Category Archives: Georgia

Burts Pumpkin Patch 2012

On our way home we decided to make a detour to Ellijay, Ga.  We were so close to the best pumpkin patch ever, that driving for a little bit longer really didn’t bother us too much.  Burt’s Pumpkin Patch is wonderful for families and the prices are so good.  We went on a two-mile hay ride, picked out several pumpkins to take home, and drank apple cider.  The boys had a great time.


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GA Day 3 – Toccoa River Tubing, Mining, and Hiking

We started our day by stopping at Mercer Orchards.  They are one of the largest orchards in the area and known for their “u-picking” and different jams, jellies, and butters.  Currently, they were picking strawberries and the blueberries were expected to be ready by the end of the week…so we decided to pass and instead browsed through their gift shop.  We bought some old-fashioned peach butter and some peach butter with honey.  On the way back to the truck, Andy noticed that we had a flat tire.  Uh oh!  So, he ended up calling AAA and waiting while the boys and I went on a tractor ride through the orchards.  We saw apple trees, peach trees, cherry trees, pecan trees, strawberry plants, blueberry bushes and more.  By the time we got back the tire was changed and we were on our way!


From here we drove over to McCaysville to go tubing.  We found a company that didn’t have a minimum age requirement, perfect for Matty.  It seems that most of them require that the children be 5, but Matty is awesome and can do anything!  The Toccoa River Adventures offered floats for $6 per person, cheap outdoor fun!  We decided on the short float which was about and hour and forty five minutes.  The boys had a great time.  The water was cold, but not to cold…. Andy and Matty even braved it in to do a little swimming.

For lunch we headed back to Blue Ridge and ate at Blue Ridge Mountain BBQ.  It is another walk up BBQ place that has a lot to offer and delicious food.  After lunch we promised Davy that we would take him mining for gems.  That was his one request on this trip, so of course we had to find a place.  Right off of the main street there was a place called Huck’s Lost Mine.  The large buckets were $25 and it came with a round of mini golf for two.  The bucket was packed full of treasures and the boys had a great time playing in the mud.  We wandered over to the ice cream shop and then took off south for a quick hike at Fall Branch Falls to end the day.

The hike was only about a quarter-mile and it let you walk right up to the waterfall.  At the bottom of the hike, across a small field, there’s access to the creek for the kids to play in.



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GA – Around The Cabin

We loved this little cabin that we found on  It is advertised as a two bedroom, but it also has a loft that has two additional twin beds, so all together it has three bedrooms, 5 beds, plus two sleeper couches.  It was the perfect size for us, and a perfect price $109 a night.  What made the experience even so much better, were all of the extras that the house had.  There were tons of stuffed animals, books, movies, games, a large screened in porch, a hot tub overlooking the mountains, a hammock, a fire pit, a swing, and a zip line.

The swing was fun for the them, but a little scary for us.  When you push them off, you are standing on the side of the mountain and it proceeds to slope down so the kids are so much higher than if the ground was flat.

The zip line was far and fast.  Andy had to stand at one end and I stood at the other to catch them.  If they were older they would be able to stop themselves on the tree at the end, but our poor little guys would have crashed into it.  I tried to get their pictures when they were about half way, but they were flying towards me and I was afraid of them crashing.  They loved it!

Sunday night and Monday night, we ended in the hot tub.  The temperature dropped down a little and the kids just had a great time.  Next time we head back to Blue Ridge, this will definitely be where we stay!

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GA Day 2 – Chattanooga

Rise and shine!  Today we are off to Chattanooga.  We make a pit stop for some donuts and coffee and we are on our way.  We decided to take the route to the north driving us through Cherokee National Forest.  The road wraps alongside the Ocoee River and we made a quick stop to let the boys see the whitewater rafters.  Of course little Matty points and says, “I wanna do that!”  🙂

Our fun outing today was to Rock City.   Check it out at .  Special features are:

  • A self-guided walking tour along The Enchanted Trail that gently meanders through the 14-acre property.
  • Massive rock formations estimated to be 200 million years old
  • Gardens featuring more than 400 different species of native wildflowers, plants, shrubs and trees
  • Panoramic views of seven states from 1,700 feet above sea level
  • View of the Chattanooga Valley and Missionary Ridge-Civil War battlefields
  • Some points of interest along The Enchanted Trail include the 100-foot waterfall, 1,000-ton balanced rock, Swing-A-Long Bridge (ideal for pictures), Gnome Valley, Legendary view of seven states from Lover’s Leap, Fairyland Caverns and Mother Goose Village

Davy loved the gnomes and the trail.  At the top they had a few additional activities like the rock wall, live music, food, etc.

