimmee, we passed orange groves including some that were just narrow strips (3 or 4 trees wide) between the highway and housing developments.
Orange trees near highway

Orange trees near highway


We passed the Citrus Tower in Clermont a little after 9:30.
Citrus Tower from the road

Citrus Tower from the road

Bob wanted to get fuel, so we got off the interstate about 11:30, and he got diesel ($2.59/gal). There was considerable construction around this intersection. We wanted to get lunch and I told Bob that I thought there was a place on the other side of the interstate. Sure enough there was a Mike's Tastee Hot Dogs "Relish the Flavor" and Little Caesars Hot-N-Ready Pizza. Bob got a hot dog ($1.50 plus a drink = $2.47) and I went over to Little Caesars.

The girl there said that they had no slices, but I could get a personal pizza. I got a cheese pizza and a drink for $3.52. While I was wandering around, I took some pictures of the menu boards. The girl behind the counter came out and saw me and said that pictures were forbidden. She didn't say why and I couldn't think of any good reason, so I paid no attention.

We got back on I-75 drove north and got on I-10. We crossed into the Central Time Zone about 2:30 EST/1:30 CST. After 242 miles, we got more diesel about 3:30 at a Citgo/Tom Thumb in Crestview again for $2.59/gal. I had phoned Eglin and asked them how to get to White Sands Inn where we were to check in. She said to take FL 85 south from Crestview to the East Gate. Bob however missed the turn that FL 85 made, and went on down FL 123 to where FL 85 joined up again at which point we were at the West Gate. We asked the sentry and he told us to go up 3 lights and turn left.

When we checked in we were told that the actual room was back by the West Gate just past the hospital. The room had a full kitchen, with bar stools by the counter between that and the living room, and a bedroom and bathroom. The ceiling fan was on and it was quite hot inside. The room was $38.50/night. There wasn't a lot of parking.

Bob wanted to see where the gate that was by the hospital led to, so that's the gate that we exited when we went out to dinner. We found ourselves in Valparaiso. We ate at a restaurant called Giuseppi's Wharf
Sign_outside_the_restaurant

Sign_outside_the_restaurant


which was across from the McDonalds. This restaurant does not appear to exist anymore.
Front_of_restaurant

Front_of_restaurant


I had picked up a paper menu at the front desk as we came in, and it said that there were early bird specials for $10.95. So we asked our waitress and she said we'd have to have the order in the kitchen before six.
Inside the restaurant

Inside the restaurant


Since it was about 5:50, I quickly ordered the
Grilled_grouper_ early_bird_dinner $10.95

Grilled_grouper_ early_bird_dinner $10.95


and Bob ordered the chicken. I got the salad bar with mine for an extra $1.99 and Bob had the cole slaw.

The waitress got mixed up and gave us both the grouper. Bob didn't want to make trouble so he just ate his grouper, which was very good and came with two hush puppies in addition to the baked potato. Afterwards, Bob got the Key Lime pie and I got a
French_Silk_Pie $4.50

French_Silk_Pie $4.50


(both $4.50). The total before tip was $34.87.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 19:12 Archived in USA Comments (12)

Fort Gaines, Bellingrath Gardens and Heading for Texas

A couple of days in Pensacola, and then Crossing Mississippi and Louisiana


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & AFV Winter 2006 & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

25 January 2006

We were going to Pensacola to the Navy Lodge this morning - the reason we didn't go there yesterday was because they didn't have a room for the 24th.

It isn't far from Eglin to Pensacola and we weren't supposed to check in real early, so we didn't rush to check out. We were in Pensacola by 11:30, so we had lunch at Sonny's BBQ on Navy Blvd.
Sonny's sign

Sonny's sign


Bob had soup and salad bar for $6.99,
Sonny's buffet

Sonny's buffet


and I had a pulled pork sandwich ($5.04) on garlic bread.
Pulled pork

Pulled pork


Bob gave me some peach cobbler off the salad bar too. I took a picture of the drive-in menu,
Drive-through menu

Drive-through menu


but we went in and ate because Bob doesn't like to eat in the car.
Building next to Sonny's

Building next to Sonny's



I wanted to try to get the prescription filled at the NAS hospital in Pensacola.

First we had to find it. It wasn't on NAS. As we were driving down Navy Blvd, I saw a sign pointing to the right so we took a quick right on highway 98. We went aboard where Corry Field used to be - it is now the Naval Technical Training Center. We drove all over the place and couldn't find the hospital. Finally I saw a tall building over in the distance and that was it.

The parking lot was jammed so Bob let me off at the door and went to wait for someone to leave so he could park. There were volunteers at the door manning the number system. I explained what I wanted and she gave me two slips - one D and one B. The D number was first to find out if they had that drug and could fill the prescription. They said they had it, but I wasn't in the system.

I sat back down to wait for the B number, which took a long time to come up. Apparently there is no phone-in system here. If you want a prescription filled, they do it while you wait. They filled almost 3,000 prescriptions on the 24th. When I came they estimated the wait time at 15 minutes.

When my B number was called (I was B527 and they were on B477 when I arrived and the estimated wait time had gone up to 45 minutes), the pharmacy technician peeled the label off the bottle and put it on a piece of paper. Then she said I'd have to go over and get put into the system and come back.

After I did that, they said they didn't have the size pills I'd been prescribed (150 mg), they only had 300 mg. I said that was OK that I was originally prescribed 75 mg and I just bit the pills in half. They didn't think much of that procedure and not only gave me the pills but also a pill splitter.

We decided to go to the Naval Air Museum before we checked in because I had a little ticket that said that the IMAX show "The Magic of Flight" would be shown at 2 and 4 pm. They also have a film called"Magnificent Desolation Walking on the Moon"
Poster about IMAX show

Poster about IMAX show


IMAX Facts and Figures:

  • The Naval Aviation Memorial Theater is one of the largest IMAX theaters in the world and has the largest screen in Florida.
  • It took nearly two years to construct the theater. It contains 690 tons of structural steel and 1990 cubic yards of concrete.
  • The projected image on the screen is magnified 273 times the size of the film frame."

We hadn't seen The Magic of Flight show (which Bob thought he would be more interested in than the Fighter Pilot one which was on the alternate hours). So we went to the ticket booth
Ticket booths

Ticket booths


in the museum at about 5 after 1 to get a ticket and found out that the shows had been switched since we were here last. We decided to go in late - we missed about 10 minutes of the show.

Bob thought this show, while interesting, had too much of the Blue Angels in it. They only gave the Wright Brothers about 2 minutes of the film.

The blurb says: "Fly at twice the speed of sound with the Blue Angels as they defy gravity with their breathtaking maneuvers. You’ll also go back in time to 1903 when the Wright brothers first took flight. Narrated by Tom Selleck, The Magic of Flight explores the wonders of flying and man’s desire to be amongst the clouds."
Photo of the Flight Line - T34 Turbo from the show

Photo of the Flight Line - T34 Turbo from the show


Since I missed the opening, I missed that it was Tom Selleck doing the narration - I recognized his voice but couldn't put a name to it. So I asked Bob and he said he was in one of those shows done in Hawaii. The only thing I could think of was Hawaii 5-0, and I knew that wasn't it.

We didn't do the simulator ride (Bob has actually flown and didn't need to, and I have vertigo and didn't want to), but that is also available. You must be at least 3 years old to ride.Motion-Based Simulator Ride

Afterwards we walked around the museum - listened in on a tour group,
A-7 cockpit

A-7 cockpit


large_68784002600404-Cockpit_on_d..m_Shalimar.jpg Cockpit with ejection seat

Cockpit with ejection seat


took a weather quiz,
Cessna OE-1 (Army L-19)

Cessna OE-1 (Army L-19)


and took pictures of Cessna OE-1 (Army L-19 that Bob's brother David flew).
Cessna OE-1 Bird Dog

Cessna OE-1 Bird Dog

Looking down on the tables out in the museum area

Looking down on the tables out in the museum area


Then we left and checked into the Navy Lodge.
Fountain out front

Fountain out front


This room was $55/night. We were on the third floor and there was an elevator and also a luggage cart.
Navy lodge

Navy lodge


Our room had no lamps on the bedside tables - probably because the outlet next to the bed did not work. But the room was nice - it had a refrigerator and a microwave and a coffee pot,
Desk and kitchen

Desk and kitchen


and TV,
TV

TV


and a view of the Gulf through the live oak trees. View of the bay through the trees from the room

View of the bay through the trees from the room


I wanted to write up the last couple of days, but I couldn't see to do it. I'd have needed a flashlight.

For dinner, we drove out along Navy Blvd and I saw a billboard for Barnhills, which I wanted to try.

Oops - there were three places where the right hand lane had to turn right and we were shunted off Navy Blvd at least once.
Navy Blvd

Navy Blvd


I saw a Barnhills sign near the road, but it looked like there wasn't anything there - that it was a construction zone. We drove farther out and didn't find anything so we turned around and came back. This time, I saw the restaurant, which was mostly covered with scaffolding.

Barnhills is a buffet All-You-Can-Eat place which is economically feasible for us. Senior (over 60) dinners are $7.29 @, so even with drinks it was less than $19 for the two of us to eat. There are no big beef entrees here.
Tables inside the restaurant

Tables inside the restaurant


There are various kinds of salad (Caesars, tossed salad with add-ons like olives, chopped hard boiled eggs, grated cheese, and tomatoes, seafood salad, pasta salad, carrot and raisin salad,
Salad section

Salad section


apple/raisin/marshmallow/coconut salad -which I really liked), biscuits, rolls, fried chicken, chicken fingers, chicken livers (which Bob couldn't find) green beans, collards, fried okra, fish, pork chops, ham, mac and cheese,
Buffet

Buffet


Mirrors over the buffet

Mirrors over the buffet

Me reflected in a mirror with buffet table behind

Me reflected in a mirror with buffet table behind

What I picked to eat

What I picked to eat


and a whole bunch of jello, pudding, soft ice cream, cakes and pies for dessert.

26 January 2006

On the 26th, we went out west toward Mobile. I had left the visit to Bellingrath Gardens for when we were staying in Gautier MS and I still really wanted to see the Gardens. I remembered visiting them at some point in the past - my memory was of the spring - but Bob was adamant that he had never done so. So I scheduled today for that.

On the way out (about 8:45), Bob stopped at a Winn-Dixie and got applesauce and nutmeg because he said he was getting a sty, and that is his family recipe for that. When I looked at him, I saw that his eye looked sore (although he said it wasn't) and the 'bags' under his left eye were swollen and red. He put a lot of nutmeg into one of the little applesauce cups and ate it right away.

