Saturday, April 13, 2013

A little cabin at Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park

Last January when we visited Callaway Gardens we had lunch at the Country Kitchen Restaurant and saw that the gardens were adjacent to Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) State Park.  We decided to return to the area to see the azaleas in bloom at Callaway Gardens and this time, we rented a small cabin at the state park for four days.  We arrived at FDR State Park last Sunday, April 7, 2013.  The temperature during our stay was between 75 and 82 F (24 to 28 C,)  dry with a slight breeze - perfect.  It took us about 2 hours to drive from our home to reach Pine Mountain, Georgia, where the park is located.  F. D. Roosevelt State Park is operated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.  Below is a Georgia map showing the 63 state parks and historical places operated by Georgia DNR.  FDR State Park is at the 9 o'clock point on the map below.

The State of Georgia is very diverse and its various state parks show that - they offer hiking, fishing, golf, swimming and overnight accommodations in cottages, campsites, yurts, lodges, etc., from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the north, waterfalls, lakes and marshes to the south - a total of 77500 acres (33,363 hectares) of natural area.  F. D. Roosevelt State Park offers 22 cottages, 109 campsites, group camps, shelters, picnic areas, etc., as well as seven nature trails and a 23-mile Pine Mountain trail which winds through forests, scenic overlooks, waterfalls, and goes up to an elevation of 1,395 feet.  The park entrance is in Pine Mountain and the headquarters are housed in a rustic stone building.

As we walked up towards the building we passed a statue representing a CCC worker.  (Click on collage twice to embiggen.)

Inside there were more photos and information on the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC.)  This program was part of President Roosevelt's New Deal.  It was a public work relief program in the US operating between 1933 and 1942 for unmarried men aged 18-25 left unemployed by the Great Depression.  They did not use machinery but picks, shovels, wheelbarrows, mules and human muscles.  The 15-acre Lake Delanor and 25-acre Lake Franklin were dug by hand by the CCC.

Two and a half million young men participated in the CCC and planted about 3 billion trees to help reforest America.  They upgraded most state parks, constructed more than 800 parks nationwide and built a network of public roadways in remote areas among other projects.  They built the entire F. D. State Park - lakes, pool, bathhouse, hiking trails, roads, cabins, etc., in less than 3 years.  At almost 10,000 acres (4047 hectares) FDR State Park is the largest state park in Georgia.  The stone building which is now the park headquarters was originally a park tavern.  Below is a copy of their menu at the time.

After checking in to get the keys to our cabin we walked around the stone building to admire the beautiful view below.

Then we drove to our little log cabin, one of the original cabins built by the CCC, and one of the smallest in the park.

It was cool inside and smelled like a wood fire had burned earlier in the fireplace.  There was a main room with a loveseat sofa, table, chairs and fireplace.  On the sides of the main room were a tiny kitchen and a small bathroom.  The bedroom and small porch were facing the lake.

It was early afternoon so we went back to the village of Pine Mountain for lunch, then for a drive on Highway 190 which was built in 1935 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) another of President Roosevelt's New Deal.  It employed unskilled out-of-work men, women and youth to carry out public work projects such as roads and public buildings.  Highway 190 runs the full length of F. D. Roosevelt State Park along the crest of Pine Mountain.  We stopped at the Callaway Gardens overlook and could see the golf course there.

Highway 190 is a beautiful drive where you can look way down on the right and on the left and stop at scenic overlooks.  We stopped at another overlook on the other side of the crest.  As my husband was going down a trail I took some pictures.  The trees were starting to show color - different shades of yellow to green.  Some clouds were casting shadows in the background of the landscape and gave the illusion that a body of water was running there.

We returned to our little cabin.  My husband went down to take a closer look at the lake.  I sat outside on the cement picnic bench to catch the last rays of the sun.  I read my book "A Covert Affair" by Jennet Conant which is about the establishment of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) precursor of the CIA and how Julia Child and her husband Paul were working in this service.  The OSS had been authorized by President Roosevelt on 13 June 1942.  I enjoyed reading my book but also stopping once in a while to look down at Lake Delanor.  It was not cool enough to build a fire in the cabin but the people in a nearby cabin made an outdoor fire.

