Friday, April 6, 2012

Mamaws, Manatees and More

If The Colonel's grandmother (aka Mamaw) were still alive she would have celebrated her 100th birthday this year on April 4th. In honor of her birthday, The Colonel and I drove to the cemetery (about an hour's drive north) and placed some flowers on her grave.

Everyone should have a grandma (and great-grandma) like Mamaw in their lives. She was smart as a whip, funny, witty, kind, generous and thoughtful. I am glad I had Mamaw in my life and the lives of my children.

Since we were going to be up Mamaw's way we decided to visit a few other places while in that neck of the woods. 

We drove to Anna Maria Island to have lunch at one of our favorite places...The Rod and Reel Pier.

There were a lot of people on the pier, some were fishing but most were waiting to be called in to a table (the place only seats 50). The Colonel and I walked up the stairs expecting to have a long wait ahead of us when we put our name on the list. As soon as we made it to the top of the stairs a young man waiting there asked if we wanted to sit inside or outside and The Colonel said, "First available" and the young man then immediately pointed us to an outside table not five feet from where we were standing. We couldn't believe our good fortune. I ordered grilled shrimp and The Colonel, fried. Delicious!

 After lunch I had to use the bathroom (cleverly or cheesily labeled "Outboards" and "Inboards", you decide), so I left The Colonel to pay the bill. Once done, I walked around the restaurant's lower deck taking pictures when I heard someone shout, "Manatees!" I quickly made my way down the pier through the crowd of onlookers. I could see the Manatees slowly swimming from one side of the pier to the other. I reached a viewing and photo taking spot shortly after the three Manatees emerged from under the pier.

I met up with The Colonel and took one more parting shot of the Rod and Reel Pier.

We made a short stop at a little research library so that The Colonel could look up some information for the museum we volunteer for. Next stop on our little day trip was Manatee Village Historical Park. In this park were several restored historical buildings from Manatee County's past. On our self-guided tour we saw some pretty, old buildings.

General Store (1903)

 Stephens House (1912)

Courthouse (1860)

1887 church

It was a nice little step back in time. We had one more place to visit before we headed back south for home; the ruins of Braden Castle.

In 1850, Dr. Joseph Braden, using slave labor, built his plantation house on 900 acres along the Manatee River. He operated a sugar and grist mill there. The "castle" was two-stories and its tabby (lime, sand and crushed shells) walls were 20 inches thick. There were four rooms on each floor and each room was about 20 sq. ft. Dr. Braden's castle had eight fireplaces and four chimneys.

In 1856 the castle was unsuccessfully attacked by Seminole Indians. Later it was abandoned and destroyed by a woods fire in 1903. In 1924 the ruins were purchased by the Camping Tourists of America.

The ruins today look nothing like the old postcard picture above. A chain link fence surrounds the much more weathered and dilapidated ruins. These are some of the pictures I snapped of what remains of Dr. Braden's castle.

The Braden Castle ruins are located within the grounds of a "55 and over" community. The streets are narrow, winding and sloping. Along the streets are some of the cutest and smallest houses we have ever seen. Many of these houses were built in the 1920's and 1930's.

Our little day trip was coming to an end and it was time to head back south for home. It had been a most excellent day.

1 comment:

  1. I do believe that we had a wonderful set of grandparents growing up. Lelah and Frank were the best Maternal grandparents one could have. I miss all of them deeply. Kit