Perfect Gainesville Florida weekend

Thursday night rolled around and I didn’t have any plans for the weekend! I knew this had to be remedied immediately.

I started searching for somewhere that I didn’t think wouldn’t be packed with spring breakers, didn’t cost $400 plus a night for lodging and offered some type of hiking and adventuring. Some of the spots we had been wanting to go were coming up short; way too much for a last minute, budget trip.

We recently went to Disney World and I remembered all the state park signs on I-75 between Lake City and Gainesville, I had also seen some springs on Instagram, so I checked out Gainesville for hotels. I found Hotel Indigo in Celebration Pointe, Gainesville for… READY FOR THIS? Under $100 a night!!

I actually went to college for two semesters at University of Florida in Gainesville but spent all my time partying so I completely missed out on the goodness this part of the state offers.

Gainesville Here We Come!

My itinerary was very vague. I wanted to hike at Payne’s Prairie State Park and kayak at Gilchrist Blue Springs or Ginnie Springs. Also had found the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens and Devils Milhopper Geological State Park that I was interested in as well. My husband and I both have ties to Gainesville and University of Florida, so we wanted to check out the campus as well. And of course, check out the food scene!

We arrived Friday night to Gainesville and were pleasantly surprised with our accommodations. The staff was very helpful, hotel was new and very clean, there was a beautiful hanging garden in the lobby, up to date decor and a hotel bar that was open! We were pooped though, so we showered and hit the hay, knowing that we had an early morning in order to ensure we made it to the park before it filled up. With COVID-19 still affecting everything, state parks limit visitors in order to maintain social distancing.

Saturday morning, we woke up, grabbed Starbucks and headed to Payne’s Prairie State Park.

Payne’s Prairie State Park

Payne’s Prairie State Park is located at 100 Savannah Blvd., Micanopy FL 32667; just south of Gainesville. There is a $6 entry fee per vehicle to enter the park. The park is normally open from 8 am to sundown.

Far from the Far West, herds of wild horses and bison roam the prairie in this surprisingly diverse preserve south of Gainesville. Paynes Prairie is unique in many ways. Nowhere else in Florida can visitors experience wild-roaming bison and horses. Nearly 300 species of birds also frequent the park along with alligators, deer and many other animals. The park’s eight trails, including the 16-mile paved Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail, allow one to explore the park’s interior and observe wildlife, while a 50-foot high observation tower provides for panoramic views. You can hike the La Chua Trail, Bolen Bluff Trail, Wacahoota Trail, Cone’s Dike Trail, Chacala Trail, Lake Trail, Jackson’s Gap Trail, Gainesville Hawthorne Trail, and Savannah Boulevard.

La Chua Trail – Pets are NOT allowed on this trail.

During drought conditions, vegetation may limit wildlife viewing opportunities along the LaChua Trail. This is part of the natural fluctuation of water levels. Abundant water and alligators sightings will return when Mother Nature provides a wetter rain cycle.

The LaChua Trail is three miles round-trip from the north rim of the prairie to the observation tower. This trail provides scenic views of wet-prairie and marsh habitat including Alachua Sink and Alachua Lake. Main access is at 4801 Camp Ranch Road. LaChua Trail opens at 8 a.m., seven days a week. For safety and wildlife disturbance reasons, the trail closes one hour before sunset. Alternate access is from Boulware Springs at 3500 S.E. 15th St. (Boulware Springs is also the starting point of the Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail).

  • Foot traffic only! Pets are not allowed on this trail.

Bolen Bluff Trail – Pets are NOT allowed on this trail.

The 2.6-mile round-trip trail is named after a family of pioneer settlers who lived on the south rim or bluff of Paynes Prairie. The trail leads to a wildlife viewing deck after it passes beneath the shady canopy of a hardwood forest dominated by large oaks – the most impressive of which are Southern live oak. Other species of oaks as well as sweetgum, hickory, palm, magnolia and holly trees flourish along the trail. In Florida, communities of broad-leaved evergreens or hardwood-dominated forests are called hammocks. This name probably originated from early Native Americans who inhabited the region. Hammocks grow on high well-drained soils and thus provide an ideal habitat for a large diversity of animal species including Virginia white-tailed deer, wild turkey, bobcat, gray fox, barred owl and raccoon.