During the next three days we visited Callaway Gardens and two other places which will be in future posts.  We drove on Highway 190 again and stopped at the Roosevelt Memorial Bridge.

We passed by some picturesque barns.  Luckily there was not much traffic so I could stop and take pictures from the car.  It was hard not to stop the car and get out to take a look when there was a clearing on the road.  In the picture below little farms can be seen.

Another time we drove by the Liberty Bell Pool.  It was also built by the CCC from local stones and is spring-fed.  Many ages ago Creek Indians used to roam this land and buffaloes drank from this spring.  It is open in summer until Labor Day.

On the fourth day of our stay at the park, on Wednesday April 10, 2013, we decided to drive to Warm Springs which is about 10 minutes away (approx. 6.5 miles.)  We visited "The Little White House" President Roosevelt's house there.  Later we stopped by the pool where President Roosevelt sought relief for his crippled legs by getting therapeutic sessions in the naturally heated mineral springs.  The pool complex was refurbished by the Georgia State parks and is now a museum.  The lady at the desk told us that when President Roosevelt left the pool he would drive on Highway 190 to a place called Dowdell's Knob and gave us directions to find it.  It was about 10 minutes away.  When we arrived there we understood why this was a favorite place - it was high above the valley and the view was breathtaking.

An historical marker explained President Roosevelt's visits to this site.  The picnic grill he had built had been filled to preserve it.  For the 62nd anniversary of Roosevelt's death, on April 12, 2007, a 1,200 pound bronze statue was unveiled.  It seems the president is gazing at the view as he did so often when he came here to picnic with friends or reflect and meditate.

An interpretative panel described the significance of Dowdell's Knob in the president's life.  The bottom right photo explains that on April 10, 1945, President Roosevelt was driven to this point by his Secret Service agents and asked them not to come back until they heard his car's horn.  He stayed there for two hours.  Two days later, on April 12, 1945, he died at the Little White House in Warm Springs from a massive cerebral hemorrhage.

It was awe inspiring, peaceful and at the same time sad to be in this same spot and, as a coincidence, also on April 10, 2013 - sixty-eight years after President Roosevelt's last visit here.  I don't think the view has changed.  It is magnificent as ever with the spring colors and the trees in bloom.  The birds are still visiting it - as I looked up a bird was flying toward me.

We stayed there a long time.  Then we went back to our little cabin and walked by the lake.  Ducks came to take a look at us but went on to eat some vegetation by the bank.  The sun was going down behind the pines but gave a soft pink glow to the lake.

The next morning we went back to the stone building to leave the cabin keys.  We took a last look at the view - clouds were coming.  The weather forecast was announcing bad storms, some tornadoes even.

It was time to go home.


Ann said...

such a lovely post!!
Georgia has so many beautiful places to visit. it is a state of great beauty.
i enjoyed the photos so very much...the cabin you stayed in looks so very charming and cozy.

David said...

Vagabonde, As usual, your photos are terrific! Beautiful area for sure... Loved your little cabin! It reminded me of the one we used to stay in during fishing trips to northern Ontario Canada. FDR accomplished a lot...I was startled to learn that when he died at The Little White House, his mistress of many years was by his side. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Elephant's Child said...

I do love it when I see you have another post up. They are always informative and beautiful and this was no exception. President Roosevelt sounds like quite a visionary man - and I was made a little misty to discover that he was able to sit at the spot he loved so close shortly before he died.

Kay said...

I've never been to Georgia and I love how you've shared your beautiful state with us.

Down by the sea said...

What a wonderful place to visit I can see why you returned here to stay for a few days and also why President Roosevelt loved it so much! The scenery is breath taking and those men in the CCC worked hard under the New Deal to create somewhere wonderful for others to enjoy. Your cabin looks so lovely too,how lucky to have such good weather too!
Sarah x

possum said...

