Quaint Georgia fish town with history

Coming from a big city I like to take casual drives through rural towns, absorbing some of the local flavor, sights and sounds.

I recently eased thro41127415041_c7194700f1_ough Darien, Georgia (U.S.A) (founded in 1736) while attempting to locate something unique in this less-traveled area.

There is a nugget in every town I travel through and my personal task is to see what it is – in my own view anyway.

IMG_4619My first observation in the Atlantic Ocean coastal town of Darien was the fishing boats lined up in the Altamaha River.  I drove slightly off the main road and noticed a few fishing boats that definitely brought in their share over the years.  Their wear-and-tear was evident, but they continue to provide a living for local fishers.

 

This was an opportunity to drive my Subaru Outback off road – although it was in IMG_4628just a short patch of wet sand.  The synchronized all-wheel-drive provided considerable comfort and piece of mind as we checked out some of the potential candidates for a good story.

We heard one of the men working on the old boat say hello in a friendly, southern tone and we waved back.  Folks here are welcoming and I think enjoy others visiting their little town.  They probably wandered what we were doing though.

39318619240_80b976cb8f_oA storm system had been traveling through southern Georgia and north Florida so the area had been drenched a bit.

I thought there must be a nice restaurant where the locals go and we drove around a few minutes.

IMG_4601What do you know, we found it – Skippers Fish Camp.  It was located off the main highway (U.S. 17, Altamaha Scenic Highway) and nestled on the waterway facing the marshes.

 

Well, naturally we had to try it and were not disappointed.  It caters to locals and regional customers as well.   I really enjoyed it.  IMG_4607The fish was delicious and the green beans were just like I like them.  The atmosphere was clean and inviting, along with the great hospitality.   http://www.skippersfishcamp.com/

IMG_4606

 

 

 

The outside of the restaurant was just as inviting and promotes a nice fish town ambience.IMG_4603IMG_4612IMG_4604

 

 

While leaving the restaurant we noticed an old building with surrounding coquina walls.  Now! We just found something else that was unique, or what I call a “nugget” of interest in my adventures.26485424317_9bf0b85fdf_o

39612710860_3e8e1ef61b_o

Tabby walls?  According to https://www.tabbyruins.com/blog/darien-tabby-walls-and-adam-strain-building the tabby walls in Darien are the “remnants of the town’s cotton exchange warehouses and naval stores built in 1815-1830. The Adam-Strain Building, built circa 1813, was a mercantile store and ship IMG_4622chandlery.”

Wikipedia identified tabby as a “type of concrete made by burning oyster shells to create lime, then mixing it with water, sand, ash and broken oyster shells.

 

Tabby was used by early Spanish settlers in present-day North Carolina and Florida, then by English colonists primarily in coastal South Carolina and Georgia.” I wonder who thought of that method first?  I guess through experimentation.

Near the fishing boats is street art reflecting some of the local emphasis as well.

39612712080_032144c9dc_o

IMG_4624

IMG_4615Darien is listed as the second oldest planned city in Georgia.  According to town documents, it is the place where the term “Golden Isles” was coined and “offers a wealth of attractions that, for many, are being discovered for the first time.”  Darien is described by experts as “one of the most important tidal estuarine environments in the world.”  http://www.cityofdarienga.comIMG_4618

 

 

IMG_4626

IMG_4611IMG_4610

 

 

 

 

 

 

Churches and houses have a certain flair that depict the peaceful, historical community.

39612714820_dcef861465_o

 

27550132878_1975144301_o

 

 

 

 

 

As we departed from Darien heading south along the scenic highway, just over the Altamaha River, we then noticed remnants of an old plantation – the Butler Island Plantation.

We didn’t take time to explore this area but I’ll post about plantations in the future.

This plantation is no longer maintained like some of the others.  You’ll notice on the 39612708350_7a02f383b3_ohistorical placard that Fannie Kemble wrote her “Journal of Residence on a Georgia Plantation” at this plantation.  It is believed to have influenced England against the Confederacy.

39612710330_5771fc234a_o

There is another thing that seems to surface in all my travels – the influence of so many countries around the world toward American history and culture.  Although some of these influences involved conflict and bad times, they are part of history and make a lasting impact toward the United States of America.  Let’s consider these impacts toward continuing to improve life here and abroad.  We must learn from history and hopefully will not repeat it – and enjoy the small town nuggets along the way.

