Wormsloe Plantation – Haunting Reminders of the Past

Wormsloe Gate
The gate to the Wormsloe Historic Site.
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On our recent trip to Savannah, Kim and I visited a plantation known as the Wormsloe Historic Site. Wormsloe was constructed by Noble Jones, one of the members of the party that founded Savannah. He landed in Georgia alongside James Oglethorpe in 1733. Noble Jones performed many duties as a member of the fledgling colony, including surveying, scouting and more.

Eventually, Jones would request a lease of 500 acres of land from the trustees behind the colony overlooking Skidaway Narrows. His fortified house, which was completed in 1745, was to act as a defensive structure built to patrol the area and block any Spanish incursions into English-claimed lands.

Jones constructed the home using wood and tabby. Tabby is an inferior concrete created from oyster shells and lime. It was frequently used in place of bricks which were expensive and difficult to create in colonial America. Now, the home lies in ruins, tucked back in the woods on the property.

Upon driving through the gates of the property, you will see one of the most beautiful parts of Wormsloe. Its mile and a half approach consists of a dirt driveway surrounded by live oaks draped in Spanish moss. This drive lends an almost mystical feel to the property that is characteristic of so many southern US locales. These trees and their ghostly drapery create a haunting air that drags your mind back to the past, allowing you to fully appreciate the history of such places. See for yourself (this is a video of our drive out of Wormsloe):

Once you’ve driven up to the parking area, there is another short walk to the actual ruins. The property has several hiking areas, but we only checked out the museum at the parking area and the ruins themselves. The ruins themselves are beautiful in the way that nature has had its way with the fortified home. Little remains except for the crumbling tabby walls. Even still, you can feel the history of the place and the fact that it was set back from any populated area gives it a calming, contemplative feel. We had the place to ourselves when we arrived and all we could hear was the occasional snap of a twig or the scrabbling of a squirrel through the underbrush. I really enjoyed taking pictures of the ruins.

As we wandered the grounds, I could not help but think about how starting anew with only the smallest comforts and advantages we are accustomed to would be a great concept for a game. With the spike of survival games, we have begun to capture this concept in very narrative-lite games. Games like DayZ and even Minecraft drop you in a world with almost nothing, expecting you to figure out your own survival or die trying. I think there is definitely room in the narrative open-world space for ideas like this and that the concept will only become more popular as we are hopefully at the dawn of a new era of exploration. Missions are slowly gaining traction to send people to Mars and possibly one of Jupiter’s moons, Europa, even farther down the road. Some of us may live to see the start of a new era of colonization (albeit hopefully a more responsible and considerate version of the past).

Imagine a game set in an untamed world where you have been sent by a corporation to create a profitable colony. You have enough supplies to feed your small party for a few weeks, but must begin making your own way in this hostile world or die. Combining emergent narrative and scripted, but randomized narrative events while also blending elements of first person action/adventure and city building sims could create a very interesting player experience. Players would be responsible for managing their brave group of explorers while also putting their own work in to ensure their fragile community succeeds, lest they lose the favor of their investors.

Wormsloe is essentially a remainder of such a concept – an abandoned, fortified home left over from the dawn of a colony that would eventually grow into a city. While Wormsloe stands broken, it is not forgotten and stands as a testament of more turbulent times. I recommend a visit for those who are interested in history, particularly early colonial American history. I know I found it inspiring!

What to know if you go

  • It costs $10 per adult to enter the site and they would prefer that you pay before snapping your pictures (since some people come into the property to just take a picture of the driveway and then leave).
  • They do offer guided walking tours 10 AM, 11 AM, 2 PM and 3 PM. These tours are included in your admission.
  • Definitely walk through the museum before hiking around the property. It’s not huge and will take you maybe 10-15 minutes and it’s worth it to get an idea of what the tabby structure would have looked like before it fell into ruin. the movie is okay, but you can skip it – it just gives you details on Noble Jones and his family, most of which you can gather from the museum pretty quickly.

