I must say, those eleven days on the road were some of the best days of my life. And all the planning before we left made most of it possible. But when diversions and options were presented, we took them. We learned to bend our schedule, even our expectations and be open to the unexpected.
As all of us plan our travel for the fall, winter and spring months in the glorious Blue Ridge Mountains, we have many destinations calling our names. We remember this, too: make the journey getting there and back as awe-inspiring as the destination itself. Take time to get to know the innkeepers at the out-of-the way B & B: you might just discover that this is where Cheryl Tiegs filmed one of her famous ads. Engage in conversation with someone sitting beside you at the Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough; you might share a laugh (and a childhood memory) together. Find out where the locals eat and take a seat; you'll never go wrong experiencing homegrown; pull over at Perdeaux's Fruit Farm and ask about his unique invention for fruit; go see just what kind of people and places lay between Point A and Point B.
And if you happen to be in North Georgia in October, Dawsonville specifically, we'd love to meet you. We've got a booth at the Moonshine Festival promoting my new book North Georgia Moonshine (more about that later). Come by and say, "hello," and we'll talk moonshine and mountains!
Places (and People) to discover this fall
Georgia Mountain Fall Festival | Hiawassee | October 9-17
Sorghum Festival | Blairsville | October 10-11, 17-18
Apple Festival | Ellijay | October 10-11, 17-18
Japenese Arts & Cultural Festival | Ballground | October 17-18, 24-25
Gold Rush Days | Dahlonega October 16 - 18
Unicoi Wine Trail | White CountyMoonshine Festival | Dawsonville October 24-25
Santa Express Train Ride | Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad | November 17- December 24
EAT + STAY = Mountain Laurel Farm
Country Music Highway | US 23 | Ashland to Whitesburg
Wherever you chose to travel this fall, remember this: make getting there as exciting as arriving. There's much to do, much to explore in these Blue Ridge Mountains, so get away this weekend. We'd love to hear your tales from the road! Happy travels.
I'm sad when I buy something new to replace something old. I feel like I'm betraying the something old.
It was much like last weekend while on a press trip, Len and I visited a distillery in Sevierville. We met the distiller, and he just happened to be from North Georgia. We knew the same people, and we even shared a laugh. I felt like I was two-timing Carlos (North Georgia Moonshine).
On the same trip, we went to Knife Works in Sevierville. Knives, guns, cutlery, even a Katana. The respect I had for Michonne skyrocketed when I saw the size of that thing. But back to knives.
Len always carries a pocket knife. When we met, he carried the one his sons gave him as a constant physical reminder that they were with him. He lost it in the attic during a clean-out, but has never given up hope that it will find its way back home into his pocket one day when he least expects it. Then, he replaced that one with one of his father's blades, a reminder as well. Long ago, his father received it as a promotional piece for his hardware store; it read Carver's Auto Parts before time erased its engraving. Although the blade, even then, was a little rickety, the handle worn, it took its place inside Len's pocket. He decided last weekend, it was time for a knife to call his own.
The new Colt (on the left) is now at home in Len's pocket. His father's knife sits on his dresser, in a plate where all Len's valuables and trinkets sit each night. It won't be tucked away inside a drawer, but will remain in the light. Even though we take things out of commission, parting with them still seems unnatural, so we keep them if for no other reason than to remind ourselves of what once was.
I suppose we can say that about everything: a new pot versus mama's old iron skillet; my death-trap Saab versus the one I'm dreaming about in my mind; daddy's sturdy ratchet set versus Home Depot's newest do-everything singular sensation; the latest ergonomic office chair versus old faithful that was hard as a rock.
I'm not two-timing, I say with conviction. I'm making adjustments, fixing what hurts, retiring the worn. Who am I kidding? This emotional sentimental journey is a long one, and I will continue to replace, but never discard. And really, who am I hurting? I have drawers and acres and cabinets to store the entire lot. So if one day, you see me on Hoarders, just smile and know my heart (like my house) is full.
Whether it is exploring this amazing world or being content on my own piece of real estate near Athens, Georgia, I'm spinning stories and fashioning tales from a Southern perspective. As an editor and writer, I get to meet incredible people and share their stories. As a photographer, I get to cement these moments in time. As a wife and mother, I'm always excited to see what's around the next corner, For it's anything but ordinary.