St. Marys, Georgia

IMG_6251St. Marys is the second oldest city in the United States. Located just minutes off of Interstate 95 in the southeastern corner of the state, it’s waterfront downtown area contains many historic buildings. The downtown area fronts on the St. Marys River, which is the Georgia-Florida border. There are shops and restaurants, the St. Marys Submarine Museum, the Cumberland Island Visitor Center, and Howard Gilman Park in the downtown area. Boats take visitors to nearby Cumberland Island. The downtown area also hosts the yearly Fourth of July Celebration and the Rock Shrimp Festival, held every October.

St. Marys is also the hometown of the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base. The area’s Navy presence is reflected in names of businesses such as Lil’ Seabag and Ops Pizza Kitchen & Cafe. Across from the base are the McIntosh Sugar Mill Tabby Ruins, which were built in the 1700s. Between the base and Downtown are the remains of the Gilman Paper Mill, which closed in 2002.

Kennesaw Battlefield National Historic Site

IMG_6003Just outside Atlanta, in and around Marietta, is Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield National Historic Site. The park itself if broken up into several non-contiguous sections. The visitor center, which features a museum and a 35-minute-long film, is located at the base of Kennesaw Mountain itself. From there, it is a one-mile-trek to the top, eight-tenths if that mile to the main observation area. During weekdays, visitors to the park can drive to that area. On weekends, a bus goes to and from the area with a round trip ticket costing $3. One can also hike up there, and many do. At the observation area, one can see views of the surrounding areas and from one point, the Atlanta sklyine off in the distance.

Other areas of the pa4k include Chatham Hill, Pigeon Hill, and Kolb’s Farmhouse, the  latter of which is now a privately-owned residence. Throughout the sites are signs and historical markers detailing the events that took place and the exact position of Union and Confederate units. Three Union regiments led by General William T. Sherman defeated a Confederate regiment here, then went on to Atlanta. It was also at this site that a swap of prisoners took place with General Sherman refusing to accept some Union prisoners of war because they were not his men. Those refused were sent back to the Confederate prison at Andersonville.

Etowah Indian Mounds

IMG_5923      On the fringes of the Appalachian Mountains in northwest Georgia lies the remnants of a Native American society.  Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site in Cartersville, approximately 45 minutes northwest of Atlanta, was occupied by Native Americans of the Mississippian Culture for approximately 600 years.

The cost to enter is six dollars. The visitor center features a gift shop, museum, a model display of the complex, and a 16-minute-long video that explains the history of the site and its people. After leaving the visitor center and continuing on to the site, one first comes upon a small mud house with a straw roof and an area where park rangers conduct educational programs, then goes onto a larger grassy field with three mounds. One of the mounds is 65 feet tall and was the temple mound and the other two mounds are much smaller. Wooden stairwells allow visitors to climb to the top of all three mounds.