At the bottom we stopped at the gift shop and I had to buy the famous bird house :), only ours is an ornament!  For lunch we decided to head on over to downtown Chattanooga to try one of their famous local restaurants.  We ended up at the Terminal Brewhouse.  I pulled this information off of their website

“The Terminal Station (Choo Choo) opened in December of 1909 and created an immediate need for a nearby hotel to give comfort to the weary travelers. The very next year The Stong building (no that is not a typo) was built next door and The Terminal Hotel came to life soon after.

A pictorial book, Pen and Sunlight Sketches of Chattanooga, reported that in its location and equipment, it is eminently representative of progress in the hotel facilities of this thriving city.” The hotel featured steam-heated rooms (fancy), with meals served all hours in a café.

Legend holds that through the years the Stong building was home to speakeasies during prohibition, illegal casinos and even a house of ill repute. There may even have been some activities that took place in the fine building that one would not approve of although none come to mind.

Sometime in the early 1940’s Chester Davis, a porter at the Terminal Station, saved his tips and purchased the Stong building becoming one of the first black business owners in Chattanooga. The building stayed in his family, housing many different businesses, until purchased in 2006 by local raconteur Joe Sliger who immediately began restoring the property. Not long after he found a motley (but dashing) crew interested in this Historic building. This band of visionaries had, coincidentally, a vision for the wonderful old building. The walls and rafters seemed to cry out to these rugged, brilliant men. “Beer” said the walls “amazing food” said the rafters and so, despite being terrified of the talking building, an idea was born. After MUCH struggling and MANY delays The Terminal BrewHouse came alive and there was much rejoicing verily and thusly.”

They even let you take home some of their fresh brews in growlers, a half-gallon jar or jug used to transport…beer!  Andy was in heaven!  After lunch we went to the Chickamauga Battlefield.  Davy has shown a lot of interest in soldiers and history lately, so this was perfect for him.  We watched a 20 minute movie on the Civil War battles that took place here and we got to listen to a live talk on the soldiers uniforms that they wore and how to load and fire an 1840 Baltimore rifle.  It was so loud!  I can’t even imagine what it would have sounded like to have thousands of them going off at once.

One interesting fact that we learned was that the soldiers wore wool instead of cotton.  The cotton at that time caught on fire pretty easily, so with the guns blowing off gun powder and the ash that flew through the air it was best if they wore wool (even though it was hot out) so that their clothes didn’t catch on fire.  Davy liked how the soldiers didn’t really use the bayonets, except to stab into the ground and hold a candle at night.

After a long day, we decided to pick up a few frozen pizzas and head back to the house for a little fun.

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GA Day 1 – Vogel State Park and Crane Creek Vineyards

Every year, on the last Friday in May, Davy gets out of school at 11am.  His summer officially begins at 11:01 and keeping with a new tradition that we started last year, we loaded up in the car and headed north.  Last fall, when we were driving around north Georgia, we came across a little town called Blue Ridge.  We decided that this would be our destination in the spring.  We found a cute little cabin about 5 miles outside of town on (#14512), and it was perfect.  The drive up was only around eight and a half hours, it was super easy and we weren’t to tired.

Our first day of exploring!  We started with breakfast down in Blue Ridge at a cute little place called Serenity Garden Cafe.  Our thoughts were to kill a little time because Blue Ridge was having their spring arts festival and it opened at 10am.  What we didn’t anticipate was that they would charge you $5 per person to stroll through it.  Needless to say, we passed and decided to get on the road.  Crane Creek Vineyards was also having a spring festival, so Andy decided to drive us in that general direction and here’s what we found!