We drove out of the west gate of NAS Pensacola (which Bob had initially refused to believe existed but it was on my Pensacola map) about 9:30. There were several arched structures (like the top of a Conestoga wagon) at various places on the base, especially near the gates. We couldn't figure out what their purpose is.

We went by one of the marinas on the base (mostly power boats) and I saw a couple of range marker structures lying on the beach (which I guess was a result of the hurricanes).
Toppled channel marker

Toppled channel marker


Their replacements were out there in the water, so it wasn't apparently as bad as what our son-in-law reported in Miami - that no one who didn't know the channel to their marina could possibly enter because half of the channel markers were missing or up on shore. So I was thinking about the hurricanes as we drove toward Mobile, and looking for other types of damage. On the north side of the highway there were downed or broken trees, but on the south side, the pines were standing tall and straight with no obvious gaps, although the understory looked tousled. As we drove, I was looking at the map,
Map of Dauphin Island

Map of Dauphin Island


and I decided to go down to Fort Gaines first to see if I could see the lighthouse at Sand Key from there.

We went through the tunnel beside Fort Conde
2694771-inside_the_tunnel_Mobile.jpgTunnel by Fort Conde

Tunnel by Fort Conde


and got off of I-10 and drove through peninsular roads in Alabama, and across the bridge to Dauphin Island
Approaching the Dauphin Island Bridge

Approaching the Dauphin Island Bridge


Dauphin Island Water tower

Dauphin Island Water tower


Dauphin Island has an island long bike path which parallels the main highway. Bob thought it was interesting, that the bike path had stop signs (slightly smaller versions than the ones on the highway) and double yellow lines painted on the pavement to show where bikes should be in relation to people coming the other direction. I got a picture of the bike path (and also the launch ramp sign for boaters)
850140632697856-Bike_path_be..hin_Island.jpgBike path beside the road

Bike path beside the road


but I didn't get any of the actual signs. At the ferry end of the bike path, is Magnolia Park, which has picnic tables and benches.

The bike path is under the jurisdiction of the Street Department. The town website says:

The Street department is responsible for the repair, cleaning and maintenance of streets, alleys, parks, drainage ditches and other Town rights-of-ways. The Street department is charged with the overall attractive appearance of the island and the bridge. Specific areas of responsibility are
· Cutting grass on rights-of-way
· Cleaning streets
· Cleaning drainage ditches
· Disaster recovery
· Animal control
· Tree cutting on rights-of-way
· Trash collection on rights-of-way
· Park maintenance
· Vehicle maintenance
· Equipment maintenance
· Street lighting maintenance
· Holiday decorations
· Public restroom maintenance
· Beautification project maintenance
· Special Projects
· Bike and Pedestrian Trail
· Public Boat Launch

Bike trail going past campground

Bike trail going past campground


There was a campground which looked like it was one of the few places to stay remaining on Dauphin Island after the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005
150 Sites with power and water
70 sites with sewer
Bathhouse with hot showers, washers/dryers
Campground store
Group pavilion with large brick barbecue grill
Free boat launches-- you're in the gulf of Mexico in 5 minutes!
Walking trails into the audubon Bird Sanctuary (watch for birds, alligators, fish, turtles)
Boardwalk to secluded beach on Gulf
Bicycle rental, playground, badminton, volleyball, shuffleboard and horseshoe pits.

The website mentions that there are beaches, fishing (a fishing pier if it has been reconstructed which it wasn't when we were there)
From the fort, we saw  what looked like it had been a fairly new fishing pier which was just a bunch of pilings now

From the fort, we saw what looked like it had been a fairly new fishing pier which was just a bunch of pilings now


and rods can be rented, and an Audubon bird sanctuary. "Tree-lined paths lead from your RV or tent site to snow-white beaches and the lush woods of the Audubon Bird Sanctuary. Free boat launches/fishing pier and Historic Fort Gaines are within a short walk... cited as one of the ten most globally important sites for bird migration. .. Migrating butterflies find the Island a convenient rest stop too. "

On the island, in addition to the Bird Sanctuary are an 18-hole golf course, public swimming pool, restaurants, markets, bakery, gift shops, churches, a small airstrip and the Sea Lab Estuarium.
Estuarium

Estuarium


We went past the Estuarium and the ferry docks
Car Ferry signs

Car Ferry signs


Ferry dock

Ferry dock


The car ferry between Fort Morgan and Dauphin Island was reinstated in February 2006. One way trips take about 40 minutes. When we visited Fort Morgan it was not yet up and running, and we missed a chance to get the ferry from Dauphin Island.
Car Ferry

Car Ferry


When we got to the end of the road
Fort Morgan across the Bay

Fort Morgan across the Bay

Pilot boat going out of the bay

Pilot boat going out of the bay

Looking out over the bay

Looking out over the bay

515886832971382-View_of_Sand..hin_Island.jpgView of Sand Island Lighthouse and Mobile Bay

View of Sand Island Lighthouse and Mobile Bay


we were at Fort Gaines.
View from sand level

View from sand level


Road between the fort and the Bay

Road between the fort and the Bay


Did we REALLY want to see another fort?
Cannon on the fort wall

Cannon on the fort wall

Walls with a gun from the road

Walls with a gun from the road


The sign outside said that the fort was established in 1821 for the defense of Mobile and that it was named for General Gaines
Historic Fort Gaines sign

Historic Fort Gaines sign


Sign outside the fort

Sign outside the fort


who, as commandant of Ft. Stoddard, captured Aaron Burr fourteen years previously. (It wasn't actually completed and named until 1853 after the death of General Gaines.)

You could go across the Sally Port without paying,
Bob Walking across to the Sally Port

Bob Walking across to the Sally Port


but to see inside the fort itself, you had to enter through the gift shop and pay - it was much more controlled than at Fort Morgan.
Entrance and the admission prices

Entrance and the admission prices


The attendant gave us an excellent pamphlet which showed the history of the fort, a description of the "Damn the torpedoes - Full speed ahead" battle and a self guided tour with numbered locations and explanations.
Bob at the fort entrance

Bob at the fort entrance


Before we started the tour, we both used the rest rooms
Sign in the bathroom for the campground people - Do not wash dishes in the sink

Sign in the bathroom for the campground people - Do not wash dishes in the sink

Ladies room - my reflection

Ladies room - my reflection


While we had a good view from in front of the fort, we had a better one from the fort walls.
Bob walking up a ramp

Bob walking up a ramp

Walking along the top of the fort

Walking along the top of the fort


We could see Fort Morgan, and also the lighthouses and the ships in the harbor. We tried to see this lighthouse from Fort Morgan, but it was too foggy. It was much clearer here at Fort Gaines, but also the lighthouse was farther away. I would have liked to try to see whether I would be closer on the ferry, but we just missed one ferry and didn't want to wait for another one. I understand you can charter a boat to go out closer to see it better.

The current lighthouse on Sand Island is the fourth at this location. It is on a narrow strip of land that was once 400 acres, and now due to erosion and in spite of tons a riprap, the lighthouse is basically falling into the bay.

In 1837, Congress allocated $10,000 and Winslow Lewis began construction on Alabama’s first and only seacoast light- an iron spindle. It rose to a height of fifty-five feet and was fitted with fourteen lamps backed by sixteen-inch reflector. In 1839, for $500 per year, John McCloud was hired as the first keeper. But since it was out-shown by the Mobile Point Lighthouse, it was considered a second class lighthouse.
Sand Island lighthouse

Sand Island lighthouse


Even in those days, the land was slowly eroding so in 1858, under the direction of Army Engineer Danville Leadbetter, a conical brick tower (the second lighthouse) was constructed. The Confederates removed the nine-foot-tall lens and placed it in storage at the beginning of the war. Two years later the Confederate soldiers discovered Yankees in the tower spying on Ft. Morgan positions, so a Confederate by the name of John W. Glenn placed 70 lbs of gunpowder next to the tower and blew it up.
Photo of the lighthouse

Photo of the lighthouse


After the destruction, a wooden tower 48 feet high was built (the third lighthouse) and it marked Sand Island from 1864 to 1873. In September of 1873, a new 125 foot lighthouse was in operation (the fourth lighthouse).

The lighthouse was manned with two keepers and their wives. A few days before the 1906 hurricane struck, one of the keepers went to shore. The hurricane took the light out and the remaining keeper and wives were gone...never to be found.
Photo of the lighthouse in the museum

Photo of the lighthouse in the museum


A second hurricane struck in 1919. A landing party was sent to see why the light was out but they found the station deserted. A log which kept the daily activities of the keepers stated that he had gone to pick up a new employee. They were never found and it was assumed that their boat had overturned in the rough seas returning to the lighthouse.

In 1921, the lighthouse was automated and was deactivated 11 years later, but a keeper maintained it until 1950
Sand Island light

Sand Island light


In early 2003, the state granted $100,000 for a feasibility study to determine if the lighthouse could be relocated to Dauphin Island. The lighthouse was damaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and further damaged by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Restoration is beginning on the lighthouse which is owned by the residents of Dauphin Island.
Bridge

Bridge

Bridge from the side

Bridge from the side

Gun locations

Gun locations

Empty gun locations

Empty gun locations

Gun emplacement

Gun emplacement

Flower in the fort

Flower in the fort


Bob and I had an argument about which of the boats we could see from the fort was the ferry, but he was correct. The ferry seemed to be almost stationary at the point we saw it, and I thought it was anchored.
boat that was NOT the ferry

boat that was NOT the ferry

We could look down into the courtyards
Looking down into a courtyard

Looking down into a courtyard


Kitchen courtyard

Kitchen courtyard


Garrison Kitchen

Garrison Kitchen


Looking down into the central courtyard

Looking down into the central courtyard

Bob in the Bastion Magazine

Bob in the Bastion Magazine


and when we went down there, a daschund took great exception to our being there and barked and growled from the end of the tunnel
Dog through the door

Dog through the door


to where we came out in the central courtyard. In spite of him,
Bob walking through the fort

Bob walking through the fort

Bakery

Bakery


we visited the Bakery and the Latrine
10 seat Latrine

10 seat Latrine


(a ten seater flushed twice a day by the tide)
Watch dog?

Watch dog?


and then went to the Blacksmith Shop.
Blacksmith's Forge

Blacksmith's Forge


Here there was a actual blacksmith making things our of iron and explaining the process as he went along. The things he produced were for sale.

The dog belonged to the blacksmith. He said that they'd gotten the dog as a puppy and Hurricane Ivan had come along when he was only a few weeks old. After the hurricane the fort was closed while the volunteers worked to restore it and he wasn't accustomed to having people he didn't know be on site.

