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Forging Our Own Trail

Tucked into the Wasatch Mountains, Park City drew us from Salt Lake City for the weekend with promises of gorgeous views and vibrant town life. We arrived during the saddle season between winter and summer, when many businesses were closed. Undaunted, we forged our own way.

Saturday morning, we started early and walked straight up from quiet Main Street and into the mountains.

Park City, Utah

Utah

Climbing and climbing

Morning hike with Mike

The trail disappeared and reappeared beneath our feet, becoming mostly snowfields as we climbed higher. We walked past an abandoned silver mine and many closed ski lifts.

Abandoned Silver King mine

Abandoned silver mine

Abandoned silver mine

Park City

Above Park City

Mike hiking near Park City

Finally, up to our shins in snow and completely off-trail, we turned around, and skitter-slid back down the mountain, along steep snowbanks and then through slushy mud.

Mike's death march: mile 3

Park City, Utah

Park City altitude

Lunch at Wasatch Brewpub  and a soak in a hot tub rejuvenated us and our chilly extremities. Though late April is not the most happening time to visit Park City, we found a lively crowd and delicious pizza at Vinto later that evening. In such a short visit and in the offseason, we missed out on many of Park City’s offerings, but we plan to return now that Mike has steady clients in the Salt Lake City area.

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Gullah Culture on the Sea Islands

Penn Center painting

The South Carolina Sea Islands are remarkably scenic: giant live oaks curtained with Spanish moss, shimmering water fringed by marsh grass. They are also home to the unique, rich Gullah culture. The Gullah people are descendants of African slaves who live in the Low Country of Florida, Georgia, and  South Carolina. In these isolated areas, they developed their own language and traditions. Sights of those traditions still pepper the landscape: stands selling seagrass baskets and local produce, tiny churches, cafes serving Gullah cuisine.

Penn Center baskets

Penn School

Penn School was established in 1862 by two Northern women, Laura Towne and Ellen Murray, to educate former slaves. It served as a school until its closing in 1948, and is now Penn Center, a museum and community center. Dr. King visited Penn Center during the 1960s to help local people campaign for civil rights. It’s still active in community outreach, offering camps, classes, meetings, and heritage programs to share the history of the Gullah people and improve life in the local area.

Penn School, St. Helena

Penn School

I was touched reading Laura Towne’s thoughts about the value her students at Penn School placed on their education. The worst thought they could imagine was missing a day of school!

Everywhere pride in the school’s legacy and the long history of the Gullah people was evident – in objects they created and in the stories of a resilient, creative people.

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Savannah smiles

Our Savannah rental was a restored freedman’s cottage from the 1870s, located near Forsyth Park. We loved the light-filled space, decorated with local art and antiques.

Freedman's Cottage, Savannah

Freedman's Cottage, Savannah

Freedman's Cottage, Savannah

Dee of Savannah Bike Tours led us through the highlights of Savannah, from the river to the park, with some Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil locations in the mix.

Bike tour!

Mike with Dee, our tour leader

Stately Savannah

Forsyth fountain

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At Forsyth Fountain

Savannah Gate

Tybee Island, just twenty minutes from Savannah, delighted us with its wide beach and hometown feel – mostly small houses rather than high-rises.

Tybee time

Tybee beach

Tybee pier

Tybee beach

Tybee pavilion

We ate well in Savannah. A favorite was B Matthews Eatery, where we spent a memorable evening devouring luscious seafood dishes.

Mike at B. Matthews

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Road to the past

We started our Lowcountry experience, fittingly enough, in the past. A canopy of live oak trees, draped in Spanish moss, line the mile-and-a-half long road to Wormsloe Plantation, the estate of Noble Jones.One of the original English settlers in Georgia, the versatile Jones, who began his career as a carpenter, also served as a surveyor, a doctor, and a military commander in the new colony.

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Tabby ruins are all that remain of the original estate. Tabby, a mix of lime, water, sand, ash, and oyster shells, and was often used as a building material in the colonial coastal southeast. Durable and uniquely textured, it is well suited to the environment of the coast, but declined in popularity after the 1800s. These tabby ruins are the oldest structures in Savannah.

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