May 4 – Home

With my cold having taken a toll on me, we decided to bypass a couple of destinations we'd scheduled and made a two-day trip home. 

Our first night was spent at Americamps, our usual last night stopover when returning from the south.

Then combatting seemingly endless miles of road construction

and the Washington, Baltimore, Wilmington and Philadelphia traffic before arriving home and an exhausting, 2-hour unloading process.

We've some maintenance on the coach and facing the prospect of replacing the two rear tires on our Jeep before leaving again on June 1st.

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May 2 – Stone Mountain, GA to Concord, NC

Although with the first real night's sleep in several days, whatever has been ailing me has settled into a chest cough and generally run-down feeling.

And, while I'd like to blame my malaise on the problem we had leaving Stone Mountain, I'm not sure that's fair.  After hooklng our Jeep up, we started out of heh campground when both Debbie and I realized somethingk was amiss.  We soon discovered that I'd apparently left the emergency bottom on resulting in our Jeep being dragged as opposed to rolling smoothly behind our motorhome …

leaving a trail of rubber

and a bit less tread on both rear tires.  Fortunately, not major.

The trip from Georgia thru

and on into

seems to be more exhausting than usual for the 250-plus miles we traveled.

At least we were not headed southbound, where back-ups seemed to occur with some regularity.

We were delighted to see fields of red poppies in bloom on the media.

As with the past couple of travel days, there seemed to be an noticable police presence.

While our campground site is beautiful and realtively quite,

the campground is situated directly acrss the street from the Charlotte Moror Speedway complex.

We can only imagine how noisy and crazy it must become when races are in progress.

And, yes, this is "redneck country" with one friendly camper enjoying strumming his guitar with a beer

while at the campground office, both the entrance door and a large poster inside leave no question about the owner's political leanings.

Abutting the campground fields is a convenience store which has obviously had issues with campers.

 

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May 1 (Afternoon) – President Jimmy Carter Presidential Museum and Peace Center

This afternoon, we visisted the President Carter Library, Museum and Peace Center.  It  provides a unique experience through immersive exhibitions

this is the first of the presidential libraries we've visited where I could sit at a computer and pull up images of documents in the library on command.

of objects, documents, and photographs, videos (inclluding recorded interviews with President and Rosalynn Carter),

covering the period from his childhood

to his tour as a U.S. Naval Submarine Officer,

Argus rangefinder camera used while serving in the Navy

courtship and marrige to Rosalynn

his early political career in Georgia

That's Carter sitting next to Lester Mattox

run for the presidency

Campaign buttons of his competitors in the 1976 Democratic primaries

with highlights include a life-size replica of the Oval Office,

Unfortunately, the current presdient has no concept of Truman's admonition

a minute-by-minute "A Day in the LIfe of the President" (13 foot screens)

the president's "red phone" … which connected him with his military commanders, not the Kremlin

the signature accomplishment of his presidency, the negotiation of the Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt.

beautiful gifts from world leaders (including)

Handwoven wool tapestry of George Washington – a gift from the last Shah of Iran 

Ostrich Egg decorated with shinesones and lace.  It depicts Carter's Cabinet inside and musical base plays "Hail to the Chief"

The chamnpagne bottle Rosalynn used when she christened the USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23) in June 2004

Unique painting by Octavio Ocampo

whose elements are made up of Americana

Federal Hall in New York City where George Washington was inaugratedin 1789

Independence Hall in Philadelphia

Right hand composed to U.S. neval and commerical ships

Lefh hand is composed of types of land transportaion

   

Unfortunately, we did not spend a great deal of time outside on the grounds 

Holly with blue berries

Holly leaves

Elusive cardinal

"Venture Bound" – Young boy leading a blind man

 

 

Jimmy Carter's true legacy, however will likely be judged by his post-presidency accomplisments and his commitments to world peace and service to humanity.  To that end, he and Rosalynn established the Carter Peace Center.

