A Family’s Legacy in the Blue Ridge Mountain’s

Shane and I like to read up on the history of an area before we visit it. Knowing that we were going to spend a few days in Blue Ridge, GA. I looked into some of the local lore and heritage. I hit a gold mine up in the Blue Ridge Mountains, (all puns intended). In the early days of the settlement in the Blue Ridge, Georgia mountains, there were Creek and Cherokee tribes along with two prominent families: The Stanley’s and the Tilley’s. From what I read they didn’t exactly get along, and the two were regular Hatfields and McCoy’s of the Georgia Mountains, but that is another story.

2017-09-20 11.31.07-1Today, along the picturesque Aska Road, on top of a hill stands a lone whitewashed church. The church has been genuinely cared for by one family who calls this place, “home”. It is part of their heritage, and you can’t escape the Stanley name up here. This is Stanley territory. Roads, creeks, gaps are all named after the family and there is a ton of history in this small valley about them. Like every family, there are stories of heartache and joy, laughter and tragedy. So many wonderful and tragic stories to be told and I would like to share just a few with you.

From what we can tell the Stanley’s came to this territory from Avery County, N.C. and a few married the Cherokee tribe members that had also moved into these lands. After the trail of tears, the natives that had married into families were safe from the U.S. Army and were allowed to stay. The family built a village in a hollow (pronounced “holler“) and began to thrive: raising sheep, cows, horses, and growing crops.

Southern Slang: An -er sound is often used for long “o” at the end of a word. For example, hollow— “a small, sheltered valley betten two hills” is pronounced holler

In 1886 a church was built near the homestead and like most churches in that area, it served as the schoolhouse, a gathering place, as well as a place of worship. The church started off as Baptist but when a Church of Christ minister showed up at the church a great contest started and the current preacher knew less scripture than the Church of Christ minister and that settled that! The Baptist preacher was sent packing and from that point on they were Church of Christ. If only all things in life were this simple.

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Long-stone table sits hundreds of family members

Today this church sits vacant all except one day a year when the family meets on the last Sunday in August for Decoration Day. This big ole family reunion pays homage to those that lived in the hills, toiled the ground and raised families. Three to four hundred people pour in from all over the country who still have their roots in the little church. A long cement table has been built under an enormous pavilion to accommodate the family’s lunch after the sermon. This thing must be 50 yards long! A hymnal sits atop the stone table awaiting a family member to pick it up again and sing from it.  A silk yellow daisy was gently laid atop the book. I couldn’t help but snap a photo, before placing the book back under the table with the other hymnals. I didn’t want it to get ruined by moisture.

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You can see here the massive length of the table that awaits the family lunch

Luckily, while visiting the Stanley Settlement we were surprised by a visit of two Stanley ladies, but more on that later.

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R.C. Stanley was 6 years old when he witnessed his father being shot by Confederate soldiers.

First, let me tell you about Elisha Stanley who established this valley. The creek that the settlement is built on, is named after Elisha. He was a hardworking farmer with a family and community to care for. In the late stages of the Civil War, the Confederate Army was desperate for men and showed up at his front door to conscripted him and his brother-in-law, Elv Evans Hughes, into the rebellion. Neither men were too keen on this idea, “they didn’t want to fight in the war, or for the southern army.” — as historically written. The current caretaker Ralph Stanley has said, “Our People were on the Union side“. The men kept going AWOL, leaving camp, and coming home to work their fields and provide for their families. Their crops didn’t stop for war, and their women and children were not going to go hungry. The two men were hunted down by the Confederate Army. On September 6, 1864, Elisha was on the porch repairing his 6-year-old son, Ricklas Calvin’s (R.C.), shoe when the Army came calling. Without hesitation, Elisha was shot 6 times while his son and pregnant wife watched.  The Army then found Elv Evans Hughes in a field sheering his sheep. With a pleading wife, they tied him to a horse and drug him away to the camp where he was tied to a tree and shot dead.

The wives had no men left to bury the bodies and it was hard labor to dig the holes, so the two men were buried in the same plot. The women used a corn box used to feed the horses as a coffin. They placed one man in, covered him with a sheet and laid the other on top. Today a new headstone shows those buried there as “Family” and the plaque states:

The marker reminds us the men where “killed standing for the Union of our Great Nation.”

Elisha Stanley

After the war, The Stanley Settlement took in a lost boy, named Moses, who was found crying along the roadside and raised him amongst their own. The Stanley’s were farmers who worked their own land and did not own slaves. When they saw a young black child alone they assumed he was the child of runaway slaves, but no, he was born free and was lost or abandoned. MosesMoses was raised by Mr. Johnson until he died and then R.C. Stanley took him in. He was the first black child to attend school in Fannin County. He was educated on Stanley Creek and lived his life in the valley. Moses is buried in the cemetery, along with the other Stanley family members. He wasn’t blood, but I have a feeling he was buried alongside the only family he ever knew, the ones who cared for him. His gravestone doesn’t have his year of birth because it was unknown. It only has his name, “Moses Johnson” and “Colored”. Some may think to have the word “colored” as disrespectful, but I think it is paying honor to the man that lived and flourished amongst a white family during a time when race was a dividing factor. I would have loved to meet old Moses. I bet he was full of stories.

