The Best and the Still-Potentially Good


April 10, 2022- It helps me to consolidate my learnings from any observational journey, by looking at what was best and what could have been better. It never helps, really, to disparage a given place or person. We are all works in progress.

So, looking at the places of accommodation in which I stayed, over the three weeks just past, here are some impressions:

America’s Best Value Inn, Brunswick, GA- Clean and well-furnished. It was quiet, a bit out of town, but not too far out of the way. Good WiFi.

America’s Best Value Inn, West Melbourne, FL- Clean, but not well-furnished, aside from the comfortable bed, which was also the seat. It was fairly lively, being Spring Break and all, but no one carried on much, after 11 p.m. Good WiFi.

Vero Inn, Vero Beach, FL- Very clean and well-furnished. It is a small motel, yet the owners are very proud of their enterprise and treat guests like family. Great Wi Fi.

Bikini Hostel and Cafe, Miami Beach- Well-tended rooms, excessive surcharges on parking, minimal breakfasts and suppers, reasonable locker fee. The evening manager is engaging and attentive, especially to the needs of young people traveling alone. The rest of the male staff are rather aloof. The ladies, mostly housekeepers, are kind and relaxed, while doing their jobs well. This place could use an attitude adjustment, on the part of upper management and security. WiFi is great, though.

Conty’s Motel, Naples, FL- Large room, good furnishings and clean, though pricey for a place with stand-up shower. Owner is stoic, but attentive. WiFi is fairly good.

Plaza Travel Inn, Clewiston, FL- Very attentive owner-manager greeted me and apologized for having to change out his door bell. Good-sized room, good furnishings and clean. The co-owner even hoses down the parking lot, each evening. WiFi was good.

Gram’s Place Hostel, Tampa- One of the three best places I stayed this time around. Owner-manager is very grateful for visitors, and the place is usually packed. Lots of quirky memorabilia-even a tree Some areas needed work-one sink had no running water, but there was a working sink nearby. Kitchen could use some cereal bowls. (I’ll have to remember to donate some, if that is still the case next time.) Rooms were clean. Patio is spacious and welcoming. Great WiFi.

Motel 6, Spring Hill, FL- I stayed here two nights. Clean, with fairly good furniture. Quite a rambunctious group of guests, but no one bothered me. Desk clerk was engaging and very attentive. Good WiFi.

Motel 6, Americus, GA- I stayed here two nights, as well. Single woman runs the place, and was gentle, but firm, with panhandling drifter who hung around and bothered single female guests. There is a nice laundry room for guests to use. Room was clean and had good furnishings. Wi Fi was good.

Heart of Dixie Motel, Dadeville, AL- This place needs work. The owner did not realize that towels and washcloths were not available. Furnishings are passable. The bathroom was fairly clean. The sleeping room was a bit more so. WiFi was fair.

Sonesta Select, Atlanta- Marvelous, four-star resort hotel, and one of the three best places on this trip-as much because of the regal, but attentive, front desk staff, as because of the accoutrements. Furnishings were excellent and room was spotless. WiFi was gr

The Quisby, New Orleans- The third great place on this journey, and a truly Big Easy hostel, I felt that the management had their act together, keeping a potentially unruly bunch in good order. Clean and well-kept rooms, with comfortable bunks and very nice bathrooms. WiFi is excellent and the food is simple but excellent.

Alamo Inn, San Antonio- I got the last available room here, at nearly the last minute. Alamo would be #4 on my list of “bests”. Rick, the owner, is very accommodating and will even call an Uber for guests needing transport to downtown. The rooms are large, clean and have great furnishings. WiFi is great.

Accommodations being most important, eateries are a close second. The best were: Sunrise Diner, Brunswick; Fourth Street Deli, Fernandina Beach, FL; Tanuki, Miami Beach; Brian’s Place, Hernando Beach, FL; Cowboys Fire Pit BBQ, Lake Park, GA; Farm Burger, Atlanta; Cooks and Soldiers, Atlanta, Thousand Hills Coffee House, Atlanta and Oskar’s Cafe, Dadeville. For sentimental reasons, I add Zaxby’s, Dublin, GA and Osceola Tiger, Miccosuki Reservation, because the kids are caring and attentive.

