North Georgia Thanksgiving

My family frequently gets together for Thanksgiving in North Georgia. We absolutely love the area but especially in Fall. 

This year, as in many past years, instead of spending Thanksgiving Eve waiting in a store, we went for a hike in beautiful Tallulah Gorge. If you haven’t been it’s worth it. Those who know me and many who’ve followed me for awhile know well that I’m not the biggest outdoor girl. Bad luck tends to ensue (insect bites, run in with venomous snakes, etc) but this time was lovely. The Moose and I are proud parents of a seven year old and an 18 month old at this time. We use one of our backpacks from Ireland (Osprey, non-sponsored but just love their products) as our diaper bag and have for about 6 months now. It was perfect for our short hike. When lil bit was Lilo’s age we bought a carrier to be used for hiking and the Moose was thrilled to finally put it to use. The leaves changed later than usual this year so the Gorge was well gorgeous! We spent a few hours and went to Inspiration overlook as well as the North Rim trail (I think). I do recommend Tallulah Falls and the area as a whole. 

Downtown Clayton is full of wonderful little small-business shops and fantastic restaurants. Our favorite food stop this time was The Farmhouse Donuts and Decor (on Facebook as The Farmhouse Clayton). The cow pie and their well all of them really were delicious I just love peanut butter. Their coffee was great with the donuts, very fresh on a particular cool day.

Blue Ridge Toys was an awesome little local toy store with wonderful German and French hard-to-find brands. We got the girls some VERY cool presents for Christmas. The shoppe was wonderfully helpful and even helped us hide the gifts, a worker with elf ears walked with my husband three blocks back to our car carrying a rather heavy wooden kitchen in the cold and then refused to let him tip her. You don’t get costumer service like that many places IN N AMERICA everyday anymore. I hope they do well and we can have the pleasure of buying from them again next year.

Another wonderful, more tourist place we love to go to is Goats on a Roof. It’s a very cute family owned mini-tourist spot with a yummy little cafe and nitro-ice cream. The gift shop inside is fun to look through but toasting marshmallows, drinking hot cocoa and of course feeding the goats is the main attraction. You can also pay a very reasonable fee to get a picture with Santa Claus and a baby goat as well as cocoa and a cup of goat feed. And before you go calling PETA the goats are very well loved and kind of respond to their humans like large house cats. One was roaming around the room visiting with everyone and rubbing up against its Elf trying to get in her lap and have her head scratched.

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Treasure Hunting: Family Adventures

Every year for the past three years at least, our family tries to make our way over at least a few times from Jan-Feb to one of my favorite spots on the GA coast, Jekyll Island. If you are unfamiliar with the island its a small island off the Southern coast of Georgia that was once a vacation spot for big names such as Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Pulitzer, etc who built “cottages” there and had an exclusive hunting club. The island is now a State Park and home to both historic landmarks and beautiful beaches.

During the cooler months when tourism is down, we find it the best time to partake in the many trails/bike paths all over the island as we don’t have to become food sources for the insect population. It’s also this time of year (Jan 1- Feb 28) when the island hosts its annual treasure hunt!

The treasure hunt is based on a hobby from the 1950s when beach-goers would collect hollow glass balls/floats that fishermen would use to mark their nets when they broke free and drifted on shore.

As you may have read in my New Year’s post, the Moose and I have made a joint decision to disconnect this year and spend more time outdoors with the girls. We took the somewhat warmer day (above freezing) as a sign to do just that. We packed up the girls and dressed them and ourselves warmly and went on an adventure.

We went along the trail leading towards the historic district keeping our eyes out for treasures and stopping along the way to read and discuss some of the historic sites with Little Bit.

We did make it all the way to the historic district but the wind had picked up, the clouds started to come in and the girls were cold. We headed back, walking about 3 miles round trip and having a lot of fun!

While we didn’t find any treasure this weekend we hope to come back soon with better luck!

I’d love to hear from you! What adventures do you like to go on with your kiddos or significant other?

The rare cold day

We took Little Bit and Lilo on a hike at a state park on New Years Day. I️ haven’t always been an outdoors woman to say the least. I️ mean bugs, snakes (many poisonous around here) and the sun are not exactly in this pale girl’s friend list. I️ am trying to find it more enjoyable especially when the weather assists me in blocking my three aforementioned enemies as in Georgia “Swinter” or the extreme mixture of weather we have between late October and March. I️ mean, y’all, my idea of a great day is curled up in my pjs or yoga pants reading a good book and drinking some hot tea on a “cold” day.

We had decided if the Seattle-style weather subsided on New Year’s Day and the weather was above freezing we would #optoutside with the girls as my husband is very much an outdoor kind of guy and since Ireland I’ve found a bit more of an adventurous side to my soul.

With much difficulty we mustered enough layers to be somewhat warm in the just above freezing temps (it’s the South y’all, I️ didn’t even get to wear a sweater last “winter”) and threw some things in a daypack.

