a bit of research prior to arriving in La Grange, I must admit that I had a
tough time locating an acceptable restaurant for dinner…
gave up on the local dining scene and we headed to the Applebee’s Restaurant just
a few miles up I-85 from our Hampton Inn.
didn’t know, (because we like local establishments I’d never considered
Applebee’s as a possible dinner destination), was the on-line reputation of this
particular restaurant. On Yelp it has
1.5 stars. Trip Advisor reviewers give
it 2 stars with far more terrible reviews than excellent or very good ones. Foursquare.com gives it 2.5 stars…
probably a good thing that I hadn’t read any reviews!
started out with an order of Brew Pub Pretzels and Beer Cheese Dip…white
cheddar craft beer cheese dip plus honey Dijon. ($6.99) It was very good and
all of these nice pretzel sticks and cheese dip were consumed.
Note: We have always considered Applebee’s to
be a safe bet when we’re on the road and looking for a lunch break. Our other favorites as reliable ‘fuel stops’
are Bob Evans, Waffle House, Ruby Tuesday, Steak ‘n Shake and Cheddar’s.
wasn’t that hungry and after the pretzels and cheese dip, so she decided to just
order a cup of the French Onion Soup. ($3.99) She was very happy with her
for the Clubhouse Grille with potato chips. ($10.49) This sandwich was piled
high with ham, thick-cut turkey breast, melted cheddar and Jack cheeses with
Applewood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo and a drizzle of honey BBQ sauce
on freshly toasted Tuscan bread. It was
the complaints about this Applebee’s outpost in La Grange were centered on
lousy service or service with an ‘attitude’.
Our waitress, Raven, was pleasant, helpful and timely…no complaints at all! I did note that the 2 most recent reviews of
this restaurant, (August and September), were positive. These reviews were on Trip Advisor and no
recent reviews were noted on the other 2 sites.
I will add a third positive review although I must admit that
we didn’t exactly sample the menu.
wound down our September trip to Florida, I’d decided to take the back roads up
through western Georgia, visit an attraction or two in the area and spend the
night in La Grange.
arrived at Wild Animal Safari in Pine Mountain Georgia in the mid-afternoon,
with plenty of time left to tour the facility.
We chose to drive through the park in our own car but, depending on the
season, two other options are available.
If you don’t want to drive your own vehicle through the midst of all the
critters, you can rent a “Zebra Van”.
During the busier times of the year, visitors can ride through the park
in a tour bus. (Cost included in the ticket price)
Note: There is a second Wild Animal Safari
located just northeast of Springfield Missouri.
a lot of photos! I won’t post too many
in the blog but we both loved this one… There is nothing like a giraffe
sticking his head in your car window begging, (no, actually insisting), on a
you think that Zebra is thinking? During
a previous visit to a similar park, I had a zebra stick his head in my window
and reach all the way across me to get a handout from Laurie. I would have been in big trouble if he’d
suddenly swung his muscular neck into my face.
We have learned to be cautious, that’s for sure!
believe that this is a Grant’s Zebra although the park also has Hartman Zebra
roaming the grounds. Grant’s Zebra are
‘least threatened’ in the wild but Hartman Zebra are ‘vulnerable’.
trick in feeding the animals is to have your window down so you can give them
their treats…without letting them into the car.
Some of them really give it the old college try too! You have to be fast…and/or out think
them. Tossing food on the ground to make your getaway is one solution!
Giraffe is a subspecies of Giraffe native to north-eastern Kenya, Somalia and
Ethiopia. They are an endangered species
with less than 5,000 living in the world. Fully grown Reticulated Giraffes can be
between 16 and 20 feet tall and weigh up to 1,800 pounds.
weren’t unhappy that the resident Buffalo herd didn’t come over looking for
handouts… In the first photo, a Fallow Deer is resting nearby.
desire to avoid hand feeding these American Bison is based on another
drive-through animal park experience. We
had a big bull Buffalo walk up to our car.
I barely got the window closed in time.
He wasn’t deterred… He slobbered on the window and rocked the car in an effort
to obtain a snack. I quickly rolled down
the window and shoved half a loaf of bread in his mouth… His breath alone could
have knocked us over but he was satisfied!
