June 30, 2009

James Oglethorpe of Georgia

This statue of Governor Oglethorpe dominates Chippewa Square in Savannah. A nearby marker refers to him as "the great soldier-philanthropist who founded the colony of Georgia." It also says that the bronze statue was sculpted by Daniel Chester French.

Oglethorpe lived from 1696-1785.

A Georgia Squirrel

We saw this guy in Savannah. He was in the shade so I let the flash go off, making his eye glow strangely.

Carriages, Savannah

Apparently the fashionable way to tour Savannah is via horse-drawn carriage. However, we took a tour bus. Then we retraced half the route via car so that we could stop and take photos.

June 29, 2009

Frampton Plantation

In South Carolina, we saw a billboard advertising Frampton Plantation along I-95 and decided to take a look. It's just off the highway at exit 33 and serves as a (free) visitors center for the "Low Country" region.

The original house was burned during the Civil War and rebuilt in 1868. I just read that it was donated in 1993 to the Lowcountry Tourism Commission by Columbia developer Wymann Boozer.

The property features some marvelous old live oaks and signs for the Revolutionary War Trail (tracing the travels of Loyalist surgeon Uzal Johnson) and the Civil War's Frampton Line (see below).

I purchased a book in the gift shop called Civil War Tours of the Low Country: Beaufort, Hilton Head, and Charleston, South Carolina. I liked the fact that it had plenty of large photos of the various sites.

The Frampton Line

Earthworks at the Frampton Line, South Carolina

Although Frampton Plantation was just off I-95 at US 17, it turned out to have a Civil War site and a sign which reads:

sign on hill
The Frampton Line

A large "earthwork," over 100 yards in length was raised on this site by General Robert E. Lee's troops c. 1862. This fortification was a fall-back position from which to defend the Charleston to Savannah Railroad, an important supply line for the Confederate Army.
The rail line is located about one mile north of this site.

June 28, 2009

Room at the Inn

On our way back from our Carolina trip, I wanted to spend a little time on the Blue Ridge Parkway. So we left I-77 at Elkin, NC and drove up US 21 to the Parkway. We then headed south a short distance and had a nice dinner at the Bluffs Lodge Restaurant (Milepost 241).

There was one room left at the nearby lodge, but after inspecting it we decided not to take it. It was too musty and a bit small. A nice woman who works there said to try the High Meadows Inn in nearby Roaring Gap.

We returned to US 21 and located the lodge. It needed paint and looked a bit run-down on the outside, but we were getting tired and decided to at least look at a room. We chose an upstairs suite
and it was clean inside and looked very nice.

I imagine this was once a really nice hotel. Probably it was quite busy before I-77 opened and rerouted most tourist traffic to Fancy Gap.

We did not have wireless internet but that was not essential for a one-night stay. I was glad to have a usable kitchen space in which to fix breakfast. The adjoining restaurant was not open.

Garden Sculpture in Roaring Gap

Concrete Garden Decor at a pond which was once a motel swimming pool

At High Meadow Inn on US 21, Roaring Gap, NC

June 27, 2009

A Band at the Blue Ridge Music Center

At Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 213
Since we were driving past the Music Center, we stopped in to check out the exhibits. A band was playing bluegrass music, sounded good. The exhibit hall displayed old records and photos of bluegrass musicians from the 1930's and 40's, along with stories about their careers.

Mabry Mill, Blue Ridge Parkway

Mabry Mill
This restored mill is probably the most photographed spot on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I've photographed it several times myself.

I chose this one to post because the people looking out the window makes the image a little more interesting.

Fences, Blue Ridge Parkway

Split-rail fences are seen all along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Some may be left over from old homesteads, but many were built as part of the landscape design for the parkway, which was professionally designed.

You can read about landscape architect Stanley W. Abbott at National Parks Traveler and you can see my photo of a plaque honoring him at Abbott Lake on the Historical Marker Database.

June 26, 2009

Puckett Cabin near Groundhog Mountain

The Puckett's Cabin, Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 190

log cabin
This log cabin was the home of Orelena Puckett, said to have lived from 1837 to 1939. She married at 16 and had 24 (!) children. Unfortunately none of them lived to adulthood, an example of the high rate of child mortality of previous centuries that skewed statistics, making it look like folks all died young. Mrs. Puckett lived to be 102 years old... maybe. (The date of her birth is not certain.)

