Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fall Getaway

Last Wednesday afternoon, we headed North in hopes of finding cooler weather, beautiful fall foliage, and a great time. DSC_7667 - Copy
After four days in Ellijay, I’m happy to say it was a successful trip.DSC_7672 - Copy
Our girls were so excited that Grammy & Pop were going up with us and that Pappy, Nie-Nie & Kels would be coming up later in the trip. (Me, too!) :)  We made great time (considering we have two kids under 5) and after a little cabin confusion, we crawled into bed around midnight. Mamie (who rarely sleeps in the car- was still awake when we made it and literally squealed and giggled when she saw us putting up her pack-n-play). :)
After a good night’s sleep, we were ready for the day’s adventure. DSC_7689 - Copy
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Mamie’s latest “Cheeeeese” face
I had looked online at a few things to do in the area we were staying (Ellijay/Blueridge)… we’ve had several other trips there, but we still managed to find a few things we’d not done before.
The first, was gem mining. (This was a first for our girls and it had been YEARS since any of the rest of us had been either). The place I found online was really cute.DSC_7738 - Copy They had a great setup and AB loved it.
We got a two-gallon bucket and so did Mom & Dad- DSC_7740 - Copyso we had plenty to keep us busy. DSC_7743 - CopyIt took us at least half an hour to pan it all.
DSC_7748 - CopyMamie loved it too, but mostly just playing in the water… I walked around some with her, when she’d had enough.DSC_7760 - CopyIt was FREEZING---next time we mine for gems, it will be in the summer…but we still had a great time and we found lots of gems. DSC_7800 - Copy
DSC_7777 - CopyAfter a quick lunch, we headed back to the cabin for some rest. Mamie napped while the rest of us sat down by the water. The sound of the creek on the rocks is as relaxing as the waves at the beach. It was such a great first day.
That evening, we headed out for more groceries, and to eat dinner at Col. Poole’s BBQ. This was another place I’d found online and it had even been featured in Southern Living…in 1998. :)  DW says he believes that Col. Poole hit his prime in the 90’s. I was a little worried myself, when we walked in and someone pushed one of the waitresses out from the back, and said “Yall, get out there! We have CUSTOMERS!” (as if having customers didn’t happen often).4 It was a funny experience, the food was okay and most all, we checked it off our list! :)  Col. Poole is big time into politics, was a preacher and can even play the piano. He started his BBQ joint as a walk-up stand and even after he built the “Taj-mah-hawg” (which is the current location), you still walk up to a window to place your order and pay. The walls were covered with pictures of him with political figures and even a Miss America or two. In his hay-day, Col. Poole drove the “Pig Moby-ile” to Washington, DC, to drive in a presidential parade.1 What I loved most was all the “themed-ness” – everything was corny and catchy (i.e. “The Taj-mah-hawg” – I mean come on, that’s pretty clever).
After our dinner experience, we hit the grocery store. Mamie is on a big walking instead of being carried these days and she was thrilled to have two hands to hold…3
Later that night, Pappy, Nie-Nie, & Kels arrived! The girls were so excited to have them and Grammy & Pop all under the same roof!
We had another big day planned for Friday.
Friday morning, we headed for Burt’s Pumpkin Patch. DSC_7826 - CopyWe’ve been several other times and it’s always sweet to go back. DSC_7833 - CopyWe milled around the pumpkin yard and market and took a few pictures. DSC_7842 - Copy
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DSC_7853 - CopyAB picked out a great pumpkin for carving, too. DSC_7850 - Copy
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After Burt’s, we headed up to Amicolola Falls.
DSC_7939 - Copy We walked up to (almost) the top and we had the Jell-O feeling legs to prove it. DSC_7901
Our Fearless Leaders… My Dad was picking a leaf for Mamie but it looks like he’s doing the superman pose. :)
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This picture was taken early in the hike…
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and once we reached the top, we tried to take another one, but Mamie wasn’t very cooperative…DSC_7926 - Copy
Ha. I’m threatening to still use this as our Christmas card picture this year. I feel like it’s the perfect description of our life right now…Oh, Terrible-Two’s we won’t be sad to see you go!!!! :)
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I’m trying to get better about taking pictures of just me and DW, too. I’m trying to think ahead for when our kids are planning our 50th wedding anniversary and need pictures through the years of us. Ha. ;)
These two aren’t big on pictures- so I don’t know what I’ll do when its time for their 50th. Ha. :) They love me though, so they let me take a couple.
After Amicoloa Falls, we headed to Dahlonega. 5The Smith House was the perfect lunching spot after all that walking. :) The meal was fantastic and we only had to wait about 10 minutes in line. And, because of some ticket confusion, when we got to our table, our food was waiting on us. The fried okra was spot on that day, too.
After lunch, we walked down to the square and bought some chocolates at the fudge shop, because no mountain trip is complete without some chocolate. 6
  Our next stop was Hillcrest Orchards on the way back to Ellijay. DSC_8110 - Copy
The girls, me, and DW rode the wagon ride through the orchard and down to the petting zoo.8
We ran into these guys on the way… (AB is slightly obsessed with the Wizard of Oz right now, so she loved that they had this…)
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She also enjoyed the big slides before we made it down to the petting zoo area.
DSC_7954 - Copy They had every farm animal you could think of. (I’m not big on caged/penned animals (and their smell), but the girls were loving this, so I took one for the team). DSC_7962 - Copy
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The highlight for Mamie was the kittens. DSC_7965 - Copy
We tried to let her hold one, but she’s not mastered the “gentle” concept yet, so it was (a little) better for her to just pet them while AB held them. (Poor kitten) :)
DSC_7966 - CopyOur girl loves a “ki-y-cat…” If we weren’t all so allergic, we might consider getting her one…she loves them that much.
The highlight for the rest of us, was the goat in the tower.DSC_7974 - Copy He was on this tall tower which had a pulley rope attached to it. On the end of the pulley, was a cup where you could put food. DSC_8029 - CopyWhen someone would put food in it, the goat would pull it up, eat the food and then send it back down. DSC_8027 - CopyIt was the cutest thing. I’m trying to convince the family we need a goat and a tower.
The girls picked a couple apples from the trees in the orchard. DSC_8071 - Copy
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DSC_8073 - CopyThe season was coming to and end, and the trees were almost bare. Before we left, AB picked out a few more apples from inside to bring back to her teachers. DSC_8120 - Copy
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When we made it back to the cabin (after we’d had an altercation with a crazy bus driver lady and I may or may not have tried to call the school district where she worked to report her road rage driving), we sat down by the fire pit and carved our pumpkin. 13
We grilled hotdogs and made chili for supper that night, and then went back down to the firepit to have S’mores and light our Jack-o-lantern. 10We sang (anytime my momma’s involved, you can bet there will be singing), listened to AB do her Wizard of Oz Wicked Witch impersonations and laughed so loud we probably scared the neighbors. We decided we better move the party inside, and after getting our jammies on, we played a fierce game of Farkle. It was the best night hands down.

