Sunday, August 07, 2011

North Georgia a Gem of a Family Trip

Glen Ella Spring Inn, Clarkesville, Ga
The surprise father's day gift trip to Glen Ella Springs Inn in Clarkesville, Georgia couldn't have been more blissful. After I return from many of my Girls Weekends Chris is almost always a teensy weensy bit jealous. Every once and awhile he might even throw a little "sure wish I could go there". It doesn't even matter where I had just returned from he just wants to go too. Understandably, my weekends are awesome! Back on track - I knew taking him to Glen Ella was going to be a good idea. He has been to at least 4 or 5 of the places I have taken "my girls". And I am always so happy to share these special places with him!

I had reserved the two connecting 3 room suites on the second floor knowing that they would allow plenty of room for our family of six. The inn has 4 rooms available for families - two on the first floor and two on the second. As both a mother and a guest I appreciate their sensitivity to all their guest's needs. It is a very old Inn built in the late 1800's so the pitter patter of tiny feet could sound like a stampede of elephants if the "designated family friendly" rooms were not where they are.

The kids loved that our rooms seemed to go on and on. I loved that Chris and I had our own space. We felt cozy and at home immediately. It doesn't take long for us to feel at home since home is where ever we are as long as we are together.

Our first night we had fabulous BBQ that we picked up on our way in to the Inn. This Clarkesville staple is currently in a temporary location due to a fire last year. They are rebuilding on the original site and it looks close to being completed. We will have make our way up there after they re-open to get the FULL Hawg Wild experience.
We got settled fast as we wanted to swim before a storm rolled in that looked to be brewin'. Ate at the pool which is always nice. We couldn't believe how much cooler it was up in the mountains. And even cooler after the storm passed. What a delight to be sitting outside and not dripping with sweat (or getting eaten alive by mosquitoes). Finished dinner and our swim just in time to get back to the room before the rain came. Put baby to bed in the pack n play provided by the Inn (thanks Ed & Luci). Played games in our room for a bit, sat in rockers on the porch while listening to the rain then the rain stopped. Just in time for us to witness a beautiful sunset!
Kids took full advantage of no rain to play outside in the GIANT field behind the inn. The property is intimate enough that we felt comfortable letting them explore a bit on their own. A first for ours. They headed out the door feeling all grown up and independent. You could see them glowing as they were growing right before our eyes. Everyone slept peacefully that night including mom & dad.

Woke Saturday morning bright eyed and bushy tailed. Hubby took baby for an early morning walk. They even saw a deer to which the baby shouted "doggie" at. I had a visitor in my bed, Grayson crawled into my bed with the book he is reading titled Grayson. He wanted to read to me. I happily snuggled and listened to him. He reads so effortlessly. I am so proud. The walkers returned hungry. We headed down to the dining room for our first of several delectable meals at Glen Ella. Homemade biscuits, homemade jam, homemade granola, you may be seeing a theme here. A filling cheese strata fueled us for our day of exploration and adventure. After breakfast we grabbed our sunblock, insect repellent (which we didn't even need), magnifying glasses, binoculars and we were off.  (or for buys - magnifying glasses & binoculars)

First stop Minnehaha Falls. This is a breathtaking stair stepping style waterfall just minutes from the inn. The parking at the falls is limited but lucky for us it was a quiet morning. The walk to the falls is an easy 7 minute walk. Just tell the kids to watch where they are walking there are lots of large exposed tree roots on the path. We saw a snail which Aubrey affectionately named speedy. Used our magnifying glasses to check him out then the sound of rushing water called our name. What a beautifully serene spot.

The volume of water on that morning was majestic from all the rain the day before. Pictures of and playing in the water. Baby girl was tricky here - she would have loved if we had put her bathing suit on and inflated her wings & tube so she could slip and slide down the falls. We did let her sit at the water's edge to put her bright "lellow" Crocs in the crisp cold rushing water.

Didn't stay too long for baby's safety and our sanity. Can't wait to go back someday. We made the little trek back to the car without incident. Drove around the entirety of Lake Rabun - simply beautiful. Oohed and aaahed some more over the large lake houses and said, "can that really be just the boat house?" more often than just once. Passed a truly sweet looking general store that will be a stop for us next time, Annie's at Alley's Market & Deli. Making our way north to Tiger, GA to visit the quirky street side attraction - Goats on the Roof. Well worth the stop. The goats who live high above have been featured on several travel shows recently.

They are funny hungry little fellas and there are several creative manners in which to feed them. My kids favorite was the bicycle contraption. Watch video below to see it in action.

