Family History Destinations–Georgia

Going Home–Milledgeville, Georgia 

My husband is from Georgia. Two of his brother still live there. The other three boys lived in Utah, at the time of this reunion. My mother-in-law, Nina wanted us all to go to Georgia for a family reunion. We planned it two years ahead. We knew we wanted to be there in the Springtime when it was most beautiful and not too hot. The folks in Georgia did a lot of planning on their end of it as well.

Family Reunion-Georgia
The top left picture is just one of the fishing trips that were planned. The top right is a family blue grass band that has recorded their music, and Uncle Tut Taylor, famous among blue grass music lovers. He has made many albums, and won a Grammy for one of them! “He’s called the Flat Pickin’ Dobro Man.” So we were entertained a lot!

We had a huge southern barbecue, where they cook a hog over  a pit all night long. And then, added to that, were all the fabulous southern dishes and desserts. It was fabulous. All cousins, aunts and uncles in the whole state were invited! Feasting and visiting went on for three days!

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Top Left–Nina (Ben’s mom) with her brothers and sister–all still living in Georgia. Center–Charlie (Ben’s Dad) and his sister. Right–One of the old homes Ben lived in as a boy. Bottom Row Left–The old Methodist Church where Charlie’s parents are buried. Center–Gravestones of Charlie’s parents. Right–The Old State Capitol building, now a Military high school.

We went to Georgia a few more times, and each time we had a big family barbecue and learned more family history. We toured the town and saw all of the houses that Nina and Charlie had lived in through the years of raising their five boys; where Nina had worked and gone to school; The Georgia State Mental Hospital where Ben’s grandfather and aunt worked; the theater they used attend; the old schools; Georgia Women’s College, which once The Governor’s Mansion and other State Buildings. In the early 1900s Peabody High School was in one of the college buildings, and that is where Nina attended high school. Note: During the Civil War Milledgeville was the state capitol. After the Civil War the capitol was moved to Atlanta.

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One year all the brothers and sister-in-laws got together in Georgia for a family history tour and discussions. Then we all went to Hilton Head Island and rented a beautiful beach house for three days. We visited Savannah and other wonderful sights, but our evening conversation was always about memories of Georgia, grandparents, aunts and uncles, skeletons in the closets, places the family lived and worked, etc. We taped our conversations so it could be typed up as history later. And on every trip, we  got to see Uncle Tut Taylor and be entertained by his wonderful blue grass music played on a dobro! Although he moved to Tennessee long ago for his music career, he always came to Georgia to be with family when we got together.tttitl-002

Song written about Tut,  sung by Don Humphries with Tut playing the Dobro.

 

Destinations: Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula

Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula

My parents went on an LDS mission to the Olympic Peninsula, and while they were there, each of their kids’ families visited them at some point during that year. We all loved the area! So with a daughter living in Bothell, Washington, she and her husband planned a family reunion to their home for a few days, and then we went to the Peninsula and visited the two areas where my parents/their grandparents lived as they served their mission–now some 20 years later..

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Seattle: Top Row L-Grandma and kids; C-The Troll Under the Bridge; Ballard Locks. Bottom Row L-Pike Place; C- Street Musician at Pike Place; The Space Needle from the Ferry.

We stayed in Bothell at my daughter’s house. We had beds all over the floors upstairs and down, but our family is accustomed to chaos, and we deal well with it. She had scheduled so many great activities, that we had fun every second of the trip. Many of the family had never been to Seattle, so we visited Pike Place Market and watched the fish-throwers, ate food from other countries, bought souvenirs and enjoyed the street musicians. We made a stop at the Troll who lives under a bridge. He has a Volkswagon bug in his hand, which is a real car. We visited the Locks in Ballard and watched the boats come into the locks, be raised up to a higher level and sail out on new waters. It always fascinates me, and they have a Salmon Fish Ladder there as well, where you can watch the fish. We rode up to the top of the Space Needle and had our picture taken. We have had dinner at the Space Needle and it is wonderful. You a very slow 360 degree turn as you eat dinner and see every part of the city and Sound. But its too price to take all of us there, so we settled for an elevator ride to the observation deck.

The highlight of Seattle was probably the bike ride!

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Iron Horse Trail: Top Row L-Getting ready. (Some brought their own bikes and assembled them there); C-Breaking for lunch; R- Just out of the Tunnel; Bottom Row L- Gorgeous Scenery; C-Trailer with two little ones in it. R-Wild Foxgloves along the trail.