Hi! Where is my snack?!
obviously a deer of some kind and he/she is very handsome. I’d like to identify him but Wild Animal
Safari’s website isn’t very visitor friendly.
It lists the animals that are roaming the park or on display, but there
are no accompanying photos…
deer and another snack… This one was very polite!
These critters look a bit like Texas Longhorn Cattle. Instead they are Watusi or 'Ankole-Watusi', also known as Ankole Longhorn. This breed of cattle is originally native to Africa. These big bovines roam among the collection of grazing critters in the
drive through portion of Wild Animal Safari.
Buffalo is a large bovid originating in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and China. Today, it is also found in Europe, Australia,
and some American countries. At least
130 million domestic water buffalo exist, and more human beings depend on them
than on any other domestic animal! Their
milk is richer in fat and protein than that of dairy cattle.
the windows!! Hurry!! If there is any animal that we avoid when
driving through an animal park, it’s the Ostrich… To coin a phrase, they are
indeed bird brains. You never know what
they’re going to do and they can be very aggressive. We’ve had them thrust their heads in our car,
block the road and peck/hammer on our car.
As for this one, we just kept driving!
neared the end of the drive-through portion of the park, we drove past this Rhinoceros. I’m guessing that this is a White Rhinoceros
as they are the most common variety of this beast. All species of Rhinoceros are at risk due to
the alleged medicinal quality of their horn in some cultures.
2.2 pounds of Rhino horn can fetch up to $100,000! A rash of museum burglaries around the world
occurred in recent years with Rhino horn being the prize. One can assume that these thefts have been
due to the value combined with the increasing rarity of Rhinos in the wild.
variety of animals, large and small, populate the ‘walk about’ portion of Wild
Animal Safari. This big male Red
Kangaroo was just lying about and chilling…
Red Kangaroo is the largest Kangaroo breed.
It is also the largest mammal native to Australia. Males can leap a distance of almost 30 feet in
a single bound. Red Kangaroos have a
range of vision that is about 300 degrees due to the position of their eyes. They
can reach speeds of 35 mph, but can cruise along at 12 mph for hours on end.
Patagonian Cavy or Mara is essentially a very large rodent. In fact, it is the fourth largest rodent in
the world behind the capybara, beaver and certain porcupine species. The Cavy is native to central and southern
Argentina, mainly in grasslands and scrub deserts.
of Maras stay together for life with replacement of partners only occurring
after death. The male has almost the
sole responsibility in maintaining the pair by following the female wherever
she goes. A male will mark his female
with urine and mark the ground around her with secretions from his glands and
with feces, in reality making the grounds around the female a ‘mobile territory’.
this goat photo? Simple! Goats are cute and Laurie thought that this
little youngster had a sweet face…
snapped this photo of a Siberian Tiger at rest… A male can weigh up to 675
pounds! The Siberian Tiger, sometimes
called the Amur Tiger, is the largest cat now living on the planet. Native to
the eastern areas of Russia, they used to extend into parts of China and North
Korea. Currently they are considered critically
endangered largely due to habitat destruction and poaching.
Animal Safari in Georgia lists a number of different sheep and I can’t quite
identify this fellow. He’s apparently
been fighting with someone! Is he a
Corsican Sheep or a Mouflon…or something in between? In any case, we liked his attitude!
only featured a few of the animals that you can view via the drive through or
the walk about portions of the park.
Other critters of interest include: Baboons; Alligators; Timber and
Artic Wolves; Black Bears; Lizards and other reptiles; Parrots and Macaws;
Monkeys; Wallaby, Bobcats; Caracal; Dingoes; Lemurs; Dromedary Camel;
Coatimundi; Elk; Leopards; Hyenas, and; Lions.
visit was well worth our time and money.
We had a lot of fun feeding the animals in the drive through portion of
the park. I actually spent more money on
food for the animals than the cost of admission! While some may not agree with this zoo/park
concept, I think that at the very least these operations, run properly, expose
the public to wildlife and raise awareness while helping to perpetuate some of
the endangered or vulnerable species.
Animal Park in Georgia is located at 1300 Oak Grove Road in Pine Mountain. Phone: 706-663-8744. The park’s Website can be found at: http://animalsafari.com/Georgia/.
