Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Adventures in Florida, Part 2: Georgia On My Mind!

Shortly after the completion of Jamie's graduation ceremony in Orange Park, the new graduate and I pointed the rental car in a northwesterly direction and began the 2-hour drive to The Swamp ...

... where homemade lasagna, chianti, and new friends awaited us.  The drive up to Valdosta was a pleasant one as Jamie and I had the chance to chat when she wasn't using my iPhone to catch up with all of her friends in "the outside world"!  Ah, technology ... such a magnet to teenagers!

We arrived at Barb's beautiful home right around 5:30 where we met Barb's parents as well as Al and his wife Barbara and then later on Barb's neighbors from across the street - Mike, Peggy, and their daughter Vicky.  Such a nice group of people all the way around and there was none of that awkward first-meeting stuff going on as when you meet someone you've met through blogging it's like you've already met before and you're just picking up where you left off since the last get-together!

And of course there was Whitey who I briefly thought about trying to fit into my suitcase so that I could smuggle him out!  What a grand fellow he is and just the nicest cat ever!  And soft!  Oh my gosh is this guy soft! 

There was also Gracie who is so petite and cute and who gets along very well on that poor little leg of hers that was broken in so many places; she was such a little doll and I can fully understand how she managed to capture Barb's heart.

Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of Gandalf and Grayson as apparently I was suffering from heat stroke and wasn't smart enough to take pictures of a lot of things!  Matter of fact, you'll find no pictures of the delicious homemade lasagna and meatballs that Barb's mother made or much of anything else for that matter!  I'm really not quite sure where my head was but I can tell you that my camera was in the car for most of the evening!  The pictures above were all taken the next day as I took NONE at all on Saturday evening - not even with my iPhone!  Bad, bad blogger!

Anyhow, after dinner Barb and I chatted and sipped wine into the late hours until I looked at a clock and was surprised to see that it was 1:00 a.m.!   Those who read Barb's blog know that she's a very early morning person and here I was keeping her up to almost the time that she gets up!  I'm going to blame that on her, though, as she's just so darned easy to talk to and somehow the Chianti kept reappearing in my glass and well ... you know!

Finally calling it a night I slept like the proverbial rock and once I managed to drag myself out of bed at 8:00 a.m., Barb's father made us a wonderful breakfast after which I finally remembered to take some pictures!  The one above isn't exactly the best but I had to edit my fat head out of it as I had my patented stupid look on my face and I really wanted to show you what a beautiful smile Barb has rather than how goofy I looked!  The picture really doesn't do her justice!

Before packing up to head south towards Saint Augustine and the next stop on our trip, I took some pictures of the swamp behind Barb's house.  The geese and their goslings weren't there but the swamp was still beautiful regardless.

 The temperatures were already starting to creep into the 90's so it was most definitely going to be another scorcher in south Georgia but I could definitely see the allure of the area in spite of the fact that just breathing made one break out in a sweat! It rather reminded me of the time I spent in Biloxi, Mississippi when I was in the Air Force but a whole heck of a lot prettier!  Too bad I hadn't been stationed at Moody Air Force Base instead!

Following hugs good-bye and talk about getting together again sometime (perhaps when it's a bit cooler!), Jamie and I began the next leg of our journey but not before I stopped off in downtown Valdosta to take some pictures:

What can I say?  I'm a sucker for beautiful architecture and the Lowndes County Courthouse is certainly that!  The whole downtown area looked to be quite charming - not to mention empty on a hot Sunday morning - and I wished I had more time to explore but Jamie was patiently waiting in the car wearing down the battery on my iPhone again and it was time to hit the road with a cooler full of lasagna on ice that needed to arrive in West Palm Beach on Monday.

Of course, once I arrived home I just had to do a little research on the place where my former-Yankee-turned-Southern-belle blogging friend lives so here's a few fun facts about Valdosta, Georgia:
In 1837, the city of Troupville became the Lowndes county seat. When the Gulf and Atlantic Railroad decided to put a right-of-way four miles south of Troupville, the citizens of Troupville made an interesting move to ensure the future prosperity of their town – they picked it up and moved it four miles.  The town was then renamed Valdosta , in honor of “Val d’Aosta,” the plantation home of former Governor George Troup. In 1860, Valdosta was incorporated as the new seat of county government.

Valdosta’s history has been closely tied to the soil. The sandy loam allowed the city to become the inland capital for Sea Island cotton. When cotton crops were devastated by the boll weevil in the early 1900s, other crops such as pecans, peanuts, and tobacco rose in popularity.

Valdosta is the 11th largest city in Georgia .
Valdosta has a population of over 48,000+.
The composer of “Jingle Bells,” James Lord Pierpoint, was from Valdosta .
Famous gunfighter and gambler, Doc Holliday, was from Valdosta .
The Valdosta High School Wildcat football team which has won more games than any other high school in the nation has given rise to the city’s nickname — “Winnersville.”


  1. You always see so much when you go travelling. Barb looks fabulous!

  2. Oh, this makes me want to do it all over again! What fun! I still have a bottle of Chianti left!

    The geese showed up right after you left! Bad goosies! I'm stealing your photo of Gracie. And the buildings. Actually, I'm saving them all! So there!

    I can't wait to see the next chapter!

    Big hugs xo

  3. How fun. I would love to meet Barb and all her babies. Just saying.

    Have a terrific day Linda. Big hug. :)

  4. Anonymous12:10 PM EDT

    how blessed you are to be meeting all of these bloggers! What a great trip!

  5. I want to live in the swamp! I love that kind of area and have no idea why I'm living in a darned desert!!!
    That area is so lovely. Barb is darling - and you're right about that smile!
    Love the kitties, too. Just sorry you missed the geese.

  6. Great recap and pictures...I need to make lasagna now

  7. Valdosta is a nice little town, I did not know Doc Holliday came from there.

  8. What a fab travel chapter. So many colourful pictures.

  9. i love valdosta! and barb too for that matter! ha ha ha

    smiles, bee

  10. Having met a couple of blogging friend in person, I know what you mean about feeling like you've known them forever:-) Barb sounds like a wonderful person with a great family and I'm so glad for both of you that you were able to meet up. I would have been melting in that heat, anything over 75F is too much for me! lol Loved seeing your pictures and love the architecture on the court house, just beautiful. xoxo

  11. Great everything!!! Dang, we've gotta have a bloggers convention somewhere.

    Big hugs from Santa Fe...

  12. Anonymous11:21 PM EDT

    Oh, and I know you all had fun! I hope to meet Barb, too!

  13. Reading these latest adventures has been horrid! As I am so jealous :(

    It is adventures like this and the meeting of people like Barb, that truly shows what special friendships can arise from the world of blog.

  14. Great post. Yes, the South is a little warm this time of year. Remember that next winter when we brag about our weather. I wanted to add, the composer of Jingle Bells was from Valdosta, but he was at a little church in Savannah when he wrote it. I believe he was the minister at the time. It is a UU Church and we were there on Father's Day.

  15. Georgia is on my mind sometimes too....going soon.
    You met bloggers! YAY! Great pics and stories. Of course, I'm behind on your blog and reading this all backwards....


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