We ended a week in Orlando on Friday, drove home, unpacked and packed back up for an overnight in Atlanta. It was another volleyball weekend. After walking over 30 miles in the parks throughout the week, I decided to take it easy on my Saturday explorations.
First I headed to Piedmont Park to watch the sunrise. Not really the best place to watch the sun rise, but my plan was to go to the Atlanta botanical gardens when they opened at 9:00 am.
Piedmont Park and the botanical gardens share a parking lot, so it was perfect for me.
I walked around Piedmont Park and made sure to check out the Midtown Skyline over the lake. There were ducks, geese, and squirrels that came out in droves it seemed. I also caught a heron on the shoreline and then as it flew off.
As it neared 9:00 am I moved from the first level of the parking deck to the fifth…remember the less walking the better for my tired feet. The stairs were definitely not enticing me to use them.
I bought my ticket online, so at 9:00 am I was able to scan my ticket and walk right in. The tulips, daffodils and orchids put on a show for sure. There were some other random bloomers too.
After exploring the Botanical gardens, I went to IKEA for a little shopping and dreaming of tiny house living one day. Then I headed back to the venue to get a few photos of the teams and to watch my hubby’s team bring home the gold again; fifth gold this season!
Remember I said light on the walking…well once all was said and done, I put in over 4 miles. It was at a snails pace because I was snapping photos, so I was fine, but once we got home, I crashed.
Volleyball season will be over in a month, so I am just taking advantage of all our little overnights and opportunities to get out with my camera and wander.
Today I headed out to check out Sprewell Bluff Park in Thomaston, Georgia. I stopped to take some photos at the lookout (located right across from the store and before the gate where you pay your parking fee).
I went down to the Flint River for a while and just relaxed with my feet in the water.
Did a little hiking along the river before I had to head to the car…thunder claps warned me just in time. The rain started before I even got out of the park.
The sky was phenomenal though, before, during and after the rain. On my way home I stopped by Auchumpkee Creek Covered Bridge to take advantage of the clouds and blue skies…it was a quick stop as the rain couldn’t make up its mind and would start and stop at a moments notice.
I did however get plenty of time cruising with the top down and got some exercise in with beautiful scenery.
It was a nice day to get out of the house and explore.
Get out there! Explore until your heart is content.
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!
What do you do when you have a long weekend? Well this long weekend, I rented a tiny house in Clayton Georgia and headed north to get a sneak peek of the fall colors. I do think it was a little early for the full leaf changing, but when I get an extra day off of work I take full advantage of it.
Before we could hit the road Saturday, Perry played in Region Tournament…We had to leave before it even ended, we headed to Atlanta to drop Baylee off at the airport to head to meet up for her cruise…we dropped her and headed north east to get to our weekend getaway started.
We rented Little Red Roof, a brand new tiny house in Clayton Georgia. They have some specific house rules, like no shoes worn in the house, which just tickles my fancy. We are a shoeless house, so it makes me happy to see like-minded folks. I know it may seem silly to some, but my OCD just cannot stand the idea of shoes/germs on my floors and wearing down my wood finish and carpet…Our hosts were Andrea and Curtis. Their tiny house, was just perfect in every way. House listing
Dinner Saturday night was at Universal Joint in Clayton. They are know for burgers and live music. While I’m not huge on loud music, I do love a good burger, so decided to check it out.
So it hasn’t rained in over a month in Georgia and guess what 80% chance of rain on Sunday…the day to hike Tallulah Gorge. So we let the anti-rain dance to commensurate. Hoping and praying for the best weather.
Rain dance didn’t work and it poured off and on until after noon or so. We had a quick breakfast and figured we’d drive up to Black Rock Mountain State Park and see what we could with the fog and rain. Rain stopped for a little while and we were able to get some photos of the fog in the mountains.
I wanted to check out Minnehaha Falls, but wanted to do it when the sun wasn’t too high, the cloudy skies were perfect so I could get the right exposure that I wanted on the water…a nice motion in the water as it falls over the rocks. The hike to Minnehaha is only .2 miles, so it is very doable. It is located off of Bear Gap Rd near Lake Rabun. You depart the trailhead at the green diamond and number 147. The drive there was beautiful around Lake Rabun…all the houses and two story boat docks were phenomenal.
So the big thing I wanted to see was Tallulah Gorge. Tallulah Gorge is one of the 7 natural wonders in the state. It is a must see! There are multiple trails there, but with my back, I had to just listen to my body and see what it could do as the day went on. If you want to hike the gorge floor, you MUST get a permit.
There are only 100 given out every day, so you need to arrive early! My plan was to hike the easier hikes and see how I felt. Today though there were no permits given out because of the inclimate weather.
The easiest of the all is the Shortline Trail. It is 3 miles, but is paved. This trail can be accessed from Terrora Circle Road.
Then next up is the Inspiration Loop Trail. It is 1.5 miles round trip; it is mulched with exposed rocks. This trail is accessed on the Interpretive Center Road.
The North and South Rim Trails are 3 miles total and take about 2 hours to hike. It is a mulched trail with exposed rocks.