-Ron-

39612709460_215dc8f225_o

Do YOUR buds indicate spring has arrived?

 

I know we’ve been ready for, and have been commenting on spring being here, right?   Many have noted spring arrived with snow still on the ground.

While traveling through some of southern Georgia, U.S.A. this week, particularly along the scenic highways around Clyattville, we had the feeling that spring is truly here with warmer temperatures, ranging near 80 degrees Fahrenheit.  I think that’s a welcome for those who desire to visit the southeastern U.S.

While observing much of the area’s natural decor has developed leaves and buds, I noticed the pecan trees without their buds. So, what does that signify?

Yes, we may have warmer weather and spring has sprung but maybe there is some cooler weather still on the way.

There is an old saying that winter isn’t over until the pecan trees bud.  I did a little research to found out how true; however, I didn’t locate any specifics.

I did gather information that indicates pecan trees are some of the latest to bud as they must build up “chill units.”

In my simple interpretation, chill units relate to how many cold encounters the tree has. Apparently, each tree variant has different chill units.  Once that tree has a certain number of cold encounters and begins to experience warmer temperatures then the leaves and buds begin to appear.

Pecan trees ready for buds

Wow, that’s pretty cool.  While other trees may have the desire to bloom when spring is nearing or has arrived, regardless if there is cold weather still to come, the pecan tree waits a little longer until it senses the threat of cold weather has passed.

There have been times however when the pecan trees were not as accurate, but it seems they are mostly accurate.

For more information on the pecan tree’s preparation for warm weather check the University of Georgia’s blog page at https://site.extension.uga.edu/pecan/2017/02/warm-winter-and-pecans/.

I believe the trees will be budding soon so go ahead and plan your travels through the southeastern U.S. and not be concerned with “cold” weather.

But what about other locations outside the U.S.A.?  Do you have pecan trees or some other types of trees that signal the end of cold weather?

###

Other information about pecans:

History of the Pecan and Georgia Pecans (according to Pearson Farm). https://www.pearsonfarm.com/blog/history-of-the-pecan-and-georgia-pecans/

Pecans, although one of the most recently domesticated major crops has been an important part of southern U.S. diet and culture since before the arrival of European settlers. Fur traders originally brought the pecan to the U.S. Atlantic Coast from Illinois, calling them “Illinois nuts.”  The term pecan was coined by the Algonquin Indians, a North American tribe located in the southwest. It originated from their word “pacane”, which means a nut that needs to be cracked with a stone.

Georgia Pecans – Although pecans are highly favored in Georgia today, Georgia farmers were somewhat hesitant in accepting the benefits of this nut at first. It wasn’t until the late 1800s that several individual Georgia landowners began producing and marketing pecans on a small scale. In Savannah, there was about ninety-seven total acres by 1889.

By the 1950s, Georgia had become the country’s leading producer of pecans and remains the largest pecan-producing state in the nation to date.  Georgia pecan trees are one of the largest fruit-bearing trees with just one acre of pecan trees producing about 1,000 pounds of pecans. Today, more than 500 varieties of pecans exist with over 1,000 cultivars being released over the history of pecan culture.

The United States produces 80% of the world’s pecans (according to Tropical Foods) https://www.tropicalfoods.com/blog/pecan-tree-facts/

It takes 12 years for a pecan tree to mature. When grown in ideal conditions, it can live and stay productive for over 200 years.

Pecan wood is often utilized for the manufacturing of furniture, paneling and flooring.

The city of Albany, Georgia boasts of having more than 600,000 pecan trees, earning it the title of “Pecan Capital of the U.S.”

Pecans are related to walnuts but are much sweeter in flavor. Because of their oily composition though, pecans can become rancid very quickly in warm temperatures and high humidity. Shelled pecans are best kept inside a glass container in the refrigerator to maintain freshness.

The fats found in pecans are classified as monounsaturated and are recommended for the maintenance of a healthy heart. The nuts are also rich in Vitamin E and the mineral zinc. Pecans actually provide nearly 10 percent of the recommended Daily Value for zinc and one ounce of pecans provides 10% of the recommended daily fiber intake.

Pecans are so popular in Texas that the pecan tree was declared its state tree in 1919. Butter pecan, a popular ice cream flavor, is a Texas invention.

Pecan trees usually range in height from 70 to 100 feet, but some trees grow as tall as 150 feet or higher. Native pecan trees – those over 150 years old – have trunks more than three feet in diameter.