Places

Wormsloe Historic Site

7601 Skidaway Rd Savannah, GA 31406 Chatham County
912-353-3023

Wormsloe Historic Site

7601 Skidaway Rd Savannah, GA 31406 Chatham County
912-353-3023
http://gastateparks.org/Wormsloe

Soaking Up Southern Hospitality for Thanksgiving

Zeb hopes we'll mistake him for an extra piece of luggage so he can go, too!
Zeb hopes we'll mistake him for an extra piece of luggage so he can go, too!

It’s the night before Thanksgiving, and despite the impeccable timing of a snowstorm, we’re headed to Charleston, SC, tomorrow morning to experience some of that famed Southern hospitality. It was a hard decision, to leave during what is probably the most family-centric holiday of the year. Some might even call it selfish—heck, I call it selfish. But we’ve been talking the last couple of weeks about making the most of limited vacation time, and this is how we have to do it. With only two vacation days left this year, this was the only possible time to make a trip like this. Plus Thanksgiving Day is one of the cheapest days of the year to fly, so we got great rates! It’s hard to pass up. We’re lucky to have an understanding family. (Thanks, guys!)

We booked just a few short weeks ago, so I’ve had an abbreviated amount of time to plan the perfect trip. Somehow actually booking things with real money is very different than dreaming my day away while perusing travel sites. I actually find it rather stressful. I know we have a finite amount of time, and I want to make the most of it. The worst thing for me is getting somewhere and then having to read a guide book because I don’t know what to do. I like to have a game plan; whether I stick to it or not is a different story.

Plan of Attack

What do I do to plan my days, you ask? I always like to go into a trip with a day-by-day schedule, which gives me easy access to a general timeline, and pertinent reservation details for airlines, hotels, and car rentals. In college, my roommate and I took a grand 8-day road trip down the east coast to Florida and back up through Louisiana and Tennessee, and had every minute planned out on elaborately decorated pages placed in a three-ring binder. I don’t take it to quite that extreme now, but I don’t leave home without my travel folder.

I’ve been scouring TripAdvisor for the best attractions and restaurants, reading review after review, and picking places that make the most sense for us. I’ve also found the 36 Hours column in the New York Times extremely helpful. We’re actually going to Charleston and Savannah, so I’ve printed both and placed them in my folder for some reading on the plane. (I do leave gaps in my itineraries for serendipity, but I like to have suggestions like these to fall back on in case we find ourselves with an afternoon free and nothing to do. That hasn’t happened yet, but it’s always good to be prepared!)

TripAdvisor helps me plan my life.

TripAdvisor helps me plan my life.

Packing Tips for Short Trips

A lot of friends have asked me about some of my packing tricks. I’ve come a long way since having my three pieces of rolling luggage for two arms during my study abroad in Florence. Seriously, it wasn’t pretty. The thing that sealed the deal for my packing wizardry was my trip to San Francisco in early October. I broke my finger several weeks before in Cancun, and wasn’t able to carry any luggage. I was traveling alone, so I had to make five days’ worth of necessities fit in a backpack. And I was going to a conference, so I needed business and practical clothes—plus room for souvenirs.

Even for long weekend trips, I used to need “options.” I’d fill up a giant suitcase with clothes for a week, and would only wear a quarter of them. I’d take a giant make-up case filled with all kinds of products I never wore at home, and a separate set of jewelry to match every outfit.

Now I pack the basics. Five outfits for five days (and even that’s a bit much, because you can re-wear things). I like to bring versatile outfits—one cami for two different days. A scarf that will go with three things. Multiple outfits that can handle the same couple sets of jewelry. I no longer need the huge Vera Bradley toiletry kit. I pack my medicine, face wash, toothpaste, jewelry, and make-up in separate sandwich bags, and place them in a much smaller zippered case. It takes up a quarter of the space, and is really all I need. Kyle and I are only taking carry-ons this time, and I had so much room left in the small suitcase that I packed an empty backpack in one of them so we can bring home souvenirs. Yes, I’ve become much more efficient!

 

We are really excited to be visiting Charleston and Savannah—two of the most beautiful cities in the country. Charleston is consistently rated amount the top cities in the world, and I can’t wait to discover why people love it so much. I’ve heard that you’re either a Charleston person or a Savannah person, so it’ll be fun to visit them back to back to see which one I enjoy more.

Have you been to either city? Do you have any recommendations for us—you know, for that “serendipity” time in our itinerary?

 

 

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