Located halfway along the loop-trail is an open, grassy knoll – Bolen Bluff. The bluff affords the visitor a scenic vista of the low-lying freshwater marsh, wet prairie and open water of Alachua Lake. From the bluff a 0.5-mile spur-trail heads out onto the prairie basin along an old earthen dike. During the 1920-30s, the Camp family constructed an extensive system of dikes and canals into the vast wetland to reduce the flooding and thus create drier conditions for cattle ranching. In 1970 the Camp Ranch was sold to the state of Florida, establishing the first state preserve in the Florida Park System.

  • Today, upland areas once cleared for agriculture and cattle grazing are slowly returning to their previous hammock state.
  • The trailhead is accessed off U.S. 441 south of Gainesville. Open daily 8 a.m. to sundown. Foot and bike traffic.

Wacahoota Trail

About a quarter-mile round-trip. Begins at visitor center and loops through hammock to a 50-foot observation tower along the edge of the prairie.

  • Closes at sunset.
  • Foot traffic only!

Cone’s Dike Trail – Pets are NOT allowed on this trail.

This trail is an 8.25-mile round-trip hike from the visitor center parking area trailhead. The earthen dike trail travels into the center of the prairie creek waterway. The flat terrain of the basin is quite open and has limited shade for hikers or bicyclists.

  • Closes at sunset.
  • Foot and bike traffic.

Chacala Trail

A series of loop trails encompassing 6.5 miles in length, Chacala Trail is named after a small freshwater pond just outside the preserve boundary. The level trail winds through several distinct biological communities, including pine flatwoods, hardwood forest or hammock, baygall, open ponds and old fields. A quiet hiker might observe a diversity of wildlife, including Virginia white-tailed deer, bobcat, wild turkey, pileated woodpecker, bald eagle and various woodpeckers.

  • Horse, bike and foot traffic.

Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail

The trail is 16 miles in length. Access from Boulware Springs at 3500 S.E. 15th St. Boulware Springs is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. November through April, and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. May through October. Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail, however, is open 8 a.m. to sundown daily. Horse, bike and foot traffic. 

Lake Trail

A little less than a mile in length from Lake Wauburg parking area to Savannah Boulevard.

  • Foot and bike traffic.

Jackson’s Gap Trail

This 1.3-mile trail passes through shady hammock and pine flatwoods to connect two of the longest trails within the preserve, Cone’s Dike and Chacala Trail.

Jackson Gap Trail was named after a pioneering cattle rancher from the turn of the 19th century, Archie L. Jackson, who moved cattle through a gap in the fence where the trail passes near Chacala Pond.

Jackson Gap Trail connects with Cone’s Dike Trail 0.15 mile down the trail. Wetland wildlife in the area includes sandhill crane, American alligator, egrets and herons, and rails. Occasionally, the Spanish horses or American bison may be seen grazing in the marsh.

Savannah Boulevard

Visitors also can enjoy walking down the paved park entrance road.

Our Experience at Payne’s Prairie State Park

When we got there, we checked out the observation deck, hiked a short Wacahoota Trail, and then began the Cone’s Dike Trail (8.25 miles). With such a light breakfast and no water with us, I figured we wouldn’t make it very far…maybe 2 miles in and then 2 out.

As we walked into the trail, we saw wild horses in the distance. There is a sign warning not to approach the horses, bison or gators. This trail takes you right out in the prairie and then through what I would call a swamp with tons of moss lined Cypress trees and gators, lots of gators. We saw plenty of birds and even a bald eagle. We made it all the way to the end of the trail. The weather was cool and we were enjoying it so much, we made it all the way. But now what? We had over 4 miles to get back. We decided to sit down up against the gate marking the end of the trail and take a break. After about 20 minutes, we were recharged and ready to head back. We saw very few people on the trail past the two mile out point, so it was very serene and peaceful. On the way back, we actually even got to see the Bison in the distance!

