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Old Sheldon Church

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About half-an-hour north of Beaufort, there’s a place in the woods which has become one of the low country’s favorite secrets. The ruins of the Old Sheldon Church are found down a tiny road, in a forest of towering oaks draped in Spanish moss.

Old Sheldon Church

The Prince William’s Parish Church was originally built around 1750, but was burnt down by the British during the Revolution. It was rebuilt in in 1826, and once again met a violent death during the Civil War, finding itself in the path of pillaging General Sherman. Since then, the church been left to ruin.

But what ruins they are! Huge bricked walls with intact archways have somehow defied gravity, while a number of columns sprout from the ground as though in competition with the oaks. Scattered around the site are graves, some which are too worn to read, and other that have sunk into the ground. Within the church sits the tombstone of William Bull, who was of great assistance to Oglethorpe in the layout and development of Savannah, and after whom Bull Street is named.

Old Sheldon Church is a popular place for wedding portraits, for reasons which are immediately apparent. If you’re anywhere in the area, make sure to stop by and take in one of the region’s most beautiful scenes.

Location on our Map

South Carolina Hotels and Inns

Sheldon Church
Sheldon Columns
Church Ruins USA
Sneaky Church Entrance
South Carolina Ruins
Brick Column
Fake Rose
Spanish Moss Graves
Grave Flower
Tombstone OX
Grave Paw
MRS MJ
Brick Filled Tree
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January 25, 2011 at 2:34 pm Comments (7)

Spanish Moss: Neither Spanish nor Moss

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I clearly remember the first time we entered Savannah, and turned onto 37th Street, where we would be living for three months. Huge oak trees canopied the street and random rays of sunlight squeezed past the Spanish moss, which hung apathetically off branches like the embodiment of sorrow. Years from now, when I shut my eyes and think “Savannah,” Spanish moss washed in sunlight will be what I see.

New Spanish Moss

Spanish moss doesn’t come from Spain. It’s indigenous to the Southeastern US, with a range between Florida, Maryland and Texas. There are a bunch of stories for why it’s named after the Spanish, but the most likely explanation is that the newly-arrived British thought this odd, mossy plant looked like the graying beards of their Spanish rivals.

And not only is Spanish moss not Spanish, it also isn’t a moss. It’s an airborne plant which takes its nutrients directly from the air. It’s actually a member of the same family as the pineapple, which is just bizarre enough to be true. Spanish moss doesn’t harm the trees it rests on, which are predominately Live Oaks and Bald Cypresses.

One of the first things we learned in Savannah was not to touch the Spanish moss, because of the red, biting bugs which live on it. Of course, this lesson was learned immediately after we had fashioned a “hilarious” moss coat for our dog, and wigs for ourselves.

I’ve often wondered to what extent the Spanish moss unconsciously influences life in the South. It fits perfectly in Savannah, creating an atmosphere of mystery and beauty, and it’s impossible to imagine the city without it.

Buy Spanish Moss Here

New Spanish Moss
New Spanish Moss
New Spanish Moss
New Spanish Moss
New Spanish Moss
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January 24, 2011 at 7:56 pm Comments (6)

Skidaway Island

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Skidaway Island is one of Savannah’s larger coastal islands, found just past the Isle of Hope. Home to a state park popular with campers, it provides yet another great escape from the city.

Savannah Day Trip

There are campgrounds at Skidaway State Park, but since we don’t have a tent, we just spent a few sunny hours exploring the woods. There are a couple trails to choose from, and we went with the three-mile Big Ferry Trail. It was secluded and peaceful, and we enjoyed the views of oaks covered in Spanish moss, swampy marshes and shell middens.

The trail was almost too simple and the three miles passed by in a flash. We came upon a Prohibition-era bootlegging spot with barrels still rotting in place, and earthworks from the Civil War where Confederates prepared for a Union assault that never came. Near the water, there’s an observation deck from where people more invested than us might spot a bird or two.

Perhaps the most fun we had on Skidaway Island was driving east past the state park. Well, as far east as we could manage. This side of the island is dominated by gated communities with names like The Landings and Deer Run. There were a lot of SUVs and a lot of churches, all of which were busy, since it was Sunday. State parks, churches and gated communities… Skidaway might be the perfect representation of a certain type of American dream.

Location on our Savannah Map

Take The Savannah Ghost and Gravestone Tour

Savannah Hiking
Tree Wall
Tarzan Paradise
Haunted Island
Marsh Walk
Skidaway Island
Baumrinde
Shrooms
Savannah Island
Moss Carpet
Bowing Tree
Bootleg
Flying Over Savannah
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January 13, 2011 at 9:28 am Comment (1)

Forsyth Park

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Occupying 30 acres between Drayton and Whitaker Street, Forsyth is Savannah’s answer to NYC’s Central Park. It’s not as massive as its counterpart, but blends more seamlessly into the city, and has long been a part of its history.

Forsyth Fountain Park

Forsyth Park was built in the 1840s and christened in honor of John Forsyth, a former statesman and Georgian governor. The park’s massive fountain, crowned with a female figure and flanked by spitting geese, was inspired by the fountain in Paris’ Plaza de la Concorde. With water shooting haphazardly in all directions, it’s one of the most recognizable landmarks of Savannah, appearing in films like 1962’s Cape Fear and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Three monuments in Forsyth Park commemorate Savannah’s contribution to American wars. To the north, there’s one for the Vietnam War. An impressively large memorial to the Civil War’s Confederate dead is in the park’s center, with the biblical inscription: “Come from the four winds, o’ breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” (It’s a touching line, but one which reveals disturbing pro-zombie tendencies; The Walking Dead is filmed in Georgia, isn’t it?). And at the southern end is an interesting tribute to the Spanish-American war, in which the US helped liberate Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Guam from Spanish influence.

Forsyth Fountain Park

Though the northern third of the park is shaded and tree-filled, the rest is wide open, with flat lawns that host weekend picnics and pick-up sports. There’s a café, a visitors center and an open-air stage for summer concerts, as well as something I’d never heard of before: a Fragrant Garden for the Blind. The gate was locked, but I stuck my nose through the bars and took a long whiff. It smelled of trash and roses.

During our first few days in Savannah, we had already crossed through Forsyth Park multiple times. Practically an extended pedestrian-only section of Bull Street, it’s as much a thoroughfare as a destination, and I had a feeling we’d be getting to know the park intimately.

Location on our Savannah Map

Cheap Flights To Savnnah

Forsyth Fountain Park
Forsyth Fountain Park
Forsyth Fountain Park
Forsyth Fountain Park
Forsyth Fountain Park
Forsyth Fountain Park
Forsyth Fountain Park
Forsyth Fountain Park
Forsyth Fountain Park
Forsyth Fountain Park
Forsyth Fountain Park
Forsyth Fountain Park
haunted Moss
Mega Moss
Savannah Tree
Invasion Spanish Moss
Moss Statue
Confederate Savannah
Confederate Savannah
Confedereate Statue
Confederate
Spanish Soldier
Spanish American War
Fragrance Garden Savannah
Savannah Mushrooms
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November 5, 2010 at 8:12 pm Comments (9)
Old Sheldon Church About half-an-hour north of Beaufort, there's a place in the woods which has become one of the low country's favorite secrets. The ruins of the Old Sheldon Church are found down a tiny road, in a forest of towering oaks draped in Spanish moss.
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