We hope that everyone has a
terrific Holiday with family and friends! When it comes right down to what really
counts, family and friends are the keys to a happy life…
For our 2015 Christmas Holiday greeting, we chose this photo that our son took of Laurie and me, (Big Daddy Dave), and our two amazing, intelligent and handsome grandsons.
To the boys we are known as Nana
and Papa… David III just turned 15 and Emmett Lee recently celebrated his 12th
Feliz Navidad, Froehliche
Weihnachten, Nollaig chridheil huibh, Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia, Yukpa,
Nitak Hollo Chito, Mele Kalikimaka, God Jul and (Och) Ett Gott Nytt År, Shuvo
Naba Barsha, Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan, and Feliz Natal!
the ‘back way’ toward our home in East Tennessee because I had 2 possible
attractions in mind that we could visit near Pine Mountain Georgia. I planned to stay overnight in nearby
course, there was always the possibility of spotting another old railway depot
along the way…
this little depot in Parrott Georgia.
This combination facility was built around 1889 when the
Columbus Southern (Columbus to Albany) railway was constructed. The first train arrived in 1890. Back in 1896, 4 trains per day stopped in Parrott…
88-mile railroad between Columbus and Albany Georgia was chartered in 1885. It
started operations in April of 1890 and was soon leased to the Georgia Midland
and Gulf Railroad. Eventually it was sold
to the Georgia and Alabama Railroad in 1896 and later was merged into the
Seaboard Air Line Railway.
1894 edition of The Official Railway List, the Columbus Southern reported that
it operated 5 locomotives, 6 passenger cars plus 120 freight and other miscellaneous
downtown Parrott Georgia. Its estimated
population in 2014 was 152 residents. At
its peak in 1930, there were 383 folks living in town. The Parrott Historic District is listed in
the National Register of historic Places.
late seventies, there was a bit of excitement in town when, because of its
resemblance to an old western town, it was chosen as the location for the
western, “The Long Riders”. “The Long Riders” starred four sets of
brothers: the Quaids, the Keaches, the Carradines, and the Guests, and it detailed
the exploits of the Jesse James gang.
on up the road from our overnight stay in LaGrange Georgia and our adventures
at a wildlife park in Pine Mountain, I got off the Interstate for a bit to look
for railroad depots as we moved northeast toward the Atlanta metropolitan
Georgia's depot, built in 1917, served the Atlanta and West Point Railroad for
nearly a half-century before being adapted for municipal uses in the 1960s. After 18-month rehabilitation, this old but
completely refurbished depot reopened in the fall of 2012 as a community center
which houses a local history museum, banquet hall and conference room.
the population of Palmetto was under 1,000 when the depot was built, it’s now
approaching 5,000 residents. This is due
to the nearby Interstate Highway and the city’s proximity to Atlanta.
·On the museum/depot grounds one can find
the burial plot with a headstone for Willis B. Menefee and his mother. Willis is known as the ‘father’ of
Palmetto. He donated the land the town
was built on.
·The Confederate Army of Tennessee, under
the command of General Hood, arrived in town on September 19, 1864. Jefferson Davis, President of the
Confederacy, visited the town and gave a speech to the troops. From here General Hood launched his
disastrous Tennessee Campaign which ended with the Confederate’s loss at the
Battle of Nashville.
first rail service to serve Fairburn Georgia was the Atlanta and West Point Railroad. The line came through Fairburn after the then
county seat, Campbellton, refused to allow the railroad through that town on
account of the anticipated noise it would cause. Consequently, Fairburn was designated as the
new County Seat in 1870.
has 2 old depots that are located almost adjacent to each other along the
tracks, separated only by an old railway overpass that was built at the same
time. Both depots were built by the
Atlanta and West Point Railroad in 1916 – 1917.
This is the old freight depot and it was or perhaps still is occupied by
a graphics firm.
the former Atlanta and West Point Railroad passenger depot in Fairburn. It was interesting to note that there are
overhanging protected areas at both ends of this structure. That is a little unusual, at least from my
perspective. The building is occupied by
a law firm…and they need to trim some bushes and trees. The building would look better and the firm would look more prosperous and successful!
