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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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

 

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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.

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

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Relaxing on Dry Creek