Sunday, June 29, 2014

Blue Ridge Georgia --Mother -Daughter Trip

Mother-Daughter Trip to Blue Ridge, Georgia

Pictures are here: Blue Ridge Georgia Pix

    I have done a lot of talking about my son, Jared and his trials and the various trials
of our family on this blog.   One of the things that has happened unintentionally is that 
my lovely daughter Crystal has gotten pushed to the side.   The Prodigal Son is told about in the 
Bible. He leaves home and lives a wanton lifestyle. He repents. He comes home. He is accepted and loved and welcomed.  The story also mentions the dutiful son who has remained close and 
has not strayed or wronged anyone.   Thank the Lord for children who do NOT give us grief.
The individuals in this world who manage to not mess up and are on an even keel get 
overlooked at times.   My life and the life of this family began to calm down. I came to feel
I had some making amends to do on behalf of my child who had remained eager to please and 
NOT done anything to mess up.  

     Crystal has been a source of support , comfort and joy to myself and this entire family.
She managed to marry an excellent spouse.  She has a highly successful career. She is well respected in our community. She is involved in our church.  She is a fine Christian witness.
She has born two beautiful grandkids to enlarge our family.    She has welcomed quality friends
into her life that have in turn blessed my life and family.   I can count her a friend as well as
a daughter.   She was always a dear little baby and grew to be a funny toddler. She has always been more what I wanted to strive for.  She lacked many of the neurotic qualities I wanted to see
gone from me.   She knew how to laugh at herself and life.   I felt it was time to turn things
around and enjoy one anothers company while there was time.  

       She had wanted to visit Mercier Orchard in Blue Ridge, Georgia for awhile.
I thought it sounded like fun.  I was growing one dimensional again. I found myself going hiking
all the time.  I knew too much of a good thing makes one dull and life loses its luster.  
We planned a much needed Mother-Daughter trip.  She'd get a break from work, house, church, kids and I'd get to spend some time with my girl.  I'd remember how to be more like a chick instead of a dude!   

         I had packed the night before the trip and was ready to roll as soon as she got off work Friday.   We stopped and had a quick bite and come excellent conversation.   I have spoiled my grandson to the point he feels when I am around that HE is the only one I should converse with.  
 It was great getting to talk to Crystal without the interruption of kids.    One of the prettiest parts of the journey came from the drive down SR 68 going from Tennessee into Georgia.    I had been down that road before as far as Farner.  The countryside is beautiful the entire way.  The road is rural but passes through small towns.  It goes through the Overhill Territory of the Cherokees.
The pure beauty of the area will break your heart.   Imagine driving down along the deep green corridor in the gathering dusk.  The neat country lawns. Farms.  Pastures filled with jewels of orange butterfly weed.  The Hiwassee River tailwaters flowing slow and green.   Old abandoned homes faded and no longer occupied.  The roadside in some spots was lined with Seven Sisters Roses of pink and crimson spilling down like walls.  It was an ornamental rose planted decades ago that is considered a non native invasive, but to me it is just beautiful.  Whomever planted it
long ago is now gone and it flourishes. It lives on to decorate the by-ways. 

           The road passes by a few small stores that look more like what I was accustomed to
as a child.   One in the Ducktown area is a white, plain building but outside it is still clear that it is in operation.   They sell healthy plants, ornamentals and vegetable starts.   We passed the old Kimsey Junior College pump house.   We passed through Copper Hill, Tennessse and the next thing I knew the signage said we were in McCaysville, Georgia.  It seems to flow from one state to the next. One town to the next without a hitch. I had to check to be sure we had crossed the state line!    McCaysville, Georgia and this area are particularly interesting to me.  I want to go back
to visit this area again with camera in hand.    

