Posted in: Hiking, Museums & Tours, National Park, National Parks, School, Sightseeing

Visiting Yorktown, Virginia (National Park Service)

We did it. We completed the triangle!

We went to Yorktown with our friends who were visiting for the weekend, the Piatt’s. I can honestly say that I don’t think any of us had high expectations (except for Will). However, we were pleasantly surprised. The Visitor Center was partially open for the bookstore/gift shop. The store had the passport stamps, but did not have any pieces of paper to use if you forgot your passport (or use in your journal like we do). You could buy a sticker sheet for $0.95 (+tax) to stamp though. All the kids got a Junior Ranger Program booklet to work on. A lot of the museums and houses were closed due to COVID, but there is a free audio app that you can download. The app has some information on different sites in town, as well as the two driving tours.

Monument, Visitor Center

We walked into the town from the Visitor Center using a nice paved path. It wasn’t a long walk; I think they said 456 yards. We saw the Statue of Liberty, not to be confused with the one in New York. It was a super cute little town with some shops and a coffee shop, and the Historical plaques that Will had missed seeing in Williamsburg.

We stopped at the artists shop at York Hall and found a few nice pieces. Ben found a colorful quilt. It was History Day, so there were a few demonstrations in the front of the Hall, including some children’s games.

We walked down to the waterfront and saw the beach area. There were a few sections of beach and a fishing pier. It was pretty crowded, so we didn’t get near the water.

There are two driving tours you can take in Yorktown: the red (Battlefield, 7 miles) and the yellow (Allied Encampment, 9 miles). After circling back to the Visitor Center, we got into our cars and took the red driving tour. I had downloaded the audio app, so we were able to go to each stop, park in the lot, and listen to the tour. There are parking spots, so you can also get out to look at things and read the historical informational signs.

Yorktown was a neat area with a mix of history, beach fun, and shopping. It ended up being one of my favorite places to visit while in Williamsburg. (In fact, we went to the town twice!)

DETAILS:*

  • TICKETS: $15/adults, $0/child (ages 0-15), Free with Interagency or Annual Pass. COVID Restrictions: masks required, some buildings closed
  • HOURS: Bookstore/Gift Shop Tuesday-Sunday 10:00am-4:00pm
  • PARKING: Some parking near town and at Visitor Center
  • BATHROOM: Yes
  • TIME RECOMMENDED: 1-3 hours
  • *Details correct at the time of posting, but please double check before you go.
Posted in: Animal Sightings, Hiking, Museums & Tours, School, Sightseeing, YouTube Video Link

Colonial Williamsburg (Virginia)

Hey guys, this is another blog post by Will! Today I am here to talk about the amazing world of Historic Williamsburg! We visited Williamsburg with our friends the Piatts and had a great time. To start out with you will want to park your car, and then walk to the left of the building towards the side. You might see a shuttle there and if so you can get on that to get over to Historic Williamsburg. If not, you can take the path up ahead which is the cooler option in my opinion. You can see the plantation they recreated which includes a windmill that not only has rotating blades but the body also rotates as well to get more wind flow. The body part had to be manual though.

Once you get to Williamsburg you can explore whatever you want. A lot of the stores and shops are open and it is free to walk around if you haven’t decided on buying a ticket yet. We had prepaid for tickets however so we were good to go. We skipped the governor’s house right off because of the huge line and instead went to a historic house which had been left standing for all those years. It had a parlor, a guest bedroom, an office, and a socializing room on the first floor. In the back they had sheep and the kitchen. This was also where we saw our first tradesman a cooper. Williamsburg has many occupations in the town which make all of the different things that they sell and even construct some of the buildings. The coopers for those who didn’t know, were people who made buckets and barrels by putting iron rings around individual pieces of wood.

After we left the house we started wandering towards the armory, looking at all of the different things around the town. Once we got there we first saw the shoemakers. They, as you can probably tell, make shoes and told us all about it. The lady in the front was very helpful and told us that a skilled shoemaker could make 1 shoe in a 12-hour day. She also told us master shoemakers were expected to make 7 shoes in 6 days. She said that most men wore black shoes because they were the fashion of the day and that they were also easier to keep clean and fix. There was more variety in women’s shoes with some being made of different material and colors, but for men it was mostly black leather shoes.

