Spring 2005 Southern Tour
In the spring of 2005, we went on a vacation through the American South.
We started with a visit to St. Louis for the NCAA Men's Baketball Final Four on April 2
Then on April 6 we went to New Orleans to start a "train cruise" on
the American Orient Express to Washington, DC, with stops
in Vicksburg (MS), Savannah (GA), Charleston (SC), and Richmond/Fredericksburg
Each day we took pictures and wrote up some of our impressions:
- April 2: St. Louis Saturday
- Wandering around town including the Capitol and the Arch. Then the Saturday games of the Final Four.
- April 3: St. Louis Sunday
- A visit to the St. Louis Zoo, a sort of artistic picture of the Old Capitol, and shots from a blues club we found in a neighborhood called Soulard.
- April 4: St. Louis Monday
- First, a visit to a very odd museum, which included a collection of
architectural figures from now-demolished or "refurbished" buildings.
Then lunch with some street performers, and finally the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship.
- April 5: New Orleans, Louisiana
- Just three pictures as Jenny and Allan start eating and drinking their
way through New Orleans.
- April 6: New Orleans, Louisiana
- Brunch at Brennan's, beignets at Cafe Du Monde, rain in the French Quarter,
and boarding the train to start our trip on the American Orient Express.
- April 7: Vicksburg, Mississippi
- First stop on the American Orient Express: Vicskburg, Mississippi. The seige
of Vicksburg resulted in a Confederate surrender that divided the South into
two parts along the Mississippi.
We toured the battle lines of the beseigers and defenders and saw
the large number of monuments placed in the National Military Park by the
participating states, both Union and Confederate.
In Vicksburg itself, we had lunch at a home that was once owned by Jefferson Davis' older brother. Davis himself lived here after being freed from prison after the war,
and gave a famous speech from its front balcony thanking the people of Vicksburg
(and, by extension, the whole South) for their efforts.
- April 8: On the Train
- We spent Friday on the train, traveling from Jackson, Mississippi to
Savannah, Georgia. This page has some pictures from the train.
- April 9: Savannah
- Savannah is the hospitality city in the South: in Atlanta they ask, "What
business are you in?" In Charleston they ask, "What is your lineage?" But in
Savannah they ask, "What will you have to drink?"
We had a trolley tour of the historic district and the Riverfront, and then a "progressive lunch" where you have Mint Juleps and the entree at one house and dessert at another. Then we saw Fort Pulaski, a fort the Confederates took over. It fell when the Union used new-fangled rifled canon that could reach it from the next island.
- April 10: Charleston, South Carolina
- There are people who preferred Savannah, and people who preferred Charleston.
(Jenny thinks the ladies prefer Charleston and the gentlemen prefer Savannah.)
We toured the historic area of town by horse-drawn carriage. One story: there is a
church steeple that the guide is pointing to in one of the pictures, and that
steeple lasted through the Revolutionary War and the Civil War with some hits but without any permanent damage. What it couldn't survive was the building of a parking
garage nearby: some supports cracked and the steeple started listing to one side. They're restoring it now.
Then we went
to the Magnolia Plantation, where the (third) plantation house is open for
- April 11: Monticello and Richmond, Virginia
- We visited The Citadel, then Monticello (Thomas Jefferson's home), and Monument Avenue in Richmond.
- April 12: Washington, DC (Monuments)
- We arrived in Washington, DC on Tuesday morning and started our visit there.
We stayed at the Hay-Adams Hotel, where some rooms overlook the White House.
Mostly, we walked the stations of the American cross: the war memorials on the
- April 13: Washington, DC (Library of Congress, Kennedy Center)
- Today we saw the Asian Art collection at the Smithsonian's Sackler Gallery.
Then we went on a tour of the Library of Congress, and later of the
Kennedy Center. At night we saw the Washington Ballet perform Romeo and
Julet. It was their first performance of it, a preview before Opening Night.
- April 14: Washington, DC (Capitol, Georgetown, Smithsonian)
- This day in DC, we had a tour of the Capitol, where we saw the two
statues submitted from Hawaii: King Kamehameha and a very odd statue
of Father Damien. Then we went to the National Gallery, where they let you
take pictures of the works they have - something we're not used to.
We went to Georgetown to see what that was like, and then back to
the Smithsonian's American History museum. Here, we got a back-stairs
tour of some items not on display through an odd bit of serendipity:
while on the train, we met a historian in the Arts & Entertainment department.
The only pictures we took of that tour were of the historian's office.
This page was last edited
April 26, 2008.