A mini road trip around North Georgia

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!

Globus Tour – Southern Ireland – Day 3&4

Day 3 November 26

Limerick – Adare – Ring of Kerry – Killarney

We had breakfast and headed out of Limerick at 8 a.m. First we stopped at Adare to see the thatched cottages and Sacred Heart Cathedral.

The next stop was Killorglin. We hit up Jack’s for a pastry and tea. We wandered around the city.

Our wonderful driver drove us around the Ring of Kerry and let me tell you…1. It was foggy when we were up in the mountains, 2. I should have taken a Dramamine and 3. We still got some pretty amazing views when we were closer to sea level.

We stopped at Waterville for lunch at Dooley’s and beautiful views of the ocean.

Next we stopped for a few photos and some coffee at Sneem.

We made a quick photo stop at ladies view…there were two tour buses parked at the top lookout, so we had to go down a little further and honestly the view was much better from the top spot, but I was on the wrong side of the bus to get a photo out the window.

Here are a few other photos from throughout the day on the Ring of Kerry in no particular order (we saw so much today that’s it’s hard to remember the exact order)

We arrived at Killarney Towers Hotel where we would stay the night. We had the porters bring up our bags then we headed to a country pub named The Shanty for an authentic Irish pub experience.

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After the pub tour, we came back to Killarney and headed out to find dinner and check out all the Christmas decorations.

Today there was mighty Craic to be had. It was packed full!

Day 4 November 27

Killarney – Blarney – Kinsale

We walked around Killarney after breakfast and got a few photos.

We left Killarney at 1030 and headed towards Blarney to visit the Blarney Castle. I kissed the Blarney Stone. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to…you have to lie on your back and slide way down to get to the Blarney Stone. The gentlemen holding you were able to help me get down there and back up. We then visited the Blarney Castle gardens. We had lunch in town and did some shopping.

After we left Blarney we headed towards Kinsale where we were staying for the night. We drove through Cork, but I just photographed out the window as we didn’t stop there.

We arrived at Trident Hotel, rested for about 10 minutes and then headed out to see the town and harbor. This is the view of the harbor out our window.

Dinner was scheduled for us in the hotel restaurant at 7 p.m. Dinner was fabulous; I had hake and potatoes and then we had a trio of desserts. This hotel has been the best of the trip so far…view, towel warmer, most comfortable bed, separate tub and shower, great water pressure, bottled water in the room, selection of toiletries was top notch…just a very cozy room. All the other rooms were good, but this one was great. We will see how it stacks up to our Dublin hotel we will be on Thursday and Friday.

Tomorrow we head to Dublin and will be there for 2 nights.

Hope you enjoy reading and seeing my photos