Next, we went to the blacksmith which was right next to the shoemakers. There was another woman standing there with two men in the shop, one pumping the bellows and the other using a file on some tool. She told us that the most common item they made was farm equipment, but during the Revolutionary War they also made many weapons for the war cause. She said that to make the metal soft enough to mold you needed it at 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit and to get it really hot enough you needed it at 2,000 to 2,600 degrees Fahrenheit. During her talk the two guys in the back pulled out a red-hot piece of iron and started pounding at it with their hammers which was pretty cool. She said that the metal they usually used was iron and steel which was pretty common in the United States so they didn’t require it to be imported during the war. I also found out later in the tour that the blacksmith also makes nails which are used in the construction of some of the buildings at Williamsburg.

Top Row: Capitol Building. Middle: 1771 building, shoemakers, Nick getting pressed penny. Bottom: blacksmith’s

After that we went to explore and came across some bathrooms and a shop. We all took turns going to the bathroom and also went inside to look around the shop. Nick got a pressed penny with the Capitol building on it. We also went to a nearby restaurant where we bought root beer, diet coke, and bread and ate it at the nearby benches. Then we went to the Capitol Building which was the seat of government in Virginia. It was hit by lighting, burned by people, and destroyed 3 times. On the last time they moved the capitol away where it promptly burned down again. The court ruled on large cases like murder, counterfeit, and robbery. You could choose to have a case by either peers or the magistrate which was a group of judges.

After the Capitol building we visited the jails where prisoners could be kept for 3 months (or more) before they were tried before the court, as the court only met during certain times. They also kept sheep and horses in the back which we later learned were used by weavers at Williamsburg to make clothing and yarn which you can buy at the gift shops.

We then visited the carpenters where we learned they made their own tools and build many of the buildings made of wood that are around Williamsburg. They told us that it took thousands of shingles to make the building they were currently under. They used nails from the blacksmith shop, which I thought was very cool. They even had a storage area in the attic of the building above them. They said they were going to soon construct a group of buildings and he pointed to a pile of wood which at the time I thought was a trash pile and said those were 8,000 shingles and that they needed 20,000 shingles for the whole project. At that I was impressed.

We then visited the shop that sells all of the homemade goods for Williamsburg where I learned what all the trades were at Williamsburg. They have weavers, coopers, silversmiths, blacksmiths, and carpenters for both buildings and furniture. We took a look around and saw an old toaster (which was pretty cool) that had been made by the blacksmiths.

We then visited the grandest building in all of Williamsburg, the Governors Palace. And it was a palace indeed! In the entrance were hundreds of swords and guns for both infantry and cavalry. It had a huge courtyard and two other buildings for the kitchen and one for the slaughtering of animals. It had a ballroom and a reception area, and enough guns to supply a regiment of soldiers. It even had different musical instruments in the back and a huge emblem on the back door. It had a grand back area for a garden. We did the maze with various finishing times for the group.We walked around a little longer and then went home.

Sarah Note: Bottom Right: Steps. We saw these stairs everywhere with metal bars in them. I asked the tour guide what they were. Back in the day, there were not always slabs under the steps, which could make for some wonky stairs. After the stone was placed, a spot was carved out, molten metal poured in, and a metal pin placed in to help hold the stairs together.
The maze at the Governor’s Palace Gardens

And that’s the end of the blog with Will. Don’t forget to like and subscribe to the blog, and to follow our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. See you soon, Will!