The next town over is called Blairsville.  They too were having a fair.  A beautiful church sits in the middle of a round-a-bout and venders were set up on both sides of the road all around the circle.  This one was free, so we parked the car and went for a stroll.  If you know us, then you know that we love BBQ sauces and honey.  We picked up some Sourwood Honey from Berry’s Honey Farm and Southern Delight Barbecue Sauce from Kickin Mule…yum yum!

A while back ago Andy read an article about a place called Mountain Crossing.  It is the first outpost and general store along the Appalachian Trail.  It is here that hikers unload their packs, mail stuff home, and pick up anything that they think they might need.  Off to our next destination.

Along the way we came across Vogel State Park.  After spotting the waterfall from the road, we pulled in for a quick hike to bottom of it.

The store was fantastic.  It was complete with home decorations for sale, all kinds of hiking gear, and the walls were lined with signed packs and boots from past travelers of the trail.

Next stop Crane Creek Vineyard!  I found this vineyard on-line searching for festivals and fun things to do.  Apparently, there are 41 vineyards in north Georgia.  It was advertised as a fun family event, so Andy and I thought that this would be a nice place to celebrate our 9 year wedding anniversary. 

They had us park behind the vineyard, and then transported us to the entrance on a hay ride.  The boys just loved this, while we loved the view.

Once inside, the festival included a wine tasting, live music, lunch, painting for the kids and fishing.  It was beautiful and very relaxing, just a little hot.  If the temperature had been ten degrees cooler, it just would have been perfect!  We bought a bottle of wine, and let the kids play.  This was a nice stop.  Happy Anniversary my love!

For dinner we drove back into Blue Ridge and went to Joe’s BBQ.  It is a walk-up BBQ place with some very very tasty ribs.  After dinner we drove over to Lake Blue Ridge to check out the views. 

This house looks like a dream mountain house to me!  🙂

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Burt’s Pumpkin Patch

Nothing says fall more to me than watching the leaves change color, hayrides and pumpkin patches….so imagine our delight when we stumbled across Burt’s Pumpkin Patch on our way to Amicalola Falls.

At Burt’s farm they have pumpkins that range from an eye-popping 150 lbs. to a modest 1  lb. They grow thousands of pumpkins (in fact they told us that they sell over 10,000 a year), so the selection is vast and the quantity is never-ending. One of the most fascinating features of Burt’s farm is the impressive selection of every type of pumpkin, winter squash, gourds and fall decoration.  Indian corn, cornstalks and hay bales are also in never-ending supply at the farm. They also offer a hayride that is pulled by a John Deere tractor, it takes you through a winding trail filled with crops, nature and beauty.

This was by far the most beautiful pumpkin patch we have been too.  I was just as excited as the boys.  So many to choose from!!!

The first thing that we decided to do was go on a hayride.  It passed by several different crops, went through a covered bridge, and slowed in front of a spooky grave yard.  Davy loved the grave yard!

After the hayride we let the boys run free.  Which ones will they choose?  And the prices were so cheap!!!

We finally convinced Andy that we weren’t leaving without a really big one and a few small ones, so he caved and went for the wheelbarrow.  Love Love Love the Pumpkin Patch!

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BJ Reece Apple Orchard

After we left the festival we decided to take the boys to pick some apples.  They love to pick blueberries, so we thought that this would be fun too.  Davy just finished an apple lesson in school, Johnny Appleseed, so perfect timing.  There were quite a few different orchards that we could choose from, BJ’s seemed to have the largest crowd.  We figured if everyone else wanted to go there, then we should too.

Now, I have heard of a lot of things, but what I have never heard of is fried pies.  Andy is our pie eater in the family and his eyes were huge.  When we got up to the counter, they had every kind of pie imaginable.  Apple, cherry, chocolate, cream cheese, peach, pecan, etc.  Yum!  Of course we had to sample a few of them.

