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Posts Tagged ‘Navion 24 Travel’

Campsite 61, Hilton Head Marina and RV Park

Campsite 61, Hilton Head Marina and RV Park

We arrive here early to pick a site, they can’t be reserved. We get to cruise the campground in a golf cart – we’re not golfers, so this is a a fun first.  Although not exactly like the first time at a go-cart, it’s a cool way to pick out a site.  We settle on site #61, on the water, overlooking the marina.

I would probably call this a destination campground.  Two swimming pools, a gourmet restaurant and large, beautifully landscaped sites.  We decide to hang out for a few days – swim, relax, and enjoy our first taste of warm weather while Dick can get some needed work done.

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Swimming pool next to restaurant

Swimming pool next to restaurant

Our first dinner at the on-site restaurant (we have to allow a two or three minute walk in order to be on time for our reservation) is fabulous. We have a delicious appetizer of barbecued grilled shrimp on fried green tomatoes, after which Dick devours a whole neatly-scored flounder, a beautiful plate of shrimp and grits for me, to name the highlights.  We have a sunset table in the corner, a perfect first night.

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We spend five nights here.  Dick gets a lot of black fly bites, and needs to stay indoors.  I wind up getting sunburned after days of being at the pool with the same amount of block and not a tinge of pink – but we eat well and are warm. We have a couple great meals at nearby Hudson’s restaurant during our stay.  Their shrimp boats are docked on the pier by the outside deck eating area – we eat out there once, and twice in the dining room, and go big on shrimp, sautéed and fried.  The she-crab soup is also great.

We do leave our enclave to visit a couple of beaches, but we’re not really big sand beach walkers/sitters, being partial to Maine, and parts of Hilton Head are inaccessible to RV’s, even our small 24 foot Navion.  Just as well, we enjoyed our relaxing stay.

Dick's favorite tree, right outside his office window

Dick’s favorite tree, right outside his office window

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Carl Sandberg's First Floor Office

Carl Sandberg’s First Floor Office

The house is situated on a hill overlooking a pond and the Blue Ridge Mountains, a picture postcard of a writer’s retreat.  The guided tour of the home reveals that a whole lot of reading went on here as well – books, books and more books!  Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves are everywhere, brimming with books, many of them marked with multiple slips of paper, proof that they were read, not just collected.

Living Room

Living Room

The house feels as if the family may return at any moment, papers on the desks, slippers by the bed and kind of a comfortable chaos of reading material everywhere.

Dining Room with Little Used TV

Dining Room with Little Used TV

Obviously, Carl Sandberg’s passion was writing.  Lillian, his wife, developed an interest and expertise in raising dairy goat herds.  If there was a place where they could pursue these interests, while staying close to each other, this would be it.  They seemed to mutually respect and support each other in their endeavors, along with keeping quite different schedules!  Carl liked to write all night long, while the house was quiet, then go to bed in the early morning, when Lillian and the daughters would be heading out to the barns.

Upstairs Office

Upstairs Office

So in addition to lots of  books, there are also lots of goats to visit in the barn, many of them related to Lillian’s original herd.  We get to  see them up close and personal, no fences, etc.  just walk around the barn with them as they get ready to be fed.

Goat Barn

Goat Barn

Since it’s Friday night and we neglected to make reservations for the state park we were heading towards,  we check into nearby Lakewood RV Resort – an over 55 park, for the night.  Not wanting to feel old, we head for beer and pizza at a hip and happening restaurant in Hendersonville, West One.

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CCampsite on Nolichucky RiverWe spend the night at a campsite overlooking the Nolichucky River right downstream (as in walking distance) from where Davy Crockett grew up.

In the morning we visit his birthplace site, and the small museum next to it.  And it can’t be helped, I’m singing or humming Disney’s,”Davy, Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier” the rest of the day, and picturing Fess Parker, although I know better. Davy Crockett’s still one of those larger than life American folk heroes to me.  We’ve visited where he died on previous trips (Remember the Alamo!)  so it feels kind of comforting to see where he was born and hopefully spent simpler, happy boyhood days.

Davy Crockett's Birthplace Cabin

Davy Crockett’s Birthplace Cabin

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Unknown-1It’s pouring rain when we visit this site – so torrential that when we cross streets our shoes are submerged in running water and our feet and all the rest of us are soaked.   But it’s a very interesting and worthwhile stop.

images-1We didn’t know a lot about President Andrew Johnson before we came here. We talk to an amazing Ranger, manning the museum, who engages us in a lot of political and philosophical discussions about the issues surrounding Johnson.  Reconstruction, states’ rights, strict Constitutional interpretation, impeachment, etc.  How this man, who was raised as a tailor, with little education, rose to be Abraham Lincoln’s chosen successor.  His tailor’s shop is enclosed in the musem.  We also tour his house, with another park ranger – the family held onto so many belongings.  We see rooms as they were when he retired  here after his presidency.

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Terry Evanswood Wonders of Magic Show

Terry Evanswood Wonders of Magic Show

After the afternoon at the Titanic Museum, we have dinner at Tony Roma’s Steakhouse and then go to the Terry Evanswood Wonders of Magic show, a fun (and very inexpensive) magic show, paying tribute to many great magicians. His sleight of hand is amazing, complete with close-up cameras.  He’s a great showman with a message.  It’s also a great trifecta for RV parking for us, one parking space in back, which serves all three attractions.

