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article imagePhoto Essay: January in Coastal Georgia Special

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By Kay Mathews     Jan 29, 2013 in Environment
Much of the United States is experiencing snow and icy roads that come with the winter season, but this time of the year is much different in sub-tropical areas where Camellia trees are blooming and ice only comes in the form of ice cream.
During most of the January days in coastal Georgia, shorts and t-shirts could be worn by residents and visitors during the day and sweatshirts, jeans, and occasionally jackets (often light ones) appeared in the evenings.
What does not enter the scene is arctic weather conditions. To date, for example, the high in Savannah was 80 degrees on Jan. 16 while the low was 30 degrees on Jan. 23, which marked the only time the temperature dropped below freezing during the month.
The mild weather conditions provided ample opportunities to take wonderful walks in Savannah's Historic District downtown. Rather than seeing snow or sleet, Camellia trees and bushes offered their abundant, beautiful blooms.
Flowering Camellia tree.  Savannah  Ga.  January 2013
Flowering Camellia tree. Savannah, Ga. January 2013
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Close-up of Camellia tree s flowers.  Savannah  Ga.  January 2013
Close-up of Camellia tree's flowers. Savannah, Ga. January 2013
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In place of hail, honeybees were buzzing around and were quite busy collecting pollen and nectar.
Honeybee busy at work in Camellia bush s flower.  Savannah  Ga.  January 2013
Honeybee busy at work in Camellia bush's flower. Savannah, Ga. January 2013
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Savannah  Ga. — Honeybee busy at work in Camellia bush s flower
Savannah, Ga. — Honeybee busy at work in Camellia bush's flower
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And, instead of being forced to endure icy roads, many of Savannah's residents and visitors chose to order luscious ice cream sundaes at Leopold's Ice Cream.
Ice cream sundaes at Leopold s Ice Cream.  Savannah  Ga.  January 2013
Ice cream sundaes at Leopold's Ice Cream. Savannah, Ga. January 2013
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Tybee Island beaches were not empty due to freezing conditions. On the contrary, many people, like myself, made their way to the shore to walk on the beach, swing on the swing sets, collect seashells, take photographs, and breathe in the crisp, refreshing air.
North Beach - Tybee Island  Ga.
North Beach - Tybee Island, Ga.
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North Beach - Tybee Island  Ga.
North Beach - Tybee Island, Ga.
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North Beach - Tybee Island  Ga.
North Beach - Tybee Island, Ga.
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In sum, residents of and visitors to coastal Georgia experienced a different kind of winter wonderland than most of the rest of the United States. Rather than handling winter conditions, one could gently hold and smell gorgeous Camellia flowers, grasp an ice cream sundae dish, steer their way to the Atlantic Ocean, and do all of this while also taking advantage of Restaurant Week in Savannah which began on Jan. 25.
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