Before a shelled pecan is ready to be sold, it must first be cleaned, sized, sterilized, cracked and finally, shelled.

The name “pecan” is a Native American word that was used to describe nuts requiring a stone to crack.

About 78 pecans are used in the average pecan pie.

#endofwinter

#pecantreebuds

#springhassprung

 

From Virginia to Pennsylvania – home town America

countryside-from-nc-to-va

North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania – the miles click by.  I could have stopped in each small town and stay awhile but I was on a journey.

evergreens-in-ma
Evergreen trees – AKA Christmas trees – blanket some of the terrain from the northern part of North Carolina and into Virginia.  They’ve likely adorned thousands of homes during our recent holidays.

Sometimes the destination becomes the object of our focus and we pass by areas of interest on the journey.

These photos are glimpses of the “blink of an eye” travel. Sometimes you just have to stopped and pause.  I’m glad the camera helps us freeze, and seize, the moment when we see one.

penn-bridge-near-york-3
Farms along the open countryside in Virginia and Pennsylvania capture your attention as you cruise along.

penn-farm

While these picturesque sites are great to see, I wonder if the work behind the scene compensates for the beauty and peacfulness of farm life.  How about it farmers?  What do you say?

penn-farm-1 penn-farm-2

 

 

 

 

I love west Pennsylvania’s farms, rolling hills and the peaceful back roads.  It seems a different life when you compare the western side to the eastern side.   While larger cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have so much to offer, it’s hard to beat the easy-going routes between the cities.  Life just slows down.

One of my favorite places to stay, although it’s an international brand, is the Hampton Inn, part of the Hilton Hotel family.  I really enjoy staying at their facilities.  It is a relaxing hotel that gives you that special sense of cleanliness and comfort.  You can tell by the fresh smell.  Oh, did I mention the complimentary full breakfast.   Yep!

We stayed at the Hampton Inn in York, Pennsylvania. I’ve been through York previously but this time I wanted to gather a little more information about the area.

York, Pennsylvania is a city of about 40,000 people. Yorkcountypa.gov mentions that Pennsylvania’s York County was founded in 1749 and has a proud role in the history of the United States.

The formation of the new nation – USA had many challenges toward development.  One was an organized resistance during the American Revolution. The Articles of Confederations, which was the precursor to the U.S. Constitution, was drafted in York.

Yorkpa.org mentioned York, Pennsylvania as the first capital of the United States.

Laid out by the Penn family as the first city west of the Susquehanna River in 1741, less than four decades later York became the seat of power for the U.S. when it hosted a Continental Congress on the run from British troops in 1777.

William Penn, a Quaker who was born in 1644 in London, England, was an English real estate entrepreneur, philosopher and founder of the Province of Pennsylvania, the English North American colony and future Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. (Wikipedia.org).

In 1681 King Charles II handed over a large piece of his American land holdings to William Penn to satisfy a debt the king owed to Penn’s father.

York is also referenced as the “Factory Tour Capital of the World.”  According to Trip Advisor there are thirteen different factories open to the public.   You can learn about potato chips and how they’re made to how Harley-Davidson Motor Company makes their motorcycles.

The York Barbell Factory is also located here.  The USA Weightlifting Hall of Fame is included.

It’s amazing the locations one will encounter when you don’t have a specific travel agenda and take advantage of opportunities.

While traveling northeast from York we crossed the Susquehanna River.  I was intrigued by the railroad bridge that was parallel to our crossing but didn’t notice the very bridge I traveled.  Well, I decided to turn around and take a look.

penn-bridge-near-yorkI was amazed at the architecture of the bridge. Just think, you don’t notice the beauty around you until you pause a little to reflect.

This is the Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge in Columbia.  Construction began in 1929, opened in 1930 and renamed as the Veterans Memorial Bridge in 1980.

penn-bridge-near-york-2

More information about the bridge may be viewed at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbia%E2%80%93Wrightsville_Bridge.

penn-bridge-near-york-1

The area is serene and picturesque. The feeling underneath the bridge is peaceful and you don’t notice the traffic above.

leisure-boat-ride-near-york-bridgeThere is the calm along the river as well and locals enjoy it – whether pleasure boating, kayaking or just fishing.  You can’t go wrong with these options.

kayak-fishing-near-york-bridge

 

 

 

 

fishing-near-york-bridge

I can see why our ancestors who traveled to the various parts of this new world decided to settle and make a new life for themselves. Wouldn’t you?