OH! I want to go there! That is definitely on my list of places to go - one of these days. But if I never get there, I do thank you for taking me on a very enjoyable tour!
The CCC and the WPA did a LOT of beautiful work near my place in the Poconos. Makes one wonder why no one opted for JOBS like that with our infrastructure in such bad shape today. But, around here, certain people refuse to get their hands dirty for a paycheck. And it is tough to do that kind of work and text at the same time, eh?

Jeanie said...

It looks like another intriguing time. Your cabin was charming! So nice to see spring, which we hope will someday move north!

Nadezda said...

Interesting post!
I love to read the history but know a little the history of USA. I remember from our history that President Roosevelt has been to Yalta, Russia with premier Churchill and Stalin during WWII.
I love your cabin and especially the pretty views to a lake and pines.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

To be there, where FDR died in 1945...I remember that day as if it was yesterday. FDR was the only President I knew---I was not quite 14, when he died, it was so very very sad....
I remember the CCC and the WPA, too....These programs SAVED our country at that time---They truly did. FDR was exactly what our country needed at that time.

What a great trip, my dear. Such a wonderful place. Such History.
I LOVED all your pictures!!

Al said...

That looks like a lovely place, I would enjoy a vacation like that. Beautiful photos.

Rosaria Williams said...

We should all report on our national parks, explain their features and historical significance. This kind of sharing will lift our spirits, for sure. Thanks.

Vicki Lane said...

What a darling cabin! And what good use you made of your four days.

The CCC sounds like something that could be renewed today.

Mandy Southgate said...

Wow. I'm a big fan of log cabins and those cabins look just perfect for a retreat! Those views are exquisite and it must have been fun exploring the woods and hills. What I like most are all the information boards and the museum etc. it must be a great place to take young children to teach them about conservation.

Roger Gauthier said...

Bonjour Vagabonde,

J'ai lu ton billet avec grand intérêt. Tu as pris des photos remarquables - par des conditions climatiques idéales, ce qui aide toujours un peu le photographe, mais qui va s'en plaindre ? :-)

Tu sais, de plus en plus de gens au nord de la frontière hésitent à visiter les États-Unis. L'histoire des armes à feu n'aide pas du tout bien sûr. Qui a besoin de ça ? C'est interdit chez nous et le nombre d'homicides est aussi bas qu'environ 1 pour 100,000 personnes, alors que chez vous c'est cinq ou six fois plus, quand ce n'est pas de 20 à 30 fois plus dans les villes…

Et maintenant, avec vos coupes budgétaires imposées par le GOP, les délais d'attente ont été multipliés par un facteur 3 à la frontière. En conséquence, pour la première fois depuis longtemps, nous ne visitons pas les États-Unis cet année, et ne le ferons plus jusqu'à ce que ça change. Dans la semaine des quatre jeudis.

C'est une politique à courte vue, qui va vous coûter cher, parce que beaucoup de touristes vont maintenant dépenser leur argent en Europe.

Et pourtant, les États-Unis sont un si beau pays. Et les gens sont en général si charmants et courtois. Sauf lorsqu'ils ont une arme à la main, une arme faite pour tuer.


P.S, : Ne tiens pas trop compte de mes idées. Je suis un peu fâché parce que nous devions aller en Indiana voir des amis dans un mois. Mais nous avons décidé de ne pas le faire, et ça laisse comme un arrière-goût.

Reader Wil said...

Thank you so much for the wonderful tour in this park, so full of history and beautiful scenery and views. I enjoy seeing your beautiful photos. The cabin is so cosy, that I woudn't mind living there for a while!
Thanks for the e-mail too!

rhymeswithplague said...

A wonderful post, Vagabonde! But I must put on my editor's hat here and tell you that the D in Franklin D. Roosevelt stands for Delano, not Delanor. (You referred to Lake Delanor twice in the post). I think a bit of the confusion is that people subconsciously want his middle name to rhyme with Eleanor, which it does not! President Roosevelt's mother, a most formidable woman, was a Delano.