We were pretty much the only people in the park other than employees. I’ve already learned a lot about dressing warmly after this one trip lol. It was frigid. I didn’t have true mittens for the baby and vowed to crochet some as soon as possible. Especially, as I suspect, we will be doing this more often. We hiked down the pioneer trail until the temp started dropping and we decided to turn around. It was amazing but not entirely unsurprising how well Little Bit took to the hike. She found area where the wild boar in the area had been digging, saw hoof prints from deer and the boar along he way. The Moose was an Eagle Scout so had camped at the park before and took her to view the campsites which she thought was awesome. There are few benches along the trail and we stopped and let Little Bit assist Moose in using the campstove to boil water for one of those rehydrated meals to try. It was actually delicious for camping food and the warm slightly spicy meal was welcome to cut through the cold, almost wet chill.

We decided as we made our way back to the car to do this more often during the year as disconnecting from screen time and the more modern world felt good. The connection we made with the girls and with each other on this brief hike left me wanting more. The-not-so-outdoorsy girl in me finding very little room to complain about anything other than her desire for a warm bath.

So as we begin 2018 we start with true family time and have already done a little treasure hunting on Jekyll Island (see next post).

Stone Mountain Trip

This is something that I should’ve posted a long time ago but I’m trying to get back guys so just bare with me!
Lil Bit and I semi-unexpectedly decided to join Moose on a conference trip to Stone Mountain. I’ve been before with friends that live in the ATL area but not as an adult. I think I was a grumpy/bored teen last time I went which was long enough ago that I’m sure the place has changed drastically. I’m eager for little bit and I to go explore while The Moose is busy networking and learning about park stuff.
I will keep a little photo log and diary for both sentimental purposes and in case anyone is thinking of taking a trip with a preschooler. As of right now, if the weather stays nice, I hope to take little one on a hike and hopefully have a picnic. But lately this has been the case in at least our neck of the woods:

Wish us luck! 

Stone Mountain Adventure part 1

Lil Bit and I mainly spent the first afternoon by the pool at the very lovely Evergreen Marriott Resort while Moose attended his conference. (Let me just clarify, I’m not getting paid anything for this review, nor was I comped anything, this is mainly for my memory and in case of curiosity on your behalf.) The service was phenomenal, something we had heard prior to our visit but always take with a grain of salt. That evening they hosted a mock casino that Lil Bit and O excused ourselves from and went back to the room to rest and talk about our adventure the next day.
The second day began with us waking up to perfect temperatures for GA (high 70s) and partly cloudy skies. There was a chance for rain so I wanted to start our day off outside while it was nice. We went for a hike by the Old Grist Mill.

  

Next we decided to explore the Granite Quarry. Lil Bit loved both areas and I tried to let her explore a little more freely than normal because it was not crowded at all and relatively safe. 

  
She kept telling me she wanted to lay down and stare at the clouds 🙂

  

Finally we headed over to the main attraction area, the Crossroads. We paid for the adventure pass and the duck boat ride and the total for the 2 of us was $78. Had we been planning to go back I would have spent the little bit extra to buy the upgraded year pass. I’m also now aware that it’s a little cheaper to buy it all online. 
The Crossroads area was really aesthetically pleasing to wander through and explore. While we waited on time for our duckboat tour, we watched Rio 4D which was cute and Lil Bit actually really enjoyed. 
The duck boat tour was cute, a little cheesy but perfect for kiddos who are preschool and elementary school age. I highly recommend our tour guide/driver Captain Hollywood who made the experience even more fun. He played with the kids and even let them drive the Duck. The souvenir quackers were also a fun surprise and our Captain led us all in song a few times. It allowed for a great view of the lake and he shared a few facts about the park including many Hollywood movies that had been filmed in the 3200 state park. The boat ride also gave us a great view of the relief carved into the granite; supposedly the largest in the world. 

  
 The duckboat was worthwhile for us, although I’m not sure older children would be as excited as the little ones.

  
The next bit of fun was the Candy Shoppe, Glass Blowing Shoppe and lunch at the Marketplace. Both of the shoppes have demonstrations which Lil Bit enjoyed watching with many “look at that momma”s. The food was pretty good but I do wish we would have just gotten the meal deal because it would have been cheaper. We meandered through the village and because it was getting uncomfortably warm, my sweet girl and I walked over to The Great Barn for some air -conditioned fun. The barn is full of fun slides and “harvesting” activities involving foam-ball “fruit” everything from “storing it” in vacuum powers granaries to putting it in the harvester the fun way like shooting it with an air-powered gun (like Nerf). There are even fun places to climb, slide, and bounce. We spent probably a good hour here before Lil Bit started having a meltdown and I knew it was time to go back to the room. Some activities we want to do but didn’t quite make it to (this trip was a child-led adventure) included the train ride, sky lift and plantation house/farmyard. I totally feel that we had our money’s worth of fun but would really love to come back in the fall when the pumpkin festival is going on and the weather is more cooperative. 
That night we went to the laser show and fireworks. We very much enjoyed it as it was included in my hubby’s conference and we had VIP seating, popcorn during the show and shelter for when it decided to rain briefly. The show is a little cheesy but the kids love it and the lawn area was packed. We bought dippin’ dots ice cream before hand and danced to some music they had playing for the guests waiting on the lawn. 
We had a great time but must return to reality!