I've been wanting to post a little bit about our wildly adventurous, long hoped for road trip/pilgrimage to Milledgeville, Georgia to visit Andalusia, the home of Flannery O'Connor and where she ended up spending most of her life, as well as where she wrote most of her works, after she was diagnosed with lupus.
Back in November, or whenever the location for Edel '15 was announced as Charleston, I may have immediately google mapped "Charleston to Milledgeville" and then texted Haley that it was only 4 hours away! And Haley, being a great friend said that this was probably the closest a northern Canadian girl was ever going to get and that we should try and tack on an extra day to our Edel weekend to drive there for a visit. The whole idea sounded perfect and like a dream come true because you know my love of the South and Flannery O'Connor in particular, and I've always wanted to visit Andalusia!
We stopped in Savannah for a really quick brunch along the way, and then realized we still had two and half hours to go and that Andalusia closed at 5. We scarfed down brunch of grits, and crab cakes, and mimosas (just me) and hit the road. This was my "I'm in Savannah drinking a mimosa" face. Attractive, I know...
Haley earned a million best friend points for driving me across Georgia even though she was suffering from a horrible cold that left her with no voice and hadn't slept well in a week. But she was the name on the rental car and was a real martyr who didn't want me to drive and break laws. We got there with a handy half hour to spare before closing time and met a wonderful blog reader/podcast listener, Shannon from Milledgeville, who met us at Andalusia and showed us around and then later had dinner with us in Milledgeville. It worked out perfectly!
Actually being at Andalusia felt so surreal. For some reason it was exactly how I pictured it to be. I guess I should attribute that to Flannery's spot-on descriptions in her writings and letters. I honestly thought we'd turn a corner and see Flannery with her hat talking to some geese. The beautiful old trees let the sunlight fall on us, and the peace of the woods surrounding the house made it feel timeless and serene.
Flannery's bedroom on the main floor of the house. I love seeing her breviary and Bible on her nightstand beside her bed underneath a crucifix. Seeing her crutches was a bit haunting; an important aspect of who she was and her suffering, how it was such a part of her life, a visible reminder of her own pain. The curtains she sewed herself, and I love seeing her radio by the window. I wish her books were still in her room, but I understand the need to better preserve and allow others to study them, but I'm sure she wouldn't know what to do without them there.
I just loved all the peacock feathers around the house! Inside the house itself was great to experience and I'm so glad it hasn't been updated or re-touched at all because it doesn't feel like an impersonal museum but really a home.
We had to have a famous porch picture together! The porch is wonderful! I want one.
The only remaining peahen on the property. I wanted Andalusia to be full of geese and assorted fowl!
I love this picture with the trees towering over the house. I really could have spent all day soaking it all up, never wanting to leave, but it turned out to be a really fantastic visit that I'm going to remember forever. It just made me feel even closer to Flannery and her writings, and filled me with even more love for both.
I'm about 99% certain that must have been Daryl on his motorcycle.
Then we drove through a crazy assortment of Georgia country highways to get back to Atlanta where I would fly home from the next morning. It was beautiful countryside, but I couldn't help wondering if zombies were lurking in the trees, because I've watched a lot of The Walking Dead.
All in all I think it was a really successful Fountains of Carrots road trip - and we should do it again sometime!
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