Exploring a Hidden Botanical Treasure

One hour south of Atlanta and thirty minutes from Macon is the small town called,”Flovilla”. If you are traveling down I-75 between these two cities, I urge you to hop off the exit and take the back road detour to explore this area.

Down in these neck of the woods is Indian Springs State Park, Dauset Trails and The Village at Indian Springs.  You could see all three of these in just one day.

Photo Jun 17, 12 31 29 PMThe Whimsical Garden, is a botanical treasure that  resides behind Mrs. Lee’s Sweet Stop in the Village at Indian Springs. The garden, sitting atop a hill, is almost hidden behind the town’s sparse buildings. You can enter the garden through an education shed or near the Big Chief Store. A stone path winds throPhoto Jun 17, 12 13 28 PMugh the garden, making it an easy stroll for wheelchairs, walkers, or strollers. Every where you look you see, impatiens, daisies, jonquils, rhododendrons, purple heather, and jasmine brightly shining in the sun. Large oak, willow, and pine trees gently sway, kicking up a gentle breeze. The cicadas sing their sad tune throughout the trees lining the perimeter of the garden. This is truly a botanical beauty.

Photo Jun 17, 12 12 16 PMWe started our garden tour in the rose garden where a large wooden totem stands greeting you. There are hundreds of roses in every color surrounding it.  I wish I knew who carved this beauty.

The garden itself is situated so perfectly within the Village at Indian Springs so that if standing in the center of the garden you see the chapel in the background and a lovely fountain in the foreground. There is a large gazebo with ceiling fans and rocking chairs that provide a place for visitors to relax while taking in the botanical scene. Shane and I sat for a spell, enjoying the warm breeze, surrounded by blooms that permeated a sweet fragrance throughout the garden. We enjoyed our ice cream that we picked up at the Sweet Stop. (Try the banana pudding flavor) The birds were singing, and the chapel was in the background.  It was a hot summer day, but sitting under the fans of the gazebo was cool and relaxing.  We just sat and connected with each other.

Photo Jun 17, 12 03 57 PM

Whimsical Garden

Following the path that winds under archways and through manicured tunnels, we continued on. Bright pinwheels twirl along the way and playful stone animals await children to pose for a photo op!Stone critters await you in the Whimsical Garden

 

 

 

 

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As we moseyed along we came to a screened building that had at least 50 vintage metal “Tonka Trucks”. These are kind that my brothers and I used to play with. Sadly, ours were left behind in the crawl space when we moved from our childhood home. Years later my brother Chris and I went back to the old house, hoping they were still there, but alas, no, they were gone. This was a nostalgic gold mine! They are old, battered and covered in mud and rust. I could picture these fellas being played by little boys and girls, making dump truck and screeching tire sounds as they plowed through the Georgia red clay! Ah! the good ole days of childhood in 1975!

The architect that designed the garden paid attention to artistic details.  Our favorite was the “flower bed”, such a fantastic idea!

Photo Jun 17, 12 26 16 PM

Before we knew it, we came to the end of our tour in the garden.  A small potting shed acts as an exit.  You enter through one door and leave the garden through another. Inside the shed are pots, spades, and signs that teach children how to plant flowers.  We hated to leave the garden but we had other things to see and do so we parted ways with a, “bye Y’all!”

Photo Jun 17, 12 25 12 PM

 

I sure hope you take a hour out of your drive to check out this town and garden.  It is worth the trip down the back road.

Keep the Luster for Wandering Y’all!

Fran

Photo Jun 17, 12 07 12 PM

 

 

 

 

The Village at Indian Springs

While camping at Indian Springs State Park in Flovilla, GA.  Shane and I took some time to check out this small hamlet right outside the entrance of the park. The small town is so close that you can walk to the village from the park.  And if you aren’t careful you will miss it.

community
Community

Even if you are not planning on visiting the park, I implore you to take an afternoon to visit this wonderful community. The folks here are some of the nicest characters you will ever meet.  They all share a common goal and that is to enrich their environment and help it thrive.

Photo Jun 17, 11 11 53 AM
Hey Y’all!

There are only a handful of stores in this tiny village, but it is so quaint and beautiful it is worth your time.  In all, Shane and I spent 2 hrs here, and that’s because we stopped to talk to the locals and enjoyed an ice cream cone in the Whimsical Garden.

The first thing I saw when I entered Big Chief’s Country Store was the large pallet hanging on the wall next to a Jeff Gordon statue.  It said, “Hey Y’all!”.   In the south this is the standard greeting. I immediately fell in love with this pallet and wanted to take it home with me. Shane said, “no”. Our home is not decorated in southern charm.  Maybe I should consider changing just for this sign!

Photo Jun 17, 11 08 21 AM

This store has your normal gas station merchandise but is also reminiscent of a store from the past.  As you enter you see the “penny candy” baskets. This really took me back to my childhood when my siblings and I would walk to a local 5 and dime with 50 cent in our pockets and come home with a pocket full of candies. Like any good country store there are local products to purchase such as: local honey, yellow root tea, scorned-woman hot sauce (hmmm interesting), scented soaps and lotions made with the Indian Springs mineral water and jarred preserves with the villages own label. I couldn’t help but pick up a jar of the F.R.O.G jelly for my toast.  (no frogs were injured for this jelly) It is Fig, Raspberry, Orange and Ginger jam!