The Carter Center has become a pioneer in the field of election observation, monitoring 107 national elections to help ensure that the results reflect the will of the people.  Beyond elections, the Center seeks to deepen democracy by nurturing full citizen participation in public policy-making and by helping to establish government institutions that bolster the rule of law, fair administration of justice, access to information, and government transparency.

A culture of respect for human rights is crucial to permanent peace. The Center supports the efforts of human rights activists at the grass roots, while also working to advance national and international human rights laws that uphold the dignity and worth of each individual.

When democracy backslides or formal diplomacy fails, the Center offers conflict resolution expertise and has furthered avenues for peace in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia.

Since 1982, The Carter Center has shown that creating a world at peace is a very possible journey, one step at a time.

Then there are the many deserved awards and recognitions the Carters received for their lifetimes of service.

Dorothea Dix Award presented to Rosalynn Carter by the Mental Illness Foundaton in 1968

Eleection Observer IDs used in the Carters when monitoring the 2009 Lenanese elections

Presidential Grammy – for the "Best Spoken Word Album" for his audiobook "Our Endangered Values – American's Moral Crisis"

The Gates Award for Global Health presented by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the Carter Center in 2006 … which came with a $1 million contribution to the Carter's work

On August 9, 1999, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton, the nationan's highest civilian award

2002 Noble Peace Prize


 

 

 

 

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May 1 (Midday) – Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park, Atlanta

Leaving the Georgia Capitol, we had short two-mile drive to the

during which Debbie somehow managed to spot one building mural after another … most of which I missed.

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The church is located across the street from the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park

is where Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., was baptized as a child in the church.  After giving a trial sermon to the congregation at Ebenezer at the age of 19 Martin was ordained as a minister. In 1960 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. became a co-pastor of Ebenezer with his father, Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr., know as "Daddy" King.  He remained in that position until his death in 1968.

The National Historic Park

Outside ithe Museum is the Martin Luther King, Jr. World Peace Garden with an incredible display of roses of all colors.

The "Behold" Sculpture commemorates the heroic principles that guided the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Behold

tells the story of a young boy grows up in a time of segregation…A dreamer is moved by destiny into leadership of the modern civil rights movement…This was Martin Luther King, Jr.  WIthin the hostory of King' life is told in audio, video, memorial plaques, photographs and reprints of newspaper clippings.

What took King to Memphis in April 1968?

Black garbage collectors in Memphis rode in the backs of their garbage trucks (above).  On February 1, 1968, Echol Cole and Robert Walker were crushed to death by a malfunctioning city garbage truck.  Their deaths sparked a strike by black sanitation workers who King came to support.

  His final and private funeral was followed by the loading of King's casket onto a simple wooden farm wagon pulled by two mules, "Bella" and "Ada". The procession down the three-and-a-half miles from Ebenezer Baptist Church to Morehouse College was observed by over 200,000 people;

 

Across the street is the unique tombs of Martin and Coretta Scott King

Less than a block-and-a-half away is the boyhood home to Dr. King.

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May 1 (Morning) – Georgia’s State Capitol

This morning, we took the drive into Atlanta to tour the Georiga State Capitol.  Although we'd been told guided tours were cancelled and that self-guided tours might be problematic … no reason given…  we arrived and discovered the reason for the changes.  It seems that most of the publc areas  were being "decorated" for shooting of an upcoming episode of "The Walking Dead".

So, we decided to make the best of a self-guided tour of as much of the Capitol as we could access.

Lady Freedom (22.5 feet high and weighing 1,250 lbs)

Atlanta is the fifth permanent capital city of Georgia.  Savannah, site of James Oglethorpe's February 1733 landing was the first.  After the Revolutionary War, The General Assembly met alternately in Savannah and Augusta.  As development contiued westward, the capital moved to Augusta in 1786, to Louisville in 1796, to Milledgeville in 1807 and finally to Atlanta in 1868.

Like many U.S. State Capitols, the Georgia State Capitol is designed to resemble the Neoclassical architectural style of the United States Capitol in Washington, DC.  The Capitol faces west on Washington Street.

The facade features a four-story portico,

with stone pediment,

supported by six Corinthian columns set on large stone piers. Georgia's coat-of-arms, with two figures on each side, is carved on the pediment.