Years ago in Orlando, Florida, my wife's parents' next-door neighbor was a cousin of President Roosevelt's, and his name was Mr. Delano.

I enjoyed the post immensely.

Anonymous said...

Pretty pictures! David and I considered vacationing in Georgia this year, but decided to see Miami and Washington, DC instead. said...

What a most charming place.. Its made me want to travel again. Georgia is 'now on my mind'
stunning views and your little cabin was so cute.
thank you for sharing..

Karin B (Looking for Ballast) said...

I feel like I just took a little vacation with you! And I learned a lot, also. I love the cabin. I would love to live in a micro-home someday, one of those tiny houses on wheels! But I could take just being in a cottage, too. So much fun.

I'm glad you got to spend some time in lovely nature.

Gros bisous, Vagabonde.

Ginnie said...

I love the little cabin where you stayed. I had one similar in West Virginia one year where it was close enough for all 3 children to come stay with me.
What a great trip you had.

Anonymous said...

•✰ •✰ •✰ •✰ •✰ •✰
Coucou Chère Vagabonde ! :o)
Merci pour ces très très belles photos de ces endroits aussi superbes qu'intéressants !!!

Tu nous gâtes parce que tu nous fait découvrir de magnifiques lieux !!!
Encore merci à toi Vagabonde !!!

GROS BISOUS et bon mardi !!!!
•✰ •✰ •✰ •✰ •✰ •✰

Pat said...

What a fascinating post, made even more compelling with your extraordinary photos. I love the way you tied so much history into this piece and glad you discovered me on x-pat Files from Overseas, so that now I can follow your adventures.
The cabin and lake view remind me so much of my beloved family cabin (passed down through the generations) on a lake in Wisconsin where I spend my summers.

Marguerite-marie said...

wouah!! quel beau séjour tu nous as fait partager. Et nous ne pouvons que te suivre, avec ton mari, dans la découverte écolo et historique de ce magnifique endroit, avec tes belles photos... les grands de ce monde savaient et savent encore trouver les endroits les plus chouettes!
je suis allée ill y a quelques années dans un des coins favoris des Clinton: l'île de martha's Vineyard... pas mal non plus!

Perpetua said...

What a good idea to rent a cabin in this wonderful location, so that you could explore at your leisure. Your photos are so evocative and informative at the same time and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about Callaway Gardens and the State Park.

Virginia said...

MANY years ago as a newlywed, we visited Roosevelt's home. I loved your photographic journey. I'd love that little cabin myself!

Ginnie said...

I'm gonna send this post to our GA friends, Bob and Peggy, to see if this is something that interests them when we are with them maybe NEXT year. This year we're going to Savannah with them but I think I'd enjoy visiting this stae park in conjunction with Callaway Gardens. Hmmmm. Thanks for the bee in my bonnet! :)


Hello from Michigan. I just discovered your lovely travel blog and have really enjoyed reading about Roosevelt State Park.. I also enjoyed all the lovely photos of the park and the blooming trees... Your bike is pretty neat. I have travel a bit too and have visited France a couple of times. Such a lovely place to visit... I dream of going back to the UK and I dream of taking a leisurely trip to the south and renting a cabin by the Sea... Have a great week. Hugs Judy

Friko said...

It must have been a peaceful break for the two of you. Such beautiful calm surroundings nourish the spirit and gladden the heart.

Magic Love Crow said...

Wow, thank you for sharing such a beautiful post! I love that little log cabin! I could live there!
Thanks for coming by my blog ;o) I might be painting a little part of my ceiling, but not all of it.
Take Care.

claude said...

Quel bel et intéressant endroit, Vagabonde ! Un endroit reposant, il semble.
J'adore the cabin.
Merci de nous faire partager tout cela.

Pondside said...

