The event hotel was the Crowne Plaza in Peachtree City, GA (201 Aberdeen Pkwy, Peachtree City, GA 30269.) This facility is a bit different than a typical hotel in that is partially a Conference Center. It has several buildings spread out over a large expanse of mainly trees. Some of the buildings are for the conference center’s meetings and conferences, and others that are just hotel rooms. Lots of winding roads through the trees and around small lakes. Quite picturesque!! We had a block of rooms set aside for MOGSouth and the hotel originally had us all over the place. They soon got the message and located all the MOGSouth folks in one building, the Lakeside building, the same building with the MOGSouth Hospitality Suite!
The Hospitality Suite was the ‘Sutherland Suite’ on Friday afternoon/evening; then the event’s Hospitality Suite relocated to Falcon field and the Commemorative Air Force’s hangar on Saturday. (The hangar was the site of our catered dinner and where we spent Saturday afternoon and evening.) The ‘Hospitality Suite’ is a bit of MOGSouth tradition, a gathering place that allowed attending folks to meet and greet club friends.
On Saturday we had a Police escort scheduled for our short drive to Falcon field. Well, just as we were about to leave the Crowne Plaza at 1PM, the Officer assigned to escort us, got an urgent call and had to attend to more important police duties. Barbara and Vince Curasi, residents of Peachtree City, GA (and Mark’s sister and BIL) then took over convoy escort duties and led the convoy to Falcon field. We had 8 Morgans (Plus 4s, Plus 8s, Roadsters, and even an Aero 8). A very good turn out for a Holiday Party!! The airplane folks in the Commemorative Air Force were just as interested in the cars and we were interested in the war birds. I guess cars and aircraft go together?
We started the afternoon at the hangar, with many of the aircraft out in the sun, on the tarmac, outside the hangar. The weather was very nice and they had the P-51 Mustang arranged for us to use as a backdrop for photographs with the Morgans. Those with Morgans each got an opportunity to take a few pictures of their car with the Mustang. Very cool! Then all the cars were lined up for a group shot.
People spent the afternoon looking at the Commemorative Air Force’s war birds and additional aircraft they in the shop being restored. A number of folks, three perhaps four, took rides in one of the antique aircraft that had previously been previously restored. Everyone came back with a wide grin and stories for future times.
Many also used the afternoon hours to peruse the items that had been donated to the club for our annual ‘Silent Auction’. There were many wonderous items and some very generous bids. Thank you!! The proceeds from the Silent Auction will be used to keep the club solvent and able to provide the ‘Hospitality Suite’ at future events and, in some cases, subsidize some of the Club’s future activities.
In fact, this year, the Holiday Party buffet was subsidized by the club. The members in attendance paid a portion of the overall cost, with MOGSouth covering the rest!! Those that participate in our events reap the benefits and those that choose not to participate, well . . .
This year, the Holiday buffet was a catered affair and I believe everyone enjoyed it. Well, I didn’t hear any complaints!! The food was tasty, with a reasonable selection. Even the Gluten Free folks were satisfied.
The MOGSouth remarks were kept to a minimum; however, as is the norm, we did present the annual Mother Courage Award. This year the awardees were unanimously selected by the three prior year’s (2019, 2018 and 2017) awardees from a slate of candidates nominated by the club at large. This year’s (2021) awardees were Chuck and Karen Bernath.
Finally, after the dessert and coffee, folks retreated to the Hotel’s bar for a night cap. We put 2021 to bed with a pretty good Holiday Party! While 2021 was still somewhat of a challenge with the COVID issues across the world, we anticipate a great 2022! Hopefully we will see new four-wheeled Morgans on the American shores with the new Plus 4 and Plus 6. There is an even better chance that the new Morgan Three-wheeler will be here, as well. More cars, more members and new places to explore! See you there!!!
Also if you did not receive this information in an email (perhaps someone gave you a copy?) please check your SPAM email folder for Stacey Schepens firstname.lastname@example.org. We are chasing errant email messages!
A Nor Easter? Not sure where we found it, but it certainly found us and then just sat there. Honestly, I wasn’t even sure that Florida had Nor Easters. I thought they were reserved for New England and came with snow??
Well, that’s one thing we didn’t have . . . snow! But it felt like it! We had rain and wind and cold and nasty!!