Make sure if you head to Paynes Prairie to take water and even a small snack, granola bar or something. We were very fortunate the weather was cool Saturday and we got an early start. Also a lot of the hike on Cone’s Dike Trail is not shaded; be sure to use sunscreen and a hat. Also bring some bug spray! We didn’t encounter any bugs, but I can imagine when it gets even warmer the mosquitos could be bad in the swampy area. Research the park and make sure you chose a trail to your fitness level and the current weather conditions.

We were almost to the point of being Hangry. I found a brewery, but my hubby didn’t like the reviews, so he found one. We got there and found out they don’t serve food, so plan B. He found a Thai restaurant; we made the drive there and they were closed. Strike Two. So I recommended we just go back to the hotel area and find food there.

Hotel Indigo is located in Celebration Pointe. There are a lot of options for food and shopping. You can see what Celebration Pointe has to offer here – Celebration Pointe. We decided on The Keys for our linner. It is a piano bar & restaurant that has an island vibe, tasty cocktails and delicious food. We started with the gator bites and cocktails; I must say this was the best gator we’ve ever had. I ordered the Cuban and my husband had The old man and the sea sandwich (basically a Cuban sandwich with shrimp). We were both pleased with our choices. Full bellies and tired feet took us back to shower and see what we were going to do next.

After a short rest, we decided to get ice cream at Kilwins. We have enjoyed Kilwins in Highlands, NC and Charleston, SC, so we knew it wouldn’t disappoint.

While we were enjoying our ice cream, I spotted Le Macaron, a French pastry shop. Since our trip to France in 2015, I have enjoyed French pastries especially macarons. The sign out front said they had wine too, so we decided to check it out. No room for anymore dessert, but there’s always room for wine.

I had a glass of Champagne and my hubby had some red wine. We checked out all the macarons and pastries and decided we would head back to eat breakfast there Sunday morning.

After the 9+ mile hike and having a full tummy, we were just ready to call it a night.

Sunday morning we packed up and loaded the car.

Breakfast at Le Macaron

Then we headed to Le Macaron for Pan Chocolate (chocolate croissants). We arrived before they opened, but as soon as we walked in, the worker was packaging up a large order of pastries; no more pan chocolate or croissants. While we waited for a new batch of pan chocolate to come out of the oven, my hubby enjoyed his coffee and we tasted a few macarons. The pan chocolate was amazing right out of the oven.

University of Florida

My husband wanted to go see one of his childhood homes. We explored the University of Florida campus and checked out Lake Alice. He got to see where he lived and went to daycare. I also got to see one of the dormitories I stayed in while there.

Gilchrist Blue Spring State Park

Gilchrist Blue Springs is located at 7450 N.E. 60th St., High Springs FL 32643. There is an entry fee from $4-6 per vehicle to enter the park. They are open daily from 8 am to sundown.

Gilchrist Blue Springs is the newest addition to Florida State Parks!

The park contains a collection of natural springs, including a large second-magnitude spring that produces an average of 44 million gallons of water per day. This spring, known as Gilchrist Blue, has outstanding water clarity and discharges water through a shallow spring run about one-quarter mile to the Santa Fe River.

The other named springs on-site are Little Blue Spring, Naked Spring, Kiefer Spring and Johnson Spring, which provide scenic vistas and photographic opportunities.

The most significant ecological habitats include the spring run stream and floodplain communities. The main spring run is renowned for a diversity of wildlife species, including turtles, fish and invertebrates. Redbreast and spotted sunfish, largemouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish can be observed in waters with unparalleled visibility. 

Paddling, snorkeling and swimming are all popular at the park. Pavilions are available, and a concession stand provides food and beverage service plus paddling equipment rentals. Other popular activities include camping, hiking, nature study and picnicking. 

Our Experience at Gilchrist Blue Spring State Park

We stopped at Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park. Luckily they had room for us to enter and even still had kayaks to rent. We kayaked through the spring and up the Sante Fe River. Paddling up stream was tough, especially for my hubby as I was not much help. When I did paddle I sent us the wrong direction. We decided to head back downstream and just go relax in the spring floating in the kayak.