Exterior limestone

The Capitol's interior represents the 19th century style of its time. It was among the earliest buildings to have elevators, centralized steam heat, and combinationg gas and electric lights. Classical pilasters and oak paneling and doors are used throughout the building.

The floors of the interior are marble from Pickens County, which still produces marble today.

The open central rotunda is flanked by two wings, each with a grand staircase

and three-story atrium crowned by clerestory windows. The Capitol building has undergone frequent revnovations to adapt to the growth and change of government. Originally constructed from terra cotta and covered with tin, in a 1958 renovation the present dome was gilded with native golf-leaf from near Dahlonega in Lumpkin County, where the "First American gold rush" occurred during the 1830s.  For this reason, legislative business is often referred to as what is happening "under the Gold Dome" by media across the state.

House Chamber

Senate Chamber

Lighting fixtures throughout the capitol are electric reporductions of  the original oil lamps.

The open rotunda soars to a height of 237 feet and is 75 feet in diameter.

Below are various columns with unique capstones.

Various statues and busts augments a museum of Georgia histroy concentrated on the 4th floor.

Gold telephone from AT&T on the installation of their one hundred millionth phone – one given to each state governor and the president

Jimmy Carter Governor's campaign lunchbox

Two-headed cow

Bust of James Edward Oglethorpe, founder of Georgia

Bust of Juliette Gordon Low – founder of the Girl Scouts of American

Mississippiam Chief – Powerful chiefs of the Mississippiam culture (AD 1050 – 1500) once governed large section of what is now the state of Georiga from ceremonial mound centers such as Etowah and Macon Plateau.  Their dress symbolized their power and showed their control over resources coming from far and near.  Painted tattooed designs on their bodies were marks of distinciton of social standing.

 

In the Governor's outer office sits a unique Western & Atlantic Railroad clock

Helen Longstreet, the first woman to work in the Georgai State Capitol as the Assistant State Librarian

In keeping with the theme of displaying the best of Georgia, the Capitol grounds are landscaped with specimens of native Georgia flora, including elms, oaks and magnolias, interspersed with bronze statuary of notable Georgia statesmen and other markers of historical interest.  Well maintained lawns and walkways add to the stateliness of the setting..

Repliaca of the LIberty Bell

The names of Georgia's three signors of the Declaration of Independence

Preamble to the Declaration of Independence

 

Governor and President James Earl Carter

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Governor and U.S. Senator Richard Russell

Qutoe from Senator Russell …. which everyone should take to heart!

      Georgia Zero Mile Marker

Repllica of the Statue of Liberty

Governor Eugene Talmudge

Joseph Emerson Brown

General and Governor Gordon

Governor Ellis Gibbs Arnall

Expelled Because of Color

Dedicated to thememory of the 33 black state legilators who were elected, yet expelled from the Georgia House because of their color in 1868. 

 

As we circled the Capitol, we noticed several interesting church spiers

and the archetecture of municipal commercial buildings.

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April 30 – Stone Mountain Park

While feeling somewhat better, I was not up to the trip into Atlanta.  So we opted to stay at the campround, one of the most beautiful we stayed in during all of our travels.

For visitors,in addition to being able to bring one's RV, tents,

travel trailers 

and even air conditioned yurts can be rented.

This afternoon, we did take a drive to see Stone Mountain's bas-relief.

The largest high relief sculpture in the world, the Confederate Memorial Carving, depicts three Confederate figures of the Civil War, President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. The entire carved surface measures three-acres, larger than a football field and Mount Rushmore. The carving of the three men towers 400 feet above the ground, measures 90 by 190 feet, and is recessed 42 feet into the mountain. The deepest point of the carving is at Lee's elbow, which is 12 feet to the mountain's surface.

In 1912 the carving existed only in the imagination of Mrs. C. Helen Plane, charter member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC). The Venable family, owners of the mountain, deeded the north face of the mountain to the UDC in 1916. The UDC was given 12 years to complete a sizable Civil War monument.