·It has been documented that the first
Confederate Flag was completed and unfurled here in Fairburn in March of
1861. Some ladies on the train had purchased
the materials for the flag when it stopped in Grantville Georgia on its way to
visited Cedar Key in early September, we decided to re-visit a restaurant we’d
been to the last time we stopped by on our way north…
Tony’s Seafood Restaurant on Second Street in Cedar Key Florida. This restaurant, which is located in the old
Hale building, first opened its doors in June of 2005. Featuring fresh gulf seafood, Tony’s 54-seat
eatery is located in the historic downtown area.
Note: Despite hurricanes, storms, floods and
the passage of time old downtown Cedar Key still has several buildings dating
back as far as 1859. The Hale Building
was built in 1880.
are 2 dining rooms at Tony’s…and this is a decidedly casual dining atmosphere. However, shoes and shirts are required! The air conditioning can be finicky and
opening that front door was a challenge for a couple of patrons while we were having
the restaurant’s major claim to fame! Tony’s
Seafood Restaurant won the Clam Chowder World Championship at the annual Great
Chowder Cook-Off in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
With his 3rd win, Tony’s
chowder was ‘retired’ to the Great Chowder Cook-Off Hall of Fame.
Eric, Tony’s founder and owner, had introduced his famous clam chowder after
being open just one month. He’s lived in
New England for 12 years and he’d sampled chowders all over the region. The
secret recipe isn’t available and only Chef Eric knows the exact ingredients.
do like clam chowder…but it’s easier for me to find quality clam chowder in
East Tennessee than it is to find a nice fresh Fried Shrimp Sandwich. ($10.49)
The shrimp sandwich was very good and the coleslaw was decent as well… For me,
this was the right choice!
couldn’t resist and she ordered a bowl of Tony’s Award Winning Clam Chowder for
her lunch. ($7.99) As advertised, it is indeed very good clam chowder and she
was happy with her choice!
reason that I skipped the chowder is that I can buy as many cans of it as I
want at the Publix supermarket in Farragut Tennessee and throughout the
southeastern USA. (The canned version is very good too and we bought a couple
of cans as soon as we got home!)
food was good but service at Tony’s was rudimentary and not very efficient. This was despite the fact that during this
slow period at Cedar Key the restaurant wasn’t very busy. Tony’s Seafood Restaurant is a 597 Second
Street. Phone: 352-543-0022. Website: www.tonyschowder.com.
September as we headed north toward our home in East Tennessee, I made an
effort to find and photograph a few old railroad depots along the way…
Cedar Key Florida and headed on up US Hwy 19/US Hwy 98 and Alternate US Hwy
27. It’s a little confusing but all of
those roads run together for quite a while in the northwestern portion of the
Florida peninsula. One of my goals was
to stay off the Interstate Highway System for a more interesting drive…
stop was in Perry Florida at the Live Oak, Perry and Gulf train
depot which was built about 1918. Over the years, the depot had deteriorated but ‘Main Street Perry, Inc.’ purchased
the structure in 2001 and with a grant restored the roof. As it had been a goal of the City to create a
"gateway" into the center of town with hopes of attracting people to the
historic downtown, Perry purchased the building and began restoration. The inside was divided into 4 retail spaces
to serve as "incubator" business rentals. The rehabilitated train depot was dedicated
as "Perry Historic Station" in 2009.
is the County Seat of Taylor County Florida and it has a population of a little
over 7,000 residents.
Note: The Perry Race Riot occurred in Perry in December
of 1922, during which whites burned escaped convict Charles Wright at the stake
and attacked the black community of Perry after the murder of a white
schoolteacher. The day after Wright's death
2 other black men were shot and hanged.