 We rented bikes for everyone with trailers for babies, and seats for little kids, so everyone in our group went on this bike ride, even though I had not ridden for years. Our daughter had reserved all of the bikes, helmets, trailers, etc. ahead of time, and it all went very smoothly! We biked along the Iron Horse Trail which is an old railroad grade. There is a tw0-mile long tunnel that you ride through which adds excitement to the event.   It is a long, long trail, but we just went the 17 miles. We stopped along the way at a picnic grounds to eat our lunch that we had taken in back packs. Every bit of it was delightful!

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Historic Port Townsend, Washington

The next five days were spent on the Olympic Peninsula. Our first destination was the old Victorian town of Port Townsend, where my mom and dad first lived as they served their mission. There is an old army base there that is now Fort Worden State Park. We rented two of the Officer’s Homes. The homes are duplexes, so we rented one full house/two units. (In 2013, we went again. There were fewer of us, so we rented just one duplex. One four bedroom duplex/house for two nights was $715.00.) While there we explored that lovely town, went kayaking, explored the old bunkers that date back to 1800s. The parade green in front of the Officers’ Row is perfect for ball games, Frisbee, or Kubb (Viking Bowling).

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The Olympic Peninsula: Top Row L- Ferrying out to the Peninsula; C-Officer’s Housing–a Duplex; R- Officer’s Row in the evening; Middle Row L-Exploring one of the old bunkers; C-Kayaking in the ocean; R-Walking on the trail to 3rd Beach; Bottom Row L-Third Beach; C-Buried in the sand; R- Our family walking along the beach with Sea Stacks in the background.

After two nights in Port Townsend, we moved to the next place my mom and dad had lived–Forks, Washington. We rented four two bedroom apartments for our group in Forks for two nights, and spent the next day at 3rd Beach. The Quiliute Tribe owns the property where three fabulous beaches are located. First Beach is right at their town of La Push. Second Beach and Third Beach are also considered LaPush,  but you have to hike through the gorgeous rain forest to get to the beachs, about a half mile. The beaches are fabulous. Everyone wanted to revisit this vacation in the future, and so we have.

 The next day we split up because we couldn’t do everything we wanted to, so we had to make a choice. Some hiked up to Sol Duc Falls, and others drove to  Hurricane Ridge for the spectacular view of the Olympic Mountains.  We always stop at the gorgeous Lake Crescent when we go to the peninsula. The sights to see and places to play are endless in this area. Best of all reunions EVER!

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This is the website for the Quiliute Nation. When we went there, they had a sign up that said, “Go Away!” But since the Twilight Book Series made them famous, the sign now says “Welcome.” And they have a tourist website now. We had not heard about Twilight until we were walking to 3rd Beach and some of our family passed Stephanie Meyer and a group of young people and overheard her talking about a book and mentioned vampires.  A few months later we heard about the book and read it. La Push is 12 miles from Forks.

Destination: Hawaii

Hawaii–My Mom’s Favorite Place!

When my mom was 91, she wanted to go to her favorite place on earth one more time. And she wanted to take all of her kids with her. She insisted that we stay in the Sheraton Moana Surfrider Hotel.  It used to be known as The Moana and is the oldest hotel in the Hawaiian Islands.  We were all happy to comply with this wish! She had been to Hawaii eight times, and always stayed at the Moana except once, and she never wanted to repeat that lodging. It is located in Oahu on Waikiki Beach across from the International Market Place.

Mom’s favorite thing to do was to sit on her lanai and listen to the ocean and enjoy the view, the breeze, and the sounds (pictures 3 and 4 on this collage). We rented two cars, so that we could separate and go our own way some of the time. My husband and I wanted to go off on our own, so we rented a convertible. Car rentals are pretty cheap in Hawaii, and we found that a convertible is the ONLY way to see Hawaii! Wow.

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These adult trips with just siblings and Mom were wonderful. We created so many happy memories! Lots of funny things that we can tease each other about, and just happy times to reflect on. We rented two cars, so we also did things on our own as well, but we always had dinner together. We got closer to one of our sister in laws than we had ever done before. (We were never quite sure if she really liked us or not.) She laughed more than I had ever seen–we all did.

My mom and one of my brothers and his wife have died now, and we all are grateful to have had fun times to remember with her. These trips are treasures we each still keep in our hearts. They were relaxing, luxurious, and just plain wonderful!

Destination: Alaska Cruise

The Inside Passage on the Norwegian Cruise Line

We had an amazing time. We had our own time schedule for much of the day, so we weren’t together all of the time. One good thing about going as a group was that there was always someone who had the same interest as you, such as the morning walk; swimming; dancing lessons; midnight buffets, etc. So we mixed a mingled in smaller groups a lot of the time.Family Reunion--Alaska

We were always together for dinner, and the evening shows, and We did most of the land excursions together. It was a great way to strengthen bonds! Wow. It was so fun! I really want to do this with my kids, but that is in the future…