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Life in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s wasn’t easy. It was made especially difficult in the rural north Georgia mountains. In times of need, high on the hill, the church bell would ring. You could hear it 2.5 miles away and when the parishioners heard it, they knew they were needed. As we drove through the heavily wooded mountains, I imagined just how difficult life must have been up there for the Stanley’s. They built a community, were hardworking, and God fearing. They raised babies, took care of their elderly and died here. In the cemetery, all but four, are all kinfolk of the Stanley’s. Here we saw the headstones of Ada and Harrison Stanley and their 7 young children, who perished in the early 1900’s. Many children were lost in the GA Mountains at the turn of the century. (there’s a creepy legend about that. The mortality rate of infants was high in this region and an eerily weird local legend spawned from out of that.) As the church plaque states: “These small graves attest to the risks that came with childhood and the need for a tight-knit community.

2017-09-20 11.38.36 HDR-3Then there was Buell Stanley who was the crazy hillbilly who blew his arm off trying to fish with a stick of dynamite in the Toccoa River! Now that in itself is a story but this is where it gets really good. Buell blew his “good” arm off fishin’ — I mean it would have to be his good arm because who throws a stick of dynamite with their “bad” arm right? And after they got him bandaged up they held a ceremony for the arm and in the family cemetery, here it lies with the family. Not ALL of Buell, mind you, just his arm, may it rest in peace.

Remember at the top of this article when I said while we were visiting the church we met two Stanley ladies?

Meet Evelyn and Beverly

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I don’t believe in “chance”. I do believe in destiny. And it was our destiny to meet these two ladies. Shane, Julia and I were about to leave the settlement that is only really visited every once in awhile by family. It isn’t like someone is up there every day, these days, you know. As we were piling into our car, another vehicle slowly made it’s way up the drive. They stopped a short distance away, sat there for a moment and then came on up to greet us. It was almost like they stopped and discussed, “why are strangers up here?” (They did, in fact, discuss this. Beverly said, she said, “mama, go on up and see what they are doin’” and they did and we are so glad!) They were coming to check on the family church and their loved ones buried here. We stood and spoke to them for about 45 minutes and they told us the stories that I just told you. Evelyn is the great great granddaughter of Elisha. She told us, “My Great Granddaddy was shot by Confederate Soldiers. We Stanley’s didn’t own slaves and didn’t want to fight for the Confederates and they shot him“. This made me sad to think, that back then if you thought differently than someone else, you could lose your life in an instant. Unfortunately, we haven’t learned much from history since then. I wish Elisha could come talk to our society. I am proud of Elisha. He stood up for what he believed in and was there for his family until the end. We discussed Ada and Uncle Ralph. We discussed Buell and his missing arm and then they told us where Moses was buried and we bid them goodbye as we sauntered off to find his grave on the edge of the yard by a tree. As I walked away, I turned back and jokingly said, “I am gonna come crash your families decoration day” and without hesitation, both ladies invited us to join them in 2018.  I think we will take them up on it. I want more stories!

Thank you to Evelyn and Beverly who more than graciously told us stories of their family. I dedicate this entry to the both of them and their heritage.

Thank you to http://www.gcgsi.org/Research/ChurchHistory/StanleyChurchofChrist.pdf

Step back to the Jazz Age at this Atlanta Home

This week my girls and I decided to take my mama up to Ballground, GA to Gibbs Garden for the Monet Water Lillies exhibit. We jumped in the car and headed up the road! An hour into the trip we began to notice signs advertising the gardens and a random thought popped into my mind, “What if they are closed today? Crap! I didn’t check!” Julia pulled up the site and yep: closed. Ugh! I pulled the car over and began a search for something to do in the area. I wasn’t certain exactly where we were but knew we were already OTP (Outside the Perimeter – of Atlanta).
Lesson Learned: Always check hours of operation BEFORE scheduling a day trip! 

My mom likes beautiful houses, gardens, churches, and anything of historical relevance. Olivia likes beauty and art deco. Julia is usually “along for the ride” and while the aforementioned does not interest her, she is accommodating and doesn’t complain (and I bribed her with a trip to Cabbagetown). I chose the Atlanta Historical Society’s Swan House.

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You may recognize the Swan House, as the home of President Snow in “The Hunger Games“. As part of the Georgia film industry, the series was filmed around the Atlanta including this location.