Boy, what a weekend for leaky little British cars! We left the Morgans at the hotel (knowing they would float if needed!) and spent our time in Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach, mostly indoors! Yes, we did have Morgans at the Meet and a special thanks to those intrepid owners who brought their cars! But there were others that were somewhat more conservative and brought SUVs and trucks. This was good in that it allowed us all to pile into something more weather-tight and make our way to Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach without suffering. We feared our planned drive along the water would be fraught with floods, etc. since the local news was terrorizing us with pictures of rising waters and warnings that high tide would occur just when we planned on driving along the coastal route; so we opted for the less scenic (but higher in elevation) streets to get there. It would have been darn near impossible to see the coastal scenes with the rain pouring down anyway! So, one of the Meet’s planned activities (scenic drive!) went out the window!
Another primary activity for our Fall Meet, was the afternoon charter boat ride up the Amelia River to see the running of the right whales. (Per the internet. There is one population of North Atlantic right whales along the eastern coast of North America. They spend the summer at their feeding and mating grounds off the coast of New England and Canada. During the winter [This was to be the weekend!], pregnant females travel south along the coast of northeast Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina where they give birth and raise their young.)
The other starring bit of the boat ride was touring the coast line of Cumberland Island (long abandoned by the famous Carnegies), with its wild ponies, etc.
Given the weather, the boat ride was cancelled by the charter boat company. ‘Neither fit for man or beast!‘ they said! So they gave us our money back! And we used that money to eat and drink generate heat! We did that well!!
Susan and David Morgan, who live in downtown Fernandina Beach, opened up their lovey historic home and allowed us to watch a few notable college football games and thaw out some before dinner. We even poked and prodded David’s lovely Plus 4, as it sat high and dry in the garage! Smart man!
Dinner was at the Sandbar and Kitchen restaurant, which was conveniently located on the beach and right next to the Amelia Island Right Whale Festival (again, this was cancelled for Saturday). Arghhhh… So we had a great dinner, had entertaining conversations, and enjoyed watching the Right whales swim by (oh wait, we couldn’t do that either because it was raining too hard to see out the windows). (I’m beginning to see a pattern here….)
The highlight of dinner was probably when Susan Morgan won the raffle for a bottle of Heaven’s Door whiskey (probably because of the good karma she received by opening up her home to us wet wanderers).
Well, despite the weather dashing all our plans, we still had fun. See ya’ll at the Holiday Party in Peachtree City, GA 4 December (details on www.MOGSouth.com). With luck, we should be due for some nice weather.
Key West, Florida!! Some sort of Paradise!! At least for us in the Southeastern portion of the USA. We went, we saw, and we came back!! Another indescribable Morgan Road Trip!! This was the third MOGSouth/GatorMOG Road Trip to Key West, FL and they just keep getting better! It took us a week this time and we circumnavigated a good bit of the Florida Peninsula. We stuck to the back roads, shunning the highways. You miss too much of the good stuff if you always travel the highways!! We saw the coast, we saw agriculture, we saw swamps. We saw museums, beaches, restaurants, and of course, we saw Citrus. And surprisingly the weather cooperated. A few pop-up showers (yes, I had the top down!) . . . mostly it was just hot!!
A wonderful collection of cars and even better group of people!! We had quite a few older cars this time . . . two late fifties Plus 4 4 Seaters and an early sixties Plus 4. Add these cars to the newer Roadsters, Plus 8s and a new Plus 4 (with a dog?) and we had a very nice and diverse array of Morgan cars!! And no major breakdowns. All the car problems experienced were weather related and plagued the newer cars, not the older ones? A few hot cars, mine included! I developed a coolant leak and had to add coolant a few times. One Plus 8 ran without a fan all week, and one car developed a minor misfire due to some overnight rain. Other than that, we were just fine!! Speaking of groups, we limited the number of participants on this trip. The last two trips we had way too many cars. It is almost impossible to keep everyone in line and restaurants look at you like you are nuts when you say you have 50 or so folks for lunch! Twenty is a much better number!!
We started our trek with travels from where-ever to the Daytona, FL Morgan dealer, Christopher John LTD. Chris Sylvestri welcomed us all to the dealership and hosted an amazing open house with lots of tasty goodies and sampling of beer from the brewery next door. Great hospitality, Morgan parapenalia and cars for sale!! What a way to start our adventure!!
After the open house we ate dinner at a local spot on the water and adjacent to our hotel. In the morning we all headed south down the Florida coast.
We finished the day with a block party in the Singer’s Cul de Sac in Palm Beach, hosted by Bennett and Mary Shulman and Eric and Joanne Singer.
I started the day with fan problems (coolant leaks) and overheated so Andrea and I had to leave the convoy while we got our problems sorted in Daytona and then traveled the highways to catch up. We arrived in West Palm Beach a bit late, but the group was still there and having great fun. We joined right in. That beer tasted great!
