April 2011 - Time to Smell the Roses on I-95
Driving North or South along the US East Coast?



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You really don’t think about wide open green spaces when you get on I-95 for a road trip. But you would be surprised at just how much parkland there is by the side of the road. For those of you with cabin fever, here are some nature areas (mostly FREE) where you can get out and stretch your legs, have a run, throw a frisbee, walk the dog and perhaps have a picnic. Believe it or not, you can even get out and smell the roses too - just stop at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond.


Milk the Cows

GA-Find the Pot Tree
NC-Watch the Geese
SC-Butterflies are Free
Smell the Roses

Milk the Cows

MD Exit 3A: Oxon Cove Park/Oxon Hill Farm - If you need a breath of fresh air or the kids need to blow off some steam, enjoy this FREE National Park Service site. The park varies from river shoreline to grassland, forest, marsh and swamp ecosystems. On a clear day, the 2-mile easy loop walk even offers a glimpse of the Washington Monument.

The little farm has horses, cows, sheep, goats, pigs, rabbits, a chicken coop, deer, wild turkey, lots of birds to watch, a duck pond and an herb garden. If you stop at the right time (call first), there are programs for cow milking (10 am), a chicken program (11 am), tractor rides (1:30 pm) or ranger talks about the history of the farm (Sat & Sun 1-3). There's even a program for challenged people.

The property goes back to 1811, when Dr. Samuel and Mary DeButts purchased it. In 1814 they watched in horror as the War of 1812 fires from the burning of the White House and other buildings glowed on the walls of their own white house. Across the Potomac, in Alexandria Harbor, sat the British warships, and the city surrendered to them. No wonder the DeButts went off to visit their daughter in VA.

In 1891 (and until the 1950's), the US Government bought the property for St. Elizabeth's Hospital, allowing patients to work the farm for therapy and to grow their own food.

Hours: Daily 8-4:30. 6411 Oxon Hill Rd. www.nps.gov/nace/oxhi/index.htm Tel: 301-839-1176.

Find the Pot Tree

GA Exit 94: Ogeechee Barge Canal Museum & Nature Center - You can leave the whir of traffic behind and walk this quiet tow path alongside the canal for a short piece or take the full mile loop to the river. Notice the frogs, snakes, alligators, crayfish and marsh birds, and enjoy the swampy woods and wooden foot bridges, perhaps spotting semi-aquatic plants, such as lizard's tail, pickerel week, lobelia and golden club. Some trees and plants are labeled (American Hornbeam, Spruce Pine, Parsley Hawthorn, Flowering Dogwood), so see if you can find the pot tree. 

The canal opened in 1831 and was important for the economy, aiding the transport of lumber, cotton, rice, bricks, guano, naval supplies and peaches. Indoors there are a few nature displays. (Almost FREE: $2 Adults, $1 kids). Hours: Daily 9-5. 681 Fort Argyle Rd. www.savannahogeecheecanal.com Tel: 912-748-8068.

Watch the Geese

NC Exit 138: City Lake Park, Rocky Mount - You can take a nice walk or have a picnic in this park, which is only 4 miles straight off the exit. In the middle of the small park is a pretty man-made lake (a 1933 WPA project) with a spraying fountain, gazebo, observation platforms and often geese and ducks. Directions: 2.4 mi E on US 64 to BUS 64 Exit (Sunset Ave.), then 1.4 mi to the lake on the right.

Butterflies are Free

SC Exit 21: Blue Heron Nature Trail - If it's time for a little stretch for you or the kids, here's a 1/2 mile loop around a pond constructed of lumpy recycled tires with a swing, a fountain and an observation platform.

The 3-acre lake is home for fish, turtles, ducks, wading herons and alligators up to 4' long. Seasonally, you should come across butterflies which are attracted to flowers chosen to entice them. There are feeders to attract birds, and food dispensers on the banks of the pond to tempt ducks and turtles.

The trail is FREE and is lighted to be enjoyed any time. If you arrive Mon-Fri 9 am to 1 pm, visit the log cabin at the end of the trail, which has one room of flora and wildlife exhibits (alligator, bobcat, fox, beaver, feral hog head, beehive) and a clean bathroom. 321 Bailey Rd. www.blueheronnature.com Tel: 843-726-7611.

Smell the Roses

VA Exit 83B: Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden - This is an oasis on a driving trip - 82 magnificent acres which started life as Powhatan hunting grounds and was at one time owned by patriot Patrick Henry. In 1884 Lewis Ginter, who was orphaned at 17 and later became a millionaire from tobacco and real estate, developed a Club House here for Richmond bicyclists.

His niece, Grace Arents, developed the gardens, and her original design is still here. There are more kinds of gardens than we ever knew existed: four seasons, healing, sunken, Asian, Rose, wetland, perennial, conifer and a children's garden (with a tree house and an activity center).

For walkers, there's a "walk on the wild side", a woodland walk and a bird trail, and as if all that wasn't enough, there's a huge lush indoor conservatory with exotic and unusual plants from around the world. You can stop for a bite at the pretty cafe or Robins Tea House overlooking a lake. Do leave some time and money for the extensive gift shop. Hours: Daily 9-5. 800 Lakeside Ave. www.lewisginter.org Tel: 804-262-9887.

What's inside Drive I-95 5th Edition: Here's a FREE look

Look ahead exit by exit to see which motels (with 800 numbers), gas stations, restaurants, campgrounds, 24-hour pharmacies, auto mechanics, radio stations or radar traps are there, and where you can stay with your pet. We share our stories of the road : history on I-95, museums, trivia, towns to explore or places to run the kids. These can be read for entertainment during the drive, and may entice you to stop, stretch your legs and discover someplace new.

Don't forget that our radio and TV interviews can always be seen HERE on our site, as well as some of our YouTube videos.

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PS: Buy this new edition to find green spaces along I-95. Click here or call 888-GUIDE95 (888-484-3395).

 To Contact us: Stan Posner and Sandra Phillips-Posner, Travelsmart email: info@drivei95.com Phone: 1-877-GUIDE95
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