Destination you can get to from here

Published 10:22 pm Wednesday, March 5, 2008

By By Lowell McGill
Several days ago I received an email from a reader who had read my column on "making a quick visit to New Orleans."
That email gave me an idea for this week's column. So I am naming it "You Can Get There From Here". In other words I'll give you destinations that you can visit, if you leave home early enough, and you'll be back at home at the end of the day.
In the New Orleans column I wrote that you can drive to New Orleans "East" in three hours and 15 minutes. You will see the Chalmette exit where you will take a right, go back under the Interstate and continue for two-to-three miles until you reach the Chalmette-Aribe area. You'll be in St. Bernard Parish. This particular area received some of the most severe flooding from Hurricane Katrina.
You can go in most any directions and see hundreds of homes, businesses and churches that are now deserted. In fact, you may think you are in a third world country. Many have been bull-dosed, but you'll find some still standing. I mention your need to see this destruction because you will probably never see anything like it again. I understand that some new construction is underway here, but many of the former residents have relocated to other parts of the New Orleans general area or they have left and gone to other cities across the South and Southwest.
There are other devastated areas, but this is the quickest and easiest to reach.
You can take a right on St. Claude and drive right into the heart of New Orleans. You may want to continue until you run into South Claiborne Ave. Park your car and grab a seat on one of the streetcars and take a tour of the city. You'll see many beautiful tree-laced avenues. You will find these neighborhoods are now getting back to normal. Even the streetcars have been refurbished. You'll find newly reopened eating establishments ready for your business. Remember, now, take your digital and you'll come back home with a lot of memories.
Another one day visit is Wakulla Springs, Fla. It may surprise you to learn you can make this drive in a little more than four and one half hours.
Traveling east on I-10 take a right near Quincy on Florida 267 and continue until you run right into the Wakulla Springs Edward Ball National Forest. On your way just outside Quincy notice the old tobacco drying houses.
At Wakulla Springs you can take a boat ride on the crystal clear Wakulla River. You'll see some of the actual sites where several movies were filmed. One movie I'm sure you remember is "The Creature From The Black Lagoon." Many of the old "Tarzan" movies, starring Johnny Weissmuller, were filmed there. Other movies include "Joe Panther" and "Airport 77."Only certain scenes from these movies were filmed there.
Beneath the clear waters, you'll see all types of fish life from your boat rides. The Wakulla Lodge offers mouth watering food to quell your appetite.
Again, you can be back home near dark.
Another somewhat short trip is to Bond, Mississippi.
Here, for all you baseball fans, lies the grave of the legendary baseball pitcher Dizzy Dean Bond, located on US Highway 49 about 35 miles north of Gulfport. It is only a few miles from Wiggins.
Dean pitched in the major leagues for a number of years until he injured his toe during a ball game. His wife, reportedly, was from the Wiggins area and he made this town his home until his death several years ago. Teamed with infielder Pee Wee Reese he was also famous for baseball telecasts. He was also known as the butcher of the English language, but everyone loved him.
On your home you may want to take Mississippi Highway 26 into Lucedale and onto US 98 into Mobile.
Many of you may remember Lucedale as the town many couples journeyed to for the purpose of getting married. I am not sure this town still has that reputation, but I do remember it was popular for that occasion back in the 1940s-50s. Who knows, some of you may have been married in that town.
Well, that's our travelogue for this week. I have several more columns on "one-day" vacations. I will be bringing those to you in the near future. Some of you will be surprised to learn of the many attractions within a relative quick drive to which we'll say "You Can Get There From Here."
Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at

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