Then in the morning a scenic run along the amazing overseas coastal route (US 1) all the way to Key West. We did stop for lunch in Key Largo. At a marina looking at the water! The aura of the Keys was already settling in. . .
We finished the day with beer and pizza, provided by the Club, at the hotel in Key West. Yes, that beer also tasted great! A quicker run South this time than previous trips but we wanted more time in Key West! Too much to see and do!! We parked the cars in the hotel lot and scattered somewhat. We all had our own agendas and interests! The hotel shuttles and free municipal buses proved quite convenient, and the price was right!! Wednesday’s big event was a Sunset Cruise on a Catamaran with open bar, heavy hors d’oeuvres and an oldies band. Who knew these folks could dance??
Before we boarded the boat a few folks went to the butterfly museum and reported a great time! Others of us worked on the cars some and visited a few of the more notable bars downtown. Then it was lunch and off to the catamaran.
The drinks were flowing before we left the dock! Orange juice like concoctions with other things to lubricate the crowd. The all-female crew called for assistance in hoisting the sails and many in our crowd responded!!
Then the music kicked in and the crowd erupted into frenetic dancing!! Finally, the sun went down with a spectacular blaze of orange, and we were dazzled.
Kind of hated to leave the catamaran for the bus ride home. It was a bit anticlimactic but necessary. Today more excitement. More pubs and places and of course . . . ‘Mallory Square.’
Mallory Square is just nuts!! It always is!! It is an area of free spirits, entertaining souls, fire eaters, unicycles and what not!! If it is atypical, it is probably there. It is also ‘the’ spot to watch the sun go down in Key West. You have to get there early and camp on the edge of the dock or you will never find a seat to watch the ‘best show’ in town.
Something that must happen each day and something you have to witness on each and every trip you make to the Keys. The sunset. While we were sitting on the dock waiting for the sun to set, Ron Gricius and his son joined us. Ron is a Morgan (2003 +8) man from Florida’s west coast. He was sort of with our group, but car problems delayed his arrival in the Keys and he was on his own path having been to Key West many times before. It was good to see him however!!
There are many restaurants on the peripheral of the square and we found a good one. An unplanned Group dinner at Mallory Square with ‘Better than Sex’ for dessert? Cuban restaurant was just the ticket for Key West. Lots of good things to eat and plenty of space for a moderate sized group like ours.
We started with a few folks on the reservation and ended up with most of the Morgan folks at one long table. We even convinced the staff that it was Bennett’s birthday and they found him some dessert!
Friday morning eventually came, even in Key West, and we had to leave our little bit of paradise. We headed back north along the same route we came, the only road available, US Route 1. Once we reached the mainland, we headed a bit northwest, and then right into the middle of the Everglades.
We stopped for lunch at the Everglades Safari Park, a bit of a tourist trap, but they had what we needed. Lunch and Air Boat Rides.
We grabbed a quick bite and headed to the Air Boat. They had a large air boat without mufflers on the engine, that could take the entire group. We piled on, got the safety briefing and ear plugs. You need the ear plugs. Those things are loud! Then we headed out amongst the saw grass, turtles and supposedly alligators. Our guide gave us a good ride over the wetlands, with water only a foot or so deep. He maneuvered the boat through the designated path and took the corners a bit like a ’drifter’ sliding the boat sideways into the turn.
We saw quite of few species of birds, some large turtles, but not a lot of alligators? Our guide informed us that the alligators were all at the bottom of swamp water getting cool. Kind of made me want to be there too!! It was hot!! From the Everglades Safari Park we headed West to a party at John Pokorny’s house in Cape Coral. John was on the trip with us but traveled home just in time to help his wife with the party. What a lovely house and tremendous hospitality! In addition to the Morgan, John had some interesting toys in the garage! Not that the garage was the center of attention. The house was absolutely lovely, lavishly decorated and perfectly located along the water in Cape Coral. After filling up on wondrous food and drink, the road trip folks all left . . . just in time to miss the torrential downpour. Well, almost all! We didn’t, thinking it would soon end, but it didn’t. We ended up leaving our car in John’s driveway overnight. We picked it up early the next morning. Thanks Peter for ride back down to John’s.