The North Rim is accessed behind the Interpretive Center. It is approximately ¾ mile one way with some incline and stairs. The trail has six scenic overlooks
1. Inspiration Point is the best southern view into the gorge. Gorge depth is 900+ feet
2.View of Oceana Falls with Bridal Veil Falls at the far end of the gorge
3.View of L’Eau d’Or (pronounced Ladore) Falls, top of Tempesta Falls, and Hawthorne Cascade and Pool. Gorge depth is 350 feet
4.View of L’Eau d’Or Falls, Hawthorne Pool and remains of Water compressor plant used in building the Dam
5.Good view of Tallulah Falls Dam (completed in 1913) and upper portions of the Gorge
6.View of upper gorge and southern view to Hawthorne Pool and Overlooks 2 and 3. Gorge depth is 250 feet
The South Rim Trail is accessed opposite side of the gorge from the Interpretive Center. It is approximately ¾ mile one way with some incline. The trail has five scenic overlooks
1. View of Hawthorne Pool, North Rim Trails overlooks 2 and 3, top of Tempesta Falls and down Gorge to Hurricane Falls. Gorge depth is 350 feet
2.View of Hawthorne Pool, Tempesta Falls and Pool. Gorge depth is 400 feet.
3.View of Hurricane Falls and Pool, Devil’s Pulpit outcrop below, and the interpretive center across the gorge. Gorge depth is 500 feet
4.View of Hurricane Falls, Oceana Falls, Caledonia Cascade and North Rim overlook one. Gorge is 650 feet
5.View of Celedonia Cascade and the Wallenda north tower area. Bluff to far right is approximately 1000 feet high.
I really wanted to go to the suspension bridge in Hurricane Falls Trail Loop…but had no idea if I could make it. The Hurricane Falls Trail Loop has 1,099 stairs to the gorge floor…to get to the suspension bridge isn’t all the way down though. This is the trail you take to get to the gorge trail…and need a permit to go on the gorge floor.
Honestly I’m not even sure which trail we did…we did the stairs all the way down to hurricane falls and some of North Rim trail…my legs were jello and I was super thirsty. There are fountains along the trail, but are not functioning so make sure you bring water with you.
After our hike, we hit Goats on the Roof for some homemade ice cream…it was pretty good and servings were HUGE!
For dinner, yes I planned ahead. I always look for Farm to Table restaurants before I travel anywhere. The last thing I want to do is eat subpar food. I made reservations at Fortify Kitchen and Bar in Clayton for 7:30pm. Hoping that would give us enough time to see what we wanted to see and get back and showered and dressed for dinner. We had the special shrimp lettuce wraps for our appetizer and I had the pork chop and hubby had the lamb. Both were large portions and very tasty.
Monday morning we woke up and had to check out of the house by 10 a.m.
We had two little friends that looked to have be dumped by someone the day before. They even hopped in the van while we were loading it up…had to scoot them out and then we were on our way. Our host had no idea where they came from.
There is so much to see here, that really a few days isn’t enough to do it all, but if you know me, you know I will squeeze in everything I can.
I could not have come all this way and not visited a winery…after check out it was breakfast at the Dillard House. It is family style dining. You get a TON of food, my favorite was the cinnamon roll! The Dillard House has been family owned since 1917. They served locally sourced items and have won multiple awards in the Southern Living Magazine. The views from the Dillard House were beautiful mountain views. They are a full service resort…They also offers horseback riding and stables where you can visit their animals. While there will be no horseback riding for me…I did enjoy visiting their beautiful grounds and animals.
After breakfast and a visit of the grounds at the Dillard House, we were headed to Tiger Mountain Vineyards at 2592 Old Highway 41 in Tiger Georgia. But they were not open…so we changed our plans.
We went back to Black Rock Mountain State Park to the lookouts to get some more photos. It was very different without all the fog from yesterday!
After that we headed to 12 Spies Winery for a little wine tasting. We did the 10 tastes for $15 and hubby and I split it. My favorite was the sangria…it’s a blend of 5 different wines. The grounds were really pretty too.
After a little wine tasting and exploring, it was time to hit the road to make our trip home.
As we were driving down 441 I saw a sign for a tallulah gorge lookout…so we detoured to check it out. It was pretty but really not worth the detour as there were a lot of power lines in the view. There was a cute little store to buy souvenirs and local goods.
As we got closer to home, we were ready for dinner, so we stopped in Macon. We ate at Ocmulgee Brewpub. I had the Juliette Burger and this burger has moved up to my number one burger of all times. It is topped with a friend green tomato, bacon, onion, lettuce on a freshly baked bun…has a special sauce too! It won the best burger in 2018 and I know why!!
We are home and showered, ready for my next adventure…
Tomorrow morning…another adventure if you want to call it that-L5/S1 injections again…last round before nerve ablation.
Today, we took a day trip to Old Car City USA in White, Georgia. Old Car City was founded in 1931 as a used car dealer, turned car & parts junkyard, and lastly mother nature turned it into two ton flower pots and photographers paradise. There are seven miles of trails with over 4,000 cars and 40 acres to see. Here are some of my favorites from the day.
To get ready to go, make sure you wear closed toed shoes, as there are a lot of rusty things lying around. Also wear bug spray, as it is heavily wooded. I forgot to put on bug spray today, but had a few buzzing around wishing I had. It is very shaded in most parts, so sunscreen is probably optional. They are open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm.
Old Car City really is a site to see. If you are ever near Atlanta, think about heading a little further north to White and checking it out!
Afterwards, we headed to Rome, GA to eat at one of our favorite places. We were going to explore some of Rome too, but the rain beat us and we retreated to the car and headed home.