Before leaving the north we wanted to spend some time with our son, Alex, in upstate NY. As he lives in Brooklyn, and was really wanting a
little time in the woods, we booked the Saugerties KOA Campground where he could put a tent up on our site. In addition to Alex coming up, two of his friends from Hofstra University, Nicole and Lena, came up for one night. It was wonderful having all that young blood around though it did have me driving to and from the Poughkeepsie train station multiple times in 48 hours!
The first night Alex was able to set up his tent and enjoy some traditional
camping though the rest of the weekend, looked to be a bit rainy, so he packed the tent up just to keep it from getting too wet during the day. Lena and Nicole caught a 6:30 am train out of the city so we were off to the station bright and early to pick them up then we stopped for breakfast at a cute cafe (Cafe Mio) before heading to the Ulster County Fair. Out of all the activities in the area the kids had chosen to get in some good ol’ fashion fun riding the carny rides, eating deep fried Oreos, buying tons of candy and watching the piggy races!
By mid-afternoon it was getting oppressively hot and we had gotten as much of a sugar high as we could stand so we headed back to the campground. The original plan was to put the tent back up along with Nicole’s hammock and the kids would sleep out in nature. Unfortunately, we had strong thunderstorms move in soon after our return so we spent the afternoon and evening chatting and watching movies then the kids did a little “glamping” staying in the coach spread out amongst the fold out bed and recliners. Jon has always said the coach only sleeps two but we proved him wrong!
The next morning the sun was shining so the kids took advantage and had their campfire, making s’mores, putting up the hammock, taking naps, and playing putt-putt golf. Before we knew it, it was time to get the girls back to the train station. Alex stayed on for a couple more nights giving us some quality family time.
We couldn’t have a Demarest family camping trip without a hike so we packed a lunch and headed over to Mt Wittenberg. We picked these trails as Alex is a rock climber and loves to hike on the more strenuous trails. Now Jon and I have really gotten in shape over the two years we have been full-timing and we have hiked some pretty rough trails but this one kicked our butts! It was straight up over rocky terrain. A VERY strenuous 6.53 mile hike to a max elevation of 3330 ft with a net elevation gain of 1825 ft!!!!! We held our own making it almost to the top but when we hit a vertical rock wall we said enough and let Alex finish the hike to the top while we ate our lunches!
He very nicely videoed the view at the top so we could see what we were missing!
Alex’s four day visit came to a close way too quickly and we were off to the train station again. It was wonderful to have good quality time to reconnect and to be surrounded by young people.
With a few days left in NY and to stretch out our tired muscles we took a walkabout in downtown Saugerties and then out to the Saugerties Lighthouse. This lighthouse is really cool as it is also a B&B. You have to access it down a long trail which floods at high tide but they provide you boots!
After several days recovering from our adventure up the mountain we were off to our next stop, stepping back in time, heading to Savannah! We decided to book it down to South Carolina with only two short stops, one at Candy Hill Campground in Winchester, VA and then one at the Stateville KOA in Statesville, NC. Both campgrounds were perfect for one nighters since they are close to the highway with easy in and out pull thru sites.
If you are a long time reader of our blog you may remember that last year we tried to get to Savannah but Hurricane Florence had other ideas and chased us into central Georgia. This year we were avidly watching the Weather Channel and were happy to see no tropical activity heading our way so we re-booked at the Red Gate Campground just outside of Savannah. Turns out that this is not only a RV campground but also a working farm and spectacular wedding venue. We spent many evenings just walking the trails, watching the horses, and enjoying the amazing sunsets.
With temperatures and heat indexes reaching 114º we realized we had headed south too soon!! But the heat and the frequent thunderstorms didn’t keep us from getting into the city. We just had to strategically plan to spend more time in museums and instead of walking the city as we normally would we did two trolley tours, the Ghosts and Graveyards tour in the evening and then one day on the Old Town Trolley.
As fans of the book and movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil we took a morning tour of the Bonaventure Cemetery. Laura, our guide, not only told the stories of the people in the book and those buried there, including those famous and not so famous, but she also gave us a lesson in funerary arts – like the open urn meaning a generous wealthy individual and the drapery meaning head of household. It was interesting and she was a great storyteller. After the sweltering morning we returned to the coach and spent the afternoon cooling off and re-watching the movie before heading out to an excellent dinner at the Shrimp Factory and the Ghost tour.
We have been on many, many ghost tours in cities throughout the county and I have to say Savannah, being one of the most haunted cities around, did not disappoint. They really take their ghosts seriously, with excellent storytelling tour guides, creepy special effects, and tours of both the Perkin’s and Sons Ship Chandlery and the Andrew Low House.
We chose a package deal with Old Town Trolley – a one day pass on the hop-on-hop-off trolley and admission into the American Prohibition Museum. I would highly recommend the APM, it is a wonderful mix of historical artifacts of the Prohibition era and modern technology with talking portraits ending in a recreated Speakeasy.
We spent the rest of the day riding the trolley getting off at the Cathedral of St. John and River Street. The heat kept us on the trolley enjoying the view and hearing the stories for most of the day.
Being on the coast I really wanted a bit of beach time so Jon, not being a fan of sand, stayed home and I spent a day getting my steps in on Tybee Island enjoying the view and cooling off in the Atlantic.
From Savannah we headed over to the Valdosta/Homerville/Blackshear, GA area as I wanted to do a little research on the Underhill/Byrd families. We had a hard time finding a campground near Blackshear and we and ended up south of Valdosta at the Lake Park RV Park. Joseph Underhill built the house that is one of the focal points at the Barberville Pioneer Settlement where we Workamp over the winter. This next year I will be portraying Lucretia Byrd Underhill, Joseph’s wife, at the museum and I wanted to get some background information on the families that came from Blackshear before moving to Florida in the 1850’s. After spending two days going to the Blackshear and Homerville libraries as well as the Huxford Genealogy Library I was able to track Joseph and his family but I found almost nothing on Lucretia. Oh, well ya win some and ya lose some!
Now we are getting ready to head down to Carrabelle & Tallahassee FL for Labor Day week as well as to check in with my mother before heading back to Barberville. We are really looking forward to returning to the museum and hope that if you are passing through Central Florida you will stop in to see us!