Hard to beat John’s lovely garage but Friday morning was spent at the Revs Institute. The Revs Institute, in Naples, Fl., is a car museum of sorts, but really a very special place (well, that is if you like cars!) The Revs Institute web site states it ‘institution dedicated to the study, preservation, conservation, and restoration of historically significant automobiles. Explore the rich historic materials and images that define the automobile’s role in society and sport. Step into another world at Revs Institute.’ Primarily it is two special automobile collections – the Miles Collier collection and the Briggs Cunningham collection, melded into one in the late 1980s.
Yes, the cars are quite significant, but the vignettes and displays are exceptionally well done. And there is a full library for research and study. Numerous folks indicated a desire for a full day or more to peruse the displays. I have been there three times and have yet to see it all. I will go back!!
After a morning drooling at the Revs Institute the group motored north to Winter Haven, where we had a lovely dinner on the lake that is now Legoland (for those of you old enough, it used to host Cyprus Gardens!) We were joined by MOGSouth members Kathy and Tom Coryn who came out to see us and wish us well. They were originally going on the trip with us but life got in the way. That happens sometimes.
In the morning we had another short drive to ‘Showcase of Citrus’. It was a typical roadside vendor in Florida, all about tchotchkes and Citrus. We rode the monster trucks trough the fields and learned lots about Citrus. The yields, the seasons, today’s challenges and the bugs! Some forget just how much agriculture there is in Florida. As Floridians, it is good to remind ourselves every once in a while that Florida is more than Disney and Snow Birds.
This one vendor diversified through the tough times with retail, recycling (poop!) and ranching. This is probably why they are still in business in spite of the challenges. We did see citrus, we saw alligators, we saw just a few cows, but did see some Zebras? Zebras? Now was this retail or ranching??
Finally, it was time to say goodbye. We chose to do this in style and took over the back room and bar in a local Irish Pub. (Liam Fitzpatrick’s Irish Pub in Lake Mary Florida.) It was just across the street from the final road trip hotel. Another great trip! The planning hasn’t started for the next one, but don’t be surprised when the calendar comes out. Cheers, Mark
(Photo attribution. ALB – Andrea Braunstein, MNB – Mark Braunstein, JN – Joan Neumann, BS – Bennett Shuldman, my apologies if I have missed anyone.)
Friday (5 November) is travel day. Folks travel to northeastern Jacksonville, Florida and check into the Meet Hotel. The Meet Hotel is the Aloft hotel, 751 Skymarks Drive, Jacksonville, Florida 32218. This is our base of operation for the 2021 Fall Meet. Click the following link to make reservations. Discounted Room Rate for Morgan Owners Group South Breakfast is an unknown at this time. They may have something, they may not. According to the hotel COVID changed certain things so I would assume the worst case and plan on finding breakfast somewhere else. There are lots of restaurants serving breakfast in the area.
The Hospitality Suite is at the hotel’s bar. There is no separate room available to serve as our Hospitality Suite this time!!
At 10am (Saturday, 6 November) we gather up at the front door of the hotel, and travel as a convoy to Amelia Island, Fl along FL-105, Heckscher Road, A1A, Fletcher Road. This drive should take us about an hour and a bit. This is a wonderful Morgan drive as it skirts the St Johns River with its scenic bridges, watery vistas, marsh grasses and lots of marine activity. No doubt the local folks will be out fishing and boating as we go by.
Once onto Amelia Island we will pass by some exquisite housing areas, exceptional golf course and fine hotels. This is the home to the famed Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, in my mind the finest Concours d’Elegance on the east coast. We will follow the ‘round abouts’ along the coast road (A1A / Fletcher Road) and across the various islands to the quaint town of Fernandina Beach, FL. We will all park downtown Fernandina Beach (parking is a challenge so it will everyone for themselves!) and spend a few hours perusing the shops and boutiques. Lunch is on your own so find something appealing at one of the many restaurants in town. Just make sure you don’t miss the boat, leaving from 1 N. Front St, Fernandina Beach, FL (Yes, it is on the water!) at 3:30pm.
We will all board a few minutes early, at 3:15PM. The Cumberland Island Tour Boat has been chartered just for MOGSouth folks and will cost only 20$ per person. Again, MOGSouth is subsidizing the costs of this boat charter, so you can feel good about getting your money’s worth for your 2021 MOGSouth dues!! (Wait a minute! We didn’t have any dues for 2021?)
The Charter will provide us with a leisurely tour of Cumberland Island and take about an hour and a half. It will be fully narrated by a knowledgeable guide, giving us the back stories as well as a great sense of the island’s interesting history. At this time of year there is also a good possibility of Right Whales sightings or sightings of other wildlife as we motor along!
