Friday, March 27, 2009
Visiting Bertram, Texas and meeting a WWII veteran
Bertram is like many sleepy little towns in central Texas just northwest
of Austin. I took a visit there recently with my Little Brother. Old
buildings still line the downtown area as a reminder of the town's more
prosperous past when cotton and other commodities made it the top town
in the county. The movie theater has long since closed, but invites you
to look inside the window anyway to see if you can catch a glimpse of
the past. The railroad depot across the road on Highway 29 has been
rebuilt to look as it did from days gone by.
We ate at the Hungry Moose Pizzeria, known for great pizzas and Blue Bell ice cream. Joe Ware Sr., the owner's father, came in and sat with us as he shared a few of his experiences on the USS Colorado while stationed in the Philippine Islands. I am always honored to meet a veteran, especially those that served in WWII. He told of his life on the ship, visiting the many islands, and battles against the Japanese. He slept in the mess hall, as men had to sleep wherever they could. On at least two occasions, Japanese kamikazes barely missed ramming into the ship. On another occasion, he had just gotten off duty, and the sailor who took his place where he was the moment before was hit and killed by enemy fire. Young men like him, Joe Ware and others aboard the USS Colorado are our Greatest Generation, and the reason why we can enjoy the freedoms we have today. I have plans to one day put together a book on WWII veterans' accounts, and why it's so important for us to always remember.
Take your time visiting Bertram, and meander around the antique stores, the old groceries, and also pay a visit to the Hungry Moose Pizzeria, and you may just get a chance to meet one of America's heroes.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Going to Philadelphia? Stay for a buck.
In one of the more novel hotel promotions I have seen this year, the Alexander
Inn is offering a "Guest Stimulus Plan" on five of
the hotel's 48 rooms. So far the promotion has provided the Philadelphia
hotel with a lot of media coverage, and many reservations (considering
the standard rate is $129 per night).
Reservations must be made no more than one month in advance, with the $1 promotion scheduled to run till June 11th according to John Cochie, the Innkeeper who came up with the unusual idea.
The historic hotel first opened back in 1900 as upscale apartments before becoming a hotel in 1932. In 1997, the building was gutted and re-built as the boutique Alexander Hotel.
So if your travel plans include a trip to the City of Brotherly Love in Pennsylvania during the next few months, this is a no brainer. Give the Alexander Inn a call at (215)923-3535 and tell them Southpoint.com sent you!
Friday, March 20, 2009
For the ultimate traveler - RV with sportscar underneath
For those who have plenty of cash and want to explore the country
firsthand at their leisure in a new RV, the Volkner Mobil is for you.
This German RV comes complete with the latest computer gadgetry and
fiber optics for the ultimate in control that can be customized to your
specifications and a mini garage underneath for storing your sportscar
like the one shown here. If you're not that flashy, opt for a Mini
The Volkner would have come in handy during our travels, especially out west and to Alaska years ago (although we would have looked strangely out of place at some of the campgrounds visited along the Alcan, or while boondocking).
Bring lots of cash, as the very upscale Volkner is not cheap, and I expect you won't find anyone to finance you.
For serious inquires, email Volkner. For everyone else, continue to dream and check out this video on the Volkner RV.
Best Selling Travel Books
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Charleston, SC Antebellum Home Tour
Known as a "city set in a garden," Charleston has a lavish history like
few other Southern towns (except for Natchez). My wife and I have fond
memories of Charleston, celebrating our honeymoon there many years ago.
Being held this weekend (March 19 until April 18), Charleston will celebrate the Spring Festival of Houses and Gardens Tour with rare peeks inside some of the nearly 150 vintage colonial and antebellum houses and gardens that are around Charleston. Taking place during the weekend is also the Charleston International Antiques Show.
Charleston has much to offer. Take your time and immerse yourself in the rich history dating back to 1670.
Best Rated Charleston Hotels | Top Charleston B&Bs | Get Tickets to Charleston Area Events
Sunday, March 15, 2009
The island romance of Galveston b&bs
This past week I received an email follow up from Barb Gatlin with Grace
Manor B&B on the progress in Galveston.
