It’s always been a toss-up which I love more — the beach or the mountains. Sparkling waves crashing on the shore vs. majestic vistas and quiet, serene beauty. They each inspire peace and tranquility and are a beautiful reminder of God’s infinite glory. Definitely hard to choose, so I’m glad I get to spend time enjoying both.
We’ve been heading to the ocean a lot lately but usually only get to the mountains during ski season. However, in August, Dan and I took advantage of a great Travelzoo.com deal to head to the North Georgia mountains for a weekend getaway. We stayed at the Kingwood Country Club and Resort in Clayton in the northeastern part of the state. I had never been up in that neck of the woods, which is part of the Chattahoochee National Forest and is quite beautiful. I highly recommend the resort, which has a spa and beautiful 18-hole golf course. The staff was very friendly and accommodating, the food in the lodge was excellent (free hot breakfast buffet) and the rooms were spacious and comfortable.
On Friday night, we ventured into downtown Clayton and found some great pizza at Zeppelin’s Pasta House on Main Street in the historic area. We then headed across the street to Universal Joint (or UJoint as it’s known) a restaurant/bar housed in an old commercial garage. How clever! We were lured over by live music out on the patio, which consisted of a man and woman with a guitar and synthesizer. They were very entertaining. It was great sitting outdoors under the beautiful full moon and being part of the locals’ Friday night out. Clayton, Georgia was hopping! :)
We planned to hike on Saturday, and luckily the weather cooperated since we had threats of storms all weekend. We headed about 25 minutes south to Tallulah Gorge State Park, which Dan and daughter Maureen had hiked years ago, and I always wanted to see. It was awesome! We hiked to the nearby waterfalls, which involved climbing up and down 878 steps as well as traversing a suspension bridge. It was tougher than it sounds! But I felt like you couldn’t really count it as hiking if you’re climbing stairs, so we decided to tackle the trail to the bottom of the gorge. It’s called, quite appropriately, Sliding Rock Trail. A quarter mile of nothing but rocks and boulders on a 45-degree slope. Yikes! You have to get a permit at the interpretive center before doing that part of the trail — that should have been warning enough. But it didn’t really hit me that it was kind of dangerous until I slipped and fell into a gully and smacked my side against a tree limb. So much for being the intrepid outdoorswoman.
When we finally reached the bottom, we saw lots of people enjoying the water around Bridal Veil Falls, where you’re allowed to swim. Some were daring enough to use the rocks as a slide, which actually looked fun. Dan took advantage of a cooling swim, but I didn’t feel like hiking back up soaking wet, so I relaxed and had a snack. Surprisingly, it was easier to climb back up the trail than it was to come down, but we were pretty tired when we finished. My ankles and legs really felt it later on. (Guess those stairs were more of a workout than I thought!) Back at the resort, I enjoyed some relaxing pool time, then we went to dinner at the lodge. Excellent crab-stuffed trout!
We hoped to go to the beach at nearby Lake Rabun on Sunday, but the weather was overcast and misty. We went to mass at St. Helena’s Catholic Church, then took a ride out to the lake anyway to check it out for next time. Lake Rabun is huge, and the part we traveled around was really pretty with lots of coves and inlets. Looks like a great place for a summer home! Dan? :)