Georgia Road Trip: Part 1

I’ve been back in the USA over 7 months and COVID has hit the world. I’ve spent many months quarantined in my room or doing an occasional outdoor activity. I haven’t actually caught covid so far but I am still scared to travel (I had one pretty nasty illness in May that my doctor insisted was not COVID). I really need to get out of the house for a week or so. I finally get the courage to book a solo road trip to the nearby state of Georgia. I’ve noticed a couple of friends taking trips up there to do day hikes and it looks like a safe and interesting thing to do.

My first stop is southwestern Georgia at Providence Canyon State Park, a place many refer to as a mini grand canyon. It is a canyon caused by erosion from poor farming practices. Fortunately/unfortunately the end result is a neat little place to visit for the day to view and take a hike.

I am driving in from central Florida and arrive in the evening. I book a hotel in a nearby town that is actually in Alabama. Eufaula, Alabama is a small town that is very low-key and seems safe enough to stay for an evening or two (it is a good thing I booked two evenings, more on that later).

Driving into Alabama from western Georgia

The drive north, mostly highway miles, is where I think I notice a strange noise from my car (my car is quite old but a very reliable model and current on maintenance). I essentially do the equivalent of putting my fingers in my ears and try to ignore it. If I pretend the noise doesn’t exist will it go away on its own? I eventually arrive at my hotel and my car still sounds strange as I pull in the parking lot. “Maybe it is just tired and if I let it rest for the night it will be fine”. I check into my hotel room and rest for the evening. The next morning I am heading to the Providence Canyon. I wake up and start the 30 minute drive to the canyon, still ignoring the noise (I know, totally irresponsible). I arrive as the canyon is opening (since I read warnings that there can be crowds and they limit visitors for the day). It is impossible to ignore the noise anymore. As I park I get weird looks from others in the parking lot. I do an inspection to see what the problem might be. Luckily another visitor in the parking lot is knowledgeable of my issue and points it out right away. I have eroded a break pad and that is what is causing the noise. I am confused because I didn’t think my break pads were that old. This seems like a problem I need to resolve right away. I find a repair place who will take me immediately and drive back 30 minutes to the town I am staying. I need new break pads and rotor. The cost is ridiculously expensive to fix but it isn’t like I can comparison shop at this point. I get the service done and pay the price. I could head back to the canyon but it is already late in the day. I decide to wander around Eufaula instead. Luckily I have one more night scheduled in my hotel here.

I end up on a little paved trail that is mostly empty. This town is on the water so I can see boats on the water from the trail.

After my walk I order a pizza to take back to the hotel and go to bed early to return to the canyon in the morning.

The next morning my brakes are working great again and come in handy when I need to stop to make sure I don’t runover a parade of hogs on the road.

I am back at the canyon, this time for good. I start along the loop trail which slowly descends into the canyon.

I have the choice to explore the inside of the canyons from below or head up the incline to do the 2.5 mile loop trail. Today I decide to do only the 2.5 mile trail because I am out of hiking shape and I have longer hikes ahead of me on this trip.

The area used to be a settlement that had to be abandoned due to the earth collapsing. Left behind are some old cars.

Most of the loop is shaded and like a forest hike but the last part is mostly open but offers great vistas of the canyon.

There is an old church and cemetery on the walk back to the parking lot. I can never resist a peek at an old cemetery.

Overall it is a great visit. My only wish is that I would have spent the time to hike some of the canyons. Perhaps if I didn’t have the car issues I could have split the hikes over two days to make it more manageable.

I drove up to north Georgia afterwards to be closer to Amicalola Falls, the place I will start my adventure for the next couple days.

The Limelight Inn in Dahlonega, Georgia is a beautiful place to spend the night.

I enjoy my lovely porch view of the fall for a little bit then head into the town of Dahlonega for dinner. I find a nice little outdoor restaurant to enjoy dinner in this cute college town.

Gyro at Capers on the Square

After dinner I head back to my Inn and enjoy the sunset from my porch since it is COVID times and most places appear to close early. It seems like a cute town to do some shopping in, maybe during another visit.