SARAH NOTES: Williamsburg was open to Visitors, although it was recommended that you buy your passes online. You have to choose your date of attendance when you book your tickets. Parts of Williamsburg is free; you can walk through the town and shops without paying the admission fee. However, if you want to go into certain areas or houses, then you do have to have an admission ticket. (For example, Governor’s Palace, carpenter’s yard, Wythe House.) Due to COVID, they are limiting the amount of people inside the buildings, so you may be waiting in line for awhile. I think our longest time was about 45 minutes. They call themselves a living history museum, so Will was a little disappointed in the amount of historical plaques to read. He made up for it by asking the blacksmith and shoe shop several questions though. We saw the Wythe house, the blacksmith and shoe shop, the carpentry yard, and the Governor’s Palace.

If you missed the Instagram video, here is a link to our video at the Blacksmith’s and seeing some adorable baby sheep.

DETAILS:*

  • TICKETS: Several options available. Single Day $35.99/adults, $19.99/child (6-12) . COVID Restrictions: masks required, book online for a set date, Visitor Center Closed, social distancing at some locations so you may wait in line.
  • HOURS: Hours vary. Most of the shops are open 9:00am to 5:00pm, but there are some evening programs based on the day.
  • PARKING: Yes, Visitor Center (with shuttle or a 1/4 mile walk) or at art museums
  • BATHROOM: Yes
  • TIME RECOMMENDED: 2-4 hours
  • *Details correct at the time of posting, but please double check before you go.
Posted in: Animal Sightings, Frequently Asked Questions, Hiking, Museums & Tours, National Park, National Parks, Sightseeing

What Is Your Favorite National Park?

We’ve been to quite a few of the National Parks this year. The America The Beautiful annual pass is really quite the deal at $80.

There are so many to choose from, and I think we all have our own favorites.

The Parks, Monuments, Preserves, and Historical Sites we have been to so far are:

  • Mount Rushmore National Monument
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Grand Tetons National Park
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park
  • Zion National Park
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Arches National Park
  • Canyonlands National Park
  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Cabrillo National Monument
  • Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area (BLM)
  • Saguaro National Park
  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park
  • Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve (Barataria and Chalmette)
  • Everglades National Park
  • Biscayne National Park
  • Fort Pulaski National Monument
  • Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park
  • Charles Pinckney National Historic Site
  • Colonial National Historic Park (Jamestown, Yorktown)

Sarah: My favorite is Yellowstone. There is so much to see and the landscape changes. One minute it is a flat field, then rivers and bison herds, then thermals (hot springs, geysers). There is something for everyone.

Yellowstone National Park: hot springs and geysers, creeking, elk, bald eagle, bison by river

Ben: My favorite is Bryce. The landscape was very different; but beautiful with the hoodoos and different colors. I had a sense of accomplishment when we were done, as during part of it I didn’t know if we would finish the hike.

Bryce Canyon

Will: My favorite is Colonial National Historic Park because of all the history.

Colonial: Jamestown and Yorktown

Nick: My favorite is Zion. I liked hiking the Narrows.

Zion: The Narrows, a lizard, Canyon Overlook Trail

Honorable Mentions: Carlsbad Caverns (it is quite the experience, it’s a little other worldly) and Everglades (so much wildlife)

Posted in: Animal Sightings, Hiking, Museums & Tours, National Park, National Parks, School, Sightseeing

Historic Jamestowne, Virginia (National Park)

Hey guys! Here’s another blog post with your favorite friend…Will! Today I am here to talk about another significant site from history, the Jamestown Settlement. This is the first settlement that successfully settled in America. It was led by Captain John Smith, who as most of you know befriended Pocahontas. She convinced her father to help the settlers, which allowed the first successful colonization in the New World.

Jamestown started out as a place to get rich quick. Half of the first people to come Jamestown were gentlemen, men who fought in battles and were rich enough to be able to buy their own armor and weapons and lead men. These men were used to fighting and tactics, but not hard labor which led many of them to dislike their new life in the Americas. It probably would have been a downhill spiral as the two groups of people, gentlemen and commoners, fought over who would do what work in Jamestown if Smith hadn’t stepped in and said if ‘you don’t work you don’t eat’.

