Saturday, April 19, 2014

Kilbrew Park Campground

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   The county power commission manages this little campground. Set up on a site and an employee will be around to register you. The sites have tables, fire rings and water. Some are large enough for any RV. Two have accessible tables but they aren’t marked as accessible sites. We didn’t see any type of toilet facilities.

  The campground is located at the base of a dam and seems to be a popular fishing area. We camped in the middle of the week.  Most of the sites had tents set up on them but nobody camping so it appears that people are “saving” the sites for the weekends. Campground

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Friday, April 18, 2014

World's Largest Peanut!

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  Georgia grows over 3 billion pounds of peanuts a year, almost half of the nation’s peanut crop. This big peanut, built in 1975 is 10’ tall, sitting on top of a 15’ tower. It’s right off of I-75, actually visible from the interstate, so you don’t have to drive far to see it up close.

  The parking lot is pretty small. Large RVs can park in the sausage store lot.  Peanut

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Jefferson Davis Memorial Historic Site

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   After the Confederate army surrendered to the north, Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, went into hiding and fled south from Richmond, hoping to escape overseas. He was captured by Union troops on May 10, 1865 at this site. A monument and a small museum were built in the 1930s. The museum contains artifacts from the war and a few personal possessions of the Davis family.  A short film is shown. The museum curator is extremely knowledgeable but expect a slightly southern slant.

  The museum and theater are  accessible. Some of the displays are difficult to see from a seated position. The monument is located in the grass without a path to it so it’s difficult to get close and hard to view from a distance.

  The parking lot is small but there’s enough room for large RVs to park and turn around. Museum

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lowndes County Historical Museum

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    The exhibits and artifacts in this small museum cover local history. The displays aren’t very informative but a couple of them caught our attention – the sad story of Gypsy, a circus elephant, and the early life of Doc Holiday who spent his childhood in Valdosta and worked as an apprentice dentist before moving west to become a gambler and gunslinger.

    The accessible entrance is on the left side of the building. There’s a button to push to unlock the door but it’s located too high for a person in a wheelchair to reach. Once inside an elevator provides access to the museum. Some of the displays are hard to see and some of the aisles are too narrow for easy wheelchair access. The paths in the outdoor display area are covered with pine needles which makes pushing very difficult.

    RVs can park in the large lot across the street.  Museum

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dudley Farm Historic State Park

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  Three generations of Dudleys lived and worked on their 640 acre farm, raising livestock, fruits, vegetables, sugar cane, cotton, tobacco and peanuts. Eighteen original buildings along with 325 acres were donated to the state by Myrtle Elizabeth Dudley, the last Dudley to live on the farm. The buildings, which include the farm house, general store, hay barn, canning shed and numerous outbuildings, were built between the 1880s and 1945 and allow visitors to experience how farm life has changed through the years. A small visitor center has a short film and displays about the family and farm.

  The visitor center is accessible. The trail to the farm site is paved for a short distance then becomes sandy and uneven, grassy ground. A couple of balloon tire wheelchairs are available to use. The farm house has a lift which requires a key  to operate. It looks like it might be out of commission but we didn’t ask. The general store has a few very uneven steps. It’s fairly east to peek inside most of the other buildings. The nature trail has some roots and a lot of poison ivy.

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  Smaller RVs will fit in the main parking lot but large RVs may have to park in the bus lot.

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sawgrass Lake Park Trails

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  This little island of maple swampland is surrounded by interstate highway and industrial development. There’s quite a bit of traffic noise which distracts from the experience but the amount of wildlife that can be spotted while strolling along the trails is surprising. Round trip along the boardwalks is about 1 1/2 miles. A loop trail through the woods adds another 1/2 mile. A few outdoor displays are located at the nature center.

  The boardwalks are accessible and in very good condition. The top board of the railings blocks the view somewhat for wheelchair users. The loop trail is hard packed sand with few roots and is fairly easy to push along.

  RVs can park lengthwise across the parking spaces.  Park
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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Manatee Village Historical Park

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   The Wiggins general store, a two story brick structure built in 1903 and one of the few buildings in it’s original location, is the starting point for a self guided tour of the village. The first floor is set up as a general store with cases displaying turn of the century merchandise. The second floor has exhibits of Manatee County history. Seven other building, along with several outbuildings, have been relocated or reconstructed to form the village.

  The main path in the village is accessible but bumpy at times because of the brick construction. The store, Stephens house,  meeting house and school house (very unsubstantial ramp) are accessible. The boat works and courthouse do not have ramps and are not accessible.  We didn’t visit the bunkhouse or the cemetery.

  The parking lot has long spaces for RVs and buses but the turns in and out of the lot are a little tight.  Village

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Gamble Plantation Historic State Park

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  In 1843 Robert Gamble homesteaded 160 acres of land along the Manatee River with the intention of establishing a sugar plantation and shipping the sugar to New Orleans. The plantation house, finished in 1850,  was built of tabby with slave labor.  Rapid expansion over the next ten years included acquiring about 3,000 more acres and hundreds of slaves, but in 1856, unable to pay his debts Gamble sold the property. The house which was unoccupied for many years was bought by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and donated to the state who restored it in 1927. In addition to the house the park has a small visitor center, a picnic area and a few pieces of sugar mill machinery on the grounds. Tours of the house are $6.00. The visitor center and grounds are free.

   The visitor center is accessible. The first floor of the house is accessible. The ramp to access the porch and front door is on the side of the house where the cistern is located. The second floor is not accessible but a book with photographs is available.

  RVs can park in the picnic area under the trees or in the grass.  Park

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Fun N Sun Fly-In

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  A group of experimental aircraft pilots founded the fly-in in 1975. What started as a pilots only event has grown to include the general public, featuring attractions such as a kids zone, a car show , food booths and evening entertainment. At it’s core, though, it’s still a venue for serious pilots with hundreds of commercial exhibitors, forums, seminars and workshops.  Admission prices are high at  $37.00 a day plus $10.00 for parking.  If you’re not a pilot or plane enthusiast you may want to just watch the airshows from the parking lot or Pipkin Road. As history bluffs we have enjoyed viewing aircraft at various museums around the country much more than at the fly-in. Airshows are almost continuous from noon until 6:00.

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  Handicapped parking is very limited. To get a space you must arrive around 6:00/6:30 when the gates open. There’s an addition close up, preferred parking lot for $25.00 a day. Two tractor pulled, wheelchair accessible shuttles service all of the other lots. Close up and shady preferred seating for the airshows is an additional $20.00 over the $37.00 general admission. The main paths in the venue are all paved but the grounds where the smaller planes are parked are grassy and bumpy.

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  RVs are not permitted in the handicapped lot but are in permitted in the preferred parking lot. A special lot is available for RVs but it’s pretty far away from the front entrance and requires pushing over bumpy, dusty roads and grassy fields however the accessible shuttle does go to the RV parking.  If you chose to just watch the airshow the RV area is excellent. Arrive before 8:00AM to get a good spot. RVs are parked lengthwise on a paved road with a grassy strip at the front door where cars are not supposed to park. Pull out your awning or block off the area so that you have a good view of the show. Our friends brought their big class A and we all enjoyed watching from under the shade of their awning.  Fly-In

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Blue Cypress Park

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   Middleton's Fish Camp and the park seem to share this area. A sign at the entrance requests that campers sign in at the camp store which was closed when we arrived. Three large spots under the trees are for tent campers. RVs may park in the grass on the north side of the park. There’s room for about 15 RVs depending on how people park. Restrooms with showers, a picnic area and a boat launch are available. Everything is free. Park

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