And they are off into the orchard to find us some trees that are full of apples…

What!!!  How dare you throw apples at mama!!!  Silly boys…

The apples all over the ground is what surprised me the most.  What a waste.  Matty liked to pick them up and bite into them, then he would throw it down and pick up another…  No stopping the bear….

What did we do with all of our apples you ask???  We brought them home, back to Florida, and made apple jelly.  Yum!



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Georgia State Apple Festival

Ellijay, Ga is known for it apples and we were very excited to discover that this was the weekend for the Georgia State Apple Festival.  The boys love the Strawberry Festival, so we just knew that they would love this too.  The festival had a tons of rides and outdoor activities…and they wouldn’t have to be riding around in the car.

Matty was so brave to go down this big slide.

I love the big corn fields in the background.  Reminds me of a trip Andy and I once took to Turkey Creek when we lived in Chicago.

Ok, the boys (and I do mean all three of them) had great fun with this apple cannon.  If we could have brought it home, they would have….

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Anna Ruby Falls

After we left Helen we decided to take the boys on a hike, and the one closest is Anna Ruby Falls which is located just north of the town and in Chattahoochee National Forest.  The waterfalls are named for the daughter of John H. Nichols, a wealthy White County resident who owned much of the land in the vicinity.  Besides the falls, Nichols had purchased significant amounts of land around the Chattahoochee River, Duke’s Creek and Sautee River.   Although the stories of the discovery of Annaruby Falls vary, one frequently circulated myth is that Nichols found them while riding shortly after the death of his wife and child.  The falls were known as early as 1819 and are noted on survey maps of the era, long before Nichols owned the land.  The trail was easy and the boys just loved running up and down the paved path.  :O)

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Currahee Mountain and Helen, Ga

Bright and early we headed out this morning, excited for a full day of exploring.  Of course we had to stop at Starbucks first for some coffee, and it was there that they directed us to Big Bear Cafe for breakfast, a local mom and pop place.  This restaurant is located next to the train station and you know that you are in a small town when you walk in and half of the people in there say “Good Morning”.  Breakfast was cheap and delicious and I think that Andy had some of the best cheesy hash browns I have ever had…yum!

After our bellies were full, we drove over to Toccoa, Ga to see the famous Currahee Mountain.  Andy has been talking about this mountain since we saw the first episode of Band of Brothers when the soldiers were in training.  Here’s a little history tidbit… In 1942 the 506th Parachute Infantry received their training at the foot of Currahee and began each day by running 3 miles up the mountain and 3 miles back down. The regimental patch that they wore had the word Currahee and an outline of the mountain on it. There battle cry was “Currahee”. Boys who became Men and Brothers in war, as a result of their training in this unit, were from all walks of life and all parts of the United States.  Every year they have a race to the top of the mountain and back and every year Andy asks me if I want to run it.

We stopped at the Military Museum first.  Just Andy and Davy went through the museum, Matty and I played outside; he needed to do a little running.  We wandered into the gift shop and then set off to drive to the top of the mountain.  It was a slow dirt road, but the views were beautiful.

After we left the mountain, we headed west towards Helen.  I have been hearing about this town for years but have never had the opportunity to visit it…so this trip is the perfect opportunity.

Helen is a unique town in that it is a re-creation of an alpine village.  It is complete with cobblestone alleys, old-world towers, buildings that have gingerbread trim, and scenes painted throughout of Bavaria and North Georgia.  One of the things that it is most known for is that it has the longest running Oktoberfest in the country; running from September 22 to October 30.  “Oktoberfest you say???” and Andy was in.

There is really only one road in and out of Helen and the traffic was not fun at all.  We stopped to get some cash, and decided that the bank drive through teller was just as good as anywhere to park, so we did.  We did one quick walk through of the town and then decided to put our name on the wait list at the troll tavern and restaurant.  While we waited the boys played in the river and we settled in with an ice-cold draft beer.  For lunch, there really wasn’t any other option…we had to go with the combo wurst platter…delicious!  After lunch we wandered around a little more and then decided to head out.  It was unique and fun…but crowded.


Filed under Fall, Georgia, Vacations