Jamestown also suffered many problems when it was starting up such as the fact that they had settled in native territory and slaughtered the natives there which were a part of a confederacy of natives at the time. That soured relations quite a bit and soon the settlers and the natives were at each other’s throats. The problem was that most of the men were not used to hard labor and most were unskilled and did not know how to make anything or work. They only had two trained fishermen so their food was in short supply. The drinking water was also unhealthy and some of it was even tainted with arsenic. They were, under the guidance of John Smith, able to finally build the fort which was 1 acre in all, and with the help of John Smith, soon began to trade with the natives and with Pocahontas.

The next big issue that Jamestown faced was the Starving Time. This event was caused because the settlers got on bad terms with the natives again and trade soon came to a halt. With only 2 fishermen and winter coming things were getting dire. They were soon eating their dogs, their horses, and even their own people. The first person to be cannibalized in America was Jane, a young woman. Eventually two ships who had originally come with a large fleet of ships arrived right when the settlers were abandoning Jamestown to try and find food. Horrified by the skeletal people, the new people shared their food with them and they all sailed back to recolonize Jamestown. The first big issue was that, because most of the buildings were made of wood, they were quickly deteriorating. They soon rebuilt the wooden post-in-ground houses and rebuilt with stone bases so that termites and ants could not enter the wood and so the wood was not at ground level.

Soon things were looking brighter for Jamestown. They were soon turned into the capitol of Virginia because of a huge crop that was making its way to Europe as quickly as it could be produced. A cash crop that changed Jamestown from a desolate fort that was struggling for survival into a huge port city and the capitol of Virginia. Tobacco! The people in England couldn’t get enough of the stuff. It was soon being shipped out of Jamestown and making the whole town very rich. Soon the state of Virginia made it legal to only bring tobacco out of Jamestown so that Jamestown became even more rich. This caused Jamestown to grow huge in size and led to more indentured servants and then, sadly, slaves.

The downfall of Jamestown was when the capitol of Virginia moved to Richmond and the laws that tobacco could only go through Jamestown were abolished. Soon many were leaving Jamestown as the city was losing money, and without money, no people would come. Jamestown soon fell into disrepair and the only thing left standing over the years was the old church tower that had been built out of bricks. In the 1900’s conservation efforts were made. A seawall was built to make sure that the coast would not erode more, and restoration of the stone towers was attempted. At the time it was assumed that the erosion of the shoreline had made it so that the original fort had been lost to the sea. Excavation began and soon that was proven false as they found the original ditch for the fort, several wells and post in ground holes were discovered. They also found tools that belonged to a smithy and old waste and trash that was covered up in wells or in basements. This included a helmet, a halberd, and a dagger.

After several excavations the National Parks bought the land and Jamestown fort and took over construction of the fort. They added a museum and most of the things you can now see here today. That is the long and complicated story of Jamestown. Thank you for reading and make sure to look at our other channels like YouTube, and Facebook. Goodbye for now.

Sincerely,

Will

Ben and Sarah Notes: Don’t picture seeing a historic town like you would in Williamsburg. While it does have several buildings, Historic Jamestowne only contains a few original structures: the original church tower (since restored and the church recreated). a house ruin, and some foundations. The rest of the buildings are recreations. There was a lot of reading, including the more in-depth Junior Ranger Program booklet. The houses and archeology pits were closed, although the Visitor Center and museum were open. The boardwalk was nice way to walk into the town area. It passes over a marshy area where we saw lots of turtles in the water. There were a few turtles upside down, which we thought was bad. Nick asked the Ranger, and he replied that some turtles can turn themselves over and they may be sunning and trying to get more warmth through the thinner belly shell. Or, they didn’t make it through the winter. Ben and I did learn one new thing I don’t remember learning in school: there was a Starving Time (where food was scarce and the town resorted to cannibalism).

