Archive for July, 2010

A different state of mind in the old state of Franklin

The other day in the car, my daughters and I were passing the time playing the state capitals’ game. I would call out “Alaska”; they would yell “Juneau!”

“Nebraska?”  “Lincoln!”

“Maine?”  “Augusta!”

How about “Franklin?”  “Huh?”

Haven’t been there? Actually, there’s a good chance that you have if you’ve traveled much around our region. But don’t worry; you didn’t sleep through class the day your teacher covered Franklin.

Historically speaking, Franklin was the first state to organize after the original thirteen. It just never received the two-thirds vote necessary to be admitted into the Union (only seven states voted to add it). As a result, Franklin lived a very short life. The state was born in what is now Jonesborough, Tenn. in 1784, when residents of the area seceded from North Carolina over fears that they were being left unprotected by their leaders to the east of the mountains. After troubles with Indian nations in the area and other problems, the fledgling state was …

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Swamp Things: What’s the best way to explore the Okefenokee?

When you live on an island, it may feel like your life is one big vacation. With the beach, their family and friends right there, my parents barely venture over the causeway from St. Simons Island to Brunswick, Ga. – let alone make a get away to some distant vacation spot. 

In a couple of weeks, however, my mom and one of her long-time friends will be trading the sandy beaches of southeast Georgia for a week along the rocky coast of New England. It’s a girls’ trip, and my mother cannot wait to touchdown in Portland, Maine. She will head Down East, linger in Acadia National Park and go whale-watching in the Bay of Fundy before zipping down to Cape Cod, Mass. for a couple of days.

As my mom enjoys the lobster, the fog and the cold waters of the North Atlantic, I will be heading to Spanish Moss- covered St. Simons with my three boisterous daughters to keep my dad entertained. St. Simons is a second home to my husband, our daughters and me; and as such our “vacation” there doesn’t …

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Are full-body scanners a full-blown health issue for travelers?

Since their introduction, full-body scanners at airport security checkpoints have caused many travelers to question whether peace of mind and security outweigh an individuals’ sense of privacy. Now, as the scanners’ use has spread following the Christmas Day bombing attempt, the flying public’s concern is growing beyond privacy to include health issues as well.  

The TSA uses two main types of full-body imagers to screen passengers: one emits x-rays to create two-dimensional images and the other bounces electromagnetic waves off passengers’ bodies for a 3D picture. The scanners clearly outline images of passengers’ body parts. More than 130 scanners are in use in U.S. airports, and the TSA is hoping to have around 1,000 installed by the end of 2011.

These images of what lies beneath our clothes are supposed to be checked for nefarious objects, and then deleted. But even that brief, blurred-face image makes some travelers uncomfortable; and there have been isolated cases where …

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Oil to the south, heat to the north…where to go to get a break?

Oil to our south, dangerous heat up and down the East Coast and here we are, stuck in the middle of a Hotlanta summer with nowhere to go. At least, that’s how it can feel.

As we begin the second month of summer break (I know, summer officially started on the 21st of June, but my clock starts when the kids get out of school), several of our friends are still trying to nail down a vacation spot for this year.  Their favorite hot-weather haunts are threatened by oil, so they have set their sights on the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia and eastern Florida. The problem is many people are doing the same thing, and it’s difficult to find beach lodgings available on the Atlantic during the weeks they can go on vacation.

At the pool last week, two neighbors who are originally from New Jersey told me that their families in the Garden State are finding the Jersey Shore crowded this year with many southerners heading north to escape the oil. This article also mentions that typical Gulf …

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