There is a gift shop of course. We purchased some kettlecorn and a Goats on the Roof long sleeve t for Chris. You can gem mine at the Old Goat Mining Company, we chose to Geo-Blast instead. There is a huge old tub to tie-dye shirts in Georgia Red Clay (which happens daily in my backyard).

Don't forget to find the bah-by goats if you go - they are sooo cute. I was impressed with the set up, there was even a cozy area with a fire pit which I imagine to be pretty cool on a fall afternoon. They have great Amish wood outdoor furniture for sale at reasonable prices. I am still dreaming about a particular porch swing. We ate a quick lunch at Big Billy's Deli upstairs, a solid little sandwich shop.
Goats on the Roof is a well worth the stop roadside attraction - be sure to bring your camera and some quarters. On ride back to Glen Ella we stopped at the Tallulah Point Overlook. More great photo ops of amazing scenery. Might have waited to have BBQ upstairs here if I had known there was a little restaurant there. Lots of country crap (kidding they have cute stuff and have spent my fair share here) to buy. Ice cold old fashion glass bottles of POP are enticing.

Tallulah Point Overlook

Almost nap time - off to the inn to put baby in. Spent the entire afternoon swimming in the crystal clear saltwater swimming pool. Our kids enjoyed getting to know the inn owner's boys just as much as Chris and I enjoyed getting to know the inn owners themselves.

After a full day we were hungry and a little slow moving so a relaxing long dinner at the inn's restaurant (which is open to the public) was just what we needed. Our table was the best table - outside overlooking the gardens and the pool.
our table is right there on corner
We quietly played a new question game I had picked up at the American Girl Store back home. I love playing these kinds of games especially with the kids. Hearing their hopes and dreams makes me wonder - who, what, where will they be someday? Dinner was another incredible meal. The beef tenderloin does not disappoint (Andrew the inn keeper's son's recommendation). The macadamia encrusted baked chicken was delish. The waitress was very good at suggesting a bottle of red that we would enjoy. Chris is a red drinker and I am only at the beginning of the red spectrum. We saw a doe and her fawn grazing out in the field while waiting for our entrees. The kids went off to see how close they could get without disturbing them. Thanks Bambi for the live dinner entertainment. After dinner AND dessert I put monkey to bed and Chris took the big kids down to the bonfire with the owner and his sons. I hate to miss ANYTHING but Little Miss just didn't want to fall asleep. She really is so much like me - our little "party girl". Soon after she FINALLY fell asleep there was a tap at the door, a very gooey sticky Aubrey stood before me. Note to self the super-sized marshmallows are really not the best for roasting. Next up was Grayson followed a little later by Chris and Gab. Tired happy heads were ready to hit the pillows after a little cleaning up.

The following morning was about the same as the day before another baby walk minus the deer/doggie and another AM storytime in my bed. Breakfast on Sunday morning seemed even more scrumptious than the day before (if that is possible). Glenn Ella Springs famous blueberry pancakes or if blueberry isn't your fave they have incredible apple cinnamon pancakes too (complete with an apple ring cooked right in). Toasted walnut butter makes the perfect topping with wamr syrup for these fluffy masterpieces. Innkeeper Ed who was the pancake master that Sunday morning was even happy to make chocolate chip pancakes for the kids!

Packing up is always sad. We said our goodbyes to our new friends (Ed, Luci & Edward & Andrew). Chris and I decided in the spirit of country living we would take the scenic route home. Stopped at the coolest pottery shop on the way. Mark of the Potter is an old mill that was changed into a pottery shop in 1969. It has been up and running with the same vision and mission all these years. It is a beautiful spot right on the Soque River.

Be sure to check out the "downstairs" some of the original mill machinery is still there - don't forget to duck. The kids will love the fish feeding off the back deck (those trout are huge). Bring quarters.
kids feeding the fish
On almost any given day you will find actual potters throwing pots at the wheel. I bought some pieces of pottery that just make me smile when I look at them.
My pottery purchases
We were in the mood for ice cream by now and where better to go for ice cream than Germany, oh I mean Helen. Cutest little ice cream shop - Scoop de Scoop, just on the south side of Helen near the miniature golf course. The ladies were so kind we got there just before they were actually open and they were happy to open early & scoop us some cones.
Ice Cream Shop in Helen, GA
This kind of meandering home especially after a short weekend getaway is my favorite way to enter back into reality. Glen Ella Springs Inn is really a special place. I have now been there twice and it just keeps getting better. I think because it starts to feel like home and where better to Getaway with your kids than right at home.

For more of my posts about Glen Ella check out these.

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1 comment:


Again.. I feel like I was there.. sounds like a fabulous trip...
P.S... Wish I was there