This was one of the best kind of stops; unplanned, last-minute, and enjoyable.
I actually found that we were close to Plains by using the History Here app - which I have but rarely think to use. I saw the Jimmy Carter Historic Site was only 30 miles away from our spot in Albany, and was roughly on the route we were taking. And it was another chance to use the National Parks Pass we recently bought - need to justify that $80!
The morning of this visit it was raining pretty hard, still from the nasty storms that recently swept the middle-south. We had intended to hunker down for another day, but then I looked out and saw that rivers of water in the gravel roads were flowing down and taking a right turn into our site. We were the low point and it was already turning into a pond. Between the grass, gravel and Georgia’s history with red clay mud I knew we had to go. So we packed up in the rain and hit the road.
We arrived at the Jimmy Carter site mid-morning and found parking behind the former high school. Actually I was evaluating what to do because two large tour busses were taking up all the “Bus and RV Parking” and not leaving much for options, when a friendly volunteer came out and let us know we could just occupy the middle of the lot. The volunteer became our personal tour guide because other than the school groups we were the only visitors.
It’s an interesting thing. I’m old enough to remember Carter as president but not old enough to have voted for him. He was a Democrat and I grew up Republican. My folks aren’t super-political so I don’t recall any harsh words against Mr. Carter, but I don’t recall him being super well-liked either.
I came away from this visit with a new sense of respect for the man. He showed a sense of humility that I sure don’t see in the White House today. He knew how to get his hands dirty. He left a promising career in the Navy to come back to this small town when his father died - seeing that his father touched more lives as a small-town farmer than Mr. Carter thought he could as Chief Naval Officer. That first year back he and Mrs Carter had to live in Government Assisted Housing due to their low income. Later on they were successful enough to build a house - and that’s the only one they’ve ever owned. He and Rosalyn spend 75% of their time in town yet, indeed if we had been a few days later we could have met him. He - at just shy of 90 years old - still teaches Sunday School certain weeks at the local Methodist church.
We had lunch at a local diner, walked past Billy Carter’s ex service station, and visited a few shops downtown.
All in all a pleasant few hours with the result of some new awareness and opinions on some US history.
Oh, and by the way. No charge to get in so we didn’t get to use the National Parks Pass after all.