We continued around the courtyard
Magazine

Magazine

Stairs

Stairs

Battery Stanton

Battery Stanton

Ship's rudder

Ship's rudder

Quartermaster building

Quartermaster building


and visited the little museum (it had additional photos of the lighthouses),
Doll in the museum

Doll in the museum


1845 Day Dress

1845 Day Dress

Magazine - station 28

Magazine - station 28


and quarters for the men.
Window and fireplace in the quarters

Window and fireplace in the quarters

Kitchen courtyard

Kitchen courtyard

Anchor in the courtyard

Anchor in the courtyard


In the courtyard was the anchor from the U.S.S. Hartford which was Admiral Farragut's flagship. After we finished the tour, I asked the entrance attendant whether this was a federal or state site. He said neither, which was why this fort was in so much better shape than Fort Morgan. Because everything here was ship-shape. Apparently the US sold the fort to Mobile in 1926, and Mobile then gave it to the Alabama Department of Conservation which then deeded it to the Dauphin Island Park and Beach Board.

The guy there told us that the oversight of Fort Morgan was under a guy who was a friend of someone in power and was paid an enormous salary and given a house in Gulf Shores. So now there was no money left in the budget to maintain the fort. He said that the state board in charge was considering selling or giving the fort to Baldwin County or to the city of Mobile or possibly to the US Park Service.

By now, it was after 1:30 and definitely time for lunch. I thought we might want to eat on the island, and at the entrance to the fort they had posted a list of restaurants that were open after the last storm. But most of them were deli type places and I really only remembered one name of a place which I had seen when we came onto the island (although it was misspelled on the list). So we drove out past the public access (to the water) park, the campground, the ferry docks with the Corps of Engineers warning signs about channel dredging, and the ferry (which had just left preventing me from seriously suggesting that we take the ferry to get a picture from closer to the lighthouse).

Near the island end of the bridge (which was not built until 1952) was a marina with narrow house fronts (two stories tall but only about half a room deep) on the shore side of the slips.
Front and side of flat houses from car

Front and side of flat houses from car


Opposite that was a restaurant called "Barnacle Bills Marina Grill" (it had been spelled 'Barnicle' on the list at the fort).
2697302-Roadside_facade_Dauphin_Island.jpgRestaurant sign

Restaurant sign

Outside, they advertise "Best Food on the Island" with a lunch special for $5.95.
Bar area

Bar area


The lunch special
Lunch specials

Lunch specials


was on cards on the table - one meat (choice of pork roast, grilled chicken breast, smoked sausage, fried catfish, chopped sirloin or country fried steak - the latter two with gravy) with three sides (choice of mashed potatoes, green beans, black eyed peas, rice, sauteed corn, turnip greens, red beans, baby limas and cole slaw) But this was too much for either of us to eat for lunch (and maybe even for dinner).

So I ordered a shrimp club (grilled shrimp, bacon & provolone, lettuce and tomato on a grilled hoagie for $8.95) which was excellent and Bob had shrimp & chips (fried shrimp and fries) for $7.05. This was $18.50 before tip
Bob's Fish and Chips

Bob's Fish and Chips


We left Dauphin Island about 2:30 and we reached Bellingrath Gardens 20 minutes later.
Gift Shop and Cafeteria from parking lot

Gift Shop and Cafeteria from parking lot


I knew we could have eaten here at the cafeteria (called the Magnolia Cafe) but I was afraid that lunch service would be over before we reached there. If it had been earlier, we could have had soup ($2.95), salads ($2.95 to $3.95), sandwiches ($4.95), drinks ($1.00) and desserts ($1.50).
Buffet line and sign

Buffet line and sign


We had to decide at this point if we wanted to see just the gardens or the house and gardens. We could get $1 off the admission price for the gardens, but the combination tour had no discounts. I knew the house was built in the 30s and no photography was allowed inside. I also seemed to remember that we had not toured the house when we (or I) was here before because it was too expensive. So we just paid $9 each and took the garden ticket. According to the map (which I read later), there was an introductory film which we could have seen, but the admissions clerk did not tell us about it.
Garden Map

Garden Map


Even though it was winter when we were there, outdoors there were blooms of camellias, roses, tulips, pansies, snapdragons, daffodils, flowering cabbage and kale, poppies, primrose and paper white narcissus. But having just been to the Leu Gardens, I was quite disappointed in Bellingrath Gardens. It was beautiful, and had an army of gardeners keeping it groomed and weeded, but there were very few labels as to the identity of the plants.
An unlabeled blooming plant

An unlabeled blooming plant

Unlabeled flower

Unlabeled flower

Labeled plant

Labeled plant


There were many many beds with bedding plants - mostly various kinds of ornamental cabbage.
Lines of ornamental cabbage

Lines of ornamental cabbage


Blooms of Decorative cabbages

Blooms of Decorative cabbages


Very nice but kind of samey. Nothing that any gardener couldn't do for themselves. The rose garden had scarcely any blooms because it was quite a bit farther north than the Leu Garden, and they had camellias too, but not as many as the Leu Garden and they were just distributed throughout the garden.
Bob's picture of a Camilla with a bug

Bob's picture of a Camilla with a bug


We didn't see any butterflies in the butterfly garden because there were very few blooms.
Flowers

Flowers


Indoors there were of course orchids and other more tender flowers.
Greenhouse

Greenhouse

Other end of the greenhouse

Other end of the greenhouse


There is a little greenhouse on the property where they have the orchids, It is behind the rose garden.
inside the greenhouse

inside the greenhouse


Inside were mostly the tender plants and things like orchids and not an overwhelming number of those.
Orchids

Orchids

Orchids

Orchids


There was an Elephant Foot tree in the greenhouse was a little different and interesting.
Elephant Food tree (which did have a label)

Elephant Food tree (which did have a label)


Small fountain in the greenhouse

Small fountain in the greenhouse

Planter at the gardens

Planter at the gardens

Waste basket

Waste basket


I took about 45 pictures, and Bob only took about 20.
Bob by the Great Lawn

Bob by the Great Lawn


I sat down to look at the "Great Lawn" from the "Brick Patio" and that is one of Bob's pictures
Me sitting in the Brick Patio

Me sitting in the Brick Patio


There were many fountains,
Fountain in the gardens

Fountain in the gardens

Fountain

Fountain


and some little canals which I guess are from/for irrigation.
Canal in the middle of the winter cabbages

Canal in the middle of the winter cabbages


Their website says: Water features of fountains and waterfalls were installed and framed with English flagstone walkways. The stone had been obtained from old city sidewalks in Mobile where they had been in place since arriving as ballast in English sailing vessels collecting loads of cotton for the mills at Manchester.

The Bellingraths seemed to make a habit of 'scavenging' their building materials.
large_2698608-_Theodore.jpg
The house was built using brick and ironwork salvaged from historic Mobile homes,
large_2698609-_Theodore.jpg
and the flagstones were originally ballast for ships that was used in Mobile as sidewalks until the Bellingraths gave the city replacement concrete sidewalks. Yuk.
House of salvaged materials

House of salvaged materials

Bob took some pictures of the roof because it had so many different colors in it.
Multicolored roof

Multicolored roof


The garden had real gas lamps for lighting, and some of them were lit.
Gas light

Gas light


Bellingrath House

Bellingrath House

Marker on the house

Marker on the house

Garage

Garage


There was a huge display of Boehm porcelain (pronounced 'beam') in the building that had once been a three car garage.
The three car garage

The three car garage


Bob was interested in the garage aspect.
Boehm porcelain in the window

Boehm porcelain in the window


Boehm porcelain Ivory Billed Woodpeckers

Boehm porcelain Ivory Billed Woodpeckers

Boehm Porcelain horses

Boehm Porcelain horses


We walked past the Great Lawn
Great Lawn

Great Lawn

Bob walking ahead of me down the path

Bob walking ahead of me down the path


and down to the docks. I had seen the advertisements for a River Cruise and thought we might do that, but when we walked down to the docks, we found that the boat tours were not running in the winter and now they are no longer available at any season. I sat at the top and Bob went down to take photos of the water features - they had water running down the hill there between the stairs. I have a photo I took looking down at him,
Water lily pond and Bob down by the river

Water lily pond and Bob down by the river


and he took one looking up at me.
Me sitting at the top

Me sitting at the top

We were in the garden at an off season - winter. According to the literature, no matter what season of the year it is, there is something in bloom at the Gardens. There are more in the spring of course starting with the azalea season, Easter lilies, hydrangeas, marigolds, salvia, fuschia, impatiens, delphiniums, and geraniums. In the summer there are blooms of roses, allamandes, hibiscus, caladiums, copper plants, coleus, vinca, petunias, marigolds, begonias, ornamental peppers, and bougainvillea. The fall brings salvia, coleus, copper plants, hibiscus, early garden-style chrysanthemums and during the holidays you can add poinsettias.

There was a Japanese garden section.
Gate into the garden

Gate into the garden


The addition of this garden began as as a suggestion from Edward Marshall Boehm.
Flat bridge

Flat bridge


Oriental garden

Oriental garden


This garden is the only garden that was not present during the Bellingrath’s time.
Lake with arched bridge

Lake with arched bridge

Reflected bridge

Reflected bridge


This section is full of islands and little arched bridges that are reflected in the water

I short-cutted that part and just looked from the side. There was an island in the little stream in the shape of a turtle but I shortcutted that part and just looked from the side. There was an island in the shape of a turtle.
Turtle shaped island

Turtle shaped island


We went to the gift shop about 4 and looked around
View of the gift shop

View of the gift shop

868902862698431-Night_lights..s_Theodore.jpgNight lights and Iris artifacts

Night lights and Iris artifacts


Display in the patio area

Display in the patio area


Up until April 2006, when I visited a garden I always looked for a gift for my mom with the iris flower on it because she was an iris judge. When I was at Bellingrath Gardens, I bought her a T-shirt. Unfortunately, she went into the hospital just before I got home, and although I gave her the T-shirt,
T-shirt with iris from gift shop

T-shirt with iris from gift shop


she died very shortly thereafter. I gave the T-shirt to the American Iris Society for their auction by which they raise money for the society. The AIS was one of my mom's favorite organizations.

