Angie and I have been wanting to return to the place we got married, Eufaula, Alabama, for some time and the timing was right to go on the weekend after my birthday this year. Our plan was to stay at a quaint-looking bed-and-breakfast we found on the internet in Blakely, GA and visit some places that held special significance for us.
We took I-10 E for most of the journey, passing through the Mobile tunnel for the first time in quite a while, and exiting at Chipley, location of Florida’s Falling Waters State Park (known for its highly-local-precipitation-dependent waterfall), to begin the leg of the journey that would take us north back to Alabama. In Cottonwood, Alabama, we stopped at the Alabama Welcome Center on Hwy 231, where we were greeted by a giant plastic peanut and a sign declaring that the Wiregrass Area is the “peanut capital of the world.”
From Dothan, we turned northeast on Hwy 52, crossing into Georgia over the Chattahoochee River, which forms the boundary between those two states for most of their length. About an hour’s drive later, we arrived at the Willis Country Home Bed and Breakfast on Colomokee Church Road. This beautiful residence, set on 28 acres of mixed-use property just north of Blakely, is run by Eve and Wendy Willis, a friendly and engaging couple who go out of their way to make guests feel like family. It was late in the afternoon when we arrived and we spent some time getting to know our hosts in the media room before going on a snipe hunt for a local covered bridge (which we found when leaving on Sunday).
After returning from a reconnaissance trip southeast to Colquitt, we found the front of the house covered in green treefrogs. The little guys were all over the front porch area, drawn by the Willis’ sprinkler system and the outdoor lighting, which attracted numerous insects, including a large phasmatodean (walking-stick).
The next morning we returned to Colquitt, site of the Mayhaw Wildlife Management Area where I worked on a field project for Craig Guyer 15 years ago, and where Angie and I spent a lot of time together. Unfortunately, there appeared to be many more trailers located on the property since we were last there and we were unable to locate the ranger station where I spent my nights during that time. Reluctantly, as the day was growing short, we turned northwest towards Eufaula, a town we occasionally passed through on trips from Auburn to Colquitt (or vice-versa). More significantly, the seat of Barbour County is where we got married 13 years ago.
An hour’s travel took us to Eufaula, where we stopped at the courthouse aka our “wedding chapel.” Because it was a Saturday, we couldn’t go in but we took a picture outside, smiling and showing our wedding bands. Eufaula is allegedly the bass-fishing capital of the world and sits on a substantial body of fresh water known (curiously enough) as Lake Eufaula.
We turned northwest again to go to Auburn, where I formally proposed (in The Village Mall) and where Angie went to school. We weren’t able to see much of the campus because a home game was being played at the Jordan-Hare Stadium and massive crowds were present to see the Tigers-War Eagles face off against Louisiana Tech’s Bulldogs. We were amused to see that, just as at a typical LSU home game, various individuals, schools, and businesses selling parking spots close to the university. We walked through The Village and also passed The Wynnsong theater where we watched one of Angie’s favorite movies, Meet the Parents.
We returned to Blakely by the route we usually took between Colquitt and Auburn, passing through Phenix City, Alabama, and Columbus, Georgia on Hwy 27 and riding on its many hills. We stopped at the Chevron station in Cusseta, GA at the juncture of Hwy 27/Hwy 1 and Hwy 280. This was the site of many a late-night pitstop for hot chocolate between Colquitt and Auburn in my dad’s old Ford Ranger. From here, it was a straight shot south to Blakely.
That evening we had dinner with the Willises, who made a delightful feast and endearing company. Sunday morning we reluctantly turned the car westward to retrace our steps home.