Photo Jun 17, 11 14 19 AM
Sharon’s Gourmet Soaps – https://www.facebook.com/SharonsGourmetSoaps/

The friendly shop keeper told us to check out the other shops and garden while we were here and off we went.  As we were crossing the street we ran into a lady, who was delivering an iron to one of the cottages.  Now, mind you, Shane is a stand-offish kind of fella. He doesn’t like to stand around and yammer on but I will stop to be friendly. This southern belle was so enthusiastic about showing us the cottages that I couldn’t tell her no and I am SO glad I didn’t.  She introduced herself as “Frankie” and called herself the “village idiot” when she misplaced the key to one of the houses. Her good nature and friendliness made me giggle.  She told us about the houses, the cottages and the village. “It was in ruin but has been refurbished,” she said. She left us to walk through the cottages on our own.  Take a look at the photos of one the cottages that are for rent. They are gorgeous!

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From there we headed down the side walk to the local antique store.  If you are into country furnishings you should come down here for a peek.  It’s a neat shop!

Photo Jun 17, 11 17 45 AM
Vintage Post Antiques – The Village at Indian Springs – Flovilla, GA
sit a spell
Come sit a spell

As we began to walk around the stores, the locals would greet us and were so friendly . They were genuinely glad to see us.  I wanted to spend all my money here supporting them!

Upon entering one store, we met Bob who told us that he was the newest store owner to the area and he told us that he just couldn’t resist the pull to setup shop in this small village.

Photo Jun 17, 11 40 00 AM

Bob’s store front is beautiful.  Everything in order and had wonderful symmetry.  He told us that his daughter helped decorate the store including the shelves behind the counter. The store has all kinds of decor for the country home.  I want to bring my nieces and sister down here because this is right up their alley!

We talked with Bob a good while about the pulley’s hanging in his shop and the hand crafted barn doors his son makes.  He told us more about this town and this is where the story got good.

This is how I heard it: This area was pretty much in ruins a few years back.  It was drug infested and run down until a local woman named “Frankie” decided that she wanted to make a difference in her community and help nurture it back to a prosperous village.

*screeching record*

Wait, what?!

The woman who was delivering the iron to the cottage, the “village idiot” was the entrepreneur, and renovator of all this! She was so humble and down to earth I would never have guessed it. She took no credit for any of it. She just was so happy to share with us the town she loves, the history, and the beauty.  She was proud of this hamlet and just wanted to show it off!

I hope I have the story straight.  Frankie, being a small business owner, purchased much of the stores, cottages and homes in the town and refurbished them. Painstakingly each building was restored with great attention to detail.  Frankie used to grab a sandwich at Fresh Air BBQ and sit on the dock at Indian Springs State Park. There she dreamed of making this place beautiful and with the help of others that is what they did!

The coolest building in the town is the Outfitters store.  When it was purchased it was in horrible shape.  Thick with Georgia red clay (thick and hard dirt) that was two feet deep on the floor and really run down. But during the restoration process they were able to keep the original wooden siding on walls and the indispensable counter along with the antique cash register.

Photo Jun 17, 11 56 22 AM
Watkins Outfitters – original counter and register

In town there are two shops with antiques, and country home decor.  There is a bikers shop with leather goods, the outfitter store, a woman’s clothing boutique, and a children’s wear store.   The cottages and church are usually open for people to meander through.

Before you leave town make sure you stop at Mrs. Lee’s Stagecoach Sweet Stop for a scoop or two of hand dipped ice cream.  The banana pudding ice cream was wonderful and we stood and talked with the mother/daughter staff.  They are a hoot!  Just sit back and let them talk and you will be in stitches.

Shane and I grabbed our ice cream cones and headed up to the Whimsical Garden which is the shiny gem of this town.

Keep the Lust for Wandering Y’all!

Fran

 

Photo Jun 18, 7 52 37 AM

P.S. I told you I bought the F.R.O.G. jam right?  Here it is smeared on my campsite toast.

For more information about the Village at Indian Springs please visit

http://www.thevillageatindiansprings.com/welcome  check them out on Pinterest and on Facebook

 

Disclaimer: I received no compensation for this post.  It is my honest opinion about this lovely village.

Path of Totality during Solar Eclipse

On August 21, 2017 my girls and I drove to Columbia, SC  to be in the path of totality of the solar eclipse.  It truly was a once in a life time experience and here is why:

  • You cannot see the anything less than 100% of the eclipse without glasses.

Photo Aug 21, 2 00 03 PM

Without glasses it looked like a normal day for the most part.  That means

You see this…

Photo Aug 21, 2 35 44 PM

Instead of this……

Photo Aug 21, 2 37 17 PM (1)

There were a lot of disappointed people who thought they would see the a lot more being in the <99% range but the sad realization is: if you are not in the path of totality you will just notice a lighting change. But put on a pair of glasses and you can see so much more.