Then we left to drive back to Pensacola.
Returning to Pensacola

Returning to Pensacola


Bob followed the signs for I-10 and took us about 5 miles out of the way, but we did get back to Pensacola about 5. .Pensacola lighthouse near the Navy Lodge

Pensacola lighthouse near the Navy Lodge


and got fuel on the base for $2.49/gal. This time, we went to dinner at Ruby Tuesday because it was the closest place and we were tired. Bob had an
Bob's All American burger and fries ($6.99)

Bob's All American burger and fries ($6.99)


and I had a petite sirloin with two sides (creamed cauliflower was one of them) for $9.99, and a
Luscious ice cream pie for $5.99

Luscious ice cream pie for $5.99


Bob put hot compresses on his eye and ate some more nutmeg and applesauce.

January 27, 2006 Traversing Louisiana on I-10

Bob's eye looks a little better. We checked out about 10 for the drive to Lafayette
Exit gate from NAS Pensacola

Exit gate from NAS Pensacola

For the first 50 miles or so, we were on the same road as yesterday but this time I got a picture of the big firecracker place.
Fireworks place

Fireworks place


We stopped at the Mississippi border Welcome Station at noon.
Mississippi welcome center

Mississippi welcome center


I asked about the Gulf Islands Seashore Mississippi section and the lady said that it was completely closed so I decided not to try a side trip on US 90 which parallels I-10. The booklet that they gave out still had the Gautier hotel in it, but there was a disclaimer on the front that it had been printed before the hurricanes. We did see lots of hurricane damage from this section of I-10.

About 12:30 we passed a big accident on the other side of the road which had traffic backed up past the next exit.
Accident

Accident


It was a tractor trailer on its side. We stopped just before one at a Loves and ate at an Arby's.
Propane, Go Karts, DNA and Drug testing and Solid Oak Furniture advertisements

Propane, Go Karts, DNA and Drug testing and Solid Oak Furniture advertisements


The people there were completely disorganized. Some people waited 15 or 20 minutes for their food. Bob got a roast beef, but I asked for a chicken salad sub with almonds, and instead I got a chicken salad wrap which had something in it that tasted nasty. I ate it anyway hoping I wouldn't get sick (which I didn't).

We got to the Louisiana border about 2.
Entering Louisiana

Entering Louisiana


We went into the Welcome Station to get a Louisiana map,
Louisiana welcome center

Louisiana welcome center


which I found disappointing compared to the other welcome station maps I've gotten. It was on glossy paper (tears easily) and had less detail than other maps. You could only get it as an insert in a big glossy paper book. I was amused by the sign outside titled "Solicitation Area"
Solicitation Area sign

Solicitation Area sign


which said that people might approach seeking money for religious purposes, and that the Louisiana DOT was prevented by the courts from prohibiting them but "if you are asked to give money you have the right to refuse". Duh.
Sign pointing to the town of ROBERT

Sign pointing to the town of ROBERT

Praline Kitchen

Praline Kitchen

We accept food stamps - Boiled crawfish

We accept food stamps - Boiled crawfish


We passed through Baton Rouge about 3:45 and crossed the Mississippi before 4 pm. I tried to take pictures of the building which I thought was the state capitol (I remember Daddy collecting pictures of all the state capitol buildings) from the road. If it is the building that I think it is, it is quite tall and sticks up above the rest of the buildings.
Louisiana State Capitol?

Louisiana State Capitol?

Baton Rouge skyline

Baton Rouge skyline

Bridge across the Mississippi

Bridge across the Mississippi



When I was working in Pensacola (when we were first married), we formed the habit of going out to dinner on Friday night, and then on Saturday we went to the commissary and did the laundry. When we moved to Jeanerette, there was a lack of restaurants - many restaurants were in family homes and you had to know someone. So at least a couple of times we went to Lafayette to eat. I had hoped to revisit the town to see if I could recognize anyplace. But at the end of the day, we didn't have the time or energy to do that. We stopped for fuel at 4:30 and headed for our hotel.

I had booked a Howard Johnson Express which was right off the interstate just west of Lafayette in a town called Scott. We saw the ads for it on billboards along the way - it offered a free breakfast, free local calls and free high speed internet. As we got to the interchange there was a sign right on the other side of the road.

Bob got off and crossed the interstate and made a mistake and got back on the eastbound interstate when he meant to get on the frontage road. We had to go 3 miles back to the previous interchange and get off and get on again and then come back.

On the next try, we did get onto the frontage road, but that wasn't where the hotel actually was. Finally on the third try, we found the correct driveway and checked in.
Howard Johnsons

Howard Johnsons


The girl at the desk said that the wireless wasn't working but there was a LAN if I had the cable for it (which I did) or she could lend me one. There was also
An apartment sized frig and a microwave

An apartment sized frig and a microwave


.
Sunset on the way to dinner

Sunset on the way to dinner


We asked about dinner - we had seen a restaurant named Fezzo's across the street,
Outside of Fezzo's

Outside of Fezzo's


and she said that was a very good place to go.
The story behind the name

The story behind the name


Fezzo's was named for the wooden sewing spools that the father of the owner used to play with - the Cajan French word for those spools is fezzo.
Fezzo's specials

Fezzo's specials


I got the special
Shrimp pasta topped with fried eggplant ($12.99)

Shrimp pasta topped with fried eggplant ($12.99)


which was very good. It also included two pieces of French bread. Bob got the grilled shrimp dinner ($12.99 with salad and baked potato). Then we both had
Bread pudding for dessert ($2.99)

Bread pudding for dessert ($2.99)


The total before tip was $35.60.

When we got back to the hotel, we noticed that there was a school bus out front. The kids made some commotion in the halls up to about 11:30 pm.

Then I had just gotten up to go to the bathroom at about 3 am when there was an unholy racket. Eventually we figured out it was the smoke alarm. I figured one of the kids and pulled the alarm so we just waited until the noise stopped and went back to sleep.

Saturday, January 28th

The next morning when we checked out ($60.44 including tax) I asked about the kids ( I mean Lafayette is not a big field trip destination) and she said they were on some kind of project. WRT the fire alarm, she said that an old lady on the 3rd floor had pulled the alarm 'on accident'. The alarm was near her door and she had just put her hand on it and pulled it down. I said, what was she doing out in the corridor at 3 am. The girl shrugged and said "She's a mess". Whatever that meant.

Bob made himself breakfast in the room. I had cranberry juice and went out to the desk to get a donut and a bagel to eat. Bob's eye looks much better.

It is a little foggy this morning and it is cloudy and rainy. We see flooded fields and presume that they must be raising rice. They go into the field in a kind of boat.

We are seeing lots of FEMA trailers
FEMA trailers

FEMA trailers


and damaged houses
Damaged houses

Damaged houses


as we approach Lake Charles.
Harrah's casino boat

Harrah's casino boat


Harrah's casino boat is docked on the east side of the bridge. As we go over the bridge, we see below us all kinds of boats (many sailboats) in crumbled and shredded heaps on the levee below.
From the Lake Charles Bridge

From the Lake Charles Bridge

Into Texas

Into Texas

We went across the border into TeXas (about 10:30)

Posted by greatgrandmaR 19:39 Archived in USA Comments (5)

Carnivorous Plants and Texas History in Montgomery - TEXAS

Another Space Available Condo at a golf course


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & AFV Winter 2006 & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Texas Flags

Texas Flags


Bob had a cold and I decided that since we didn't need to babysit while E. went to the judging seminar, that we should wait to visit her and her new baby until we were all over our colds. So we stayed in Montgomery for a week before going to Frisco.

Saturday, January 28th

As we go across the border into TX (about 10:30), Bob asks if I want to stop at the Information/Rest Stop, and of course I do, but he almost misses it because the sign is gone - they are doing lots of construction on the road in this area.
Texas Welcome Center

Texas Welcome Center


I got the usual map. I had two problems with the map - the interchange numbers weren't on it, and neither are some of the mileages. And there's no indication on the big map what cities have more detailed maps on the reverse. It is a big map and too hard to unfold and refold just to see that a city doesn't have a detail map.

In addition to tourist information and a map, they have information on the TX birding trails.
721837882703534-Information_..rail_Texas.jpgBirding Trail billboards

Birding Trail billboards


There is even a boardwalk
Looking out to the Boardwalk

Looking out to the Boardwalk


out over the marsh to look for birds etc..
Part of the swamp area under the boardwalk

Part of the swamp area under the boardwalk

Swamp detail by the boardwalk

Swamp detail by the boardwalk


We took the Houston by-pass TX 8 so we didn't have to go into the center of Houston and eventually (at 1 pm) stopped at a Jack-In-The-Box for lunch. I got a
Chicken fajita

Chicken fajita

Oreo shake

Oreo shake


and Bob got a hamburger and fries. Total $9.58

We got to Conroe and I had the directions to the condo written down, but I also got out GPS because I have the route done on the computer. We found the turn off of TX105, and eventually found the rental office.
Condos from the Gulf side

Condos from the Gulf side


She had no record whatever that we were coming. I was supposed to print out the confirmation letter, but of course I didn't have a printer. So Bob went and got the computer out of the car, and I showed the letter to her from the computer.

She gave us unit 109.
Parking lot side of the units

Parking lot side of the units


There isn't anyone in the unit upstairs or on either side of us, so it is very quiet. We have one bedroom with a king sized bed, two night tables and a dresser with a mirror plus a TV.
TV in the bedroom

TV in the bedroom


There is a big closet but with almost no coat hangers. The lamp on my night table is a touch lamp which startled me when I accidentally touched it with a brochure and it went on.

The bathroom is reasonable size and is fine except the toilet flushes every so often. Must be a slow leak somewhere. We have a full kitchen
Apartment sized washer-dryer

Apartment sized washer-dryer

Other side of the kitchen

Other side of the kitchen


and a living room/dining room
Table and chairs

Table and chairs


with another TV and a leather sofa. The sofa is so soft in the middle that you sink out of sight - substandard.
Bob on the sinking sofa

Bob on the sinking sofa


The website says:
Each unit at First Fairway at Walden is air-conditioned, has cable television, anda washer/dryer. 1BR units OCC: Max 4
No pets are allowed. There are fees charged for amenities at the Del Lago complex, including golf.

We are right across from a driving range and a putting green, and can walk to the "Caddy Shack" which is the golf club restaurant.
Golf course Water feature

Golf course Water feature


According to the literature we got on check-in, they are quite anal about your dress on the golf course - you have to have appropriate shoes of course, but men have to wear trousers that are longer than mid thigh, and have shirts with a collar and sleeves that are tucked in at the waist. No untucked shirts allowed even for (or especially for) employees. And of course no jeans.

They also require you to use their golf carts (you can't bring your own and you can't use those individual two wheeled carts for your golf bag). This doesn't affect us at all, since we are not playing golf, nor are we ever likely to play golf here - just as well as I'm sure I would get in trouble for my clothing faux pas.