All of the member b&bs with the Galveston B&B Association which are featured at Southpoint from our previous visits are open -
Grace Manor, The Garden Inn, The Queen Anne, Inn at 1816 Postoffice, Avenue O B&B, Coppersmith Inn, The Villa B&B, and Lost Bayou B&B.
What these B&Bs offer are personal glimpses into why Galveston is so special. It shows in the resilience of their residents, the Victorian architecture, and the rich heritage of the island.
Each B&B offers a unique perspective of Galveston in historic surroundings, near the beach, with the added benefit of a delicious breakfast included in relaxing surroundings.
The beach, Schlitterbahn Water Park, Moody Gardens, the Bishop's Palace, the Lone Star Flight Museum, and several other attractions are now open on the island.
Star Drug Store is now re-opened as well, serving delicious treats from the original 1917 soda fountain counter. I overheard some people today in Austin talking about making plans to spend a few days in Galveston at Moody Gardens and the other attractions.
As the island continues to get back to normal, now is a great time to plan a visit to Galveston.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Preserving Biloxi's history
Progress continues at a steady pace in Biloxi as tourists return to
enjoy the beach, the casinos, and attractions. In preserving it's past,
a restoration project will soon be underway to fully restore the 1848
Biloxi Lighthouse, which has withstood storms over the years including
the destructive power of Hurricane Katrina.
The Biloxi Lighthouse will be one of five lighthouses featured in a U.S. Postal Service stamp series on lighthouses starting this summer. The lighthouse has also been featured prominently on Mississippi car tags (voted the best plate in the U.S. and Canada in 2007 by the Automobile License Plate Collector's Association). When the lighthouse was built back in 1848, it was the first lighthouse in the South to be built of cast iron.
The city is also working towards restoring the original Visitors Center,
the Magnolia Hotel (which housed the Mardi Gras Museum), the Old Brick
House on Back Bay (one of the oldest structures in the city), and the
White House fountain, built in the 1920s.
Best Rated Biloxi Hotels | Upcoming Biloxi Concerts & Events | Get Tickets to Mississippi Area Events
I spent many summers visiting the coast, enjoying the beaches, and exploring nearby Ship Island. During a previous visit, Southpoint featured many Biloxi attractions in our Ms. coast segment prior to damage from Hurricane Katrina. Beauvoir, the last home of Jefferson Davis, has been almost fully restored and is open the public.
The restoration funds are being made available through FEMA, with participation from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.
"In an historic city like Biloxi it's important to restore these
landmarks and to do it accurately. These landmarks speak to our sense of
place. They are some of the things that make Biloxi different from any
other city in the country. They say who we were and who we are,” stated
I couldn't have said it any better.
Sunday, March 08, 2009
Hiking Long Canyon in Austin
Had a fun day hiking into Long Canyon here in Austin with my little
brother and other hikers. This tract of land is maintained by the Austin
Wildlife Conservation Division and home to the Golden Cheeked Warbler,
the only bird native to this area. It is not normally open to the public
except as part of guided hikes. Early settlers used the area for cattle
and sheep farming. The trail started along the edge of an upscale
neighborhood at the end of Standing Rock Road, with volunteers leading
the hike explaining about some of the plants natural to the area. The
hike follows a rocky path, and is described as moderate to rugged,
although we had no problem traversing it. We crossed a creek and
gradually went up in elevation till we saw an overlook of upscale houses
in the distance. Frank Esparza, Mark Wilson, and Dianne (didn't get her
last name) did a good job of explaining about the natural landscape
along the way.
If you live in the Austin area or are just visiting and enjoy the outdoors, be sure check out other upcoming Austin area hikes led by volunteers for the Wildland Conservation Division and the local Austin Walking Meetup Group.
Friday, March 06, 2009
Own a river resort in the Georgia mountains - an unheard of price!
Love trout fishing? The beauty and serenity of the mountains?
Own a part of this one-of-a-kind Georgia mountain river resort now for an unheard of price of only $500!
This is a lifetime membership, FULLY deeded and transferable.
Compare our price to a lifetime membership through the resort now for over $7,000...