Well, I know there are untold treasures around the globe and we write about them every day.  I just wanted to share little about my discoveries along the way.

Switch from traditional farming to solar farming?

Switch from traditional farming to solar farming?

crops-being-planted

We have traveled along the highways and observed the natural beauty of farmlands – seeds or immature plants installed into fertile soil to bring about the satisfaction to the palate and nutrition to the whole being.

What a delight to see these crops mature and experience the waves of grain or corn or – you name it.

solar-panels-with-pine-tree-farmHave you traveled along the roadway enjoying plush, green countryside and then practically out of nowhere you see a new type of farming?

Let’s consider solar or wind power for instance.  I never considered solar or wind turbine farms before but I believe it is beginning to take hold.

north-carolina-solar-panels1

While traveling torward Roxboro, North Carolina on U.S. Highway 501 – there it was!  A solar farm right beside the highway.  I’m not sure if the term is truly a solar farm but that’s how I would classify it.  What would you call it?

north-carolina-solar-park-and-grazersI turned the car around and had to take a closer look.  I then noticed a smart concept.  There were animals around the solar panels with sheep and cattle keeping the grass manageable, and a donkey.  I’m not sure how the donkey is used though.

north-carolina-solar-park-signPerson County, North Carolina has a solar park. They seem to be popping up throughout the rural areas.  It makes sense though so the individual communities could have alternatives for their power needs – and going green at that.

I had to investigate further and checked out Person County’s website about the solar park at http://www.researchtriangle.org/news-and-events/person-county-solar-park-expansion-nears-completion.

According to the website a new solar installation covering seven acres in the Person County Business and Industrial Center features row upon row of ground-mounted solar panels – 5,376 in all – angled toward the sun and visible from U.S. Highway 501.

The website identifies Carolina Solar Energy LLC in collaboration with Strata Solar LLC as designer, builder and operator of the 1.25 megawatt DC solar electric generator located in Person County for project owner Gehrlicher Solar USA.

With the new installation it appears the total annual estimated energy production will exceed 2.5 million kilowatt hours, enough to power 210 average North Carolina homes annually.

How would this compare to how many people could benefit from the crops harvested on this same land?

I like what Barbara Currier, director of the Person County Economic Development Commission, said about the use of the land for solar energy.  “This project represents all that is environmentally sound for our community, including the sheep that graze along side the solar panels keeping the grass trim without fossil fuels, an increasingly recognized ‘best practice’ in landscaping circles.”

wind-turbines-in-vermontWhile reaching one of our destinations in Vermont, I noticed the wind turbines.  They are not hard to see unless obscured by the mountains.wind-turbines-in-vermont-2

Do you think these wind turbines provide more power than the solar panels? Well, they certainly benefit those who live in the mountainous regions.

wind-turbines-near-elizabeth-nc-2

But, there are wind turbine fields in the coastal part of wind-turbines-near-elizabeth-nc-4North Carolina mixed with solar panels and agricultural farms as well. We discovered this while traveling U.S. Highway 17 Bypass near Elizabeth City, North Carolina.  I think this is an excellent mix of technologies combined with ancient techniques of producing food for our tables.

I’m not accustomed to seeing these large wind turbines, and I don’t notice them in urban the terrain. However, they appear more prevalent in rural areas. I guess they aren’t windmills any longer.

wind-turbine-in-germanyWhile traveling in Germany I also noticed the large wind turbines stretched across the vast land and they looked HUGE.  I really enjoyed watching them turn although I had to keep my focus while driving on the Autobahn.

According to AENews, future of wind power is bright and shining as detailed studies by American Wind Energy Association (EWEA) have already shown that power generation from wind energy is most economical.  “The consumers are reaping good benefits financially from wind power.”  The article further mentions that wind is already directly curbing European electricity prices.  http://www.alternative-energy-news.info/wind-energy-instruments-bigger-better/

AENews states “renewable energy production and demand growth is gaining momentum in many ways across the world. There is a booming demand of wind power today and all wind energy equipment manufacturers are gearing up to meet the demand and take advantage of it.”  Based on their estimate Asia should now be leading the world with installed wind capacity.

So … where are we today?  I surmise we can create our own electrical power, at least in rural areas, while creating fuel for the natural body through the continued creative use of our traditional farmlands?  I think there is a way to combine it all.