Three sculptors worked on the carving during its creation. Gutzon Borglum was hired in 1915 as the carving consultant, and in 1916 he was appointed carving sculptor by the Stone Mountain Monumental Association. Borglum envisioned a carving with seven central figures accompanied by "an army of thousands." He was not able to begin work on the carving until 1923 due to funding problems and World War I.

After blasting away large portions of the mountain with dynamite, Borglum was able to complete the head of Lee on January 19, 1924. In 1925 a dispute arose between Borglum and the managing association. As a result of the conflict, Borglum left, taking all of his sketches and models with him. Borglum went on to carve the famous Mount Rushmore sculpture in South Dakota.

Augustus Lukeman, the second sculptor, resumed work on the project in 1925. Lukeman's carving included the three central figures of the Confederacy on horseback. He removed Borglum's work from the mountain and diligently worked with pneumatic drills, but by 1928 (the original deadline) only Lee's head was complete and funds were depleted. The Venable family reclaimed their property, and the massive granite mountain remained untouched for 36 years.

In 1958 the state of Georgia purchased the mountain and the surrounding land. The Georgia General Assembly created the Stone Mountain Memorial Association. In 1960 the Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial Advisory Committee was comprised of six internationally known figures in the world of art. A competition was held, and nine world-renowned sculptors submitted designs for a new sculpture.

In 1963, based upon recommendations by the Advisory Committee, the Stone Mountain Memorial Association chose Walker Kirkland Hancock of Gloucester, Massachusetts to complete the carving. Work resumed in 1964, and a new technique utilizing thermo-jet torches was used to carve away the granite. Chief carver Roy Faulkner, a marine veteran with a talent for using the new thermo-jet torch, was able to remove tons of stone in one day. For over eight years Park guests could see and hear the workmen and their jet torches.

The figures were completed with the detail of a fine painting. Eyebrows, fingers, buckles and even strands of hair were fine-carved with a small thermo-jet torch.

The carving is actually much larger than it appears from Stone Mountain Park's attractions. Workers could easily stand on a horse's ear or inside a horse's mouth to escape a sudden rain shower. A dedication ceremony for the Confederate Memorial Carving was held on May 9, 1970. Finishing touches to the masterpiece were completed in 1972.

We debated taking the tram to the top of the moutain but decided against the trip as I was now feeling tired again.

Frustrating, but this is the first time in the nine years we've been RVing that either of us has been sick.

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April 29 – Lake Park to Stone Mountain

Sometime yesterday evening I began to fell lousy accompanied by a headache and sneezing.  After a night of virtually NO sleep, we decided to press on to Stone Mountain Goergia.  Although I pulled over every 80 miles or so for a brief nap, I really have no recollection of the trip other than passing long stretches of mostly unsightly billboards.

Debbie, on the other hand, found solace in capturing every water tower we passed.

She also spotted a giant peanut

and some unusual scaffolding

Meantime, we apparently kept track of a greater the usual presence of

many with unhappy mororists they'd pulled over,

Nearing Stone Mountain State Park,

we caught our first glimpse of this largest grainite dome in the world.

Technically, Stone Mountain is a quartz monzonite dome monadnock with an elevation is 1,686 feet and 825 feet rises above the surrounding area.  It is more than 5 miles in circumference at its base.  Stone Mountain is a pluto, a type of igneous intrusion. The dome of Stone Mountain was formed during the formation of the Blue Ridge Mountains around 300–350 million years ago (during the Carboniferous period), part of the Appalachain Mountains.  It formed as a result of the upwelling of magma from within the Earth's crust. This magma solidified to form granite within the crust five to ten miles below the surface.

Stone Mountain is well known for not only its geology, but also the enormous rock relief on its north face, the largest bas-relief in the world.  The carving depicts three Confederate figures, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and General Sonewall Jackson.

Once parked and our utilities hooked up,

I proceded to nap until sometime around 6:00 PM and later tuned in well before 10:00 … my cold worse and temperature above 101o!

I am hoping that I'll feel better tomorrow when we're planning on visiting the State Capitol and Carter Presidential Museum.