Photo Aug 21, 2 38 07 PM

  • It took 1 hour for the moon to travel across the face of the sun. During that time you could only see the eclipse through the filtered glasses.
  • At the start of the eclipse my middle daughter, Olivia, noticed birds flying very high, almost too high to be thought of as normal, a quarter of the way in they began to chirp as if it were morning, but at the moment of totality, I do not remember a single chirp.
  • The lighting during the eclipse is so weird. I saw blue and silver hues and then darkness. Moments before the moon blotted out the sun, the light around us shifted. It became highly concentrated, filtered or polarized. It was a silvery white light and when you looked around it was slightly unsettling. Your shadow is off, not in the right place. During totality it was like 8 pm on a summer night. I am not sure how to explain it. It is nothing like I have ever experienced.

Photo Aug 21, 2 40 26 PM

This photo was taken 40 seconds before totality.  Look how bright the sun was.  It looks like my face is over exposed.  You can see it was hurting Julia’s and Emily’s eyes

  • The shift in lighting or the pull of the gravity made us feel off balanced and out of sorts. As my eldest daughter Emily put it, we felt disoriented.  My friend Lance said, that a happy dread came over him.  It definitely has an psychosomatic effect on you.
  • The moon slid across the final portion of the sun and in a flash of brilliance we witnessed the “diamond stage” where there is a ring around the sun and a bright spot on the edge. This lasted only a moment. One breath and it was gone.  (Photo credit: Instagram jakeihde and Team21studio)
  • The moon slid into place and we sat there in awed silence. It was this amazing flicker and then it was there. My mind told me that I heard a sound but this couldn’t be possible, I could swear I heard a “swooosh”. The sun’s brilliance glowed and danced behind a solid black mass. It was glowing white and shown so brightly but didn’t hurt to look at. The moon looked like a pupil and the sun the iris. This was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

Photo Aug 21, 2 45 52 PM

  • 2 minutes went by in a blink of an eye and we witnessed the diamond stage again on the other side.
  • There is a change in the vibrations and the frequencies of the energy on the earth. You can feel it. Some feel emotional. Some feel exhilarated. This is scientifically proven. I felt emotional looking into the eye of the sun. I felt in touch with the galaxy. I was in awe of God’s creations.  I teared up with emotion.  My youngest daughter Julia said it was the coolest thing she has ever seen or felt.
  • Towards the end of the totality a red ring came around the moon.  My Aunt Anne gets credit for this photo.  At this point, I was too busy sitting there gawking at this site.

anne

  • In a quick flash, it was over.  Our eyes were blinded by the sun’s rays again and we had to quickly look away.
  • The moon made its retreat and for the next hour it slowly moved away.
  • Photos taken don’t even come close to what we saw and words just can’t describe the beauty of it.
  • All four of us had a slight headache afterwards. Our eyes felt sore like muscle strain. By the time I got home, I just wanted to close them.
  • I felt a bit of vertigo. Emily felt sick, her tummy was in knots. Olivia got into the car and immediately went to sleep. Julia was full of energy. All of these are symptoms that have been documented of people after watching an total solar eclipse. We couldn’t understand why we were feeling the way we were so Emily did some research and found this neat article. Sure enough everything we felt was discussed. It may seem like a bunch of hooey but if you were in the path of totality. I know you felt what we felt and can accept that we are all connected to the earth, sun and moon. All four of us felt the connection.

It is a once in a life time event to be in the path of totality. The next solar eclipse to hit the USA will be in 2024 and I will again, be in the path of totality, this time with my husband who couldn’t attend this one because of work. I urge you to get inside the path of totality it is amazing.

 

Keep the Lust for Wandering Ya’ll

Fran

 

Thank you to Anne Townsend for her wonderful photo of the red ring around sun.

Thank you to the city of Aiken, SC for the beautiful photo of the diamond phase.

Thank you to http://foreverconscious.com/effect-solar-eclipse-mind-body-soul where we retrieve information on how we were feeling after the eclipse.

15 Things to do while at Lake WestPoint – Georgia

My friend, and the most fabulous hair stylist in the world, asked me to find her things to do while camping at Westpoint Lake in LaGrange, GA.  Well, I aim to please so, Christina this is for you.

Biblical History Center

bible

Encounter the ancient biblical world through its history and culture.  Through authentic archaeological replicas, Biblical meal presentations,  artifacts, lectures, ancient Middle Eastern life comes back to life today

  • 130 Gordon Commercial Drive – LaGrange, GA 30241
  • 706-885-0363
  • Tuesday through Saturday, 10 AM to 6 PM
  • Donations accepted

River’s Bend Winery and Vineyard 

Get your wine on!

  • 692 Adams Rd – West Point, GA 31833-4725
  • 706-645-1181
  • Thursday-Saturday 12:00-7:00pm Sunday 12:30-6:00pm
  • Tasting prices vary

Hills and Dales Estate

Tour the 13,000 sqft home and garden of the Callaway family which is considered one of the best preserved 19th century gardens in the country.  Built in 1916 it is rich in history. If traveling with children ask for the Earle’s Great Hunt tour which is catered towards them.hill

  • 1916 Hills & Dales Drive – LaGrange, GA 30240
  • 706-882-3242
  • Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • $15.00/Adult $7.00/Students

Fort Tyler Historic Site

Fort Tyler was the scene of a desperate last stand by Confederate troops on April 6, 1865. Command of the city and Fort Tyler fell to Brig. Gen. R.C. Tyler, a Confederate officer. His death during a heroic last stand at the Battle of West Point made him the last general of either side to be killed in the Civil War.