       We were wishing the car would drive itself so we could be spectators.  Crystal drove.
I navigated to be sure the GPS.. Babala... did not steer us wrong. She has done it before. She tried to on this trip, but I had her covered.    We were awed by the setting sun over the Cohuttas.
It was one of those special moments in time that I will never forget.  Soft sunset colors of orange, copper, gold, pink, purple, lavender over deep blue green mountains.  We both agreed there is really nothing like being a Summer in the South. It is a benediction.   I am very proud of my 
Southern heritage as are my children.   I did not have the opportunity to take photos of 
these sights. I can simply describe them and share the few I did get of this part of our trip.

Orange jewel weed filled the roadside fields

Seven Sisters Roses spilling off of old fences and filling the roadsides 

   We arrived at the Blue Ridge Lodge which was our hotel. It was just as pretty and welcoming as the adds showed.    We were both very tired and glad to have come to the end of the road trip for today.     We had gotten a good deal on a suite.  We sat up and talked for awhile to unwind. 
The bed was so comfortable. It is not ever as good as my bed at home, but it was still good.

    The next morning we ate breakfast at one of the local establishments. It was the L & L Bakery & Cafe I think.  It was great! I would go there again.    We each tried a different type of quiche and sampled each others so we'd know which was best. It was hard to pick!   Coffee was good.
Fresh fruit.  It was marvelous.  We drove around the town and parked to get out and walk.  
We wanted to spend some time shopping.  We prowled around various shops checking out whatever struck our fancy. It was  a good change of pace for me.   Sometimes I need a reminder
to act more like a chick.   Crystal found her some perfect Chaco sandals at a gear store.
They were so helpful.  I did not have anything in particular I was hunting for, but I enjoyed seeing
all sorts of things.  

Crystal prowling one of the shops

Folk Art--wish I'd gotten this piece.

The outside of Sycamore Crossing

       Once we'd had enough of shopping we headed back out of the downtown. We went to the Mercier Orchard to pick fruit.   We had lunch at the cafe in the farm store.   It was great!
We checked out the massive store indoors and the farmers market.  We then went over to the U Pick portion to get ready to go pick fresh blueberries and cherries.   We got a ride on the wagon with the other guests and they gave us some instructions.  We picked our baskets full of both cherries and blueberries. They were our dessert too!   It is a lovely place and a fun, different way to spend an afternoon.    I was really glad we came here. I think we will return.

Mercier Orchard is a large place!

     We drove back to town afterwards and stopped at Wal-Mart to pick up the few things we'd gotten there without.   Back at the hotel Crystal painted her toes and mine.  We rested and lounged.   We dressed for dinner and she fixed my hair.   We had reservations at Christy Lee's Courtyard for 7:30 pm.     We arrived about 20 minutes early.  We went in and sat at the bar to have before dinner drinks.  They had live music inside and out!   My favorite song the fellow inside played was the song from "Fifty First Dates"  Over the Rainbow  
by Israel Kamakawi.  It was a good rendition.  It would bring a tear to your eyes it was so pretty.
Christy Lee's Courtyard during the day.   It is a nice place.

Crystal crossing over the street to Christy Lee's

     We sat at the bar with other patrons for a few minutes and soon they seated us.  We had a good table and a great server.   The entertainment and food was splendid.   Crystal had cedar planked salmon and I had seafood pasta. We enjoyed a glass of moscato.   It was a good dinner with a nice atmosphere and conversation.   I am proud to say I enjoy conversing with my daughter. She is an interesting person and always improving her knowledge. She has many facets.    We finally tore ourselves away and walked around town a little bit.  The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway Train sat outside the restaurant.   I have a weakness for trains.  How can you be from Vesuvius and not have a jones for the train?   
Sun setting over the train and its tracks.

Crystal by the train.  I had a grand time with my daughter! 

     We were tired so we went back to the hotel and watched tv and read and talked.  We slept and got up the next day to head home.     We planned to meet the men and children in Chattanooga for Father's Day Lunch.    We had breakfast at the lodge in the complimentary breakfast kitchen.
It was so so.  It was just really crowded, but it was free and it made it possible for us to eat and get going on time.     I won't fool with that breakfast again and that crowd, but it was the only negative thing I have to say about the place.   I would definitely go back!   


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