A sign in front of the cabin tells us that when she was in her fifties, she began a career in midwifery. She is said to have assisted in the births of over 1000 babies!

Other sources spell her name differently (Orleana, Orlean, etc.). They state that when construction of the Parkway neared her home, she was given 30 days to move. Family members felt that she died of a broken heart.

Newspaper Article: Roanoke Times

June 25, 2009

A View of Fox Hunters Paradise

Here we are on the Blue Ridge Parkway at a view called "Fox Hunters Paradise."

As you can see, there were clouds rising from the valley below.

Video View of the Blue Ridge Parkway

June 24, 2009

Mountain Laurel, Blue Ridge Parkway

flowering shrub on mountainI used some Photoshop filters on this one (Poster Edges and Dry Brush).

Link: Kalmia Latifolia (Mountain Laurel)

June 23, 2009

The Old Soldier Fiddlers

The postcard below was sent to my great-grandfather in 1909. The legend says: The Old Soldier Fiddlers, "The Blue and the Gray," who actually served in the opposing armies during the Civil War from 1863 to 1865.

The back of the card has a return address that looks rubber-stamped: E. A. Stoffel, Photographer, Huntington, W. Va. , and the message area carries an oval insignia, faintly rubber-stamped in blue, which reads "Col. J. A. Pattee, Special Agent, Huntington, W. VA." It is hand-addressed to Dr J P Suiter, Hadley, Mich.

Perhaps great-grandfather ordered the card from the photographer at a reunion or Memorial Day event. A quick Google search revealed that John A. Pattee was born in Huron, Michigan in 1844, served in the war, and much later formed a vaudeville act called the The Old Soldier Fiddlers.

Mystery Photo

This photo is among the items I inherited from my ancestors. Unfortunately, there is no identification on the portrait and very little on the picture postcard.

Is the young man my great-grandfather James P. Suiter? It's possible. James would have been 21 when the Civil War broke out, and this certainly looks like a photo from that time. Perhaps I will find a clue some day.

The Fuschia Plant

plantWhen we got ready for our Carolina trip, I took the hanging basket down from under the porch roof and moved it to where it could get some rain. I also filled the glass watering ball with water and plunged it back in the dirt. Fuschias are thirsty plants and will not survive more than a few days without water.

Fortunately, our area got rain while we were away so the plant did well. On the evening that we got home, I went out on the deck to add some water to the plant.

With a rustle and a hop, something jumped out of the plant and disappeared into the darkness. Was it a bird? A mouse? A frog?

The next day I approached the plant cautiously to take a look. Out fluttered a bird who flew away. I peered into the plant.

Under the leaves was a nest filled with little eggs.

June 22, 2009

A Scene Near New Market

Looking East toward the Massanutten Mountains

It's a Good Year for Bunnies

We've seen lots of rabbits lately. I suspect the mild winter was kind to them.

There has also been evidence of bears in our neighborhood, bears that love birdseed and garbage. Apparently they don't eat rabbits though.

And Allison has seen a couple of foxes in Reston in broad daylight. 

So far our deer sightings have been normal in number and they haven't attacked our flowers, except maybe some next to the pond. I sprayed the hosta and lilies with a deer repellent, so maybe that's working.

June 21, 2009

Postcard to my Dad, 1936

This old postcard was included in a box of family photos and genealogy information that my Aunt Clarice gave me. It was written by my grandfather Charles Leslie Suiter, a message to his son John, who later became my dad. I'll type in a few highlights below.

1601 Ohio Ave., Flint, Mich.
Sept. 3, 1936

Dear John:

Mother and I got your card...
Take care of yourself, especially the places where infection might set in.... Kenneth picked the plums, what were left after the gang got through after I had gone to bed the night you left, over 3 bushels.
Got the wiring for the stove in yesterday... There is a nice pile of wood in the basement for you to pile up when you get back.
I don't suppose Susan is there. I thought after you went you should have invited her to be there. Mother and I, Clarice and Jake are well, at least fairly so.

The card is addressed to my father care of Methodist Young People's Council at Berea College in Kentucky. I don't know who Kenneth, Susan, or Jake were.

