Lula Lake Land Trust

We headed to Chattanooga this weekend to visit Lula Lake Land Trust on Look Out Mountain. We stopped in Chattanooga for lunch before the hike. The iconic Chattanooga Choo Choo was next door to where we ate, so I had to take a quick photo.

Chattanooga Choo Choo

We headed up to Lula Lake Land Trust. It is up on Lookout Mountain near Rock City. We had never been to Lula Lake, so we didn’t know what to expect. I normally research everything before hand, but all I knew about Lula Lake was there was hiking and a waterfall. I didn’t know how long the trails were or what difficulty they were…

The main route from the parking area to the trails is a gravel road. It is mostly flat, but are a few inclines. It’s about a two mile hike to get to the large waterfall.

To get down to the water fall was pretty difficult and steep…but there were some wooden steps, if you could call them that. The falls were very beautiful. There were quite a few people there. We sat on the rocks with our feet in the water to cool off a little and relax.

Lula Falls

There is also a smaller waterfall before the large one…we decided to check it out on the way out. The hike down was not as tough as the one at the bigger waterfall. It was very pretty and the water is a crystal emerald color. Only two other people were at this one though.

At Lula Lake Land Trust, you have to make reservations and pay before you go. They are only open to the public on certain days…so be sure to pre plan.

After hiking almost 5 miles, we were pooped and wanted a shower, so we headed to the hotel to check in.

We stayed at The Edwin Hotel. It was a tastefully decorated room. There was quite a bit of art and photographs around the entire hotel. Every piece had the artist information with it. That was a very tasteful touch making sure the artist was recognized.

For dinner, we had reservations at Whitebird. Whitebird is located in the Edwin Hotel. Our dinner choices and drinks were phenomenal, but our starter was just good…dessert, we had carrot cake, but it was very dense and we didn’t really care for it. The staff were very attentive and service was top notch. I would recommend Whitebird if you’re in the Chattanooga area.

The Edwin Hotel is located right at the foot of the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge. This bridge is one of my favorite spots to photograph in Chattanooga.

Last night was not like normal nights in Chattanooga for me. I had my camera and tripod in the room, but after all the hiking and full bellies from dinner, we just took a quick walk and I got a cell phone capture of the bridge.

Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge

We decided to stay in for the rest of the night…guess I just needed a night of relaxation.

Sunday morning, valet brought our car up and parked it in a spot that gave me a perfect opportunity to photograph LePetit with the bridge in the background. Then we hit to road to head home.

It was a nice getaway! Just what I needed. Until next time…

XOXO

-S

Pine Mountain & Warm Springs Adventures

This weekend started out like many others…ready to explore somewhere; the only difference, my son Blayne was visiting from Oklahoma. I had been wanting to see the last of the 7 wonders in Georgia, Warm Springs, so my whole day was planned around that. We had to get in some hiking too though.

We started our day at F.D. Roosevelt State Park. F.D. Roosevelt State Park is the largest state park in Georgia, with 9,049 acres and over 40 miles in trails. We had a bit of a time finding the visitors center to find a map and even harder time finding where the trail was I wanted to hike. I had read that there was a trail that had quite a few small waterfalls on it leading to a larger waterfall, Cascade Falls. As we drove through the park, we stopped at Dowdell Knob lookout to get a few photos.

You can drive or hike to Dowdell Knob. We drove, we were planning on hiking a different trail.

After driving through the park, we finally got our directional sense in tact and found our trailhead. We entered the Pine Mountain Trail at Mile 23 and hiked all the way to Cascade Falls (past Mile 21). My watch said the total hike was 4.8 miles (in and out). It was a pretty challenging hike for me, but my hubby and son did fine. You have to navigate through and over some boulders, walk across a few streams on rocks, and there is a lot of up and down in elevation.

The first waterfall was Csonka Falls. Now I say falls lightly, these are pretty small, but the cool air you feel off the water and the peaceful sound, it was just a fulfilling to photograph and bask in its beauty.

Csonka Falls
Csonka Falls

The next water fall was Big Rock Falls. Along the path though, you will see multiple small “falls” or rapid moving water over some small rocks.

Big Rock Falls

When we got to Cascade Falls, I took off the camera bag, enjoyed the view and to be able to sit down for a little while and drink some water.

There were quite a few people on the trail and sitting at the falls…Dogs splashing in the water, some people in the water cooling off. It was very hot and humid on Saturday. We stayed at the falls for about 30 minutes and it started looking really overcast, so we figured we should start the trek back to the van to try to beat the rain.

Once we got back to the van, we set out to see FDR’s Little White House. Due to COVID-19, we could not go inside the museum or the house, but we did get a tour of the outside of the house and was told some of the history.

FDR Little White House

By this time, I know I was starved, so we set out to find lunch in Warm Springs. We ate lunch at the Bulloch House. The town of Warm Springs is a really cute little town. I will have to go back when things are not so limited due to COVID-19.

Warm Springs

We went to check out the Fish Hatchery, because Blayne loves fishing and fish. This wasn’t on the itinerary, but Blayne was driving, so we stopped in.

The “whole purpose” of the Trip was to see Warm Springs. But what really is Warm Springs? The actual Springs? The town? The Little White House? or the FDR Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation? I would expect it was the springs, but you cannot see them right now, I assume due to COVID-19 as well. They are on the Campus of the Institute for Rehabilitation enclosed in a building. We explored around the campus. It was almost like an entire town within the campus.

As we were driving around, Blayne asked for Peach Ice cream, so we headed to Dickey Farms in Musella to get some fruit and ice cream. Musella was like something I have never seen before. If you are driving through or near, you should stop by for a little while, have some ice cream or boiled peanuts and enjoy the step back in time.

Get out there, find your passion, find your adventure!

XOXO

-S

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!
XOXO
-S