Research Trip

Les and I just came back from a trip to Andersonville, GA on a research trip for Murder of Crows.  What a wonderful and relaxing time.  My parents came to the Triple H Ranch to keep an eye on all the critters for us so that we could get away for a few days.

Our first stop was the Andersonville National Historic Site on the grounds of what used to be known as Camp Sumter.  It had a moving Prisoner of War museum covering every war, not just the Civil War.  We also saw a 30 minute video focusing on Andersonville and the prison before we braved the South Georgia heat and ventured onto the old prison site itself.

We checked out the CD tour to listen to it from the car – unfortunately my CD player has a mind of its own and we could never seem to be at the same physical location that the CD tour was narrating! 

One of the creepiest things was at the reconstruction of the North Gate.  This is the gate the prisoners would have entered through.  When we stopped and got out to check out the gate, there was a murder of crows perched on the gate.  I was only able to get one good picture of one of them, before they flew away.  We did not see another crow the rest of our time there!

Crow perched on the North Gate at Andersonville

We also saw reconstructed shebangs (shelters that the soldiers would have from any materials on hand) and an actual tunnel that was dug for either escape or fresh water!

Reconstructed shebangs

What’s left of an escape tunnel. A little over 300 POW’s were able to escape, mostly running away from work detail/work release.

From there we went to the town of Andersonville.  From what we could see it’s a very small, one street town that is open from Thursday thru Sunday…we were there on a Wednesday!  The Welcome Center is also home to the Drummer Boy Museum.  They had a wonderful diorama of what the prison camp looked like.

Diorama showing Camp Sumter. Note the ‘river’ running through the middle. Stockade Branch supplied all of the soldiers water needs.

When we left Andersonville, we went back down the road to Tifton, Georgia and stayed at a fabulous bed and breakfast, The Three Graces at the Lankford Manor.  Since it was a Wednesday and Tifton doesn’t seem to come to life until Thursday as well, we had the entire place to ourselves.  It was wonderful!  The owner, Sondra, and her husband completely renovated the old house and brought it back to its former glory!  They have a photo album of before/after pictures of their journey.  I am always amazed at the amount of time, love, patience, and of course, money that goes into a renovation.  I’m thankful others have those qualities that I lack so I can enjoy the fruits of their labor!  Breakfast was also wonderful, but spoiled Les so he’s requested the same breakfast each morning since we’ve been back: ham and cheese omelet, fresh greens with their house dressing, fruit salad and a croissant.  Not going to happen here!

From there we went to The Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village (ABAC) .  It’s a living history museum that I would love to go back and see more of, once it cools down.  I swear I have not been that hot in a very long time – South Georgia is so much hotter that North Florida!  I throughly enjoyed the Tift House, but it could have been that it was air-conditioned.  Les and I learned a great deal while we were there, especially about peanut farming from the farmer in the parking lot!

Our last stop was the Horse Creek Winery.  Of course any place that combines two of my favorite things (horses and wine) is a must stop for us!  I enjoyed their wine tasting and of course had to come home with a nice sample pack of their wines.  My favorites were both of the Hahira (pronounced HEY hira) and the peach slush combining their Traveler peach wine and their own Peach Cider – perfect for a hot afternoon sitting on the porch in my rocking chair!

All is all, it was a fantastic and informative research trip.  I promised Les that the next book will take place in the mountains so we can enjoy a break from the summer heat on our next trip!

About Heather Hamel

Growing up with horses is a little girls dream come true. Heather’s dream in life was to be a horse trainer - how dreams change - sort of! She moved to the wonderfully historic town of St. Augustine, Florida and was a historic tour guide and a ghost story teller while putting herself through college to become a special education teacher. After graduating, she felt the pull of horses in her life again. That's when she met Kobi! She learned quickly that when you own horses you become a part time vet, part time nutritionist, and full time equestrian. She wouldn't change a thing! In addition to being completely obsessed with her herd, she still teaches and tutors students with learning disabilities, and more specifically, dyslexia.
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