Things have gone pretty well here so far, so now we’re wondering if we shouldn’t extend our stay and hit Dollywood.  We weren’t planning on going – it’s spring break, the crowds/lines will be enormous and we’re not all that interested in the rides.  But to be in Pigeon Forge, without going to Dollywood just might be sacrilegious.  So we do one better.  We don’t buy admission tickets online  for one day – we buy annual passes, one of them gold, so that we have free parking.

The fact that I took no pictures may say something about our experience.  Crowded.  CROWDED.  CROWDED!!!  We saw two major shows, the acrobatic Cirque Shanghai and Mystic India, a dance journey through India with stunning consumes. We also caught the Mariachi Divas at a small, outdoor stage – and they were great.  The grounds and setting are beautiful, but the hordes of people and lines don’t make for a really pleasant experience and we cut out after seeing the second big show.

Another slightly unpleasant experience awaits us at Riveredge campground.  Someone has stolen the custom leveling blocks Dick made – and trustingly left at the site this morning, figuring nobody would take them given our obvious campsite occupied sign. It’s not the management’s problem, but they don’t excel in the public relations/goodwill department when we report it.  They also won’t refund our pre-paid money for the next night. I don’t ever get huffy with people, and I understand their policy – but not their attitude, so I do say, “Well, this will make for a sad trip advisor review” as we leave.  Ha – lo and behold, a couple days later a manager calls us and offers us a free night if we ever return.  Don’t plan to be in that neck of the woods again – but we feel better about their customer relations and I don’t have to write a negative review!

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First glimpse of King Kong

First glimpse of King Kong

We were never sure this area was going to be our cup of tea.  And the traffic is pretty horrific, backed up on the Interstate for about a mile, even before the exit, so we’re filled with a kind of dread that turns to astonishment when we finally catch sight of Pigeon Falls attractions. I snap a few pics from our moving vehicle.   Inner kid stars to yell,  whoo-hoo!

We're gaining on him, or he's gaining on us...

We’re gaining on him, or he’s gaining on us…

We find our Riveredge Campground at the far end of town, closest to the mountains. It’s better than expected, in this kind of super-energized honky-tonk environment, and we find a site with nobody next to us, relatively peaceful.  It’s 6:30, so we decide to head right out to catch the 8 PM performance of The Soul of Motown at the Majestic Theatre.  We get our tickets printed out at the office, find a level spot so that our refrigerator’s happy and enjoy some champagne, cheese and crackers before it’s time to take our seats.  The show is DYNAMITE.  The energy and talent of these five men and one incredible woman is right up there with some of the best professional productions we’ve seen in big theatre cities, and certainly so much more amazing because of the smaller and more intimate venue.  The performers give it their absolute all and have generations dancing in the aisles.

Titanic Museum

Titanic Museum

The next morning we can walk from the campground (yay!) to breakfast at the Log Cabin Restaurant, before heading to the Titanic Museum.  This is the attraction I’m most looking forward to here (along with Motown) and it doesn’t disappoint, despite the pressing crowds of spring break families.

We’re greeted by costumed, polite, in-character ship stewards.  The guide we have in the queue is a great storyteller. When you buy your ticket, you’re assigned the name of a real passenger on board the ship – she starts weaving a web of these stories while we wait (they only allow a couple dozen people into the museum at a time – it’s at your own pace from then on).   I’m a 3rd class passenger and Dick is a rich industrialist in first class. Later, we’ll find out our fate in the Memorial Room.   As soon as we board, and meet Captain Smith, there’s hours of great exhibits and artifacts ahead of us,  re-creations of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class passengers accommodations, the Grand Staircase built exactly to scale, that we walk up and down, and the ship’s bridge, where it’s pretty scary to contemplate our fate.

It’s a very respectful homage to the people who perished on this boat, and the survivors.

As a footnote, Dick and I (Catherine Murphy from County Longord, Ireland) both survived.

Titanic

Titanic

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Noccalula Falls

Noccalula Falls

We spend the Easter Triduum at Noccalula Falls Park and campground, a wonderful city park.  The campground is adjacent to the falls and has great hiking trails.  Aside from it being a beautiful spot, we’re here because of the St. James Church mass schedule, which is a short drive from the campsite.  We’re able to go to an evening Good Friday Mass on Friday night  (with one of the most inspiring homilies ever) and a Saturday Easter Vigil Mass which held us rapt, even though it lasted almost 3 hours the next day.  Both nights we ate at the Fish Market restaurant on the Coosa River beforehand, a smaller meal on Friday, of course ; ) which may have contributed a bit to our magnanimous mood.

Indian maiden, Noccalula, leaping to her death at Noccalula Falls

Indian maiden, Noccalula, leaping to her death at Noccalula Falls

Besides the hiking trails, there’s a city park next door to the campground, where we take a train ride and explore a historic village.

Noccalula Park historic buildings

Noccalula Park historic buildings

Easter Sunday starts with a call from Chris and Emily – a wonderful way to start the day.  But, the rest of the day looks like rain, so we decide to spend it driving towards our next destination.  We do a utilitarian stay at the Sweetwater Valley KOA, with a concrete slab so that Dick can check on our macerator , which has become slow and finicky on this trip.  All’s still well.

We make a minor effort to find a restaurant  for Easter dinner, then settle for a delicious “home-cooked” Stouffer’s lasagna.  And count our blessings.

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