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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Green Mountain Park

The road to Green Mountain isn't very big rig friendly but oddly enough, there are a lot of big rigs at Green Mountain campground. By not friendly I mean, a VERY narrow road with a deep gulley on one side and a mountain side on the other - nowhere to go if something should happen. Funny enough there is an advertisement for a mobile RV repair as you meander through this narrow, twisting road. I bet, a few have needed major repairs getting here. As you get used to this road, it doesn't seem as dangerous but the first impression is: where the hell are we going?

The campground itself sits on the side of a mountain. It's very unique in that way. The staff is super friendly and extra nice (maybe to make up for the narrow roads and the uphill battle to get anywhere here. The office building is very cute with a little bridge to get to it and a lily pond beside it. Because of the layout of this campground, the staff takes you around to show you possible sites via a golf cart. We were only shown 2 sites that were on the lower level. I chose the site that had the forested mountain behind it. It was a harder site to get into as the site was not only a narrow cemented pad but also uphill. I also had an audience that waited to see how I was going to maneuver this. To their amazement, I backed up the trailer into the site on the first try, only correcting the trailer's position to the lovely wooden deck provided. The audience was shocked! I was thanking the Lord for a flawless back-up when it was most needed. God knows there are other times that weren't as pretty!

Lily pond beside the office

White azaleas

Gorgeous azaleas planted here and there on the property

Our home with the beautiful deck and the forest at the back

We are very close to both our neighbours but neither are very friendly. A lot of annual and seasonal campers here. Because of the hilly terrain, everything is a bit scattered. The main lodge, which was closed when we were here, is large and seems to have a large stone fireplace. That area also has the activity center where you can get the various equipment to play the few games available. There is a fairly new mini-putt but it seems very simple and easy. There is also a tennis court that needs repair and also has baskets for basketball playing. But the nice surprise is a small general store that also sells ice cream! There is also a kid friendly pool right by the lodge and we later discovered the adult pool on another level across the street. The pools were not open at this time of the year (April).
The campground also has some hiking trails of various levels of difficulty. We tried to find one and couldn't really see where it started so we instead went to a nearby park that ended up having a lovely trail through the woods. It was so relaxing and beautiful to see all the new growth on trees and the many wildflowers scattered around.  It was a true "forest bath". Cheeka enjoyed running from Glen to me and then back to Glen at warp speed. She hadn't had the chance to run that fast for a while.
Cabins are also seen here and there, some of them with a lovely view of the small lake that sits behind the main lodge, but they are privately owned and not for rent.

An idea of what the sites look like and how close everyone is.

From our deck out the front. The white truck on the right is our neighbour's

The little general store

The lodge.

The playground is right by the lake

The small lake with some of the cabins on the far side

The kiddie pool that looks really nice - no water at this time

Part of the simple mini-putt.

The nearby trail we found just down the road from the campground.

Wild wisteria flowers

Everything was growing and showing new shoots.

Dogwood flowers

Part of the trail - very nice.

So nice to see nature waking up and new plants growing - fern fronds

There is no internet here at the moment and we couldn't get a signal on our phone but we were told that they had gotten the approval for fibre internet and cell phone booster which should be coming very soon. We did miss having access to the internet at our trailer and had to drive 10 minutes to the nearby McDonalds and buy something so we could use their internet. Our phone also worked in town.

We got one propane tank filled at the TSC which is much cheaper than what you get at the campgrounds. We were also able to shop at the nearby Walmart (less than 10 minutes away) for groceries and other needs (like a pair of shorts for Glen who had been slowly running out of any to wear due to rips, stains, etc. We also discovered the store Big Lots. It has a bit of everything at reasonable prices.

Everywhere through the forest there were dogwoods in flower. We also saw an old growth of wisteria that had taken over some trees - absolutely beautiful! There were a lot of wild rhododendrons around that grow very tall but don't have as many flowers as our cultivated varieties but the azaleas that are part of the landscaped areas were bursting with colour.

This wisteria was draped all over the trees. Just spectacular!

Dogwood in flower everywhere

If you are looking for a quiet, peaceful retreat, this is not it. Lots of families with young children who scream at the top of their lungs just to be heard and bicycles everywhere. But the birds do sing every morning and there is a creek that runs from the top of the mountain all the way down. Some sites have the pleasure of hearing the babbling brook right from their deck that sits by it.

The creek that runs through the entire campground.

Would we come back? Most probably as a stop-over on our way down or back up like we did now (4 days). I don't think I would want to stay here for two weeks unless I had a golf cart to get to the various locations (bikes are pretty useless because of the very steep hills).

One of the beautiful totem poles on the campground.

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Oaks at Point South - Yemassee, SC

Our first stop after leaving Florida was at The Oaks in Yemassee, North Carolina. An obviously older campground, it is nonetheless clean and set in a natural setting of trees providing shade to all campsites. The bathrooms have been renovated and are kept clean. The small pool was not opened yet for the season. The activity center, located just beside the office, has comfortable sofas to sit on and enjoy the free internet, a big sectional sofa for TV viewing on their large screen TV, some tables and chairs, and a pool table.

The trail around the lake

What we liked the best though was the nice long trail that surrounds a lake and several ponds where we saw alligators and turtles. Fishing is permitted in the lake. We kept seeing a pair of cardinals but never could capture a photo.

I love camping where there are a lot of trees and to awaken to various bird songs. The sites here are all pull-throughs but some are a bit narrow not leaving much room between rigs. But because of the forest setting, we didn't feel exposed and enjoyed sitting outside.

There is a KOA right beside this campground and it can be accessed from the trail.

Most of all, we enjoyed going to the Savannah Wildlife Refuge. It has a 4 mile drive through that lets you see a TON of alligators (25 when we went) and the possibility to see a multitude of birds. I was mostly hoping to see the Purple Gallinule that we had seen a few years ago in the Everglades in Florida that is regularly seen at the refuge. But we weren't that lucky. We did see turtles and a bald eagle being chased by turkey vultures (no pics). Mostly it was a lovely afternoon spent in nature in absolutely perfect weather. We enjoyed it VERY MUCH!

The next day we decided to visit the city of Savannah. With buildings dating from the 1700's it is very interesting to stroll through its streets and squares. The city was built with several squares that actually are small parks with mature trees that provide shade and a place to rest. Most squares are dedicated to a historic figure and have a statue to represent it. The marketplace is crazy with shops and people. It's very hard to find parking as most public parking spaces we saw were full. But because we seem to be followed by good luck we stopped at a place that offered free parking if you used their touring trolleys but at $31 a person it was too steep for us. The girl at the gate told us about parking at the information center which turned out to be just about a block away. The parking cost us $2 for the afternoon and we chose to walk around town instead of the trolley tour which the least expensive was $20 a person for a 70-minute tour. Mind you, the tours are guided and tell you all about the history of Savannah but just to walk around is also satisfying and interesting.  There are several houses that can be visited for about $10 a person. The churches were mostly not open to the public since it was Good Friday. We did see a few street musicians but not as many as we thought we would encounter.

This is a fancy pet shop and these are all dog treats under the chandelier

City hall

The Georgia Queen tour boat

The very vibrant River Street

Roses in bloom in April!

This is where we parked our car cheaply and received good advice for walking the city along with a detailed map

All in all Savannah is worth visiting and you should have more than a few hours to really tour the place.

South Carolina proved to be very interesting and we wished we would have had more time to explore. We discovered that there was an old plantation house right beside where we were staying on our last day here. We'll just have to come back next year!