The most memorable places visited were Andersonville National Historic Site; American Beach, Amelia Island, FL; Kennedy Space Complex Visitors Center, Merritt Island, FL; Downtown Key West; Smathers Beach and Bahia Honda, Lower Keys; South Beach, Miami Beach; Big Cypress National Preserve; Naples Botanical Garden, Naples, FL; Downtown Tampa; St. Petersburg Waterfront; Koinonia Farm, Americus; Tuskegee Airmen National Monument, Tuskegee, AL.

So those are my takes on things Southeast, at least for now.

Two Voices of Reason, and Their Opposites


April 2, 2022, Dadeville, AL- “Behold a tree. Does it speak to us thusly: ‘Don’t you see that God is not working Himself into a frenzy in me? I am calmly, quietly, silently pouring forth my life and bringing forth fruit. ‘ Do thou likewise.”-Clarence Jordan

Mr. Jordan was one of the founders of Koinonia Farm, an intentional experiment in Christian living, which began in 1942, west of Americus, GA. Together with his wife, Florence, and colleagues Martin and Mabel England, he built a community based on the brotherhood and sisterhood of all people. This brought hostility from those who were afraid of racial equality, with Ku Klux Klan attacks and drive-by shootings, as well as bombings in the 1950s.

Koinonia’s response was nonviolence and prayer. The founders, and the community, survived nicely, and the enterprise remains as it was founded, rooted in love and prayer. Clarence passed away in 1969. Out of Koinonia’s ministerial efforts have come Habitat for Humanity, and The Fuller Center for Housing. Koinonia remains a fully-functioning cooperative farm.

Here are some scenes of the property, which I visited this morning.

An example of an unreasoning individual showed up, as I was preparing to turn left into the chapel’s driveway, and passed my car, on a double yellow line, in the opposite lane, seconds before I would have turned, had I not felt the energy telling me-“WAIT!” The vehicle must have been moving at 50 mph, leaving the road and bouncing back on it, about fifteen seconds later.

Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States, is still alive, at age 97. He lives with his wife Rosalynn, on a private compound, in Plains, GA, where they grew up. Plains proudly holds its favourite son and daughter to its heart. The small downtown bears the imprint of the U.S. National Park Service. While not everyone on the block is a fan of Mr. Carter, those who grew up there are.

Two very positive shop owners were the proprietor of a peanut butter ice cream parlor, who is a native of Plains and a small cash dispenser/convenience store owner, who comes from Sri Lanka. The owner of Plains Trading Post has one of the largest troves of political memorabilia and media, in the nation. I will leave it at that. He has several rare books on various historical topics. I bought one, as a gift to a family member.

At the Jimmy Carter National Historical Site, on the campus of the former Plains High School, it was noteworthy that one of the strongest influences on Mr. Carter was his school’s lead educator, Miss Julia Coleman-who was a pedagogically active Superintendent. Miss Coleman (She rejected the title, Ms.) was active in community gardening and took a personal interest in both the white and black schools, and their students. It dismayed her that there was so much resistance to integration of the two student bodies, even as late as 1965.

The fullness of Jimmy Carter’s life is well-depicted in the 25-minute video that is shown in the historical site’s auditorium. I hope to learn more, at the Carter Center, his Presidential Library, in Atlanta-but not until my next visit in the area. (Mr. Carter believes on keeping the Sabbath, so the facility is closed on Sunday). Needless to say, his legacy is already one of the most genuine and consistently enriched, of all the Presidents.

Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site is situated at the very field where the men trained. Just north of the city of Tuskegee, Alabama, it is a spacious area, and is still used as a training site for pilots of small aircraft.

This hangar contains examples of two training airplanes, a plane motor and has audio presentations of several different players in the endeavour. Women served as security, parachute preparers, and aircraft mechanics.

It was a full day, and I admit to being a bit less energetic than the various people zipping along the backroads of Alabama, while I headed to and from Oskar’s Cafe, and Heart of Dixie Motel, Dadeville. Oskar’s has modest, but very filling portions-continuing in the spirit of Georgia and Florida. Madolyn was another very focused and energetic server. The motel needs a lot of work, but it’s clean and safe.

Tomorrow, I head back to Atlanta, for a day or two.