  • 1111 6th Ave, West Point, GA 31833-1128
  • The battle here took place 7 days after Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox.

callCallaway Memorial Tower 

  • Cypress St, LaGrange, GA 30240
  • This monument to textile magnate Fuller E. Callaway was built in 1929 and is patterned after the Campanile of St. Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy.hone: (706) 884-182

Rodeo Races

Rodeo races are held at the Pyne Road Park Arena. Twenty to fifty riders compete in barrel races, pole bending, Texas Barrel, flag races, and arena races.

  • 4194 Roanoke Rd, LaGrange, GA
  • First Friday of every month from March through October, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Admission is Free
  • Concessions available

Cascade Falls

cascPack a lunch and hike the Pine Mountain Trail,  a 3.7 miles around trip, to and from the waterfall inside FD Roosevelt State Park.   Visit Atlanta Trails for a map and directions to the falls.

  • 2970 Georgia Highway 190 – Pine Mountain, GA 31822
  • $5 dollar parking pass for day

Callaway Gardens

Blooms, Beaches, Butterflies, Birds, and Bridges.  Callaway has so many things to see and bfly 093do you can spend several days here!  You can zip through the tree top on zip-lines, relax in the spa, have fun on the rope course and see the beautiful gardens.

  • 4500 Southern Pine Drive Pine Mountain GA 31822
  • 800.852.3810
  • $20.00/adults $10.00/children

DinoVillage

Pine Mountains newest attraction may not be open yet.  Call to see before going!

dino

  • 214 South Main Ave. Pine Mountain, GA 31822
  • 706-489-3466
  • Wed 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Thu – Fri4:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Sat – Sun12:00 pm – 8:00 pm
  • $19.95\person for unlimited rides and fossil dig

The Little White House

LWhFDR first came to Warm Springs in 1924 hoping to find a cure for polio. His hopes was the 88 degree waters would heal him.  Visit his home and see the unfinished portrait that he was posing for when he had a stroke and passed away.

  • 401 Little White House Road – Warm Springs, GA 31830
  • 706-655-5870
  • Daily 9 a.m.–4:45 p.m.
  • $12.00\Adults $7.00\Children

Wild Animal Safari

Drive through the park where animals roam free and come right up to your window to feed.

  • giraffeGo early! It’s hot and it gets crowded.
  • Animals eat in the mornings so it is when they will be most responsive.
  • 1300 Oak Grove Road – Pine Mountain, GA 31822
  • 706-663-8744
  • Hours Vary by day – check site
  • $76.95 – Includes 2 adult tickets and 2 children’s tickets or $21.95/adult $18.95/children

Butts Mill Farm

Check out the go-carts, bumper boats, archery, beach area, creek swings, train ride, gazebo, covered bridge, horse shoes and so much more!  A great family place.

  • Go early it gets crowded
  • 2280 Butts Mill Rd – Pine Mountain, GA 31822
  • 706-663-7400
  • Open only on weekends Saturday & Sunday 10am-4pm
  • Ages 10+\$15.95 Children 3-9 \$13.95

Horseback Riding @ Roosevelt Stables

Take a trail ride on horse back.  Reservations are requested, walk-ups are available basis.  You can take a guided ride or bring your own horse.

  • 1063 Group Camp Road – Pine Mountain, GA 31822
  • 706-6287463
  • Tuesday – Saturday 10 a.m. – last ride out at 4 p.m. Sunday – noon – 4 p.m.
  • Prices vary check site

GRUB

The Irish Bred Pub

  • 727 3rd Ave., West Point, Georgia 31833
  • 706-645-2600
  • Mon-Wed 11am-10pm, Thur-Sat 11am-2am
  • Check the website for nightly entertainment such as Bingo, trivia, and Karaoke

Cakes by Debbie

  • 1201 2nd Ave Westpoint GA, 31833
  • (706) 501-1400
  • Tuesday–Friday, 11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Saturday, 9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
  • Winner of TLC’s Ultimate Cake Off in 2010-11 sells pastries and lunch boxes for picnics!

Charlie Joseph’s Famous Hot Dogs and Hamburgers

  • 2238 Westpoint Rd – LaGrange, Georgia, GA 30240
  • (706) 884-0379
  • Mon-Fri 10-6, Sat 10-4, Closed Sun
  • Charlie’s has been serving hotdogs in LaGrange for over 90 years.

