The Brown's Family Vacation, 2005
Lake Rabun, GA
Once again we headed to Lake Rabun, GA to Peaceful Valley. We left JAX on Wednesday morning, an hour and a half later than anticipated (running on Bivins' time). We finally hit the cabin around 7:30 that night, unpacked and hit the hay after a long day of driving. The frogs put us to sleep along with the fresh mountain air.
After breakfast, we headed to Dana's favorite, (haha NOT), Super Wal-Mart. We needed some supplies and fishing licenses. From there we hit DQ, (thats Dairy Queen for you non ice cream eaters), the first of many stops there. We ended the errands at Bi-Lo and back up the mountain to unload and find a fishing spot. We were fortunate this year to find a man who allowed us the use of his boat house for our fishing adventures. An early supper took us to Oinkers! Dana and I both had her favorite, 4 rib platter, and Evan had what he thinks is the best on the menu, the large pulled pork sandwich. Oinkers is located on US Highway 441, just South of Clayton. They are only open for dinner TH-SAT and once the ribs are gone, that's it. He only makes enough for what he thinks will sell. They are, without a doubt, some of the best BBQ you will find. Hickory-smoked, fresh daily, we found that people come to eat their ribs from all over the area. We were in Highlands NC and met a store owner and his wife that had just gone to Oinkers the night before for BBQ. That is pretty good considering they have their own BBQ joint right there in Highlands and traveled 45-60 minutes for BBQ! Be sure to put that on your stop the next time your in the Clayton area. We always eat there our last night as well :)
Friday morning we tried one of the local boat ramps on Lake Seed for fishing, with no luck at all except for a couple small perch. After lunch we headed South to Toccoa Falls. The falls are located on the campus of Toccoa Falls College where students are trained for the ministry. The falls were beautiful. That night we dined at Glen Ella Springs Inn. It was beautiful there. Dinner was fantastic. Dana wants to return there and stay a few days.
Saturday we headed North to Sky Valley to catch two more falls. The first, Estatoah Falls, can only be seen from GA 246 headed East to Sky Valley as it is on private property. From there we drove through Sky Valley and found Mud Creek Falls. This was another beautiful 60 foot cascading fall. After the falls, we headed to another favorite stop, Andy's Trout Farm, where Evan caught our dinner.
Sunday we started the day with a home grown sermon titled "A trip to Hell", Luke 16:19-31. (Since our pastor always tells us to keep a sermon in your pocket as you never know when you will need it, this is my one and only sermon). We headed NE to Highlands to check out all the shops there. Most were open but we found nowhere for a late lunch as planned, so we headed to Franklin to find some dinner. On the way to Franklin we hit 4 different falls, one not really a fall at all. This was Sequoyah Lake Dam, but still a beautiful setting. From there we kept driving West on US 64 and stopped at Bridal Veil Falls. This is a unique location as the old highway 64 actually ran behind the falls, as seen in our pictures. From here we headed to Dry Falls. They were not dry at all! You can not stay dry if you plan on walking the path under the falls. The mist will provide cool relief on hot days. This was probably the loudest falls we have ever heard. The total drop is 80 feet. From here we headed to Quarry Falls. The small pull off provided places on both sides of the highway for cars to pull over. The last falls on this trip was Cullasaja Falls. As author Brian A. Boyd put it, "these are spectacular falls. This is a 250-foot monster that plunges down the rugged cliff into a foreboding, mist-laden gorge". We could not have said it better! Once we hit Franklin, we wondered upon a very nice restaurant called The Frog and The Owl Mountain Bistro. A must stop for dinner if you are ever in Franklin. This was Evan's first experience with roast quail, and he loved it!
Monday was the Hooch! Evan and I tubed the Chattahoochee in Helen. Afterwards, we had some great homemade ice cream that is churned by a water wheel.
Tuesday was Dillard day. Anyone that has ever been to Dillard GA knows exactly where we ate - The Dillard House. We first hit what seemed like every shop in Dillard in search of a French butter keeper that Dana had promised one of our good friends back home in JAX, that she had purchased here last year at the Bluegrass and BBQ festival, held yearly in Dillard.
Wednesday started by watching the two sets of Ruby Throated Humming Birds battle it out over the humming bird feeders on the back porch. This was really amazing to watch. The first group, 1 male and two females, had been using the feeders for the first 5-6 days. The male had his and the two females fought over the other. However, once the new group came to eat, all heck broke loose. These females would hit each each other in mid air and fight with each other until they landed in the grass. They would also run full speed into the one that was at the feeder and you could here the smack inside the cabin! It really was amazing to see, not to mention I am sitting there underneath them as they whir by, just missing my noggin! After breakfast, we hit more waterfalls. We started at Sylvan Lake Falls, along the roadside as it is a private residence and a B&B. The falls were very pretty as well as the garden surrounding it, not to mention the old water mill that still stands. From here we drove through Black Rock Mountain State Park to find Ada-hi Falls. Being that the falls is nearly at the top of Black Rock, there is not a lot of water here and is rare to find a falls this high from the peak of a mountain. The walk, which included some tricky wet inclines as well as wooden ramps, a bridge and stairs, was lined with beautiful trees and rhododendrons. Going down was much easier than going back up. From there we stopped in Foxfire, an Appalachian History Museum, also in Black Rock Mountain State Park. It is amazing to see all the buildings that have been relocated to this site from other parts of the South. After leaving Foxfire, due to bad storms moving in, we headed down the mountain back home. We altered those plans to hit Bull Sluice Falls on the Chattooga River since the weather looked to be improving. We used the South Carolina side to view as the Georgia side has included many injuries and fatalities trying to get to the falls via the trail.
Being our last day, we started the day fishing one last time. We fed a LOT of little bluegills that morning. We ran out of both crickets and night crawlers. After that, we hit Oinkers one last time to get our fill on BBQ. Dana stuck with her usual, the 4 rib platter, Evan his usual, the large pulled pork sandwich, and I reverted back to my favorite, the chopped pork platter. MM MM GOOD! After filling up on BBQ, we headed into Clayton to stroll the sidewalks looking in the store windows. From there it was one last stop to our favorite DQ. After that, we headed back to the cabin to pack up to for the trip home the next morning.