After our kayaking, we hit the trail. It’s marked with the blue blaze and is a little over a mile. There are some gems along the path, that are must sees. A smaller spring that is being preserved, that doesn’t allow swimming or kayaking was so undisturbed and absolutely stunning. There are also some massive cypress trees along the hike. The hike is very easy, but not one you want to miss.

By the time we finished exploring there, it was 3 p.m. and once again we forgot to even eat lunch, so we were starved. We also had a three hour drive to get home. There were some local spots, but with it being Easter Sunday, some places were closed. We decided on a quick stop at Five Guys for a burger and fries.

This was an absolute perfect weekend to get out in the convertible, hike in some new places and explore this beautiful world we live in. We will make plans to go back to explore some more of the area. Gainesville and surrounding areas really has a lot to offer; it’s not just a college town.

Where are you exploring and enjoying?

XOXO

-S

Georgia weekend explorations

You guessed it, another volleyball weekend and my random explorations…

We headed up to Suwanee, Georgia after work on Friday. I had made a dinner reservation for us at our favorite dinner spot there, Trattoria One 41. It is a very nice authentic Italian restaurant. Before dinner is served, they bring out a fresh bread with a tomato and cheese sauce that is delectable. I had the Short Rib Cannelloni and my husband had the lamb chops for dinner.

Short Rib Cannelloni

Both of us were ecstatic with our dinner choices. We were full, but made an attempt at dessert, a mascarpone cheesecake. Our attempt ended with a clean plate as the cheesecake was light, fluffy and delicious! It was a perfect end to a perfect meal.

We stayed in Suwanee because Saturday morning was an early start for volleyball and my husband had to be at the venue at 7:00 a.m. This also meant my explorations started early. I had researched good sunrise locations in Suwanee, but it was very foggy, so instead just went to a closer park to get out and get moving to start my day. I stopped at Sims Lake Park to walk. The park is located at 4600 Suwanee Dam Road. Sims Lake Park is one of Suwanee’s most popular parks; the 62-acre park includes a seven-acre lake and 1.2-mile looping trail.

My daughter goes to school in Dahlonega and our plan was to meet up for lunch, but I wasn’t sure when, so I decided to head closer to Dahlonega and see Amicalola Falls in the fog. Amicalola Falls never disappoints. It is a beautiful set of falls in Dawsonville, Georgia.

It is a magnificent 729-foot waterfall that’s the third-highest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River. There was a slight mist and it was pretty early, so the park was relatively empty compared to how I have seen it in the past. Having the park mostly to yourself is always the greatest experience because you can just bask in the beauty, take all the photos you want, and just listen to the water cascading down.

Top of the falls

While I was hiking here, my daughter let me know lunch would be at noon after she finished a lecture; I headed to another set of falls, Cane Creek Falls. When I arrived, it was marked closed to the public. I did read that when camp is in session, the falls are closed, so camp must have been in session. So I regrouped and found Lake Zwener; it has a trail that runs all around the lake. I hiked there until my daughter let me know she was ready for lunch.

We ate at Shenanigan’s Pub in downtown Dahlonega, then I dropped her back off at her apartment to finish lectures and studying.  I was back on my way.  I had quite a few Historic Rural Churches to explore, but I only made it to a few.  The first one I visited was Rockwell Universalist.

The Rockwell Universalist Church near Winder Georgia is a rural church built in 1881 in simple Greek Revival style. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. It was deemed architecturally significant as a “good example” of its type of post-Civil War rural churches, being a one-room wood frame church with no ornamentation and Greek Revival styling. It was also deemed significant as one of few Universalist churches ever to exist in the Georgia.

Rockwell Universalist Church

My next stop was planned to be Omer Christian Church, but while I was driving there, I came up on Ft Yargo State Park, so I decided to stop.  I felt like I could use a hike at this point as I felt a little stiff and needed to stretch my legs. 

Ft Yargo State Park boasts a 260 acre lake, camping sites, yurts, cottages and over 20 miles of trails. The Fort is a remarkably preserved log blockhouse that was built in 1793.