 

 

 

7 Georgia Festivals to Visit August 24-27 2017

Football Fest at Georgia Football Hall of Fame

  • Aug 26, 2017
  • 250 Marietta Street NW – Atlanta, GA
  • Free with ticket to the Hall of Fame which is $21.99/adult 17.99/child

Grant Park Summer Shade Festival

  • Aug 26, 2017 – Aug 27, 2017
  • 700 Boulevard Avenue SE – Atlanta, GA
  • Free Admission

German Bierfest

  • August 26, 2017
  • Wooddruff Park – Atlanta, GA
  • Tickets $35/advanced $40/day of  $10 Designated Driver ticket

Chattooga County Agricultural Fair

  • Aug 24-27 2017
  • 34 Middle School Road – Summerville, GA
  • Tickets are $5 – Sunday is Free Admission

Rabun County Fair

  • Aug 24-26 2017
  • 115 Longview Dr. – Tiger, Georgia 30576

  • Free Admission

Pigs & Peaches Bbq Festival

  • Aug 25 2017
  • Adams Park, 2753 Watts Drive – Kennesaw, GA
  • Free Admission

Villa Rica Frontiers Rodeo

  • Aug 25-26
  • Villa Rica Civic Center – 1605 GA-61 -Villa Rica, GA 30180
  • $13/Adult $7/Children

Keep the Lust for Wandering Y’all!

Fran

7 Georgia Festivals to Visit August 19-21 2017

Butterfly Festival, Dunwoody Dunwoody Nature Center

  • August 19th
  • 5343 Roberts Dr. Dunwoody, GA 30338
  • Adults $8/Children $4

Brooklet Peanut Festival –  Brooklet, GA

  • Aug 20, 2017
  • 29 Parker Ave. Brooklet, GA
  • Free Admission

Tomato Daze Festival – Young Harris, GA

  • August 18-21st, 2017
  • Crane Creek Vineyards 916 Crane Creek Road Young Harris, GA
  • Eclipse Party on 21st 1pm to 5pm
  • Free Admission – Everything is A la Cart

Southern Wing Showdown – Atlanta, GA

  • Aug 20, 2017 – Aug 20, 2017
  • 916 Joseph E Lowery Blvd NW Atlanta, GA
  • Adults $30

Eighth Annual Piedmont Park Arts Festival – Atlanta, GA

  • Aug 19, 2017 – Aug 20, 2017
  • 1215 Piedmont Avenue Atlanta, GA
  • Free Admission

Caribbean festival – Jonesboro, GA

  • August 19, 2017 (1 to 8 p.m.)
  • 2300 Highway 138, SE Jonesboro, GA
  • Free Admission

Get Off the Grid Fest Solar Expo & Sustainability Fair – Blairsville, GA

  • August 18, 2017 – August 20, 2017
  • 73 Saddle Club Drive Blairsville, GA
  • $10/day $30/weekend

 

Keep the Lust for Wandering Y’all!

Fran

Georgia Solar Eclipse Viewing Parties

The Best place in Georgia is at to catch 100% totality of the upcoming solar eclipse is:

12 Spies Vineyard Solar Eclipse – Rabun Gap, GA

12 Spies Vineyards is ground zero for the upcoming solar eclipse which means we will have the longest period of darkness during the eclipse on the North American continent! With that said, by resounding requests from our friends and guests, we have planned a solar eclipse event on the 12 Spies Vineyards grounds.  You better call ahead to see if there is still availability 706-490-0890.  Cost is 100.00/couple 60/single

If you can’t make it up to to 12 Spies Vinyard, here are some other parties happening for the eclipse.

Best small town party and 2nd place runner up goes to:

2017 Eclipse Across America – Lavonia, GA

  • Path of Totality 100%
  • http://www.exploregeorgia.org/listing/60630-2017-eclipse-across-america
  • Come to Lavonia, Georgia to experience the 2017 Solar Eclipse. Beginning around 2:45 p.m. EST in beautiful downtown Lavonia, we will be hosting a celebration of this rare solar event. There will be music, refreshments, educational items and protection glasses for the first 100 arrivals. (you might want to go ahead and buy a pair just in case)

Third place is awarded for the best theme party name:

Total Eclipse of the Park – Blairsville, GA

Honorable mention for a great theme party name goes to:

The Grape Eclipse Wine Tour

If my top 4 don’t catch your attention check out these other viewing parties.

Totally Toccoa Eclipse 2017

Rabun County’s Georgia’s Total Solar Eclipse ‘OutASight’ Viewing Party

Park Tavern – Atlanta, GA

Solar Eclipse Kayak, SUP and Canoe Rental Extravaganza – Stone Mountain, GA

Eclipse Weekend at Timpson Creek Farm

Solar Eclipse Family Friendly Fun – Andy’s Trout Farm – Dillard, GA

University of North Georgia Solar Eclipse Program – Dahlonega, GA

Grayson Branch, Gwinnett Public Library – Eclipse Party – Grayson, GA

Tallulah Gorge Solar Eclipse Festival

Blairsville Eclipse Experience

Fernbank Science Center Great American Eclipse

Black Rock Mountain State Park Total Eclipse

Smithgall State Park Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse by Kayak – Elijah Clark State Park

Eclipse Paddling Trip – Fort King George State Historic Site

Eclipse Excursion – Panola State Park

Final note check out this awesome site that will show you what you can expect to see at any given location in Georgia.  

http://shadowandsubstance.com/2017/02.html

 

Keep the Lust for Wandering Ya’ll

Fran

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 Georgia Festivals that Give Back

People love festivals for various reasons.  Some people go for the crafts, others for the music. Some people like the livestock shows and others for the carnival rides.  I go for the atmosphere and Shane goes for the food.  It doesn’t matter the size of the festival to me. It could be a small town celebration with 20 tents, or a huge production with fair rides and livestock shows.  I enjoy the people watching and eating an apple dumplin’ served up from a trailer by friendly southern folk.  Festivals are a great way to get businesses or organizations some publicity.  Some festivals have a purpose in mind: to raise funds for a community project.  Below are 15 festivals in Georgia that give back to their community.