On the first night, we went out to dinner in the rainy dark - we drove toward Montgomery and went to a restaurant recommended by the resort called Heritage House.
Sign on the highway at night

Sign on the highway at night


This was a "country" restaurant (which may now be closed) and the parking lot was quite muddy (with a lot of sand in the mud).

Hot sauce on the table

Hot sauce on the table


We both had steaks which were delicious. Bob had the 6 oz. sirloin ($8.95) and I had the
10 oz ribeye $13.95

10 oz ribeye $13.95


which was covered with mushrooms, and neither of us could finish our steaks. Bob got the salad bar, and green beans and I had mashed potatoes (which came with a cream gravy) and green beans. Each plate came with a small corn on the cob and a little piece of watermelon and we also got rolls. For dessert, I had a Peach cobbler $2.50

Peach cobbler $2.50


Total was $31.62 before tip.
Entrance

Entrance


We noticed a very large group come in and the restaurant quickly added tables to accommodate more people. I knew that it probably wasn't a family group (because there were both black and white diners) although everyone seemed to know everyone else and be very friendly. We asked when we left and it was apparently a FFA or 4H group. That explained the trailers with farm equipment and the horse trailer in the parking lot.

January 29th - Sunday.

We basically vegged out at the unit all day - it was rainy. The area was glad of the rain as they have been in a drought. I took some pictures inside the unit, and I ate part of my steak for lunch. I also considered where we wanted to go. We had brochures for College Station but the only things there seemed to be the George HW Bush library, a college and a winery. Not of interest to me.

We walked over to the golf club restaurant (The Caddy Shack) for dinner but found that it was not open on Sunday evening. So we got in the car and drove towards Conroe looking for the Steak and Ale. Could not find it. So we stopped at a place called Hyden's Steaks and Seafood.
HYDENS porch

HYDENS porch

Menu - Hydens Restaurant and Oyster Bar

Menu - Hydens Restaurant and Oyster Bar

Fish tank

Fish tank

Fish in the fish tank

Fish in the fish tank


They had a printed 'specials' menu.
Hydens specials

Hydens specials


I got a cup of
Crawfish bisque $4.95

Crawfish bisque $4.95


and then I had the special #2
Pecan Encrusted Shrimp Salad $12.95

Pecan Encrusted Shrimp Salad $12.95


Bob got special #12
Gulf Coast Platter- shrimp, oysters, stone crabs $14.95

Gulf Coast Platter- shrimp, oysters, stone crabs $14.95


He got 4 of each. Then I had
Blueberry cream pie $4.95

Blueberry cream pie $4.95


I couldn't finish the pie, so I took it home. The total was $40.90 before tip. This place was sold to new owners, and they apparently could not sustain the restaurant's reputation, so it has now closed

Monday 30 January 2006

Today is nice and sunny. I really want to see the Big Thicket National Wildlife Preserve which is north of Beaumont and east of us about 100 miles. We got a reasonably early start and drove east along TX105. (Still didn't see the Steak and Ale) We went through Cut and Shoot which is a big weekend flea market place.
Road to Kountze

Road to Kountze


TX 105 east of Conroe is a two lane rural road with wide shoulders (as wide as another lane and with a speed limit of 65 or 70 mph. Bob saw someone get over on the shoulder to let someone that was going faster go past, so he started doing that too. I noticed that there were big yellow and black numbers on the top of every other telephone pole in addition to the numbers on the bottom.
High Speed Rural Roads

High Speed Rural Roads


We ended up in Kountze We arrived in Kountze (7 miles south of the Visitor's Center) about noon.

We stopped at a place called Mama Jack's for lunch.
Mama Jack's sign

Mama Jack's sign

Oats - if you want nice fresh oats...

Oats - if you want nice fresh oats...

Inside Mama Jack's

Inside Mama Jack's

Specials and buffet prices

Specials and buffet prices


The lunch bar had potato soup, chicken fried steak, potato salad, jello, marshmallow salad, green bean casserole, corn bread, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, that white gravy, and a couple of other things that I couldn't identify. There were three things for dessert - coconut cake, and two fruit cobbler type dishes. The place was very popular and the food was good, but there wasn't much other possibilities for food.
my plate from the buffet

my plate from the buffet


I had the lunch buffet ($7.50 - salad bar, food bar, dessert bar and soft serve ice cream), and Bob had a tuna salad sandwich. The bill was $13.57 before tip.

We got to the Visitor's Center about one.
Visitor's Center

Visitor's Center


Outside was a sign about Richard Jackson who was one of the primary conservationists of this area.
Informational sign about Richard Jackson

Informational sign about Richard Jackson


Big Thicket was the first National Preserve, and there are about 7 different locations in the park. It wasn't settled until quite late because it was such an impenetrable area. We went through the exhibits
Exhibit with a snake

Exhibit with a snake

Dogwood diorama in the Visitor's Center

Dogwood diorama in the Visitor's Center

627430222621735-Information_..er_Kountze.jpgInformation on Bottom Land hardwoods

Information on Bottom Land hardwoods

Diorama of the wood flora and fauna

Diorama of the wood flora and fauna

Louisiana yucca, butterfly weed, prickly pear etc

Louisiana yucca, butterfly weed, prickly pear etc

Diorama of the ecology with Jack in the Pulpit

Diorama of the ecology with Jack in the Pulpit

Maps - slide the panel to see the historic context

Maps - slide the panel to see the historic context

Exhibit on oil drilling

Exhibit on oil drilling


and then the attendant showed us a 10 minute video tape (photo 3 - the film equipment for the big theatre was destroyed in Rita).We went through the exhibits and then the attendant showed us a 10 minute video tape (the film equipment for the big theatre was destroyed in Rita).
2706159-Title_of_the_video_tape_Beaumont.jpgPart of the video tape

Part of the video tape


We talked to the lady who volunteered at the desk (the rangers take off on Monday because they work on weekends) about her experiences in Rita - she lives in Beaumont.

She told us that the best trail to visit was the Sundew Trail. Apparently this reserve has 4 of the 5 kinds of carnivorous plants in the US, and the Sundew Trail (which has a shorter inner loop) has two of them on it - Sundews and Pitcher Plants.

So we drove up the road to that section and took the unpaved road in to the trail.
Road in the Preserve

Road in the Preserve

Sundew Trail sign

Sundew Trail sign


A sign at the entrance said that Hurricane Rita, with winds of over 100 mph had changed the forest in this area by removing a lot of the taller trees so that sunlight could now reach the forest floor.
Sign about Rita

Sign about Rita


I took the little pamphlet which explains the trail from the box (and when we finished with the trail, I put it back).

The pamphlet explained that four species of southern pine in this section (longleaf, shortleaf, loblolly and slash). Woods

Woods

Sign about fires, and water drainage

Sign about fires, and water drainage


Inner Loop to the Left

Inner Loop to the Left


I was walking along the trail and slightly elevated boardwalk carefully inspecting the ground. Bob got somewhat ahead of me on the path, so when I actually found some sundews, he was out of earshot.
Sundew trail with Bob ahead of me

Sundew trail with Bob ahead of me


The sundew is a very small plant - often smaller than a dime - which is a flat red rosette with red hairlike glands.
Pamphlet about the sundew

Pamphlet about the sundew


Each gland produces a sticky fluid which acts like flypaper to trap small insects.
Sundew

Sundew

Sundews

Sundews


I was thrilled to find them,
Sundew

Sundew


and got down and took some pictures.The only thing that would make it better would be if I had some object in the picture to show the scale. But I didn't have any money, and in any case I couldn't have retrieved anything I put down there - like car keys. I wouldn't have minded losing a dime, but I wouldn't want to lose the keys.
Sundew

Sundew

Closeup of a sundew

Closeup of a sundew


After I got finished taking the pictures, I went on down the trail
Path ahead of me on the trail

Path ahead of me on the trail


and found Bob sitting down waiting for me where he had found some pitcher plants.
Pitcher plants from the brochure

Pitcher plants from the brochure


So I took some pictures of them too. These are the Pale Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia alata)
2706171-Pitcher_plane_Beaumont.jpgPitcher plants

Pitcher plants


Pitcher Plants are another one of the four kinds of carnivorous plants that are also on this trail in Big Thicket and are easier to see - they are bigger for one thing. Pitcher plants are passive plants - they lure insects to the mouth of the flower where they slide down into the bottom and can't get out. They don't snap shut on them - they just sit there and wait.
Group of pitcher plants

Group of pitcher plants

4307777-Pitcher_Plants_Kountze.jpgPitcher plants

Pitcher plants

Pitcher Plant

Pitcher Plant


After an insect lands on the lip of the flower and begins to enter the mouth, it comes to a waxy inner surface that causes it to slide down the funnel. Downward pointing hairs lining the lower portion impede their ability to climb back out of the plant’s trap. The bottom of the pitcher is filled with a fluid that drowns them and digests them. Only the insect’s exoskeleton remains.
Pitcher Plant

Pitcher Plant

Pitcher plants

Pitcher plants


Pond in Big Thicket

Pond in Big Thicket


I was thinking of maybe doing a road trip around to various other parts of the park they had a self guided half day Auto Tour which among in addition to the Sundew Trail and the visitor's center went to the Silsbee Ice House Museum - they used to filter city water through sand and gravel and pump it into a can which was lowered into brine cooled to 16 deg F by an ammonia system, and that turned the water into ice. That would have been interesting, but it is now an art museum, plus that would have been backtracking.

So we went up to Woodville (named after someone named Wood, but which was also a big lumbering center) and through the
Alabama and Coushatta Indian Reservation

Alabama and Coushatta Indian Reservation


(Note: The Indians are called the Alabama Indians - we were NOT in Alabama) ..and across
Lake Livingston

Lake Livingston


to Huntsville - to find Sam Houston's Statue.

Now I had thought of going to Huntsville, but had not planned to go this particular day, so I didn't have the info with me.

Huntsville was Sam Houston's bailiwick. General Sam Houston was the President of the Republic of Texas after they won their war with Mexico.

He was born in Virginia Mar. 2, 1793, and he was best remembered as the General who defeated the Mexicans to win Texas independence. The city of Houston, TX, is named in his honor, as is an Army fort in San Antonio, TX.

When he was 13 his family moved to TN. He ran away and lived with the Cherokee Indians for three years until he was 18. When war broke out between the settlers and the Creek Indians, he enlisted in Andrew Jackson's Army, and he formed a lifelong friendship with Jackson. He was severely wounded. In 1823, he was elected to Congress and then four years later, he was elected as Governor of Tennessee. While he was governor, he married Eliza Allen.