There is only one of these available at this unheard of price, and will go fast!
Located along the scenic Tallulah River in North Georgia, this RV/camping resort offers incredible trout fishing, swimming pools, outdoor activities, large sites, and cabins.
Own a part of this one-of-a-kind northeast Georgia mountain river resort now for an unheard of price of only $500!
Talk about affordable vacations, imagine staying here anytime you liked to go trout fishing or exploring the area.
(Compare our new low price to the lifetime membership now charged through the resort at well over $7,000, and a temporary 5 year membership now at $5,000).
We greatly enjoyed staying at this resort many many times over the years while living in Atlanta, but are reluctantly selling due to not living close by anymore.
Over 2 Miles Of Prime Riverfront RV Campsites along the Tallulah River.
River FULLY STOCKED For Trout Fishing
Clubhouse | Indoor/Outdoor Swimming Pool
Tennis | Volleyball | Minature Golf | Basketball
Store | Cafe | Mountain Cabins
Hiking Trails | Beach | Picnic Area
Near Tallulah Gorge, Tallulah Falls, Lake Tallulah, Lake Rabun, Area Waterfalls, Trails, & Attractions
Also includes AOR and Coast to Coast lifetime membership!! - which will allow you to stay at any AOR campground for only $6 a night!!
In the scenic North Georgia Mountains, with nearby area waterfalls, parks, festivals, events, and unique historic towns (Clayton, Dillard, Mountain City, Tallulah Falls, Helen.)
Visit here for complete details on this incredible offer on this Georgia vacation getaway.
Act now, there is only one of these available, and will go fast!
Thursday, March 05, 2009
Azalea Trail in Tyler, Texas starts March 20th
The 50th Annual Tyler Texas Azalea Trail starts March 20 and runs until
April 5, 2009.
There are marked Trails featuring beautiful yards groomed to perfection just for this event. Plenty of scheduled events compliment the Azalea Trail, which attracts over 100,000 each year now for the event.
Azaleas are one of many things I miss from the Deep South, as I now live in Central Texas. Tyler has created a wonderful attraction that is beautiful to see.
Read more details in our Feature Attraction - Azalea Trail in Tyler, Texas.
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Hiking at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area in Texas with the Boy Scouts
This past weekend I had a fun time hiking with the Liberty Hill Boy
Scouts Troop 196 up the granite dome called Enchanted Rock. The wind was
blowing strong, making it colder than I expected. We ventured along
Summit Trail, climbing up Enchanted Rock to the top where we discovered
a Geological Survey medal embedded in the rock. Native Americans and
others inhabited the area around the rock going back 11,000 years. On
the far side of Enchanted Rock is a fascinating section of caves, where
we stopped for a light lunch before venturing on along Echo Canyon
Trail. At one point we noticed some rock climbers climbing the facing in
the distance. Three primitive campgrounds are in the park, with pets
permitted but no bikes allowed on the trails. Be sure to get to the park
early as it limits the number of visitors in the park.
Visit the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area website for more information.
Here is a video from the hike:
Afterwards, we took a short 40 minute drive up the road to Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que in Llano for some mouthwatering Texas BBQ. I had the ribs and brisket, dipped in their special sauce. You may find former President G.W. Bush there if you stop in, now that he has more time on his hands. It's his favorite place for ribs. Next time I plan to try the pork tenderloin, sausage...maybe the chicken and more of that brisket...
Here is a video from a few years ago from our previous visit to Enchanted Rock and along the Willow City Loop towards Fredericksburg. The park was already full so I took photos from the entrance and we enjoyed the spring flowers that were in abundance along the back country roads.
Monday, March 02, 2009
Happy Independence Day Texas!
Today is Texas Independence Day!
March 2, 1836 stands out as the day that Texas claimed independence from the tyrannical oversight of Mexico.
Watch this interesting video. This will make all Texans proud and also anyone in the U.S. that cherish their liberties hard fought for by our veterans and forefathers.
Submit your entry to entries at southpoint.com, and include your writeup in text format within your email.
The winning entry will receive a free copy of the book "It Happened In Texas," that highlights thirty three events in the fascinating history of the state.