Decatur BBQ, Blues and Bluegrass Festival

JeepFest

  • August 31-September 3, 2017 –  Japser, GA
  • 100% of proceeds go on to help kids in and around community.
  • Jeep owners and enthusiasts come from all of the United States to attend.
  • Admission is free for spectators and passengers. $75.00 to register per Jeep

  • JeepFest – https://www.sheriffsjeepfest.com/event

AJC Decatur Book Festival

  • September 1-3, 2017 – Decatur, GA
  • Benefiting the DBF – Promoting a year-round literary community by hosting a series of fundraising and literary events.
  • Free Admission
  • https://www.decaturbookfestival.com/

Rock’n Ribville

  • September 16, 2017 – Lawrenceville, GA
  • Benefiting Lawrenceville Police Benevolent Fund this event is in it’s 10th year.
  • Enjoy live music and eat southern style barbecue
  • Free Admission
  • http://www.rocknribville.com/home

Blue Ridge Blues and BBQ Festival

Jekyll Island Shrimp and Grits Festival

Tiny Home Mountain Festival

  • September 23-24, 2017 – Elijay, GA
  • Benefiting the local area Boy’s and Girls Club and Gilmer County Food Bank
  • Explore Tiny Home Living at this festival.
  • $10 for Adults, $8 for Kids and under 3 will be free
  • https://www.tinymountainfestival.com/about

People First Fall Festival

  • September 30, 2017
  • Benefiting People First of Henry Count offering free socials for special needs families throughout the year
  • Come out and enjoy music, food, games, prizes, bingo, hay ride, social for special needs children and adults.
  • Free Admission
  • People First

Historic Oakland Foundation 40th Anniversary

  • October 1, 2017 – Oakland Cemetery – Atlanta, GA
  • All proceeds benefit the Historic Oakland Foundation
  • Come dressed in your best Victorian garb at the 38th annual Victorian-inspired festival features a variety of live musical entertainment, living history demonstrations, Irish dancers and an opportunity to enter some of the magnificent mausoleums.
  • Admission is $7 for adults, $3 for children aged 4-12, and free for children 3 and under
  • http://www.oaklandcemetery.com/?event=sunday-in-the-park-2

Foxfire Mountaineer Festival

  • October 7, 2017 – Clayton, GA
  • Benefiting the Foxfire Fund, Inc. and support many educational programs at museum and in schools.
  • One-day celebration of the rich heritage of the Southern Appalachian mountains, featuring traditional music from numerous regional performers, showcases and demonstrations of time-honored heritage skills and trades, and all manner of traditional games and puzzles for young and old alike.
  • $5 per person, children age 5 and under are free
  • http://theblueridgehighlander.com/calendar/index.php?eID=3287

Alive Festival

  • October 21, 2017 – Suwanee, GA
  • Benefiting Project Green and Back to Basics Kids Camp
  • Health & Wellness, Green Living Eco Festival help attendees learn how to integrate health and wellness plus natural, organic and green products into environmentally responsible eco living and to create a positive impact on the world as a whole.
  • Free Admission
  • http://aliveexpo.com/alive_festival.php

Gold Rush Days

  • October 21-22, 2017 – Dahlonega, GA
  • Benefiting Empty Stocking Fund
  • It is a time for thousands to come and see fall colors peaking and celebrate Dahlonega’s 1828 discovery of gold. Over 300 art and craft exhibitors and food vendors gather around the Public Square and Historic District in support of this annual event. It is estimated that a crowd of over 200,000 visits over the weekend to join in the fun and excitement!
  • Free Admission
  • https://dahlonegajaycees.com/gold-rush-days/

Humming Bird Festival

  • October 21-22, 2017 – Hoganville, GA
  • Benefiting the Hogansville Charitable Trust.

  • A true small town festival, featuring 200 vendors, food court, live music, kids area, artisan crafts, and more.

  • Free Admission
  • http://www.hummingbirdfestival.com/

Moonshine Festival

Chomp and Stomp Chili Cook-off and Bluegrass Festival

  • November 4, 2017 – Cabbagetown Neighborhood, Atlanta, GA
  • Benefiting Cabbagetown parks, green spaces, and community center
  • A little bit of country in the big city,  featuring music that was popular when residents and mill workers. They played that old-time music and preserved rural traditions right here in the middle of Atlanta! Hard work and home-cooking, small houses and big hearts, recipes and religion, family and friends, stories and songs – relics of times past kept the community vibrant as it struggled to keep strong in a fast changing world.
  • This is a token event.  Purchase spoons and drink tokens on website if you want to avoid lines. They’ll also be available the day-of at each of our 5 Welcome Centers (we will accept cash or credit / debit).
  • http://www.chompandstomp.com/

Top 5 Barbecue Festivals in Georgia

Georgians like Barbecue.  Get us together during the summer and you better believe that someone will be grilling something.  Whether it is ribs, smokin’ a butt or BBQ’ing chicken, we have it down.  Don’t even get me started on the fixin’s.  Mac n’cheese, pork-‘in-beans, pimento cheese, or Brunswick stew, collard greens, mmmmmm mmmmm that’s good eatin!

