« April 2009 | Main | February 2009 »

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.
Train depot in Bertram, Texas
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.
WWII veteran Joe Ware Sr. in his son's pizza shop in Bertram, Texas Joe Ware as a young man in the Navy.
USS Colorado received 7 battles stars for service during WWII
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.

Posted by Carl Burnham at 11:32 PM
Edited on: Friday, March 27, 2009 11:49 PM
Categories: Destinations, Restauraunts

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).
The Alexander Hotel in downtown Philadelphia
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!

Posted by Carl Burnham at 1:37 AM
Categories: Accommodations, Destinations

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 Cooper instead.
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.
Volkner Mobil RV (sportscar optional)
Best Selling Travel Books
Ultimate in RV living - Volkner

Posted by Carl Burnham at 10:38 PM
Edited on: Friday, March 20, 2009 10:42 PM
Categories: RVing, Videos

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.

My wife and I on our honeymoon many years ago. I was trying to grow a beard (bad idea).
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.
Boone Hall Plantation - Most Photographed Plantation
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.
Veranda and grounds of Grace Manor B&B in Galveston
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.
Breakfast at the Coppersmith InnGirl statue at the Villa B&B
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.
Star Drug Store in Galveston - oldest drug store in Texas
As the island continues to get back to normal, now is a great time to plan a visit to Galveston.

Posted by Carl Burnham at 10:37 PM
Edited on: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 10:14 PM
Categories: Destinations, Travel News

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.
A symbol of a resilient Mississippi coastVintage postcard of the Biloxi Lighthouse after a 1909 storm
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 Mayor Holloway.

I couldn't have said it any better.

Posted by Carl Burnham at 11:46 PM
Edited on: Saturday, March 14, 2009 10:56 PM
Categories: Attractions, Destinations

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.
Hikers exploring Long Canyon in AustinHiking along the Long Canyon trailTaking a break while hiking along Long Canyon in Austin
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.

Posted by Carl Burnham at 9:28 PM
Edited on: Sunday, March 08, 2009 9:36 PM
Categories: Attractions, Destinations

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!
Geese with young ones, a common site at this river mountain resortOver 2 miles along the Tallulah River, with great trout fishing!
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.
Benefits include:

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!!

The nearby Tallulah Gorge State Park
In the scenic North Georgia Mountains, with nearby area waterfalls, parks, festivals, events, and unique historic towns (Clayton, Dillard, Mountain City, Tallulah Falls, Helen.)
Many historic towns are nearby to explore from your river resort.
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!

Posted by Carl Burnham at 3:50 PM
Categories: Travel News, Travel Specials

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.

Tyler, Texas women in period dress for teh Azalea Trail
Read more details in our Feature Attraction - Azalea Trail in Tyler, Texas.
Tyler, Texas

Posted by Carl Burnham at 12:35 AM
Edited on: Thursday, March 05, 2009 12:05 PM
Categories: Attractions, Destinations

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.

More hiking to come this weekend as my Little Brother and I explore the rugged Long Canyon in Austin on a 3 1/2 hour interpretive trek led by the Austin Wildlife Conservation Division.
Long Canyon is not usually open to the public, so it should be interesting.
Posted by Carl Burnham at 12:41 AM
Edited on: Wednesday, March 04, 2009 2:38 PM
Categories: Destinations, Videos

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.

Tell us about where you have visited or stayed in Texas that is unique and historic in at least 150 words. What was so special about it? Whether it was touring the Alamo, a history museum, the USS Lexington, or staying at an historic b&b or stately hotel. We will review entries received and post the best ones online. Entries must be received by March 31, 2009.
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.
It Happened in Texas

Good luck!
Posted by Carl Burnham at 12:57 PM
Edited on: Monday, March 02, 2009 1:25 PM
Categories: Destinations
Travel Tools

Article Directory

Copyright Southpoint.com 2009