VIDEO: Turtles and Muskrat we saw at Jamestown

DETAILS:*

  • TICKETS: WITH Annual NPS Pass $10/adults, children 0-15 free. WITHOUT Annual Pass: $15/adult. COVID Restrictions: masks required, houses were closed to tours. (The extra fee, even with the NPS America The Beautiful Annual Pass, goes to Preservation Virginia.)
  • HOURS: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
  • PARKING: Yes
  • BATHROOM: Yes
  • TIME RECOMMENDED: 1-3 hours
  • *Details correct at the time of posting, but please double check before you go.
Posted in: Museums & Tours, School, Sightseeing

Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon (Charleston, South Carolina)

            Hey guys! It’s Will here with another blog! Today we’re visiting the Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon. It costs $10 per person with reduced rates for seniors and students. The Dungeon is set below the Old Exchange where they traded everything from cotton to slaves. Auctions were rarely held in the dungeon (basement) however, but held just outside the Exchange. This might have been helpful so that once you bought something you could go pay your taxes on it. Two birds with one stone.

                On the main floor you enter on, there is a lot of information and it is easy to get overwhelmed. In the back is the history of some South Carolina’s cash crops and some plaques on special people who brought or invented them in the State. In the room to the left of the entrance there are some cool pieces they have received such as a case of old weapons such as flintlocks and muskets. They also have an old desk that was used by plantation owners back in the day. To the right of the door is a historic room where they made it look like it would have. It also serves as the meeting spot where the Daughter’s of American Revolution, I think that is the right name, meet. On the top floor are some more plaques that are made to tell you about the life of an enslaved person and of a women’s role and life in pre-Civil War period. George Washington also visited Charleston, so there is information about his visit here too.

            Now let’s get to the part you all want to actually read about…Provost Dungeon! The dungeon itself needs a tour guide as they have rigged the rooms with only mannequins so if you don’t go with one of the offered tours you will have no idea what you are doing. During the Revolutionary War is where we will focus in for now. Charleston had it’s own Tea Party and stored the tea in the Old Exchange. They later sold it to pay for weapons to fight the British. Eventually, the British captured Charleston and they needed somewhere to keep their prisoners. The actual prison was full and so they made due with what they had…The Old Exchange. They turned the basement into a jail and used the top parts as living quarters. When the city knew the British would win, they hid their gunpowder behind a fake wall in the Old Exchange. The British never found it! I thought the museum did a good job explaining everything and the history of the Exchange and if you want to learn a lot of new things be sure to make a visit The Old Exchange.

DETAILS:*

  • TICKETS: $10/adults, $5/child (ages 7-12), discount available for military, teachers, students, seniors. COVID Restrictions: masks required
  • HOURS: Daily 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Years Day), Tours are every 1/2 hour from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • PARKING: Pay parking on street or nearby lots
  • BATHROOM: Yes
  • TIME RECOMMENDED: 1-3 hours
  • *Details correct at the time of posting, but please double check before you go.
Posted in: Animal Sightings, Museums & Tours, National Park, National Parks, Sightseeing

Charles Pinckney Historical Site

The Charles Pinckney Historical Site was located pretty close to our campground. Although the house was closed (COVID), the grounds were open. We still wanted to go see it and get a nice walk. There was a Ranger vehicle parked there, but we didn’t see a anyone, so Nick didn’t get to do the Junior Ranger Program at this site.

There were a few walking paths around the property. One was really well laid out with a mulch base. I’m not sure how they did it, but the mulch all stuck together and felt a little bouncy. It was nice and even and made for a nice walk. The others were more nature trails and were dirt (or mud) through trees and brush. There were several signs warning of poison ivy and snakes (copperheads are apparently common down here). We took both trails and read the informational signs along the way. Pinckney was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

I did almost step on a snake, a tiny brown snake that was very quick and blended in with the dirt very well. I think it was maybe a rough earth snake, but I was so startled that I didn’t get a picture. It certainly got my heart pumping, as I had thought that I had been paying attention pretty well to the ground in front of me. We do make sure to always wear boots or closed toed shoes when we are going on any type of walk.

The site was ok. I’m sure if the house was open it would be interesting, but otherwise it was a little boring. If you are in the area, I would check it out, but I wouldn’t go out of your way to see it. We were there there for about a half hour.