Summer is wrapping up here in the south.  It is still hotter than a June bride, in July down here, but that won’t stop us from getting out over the next few months to take in some of the festivals.  The next few issues of my blog I am going to be talking about festival and today, we are going to start with some BBQ Southern Style.

Decatur BBQ, Blues and Bluegrass Festival

Pigs and Peaches BBQ Festival

  • August 25, 2017 – Kennesaw, GA
  • In it’s 17th year this festival holds a competition for best BBQ as well “Pigtales” a junior essay competition.
  • Free admission
  • http://www.pigsandpeaches.com/

Blue Ridge Blues and BBQ Festival

Rock’n Ribville

  • September 16, 2017 – Lawrenceville, GA
  • Benefiting Lawrenceville Police Benevolent Fund this event is in it’s 10th year.
  • Free Admission
  • http://www.rocknribville.com/home

Big Pig Jig

  • November 3-4, 2017 – Vienna, GA
  • In it’s 33rd year, this is Georgia’s oldest barbecue cooking contest.
  • Ticket prices vary by date and time – check website for prices
  • http://www.bigpigjig.com/

I gotta get on now, because I can smell what Shane just took off the grill wafting up the stairs and into my room.  It’s time to eat some grilled southern food y’all!

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Keep the Lust for Wandering

Fran

We found this Underappreciated Gem. You Should, Too.

Let’s jump right into this one shall we.  Two things to say first.

  1. If you live in Georgia and don’t go “drink” in this small town you are an igit.
  2. If you don’t go this weekend, you are a bigger igit.

2017-07-22 09.14.36Cave Spring, GA population 1,154 (2016) is a quaint little town on the outskirts of Rome, GA, in the area known as the Historic High Country.  This place is is tiny and cute and awesome!  The town has 1 full time police chief and a handful of part time officers.  The grocery store is a ma and pa type shop.  If you Google Earth the town you will see an “H” for the medical center which is a tiny walk-in clinic, the largest building appears to be a day care, this tells us what everyone does on a date night.  There are old buildings covered with ivy, trees lining the quiet streets and a smell of honey suckle in the air. 2017-07-22 09.14.52Surrounded by rolling hills and sweet Georgia pines this area is the quintessential small southern town you would expect to see in a movie about a big city doc from Hollywood, who had to move to a small town for one disastrous reasons or another.  (please tell me you get the movie reference — Shane didn’t….)

In the middle of town square is a gazebo, seriously y’all, a gazebo.  Two roads intersect here and are littered with a handful of stores selling antiques, flowers and clothing. There is even a general store that had three retired men sitting in rockers talking about how hot it was. Unbelievable!  I fell in love with this town immediately! This place is currently in the number 1 spot for where I want to live out my retirement!

Currently, we were in search of breakfast, so we headed into a local restaurant called Southern Flavor. We entered and tried to head to a quieter area but the staff directed us, “Not back there, it’s cooler up front“, so we turned heels and went to sit with about 15 locals who greeted (nodded at) us as we entered the dining area.  It was crowded so we slid into a two top and glanced around.  A number of the locals were seated around a very long table that took up the length of the room. They didn’t sit directly beside each other and the plates of food were all in different degrees of consumption. They came and went greeting each other or saying goodbye, all taking up a seat at this communal table. Fascinating! They talked about the weather yesterday, the fishing tournament today, and church tomorrow.  Walking into this made me feel as if I had a glowing neon sign that flashed the word “Outsider” on my chest. Poor Shane, he is along for this whole “Wanderluster” ride and is not outgoing or a “step outside your comfort zone” kind of guy. So when I struck up a conversation with three local men, I am sure he was less than enthusiastically thinking, “Ok well, here we go, whoop whoop“.  But look, you find the BEST information by talking to locals.  I mean seriously, what better way to get in good with them, than gettin ’em talkin’ bout themselves. When in Rome, (GA) use your best southern drawl and drop your G’s!

Cave Spring General Store

We discussed The Trail of Tears that runs right through Cave Spring and the fact that you can see Chief Vann’s Inn (house) in the town square. 2017-07-22 08.25.50They directed where the house lies “O’vr yonder” (I could see it through the window) and where the trail starts even though it is clearly marked right outside the restaurant. Such southern charm!  The waitress came to and planted our breakfast in front of us and we dug in as the local men convinced us that we needed to research the Cherokee and Creek Nations history (I agree). Shane chimed in about his great great grandfather who was a Cherokee that married a white woman. Interesting fact: this was quite common in the late 1800’s because the natives knew that the best way to survive was to assimilate to the white man culture. Sad, but true.  We drank our first and second cups of coffee from mugs that were obviously picked up at a local rummage store.  Shane’s had “Delta” imprinted on it and mine, well.. I sure hope it was Christmas themed, because it had “hohohoho” printed all over it.