After I read the card, I wondered why my aunt saved it all those years. Then I checked the date. Grandfather Suiter died in March 1937. Probably this was the last card he wrote that the family had in their possession.

June 20, 2009

Summer 1937

This photo is one that my Aunt Clarice included in a large box of family photos and mementos that she sent me when she moved into a retirement home. She is on the right; my dad is in the middle.

A handwritten legend on the back (which I hope I am reading correctly) says:
Our gang
Norman Andrews, Richard Mylen, John Suiter, Herbert Mylen, Clarice Suiter
Summer 1937

Happy Fathers Day

I scanned in some old photos with my dad in them in honor of Fathers Day. This is one I took of my dad in his 70's. He was hiking a fairly steep trail in Watoga State Park, WV.

He and my mother liked to camp, and they continued to tent-camp until my mom was about 70.

Childhood Photo

Suiter Family around 1951
Linda, Peggy, Eleanor, Carol, Rick, John

Pardon me while I repost...

Picasa hosts my blog photos. They had a problem and now some photos have disappeared. They wrote that "resetting the unique web
addresses also broke image links for some affected photos in your Blogger blog -- you will need to re-post those images using Blogger. This applies to images uploaded from Wednesday evening to late Thursday night, Pacific Standard Time."

I'm working on putting them back up. I did some and everything looked fine, but later some more disappeared.

Grumble, grumble...

Bennett Farm, Where Joe Johnston Surrendered

The American Civil War did not end at Appomattox, although it was the beginning of the end.
historical markers
Farm home of James Bennett, where Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston surrendered his army to Gen. William T. Sherman, April 26, 1865. Johnston’s surrender followed Lee’s at Appomattox by 17 days and ended the Civil War in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida.

See a related marker at HMdb.org: The End of War - Carolinas Campaign

Having recently been to Appomattox, I wanted to visit the Bennett Farm on the outskirts of Durham. Driving there via Lynchburg and Danville, I felt an appreciation for the distance between Lee's army and Johnston's. It was considerable but if Lee had been able to utilize the railroads, he could have quickly joined up with Johnston... except that the Union army got in the way.

The Bennett's reconstructed farmhouse is modest. A visitors center has a worthwhile film and interesting exhibits. I learned that Bennett was also spelled Bennitt at the time of the war. One of their sons left to join the Confederate army and died of disease in a Winchester (Virginia) hospital.

Sherman and Johnston became friends after the war and when Sherman died in 1891, Johnston served as a pallbearer at his funeral.

Note: Bennett Place Historic Site is looking for portraits and information on soldiers who were at (or near) the surrender at Bennett Place. They are preparing an exhibit memorializing soldiers who served in the armies of William T. Sherman and Joseph E. Johnston.

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June 19, 2009

Wildflowers at Bennett Place, NC

Queen Anne's Lace at the Bennett Farm

I like wildflowers. I added a filter in Photoshop (Poster Edge) to emphasize them.

House in Basye with Daisies in front

Yesterday we drove around the resort and checked Frank's listings of homes for sale - all was well. (He is a real estate broker.)

I liked the daisies growing in front of this new home on Beauregard.

By the way, Bryce Resort is doing their fireworks show on July 3, with a festival on the 4th.

On the Market: Buffalo Springs Herb Farm

I see that Buffalo Springs Farm in Raphine is for sale.  At well over $2 million, it's out of our price range, but it's a beautiful place.

 I went there with the garden club in 2006 (click to see photos), and took Frank to see it in 2007 (more photos). Glad I did  because he enjoys seeing artfully-landscaped gardens, and  it closed at the end of that  year.

June 18, 2009

In the Aquarium Building

At the Aquarium Reptile Complex, Riverbanks Zoo, Columbia, SC


I took a bunch of photos at the zoo, but would not have attempted any aquarium shots except that Austin was successfully taking some using his cell phone. (He had just gotten one for his "Fifth Grade Graduation" present.) 

Since I turned off the flash and didn't have a tripod, most of the aquarium shots were blurred. But these looked nice. I looked for spots where the light was brightest.

Giraffe at the Zoo


June 17, 2009

Not all zoo animals are pretty

big turtle

Well, the crab is kind of pretty. Especially to another crab!

Fancy-looking Birds at the Zoo

crowned crane african bird

(The above links will take you to fact sheets posted on the Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens web site.)