After the tour, but no later than 6PM, we will all gather at one of the Fernandina’s great restaurants for a group dinner. (Note: we are still working the specifics of the dinner, so standby for more information.)
The dinner should end around 7:30-8PM and we will all gather back up and convoy, again along Fletcher Road, A1A, FL-105, Heckscher Road back to the Hotel in northeast Jacksonville. Again, there is no separate room for the Hospitality Suite so those interested in continuing to visit will gather in the Hotel’s bar.
Sunday is check out day and the time to travel home.
Friday (3 December) or Saturday (4 December) could be travel days, depending on where you are!! I would think that folks traveling a long(ish) distance to Peachtree City will want to arrive early, like on Friday afternoon / evening, and get there in time to relax and wind down. Folks coming from Atlanta or other locations a bit closer to Peachtree City will probably want to travel early on Saturday but be advised the party starts a bit earlier this year!
The meet hotel is the Crowne Plaza in Peachtree City, GA (201 Aberdeen Pkwy, Peachtree City, GA 30269.) This is our base of operation. We have negotiated a reduced rate for the MOGSouth membership, but you need to call ASAP to make your reservations. Use GROUP NAME: MOGSouth Car Club and GROUP CODE: NH9 to identify the group. The cutoff date for booking rooms Nov 3, 2021.
Use this link MOGSouth Car Club Room Block to make reservations or call the hotel at IHG Reservations at 1-877-227-6963. Be sure to use the Group Name and Group Code.
The Hospitality Suite is at the Sutherland Suite on Friday afternoon/evening (this is a one day only location.) The Hospitality Suite goes mobile and moves to Falcon field on Saturday afternoon!!
On Saturday morning folks can either take advantage of the hotel’s breakfast or try one of the other restaurants in Peachtree City. The cost of the hotel breakfast isn’t included in the hotel room rate, but you can buy a discounted breakfast voucher when you check in. The breakfast is a full buffet, an omelet station as well as other continental breakfast items. I have tried it, the selection is quite good and the food is tasty enough!
Basically, if you arrived on Friday, Saturday morning is available for you to relax, sleep late, attend to some imperative Morgan maintenance issues, get gas in the car or visit the various shops, boutiques and neighborhoods of Peachtree City, GA. It is an interesting place, to be sure!! If you are in Peachtree City already, Saturday lunch is on your own.
For those traveling in on Saturday (4 December), just be sure to be at the Crowne Plaza by 1pm.
Right after lunch on Saturday, at 1pm, we will form up in a convoy in front of the hotel’s registration building and then move to Commemorative Air Force’s hanger at Falcon Field (Falcon Field is the Peachtree City, GA municipal airport.) This is a short drive, some 5 miles or less.
Once at the Commemorative Air Force’s hanger we will get situated and folks can take in the Commemorative Air Force’s numerous war birds, peruse the interesting items in the small museum or visit the maintenance shops to see what is currently in work. There will be folks from the Commemorative Air Force there to answer any questions you might have. There may be a photo opportunity with the Morgans and the Commemorative Air Force’s aircraft (war birds) depending on the weather, availability of aircraft, etc.
Then around 4pm we will re-open the MOGSouth Hospitality Suite and folks can enjoy a glass of wine, beer or whatever, etc.
The Holiday Party banquet is a fully catered event and the caterers will be setting up the dinner buffet as we mill around the hangar. Also during this time the caterers will be passing out hors d’oeuvres (chicken skewers, fried green tomatoes, and seared crab cakes) to whet your appetite before dinner!
Dinner will include all the good stuff . . . Grilled Chicken Romano, Prime Rib with Rosemary Cabernet Jus & Horseradish Cream, Mashed Potatoes, Butternut Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Molasses Glaze, Grilled Asparagus with Honey Vinaigrette with just about everything Gluten Free. Beverages will be available, e.g., iced tea, water, etc., (in addition to those you might have gotten from our mobile Hospitality Suite!)
Dinner is scheduled for 5PM with coffee and dessert included. The dinner will only cost you $25 per person this year. MOGSouth has once again subsidized the cost of the dinner so you should feel good about your membership in such a wonderful and generous club as MOGSouth!
And yes, we will have a few MOGSouth club remarks (yes, I know! Keep it short!) as well as, the Mother Courage Award presentation.
The dinner should end around 7 and we will all gather back up and convoy back to the hotel. Again, there is no separate room for the Hospitality Suite at the hotel, on Saturday, so those interested in continuing to visit will need to gather in the Hotel’s bar. Sunday is check out day and the time to travel home.