Botany Bay, South Carolina

Botany Bay, South Carolina

Georgia Governor’s Mansion

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park preserves four of the five Spanish frontier missions in San Antonio, Texas. These outposts were established by Catholic religious orders to spread Christianity among the local natives. The most famous mission in San Antonio, the Alamo, is owned by the State of Texas and isn’t part of the park. All of the missions are open to the public and admission is free. Some of the missions are still used as churches, so please be respectful when visiting.

Mission Concepción
Misión Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña was established in 1716 as Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de los Hainais in East Texas. The mission was moved in 1731 to San Antonio. Founded by Franciscan friars, this is the best preserved of the Texas missions. Located at 807 Mission Road, Mission Concepcion was designated a National Historic Landmark on April 15, 1970.

Mission Espada
Misión San Francisco de la Espada was established in 1690 as San Francisco de los Tejas near present-day Augusta and renamed San Francisco de los Neches in 1721. The mission was moved in 1731 to San Antonio and given its current name. Located on Espada Road, this mission was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 23, 1972.

Mission San José
Misión San José y San Miguel de Aguayo was established in 1720. Located at 6519 San Jose Drive, it was designated the San Jose Mission National Historic Site in 1941. The historic site was administratively listed on the National Register on October 15, 1966.

Mission San Juan Capistrano
Misión San Juan Capistrano was established in 1716 as Misión San Jose de los Nazonis in East Texas. The mission was renamed and moved in 1731 to San Antonio. Located on Mission Road, San Juan was listed on the National Register on February 23, 1972.

Planing to visit? Learn more here.

Photos are © Trevor Beemon.

New pics and travel tips from my trip to San Antonio coming soon!

New pics and travel tips from my trip to San Antonio coming soon!

Sweetwater Creek State Park, Lithia Springs, GA

Located just 15 miles west of Atlanta is a paradise for nature lovers and history enthusiasts. Sweetwater Park features miles of walking and hiking trails, a museum, and the ruins of the 1850 New Manchester Manufacturing Company (which was destroyed by the Union Army in 1864).

I’ve written about touring the ruins in the past, but did you know that the park also offers canoe/fishing boat rentals? To rent a boat, you must register at the Sweetwater Park Bait Shop. You pay by the hour, and leave some form of ID with the shop employee as collateral (they don’t want you walking/rowing off with one of their boats). Inside the shop they’ll also give you some lifejackets, oars, and advice on areas to explore. The lake is over 200 acres, so make sure you pay for enough time to get out, have fun, and then row back (at least two or three hours). 

Boat rentals are available seasonally, and they’re offered on a first-come, first-served basis. The earlier you get there in the morning, the better chance you have to getting a boat. They also won’t rent boats if the weather is bad, so call ahead and check to make sure they’re renting before you head out.

TIP: Bring drinks, snacks, sunblock, and mosquito repellent, and wear comfortable clothing (something you won’t mind getting wet).

Sweetwater Creek State Park

Reservations (800) 864-7275
Park (770) 732-5871

Photos are © Trevor Beemon.

Firefly Distillery, Wadmalaw Island, SC

If you know me, then you know how much I love Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka. If you know how much I love Firefly, then you probably also know how much I love visiting Charleston, SC. Now imagine me freaking out when I found out that you could visit the distillery, just south of Charleston, and sample their beverages!

The distillery is part of a larger winery located on Wadmalaw Island. After driving down a long sandy drive, you come up on a collection of gray buildings. To the right you’ll see the building where they do wine tastings (too fancy for me). To the left is the Firefly building (jackpot).

Inside the Firefly building, you’ll find all kinds of Firefly beverages (some of which you’ll only find there). My favorite was the Firefly Lemonade, which is only sold on site because the lemons turn brown after a few weeks and therefore can’t be sold in stores.

Making your way to the counter, you are handed a slip of paper and asked to pick six beverages to sample. The tasting is only $6 per person and includes a souvenir Firefly shot glass. While trying the different beverages, the friendly staff will explain how each particular beverage is made, how to prepare it, and will offer you some recipe cards.

After the tasting, the good people at Firefly know it’s probably not a good idea for you to hop right in the car and start driving. Enter the petting zoo and and flower garden.

The wildflowers in this small garden were beautiful to look at, and the pathways that run through are a great escape.

For those wanting something a little more silly to do while tipsy, some pigs, chickens, rabbits, goats, and a cow are waiting to entertain you.

And no attraction is complete without a gift shop.

For those wondering if Firefly is worth a trip to Wadmalaw, the 1,500-year-old Angel Oak is on the way and is well worth a visit. It’s the largest/oldest tree east of the Mississippi and is insanely cool. It puts Disney’s “Tree of Life" to shame.

For information on visiting Firefly, click here.

For info on Angel Oak, click here.

Photos are © Trevor Beemon.

Ringgold, GA

I recently visited the storm-ravaged town of Ringgold, GA. To say that things looked bad is an understatement. I was shocked by the destruction and saddened by how slow the clean-up has been (these photos were taken over a week after the storm). While some residents are beginning to get some normalcy in their lives, there are still many who continue to struggle to rebuild. Never having experienced anything like this personally, driving through the town deeply affected me. If you are able, please consider making a donation to the Red Cross disaster relief effort. Even if you can’t give much, every little bit helps!


Photos are © Trevor Beemon.

Museum of Appalachia

The Museum of Appalachia, located in Norris, TN, is just 20 miles north of Knoxville. For those of you who have never heard of MoA, start taking notes because you’ll want to go ASAP!

The Museum of Appalachia is a living history museum that gives visitors a glimpse of pioneer life in the 19th-century. With more than 30 historic structures situated on 63 acres of pastures and fields (with live farm animals), the museum is an excellent place to spend a day or two exploring.

In addition to all the historic structures on the property, the museum also has several exhibit spaces. These exhibits are filled with thousands of artifacts, including one the largest folk art collections in the country. With so much history in one place, it’s no wonder that MoA recently became an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.

MoA also offers a ton of great events and festivals throughout the year, so if you plan on going, be sure to check out their calendar of events online!

To learn more about the Museum of Appalachia, click here.

Photos are © Trevor Beemon.

This past week Atlanta had some crazy weather! This pic was taken in Acworth, GA and shows Main Street the morning after the big snow storm!

This past week Atlanta had some crazy weather! This pic was taken in Acworth, GA and shows Main Street the morning after the big snow storm!

Mountain Christmas - Dahlonega, GA

I was a little kid when my family moved to Georgia. And as difficult as it is to adjust to a new place as a kid, it was harder for my mother, who had left her parents, siblings, and nieces and nephews back in Kentucky. For her, being so far away from family was hard, especially around the holidays. Georgia just didn’t feel like home. Dahlonega changed that.

Nestled in the North Georgia Mountains, Dahlonega has a small town feel you seldom find anymore. Walking down the streets and around the town square, you feel like you’re walking around a movie set. And at Christmas, you’d swear it was the set for “It’s a Wonderful Life.” When we first visited Dahlonega, we instantly felt like we’d been embraced by an old friend. The Christmas lights were spectacular, the shops and restaurants were amazing, and the townspeople were warm and welcoming.

But the shops, restaurants, and lights aren’t the only things that make Dahlonega special. Each December, the city holds a month-long celebration called Dahlonega’s Old Fashioned Christmas. The celebration features caroling, live entertainment, food and wine sampling, and Christmas-themed events and activities.

So, this year, if you find your Christmas spirit waning, grab some friends and family and head to Dahlonega.

Photos are © Trevor Beemon.