I left my friends` house in Cumming around noon and drove at a leisurely pace (hey, petrol is a whopping 43p a litre, haha!) down to The Hostel ion the Forest near the Atlantic coast. On the way I exercised my right as a road tripper to pull off whenever something interesting catches my attention; on the way down it was High Falls state park, containing a beautiful waterfall and weir.
The forest hostel is like no other I have experienced (and I`ve seen a few). It`s a cross between Big Brother the TV program, the Glastonbury festival (minus the music), and those krusties who tried to prevent the Newbury bypass in the 1990s. The staff are rather like the clientle of those illegal Exodus raves in Dunstable, only nice. The concept of the hostel is that of a true commune, where everyone takes a turn to do the chores of cooking, cleaning, etc, while taking the time to do whatever they feel like. Dinner is a communal affair and is included in the $20/night fee.
The rooms are wooden huts up in trees, which are great fun, if freezing cold (a sweater and 4 blankets were necessary). Evenings consist of sitting around by the campfire chatting, playing guitars and singing, playing drums in a drum circle, and getting in touch with one`s inner bliss. For me it was sufficient to have a day or two off from the 12-hour days of packing and cleaning that I had done for the previous week. Swimming in the crystal clear lake was enough bliss for me.
For anyone who wants a few days of pure peace and relaxation, without cell phones, TV, cars or idiots, this hostel is highly recommended by me.
Tuesday I went to the Golden Isles off the Georgia coast - Jekyll and St Simon`s Islands. On Jekyll it feels like a 1950s summer camp, albeit a very nice one (it was the home of the Millionaires` Club). The highlight was a walk on the driftwood beach, where the beach and its shifting sands consume the adjacent forest, leaving not just twigs of driftwood but entire trees.
I then went to Fort Frederica on the next island, which was Britain`s main defence against the Spaniards in Florida. Both nations wanted Georgia, and this fort (and colonial settlement) were there to protect it. Although nowhere near as famous as Plymouth Rock and Jamestown, it was just as important. In fact, my American friends, were it not for this fort, we`d probably be pressing two for English on the telephone.
You`ll note that the flag in the picture is not the same as that of today - it`s that of the Britain in the 18th C before the Union with Ireland, and the adaptation of the flag to incorporate St Patrick`s cross.