Tomorrow I head out on a 5 mile hike to a lodge I will be staying for two nights. More on that later.

Savannah Day

Our last day in Savannah we spent wandering around town before we left. We started with a Georgia Peach Sangria to go. It was a refreshing drink to sip while walking around the tree lined parks.

For lunch we stopped at the highly rated sandwich shop Zunzis. It did not disappoint. The Conquistador sandwich hit the spot. My husbands sausage sandwich was awesome as well. It was a long line in the heat but well worth it.

After lunch we wandered around some more to do some window shopping.  I loved stopping in the Savannah Bee Company . I wanted to purchase pretty much everything in the store. I settled for leaving with a variety pack of honey and some candles. The honey is so good. I will definitely pick up some more during my next visit.

I really love Savannah trips. I am looking forward to my visit later this year. I am heading in for a half-marathon with a group of friends. Looking forward to cooler weather and lots of fun!!!

Savannah Antiquing

One of my favorite travel pastimes is browsing an antique shop of any city I am visiting. I love looking at old things. I imagine the stories behind them. They really give you a feel for the past of the city.
While in Savannah last summer we spent a couple hours browsing some of the antique stores there.

Inappropriate antiquing.
We are in the south so it is not surprising to find a good share of confederate era antiques.

And a bit of nazi memorabilia.

Toys!!!

I love these old bottles. I like imagining what kind of potions were stored in them.

My 10 year old self would have been in heaven with this book collection. So many Nancy Drews.

Awesome furniture!!!

Antique browsing in Savannah did not disappoint.

Savannah Night

We had one extra night to spend on our trip to the south last year and decided we would return to Savannah to spend the evening. Savannah is the location of the first out of town trip my husband and I took when we first started dating. We had fond memories of walking around the historic town and going on a haunted pub tour. 
We like to stay in vacation  rentals but since our visit was limited to one night we decided upon a historic hotel. East Bay Inn was a perfect place to rest. We were in walking distance to pretty much every where we wanted to go. We were also lucky that there was a free parking space available for us to keep our car. 
After checking in we walked down to Moon River Brewing Company to begin some beer drinking. My husband and I first visited Moon River on our trip to Savannah in 2005 and remembered it fondly. Our second time around we were perhaps more educated on beers and not impressed like before. A good time was still had trying their brews. 
Later on we had dinner at a.lure. I chose a.lure because I wanted to try some low country specialities and my first choice, The Olde Pink House, was booked for the evening. It proved to be a great choice.
We started our dinner with some fruity cocktails.

I decided on the pork shank for dinner. It was one of the best meals I have ever had. The pork easily fell off the bone and was cooked perfectly. The sauce complemented it very well. The garlic goat cheese grits provided a tasty bed for the shank to rest upon.

NIMAN RANCH PORK SHANK

(slow braised, roasted garlic goat cheese grits, charred tomato demi glaze, haricots verts

We finished it off with an interesting goat cheese frozen dessert. It was perfect for my taste because it was only slightly sweet but creamy. If you like your desserts super sweet you might want to chose another.

Frozen Goat cheese dessert

After dinner we decided to walk along the water. My husband and I remember a line of bars up and down the water on our previous trip; the economy must to hit many of them hard because many places were no longer open. We still had a nice walk that started by going down these steep, wet, slippery stairs.

When we got closer to the action there were performers and live music to entertain the masses after dinner.

Some were also entertained, as I, by watching the large barges come in. It is impressive how much cargo comes into that port.

We weren’t ready to go the bed yet so we walked around looking for a bar with some live music. We found a few with good sounds however the volume was so loud that neither one us thought we would have a good time in a bar with those noise levels. We people watched and listened to music from one bar from across the street instead. We soon found that we were not the only ones doing that.
We still wanted another drink before we called it a night so we headed over to the The Distillery to check out their craft beer selection. They had some interesting regional choices to try.

We finished off the evening with a cheese plate and then headed back to the hotel for bed. It was a perfect evening for a couple in their late 30’s.