Saturday morning came early (just ask Kelsey who was sleeping on the couch) and had to get woken up every morning around 7:45 by my little crew who wanted sippy cups and breakfast! :)

That day, I’d planned for us to go to Chattanooga, TN. I don’t know how I got it messed up, but I didn’t realize it was almost two hours to get there until we were on our way. I hate that we spent so much time driving that day, but we did get to see a lot and I think everyone had a good time. Our first stop was the Tennessee Valley Railroad.
DSC_8171 - CopyWe took the Missionary Gap train ride which was what their website recommended to be good for small children. DSC_8170 - Copy

DSC_8126 - CopyThe train took us from the main station to their shop in a neighboring community.
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We got off the train there, to see the locomotive be turned around on a turn-table. DSC_8153 - CopyWe also got a tour of their repair/maintenance shop (which is one of only three like it in the U.S.) and then made the trip back to Grand Junction. DSC_8160 - Copy
DSC_8164 - CopyThe whole deal lasted right at an hour, and while I wished the actual ride had lasted longer, I don’t think the girls would have made it, so it ended up working out great. DSC_8173 - Copy
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After the train ride, we were hunting some lunch. We decided on Firehouse Subs. We’d never been to one before, but would definitely go back.
The next stop was Lookout Mountain. We did Rock City first…DSC_8194
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We’d also bought tickets to see Ruby Falls, which was down the mountain from Rock City. We didn’t know what to expect and were REALLY surprised when we got there, saw a line and had a park ranger tell us to make sure you used the restroom before our group left because it took over an hour to get to the falls. Mamie had pretty much had enough and I was sweating it knowing we had an hour left. She did good though, considering, and after the falls, on the way out she even fell asleep with me carrying her (which NEVER happens). The walk in to the falls is the fault line of an old mine. DSC_8245There are quite a few narrow and low spots. DSC_8255
The rock formations are really neat though, and the falls themselves were gorgeous. DSC_8267It’s something we can cross off our list, for sure. I loved it when our guide said, “look around, take this in, and take a picture, because you need to ask yourself, honestly when will you be back here or at least back here with the group you’re with? Probably never.” It was a great moment and him pointing that out, made it even better that we did it. 12
We didn’t get back to the cabin until close to 7:00, but we had great steaks for dinner and then Me, Mom, Kellee & Kelsey played a late game of cards to end our last night.
We all headed home on Sunday with our fill of cold weather and fun. I’m so glad we all got to go and I wouldn’t take anything for the memories we made. It really was such a great time. :)