Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Free cruise contest ends Friday Febr. 29th
Want a chance to win a one week cruise?
Come up with a name for one of the two new largest Royal Caribbean
International cruise ships - Genesis I and II.
Set to debut in 2009 and 2010, the cruise ships will accommodate 5,400 guests at a time. These cruise ships will be the largest ever built, and at a cost of $1 billion each it's reported.
Hurry though, as the contest ends February 29th. Visit namethatship.usatoday.com
We have a survey contest in the works for a free chance to win a GO USA attraction card for Orlando. Stay tuned for details...
Monday, February 25, 2008
Stay in a rustic 1850's log cabin: Lonesome Dove B&B
Recently, we had the opportunity of staying at the Lonesome Dove Bed & Breakfast in Burton. Lonesome Dove B&B is a restored 1850s chinked log cabin with tin roof set in a relaxing location next to a fishing pond. If looking for a restive and secluded getaway, this is the place. Read all about it in our new B&B feature and video on the Lonesome Dove B&B.
Traveling thru Burton and Round Top, Texas
Located near Brenham (the tour to take is Blue Bell..) just off of Hwy
290, the small town of Burton has some interesting places. We visited
the Cotton Gin Museum, home of the oldest cotton gin still in operation.
One interesting fact learned was that cotton comprises 75 percent of our
U.S. paper money. If in the area, a fun event coming April 18-20 is the Burton
Cotton Gin Festival, which will include a parade, cotton gin tours,
antique tractors, auctions, and entertainment.
We stopped in at Henry's Grocery to grab a snack. We asked how old it was and got the reply "We don't know, but it's old." It appeared to date to at least the early 1920s. In our journeys we'll be exploring more general stores around the state in our search for hoop cheese, which used to be commonly found but is now rare as general stores have become.
We also visited the art colony of Round Top, which we'll be having a segment on in the future, and heading back to around the first of April for the huge antiques show. This area has some of the most friendly people you will find. A music institute is housed there. In fact, there was a large polka festival going on, with dancers from all over the country there to hear several polka bands play during the day. One of the most interesting buildings in Round Top is the "new" library, which was moved to the new location in several pieces, and renovated due to a generous donation of $700,000. It was an old church building that had been sitting in a field, formerly Hope Lutheran Church built in the 1920's.
In our travels this spring and summer, we will be highlighting unique small towns of Texas. Look for more of small town Texas places to see soon.
Know of an old general store, soda fountain, or diner still in operation like times of old in Texas that we need to know about?
The older the better.
Let us know their history and hours of operation and we may stop in and feature in our travels.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Indiana Jones rides again
I admit it. I'm an adventure junkie. Just saw the preview for the new
Indiana Jones movie coming out May 22nd (see preview).
Can't wait to see it. In June of 1981, I watched the first movie in the theatres a half dozen times. Read the book. Had a movie poster in my room.
Didn't everyone?? The other movies didn't do it for me like the original.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Historic Star Drug Store in Galveston
From our recent trip to Galveston, we stopped in to the historic Star Drug Store. Our ham and cheese sandwiches were most delicious, topped off by a frosty strawberry shake served up from the old soda fountain. In the early days, the drug store had hooks that were lowered from the ceiling in case of flooding to raise the display cases and cabinets, to keep from getting wet. Read more about our recent visit, and meeting Chili. Chili is well known on the island, and hand makes detailed sand sculptures and spun glass creations for his company. As a native, he can tell you lots of interesting history about Galveston.
Monday, February 18, 2008
The Villa B&B in Galveston
Built in 1914 as a residence, the Villa B&B is situated in a prime location just 3 blocks from the Galveston beach. Perfect for a romantic getaway, with heart shaped hot tub, with trolley that stops every 20 minutes in front where roses bloom year round. Be sure to watch our feature video on The Villa B&B, where we enjoyed meeting neighbors in the Silk Stocking District. As with the other b&bs we feature in Galveston, free cruise parking is provided for guests who stay while taking a cruise.
More features on Galveston coming soon, including attractions to see while on the island.