In 1829, his wife left him, and he resigned as Governor. For the next 6 years he lived with Cherokee Indians in the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). In 1930, he took a Cherokee wife, Tiana Rogers, and adopted Cherokee citizenship.

He moved to Texas and helped form a militia. As the elected head of the TX Army, he won the Battle of San Jacinto (April 1836), captured General Santa Anna, and forced the Mexicans to give Texas their independence. In October 1836, he was elected the first President of the Republic of Texas, and served two terms (1836 - 1838 and 1841 - 1844) Between terms, in 1840, Houston married Margaret Lea in Alabama. She persuaded him to stop drinking, for which he had a sizeable reputation, and to join the Baptist church. They had eight children.
Information on Sam Houston

Information on Sam Houston


In 1845, he worked to have Texas admitted to the United States, and from 1846 to 1859, he served as US Senator from Texas. He ran for governor of Texas on an anti-secession platform and won. But in 1861, the Texas congress voted to secede, over Governor Houston's opposition. Sam Houston died Jul. 26, 1863, and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery.
Sam Houston's Grave

Sam Houston's Grave

Information on the monument

Information on the monument

Back of the monument

Back of the monument


He chose the location for his grave across the street from where the Steamboat House once stood.
Information about Mrs. Houston (Sam's Wife)

Information about Mrs. Houston (Sam's Wife)


Not only is there the Sam Houston State University, and a museum dedicated to him and Oakwood Cemetery with his grave in it .. but there is also a 77 foot high statue (the tallest statue to an American hero anywhere in the world). I knew about the statue, but according to what was written in the AAA book I thought it was at his cemetery. It was not. You would not think that you could lose a statue of 77 feet would you?

Sign at the entrance

Sign at the entrance


The cemetery can be reached by traveling down the two blocks of Spur 94, the shortest highway in Texas, which intersects Texas 190.

Besides Sam Houston and several of his relatives,
2707440-Plaque_Huntsville.jpgGraves of Thomas and Mary Caruthers - Houston's cousins

Graves of Thomas and Mary Caruthers - Houston's cousins


many famous people are buried in Oakwood Cemetery including Henderson King Yoakum (1810-1856) who was a good friend of Sam Houston. Yoakum County, Texas is named for him.
Monument to Henderson King Yoakum

Monument to Henderson King Yoakum


Henderson King Yoakum was born September 6, 1810 in Claiborne County, Tennessee, graduated from West Point, married and had nine children. He was Mayor of Murfreesboro, Tenn. in 1837; and a member of Tennessee state senate from 1839 to 1845. He moved to Texas and was instrumental in making Huntsville the county seat of Walker County. In 1855 he completed his two-volume "History of Texas from Its First Settlement in 1685 to Its Annexation to the United States in 1846" He died November 30, 1856.

Another notable interment at the cemetery is Joshua Houston who was a slave of Margaret Lea's family. When she married Sam Houston, they took Joshua and other household slaves to the West. He was taught to read and write and was freed by Houston, (which was against the law). He was a successful businessman; church leader and a deacon; Huntsville, Texas City Alderman; Texas delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1888. He was father of 8 children and he is buried next to Sylvestre Baker Houston, his wife a few yards from the grave of Sam Houston.

I did not see the Thorwaldsen Statute of Christ in Oakwood Cemetery. The copy of the famous Thorwaldsen original in Copenhagen, Denmark, was placed here by Judge and Mrs. Ben Powell as a monument to their son.
Oakland Cemetery sign

Oakland Cemetery sign


The sign says (in part) "This cemetery existed as early as 1846, for three graves were placed here that year. Pleasant Gray, Huntsville's founder, deeded in 1847 a 1,600-square foot plot at this site. The original tract has been greatly enlarged by other donations from local citizens. Numerous graves bear the death date 1867, when a yellow-fever epidemic swept the county."

Across the street, is a monument or cenotoph
Monument across the street from the cemetery

Monument across the street from the cemetery


to soldiers who were called into service for the war against Mexico.

So we went there and saw his grave, but did not find the statue. I looked at a map of Huntsville while I was there.
Map of Houston at the cemetery

Map of Houston at the cemetery


Next we tried to find the museum - maybe the statue was there.
Corner of highway and Sam Houston University sign

Corner of highway and Sam Houston University sign


No, but we did pass the university and went through historic downtown Huntsville which has some examples of an illusionary technique called trompe l'oeil (which is French for "trick of the eye.") by Richard Haas.
View while stopped at a light

View while stopped at a light

Houston's Life in murals

Houston's Life in murals


There are three murals depicting Sam Houston's life facing east on the corner of U.S. 190 and University Avenue. They rise approximately two stories and depicts "Houston as Colonned the Cherokee," "Houston's at Woodland Home" and "Battle of San Jacinto 1836."

Richard Haas is apparently a currently practicing muralist and artist. For some reason I assumed that because the murals were in the historic district that meant that they were themselves historic. But according to this website, he did his Huntsville work in the early to mid 1990s
Buildings in historic district

Buildings in historic district


49437353696988-Top_painted_..Huntsville.jpgDetail showing architectural trompe d'oeil

Detail showing architectural trompe d'oeil


These pictures show the architectural details of a bygone era in a fake relief on the elegant 19th century Gibbs Building.
fake half timbering

fake half timbering


We by-passed the Prison Museum (the home of the original electric chair 'Old Sparky' It was late enough that the Sam Houston Museum (when we found it) was not open and the statue wasn't there either.

So based on my memory of the map in the cemetery that I had glanced at, we went south on Highway 75, which paralleled I-45. Since we visited Huntsville coming from the east, we didn't have the benefit of seeing the statue from the highway.
A sign that we are getting close

A sign that we are getting close


When we approached that way, it definitely was visible from a long way off.
Approaching the statue

Approaching the statue

2707428-Sam_Houstons_Home_Town_Huntsville.jpgCloser

Closer

Sam Houston

Sam Houston

Top of the statue

Top of the statue


The name of the statue is “A Tribute to Courage” by the artist David Adickes. The statue was dedicated on October 22,1994. It is actually only 67 feet tall but they include the 10 foot granite base. There is a visitor's center with the statue - it was closed when we got there but we stopped at the visitor's center anyway. If we had gotten there earlier, we could have found an assortment of visitor information including videos, brochures, maps. There is also a souvenir Gift Shop.
Visitor's Center from the parking lot

Visitor's Center from the parking lot

Interesting sign at the Visitor's Center

Interesting sign at the Visitor's Center


At least we could walk down the path and see the statue
Statue through the trees

Statue through the trees

Decapitated?

Decapitated?

Plaque next to the statue

Plaque next to the statue

Looking up at Sam I Am

Looking up at Sam I Am

From the base of the statue

From the base of the statue

large_2707426-Sam_Houstons_Home_Town_Huntsville.jpg
Little flowers by the big statue

Little flowers by the big statue


Then we drove down through Willis to Conroe where we stopped at Burger King and picked up some dinner. Bob got a chocolate shake and a Whopper Jr and I got a Whopper Jr and a Caesar salad and went back to the condo.

Tuesday, 31 January 2006

We didn't get underway until after lunch. I uploaded the sundew pictures on the slow modem. Then we went to Montgomery because I heard that there was a historic homes walking/driving tour and I wanted to do that.

Prior to 1837, Montgomery was a trading post located about a mile north of the current site. In July 1837, and ad in the Telegraph and Texas Register advertised the sale of lots in the newly organized town. Montgomery was the county seat of the new county of Montgomery. It was a trade center. The first school was built in 1839, the first Protestant parsonage in Texas in 1842, and the town was incorporated in 1848.
Town of Montgomery founded in July 1837 by W.W. Shepherd

Town of Montgomery founded in July 1837 by W.W. Shepherd

The Civil War stopped all progress in Montgomery, but by 1900, the community had regained the mercantile business as well as three cotton gins, five hotels and boarding houses, doctors, dentists and lawyers. But when the railroad bypassed the town and the county seat moved to Conroe, it soon became a quiet, but historic, country town.

The Montgomery Historical Society has been instrumental in preserving the fabric of the town's history. Each spring and fall (in April and December) they have special house tours to raise money for the society's efforts. The December Tour features the Christmas decorations. In between times they can arrange group tours, or you can go around to the various houses on your own following the numbers in the pamphlet which tells the histories of the older structures in the town.

We spent one afternoon driving and walking through the town and taking pictures of the various historical structures while following the City Tour Guide brochure.
City Tour Guide

City Tour Guide

I knew the museum, which was the first stop, would not be open on Tuesday, but thought we'd be able to get pamphlet and do it on our own. So I called the number in the pamphlet I had, and the lady tried to give us directions to where there was a box outside. None were there, so she told us to come to her office (which was in the Bells of Montgomery) and she would come out and give us one.
8.JPG

  • 1 - N. H. Davis Museum -c 1851

N. H. Davis Pioneer Complex and Museum

N. H. Davis Pioneer Complex and Museum


The Historic Tour of town starts here - this is where you normally get the tour brochure. The Davis home was given to the historical society in 1984 by the Davis heirs. The historical society has made a museum of it which is open Wednesday - Saturday 11am - 3pm. We never did get to the museum when it was open.
Davis House/museum

Davis House/museum


The original house was began north of town in 1831 by W.C. Clark. When Mr. Clark died, the family used this log home as payment for legal work by practicing attorney N. H. Davis
Davis House from the other side

Davis House from the other side


Nathaniel Hart Davis (who came to Montgomery in 1840) disassembled the Clark house in 1851 and moved the logs to its present location where he built his house. Additions to the log house included a side or "shed" room and attic bedroom, and an underground cistern was dug. Judge Davis and his family resided here until 1876. John Felix Davis, son of N.H. moved into the home and continued the renovations. The kitchen was added in 1880 and the south wing was added in 1895. It contains wood graining done by an itinerant painter known as Mr. Patch. I would have liked to see this wood graining.
Historical marker N. H. Davis Cottage

Historical marker N. H. Davis Cottage


The historical marker on the house says that Texanna Snow's school was here (and also in the law office next door) in 1881-1891, and that it was given to the Historical Society in memory of Margaret Elizabeth Davis Cameron (1893-1979) by daughters M. D. Cameron and E.C. Adams.
Side yard of the house

Side yard of the house


Address: 308 Liberty Street, Montgomery, 77356

  • 2 - Davis Law Office -1845

Historic marker and front door of the Law office

Historic marker and front door of the Law office


The second building listed in the brochure is the Law Office at 306 Liberty Street - right next door to the museum. It was built while Texas was still a Republic, and Mr. Davis lived here until 1851 when he got married and built the house next door. Many prominent lawyers read law here under Judge Davis' supervision. According to the historic marker, Built in 1845, this frame structure was first used for the law office and living quarters of Judge Nat Hart Davis. Many young attorneys read law here under Judge Davis' supervision. From 1848 to 1854 the structure was the meeting place for the mayor and Montgomery City Council, and later was used as a school. It served as a U. S. Post Office from 1923 to 1936 and now is a reminder of Montgomery's early days. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1967 This building was also given to the Historical Society in 1984.

