It’s been two weeks since I’ve done any decent exploring, so I have been
chomping at the bit to get out. We have had what seems like 2 weeks of rain
and it has been almost impossible to do anything. This weekend like many
others is a volleyball weekend for us. It also is my mother in law’s and
niece’s birthday; on the way to the hotel Friday, we decided to meet up with
the rest of the family to celebrate their birthdays. Mami loves Lake Oconee,
so we scoped out a restaurant on the lake for her. We chose The National
Tavern at Reynolds Lake Oconee. Located at 1145 National Dr, Greensboro, GA.
Hubby and I met my mother in law and sister in law and her family there Friday
night for dinner. Dinner was pretty good, but they were really busy, so the service was a little slow. We just enjoyed our time together!
After dinner, we headed the rest of the way to Suwannee, where we stayed for
the night. We were quite tuckered after about 4 hours of driving to make our trek to dinner and the hotel.
Hubby had to be at volleyball at the crack of dawn, so I dropped him off and
left out on my adventure. First planned stop was Anna Ruby Falls in Helen. I arrived before opening, as usual, but this time it kinda bit me; normally State Parks will let you in the gates and you just put your payment in the box, but this is separate from the State Park, so I guess they have different rules. There are gates and you can’t even get to the parking area before the gates open. So I drove around Unicoi State Park for about 15 minutes to see if there were any must sees and then headed back to Anna Ruby Falls.
There are fees for Unicoi State Park and Anna Ruby Falls. If you are not
parking at Unicoi, you can drive through to get to Anna Ruby Falls without
paying the State Park parking fee. There is a $5 parking fee at Unicoi and a
$3 per person fee to visit Anna Ruby. There were quite a few people that arrived to the parking area when I did, so I grabbed my gear and headed in to the shop to pay my entry fee (the gate guard wasn’t even at the post when I arrived). There was a couple that headed out on the trail before me, but they stopped quite a bit to take photos, so I was able to pass them and make it to the Falls and have a 10 minutes to photograph the falls before anyone else arrived there. Anna Ruby Falls is a .9 mile hike (round trip) on a paved trail. Some areas are a little steep, but overall it was a pretty easy hike. I carried my tripod and camera in to make sure to get some beautiful long exposures of the falls. There are two falls there; one is a 153 feet drop from the Curtis Creek and the York Creek falls have a 50 feet drop. The water at the bottom of the falls is considered to be Smith Creek, which flows into Smith Lake in Unicoi State Park.
After Anna Ruby Falls, I headed to Toccoa Falls. From Anna Ruby, Toccoa Falls
was about an hour away. Toccoa Falls has a vertical drop of 186 feet. 107
Kincaid Dr, Toccoa Falls, GA. It is $2 per adult to get in; be sure to ask
for senior, military, group, and children’s rates. The falls are only about 100 yards from the visitor’s center/bookstore. There is a gravel path to the falls. There were a ton of people there climbing on rocks, so I just patiently hung out enjoying the scenery until I was able to get some clear shots of the falls.
Next up, I headed to the UGA State Botanical Garden at 2450 Milledge Ave, Athens, GA. It is free to visit the gardens, but there is a donation box. There are trails and nature
areas, Children’s Garden, Flower Garden, Heritage Garden, Horticulture
Greenhouses, Hummingbird Trail, International Garden, Tropical Conservatory,
Herb, and Physic Garden, and Shade and Native Flora Gardens. There is plenty
of variety here to suit everyone’s enjoyment. Because of the great weather, there were quite a bit of people out, so I explored and saw the beautiful blooms of Spring; it was a little too peopley for me, so I headed to get some lunch.
After the gardens, I grabbed a quick bite to eat and the time came to get back to make sure I was at the volleyball venue before the tournament was over.
Hubby’s team won the Silver Bracket, so it was a good volleyball day. Afterwards, we were starving and headed to try to find somewhere that wasn’t packed on Saturday at 8 pm in Atlanta. We found an amazing little Italian restaurant called Trattoria One • 41. We were quite underdressed and they were busy, but we managed to get a seat at the bar within 10 minutes. The bartender was great and the food was amazing. Seemed very authentic, but I will be able to judge on how authentic it really was soon, as the Europe trip will be here before we know it. After dinner, it was almost 10pm, so we decided we would find a hotel and stay one more night, because we were exhausted once again.
Have 2 pretty big trips left for March…so ready to be exploring for more than a day!
Get out there and find your passion!