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North Carolina

New Bern.  This was the colonial capital of North Carolina and
has been restored “Williamsburg-fashion” though on a reduced
scale.  Tour the Tryon Palace, residence and office of the colonial
governor.  Then walk about the splendid gardens and grounds,
photo.  

True to its name, New Bern has a Swiss theme in the downtown
area.  Then south on US-17 to…





Wilmington.  Wilmington is a pleasant southern city that you may
wish to explore.  The city is a movie/TV production center (studio
tours available), and recently claimed to rank number three in the
US.  You may recognize some of the landmarks that have been
included in top TV shows.  The city’s waterfront offers nice
eateries, nightspots, live theatre and a colorful historic district.  

The North Carolina Azalea Festival is in early April and the area is
a blast of color.  In April the azaleas are particularly colorful at
Greenfield Lake, off US-421 about a mile south of US-76 as you
approach the bridge at the western side of the city.  




Leave the city and cross the bridge and go north on US-421,
about one mile to tour the
USS North Carolina, a WW2 battleship
– the most decorated battleship in the Pacific theatre.  It is well
presented.  As you look across the river you will see the
courthouse in downtown Wilmington that you may recall was in the
TV series
Matlock.  Go south on US-421 (back to Wilmington) for
17 miles to…  




Fort Fisher State Historic Park.  The fort was constructed by
the Confederate Army to protect the harbor, which was the last
Confederate port to surrender.  The dirt fortifications can be
toured.  The port of Wilmington was important, as the imports
from England were necessary for the Confederacy.  Northerners
are used to seeing the Civil War from a different perspective.  
This is on the ocean and adjacent to a nice beachfront at the
adjacent state recreation area.  Surf fishing is active.  The
North
Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher
is located here.  


Fishermen and tourists enjoy the nearby
Kure Beach Pier.  This
is the most northern area for seeing alligators and palm trees.  
Recent hurricanes have devastated most of the palms.

    SIDE TRIP.  From Fort Fisher consider taking a ferry to
    Southport, a pleasant southern waterfront village.  From
    Southport drive north on route 87 then Route 133 to
    Brunswick Town, which was a Colonial town.  Later it
    became a Confederate Army fort.  It is better preserved
    than Fort Fisher, which has suffered from erosion with its
    ocean exposure.


           
South Carolina

Myrtle Beach.  As you approach Myrtle Beach follow the new
bypass.  Take Route 9 to Route 35.  This takes you to US-501
and then go south.  (If you need RV supplies, get off at the
second exit and go under the highway and turn left to the
Camping World.)  Rejoin US-17 and go south.  Myrtle Beach has
several country music shows that are quality.  If golf is your game
there are over one hundred courses in the area.  The beach is
superb.  A few miles south is…





Huntington Beach State Park – as you enter this ocean front
park you see resident alligators, maybe the eagles, and have
easy access to the fine beach.  You don’t have to be a camper to
enjoy this park.  Enter the Hyatt mansion, photo, and imagine how
Mrs. Hyatt sculpted the bears.  Just across the street is the…





Brookgreen Gardens – a treasure.  Outstanding – what more
can I say?  This is the largest outside statuary display in the US –
more than six hundred pieces properly displayed in appropriate
garden settings (photo).  This is a “must-see”.  Then head south
to …




Mt. Pleasant.  You will see roadside stands selling locally made
sweet grass items.  Many are quite intricate.  This is a local
specialty.  Also, as you approach the city from the north you will
see...


Patriots Point where the USS Yorktown (photo) is open to the
public.  Take time to also visit the
USS Laffey the most decorated
destroyer in WW2 and the
USS Clamagore a diesel submarine
from WW2.



From here you can take a ferry to
Fort Sumter National
Monument
, the first Union fort to fire during the Civil War, which
is open to visitors (photo).  Learn more about this war.  Then
cross the bridge to …



Charleston.  This is a city of the “old south” that features its
heritage.  Stately waterfront homes are open to visitors.  There is
much to see.  You should check a local guidebook to budget your
time.  We also enjoyed some of the fine gardens in the outskirts
of the city.  Now, go to I-95 and head south to US-82 (around
Brunswick) and go west to…

Georgia

Okefenokee Swamp.  This is a wildlife and wilderness area.  
Take a boat ride, if available, and go into the marshes – it’s
interesting.  (Sometimes, because of drought conditions, the boat
trip has been closed.) You may see some alligators and lots of
water birds.  Return to I-95 and go south (if desired bypass
Jacksonville on I-295) to…

        
At this point you can connect to
Route L Florida
Route I  Gulf Coast to California - along the border
Travel Letters
Tulips are featured in early spring at the Tryon Palace gardens
USS Yorktown
Fort Sumter was the target of the first Confederate action that started the war
Brookgreen Gardens displays range from heroic size to smaller pieces
Atalaya, Hyatt's mansion is open for touring
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