Address: 300 block of Liberty St., Montgomery, TX,, Montgomery

*3 Pecan Shadows - c 1850s
Pecan Shadows

Pecan Shadows


This house at 504 Caroline was built in the 1850s for Dr. Bell, brother of Judge Bell, owner of Bells Grove. The walls are hand-hewn and joined with square nails and rest on long cypress logs. It has been owned by the mayor of the city, and used as a boarding house (at different times) and also served as the telephone office at one time. The brochure says it is now owned by James and Mary Moody. If I have the right house, it appeared to be vacant and abandoned when we saw it.

Address: 308 Liberty Street, Montgomery, TX, Montgomery, 77356

  • 4 Old Baptist Church (March 1902)

Old Baptist Church

Old Baptist Church


The Baptist Church in Montgomery was organized 28 December 1850 with 11 charter members. This building at 301 Pond Street served as their place of worship for 77 years from its completion in March 1902 to 1979.
Baptist Church historical marker

Baptist Church historical marker


It was given to the Montgomery Historical Society in March 1984, and now serves as the Montgomery Wedding Chapel. It is one of seven buildings belonging to the society.The informational plaque out front has a picture of the Temperance March of 1918. The parade protesting the sale of alcohol traveled north on Pond Street where they paused in front of the church for photographs. At the time there were as many as 6 saloons in town. During prohibition, even the sale of sugar was restricted because it could be used to make 'moonshine'. Montgomery was one of the few places in Texas where sugar could be purchased without difficulty.
Methodist and Baptist churches

Methodist and Baptist churches

Churches

Churches


Address: 301 Pond Street, Montgomery, TX, Montgomery, 77356

  • 5 McCall Law Office - 1880s

McCall Law Office with outhouse

McCall Law Office with outhouse


This little building at 308 Liberty is behind the Davis Law Office listed as if it were on 306 Liberty, but actually is on McCowan Street and the number is 303 on the building. It was built in Willis by Screven A. McCall (1861-1942), who was a lawyer,
McCall Law Office

McCall Law Office


District Attorney, County and District Judge in Montgomery County. It was moved from Willis to Conroe to Georgetown. Then it was given to the Montgomery Historical Society by McCall heirs and moved to Montgomery. It was restored and furnished with some of the judge's furniture and books. I'm not sure if it is part of the Davis Museum or not.

Address: 308 Liberty Street, Montgomery, TX, Montgomery, 77356

  • 6 The Bells of Montgomery -1908

Business quarters of the Bells

Business quarters of the Bells


At 309 Pond, right next to the Old Baptist Church is/are "The Bells of Montgomery" The Bells were actually prominent citizens in Montgomery back in the early days. In 1838 the original congregation of Methodists were organized by Littleton Fowler and administered by circuit riders. There is a monument to the circuit riders in the cemetery next to the church. The present building was completed in 1908, and stands on the site of the first protestant parsonage in Texas (1842).

  • 7 Social Circle - 1908

1908 Victorian

1908 Victorian


According to the Historic Homes brochure, the building at 702 Caroline was built in 1908 by W. C. Whitehead. The location on the map is the corner of Caroline and Pond, right opposite the Old Baptist Church. Whitehead came to the Montgomery area of Texas to develop a town called Social Circle after Whitehead's hometown of Social Circle Georgia.
The corner of Pond and Caroline

The corner of Pond and Caroline


The structure is post-Victorian featuring a porch cupola and remains virtually unchanged in outward appearance from when it was built in 1908.

  • 8 Old Methodist Parsonage - 1860s

Old Methodist Parsonage

Old Methodist Parsonage


This pre-Civil War house which is now at 705 College Street in Montgomery was constructed in Willis. When the first (1842) parsonage was destroyed in 1886, the church bought this house to use as their second parsonage. The west wing was moved from Willis and added to the main house by the Niven family who purchased the parsonage in 1977 and restored it. In 1992, Bob and Shirley Peel bought it. The historic marker is behind the porch post, but you can see the chairs hanging on the wall of the porch.
Old Methodist Church 1908

Old Methodist Church 1908

Church windows

Church windows


A marker commemorating the parsonage is in photo #3.It is now owned by Glenn & Shirley Schneider whose main business appears to be weddings. The luminous stained-glass windows throughout the chapel and an elegant etched mirror in the foyer create the mood for your marriage.
Marker at the site of the first parsonage

Marker at the site of the first parsonage

  • Old Montgomery Cemetery

When we followed the Historic Homes, Buildings and Sites brochure which is available from the Historical Society, we came across this historic old cemetery
Old Cemetery

Old Cemetery


which includes some graves of the pioneer circuit riders. The historic marker next to the cemetery says In Jan. 1839, the Rev. Isaac Strickland organized a Methodist Church whose members soon built a log meetinghouse on this site donated by founders of the town of Montgomery. The churchyard came into use for burials during the 1840s. When Pastor G. W. Rabb was dying in 1851, he requested burial beneath the altar of the frame church then being built to replace the log cabin. His grave and a monument commemorating pioneer circuit riders now (1976) mark the original Methodist Church site.
Circuit Rider's monument

Circuit Rider's monument


The church and the nearby parsonage, which is said to have been the first Methodist parsonage built in Texas, were relocated in 1908. A tabernacle later erected beside the cemetery has also been demolished. A stone in this cemetery commemorates a soldier of the American Revolution
Marker for Owen Shannon G A Troops Rev War 1775

Marker for Owen Shannon G A Troops Rev War 1775


who helped settle this county and died here.
William Taylor - San Jacinto Veteran

William Taylor - San Jacinto Veteran

state and county officials, merchants, ministers, and physicians. Marion Jones marker

Marion Jones marker

Mary Lewis, wife of E. A. Linton

Mary Lewis, wife of E. A. Linton


In some of the unmarked graves are travelers who died here among strangers. Although a new cemetery opened in 1868, this one was also used until no space remained.

  • 9 Chilton Home

Chilton Home

Chilton Home


We drove down College Street taking photos of those houses from the car as the last street of the day. This home at 709 College Street was the home of the first full time pastor of the Montgomery Baptist Church. Prior to getting a full time pastor, the church was ministered by circuit riders. The pastor, Rev. Thomas Chilton lived here until his death in 1854. The picket fence was constructed in the 1890s by David Dean from heart pine cut in his mill.In 1984, the house was bought by Gregory Hudson who restored it and lived here while he was mayor of Montgomery. Then in 1996 it became a bed and breakfast for four years until is was purchased by Fred and Betty Harvey for their home.

  • 10 - Davis-Jackson Cottage - 1895

10 - Davis-Jackson Cottage - 1895

10 - Davis-Jackson Cottage - 1895


On the other side of College at 708 is this cottage built for Ida Morris Davis and Ilia C. Davis of native pine from Mr. Davis's lumber mill. From 1905 to 1916 it was the home of J.W. and Lockett Dean Simonton. From then until the 70s it was the home of J. R. and Mildren Rabon Jackson.

  • 11 Magnolia - 1854

The Magnolias

The Magnolias


The next day after I took the first two pictures, I found a photo in the Heritage Museum in Conroe of this house. The caption said that it was one of the many restored homes built to reflect the wealth of Montgomery.
Picture from the Heritage Museum

Picture from the Heritage Museum


It is certainly one of the grander houses. This house is at 801 College street. Although the Heritage Museum caption says the house was built in the 1840s, the brochure says that the house was built in 1854 by John E. Sheldon for the P. J. Willis family. Ilia C Davis purchased it in 1868 complete with furnishings, and it has been occupied ever since by Davis descendants.

  • 12 Patton Home - before 1854

#12 Patton Home - before 1854

#12 Patton Home - before 1854


This house at 902 College (just about at the end) was part of Peter J. Willis' original estate in 1854. The foundation under the original two rooms was made of hand-hewn beams with wooden pegs. It has typical high ceilings and an underground jug cistern.

  • 13 - 14 Prairie House & Liberty Building

14

14


When we got to the end of College Street, I took a picture of the house at 902 College (#12) on the north side of the street. There were supposed to be two houses here - one at 905 and one at 907 College. But the last house on that side of the street had an 800 block number. Looking at the map, I felt that I should have been able to see the 905 address, but I could not unless it is the little building in the second picture which is beside the 800 block house.
I do not know the significance of the lion who seemed to be standing out in a vacant lot between College and Caroline Street.
Lion statue

Lion statue


The lion was where I thought the house should be.
00309532298720110308183415796.jpgHouse and area on the south side of college

House and area on the south side of college


The 907 address was off in the middle and I wasn't sure (because they were too far away for me to see if they had an address on them) which one of them might have been the Liberty Building. The brochure says:
!3. THE PRAIRIE HOUSE, 905 College. Built in the early 1900s as a one room board and batten house in Richards, other rooms added over the years. Bleu and Dickey Beathard bought the house from the Podraza family in 1991, moved it to Montgomery and restored it. Now home of Paulette and Jerry Kullos
14. LIBERTY BUILDING, 907 College (Circa 1907) Originally built on Liberty Street, it has housed a post office, cafe, and barbershop through the years. It was moved to the current location and restored by the Beathards in 1992. Now owned by Paulette and Jerry Kullos

Address: 905 and 907 College., Montgomery, 77356

  • 15 The Parsonage -1909

1909 Parsonage

1909 Parsonage


The first Baptist parsonage in Montgomery was built next to the Baptist Church on Pond Street in 1909. Reverend S.T. Gray was the first pastor to occupy it. The house was sold to the Methodists in the 1980s, and in 1992, the Beathard's acquired it and moved it down Caroline Street. It is directly behind Ceder Break park. The Beathard's restored the house and it is now the home of the E.A. Mead family.
This is a similar house, but is not the parsonage

This is a similar house, but is not the parsonage

  • 16 Gay-Miller-Reasner Home c 1900

Reasner House

Reasner House


On Caroline at number 816, this was built circa 1900 for William B. and Anna Griffith Gay. A two story sleeping porch (now enclosed) was added in the 1920s. The house remained in the Gay family (some of whom are buried in the Old Montgomery Cemetery) until 1977, when it was purchased by the Stanley Miller family. It is now the home of the Reasner family.