I hiked for a few miles and then decided it was time to get back on the road…so many things still to see.

I headed to Omer Christian. Omer Christian was organized and constructed in 1883. It was then moved to this location in 1910. It is located on a dead end and it is fenced off with No Trespassing signs. I respected those wishes, took a few photos from outside the fence and headed to the next church, Prospect Methodist.

Omer Christian Church

When I arrived at Prospect Methodist, a church that is still in use, there were people in the parking lot. Prospect Methodist is one of the oldest churches in post-Revolutionary War Georgia and its origins can be traced to the earliest rise of Methodism right after the war. It was organized in 1788. I drove through the parking lot, looked at the grounds and then headed toward Athens. I do my best not to disturb anything when I visit these historic churches, to include attendees. If there is an activity or church in session, I respect that and do not get out or photograph anything.

I arrived in Athens to view some of the Antebellum Trail homes. The Waddel-Brumby House is the Athens Welcome Center. Once I arrived here, it was around 3:00 p.m. I had mapped out quite a few more stops for the day, but I knew it was getting close to the end of the volleyball tournament. I was very tired too, so I decided to head back to the volleyball venue to watch the championship game and to get my husband. His team won 1st place in the Gold Bracket; this was the fourth Gold championship that they have won this year (4 out of 4). We are all extremely proud of the team, coaches and volleyball club for this great accomplishment.

But our weekend wasn’t over yet, we planned on heading to Evans, Georgia to celebrate a few family members’ birthdays. It was a nice time to see the family and be able to celebrate with them. Late Sunday afternoon, we headed back home.

On to the next weekend and more explorations.

XOXO

-S

North Georgia Exploration

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

Up to $55 off your rental

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.

XOXO

-S

Adventure close to home

Yesterday I was chomping at the bit to photograph somewhere I hadn’t been or been in a while…and low and behold, found a new place and a few cute spots on the trip there today.  This morning, we woke up and cooked some biscuits a gravy and headed west to Providence Canyon, near Lumpkin, Georgia.  We visited once before, but it has been years, so we figured we would go check it out again.  This trip, the canyon was much greener than the first time, as we must have gone in fall last trip.  We did the small loop and ventured down into canyon 1-3.  Three miles for me up and down hills, was a feat in itself.  But I can say I did it, and did it pain free…slowly, but this is the biggest feat post L4/L5 fusion surgery.  We started the loop backwards from what most people do, so we could see the rusted cars first since rain was in the forecast.  I DID NOT want to miss the cars due to rain.  We actually made it all the way through the loop, and yes had the camera bag raincoat just in case the rain came in.






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As we were leaving Providence Canyon, there was a sign right at the exit for Rum Distillery and Tours.  Who can pass up on free tastings and a tour of a Rum Distillery?  We can’t!  So thank goodness for the digital age, we put it in the GPS and next stop, Richland Rum Factory, Richland Georgia.  We had a tour of the building, got to taste a few drinks and have some rum samples.  Derick even got a non-alcoholic mocktail.  The people there were SUPER nice and knowledgeable of the ins and outs of their rum distilling.  If you are ever near there or just passing through, I would check them out.  They are open Monday-Saturday.  They also have an event center there.
Check them out here! Richland Rum


This is their ONE bottler!  Every bottle gets filled here.  It is really amazing!  Makes for a unique rum.

The building used to be a bank, so they found this safe and keep it on display there.

My hubby always has his eyes open for great photos spots and as I was driving this morning, he found this old bridge.  So we had to take a pit stop to so I could photograph it on the way home. 
This is one of my favorite views out on the back roads in Georgia.  I have photographed these silos many times, but its always nice to see what I get, because its normally a drive by and I take the photo as we are driving out the window.

Here is what all the hype is about, this rum is not only delicious, but it is packaged to the nines and in my opinion if a bottle of rum could be sexy, this one is!  When we got home, I took the opportunity to get some photos of the rum and syrup we bought from Richland Rum.

Well this is all for now, I think there is some crafting to be done tonight!
XOXO
-S