Whites then burned the town's black school, Masonic lodge, church,
amusement hall, as well as several families' homes.
the heck! Since we passed this imposing
County Courthouse while looking for a railroad depot in Monticello Florida, I
thought that I’d take a photo. Why pass
up the opportunity? This had to be
listed in the National Register of Historic Places…and it is!
is the County Seat for Jefferson County Florida. The Courthouse is an historic Classical
Revival style structure that was constructed in in 1909. This courthouse is one of the contributing or
anchor buildings in Monticello’s U.S. Historic District. The district contains a total of 41 historic
some searching we located what appears to be an old freight depot. I suspect that at one time it belonged to the
Atlantic Coast Line/Southern Air Line Railway. The good news is that it’s been well maintained
and is apparently in use. It sits along a paved walkway in a park like
setting that appears to be a former railroad track right of way…
next stop (in my depot search) was in Pelham Georgia. This is the former Atlantic Coast Line Depot
on Depot Street. It was built in
1914. From what I could glean from the
Internet, it used to serve as Pelham’s City Hall but it’s now the home of the town’s
Welcome Center, Museum and the Chamber of Commerce. The
other end of this depot consists of an open air freight platform.
hadn’t originally planned to take this route, all I knew was that there was
supposed to be an old railroad depot somewhere in town. As it turns out, I missed another depot, a
two-story structure built by the Flint River and Northeast Railroad was just a
couple of blocks away... Bummer!
has rail freight service through the Florida and Georgia Railroad. It’s a short line railroad with 297 miles of
track that is owned by OmniTRAX, a company that owns 18 regional and short line
railroads in 12 states and 3 Canadian provinces. Among its holdings is the Hudson Bay Railroad
that serves the port of Churchill on Hudson Bay in Canada.
a rail side view of the 1911 Atlantic Coast Line combination passenger and
freight railroad depot in Camilla Georgia.
From what I’ve noted, it appears that this depot was built by the Gulf
and Florida Railway. As with Pelham, freight
service continues for Camilla via OmniTRAX/Georgia and Florida Railroad.
sides of this handsome brick depot are quite attractive and it’s very well maintained. The Camilla Depot is the home of the local
Chamber of Commerce and the town’s Welcome Center.
a city of about 5,000, is the County Seat for Mitchell County. In 2000 and 2003, disastrous tornados tore
through this town… The first storm killed 11 people in town and the second
storm injured about 200 people throughout the County.
Note: The city was incorporated in 1858. The name Camilla was chosen in honor of the
granddaughter of Henry Mitchell for whom the county was named. He served in the American Revolutionary War
and later as the General of the Georgia Militia. He was also an important politician in the
early September we were searching for dinner options while staying in Cedar Key
Florida. I checked through the
recommendations that the owner of ‘Tranquility’, (the condo we rented while in
town), had sent us.
heartily suggested the pizza from Island Pizzeria, even telling us that they
would deliver to the condo. We decided that
we’d go to Island Pizzeria ourselves just to get a look at the place… Cute, don’t
checked TripAdvisor back at home when I wrote this post for my blog site. It showed 136 Excellent/Very Good reviews vs.
4 Poor/Terrible for Island Pizzeria. It
can’t get much better than that!
interior of Island Pizzeria is compact and it was hot in there! Between early September heat and the pizza
oven, it was stifling! Perhaps that’s
why ‘Ms. Personality’ at the counter was so unfriendly and uncommunicative…
the pizza chef was really into his 'craft'...making pizzas. I know that he looks like he might be a
fisherman but you just can’t judge a book by its cover! He spent quite a bit of time meticulously ‘building’
our “Meat Pizza”. (10" - $9.25; 14” - $18.00; 18” - $22.00)
a photo of our waiting area… No dining in here!
It’s all take out or delivery…
menu offerings go beyond pizza. There
are a few appetizers including toasted ravioli, a couple of pasta dishes, (ravioli
and spaghetti), salads and a number of sandwich options with slow cooked
Italian beef being the most unexpected. (When reading some of the TripAdvisor reviews, I noted that the burgers received high praise)
our Meat Pizza back to the condo for dinner… The chef at Island Pizzeria
definitely loaded our pizza with protein goodness! It was covered with pepperoni, sausage, bacon
and slices of meatballs. Laurie doesn’t
really like meatballs but she thought these were pretty good. It was a very nice pizza…better than anything
that we have been able to find after living for over 6 years in the greater
Knoxville Tennessee area!
Pizzeria is located at 12720 State Hwy. 24 in Cedar Key, Florida. Phone: 352-543-5999. Website and Menu: www.islandpizzeria.net.