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April 28 – Leaving Florida

After having been able to get together with Nancy and family again last evening at Universal Studio's

we were ready to begin our serious trek north this morning.

Our drive along the Florida Turnpike and I-75 offered little in the way of dramatic landscapes or interesting sidelights.  Thus, Debbie settled for shooting  "old" things,

the first roadside flowers we've seen this year,

decorative sound barriers,

herds of grazing cattle,

and a three-wheeled "trike".

Eventually our progress was rewarded,

just a few miles before arriving at our campground for the evening in Lake Park, Georgia (population 560) where we were greeted by

However, our site

sits nestled among many stately live oaks draped with Spanish Moss

and the only wildlife we have seen are

Blue Heron

Gray Squirrel

Cardinal

White-necked Mallard Duck

Black-billed Goose

 

 

 

 

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April 26 – Leaving Sarasota and Visiting with Nancy, Jason, Taylor and Jake

The past week has been spent having our motorhome professionally washed and waxed (it looks beautiful);

sneaking in a last couple of rounds of golf; cleaning and packing assoreted patio chairs and tables, our grill and other items we've had sitting outside since January; cleaning the inside of our coach; and getting together with Ken and Cheryl,

Debbie's brother, Dick, and wife Kate Morse,

and my cousin Sandy and husband Jeff.

Today, we departed Sarasota and had a relatively short drive Kissimmee, passing little of interest along the way other than unexpectedly spotting a Brahman or Brahms, breed of zebu cattle that was first bred in United States from cattle breeds imported from India,

and a salvaged DC-3 advertising Florida's Fantasy Flight Museum.

Affter getting settled in, we took the afternoon to relax and catch up on a little lost sleep.

This evening, we met up with Nancy and family

Dick, Jake (12), Nancy, Jason, Taylor (14) and Debbie

for dinner at  the Chocolate Emporium

in the City Walk section

of

where they are spending Taylor's and Jake's Spring Break.week.

While not a theme park person, I was interested in Jimmy Buffet's 1954 Grumman HU-16 Albatross, dubbed the Hemisphere Dancer.

This Wright-bult float plane cruised at 130 MPH, and a maximum range of 2,477 nautical miles and a cruising ceiling of 25,00 feet.  In 1996, the Hemisphere Dancer was shot at by Jamaican authorities as it taxied in the water near Negril. The Jamaicans had mistaken it for a drug-runner’s plane, though Jimmy had “only come for chicken”, he was not “the ganja plane.” U2’s Bono was also on board the plane, but neither him nor Buffett were hurt. Like the great songwriter he is, Buffett penned a tune about the incident: Jamaica Mistaica appeared on the album Banana Wind.

We were als captivated by a young girl as she darted back-and-forth among several ground-level fountains.

Back at our motorhome, we were sitting outside on a slider when we spied a meteor briefly soaring overhead before it burned up in the atmosphere.

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April 14 – Peace River Botanical and Sculpture Gardens

This afternoon we visited the Peace River Botanical and Sculpture Gardens in Punta Gorda, a little over an hour south of Sarasota. 

Roger, a 1963 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and retired CEO and Chairman of the Board of McDermott International, one of the world’s largest off-shore oil companies, which also, at the time, was the parent of the Babcock and Wilcox Companies, and Linda Tetrault began with 27 acres of uplands and wetlands. They conceived the idea of creating botanical gardens with world-class sculptures and an art gallery, while still preserving the natural environment and formed the Tetrault Family Foundation to fund and develop this project.  In doing so, this foundation will be providing the people of Charlotte County Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens.

As the facility opened just six months ago, many of the botanical plantings have not yet matured.  

Staghorn Fern

Staghorn Fern Leaves

Spinich Plant  (edible flowering plant in the family Amaranthaceae native to central and western Asia. Its leaves are eaten as a vegetable when cooked.)