Today, the film crews are gone and the house isn’t a gaudy shade of purple. It looks much like it did in the 1920’s when it was built for Edward and Emily Inman by architect Philip Trammell Shutze, whose art collection is now on exhibit at the home.

Here you can step back in time to the Jazz Age during the roaring 20’s. Named for the swan theme that is found throughout the interior of the home, The Swan House is a representation of wealth in an age just before the Great Depression

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backInteresting fact: The picture above is actually the back of the house, where you enter during tour. Coaches and cars carrying guests entered from the back of stately homes. The front of the house always had large gardens.

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The black and white marble floor embraces you as you enter through the grand doors to an impressive entry foyer decorated as it was during the time of music, speakeasy’s, dance and indulgence. We strolled the rooms of the dramatically opulent home taking in the art deco motif which features swans. Golden light fixtures adorn the walls and carved wooden fireplaces embellish each room.  This is the sort of house that we would love to live in, and it was Emily Inman’s dream home, built for her by a loving husband. In every detail, he had the family in mind, and tragically just three years after it was complete, Edward Inman passed away at the age of 49. Emily raised her family here and live here until her death in 1966 when she left it to the Atlanta Historical Society.

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Along with fantastic architectural design check out the skills of Athos Menaboni, who decorated Mrs. Inman fantastic dressing room and Herbert J. Milard who crafted the bookshelves, fireplaces and other carvings throughout the home (look up as you enter the study and see the carved flowers on the ceiling.)

1920's csrWhile visiting the home you may “meet” some interesting characters: Mrs. Emily Inman, who is poised and elegant, Emma Jean, the family’s fateful maid, Ruby Ross Wood, the lively, interior decorator, Mr. Edward Inman who will relish in telling you about racing in his motor car, and Mr. Grant Carter the lovable family chauffeur. Grant and Edward were known to race the vehicle on display in the back of the home where you enter. Ask one of them about the grandeur of racing a car at top speeds of 45 miles per hour! Mr. Inman held several racing records during this time and auto racing in the late 20’s was insanely dangerous, but this is not what killed him. It appears the lavish lifestyle took a toll on his heart.

On a historical note: The Inman family were known for their philanthropy and were key to the development of the Georgia Institute of Technology, Agnes Scott College, and Oglethorpe University. The Inmans also supported the founding of the Atlanta orphanage and Grady Memorial Hospital.

The home has three gardens. The largest a baroque garden is situated at the front of the home on a landscaped lawn. A large gate marks the entry of the home followed by 3 small pools and an ivy and rose covered retaining wall. A stream runs along the edge of the yard and a gazebo sits quietly within the cover of trees and blooms.

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A cascading art deco fountain, flanked by stairs, sits in splendor at the top of the lawn. You can just imagine debutants gracefully descending the stairs as gentlemen stopped discussing stocks and watched in reverence. At the top of the fountain, a horseshoe staircase complete with iron handrails gracefully leads up a flight of steps to a heavily framed central entrance door.

Capture

The boxwood garden has a pair of broken columns surmounting a garden bench and a rampant eagle.

There are 22 acres of trails leading to gardens, the Smith Family Farm and a WWII trench. Visit the Coach House where Mr. Inman parked his vehicles and is now a restaurant. There is a cafe in the Atlanta History Museum as well. We opted to walk over to Smoke Belly for some fantastic BBQ.

The all-inclusive general admission ticket includes access to the Atlanta History Museum, the 1860s era Smith Family Farm property, the 1928 Swan House mansion, and 22 acres of gardens. Plus, admission to the Margaret Mitchell House, is included if visited within 9 days of Atlanta History Center. Ticket prices are $21.50/Adult, $18.00/Senior or Student, $9.00/Child 4-12.

If you are crossing off filming locations in Atlanta. Be sure to hit the Swan House. There is a room dedicated to the filming of The Hunger Games.

 

Keep the Lust for Wandering Y’all!

Fran, the girls, and Mama

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  • Thank you to the Atlanta History Center for information regarding the Swan House and the Inman family.
  • Also thank you to Tammy H. Galloway, and GeorgiaEncyclopia.com for information regarding the Inman family.
  • All photos are mine except the back entrance and garden and the photo of The Swan House decorated for the Hunger Games.

Is This Graveyard and Church Haunted? The Tale of Tilley Bend

Written By: Shane Hampton

The tale of the American Witch has enchanted storytellers since the mid-1600’s. Alse (Alice) Young was the first recorded colonist to be hung for witchcraft in what is now Hartford, Connecticut in 1647. The infamous Salem witch trials began during the spring of 1692, after a group of young girls in Salem Village, Massachusetts, claimed to be possessed by the devil and accused several local women of witchcraft. As a wave of hysteria spread throughout colonial Massachusetts, a special court convened in Salem to hear the cases; the first convicted witch, Bridget Bishop, was hanged that June. Eighteen others followed Bishop to Salem’s Gallows Hill, while some 150 more men, women and children were accused over the next several months.

