Jul 20

Off the Beaten Path Treasures

Although our friends were not born and raised in Georgia (you can tell by the accent!) they showered us with Southern hospitality and spoiled us rotten! We confess, we loved every minute of it! After a few days of non-stop activity – despite grey skies, rain and virtually zero visibility – we were all ready for a day at home with a good book or a movie. BUT … a little more than an hour away was a Museum that neither of our hosts had visited in the 20 +- years they had lived in the area (although they had heard good things about it!) It’s the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville. And what a treasure this is!Booth

According to the Museum website  “This 120,000 square foot Museum opened in August 2003, and houses the largest permanent exhibition space for Western art in the country. Galleries feature contemporary Western American art, historic Western art, Civil War art, Presidential portraits and letters, Western movie posters, and Western illustration.”

We planned our day to have lunch at the Appalachian Grill restaurant (check out reviews on Tripadvisor) before taking a 1:30pm tour of the galleries conducted daily by a docent. Our hosts were familiar with the restaurant and although we had to rush a little so as to make it to the Museum tour in time, the food was delicious and the service was very good. We’ll definitely return when we are next in the area! We learned that our waiter was from the same area of Kenya as Priscilla and she was delighted to have a chance to speak a little Swahili!

Even if you’re not particularly fond of Western Art, the Booth Museum collection will blow you away! We lingered after the end of the tour and only left because we were tired of walking and standing … and we had to be home in time for cocktails! This museum definitely warrants more than one visit in order to take in the amazing scope of art and sculpture … each gallery filled with large and small works by famous artists as well as lesser known ones. Several pieces will be familiar, such as a painting by George Catlin, while others, like the beautiful intricate paper sculptures, will have you shaking your head in wonder! “How do they do that?” you’ll say!

presidentsAlthough, in our opinion, the Presidential Gallery  was not exactly “Western Art”, we were fascinated by the display. You’ll see a portrait photograph of every President together with an original, signed letter or document. Other items of interest give you a sense of the character of each one as well as what was happening at that time. What an amazing history lesson!

The icing on the cake, we feel, was the Temporary Exhibit entitled “Covering America: The Saturday Evening Post in the 1950’s and early 1960’s” which takes you back to the “good old days”. 30 of The Saturday Evening Post covers are accompanied by original paintings! Artwork from Norman Rockwell, John Clymer and others depict the lifestyle of the day in wonderful detail, making us nostalgic for the times when gas cost 10cents a gallon and kids hung out at the corner drugstore to drink root beer floats!  Below is a sample of the paintings.

Kansas-City-John-Falter-300x289 Home-Plate-Construction-Crew-Norman-Rockwell-9540821_600dpi_nomast-275x300 Autumn-on-the-Mountain-John-Clymer-284x300








The moral of the story is that this country is full of hidden treasures and it’s worth getting off the Freeways and Highways to discover those that are tucked away in “off the beaten paths” … just waiting for you!

Big Canoe

We ended our wonderful stay in Big Canoe by visiting a Saturday morning market. Fortunately, the rain stopped long enough for vendors to set up their stands and we admired hand-made rattan baskets and jewelry, bought home-made quiches, red pepper jelly and iced coffee. There were organic vegetables, sweets and cakes … all way too tempting! We stopped by Safari Arts & crafts and learned that the jewelry and other items were made by women in … guess where … Kenya! kenya

The owner, a very attractive young lady from Nairobi, was delighted to meet another Kenyan (Priscilla) and spent time telling us how her mission was to help women in Kenya become financially independent. You just never know who you’re going to meet when you travel these great United States!

All too soon our stay was over and we were back on the road to our next campground. We left our hosts with fond memories of our visit — and —clean laundry! Traveling the back roads to the beautiful mountainous Upstate South Carolina took us through scenic towns like Clemson, home of the Clemson Tigers. Again, the rain followed us but our welcome at Solitude Point campground soon had us feeling right at home and ready to explore the surrounding national forests as well as visiting Greenville, one hour to the south and Asheville, North Carolina, about an hour to the north.

We may not have traveled far from Central Florida but we have already experienced the diversity of this country … the people, the landscape and the soul of what makes America great. We hope you’ll follow us as we wend our way north … even though we are not sure when we’ll get there!


Flea market

Booth Museum


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  1. Laurie McKernan

    Love following your travels!! Our great South is amazing, an so glad you’re taking advantage of all it has to offer. Paul and I have been to Big Canoe, and so enjoyed the covered bridges, rapids, and scenery it had to offer. I grew up taking trips with my parents to North Carolina, and having the opportunity to see (albeit small motels or inns on the way), and treasure those memories.. Drive safely, and again, love hearing of you adventure!!

  2. Marsha

    Love reading about your adventures. Savannah is one of my favorite southern cities. When you’re in Asheville be sure to set aside at least half a day to visit the Biltmore House. It will take your breath away.
    Hugs and misses,

  3. Mike Lince

    Hi Bill and Priscilla,
    I love catching up on your adventures now that we have reliable internet service. It sounds like you are having a great time. I know you will enjoy this great summer exploring and camping. Florence and I are happy for you. Enjoy your journey and we look forward to your updates. – Mike

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