Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Quick Visit To Ponte Verda

Last week I traveled down the coast a few hours to Ponte Verda, FL to meet up with a friend from back home in Atlanta. Due to living four hours apart and busy lives, we don't often get to see each other. So when the chance came to hang out for the day we took the opportunity!

Seems far, but is half the distance to Atlanta

Lauren was vacationing at the picturesque, beachside resort and invited me down for the day. I had never been to that part of Florida before. It's amazing how different the beaches are when traveling just a little ways down the coast!  The water was aqua and the sand white and shelly.  


The beach wasn't crowded at all. SUCH a contrast from Tybee (where we usually go on the weekends here in Savannah). I loved watching all the teenaged surfers in the waves. Reminded me both of the movie Gidget (which I used to rent from Blockbuster when I was home from school with a cold) and one of my favorite book characters, Todd, from the Christy Miller Series. I feel like they had to have been between 14-15, old enough to be out by themselves but too young to have a summer job.

We ate lunch overlooking the beach at the Lodge & Club. I enjoyed a mango daiquiri (replacing a strawberry mojito which I didn't like and they didn't charge us for) and a yummy Mahi sandwich.

See all the surfers out on the water in the background?

After we filled our bellies we headed back out to the beach to enjoy the sand and sun! I could only stay for a few hours before I had to head back home to Savannah, but I'm really glad I got the chance to see Lauren and hang out for the day! Thanks for the invite and the fun day, Lauren! 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Mountain Weekend in North Georgia

Miguel and I spent Memorial Day weekend with his family in the North Eastern Georgia Mountains.
We were so excited to spend the long weekend with the Amadors and Brian and Lauretta Kloer! We really miss living right around the corner from our families and really enjoy soaking up any time we can with them at any opportunity we get!

Miguel and I headed up on Friday morning. It took us about 6+ hours to drive to Clayton, GA. It was a beautiful drive on back roads throughout Georgia and South Carolina before eventually returning to Georgia. We hardly had cell service and got stuck behind a tractor once or twice. The drive was a nice change from I-16!

The "cabin" we stayed at (really a stretch to call it a cabin, it was more of a house) was on the tip top of a mountain. The roads leading up to the house really unnerved me with how steep they were!! We were literally at the top! We were also the only property on the road and the privacy and seclusion really added to the atmosphere. The views from this house were A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! They truly were breath-taking and over 180°!

The beautiful house we stayed at

a PORTION of the views from the deck

DAY 1, Friday

Miguel and I arrived around lunch time, so after refueling, we all headed out for a hike along the Chattooga River. Okay, so I was like the only one who hadn't ever really done any proper hiking. I was really nervous we were going to run into a bear. Haha, poor everyone else! I probably annoyed everyone with my inexperience and fright. For example, besides my bear fright, I packed the wrong kind of shoes. I thought Merrells were outdoorsy shoes and would be great for hiking. Oh well, next time I'll pack proper sneakers. 

Turns out the trail was a lot shorted than we expected. Less than a five minute walk. However, the trail ended at a really pretty view. We spent some time enjoying the view and snapping some photos. 

iPhone photo fail

Teresa, my mother-in-law

Handsome Mountain Man

After the river we decided to try another trail just around the corner. Ummm, this was night and day different from the previous trail. Miguel had to take a stick and break away branches to clear the path. We had to duck and step over fallen trees and dodge poison ivy (I learned to wear long pants next time). Needless to say we didn't hike on this trail for very long as it was very challenging.

On the drive back to the house we passed a Boy Scout camp that Miguel, his brothers, and the Kloers went to when they were younger.  I had a blast being shown around their old stomping grounds and learning about Boy Scout stuff. 

Camp Rainey Mountain... looks like a movie set for a summer camp, so ideal

During the down time around the house Miguel, Teresa, and Brian played guitar. So much fun to have  your own personal live music entertainment! I'm especially amazed since I don't possess an ounce of musical talent.

DAY 2, Saturday

Saturday we decided to head out to Tallulah Falls. Though I was a bit more prepared this time around (long pants and socks), I was a bit anxious about the excursion when we were greeted with these signs below...!

Before we started the treacherous climb down we took in the gorgeous view!

ahh so steep! 

Kinda interesting to compare how the falls look today from what they looked like back in this old photo taken in 1894!


So the path started out like this:

wide, slow slope down...

but quickly turned into this...

Loads and loads of steep stairs! Hundreds of them. Literally. 

I honestly thought that going down was much harder than going back up. The stairs were made of metal grids that after a while all started to blend together making it difficult to be sure of your footing. 

Resting at a break in the stairs on the hike up

But the scariest part - for me - was the suspended bridge over the gorge! Heights are not my friend, especially when walking over a high fall on a bridge that is rocking back and forth! 