  • 17 Sheldon-Smith House 1858

Sheldon-Smith House 1858

Sheldon-Smith House 1858


The brochure says that this site at 811 Caroline was purchased by John E. Shelton in 1855. He built the main portion of the house in 1858 for Capt. Thomas W. Smith, whose family owned it until 1924. It was later owned by Thomas Gay, Ken Whisenants, and is now owned by Richard and Mary Eckhart who have restored it beautifully.
Sheldon-Smith House Historic marker

Sheldon-Smith House Historic marker


The historic marker out front says: The SHELTON-SMITH House. A part of this house may have existed as early as 1855, when site and improvements were sold to John E. Shelton. He was a master craftsman who built other fine houses prior to 1860. Shelton built the main portion about 1858 for his friend and business partner, Thomas Westly Smith (1829-1902), who later was a leading cigar manufacturer in the county. Smith and his heirs owned the house until 1924. A granddaughter added the dormers in a 1922 remodeling. The 1924-1970 owners were the Thomas A. Gay family. Mr. and Mrs. K. M. Whisenant now (1976) preserve it.The little added sign says: This property was purchased in October 2000 by Richard and Mary Eckhart, who have restored the home and slave quarters.

  • 18 Bell's Grove - 1855

Bell's Grove

Bell's Grove


This Texas Greek Revival structure at 708 Caroline was built by John E. Shelton and sold to Judge Henry R. Bell in 1855. The name Bell's Grove came from the wooded area that adjoined the house in those days where political rallies were held. The house is being restored by the Newman family who are the current owners.

  • 19 Rabon-Fullen Home - c 1890

Rabon-Fullen Home - c 1890

Rabon-Fullen Home - c 1890


This house at 315 Caroline is owned by Joe Shockley. It was built circa 1890 and was the home of Vol and Florence Burden Rabon. In 1937, the Rabon heirs sold it to Horace Fullen. It is also the site of the Garrett House Antiques & Doll Hospital which was built in Houston before 1920 and moved to Montgomery in 1995.

  • 20 Waters-Stewart-Miller - 1893

Waters-Stewart-Miller - 1893

Waters-Stewart-Miller - 1893


This Victorian gingerbread cottage at 415 Houston was built in 1893 for Dr. Henry and Cherrie Dean Waters. It was inherited by their daughter (the brochure says it was 'heired') Lockett (Mrs. W. B.) Wood. The Wood family lived here until the 1970s, when it was sold to the Welborns, Stewarts and is now home of Dan and Sharon Miller.

  • 21 Arnold-Simonton Home -1845

Arnold-Simonton Home -1845

Arnold-Simonton Home -1845


905 Stewart is the location of this typical cottage with dentil trim, wide hall and wainscoating. It was built in 1845 by Dr. E. J. Arnold, and was moved to this site in 1978 as a gift from the Simonton family to the Montgomery Historical Society.
Arnold-Simonton Home Historic marker

Arnold-Simonton Home Historic marker


The historical marker in the front says:Frontier Colonial Home, with classic porch. Oldest house in Montgomery, built 1845 by settler from Connecticut. Dr. E. J. Arnold. Earlier home, log cabin built on this lot in 1835, continued in use as doctor's office.For several generation home of Simonton Family, descendants of the builder.Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1964.Entered in the National Register of Historic Places 1979

  • 22 Hardesty-Shockley House - late 1880s

Map of location of Hardesty-Shockley House

Map of location of Hardesty-Shockley House


This is a private home which had the notation beside it that it was not visible from the road. So we didn't go to 623 Old Plantersville Rd to look for it as it seemed like it would be an intrusion.. It was built for the Richard Hardestry family, and was used as a boarding house for employees that worked in the Hardesty saw mill. The Frank Powell family bought it in 1905 and the house was owned by them until 1970. It is now owned by Joe Shockley.

  • 23 Campbell-Williams Home - 1890

Campbell-Williams Home - 1890

Campbell-Williams Home - 1890


This house at 411 Pond street was built in 1890 adjacent to the Santa Fe depot. The original owners were Solon and Susie Gary Campbell. Because of its location near the depot, corpses shipped to Montgomery were often put in the hallway while awaiting burial. It is about half a block from the Old Montgomery Cemetery. The house looks a little as if it might be haunted.
Historic photo of a hotel in Montgomery

Historic photo of a hotel in Montgomery


We did not see or take a picture of

  • 24 the Conner-Gibbs House which originally was part of the Brantly Settlement 8 miles south-east of Montgomery on Old Montgomery Road (FM 2854). It was purchased, moved to Montgomery to the northwest corner of Prairie and Caroline and restored by Joe Shockley in 1994. He owns and has restored several other buildings in Montgomery.
  • Montgomery County Strap Iron Jail

Montgomery County Strap Iron jail

Montgomery County Strap Iron jail


This jail was built by Pauly Jail Company in St. Louis, Missouri. This was one of the cells which were in wooden one room building that sat next to the courthouse 1855-1889. The cells were moved down to the railroad depot
One of the cages

One of the cages


after courthouse was moved to Conroe and they remained at railroad until being moved to its present location in 1981 by A.E. Smallwood of the Montgomery Civic Association
Sign by the jail

Sign by the jail


The sign by the jail isn't about the jail - it is about the CSA. It says Montgomery Texas was: A wealthy farm area in 1861. In Civil War, supported Texas with goods, funds and men. 2 companies from here were in famed Hood's Texas Brigade-- with only 9 men in one living to return. Young boys, old men and the partially disabled formed 5 home guard and state companies. The county clothed its own soldiers. The Courthouse, then on this site, had a sewing room for that work; home looms, cotton cards and needles also cooperated. Homefolk ate sparingly, had few new clothes. By 1864, so much was given to war effort that not a store was open in Montgomery.

Address: 200 Liberty Street, Montgomery, 77356

  • 26 The Oaks - 1876

The Oaks

The Oaks


This house at 202 Prairie was built in 1876 for Nathaniel Hart Davis by John Bishop from plans drawn by Thomas Godden. It was purchased and remodeled in 1950 by J. S. Griffith. Extensive restoration has been done by the new owners, Don and Mary Sue Timmerman.About a block south of this house is #25 Melrose House at 202 Eva (which is also TX highway 105). It was built in 1854 for Richard S. Willis. It was named for his home back East. For some reason we did not get to this house, perhaps because it is so close to the highway. It has been occupied by leading citizens of Montgomery, including Dr. Phil H. Berley family and Dr. John L. Irion. It was the birthplace of Gray I. Morriss, grandson of Dr. Irion who was one of the founders of the American Legion. It is now the home of the Cecil family.

  • 27 Addison-Gandy House - 1892

House from the street

House from the street


This house at 104 Prairie was built in 1892 for J.B. and Martha Davis Addison, Martha Grandy's grandparents. Hearthstones are hand cut of native sandstone. Mantles and doors were wood grained by a German itinerant painter known only as "Mr. Patch", who signed his work with his portrait.
Explanatory sign in front of the house

Explanatory sign in front of the house


You can see his work in the N.B. Davis Museum. The house was given to the Montgomery Historical Society in July 1997 by Martha and W. Harley Grandy.

  • 28 Homewood - 1887

Homewood from the street

Homewood from the street


The Historic Marker for this house says
Historic Marker

Historic Marker


"Homewood". Built 1887 by merchant, landowner, farmer Wm. Baker Wood (1835-1941) and wife, Amelia Davis (1859-1943). Choice heart pine, shiplap siding, square nails, board and batten kitchen at first was detached.
Side view of the front facade

Side view of the front facade


Cypress-lined underground cistern.Recorded Texas Historic Landmark-1965. The tour brochure adds that it is a typical modified Victorian mansion, unchanged except for attaching the kitchen wing. The Wood's maiden daughter Valda inherited the house and lived there until her death in 1999 at the age of 102. It is now the home of great-great-granddaughter Debbie and her husband Karl Brosch.

  • 29 First State Bank of Montgomery -1908

Oldest building in the Historic Business District

Oldest building in the Historic Business District


The last stop on the Historic Buildings Tour was the First State Bank of Montgomery which was on 211 Liberty in the middle of the Historic Business District at 211 Liberty Street. The Historic Business District runs along Liberty Street from Eva Street (TX 105) to College Street, and then east to Prairie Street. The Museum and the Law Offices (Davis and McCall) are also in this district as is the #24 Conner-Gibbs House (which we didn't see) and the Rabon-Fuller House - both owned by Joe Stockley.The Bank was chartered on December 11, 1906, and served until voluntarily liquidated in 1934. It is the oldest commercial building in the Historic Business District and is owned by Gerald and Susan Fauss and is operated as the Bank Boutique and Coffee Bar. They sell espresso coffee. In the picture, Pecan Shadows (#3) is visible on the left side.
Well with a bucket

Well with a bucket


Old photos - Hanging tree and Berkley Hotel

Old photos - Hanging tree and Berkley Hotel


Bob walks by the barber shop

Bob walks by the barber shop

Old photo of the stores in Montgomery

Old photo of the stores in Montgomery

Barber shop and King's Cafe

Barber shop and King's Cafe

Branding iron antiques and barber

Branding iron antiques and barber

House in Montgomery

House in Montgomery

The Old School House

The Old School House


I spent some time trying to identify the photos so I could write up the pictures that I took

That evening, we decided to have dinner at the Caddy Shack, which is now called Walden Café on the Green since it was open on weekdays.
Caddy Shack Door

Caddy Shack Door


The doors had a round glass inset which was dimpled like a golf ball and the door handles were golf clubs. They seated us next to the window.
Looking out the window

Looking out the window

Caddy Shack Dinner menu

Caddy Shack Dinner menu

Mural

Mural


I had a cup (it was as big as a bowl) of the soup of the day which was chicken dumpling ($2.95), and Blackened catfish with roasted potatoes and spinach casserole for $10.95

Blackened catfish with roasted potatoes and spinach casserole for $10.95


and Bob had
Grilled salmon ($9.95) which came with asparagus and other vegetables

Grilled salmon ($9.95) which came with asparagus and other vegetables


I asked them how big the creme brulee was, and the server indicated that it was dinner plate size. We both said that would be too much to eat, and he said well it was thin. So I did get that, and it was just a thin layer on the plate. It has strawberries in the middle.
Creme brulee $5.25

Creme brulee $5.25

Posted by greatgrandmaR 14:03 Archived in USA Comments (6)

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