Monday, July 12, 2010

Touring the South Part 2! (Days 6-9)

Wow - I waited to long to make another blog, so here is some more about our trip (just for you, Amanda!)

Day 6 - Sunday, July 4th - Montgomery, AL
We had stayed in Selma, Alabama, and decided to drive into Montgomery to see what we could see. Two points against us - it was a national holiday AND a Sunday, so the chances of seeing very much were slim. However, we did some research online and found a Church of God in Montgomery, and off we went to the Rosa L Parks Avenue Church of God. It was a great time. It was a small congregation, but they were so welcoming and warm to us. The pastor's wife invited us to sit in front with her, and it was really just a great time. We left feeling very blessed. We ate lunch at a place called O'Charleys, much like an Applebee's or Chili's.

We wandered into Montgomery, still a little unsure of what we were doing. We found the church that Martin Luther King, Jr. pastored, which is right across the street from the capitol building, with its confederate flag still waving, and a statue of Jefferson Davis (elected President of the confederacy).

Since the Civil Rights Memorial wasn't open, we decided to drive around and found the riverfront walk, where they were setting up for the Fourth of July bash. You know what? We found a patch of grass in the shade and sat for hours - people watching, listening to music, eating treats, and watching fireworks. It was a really nice time.

Day 7 - Monday, July 5th - Selma to Monroeville, AL
We had stayed overnight in Selma again, and took off in the morning to find the site of old Cahawba, one of the first (the first?) capital of Alabama. It was settled, flooded a lot, and so the capital soon moved, but business remained there for quite some time, until after the Civil War. The businesses started to leave, and later in the mid-twentieth century became abandoned. Homeowners sold off their bricks, so really there are no buildings left standing. There were some columns left, from a mansion, but they were left because the shape of the bricks was too hard to sell. And the cemetery is still there. Definitely CREEPY, especially considering we were 2 of about 6 people wandering all over about 20 acres.... and there were little run down old houses (that were newer) scattered here and there. Super creepy.

We left Cahawba and headed to Monroeville, Alabama, a town I definitely needed to see. I couldn't imagine visiting Alabama without getting a chance to see the town where Harper Lee (author of To Kill a Mockingbird) grew up. Unfortunately, being the national holiday, nothing was open. We killed an afternoon and evening in our hotel room, watching hours of TLC :) We stopped at the Winn-Dixie for snacks, since the only things open were fast food.

Day 8 - Tuesday, July 6th - Monroeville, AL to Auburn, AL
What a day! We woke up early to get to the City courthouse in Monroeville, site of the historical museum and gift shop. Whew. What a time for both of us. Harper Lee grew up in this town, her father was a lawyer, and if you know the story of To Kill a Mockingbird, you know the story is about a lawyer fighting for justice in a small Alabama town. While her story is made up of composite sketches of characters, it's all based around her own small town experiences. Harper Lee grew up around the courthouse, her father being a lawyer, and when they made the movie of To Kill a Mockingbird, the set designer came to Monroeville and went back to Hollywood and duplicated the courthouse almost exactly. It was a real moment to stand in that courtroom. Don't worry - I have my kleenex handy for whenever I think about it. This year celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first printing of the book.

(By the way - I met a really nice lady in the gift shop who was from around there, who said, upon finding out that we were from so far away, "Well I wish I would've known y'all were comin', I would've had my house ready!").

In the afternoon we made it to Tuskegee, Alabama (which I continue to have difficulty saying), and the Tuskegee Institute - the university that Booker T. Washington started. I was mostly taken with George Washington Carver. I had never really known anything about him, but as a scientist and naturalist, he continued to experiment and teach his entire life. That night we stayed in Auburn, Alabama.

Day 9 - Wednesday, July 7th - Auburn, AL to Savannah, GA
We skedaddled out of town, on our way to Georgia. We were beginning to think we kinda liked Alabama- we were there so long! Our next stop was Plains, Georgia, home of Jimmy Carter. We visited his old school, which they've turned into a little museum. What a breath of fresh air Jimmy Carter is! A homegrown boy from tiny little Plains, Georgia, who goes on to become President of the United States, and when he retires: moves right back to Plains! He and his wife live right there in town, and he still teaches Sunday School at their church. My kinda guy.

We continued on through Georgia and made it to Savannah! What a gorgeous city. So beautiful, so well kept. In fact, Savannah was (and is) so beautiful, that Sherman decided to spare it during the Civil War. I learned during fifth grade social studies this year that during the Civil War they used the "total war" tactic - basically destroying what they came across, so having a whole city spared was quite uncommon. Sherman then gave Savannah as a Christmas present to President Lincoln :) Lincoln should have been overjoyed because Savannah is gorgeous.

And hot. Incredibly hot. But we'll talk about that tomorrow. We settled in at our great hotel right in downtown Savannah, on the river, excited about the next day.


At 9:42 AM, Blogger Amanda said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 9:44 AM, Blogger Amanda said...

wow-thanks for writing so much meghan-srsly, i wouldn't have that kind of dedication, so i'm impressed. my favorite is the lady who said she wished she knew ya'll were comin'. how cool is that? :)


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