Here is Where Our Story Begins:

EJBMore than two hundred years later and one thousand miles to the south, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia; the legend of the American Witch continues with the story of Elizabeth Jane Tilley Bradley. As the story goes, Elizabeth was of Creek Indian descent and served the Tilley Bend Community as a healer in the late 1800s. Elizabeth and her husband, Jason Bradley, had eight children; six daughters and two sons. During the early 1900s, the Tilley clan became embroiled in a bitter feud with their closest neighbors, the Stanley’s. Elizabeth’s family was caught in the middle as one daughter was married to a Stanley and the other to a Tilley. The feud escalated and one Sunday morning, while the Tilley Bend Community was attending church services, the Stanley’s came. Stanley men shot into the church and killed several of the Tilley’s, including Elizabeth’s eldest daughter. In retribution, the Tilley’s gathered up a posse and raided the Stanley Settlement while they slept.

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The settlements were only a few miles apart.

During this raid, Elizabeth pregnant daughter, who was married to a Stanley watched as her husband was slain. She and the baby died in childbirth. Heartbroken and enraged, Elizabeth cursed both settlements and proclaimed that no child would live to either family. The clans buried their dead and life went on as usual but with one exception; during the following year, every single child born in either settlement was either still-born or died within the first year.

Our Visit on Sept 19, 2017

With the above story fueling our curiosity, Fran and I made the trip to Tilley Bend. As with most legends, I suspected that it was more fiction than reality. The church had been refurbished some time ago, but allegedly, Tilley family descendants have pictures of the original whitewashed church with bullet holes and all, as evidence of the Stanley Massacre.

The first thing you notice is the large tree, just left of the center of the graveyard. It’s the only tree within the confines of the graves. Naturally, I made my way to the tree and a strange sensation came over me as I saw with my own eyes, the weathered headstone of Elizabeth Jane Tilley Bradley. Right there under the tree, just as the legend says. The headstone, however, was facing toward the west just like all the other graves. Admittedly, I was disappointed. But the more I looked around the area, I noticed other strange things. Behind the headstone (where the body of Elizabeth would be buried if the stories were true) was a pile of blackened ash. Someone had recently burned something on the grave. I also noticed that there isn’t another grave in the same area. She lies alone.Photo Sep 19, 3 09 32 PM

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headstones

I noticed there was a footstone, but it was much more modern than the old weathered headstone. It had been placed rather recently. Much to our daughter, Julia’s delight a spider had taken up residence in the “E”

The footstone was right up against the tree trunk therefore; I began to imagine the length of a casket (or even the length of the average woman) and found that it was not physically possible for a body to be buried in that direction so close to the root system of the massive tree. Indeed, the grave would have had to be dug all the way to the base of the tree. The last thing I noticed was that the dirt around the headstone was piled fresh as if someone had dug it up and turned it around the other way. I was convinced, Elizabeth was buried facing the west, just as the legend stated.  The church (or someone) recently turned the headstone around with the intent of concealing this fact.

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Could they have dug into this root system in 1906 without killing the tree? How is this enough space for a casket or even a body? The Georgia Red clay does look freshly dug around the headstone.

Here is a video showing that the headstone was facing West until recently when someone turned it around. The stone is shown at 48 seconds. It also appears it was shifted slightly to the right of the tree

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More shivers. I looked around the graveyard for Fran, we had split up and she was walking around taking pictures and I noticed that the clear majority of the graves had flowers laid on them. Someone was taking care to tend to the dead. I absently looked back at Elizabeth’s resting place and noticed she had no flowers. Shivers. Furthermore, the area around the headstone was quite barren. A stark contrast to the thick, green grass that carpeted the rest of the graveyard.

Fully convinced that I had discovered the grave of the infamous Blue Ridge Witch, I found Fran and we began to discuss the legend. I pulled up other photos of the grave and saw clearly that people had taken photos of the headstone and it was indeed facing West. What we were seeing was a headstone that has purposefully been turned around. We began to discuss Elizabeth’s sister-in-law but couldn’t remember her name. I searched the internet and found her name. Mary.

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Mary’s headstone, covered in moss, is eerily creepy

We remembered that Mary was hung and buried one year to the day and we quickly began to search for her grave. We found it only to discover only to discover that when we entered the graveyard and Fran and I split up,  that was the very first picture Fran took without even knowing who it was. She was drawn to this headstone first as it was a small stone cross with moss growing on it, she didn’t pay attention to the name, only the beauty of the cross. Knowing that she was drawn first to this particular headstone spooked her a little.