Ponytail Palm  (a member of the lily family, it has a unique feature in the swollen base of the trunk, which is where it stores a reserve of water making it highly tolerant to drought. The texture of the trunk looks and feels like an elephant’s foot from which  clusters of long strap-like leaves arch and droop gracefully from the trunk giving the impression of a  tropical palm.)

Pineapple Plant

Neoregelias

Lantana

Julie's Pride Hibiscus

Fashion Star Hibiscus

Caijun Maiden Hibiscus

Cathedral Oak  (a variety of Live Oak, prevelant throughout the Southeastern United States)

Leaves of the Cathedral Oak are more like those of a Jade plant than those of the broadleaf oaks we are used to in the Northeast

Barbara Krast Bougainvillea

Banana Tree

Immature Bananas

African Iris

A wide variety of palms

However, the sculptures are magnificient, expecially those depicting people which look so life-like.

"Fluer"  –  A 9-foot stainless steel fountain with water spilling over the top edge

"Tree Trellises"  –  Each of these three rebar sculptures stands 20-foot tall, has a 22’-foot diameter canope at the top and is planted with a different color of climbing bougainvillea.

"The Wave"

"Yellow Andy" Worhol

"The Ostriches"  –  Originally a computer-generated, graphic design, the Metropolitan Ostriches first took physical shape when an Italian government official decided they would be interesting placed among the cypress trees in Chianti Sculpture Park. The graphic design was created in aluminum and then painted. They have been seen in Pievasciata, Province of Siena, Tuscany, Italy – and are now at their permanent home, greeting guests, here at Peace River Botanical Gardens

"Glass Fronds"  –  Composed ot plate glass, anodized  aluminum and stainless steel, these 13-foot high and 6-foot wide scuplurte presently resides on the Tetrault's private residence .

which is slated to become the home of the Peace River Gardens' Art Museum

"Keel"  –  Constructed of 23 individually scuplted lava rocks.  Despite one of its components weighing over 5,000 pounds, it is located in a patch of upland marsh.

"The Thinker"  –   Its design was suggested by August Rodin’s “Thinker” but made more contemporary by clothing him in casual jeans, running shoes and a ball cap. The original Rodin is a nude.  The stone table top and cube benches are rough cut Carrara marble, from a quarry in Tuscany, selected by the artist. These sculptures are a lovely invitation for guests to sit and take in the scenery.

"Rondelet"  –  A highly polished aluminum kinetic sculpture with circular forms that shine, spin and oscillate in even a very light breeze … reflection nature all around it.

"Steel Palm"  –  The Garden's signature sculpture was designed in 2010 and fabricated and installed in 2012. The primary material is COR-TEN® steel, which is intended to rust to a patina over many years of weathering in the sea air. The base and lightning electrical grounding are covered with river stones.  The sculpture is eighteen feet tall and is positioned at the highest point in the Sculpture Garden.

It's design was taken from a 50-million-year-old stone palm frond fossil.

This enables visitors to gain different perspectives as they approach it from different directions and distances.

There are two specific locations (directly in front or in back of the sculpture) from which its individual components perfectly align to appear as if a singular piece of sculpture, rather than being comprised of fourteen stem-and-blade components  … ranging from 1,200 to 2,200 pounds each … independently mounted one behind the other.

Amazingly, these blades move even in light breezes.

"Man in Red"

"Next Summer"  –  A life-like bronze and steel structure located in the lower pond.

"New York City Slicker"  –  Sculpted in bronze and stainless steel, this piece appears to float in the upper pond.

"Monument of Fire and Harmony"

"Bibi on the Ball

Intersperced are large, realistic paintings of native flowers.

Yellow Bougainvillea

Variegated Ginger

Bottle Brsh

White Magnolia

Near the Garden Community Center building

there is a nature pond

where a few water lilies are beginning to bloom.

There are also two boardwalks over dense marsh area, one takes you to the future Art Museum area and the other

out to a gazebo on the Peace River.

where you can sit in almost complete silence!

One thing we noticed was the absence of birds other than a single Mockingbird.

While we really enjoyed our visit, in a few years when the flora has had a chance to mature and the gardens have been expanded and art museum opened, this will be a "must do" place to return to!

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