"hurry up and take the photo! I want off"

View from the bridge (I didn't take this photo, Pedro did!)

Ahh, look at the bridge from the opposite side of the gorge!

We were all pretty exhausted after our hike and spent the rest of the afternoon showering and resting up for dinner. One of my favorite parts of visiting with my in-laws is the family dinners we have! Leading up to dinner we played some poker and smoked cigars out on the deck. I loved sitting outside with family watching the sun set behind the beautiful mountain view. 

Waking up to the beautiful scenery wasn't too bad either!! Drinking a cup of coffee out on the deck was one of the best ways to start the day!

View on the last morning after it had stormed the night before

DAY 3, Sunday

I had posted a photo of Miguel and me at the falls the previous day and one of my childhood family friends and 6th grade teacher commented on it that we were near her favorite farmers market, Osage Farms. So, while the boys played golf, Teresa, Lauretta, and I decided to check it out!

The market was really busy - a good sign - and had beautiful, fresh fruits and veggies. We ended up buying some green tomatoes and some green onions for dinner that night.

After the farmers market the three of us headed up to Highlands, NC. I was really excited to go because I used to visit Highlands with my dear childhood friend Erin whose family owns a cabin there. Though I've been invited up there multiple times recently, it hasn't worked out with schedules. The last time I remember being there was when Princess Diana passed away. I think that was in 1997, so it's been a while! 

First thing we did in Highlands was visit a visual arts center, The Bascom. This was such a neat little find! 

One part of the center was an open pottery studio. There were artists working away and loads of pottery strewn about in various stages of completion. 

One of the potters explaining things to us


The second building we visited housed multiple pottery and art exhibitions. 

Gotta pose with the puppy statue

Some of my favorite pieces are below. We weren't really allowed to take photographs, so we secretly sent Lauretta in to distract the docent so I could snap a few! 

Elephant made from bullets

These guys were carved from the pages of books

Neat little building on the Bascom property. Not sure what its purpose is or was...

Next the three of us headed to lunch at the Old Edwards Inn. I loved the ambiance of the Madison restaurant! Any restaurant with plush pillows on the seats in already a win in my book ;)


Our view over looking the wine garden. Would have loved to eat out there but it was starting to rain.

Our food was really, really delicious! Unfortunately the service was really poor.  However, it was interesting that all the wait staff we interacted with were in the states on an exchange program. Our two main waiters were from Great Britain and Croatia.

I ate a chicken salad sandwich (yumm!) and some potato bacon soup

But the very best part of the meal was the desert! Oh emmmm gee! So yummy! I had a chocolate croissant bread pudding with mint ice cream. I want more of it. now. yummmmm!

Teresa's chocolate cake

After lunch we walked around Highlands and did a little window shopping. I really like Highlands. I want to go back and spend more time there! 

On the way back to the house it started to rain. The mountains came alive after the rain! So pretty!

Later that evening we sat outside on the deck and watched the fog roll in and the sun set. 

I loved how the clouds swiftly took over the mountain landscape. Crazy how quickly a view can change!

DAY 4, Monday (last day, pout)

Monday morning the boys rose early to go play one last round of golf. Lauretta and I got up with them and decided to go on a quick walk to a near by waterfall.

Creepily sneaking photos of Miguel on the putting green. 

I'm so glad Lauretta and I took a walk behind the golf course. My kind of "nature walk"... wide path, short walk, pretty views!

At the end of the trail is this pretty waterfall. Lauretta and I enjoyed kicking off our shoes in getting in the water.

Once we got back to the house, we collected Teresa and headed off to lunch at the Dillard House. The Dillard House serves good, old southern comfort food in family style dinning. 


Teresa and Lauretta with our spoils 

Love that they served sweet tea in mason jars! 

Before we headed back to the cabin we spontaneously followed some homemade signs to a vineyard. What a happy little surprise! We ended up at 12 Spies Vineyard (named after the 12 spies that Moses sent into Canaan).  We had a great time chatting with the owner, tasting wine, loving on their dog, Samson, and learning about the wines.


Chickens roaming around the vineyard =)

This is Samson. I love him. He greeted us when we got out of the car and then went into the tasting room with us. He also showed us the wine barrels. 

We all left with a couple bottles. I purchased two bottles of the Temptation Traminette and one bottle of merlot. Looking forward to enjoying them and remembering our fun weekend in the mountains!

Sadly, a storm rolled in cutting the guys' golf game short and effectively ending our time in the mountains. Miguel and I packed up and headed back to Savannah in the rain.  But look at the pretty rainbow that we saw on our way home! Another happy surprise! 

We had a blast and are so grateful to the Amadors for treating us to such a wonderful weekend! We really miss spending time with family and it was such a pleasure to get to experience the mountains together! 

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