DETAILS:*

  • TICKETS: Free. COVID Restrictions: masks required
  • HOURS: Closed Monday and Tuesday. Open Wednesday to Sunday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • PARKING: Yes
  • BATHROOM: Yes
  • TIME RECOMMENDED: 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • *Details correct at the time of posting, but please double check before you go.
Posted in: Museums & Tours, National Park, National Parks, Sightseeing

Fort Moultrie: Charleston, South Carolina

We were actually driving around trying to find a post office with a package drop box when we realized we were close to Fort Moultrie and decided to stop and check it out.

The fort we saw was actually the 3rd one on the site. The first was constructed of palmetto trees and sand and was used during the Revolutionary War.

This is not how I pictured Peter Parker (aka Spider-Man)!

The fort was later rebuilt and was ultimately destroyed by a hurricane. The third fort was constructed and end up being used during the Civil War. This fort seemed to have a lot of it built into the ground. The Union forces stationed at Moultrie left to go to Sumter, as it had better defenses. Moultrie was defended against sea attacks, but not very well defended for a land attack. Of course, then the Confederates used Moultrie to attack Sumter and force the Union troops out. There was a battery to the left of the fort that was added later, but it was closed while we were there. There were a couple of the interior hall paths that went underground, although a couple were closed or very muddy when we were there.

There was some interesting information and we also got to drive by Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse, but I would not recommend this one unless you are nearby or really into Civil War history and/or forts. It was a little boring compared to the others.

The Junior Ranger Program booklets were available at the entrance, as well as a park map. Nick was excited he got to complete another badge.

DETAILS:*

  • TICKETS: $10/ages 16+, free ages 0-15, or included in America The Beautiful Pass. COVID Restrictions: masks required. Due to COVID, no cash is accepted at the Fort and the Visitor Center is closed. Tickets must be purchased online.
  • HOURS: Fort is open Friday to Sunday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Grounds and parking open 9:00 am to 5:00 daily.
  • PARKING: Yes, has its own parking
  • BATHROOM: Yes
  • TIME RECOMMENDED: 1hour
  • *Details correct at the time of posting, but please double check before you go.
Posted in: Museums & Tours, National Park, National Parks, School, Sightseeing

Fort Sumter, Charleston, South Carolina

Although Fort Sumter is part of the National Park Service, there was not an admission fee. However, the only way to get to the fort is by boat, and the ferry ride does cost money.

The boat ride was similar to other boat tours we had taken. They pointed out other sites and talked about the history of Fort Sumter. There was a Park volunteer on the ride to and from that handed out maps and the Junior Ranger programs and badges.

We had a windy, cold, drizzly kind of day, so the water was a little rougher. Once we were docked, there was a ranger led talk that lasted about 15 minutes and went over the history of why Fort Sumter was built and its role in the Civil War. Even after the Civil War, they upgraded the Battery to keep it as a coastal defense. After the talk, we were free to read all the signs and explore around the fort. However, we only had an hour once we docked before the ship left again. It definitely felt rushed. We definitely could have spent a little more time reading and learning, at least another 1/2 hour to an hour would have been nice.

DETAILS:*

  • TICKETS: Fort Sumter, $0. Boat rides were $30/adults, $18 ages 4-11. (Our total for 4 adults was $127.20, as there was an additional $7.20 fee on the online booking receipt.) COVID Restrictions: masks required
  • HOURS: Visitor Center 9:00am-5:00pm (in Charleston). Boat rides vary per season and per location When we went boats departed Liberty Square (Charleston, SC) at 9:30am, 12:15pm, 3:00pm, and Patriots Point (Mount Pleasant, SC) at 10:45 am and 1:45 pm.
  • PARKING: Pay parking on street or nearby lots. It was $5 for the day at Patriot’s Point, which was where we departed from.
  • BATHROOM: Yes
  • TIME RECOMMENDED: 1-2 hours
  • *Details correct at the time of posting, but please double check before you go.