That was a little coincidence - both of us posting about a cabin, though yours seems to have been much nicer than ours.
There are so many interesting parks and gardens withing driving distance of your home. It must be one of the advantages of living in a country with a population of more than 10 times that of ours! I have visited Georgia, and have an aunt who lives in Hinesville, so I can recall the beauty of the state.
How lovely that you and your husband had such a beautiful and peaceful break.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Oh my gosh I HAVE to see this place. I love log cabins. I have been through GA on a few occasions but only driving through to FLA. Maybe next time I need to explore more.

Pat said...

What a wonderful way to spend a few days. Thank you so much for putting temperatures in F's - the only ones I understand.
God bless the CCC what great work they did.
Your cabin by the lake looks idyllic and the surrounding countryside so peaceful - quite serene. No wonder FDR was smitten - he was much love loved over here.

Carola Bartz said...

I enjoyed this visit to the FDR State Park - thank you for taking me on this journey. I am pretty sure that this is a place I would love to explore as well. Beautiful photos!

Kittie Howard said...

Oh, but I can't thank you enough for this post! It's possible we could stay at the part for a couple of days when we return from a Louisiana trip. I'm soooo excited about the possibility. The photos are gorgeous. Thank you!!!

troutbirder said...

What a wonderful post. I enjoyed every word and picture. I loved the Georgia connection to one of our greatest Presidents. Perhaps someday I'll get to visit that gorgeous State Park...:)

Amanda said...

It is a lovely place. I have never been to Georgia and got to learn a lot reading your adventures.

Reader Wil said...

Merci de votre visite, Vagabonde! J'aime les deux chaises vertes de la dernière photo!

Ruth said...

Your simple cabin by the quiet lake seems like a perfect place to rest a while. The temperature was perfect for the human body! Unlike our very long and protracted winter here in Michigan. You're right (at my blog) that I would have written quite a different poem in GA, something I would love to do sitting in the woods there. I was interested in what you said at my blog about tourism between France and the U.S. You may be right about fear of violence preventing as large a number of tourists coming here as to France.

This is Belgium said...

this brings back memories, Vagabonde, like many of your posts do since for me this is very familiar territory. I visited the FDR park in 1977!
bon weekend

Fennie said...

Certainly you live in a very pretty part of the world, Vagabonde, and the country seems to be very well looked after and tidy. Your photographs are great and it was fascinating to read about the great FDR coming to Dowdell's Knob before he died to admire the view again.

Fripouille said...

Excellent. I must have spent 20 minutes meandering along this delightful post. Imagining, ruminating, reminiscing, dreaming. Thanks for a delightful read and I hope you and yours are well.

Anonymous said...

Wow Awesome pics. I was trying to decided whether my hubby and I should stay at Callaway Gardens for our anniver. or FDR your trip helped me to decide. I can't wait this is what I wanted a quite serene 17th Anniversary!

Anonymous said...

I'm headed to FDR park this weekend for an endurance race and had no idea of the actual history. Thanks so much for this simple, yet helpful post. Now I really want to spend more time in the area exploring the history and beauty. The little cabins are sold out so maybe next time.
Thanks again...this post should go on the state park's website. They need more actual visitor posts and pix. Hope you both can return soon!

Anonymous said...

Our family visited this area last year at thanksgiving...Awesome!!!! The history is fantastic. To be able to sit where he sat out on Dowdle's Knob was just awesome!!

I'm 46 years old, I came about WAYYY after President Roosevelt's time, but our trip to the park made me appreciate the man so much more than I ever could imagine. I wonder what he would say about us today!!!

Unknown said...

Excellent post!
Georgia has so many beautiful places to visit.I is a state of great beauty.
i enjoyed the photos so very much.

Lakeview Lodge bed and breakfast gidgegannup

Wanda Wilson said...

I live in Hamilton, GA, minutes away from FDR State Park, but it was fun to view the area from your perspective. I appreciate the beauty and history of this area every day!

A good friend's father was the civil engineer for Peace Valley, FDR's co-operative farming program during the depression. She and her husband retired from professions in Atlanta and now live in the remodeled "Valley house" which was her parents'home during those years. Each farmer had a house with indoor plumbing (water provided by a mountain spring which was piped to the homes), a barn and a mule.

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