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Tiny headstones of infants

In the very back of the graveyard were maybe a dozen or more graves marked only by large rocks. Some with very crude and undiscernible carvings on them. We later discovered that these were the graves of still-born children.  Shivers.

We left Tilley Bend Church that day, fully convinced that we had seen the grave of a bonafide witch. Maybe, maybe not. I have never been in a situation where there was so much physical evidence to support a legend. Of course, there could have been any number of reasons for so many children to be still-born, but the idea of a curse is so much more interesting.

P.S. One last creepy note: Oddly, we noticed that both Elizabeth and Mary headstones state they shared the same birthdate 2-28-1846 as well as death date 10-26-1906. That’s odd. But Legend states they died 1 year apart to the day. Mary’s headstone is also rather new looking doncha think? Were the years changed to reflect the same birthdates as well as death dates or is this a fact, did they enter the world on the same day and both perish on 10-26-1906?

P.P.S. We recently met a few awesome Stanley folk and while talking to them, they said they never heard of this story, but as children, they were not allowed to play up at Tilley Bend because “it was haunted“.

They also stated, “We don’t talk much about the Tilley’s…

Duly noted.

Is This Passenger Train Ride Worth the Cost?

“On a Warm Summer’s Eve; on A Train Bound for Nowhere…”

Ok, it wasn’t evenin’ and the train was headed to McCayesville, GA but you get the idea right? Shane said he kept humming “The Gambler” in his head the entire trip on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. He even went as far to say that the only thing to have made it better if they had folk dressed up in wild west period clothing and held a shoot-em-up. I couldn’t bear to tell him that this train was not originally from late 1800’s Midwest. But then again the mountain hillbillies of North Georgia were no joke either. Just visit the Tilley and Stanley Settlements cemeteries and you will see just how bad ass they were, but that is another story for another time. Today we are going on a train ride.

BRSR

The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway embarks on its journey from the historic 1905 train depot in downtown Blue Ridge and makes a slow, relaxing 13-mile ride along the Toccoa River as it heads for a layover in the sister towns of McCaysville, Georgia, and Copperhill, Tennessee.

Before I tell you about our trip let me tell you some cool events that are hosted by BRSR.

  • April – Easter Eggs-press – Take a ride to a Farmer Brown’s field where eggs are hidden.
  • October – Pumpkin Express – Visit Farmer Brown’s field, pick out a souvenir pumpkin and then return to Blue Ridge.
  • October/November – Fall foliage rail rides offer beautiful glimpses of autumn trees.
  • December – Santa Express – take a ride with old Saint Nick
  • New Year’s Eve Excursion – ring in the new year onboard while sipping on wine and tasting hors d’oeuvres.

Our visit was the third weekend in September, the leaves were just beginning to change and the weather was starting to cool to a brisk (not so much) 88 degrees. (oh how I wish for real fall temperatures.) We opted to sit in the climate controlled car because it felt more authentic. They have open air cars but you sit along a bench that doesn’t look like a traditional train car seat. They allow moving about the train and it is safe to walk between cars, so I just popped into an open air for a few photos and then took my happy butt back to the comfy seats.

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Julia pondering life while looking outside the train window
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Country barn sits in a lonely field along the train tracks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Here is what we found:

    • The train leaves precisely at its scheduled time, don’t be late.
    • The entire trip consists of 1-hour ride to McCaysville/Copperhill, 2-hour layover, 1-hour return trip to Blue Ridge. Plan on a full half a day for this excursion.
    • Tickets are not cheap, but if you are military or first responder they offer a discount.
    • It was worth it to cross Ride a Train off our bucket list.
    • When purchasing tickets, ask for a car in the very back of the train, so that you can get a great shot of entire train as it rounds bends.2017-09-18 11.27.28
    • Your ticket reserves your car, but not your seat.
    • The Toccoa River is on the right side of the train going and if you are taking the 3 P.M. ride make sure you are on the right, otherwise it may be dark on the ride back to Blue Ridge. When boarding, ask your car guide if the sun is already set on the return trip. If it is after Daylight Savings you may not get those pictures you wanted.
    • Get to your car early, people start lining up for the choice “right side of train” seats.
    • The car guides ask that if you sat on the right side of the train going, trade seats with those on the left so everyone gets to see the Toccoa River.
    • The Moose Caboose has rail-side food and drinks, if you purchase a ticket at the depot, you may get a coupon for a free coffee while you wait to board the train. The hot chocolate was pretty darn good too.
    • 2017-09-18 14.39.24-1Ask your car guide questions, you will find they are quite knowledgeable, ask about the ceiling paper stamped with your cars original train line.
    • If you are in the climate controlled car, move to an open-air car as the conductor announces that they are approaching the cornfield where you can see the entire train front to end. This is about the only time they will allow you to stick your entire torso out the window for a great photo op.
    • There is a concessions car aboard the train if you get hungry on the 1-hour trip
    • If you get sore sitting a spell, walk the entire length of the train and back. It is acceptable.
  • Keep an eye out for the old telegraph poles that are over 100 years old.100 year old telegraph pole
  • Be sure to see the 500-year-old Native American Fish trap

