Friday, March 16, 2012

What a fun vacation!

Thanks for all of the good wishes on our vacation this week.  As I said in my previous post, we went on a different kind of vacation for us.  Our first ever group travel was a Road Scholar (previously called Elder Hostel) trip to Amelia and Cumberland Islands and the Okefenokee Swamp.  It was wonderful!

There were 41 of us all staying in a hotel in Fernandina Beach, FL about 3 minutes walk from the beach.  We had suites so it was very comfortable.  The programming was really interesting and the guides were great.  The meals were all included except for one dinner and they were surprisingly (to me at least) good.  Everyone was very cheerful, talkative and interesting to talk with.  I'd say the age range was late 50s to mid 70s.  And boy was this an energetic group with lots of stamina.  The weather even cooperated!  I didn't take pictures, but the ones I am including really illustrate what we saw.

The first day we saw a film about the history of Cumberland Island, took a ferry to Cumberland Island National Seashore and then took a 4 mile hike to see the ruins of some of the Carnegie mansions, walk through the maritime forest and on the beach with a naturalist.  Saw lots of Spanish moss (which is neither Spanish or moss, LOL), feral horses, shore and sea birds, shells and sand dunes.  Beautiful and interesting.

The next day we had a talk about the history of Amelia Island including its being under 8 different flags, took a trolley tour around Amelia Island, lunch in old downtown Fernandina Beach, and the went to Ft. Clinch for a Civil War (Union) living history tour. 

The third day we took a boat tour on the inland waterways in the morning and saw the lighthouse that is stiill in operation.

We had the rest of the day free.  Hubby and I drove south to the Kingsley Plantation (a NPS site) and walked around there.  The highlight of that for me was seeing a gopher tortoise in its burrow.

The slave cabins were very depressing although this planter was more enlightened than some.

We went out to dinner at a local foods/organic foods fine restaurant in old Fernandina Beach and sat out on the porch listening to music from down the street.  Very good fish and vegetable entrees.

The final day we went to the Okefenokee Swamp and took a boat tour complete with lots of alligator sightings, had lunch and then went to one of the homestead sites where a house and working farm has been preserved.  Another nature hike, dinner, a great musical performance and that was the day.

We skipped the talk on the shrimping industry this morning because we had a long drive back and didn't want to get caught up in Friday rush hour in Atlanta.  We got back mid-afternoon and picked up our dog who gave us a terrifically enthusiastic greeting.  What better way to feel glad to be back from vacation.

I was a really fun and interesting vacation.  We are already talking about going on another Road Scholar program.  Check out their website - they have US and international programs, adult and inter-generational ones, easy activity and strenuous athletic programs, land and sea based ones, etc.  The price seemed like a great value for what all was included too.


  1. Lovely photos. Thanks for sharing. Sounds like lots of fun. Glad you had a good time:)

    1. Thanks. Don't you love Google images to get photos when you didn't take any, LOL. We DID see all those things though.

  2. I think we would enjoy a guided tour, you learn so much more about where you are visting that way. Glad you had such a great trip!!

    1. Debby, you are right - we did learn so much. The difference for us was that it was a group experience all day except for the free time afternoon and evening.

  3. Looks like it was a fabulous vacation!! Thanks for sharing all the pics! I just love seeing vacation pics as I don`t really travel and it lets me live vicariously through others! :)

  4. Thanks Carla. It was a great way to travel.

  5. This was an enjoyable read...thank you for sharing it. I am so glad you had a nice vacation. Welcome back.


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