Posted in: Museums & Tours, Sightseeing, YouTube Video Link

Kazoobie Kazoos Factory Tour

While looking for things to do around our campground, I found Kazoobie Kazoos in Beaufort, South Carolina. They offer, as you may guess by the name, kazoo factory tours. We had so much fun on this adventure (even Ben and he was skeptical when I told him about it).

Our kazoos, Nick’s pressed penny (double sided!)

The tour consisted of two videos, an impressive kazoo demonstration, and a peek at how the kazoos are put together and embossed. Did you know that there are only 3 kazoo factories in the world! Or that the kazoo was originally called the Down South Submarine (probably for its shape)? There are two in the US (South Carolina and New York) and one in the UK. At the end of the tour, we got to pick out our kazoo body and resonator cap colors and then put together our own! There was a small museum, which had some really neat information. The gift shop was also fun with different kazoos and kazoo type items for sale.

Making our kazoos
Museum items

We bought a couple of things from the shop. Nick also made a pressed penny, which was double sided! We had so much fun, I would definitely recommend going there and taking the tour!

Awesome finds at the gift shop

YouTube Video: Kazoobie Kazoos Factory Tour

DETAILS:*

  • TICKETS: $9/adults, $7/child (ages 4-11) COVID Restrictions: masks required.
  • TOUR HOURS: Monday-Friday at 10:00 am, 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, 2:00pm
  • PARKING: Yes
  • BATHROOM: Unknown
  • TIME RECOMMENDED: 1-1.5 hours (45-60 minutes for the tour, then browsing the museum and shop)
  • *Details correct at the time of posting, but please double check before you go.
Posted in: Museums & Tours, Sightseeing

Savannah Ghost Tour

Attitude is everything. We thought we were booking one of the trolley ghost tours. When we looked closer we had booked a walking tour. Initially I thought, man this is going to be rough and 3/4 of the group were whining. However, once the sun went down, it was a nice night for a walk and we got to see some things that I think we would have missed if we were riding. The pace was pretty slow as well. Masks were required for groups of 6 or more, as well per Savannah’s COVID restrictions.

Savannah has a ton of history. The city is the USA’s first planned city. In fact, the original city was layed out in England before they even came over to build. Our tour guide said there were Native American burial sites and settler burial sites under the city’s streets and buildings. At one time there had been two cemeteries in the downtown area, but there is now only one, Colonial Park. Some of the tombs look like stone/brick tents, but they also extend underground. There are shelves inside to house the deceased, and just like in New Orleans, bodies got moved down to make room for new family members. Per our tour guide, Colonial park cemetery has 600 gravestones, but 1100 dead. The cemetery has lost both ground and tombstones, due to city growth and graffiti. Some were moved, but there are 4000 unmarked graves now outside the gates. Supposedly, some of the lost tombstones happened when the Union army was stationed there for a couple of months. When it got too cold for their fabric tents, some took shelter in the tombs. The sidewalk around the cemetery has special decorative bricks. We learned that the bricks actually mark the lost and unknown graves. Each circle represents an unmarked, lost grave. (Our guide pointed out that sitting in a cemetery for months in the cold had to be boring. Then add in that some states allowed as young as 14 to enlist, there wasn’t a lot of supervision, they were away from home, and whiskey was part of the daily rations. “You had a bunch of bored drunk children with no parental supervision away from home…”)

Ben’s favorite story was the Marshall House. It was a boarding house and a hotel, but during the Civil War, there were a lot of injured soldiers coming from Atlanta. It was turned into a hospital. There were a lot of surgeries and amputations. It reverted back to a hotel, and then to a hospital again during two yellow fever outbreaks. Afterwards, it would become a hotel again. During renovations in the 1990’s, they pulled up the floor to find saws and other surgical equipment, as well as bones. It was a medical dump site.

I didn’t find a lot of evidence to support the story of the bricks (although I did not see a similar design around the city), or the bones at Marshall House (although even AAA wrote about it). I was a little disappointed, as I like the ghost tours we go on to the have some facts to them, not just ghost stories.

Have you gone on a Savannah Ghost Tour? What was your favorite story?