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.

 

 

 

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

Pecan Pie, a Clock Tower & Mystic Grill

Recently, Shane and I were traveling from Augusta to our home in Locust Grove, GA.  We had left home early that morning and after a long day, it was nearing 6pm. We were getting hungry.

Pulling out my phone and searched Google for “restaurants near me”. A list of chain restaurants popped up.  I scrolled through looking for the locally owned eateries as those are our favorites and I came across a few and picked the first one that caught my attention.  Mystic Grill.

Being a lover of sci-fiction and all things fantasy, I am way into anything with the name “Mystic” in it, so I put it into my GPS and off we went to the town square of Covington. The square itself only lies a few miles off interstate 20, is maybe 30 minutes outside of Atlanta.

barI would have loved to explore the town square, but my man was hungry and getting grumpy so we immediately went inside the restaurant.  We entered in through the bar and had to walk through the restaurant to get to the hostess stand, which was weird. Oops wrong door and as Shane said, “We look like igits”. The bar has this blue glow to it and was pretty cool.

Photo Jul 06, 5 14 42 PMThe dining area, with oak tables and staircase, had plastered walls and uncovered brick that has faded with time. Exposed pipes run along the high tin ceiling gave it a old factory feel. I love tin ceilings. They were very popular in the south in the late 1800’s. Some of the paint is chipping off and you can see the tin peeking through the white paint which shows it’s age.  There are large arched windows that allow natural light to illuminate the room.

We grabbed the menu and began to look over it, on the back is a history of the building and the grill.  It boasts of a view of the clock tower from the roof and Shane said he thought, “Great, Fran is going to want hangryto go see it“.  He knows me so well!  And I did, so up I went alone, ’cause he was hangry and could really have cared less.  I headed up the stairs to the roof top bar and it is a fantastic view of the square and clock tower.

Photo Jul 06, 5 23 30 PM

The clock tower really is something.  They just don’t build things like this anymore.

There is rooftop seating and a bar. I could feel a warm breeze, even though it was the beginning of July and 95 degrees out. I bet it is a very nice place to hang out, on a warm summer evening.

I climbed back down the stairwell that was decorated with signed Mystic Grill menus from actors that had visited the joint.

I returned to my table, showed Shane the photos and finished reading the back of the menu.  It turns out that this restaurant is unlike most.  It was born out of the fictional town of Mystic Falls, Virginia in the TV show The Vampire Diaries.  This is extremely neat to me because, typically, restaurants don’t pop up because it existed in a TV series.  Being from Atlanta it is not a shock to hear that towns all over the metro area are used in the film industry.  Pinewood Studio resides here and we hear about filming in the area quite often.  I talked to the waitress and she said people come from all over to eat here just because of the show.  ast week there was a father and daughter from Denmark that came to town just to see the famous town of “Mystic Falls” and to eat at this diner. She also said while there are a lot of fans, many locals come back because of the food.  Ok now I want to try the food seeing that I am sorta a local.

Perfect timing, our appetizer arrived. Warm baked brie with peaches and pecan streusel.  Holy cow was it good.  For our main course, I ordered a mix greens salad with pecans and goat cheese.  I added a grilled chicken breast for protein.  The chicken breast was under-seasoned and just “eh” but if you took a bite of the cheese and the pecan vinaigrette with it, it made it pretty good.  Shane had the Clock Tower burger.  Photo Jul 06, 5 42 45 PMThis thing was huge! Bigger than Shane’s head huge! Caramelized onion, on a beef patty with a fried egg, bacon, and cheddar cheese.  On top of the bun were two onion rings and around it were homemade house potato chips that were crunchy on outside and soft on the inside.  They were so good and it was very hard not to keep stealing them off Shane’s plate, which he secretly hates.  I was pushing it by grabbing a few, but figured I was safe from his grumpiness now that he has food in his tummy. Even though I am trying to eat healthy and for piethe sake of this blog, we had to try the dessert. Shane is a pie kind of guy, so we ordered the warm Derby Pie which is a warm pecan pie with chocolate sauce and ice cream.  “Holy pecan pie, Batman!” It was phenomenal.  I had a few bites and then he devoured it.

For the two of us it was a 50 dollar bill before the tip. This was 1 appetizer, 2 entrees, 2 non-alcoholic drinks and 1 dessert.  While it was not a cheap dinner, it was a good dinner.  My salad was 15 dollars which I believe was a bit too expensive because for the most part it is just a salad mix arranged on a plate, topped with a few onions, cheese, pecans and chicken that was nothing special.  On the other hand, Shane enjoyed his burger and it was cooked perfectly to his liking. grillIn all we do not regret our trip here, as the atmosphere was nice and the staff was friendly.  We would go back if we were in the area, and I would splurge and eat a burger.  If you are a fan of the TV series, you will definitely want to stop by.  Understand though from what our server says, the inside of the grill does not look exactly like it does in the show. Structurally it just wasn’t possible, but there are a lot of aspects that were modeled directly from the show itself.  Be sure to sit on the benches in the square directly in front of the restaurant.  (shown in photo below) Apparently, an actor’s bum also sat upon it and this might thrill you.

Photo Jul 06, 5 23 37 PM
Covington Square

Keep the Lust for Wandering Y’all

Fran