Hard to believe it was five years ago that Trey and I were doing our year-long tour of Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites. Now that we’ve moved south of Macon, our closest park is Georgia Veterans State Park. We visited it again recently and took a photo of Trey by one of the tanks he had posed in front of almost five years ago to the day. It’s when you see then & now photos like this that you realize how fast your boy is growing up!
On our trip out West in 2010, Trey racked up quite a few “Junior Ranger” badges at National Parks and Monuments. The most recent ones we’ve visited are Congaree and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks. Whenever we plan a vacation, I scour our routes to see if there are any new NPS sites we can visit. This time we spotted Fort Matanzas along the way from Amelia Island to Legoland in Winter Haven and planned a stop.
When you hear the term “fort” you picture much grander things than what Matanzas has to offer. The place is really just a small 50×50 foot coquina outpost with two 30×10 foot rooms (baracks and office). The fort’s five canons were only ever fired once (at the British before the fort was even completed) and it was used for almost 80 more years without seeing any more action. Almost a century later the federal government began restoring the fort.
Today you can watch a short documentary at the visitor center and peruse its tiny (I mean TINY) gift shop as you wait for the NPS ferry to cross the inter-coastal waters to the island where the fort stands.
Trey enjoyed the boat ride and after a short talk by the ranger at the fort we got to explore and climb to the roof of the tower. Heidi was given the honor of taking down the flag (a 1740s era Spanish Empire Cross of Burgundy flag) since we were the last tour of the day.
The leaves are all down now, but a few weeks ago when it wasn’t too chilly and the woods were still vibrant we took a little afternoon excursion up to High Falls State Park. We hiked the 2.5 mile “Tranquil Trail” and then walked down to the lower falls. With winter approaching, it got dark faster than expected and we had to leave by six.
Macon is the hometown of the late, great Otis Redding. He died tragically at the young age of 27, but had already earned the title of “King of Soul.” Downtown at Gateway Park there is a statue of Otis that Trey is quite fond of. When ever we go down to the park to ride his bike he wants to go across the river to see Otis.
We got a “Best of Otis” album and I’m trying to help him make a connection between his favorite statue and the musical genius it honors.
Nothing beats FREE. That’s why we love Noah’s Ark, the animal rehabilitation center about 45 minutes north of us. Trey and I swung by there on our way to McDonough where I needed to pick up some art supplies.
Here are some of his pictures followed by mine. Below you’ll also find a fun video of Trey playing with one of the ostriches.
The weather has turned from wet and cold to sunny and warm. Trey and I have been spending a lot more time outside, including this little picnic in Macon’s Washington Park on Friday.
We’ve only recently started taking advantage of the great trail in downtown Macon along the Ocmulgee River. The park’s paved trail is currently nine miles long, with plans to expand it to 22.
Trey loves to ride his bike along the path and Heidi and I enjoy the exercise we get chasing after him (he’s getting fast).
Here are some photos from two recent visits we took to the trail.
Last week, Trey and I visited Massee Lane Gardens in Fort Valley, GA. The location is the headquarters of the American Camellia Society and features nine acres of flower gardens, green houses, peach and pecan orchards, and a couple small museums and galleries.
Being the dead of winter (and during a bad cold spell), it wasn’t the best time to visit and see its world-renowned flower gardens. However, I got a good idea of its potential and look forward to going back with Heidi and Trey in the spring. I’m sure it will be spectacular then.
The last day my parents were in town we all went to Macon’s Amerson Water Works Park (where we celebrated Trey’s 4th birthday). Contrary to what its title may imply, it is not a water park and the only water around is the nearby Ocmulgee River – in fact, the park is so new that it doesn’t even have drinking water fountains or restrooms.
What it does have is Macon’s only handicap accesible playground; which was great for my brother Philip. Philip was able to enjoy the swing set and even get to the slides.
Trey spent the entire time playing with his newly acquired remote control cars. Not just driving them around the playground but down the slides where they would crash and roll at the bottom (to his squeals of delight).
Arabia Mountain is a favorite spot of ours. It’s a shame it isn’t closer.
Trey and I visited it last week and hiked the mountain so that I could get some sunset shots (practicing for our upcoming trip). We had a great time there but on the way home in the dark we got lost. My iPhone’s GPS wasn’t functioning properly and some road closures put us on strange roads I’d never seen. In the dark I couldn’t even tell if I was going north or south sometimes. Nonetheless, we finally made it home (around 11pm) and my little guy was passed out asleep in the car.