So, the family and I took a road trip through the deep southeast for spring break. The only other time I have spent in the South was as a kid on a family driving trip to Disney World and a very short flight to the Florida Pan Handle about 10 years ago. My daughter had suggested we go to Savannah Georgia because Juliette Gordon Low, founder of The Girl Scouts, was from there. I knew little about this part of the country other than Bibles, grits, and sprawl. I was not instantly enamored with the idea. But, the more I thought about it the more it appealed to me. Savannah was a beautiful city and there were other cities and sites we could visit on the way there and back, not to mention the possibility of a walk on an Atlantic Ocean beach. It would be a long distance trip but, would give us a chance to experience a big unfamiliar part of the country, a part steeped in history with traditions distinctly different from our own overly familiar corner of America.
The trip brought us from Chicago down through Springfield Illinois (where it happens I had to pick up an AIA, Illinois award for a recently completed project I designed, thank you very much). After a night in Springfield, home of Abraham Lincoln, we traveled down to Memphis, home of Elvis, for two nights and then on to Savannah, home of Juliette Low, for 4 nights. On the trip home we took a different route, passing through the Smokey Mountains, with a stay in Asheville North Carolina and then a final stop in Cincinnati before returning home. It was a big loop which gave us a great, but all too short, introduction to the South. Along the way we saw some gorgeous mountains, famous rivers, wonderful cities, amazing architecture, inspiring urban places and mile after mile after mile of depressing sprawl and industrial farm land.
Of course, me being me, means that, as I traveled, I was very interested in the various ways we shape our human place on the planet. I love studying how we got what we have and how different places have different creative responses to the environments in which we build. Passing through this many cities and places was a great opportunity to do this. Now, with all this pent-up experiencing and thinking, y’all lucky folks get read, over the next few posts, all about my thoughts and how I see them in relationship to Buffalo.
You are welcome to start the discussion, with impressions gained from your own cross-country trips or the places I listed here. Stay tuned for installment #1, “Springfield and the Great Midwestern Breadbasket”. Also, if you can name the places, neighborhoods, objects in the travel images below, you get the special BRO prize of a hardy pat on the back.