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    The only thing this fish trap is catching these days is a large limb!
  • MaCayesville/Copperhill – leaves a lot to be desired.  Want my honest opinion of the town(s)? Tourist Trap.
    • Interesting sites in town:
      • Old Steel bridge (as seen in photo peaking of the tops of the buildings
      • Georgia/Tennesee line- Stand one foot in GA the other in TN
  • Hold on to your train ticket – you will need to get it “stamped” by the conductor (ask him for a photo op, he will more than oblige) and you will need it to board the train for your return trip. (truthfully, the first is for show and they didn’t ask to see our tickets on the return trip because our car guide remembered us. )
  • The Old Steel bridge – right before you enter McCaysville/Copperton you will cross an old steel bridge. There is very little space between the train and the bridge. I am talking a few inches at best. This bridge is in Horseshoe Bend Park if you want a different perspective of it.

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  • The return train trip: If you missed something going, you get a second chance to see it on the way back. I walked to the next train car which was open air and shot a few photos without the glass between me and the outdoors. Depending on how crowded the train is, this is acceptable. When I returned to our car I found Shane fast asleep, lulled by the slow steady movement of the train. You see the same thing coming as you do going, so he didn’t miss anything.
  • Bonus tip: if you ask nicely, you may get a tour of the train engine. Ask after the trip is over not before, they are too busy getting the train ready before.  Usually, you won’t be denied this bonus that many people don’t know about.

In the end I feel like taking a ride along the Toccoa River in a antique train is worth the cost of the trip. It gives kids an idea of how life used to be when their grands lived, you learn a bit of history while relaxing and unwinding. However, the towns you visit are lacking.

Want more info? visit http://www.brscenic.com/

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Keep the Lust for Wandering, Y’all!

Shane and Fran

All Aboard!

Fall Branch Falls: The Waterfall So Spectacular It Has To Say It Twice

Buried within the Chattahoochee National Forest, hidden off a very worn dirt road along Aska Road, resides Benton MacKaye Trail. The trail climbs upward along Rocky Mountain for a few miles and has some beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Shane, Julia, and I were content with hiking just to the falls and back as Shane has a herniated disk and his back was bothering him from cutting lumber a few days prior. I chose this hike because it is a short jaunt to the falls and back coming in under 1 mile total (score! I got to see a waterfall and he didn’t have to hike too far.)

NOTE- Before you go: LTE in them thar hills is limited.

I am a techie and an IT manager by trade. I use my phone for EVERYTHING; and glancing down to see “No Service” doesn’t make me overly thrilled when I have: no map, no documented route and no sense of direction. “I ain’t got no map nor directions and I have no earthly idear where we’s at,” flashed into my brain as we trudged along the dirt road. We saw a neat house that had hitching posts out front and the coolest cabin railing (literally made of sticks that seem to be collected from the forest).

We rounded a sharp curve on the packed Georgia clay road and came upon an abandoned shack and a barn that looked like it was about to cave in. My mind immediately took a wrong turn to a horror movie and I said, “This is where the city folk from Atlanta ‘gets it’ by the country folk that don’t like ‘no trespassin‘ on their land’!” This is a whole lotta nope and I looked for a place to turn around to go back to civilization.

Creepy little homestead
This creepy homestead belonged to Forest Warden Garfield Stanley

The road was about as wide as our car and we had no choice but to continue passed the scary dilapidated house. We crept by slowly as “the hills have eyes” watched. Not a single bird could be heard as Julia mentioned that this shack reminded her of “Until Dawn” a horror video game.

Greeeeaaaat… queue the chainsaw sound effect now.

The windows the house were dark and the weeds had grown up over the entrance but we could see rocking chairs sitting abandoned on the front porch. A screen door slapped in the cool autumn breeze.

At this point I just knew we took a wrong turn and my phone continued to flash “Hey you idiot, there isn’t a cell tower up here” A.K.A No Service.

Thankfully, just ahead we saw the white diamond marking the trail head. Whew! we survived. Turns out, with a little research, this abandoned shack is the homestead of Garfield Stanley of the Stanley Settlement that is prominent in this area. Garfield was the warden of this mountain area, and took care of the area until his death.

Fall Branch Falls Marker
Finding this waterfall is quite easy with directions.

We parked and headed to the trail head. You will see the sign pointing to the falls so from here it is pretty clear which way to go. The .5 mile hike to the falls is pretty easy, however the trail is muddy and goes up a fairly steep incline.