Springfield Plantation, oldest house in the Mississippi Valley
This weekend I had a telephone conversation with Arthur La Salle, the
longtime curator of Springfield Plantation, the oldest house in the
Mississippi Valley. As the house was where the controversial marriage of
Andrew Jackson (our 7th U.S. President) and Rachel Donelson took place,
it is only fitting that I post this on President's Day as a tribute to
"Old Hickory" and to Springfield Plantation. Andrew and Rachel loved
each other dearly, though tragically she died before he was in office.
Read about their great
Known as being a little eccentric, mainly due to the fact that he is a walking encyclopedia of extensive historic knowledge, Mr. La Salle at now 78, and is still laboring on with keeping the house open. The visitiors have declined as a result of widespread media attention of New Orleans, even though the historic areas and the French Quarter where most tourists go are open for business as usual. I had last seen him some 12 years ago. He has devoted the past 31 years of his life to the preservation of Springfield Plantation in the hopes of future generations being able to enjoy. Besides writing a book, he also previously renovated Brush Hill plantation in Irwin, Pennsylvania, did railroad locomotive renovation, and has some interesting paintings displayed that he has painted over the years. On the National Register of Historic Places, the house was built with bricks made on the site for Thomas Green, Jr.
Springfield is considered one of the first houses in America ever built with a full colonnade across the entire front of the house.
Built in 1786-1791, Springfield Plantation is a treasue to behold, and worth the $10 per person admission to hear all about the fascinating history of the Mississippi Territory as you tour the whole house. This would also be a perfect field trip for school kids to learn history up close. The exterior looks the same as it did when built. The interior woodwork and hand-carved mantels from Virginia are all original. To give you a perspective of the fascinating history here, when Andrew Jackson married here, the house was in Spanish territory known as West Florida. If there are no others coming in for tours, Mr. La Salle may speak with you for hours about Springfield.
The house is the oldest major structure that survives in the whole Mississippi Valley, and also the very first two-story colonnade house to ever be built in the area.
Consider making a donation to help ensure the house can stay open. If you happen to be near the Natchez area, be sure to stop in for a tour. Say hello to Mr. La Salle for me. His historic preservation efforts with Springfield Plantation are admirable and need the full support of anyone that cherishs history as I do.
See it soon while Mr. La Salle is still there. This is as authentic and original as it gets, and you'll be entertained for hours, and will be able to see, touch, and hear the most indepth about the area when it was still a frontier.
Tell him Southpoint.com sent you and you will never forget your visit.
Historic Springfield Foundation
8733 River Road S
Fayette, MS 39069
Springfield Plantation is 24 miles from Natchez.
Exit off of the Natchez Trace at Milepost 20 (Fayette exit), turn right onto Hwy 553 and go a half mile till you see the entrance.
Tours are arranged by paying at the door.
Adults - $10
Children 12 and Under - $5
Monday - Saturday 9:30 a.m. till sunset
Sunday 10:00 a.m. till sunset
Google Maps | Mapquest Directions
If feeling adventurous while in the Natchez Trace area, drive through the ghost town of Rodney (the almost capital of Mississippi) and Windsor Ruins.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Lost Bayou Guesthouse in Galveston
Built in 1890 as a Colonial style residence, when the 1900 Storm came it forced the house off it's foundation. An additional level was added on to the house to make it a 2 1/2 story with front porches in 1906. In 2005 it was purchased and converted to a five room b&b. Be sure to watch our feature video on the Lost Bayou Guesthouse. As with the other b&bs we feature in Galveston, free cruise parking is provided for guests who stay while taking a cruise.
More features on Galveston coming soon, including more B&Bs visited, and other attractions to see while on the island.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Soda Fountain in San Antonio
I love old soda fountains. They are historic treasures, and provide a
snapshot of the way things used to be.
See our new special feature on the Star Drug Store in Galveston.
On a recent business trip to San Antonio, we decided to stop in at the Olmos Soda Fountain, which still makes malts and shakes the old fashioned way. From checking their one page website for hours (7:00am - 5:00pm), we thought we had plenty of time when we walked in on a Saturday at 4:32 and sat at a booth. To our surprise, we were told that they had shut down the kitchen for the day. It appeared like they were getting it ready for the evening, when it turns into a bar. So to at least salvage our out-of-the-way visit to get there from across town, we decided to order some shakes. No luck. We were 2 minutes too late. Forget what the website said. Apparently, the restaurant has forgotten the first rule of service, which is the customer is always right. That's unfortunate, because it needs all the positive publicity it can get.