……. ……. ……..

We finished up our coffee and headed on out to take in the local sights, and there are TONS!  I mean come on this is like going to Orlando!  (just kidding) There isn’t much to see if you are into tourist stuff.  But if you like exploring, then this place is a goldmine. In town there is Chief Vann’s home that was getting a spring cleaning. New turf and whatnot so all we could do was walk up on the porch.  smurfWe meandered down the deserted street of the square (it wasn’t even 9am) and headed over to the general store.  Well now, this must be where the restaurant purchased their coffee cups!  This store is packed with all kinds of crazy odd and ins.  It isn’t so much a general store as a yard sale on steroids. Fun to look at if you like all sorts of junk.  Never know what you may find in these places right?  I mean who couldn’t use a Papa Smurf glass from Wendy’s Collection circa 1984.  Right?

We headed off to check out the local architecture of the buildings that seem to date back to the 1800’s.  GOLDMINE! I couldn’t resist the ivy covered buildings and snapped some photos of the town’s old mill and may or may not have trespassed a little to get some of my shots.

If you like this type of thing the Town Hall (at least I think it is the town hall) is something to see.  It appears to be an old wood mill of sort.  There are these old creepy stairs leading up two a second floor that I just had to go see!  They creaked and were broken in places.  It was fantastic!

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Now here’s the best part of our trip. Rolater Park, is the gem in the middle of this quaint town.  This is the reason we came.  It is this small park that drew my attention, weeks ago. Within Rolater park resides a tiny little limestone cave. Visible inside the cave is a natural spring that produces over 2 million gallons a day.  It is this spring that gives the Cave Spring it’s name. This natural spring water is the purest water I have ever put in my mouth. There isn’t any additives that coat your tongue.  It is cold and pure.  It comes out of a grate right at the mouth of cave where you can fill up your bottles.

Cave Springs Water
Spring Water right from the mouth of a cave

ducksIt was crowded at the park that morning. The Veterans Administration was hosting a fly fishing tournament and it was in full swing.  Men were fishing, children were splashing in the water and women were fussing at children. The freshly caught fish was fried up right there and eaten on the spot. Just as we found a park bench and sat down to watch the spectacle, a flock of geese made their way on to the scene.

The cave doesn’t have any business hours posted so we were a bit concerned that it would not be opening that day.  We spoke to a few locals who said, “I reckon they’ll open it today with the tournament and all….just giv’em a bit.

Southern small town y’all, they do things on their own time stamp not yours.

Finally, at 10:30 A.M. an elderly gentleman announced that he was opening the cave.  It took him 15 minutes to open the door, count the money till and turn over the sign. It was like opening the gates to Disney World, y’all a mass rush of people swarmed the entrance separating Shane and myself, who were waiting patiently to enter.  I think you will agree that it was in our best interest to let the group of 25 people go on ahead of us….

The cave has stalactite hanging from the ceiling and is coated in Georgia red clay. The day was beginning to get hot but as soon as you walk into the cave you are blasted by a draft of cold air.  We both were sweating and it felt really nice to have some of God’s natural air conditioning blowing on us. We were hoping for a quiet meander into the cave but we heard a lot of children’s holler’s echoing throughout. They were hoopin’ and hollerin’ listening for the echoes. They climbed on the stone steps and rolled on the rocks and got good and dirty. That bath water is going to be brown tonight.  We could have waited for the rush to die down and enjoyed the silence, but hey you gotta live on the edge baby! The cave itself is tiny. It is a quick walk from entrance to the back of the cave. The tunnel gets very small in the very back. Shane, being 6’2″, decided to passed on going through the final crawl space. Even I had to scrunch down to squeeze through the opening and I am short.   We hung out in the cave for about 10 minutes hoping to enjoy it in silence but with this many people at the fishing tournament it just didn’t happen.

pool

There is a short nature trail outside the cave but we decided to pass on it. It was muggy and hot here in July and I was recovering from being ill the previous week.  On our way out of the park we stopped the Hearn Inn Bed and Breakfast that oddly wasn’t open, like I said, small towns operate on their own agenda.  I guess if there “ain’t a guest, the B&B ain’t open” . Makes perfect sense to me.  I peeked through the windows and then we sat on the porch a few minutes rocking in the chairs and enjoying the seen and silence.  Before leaving we checked out the 2nd largest swimming pool in the state of Georgia. This pool is really cool. The natural spring water from the cave feeds the pool so it is a very cold 68 degree dip on hot summer days here in Cave Spring.  People say the pool is shaped like Georgia and I can kind of see it, but.. no.. not really.

If you are looking a quiet laid back few days, come to Cave Spring, GA y’all.  We stayed right outside the city in a small loft cabin on Dry Creek.  We meandered through the town, ate with locals, sat on the porch, drink from the springs and enjoy the people and the southern charm of the small town.

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Keep the Lust for Wandering Y’all!

Fran

2017-07-23 08.09.02 HDR
Relaxing on Dry Creek