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Path incline. Shane can be seen at the top of the trail

The trails are lined with rhododendron, that bloom in late June. We went in September so the flowers weren’t in bloom but that didn’t change the beauty of the trail. Moss covered the trees and mushrooms peeked up through the soil. The sound of the babbling brook resonated through the trees and there was a soft breeze. The smell of damp earth made us feel in touch with the environment in which we walked. Our legs could feel the strain of muscles being worked and our lungs were filled with the cool morning air.

Along the way we saw two cabins, one appeared to be abandoned and the other occupied. Oh! To have a cabin on a creek with a waterfall at its end.

.4 of a mile you will encounter a fork in the trail. If you take the left trail you will continue climbing Rocky Mountain for fantastic views of Trail marker to Fallsthe Appalachian Trail and the Blue Ridge Mountain range. There is a sign here pointing to the right to the falls. Once you take the right fork the, terrain takes a slight decline and the waterfall is just ahead. The ground has eroded and the trees root system in this area are showing so be careful not the trip. It is much cooler here under the thick canopy. Moss is thick on the trees and the air is damp. The forest floor was littered with colorful fall leaves when we visited. The sound of the waterfall is not deafening like a lot of falls but you can hear the water tumbling over the smooth rocks before you round the bend to see it cascading across the stone surface.

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The double waterfall with falling leaves, mountain laurel, and rhododendron surrounding it is beautiful in the Fall, I can only imagine it in the Spring and early Summer. If you visit during this time please comment with photos!

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Directions to the falls: Hopefully you aren’t like us and are looking for directions and not depending on your phones GPS.  So getting there is easy but first…

IT Manager Pro Tip: While in Blue Ridge go ahead and search for Fall Branch Falls on your phone. If you are traveling to other locations, make sure you add each location to your phone in the order you want to visit them. Leave this app open, do not close it because if you have zero service it will not search, but the phone is smart, it will continue to direct you if it is already open.

Address: Fall Branch Falls, Stanley Creek Road, Cherry Log, GA

From Blue Ridge:

  • Follow Aska Road south for eight miles.
  • You will see a sign on right side of road that says “Fall Branch Falls –>  Toccoa Riverside Restaurant is on the left side of road.
  • Turn right on Stanley Creek Road right before the restaurant.
  • At about 2 miles the road goes from paved to gravel. Keep going.
  • You will see the hitching post cabin on a curve. Keep going.
  • You will pass the scary homestead of Forest Warden Garfield Stanley’s (not so scary now that you have read who it belonged to, right?).
  • The trail head is maybe 100 yards past the homestead. The road widens a little for parking and there is a white triangle on the tree.
  • You can either head left or right down a trail. You will head right if your back is facing the homestead. Look for the sign pointing the way to Fall Branch Falls.

Enjoy! Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Keep the Lust for Wandering Y’all!

Inexpensive Outdoor Stress Reducing Activities

stressShane and I both have pretty stressful jobs.  He is in law enforcement and I am an IT manager. Not a day goes by that we don’t feel the overwhelming stress associated with our jobs. Do you hear the squeak of the world tiniest violin? Anyone want to give me some cheese for all this whine? Or can you relate?  Face it.  We ALL have stress.  Whether it is our jobs, our kids, our significant’s.  We all have to deal with it.

I think the technical age in which we are living, adds to our stress. 200 years ago our ancestors worked hard from sun up to sun down and by evening they kicked back on the porch with a jug and a fiddle. They worked very hard and went to bed early. They had stress but it was different than today’s. In today’s world, we go all day, work through lstress2unch, and in the evening we have to rush to cart the kid to one activity or the next. That device in your hand, keeps you connected to your boss and co-workers 24/7.  For example, I left work yesterday at noon for a doctor appointment.  While I was in the appointment, I answered 10 emails and made 7 calls to trouble shoot issues at work. Tonight a coworker called me at 7:30 PM, because something wasn’t working right for him. Just now, my laptop just notified me that another co-worker was logging into our server. I mean come on people! Your OFF, why are you working?  Go spend time with your wife and family already dude! There is no escaping work these days!

Bottom line: We stay connected and therefore we feel as if we don’t get a break from the dreaded four letter word, “WORK“.

Shane’s Theory:

Returning from vacation, a worker feels refreshed and it is about 6 weeks before that same person really starts feeling the urge to throat punch someone. 

Shane’s Observation:

It’s a Fact!

My Observation:

Yep! He is right

Proof:

I conducted an experiment.  I started paying attention to what my body and mental state were telling me.  All is great when you first return from your lovely holiday, you are ready to help anyone with anything and all is wonderful in the world.  Then about 6 to 8 weeks in you utter the words, “Imma kill somebody“.  

Conclusion:

Realistically we can’t take a vacation every six weeks.  We ain’t Kardashian’s (I just threw up a little just typing the name) or any other insanely rich person.  So how can we have a mini vacation without spending a ton?

Here are a few ways we get out of our rut and feel better.

poohsticks

  • Play Pooh Sticks – If you haven’t played Pooh Sticks you aren’t living!  My girls and I used to play “Pooh Sticks” from a small bridge over a creek by their Nana’s house. Great times!
    • Step 1: Find a park with a creek and a bridge.
    • Step 2: Select sticks from the ground.
    • Step 3: Stand on one side of bridge facing upstream
    • Step 4: On count of 3 everyone drops (not throws) their sticks into the water
    • Step 5: Rush to the other side and see who’s stick emerges first and is crowned the “winner”.  This never gets old.
  • Visit One of Georgia’s State Parks – They are awesome!  Seriously!
  • Go on a Mural Hunt – There are tons of murals in the city of Atlanta.  Check out the Belt Line, Cabbagetown, and Krog Street for starters.
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CabbageTown, GA Mural
  • Take a Train Ride – Hop on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway or the SAM Short Line for a wonderful afternoon.  The trains go from point A to B and back again. Stopping at small towns for a bit of shopping in between.
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    Blueberries collected from Gardner’s Farm, McDonough, GA

    Pick fruit – There is something very satisfying about picking your own blueberries, strawberries, peaches, or blackberries.  All these can be done in Georgia, check your local area for farms.

  • Connect with animals – Visit an animal rescue or rehabilitation center like Noah’s Ark, Dauset Trails, North Georgia Zoo, or The Wild Life Sanctuary. The animal’s personalities will raise your spirits and if you leave a donation you will feel very good about it.
  • Enjoy Silence – I have this great hammock swing in my back yard.  On nice days, you can catch me outside relaxing with a good book.

  • Be Alone with Nature – There is a quiet trail near my kids schools that I like to hit by myself.  It is kind of creepy being alone in the quiet woods and I must admit as I approach, I pull my ear buds out so I can be more aware of my surroundings (Michael Myers might be waiting for me in there, I need to be prepared to run screaming). As I walk through the small trail between the two schools, I hear the rustling of leaves, squirrels running from tree to tree and birds chirping. It pulls me in and centers me. Always be aware of your surroundings when exploring alone and have your cellphone on in case of an emergency.Photo Jun 17, 10 37 55 AM

  • Find a Hobby and Do it in a Park – Shane and our daughter Julia are artists. Recently we visited the Goat Farm in Atlanta where Julia sat and sketched the old mill’s buildings. Shane likes to take his painting supplies to the woods where he gains inspiration. Me? I am not creative, so no art for me, but I do jot ideas for my blog while engulfed in nature.

  • Visit an Outdoor Museum – Try the a living history museum such as Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village,  or Westville . You could also check out some outdoor art – by visiting Pasaquan, or the the campus of the University of North Georgia’s outdoor-sculpture exhibit.
  • Find a Weekend Festival.  There is always something going down somewhere. Check my blog for ideas, I try to post once a week what is going down.
  • Walk a Lonely Pup – The city of Augusta’s animal shelter has a dog walking program. Check out a pooch and hit the Augusta Canal trails for a morning or afternoon constitutional.  Contact with your local animal shelter to see if they allow people to take their pup’s on a walk. The dog will enjoy it. You will feel great and the shelter will thank you. A lot of shelters also allow people to come love on the kitty cats if that is more to your liking. These babies need love and while you can’t take
    Church
    Concord Primitive Baptist Church – Jasper County, GA

    them all home, you can give them the affection they so desperately need no strings attached.

  • Take a “Photo” Trip – Recently my oldest daughter, Emily, her friend Morgan, and I went on a afternoon photo trip, taking photos of abandoned churches in Shadydale, Monticello, and Jackson. Find a topic, hit the road for photo ops. Need ideas for your area? Ask me in the comments.  Here are a few: Libraries, street art, birds, old iron gates, architecture, machinery, abandon buildings, exotic animals at a zoo, or flowers in a garden to name a few. Note: I did some research on locations before hitting the road.
  • Find a Covered Bridge – There are 16 covered bridges in the State of Georgia. Make a list and start crossing them off.  Use this map to locate them! NOTE: Callaway Garden bridge is not open to public.
  • Hike to a Waterfall.  – Pick one, pack a lunch, grab some water and go!  Use this link to Google for the closest waterfall to you.
  • Start a blog about what you see and do!  – That’s what I did! I feel better just typing this and sending it out into the interwebs!  Thanks for letting me share, I no longer want to smack someone upside the head.

 

Keep the Lust for Wandering Y’all!

Fran & Shane

9

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!

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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.

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.

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

You see this…

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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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.