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Quintessential Fall Vacation Spots


Like both my sisters, I'm also a lover of fall! I think I've always loved it; the colors, the crisp leaves, the earth's one last hurrah before it packs up for Winter. We carry on the family tradition of heading to the mountains during October. Our favorite area is a circle just north of Atlanta. The towns of Dahlonega, Amicalola, Ellijay, Blue Ridge and Morganton all form a circle through the mountains where everything Fall resides. You literally feel as though you've dropped on the set of a Hallmark movie. In fact, the Hallmark movie “Christmas in Homestead” was filmed in Dahlonega.


While in Dahlonega, you can literally stroll around the center of town. A round-about guides traffic right around the town center and the historic Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site. The Georgia Gold Rush basically started right there in Dahlonega and there's some really neat stories to hear. You can see real gold nuggets, gold coins, and some other artifacts from the gold rush of 1836. You can also visit one of the original mines and go down inside the mine shaft with a guide. It was incredibly to see it so well preserved and get a sense of what it was like back then.






After you've finished all that touring, stop in at Bourbon Street Grill for some authentic cajun cooking. You won't believe you're not in New Orleans. We had the jambalaya, shrimp and grits and boudin. I don't think you could go wrong with anything on the menu. Ask to sit outside on the balcony! You'll feel like a star in your own movie.







Our favorite apple orchard, Mercier's is located in Blue Ridge. This family-owned fourth generation farm is so much more than just apples...but that's still our favorite. If you have a chance to get up there in September you can pick them straight from the tree. There's is nothing like biting into a sweet, crunchy fuji apple standing in the middle of acres of rolling hills planted in apple trees. I always feel a little bit like I'm in Tuscany when I'm out there. There are hayride tours through the farm on the weekends and a cafe' and bakery that serves home-grown apple fritters. We never leave without four or five or nine... Also, don't miss the new winery that creates a use for all the apples that would otherwise go to waste. The Grumpy Granny hard apple cider is a winner.



Blue Ridge is also home to the Arts in the Park Festival, Harvest on Main (my fave farm-to-table restaurant and featured in Southern Living this month) and Cupcake Wars' Season 6 winner, The Sweet Shoppe of the South. If you want to crash for a low key meal and just eat pizza together try Masseria Kitchen & Bar. You know us by now so you know we like to eat. We would not steer you wrong here. If the kids are getting restless, walk down the train tracks in the middle of town and find a small playground for them to meet some friends and burn some energy.


Just down the road from Blue Ridge is a little town called Cherry Log. You may have heard of this town if you're a BFRO fan. Cherry Log is home to Expedition Bigfoot, the Sasquatch Museum. Whether you're a believer or not, you'll find this place intriguing. We even met the sketch artist that works with the BFRO crew on TV while we were there. It's definitely worth your time to stop. What camp do you think we fall in?


On around the circle from Ellijay you'll find Amicalola Falls. It is the highest waterfall in Georgia at 729'. Not only is the waterfall itself amazing, it is a spectacular place to camp, hike, explore and eat. You can view the falls from the very top or the very bottom. If you're an over-achiever you can walk down 600 stairs to view the falls from top to bottom in all it's glory. I can't tell you any more about that because “I ain't doin' it”. Springer Mountain, the terminus of the Appalachian Trail, is right around the corner from the park and is a fantastic hike for all ages! We all loved it, kids included!


Springer Mountain. Excuse my disheveled appearance. I fought a bear on the way up.

Just up the road from the falls is the one and only, Bert's Pumpkin Patch. There are rows and rows and rows of colorful pumpkins. They range from humongous to teeny tiny. You can get ugly pumpkins and pumpkins with warts. You can also catch a wagon-ride through the pumpkin patch on a bed of straw, not to be confused with it's itchy cousin, hay. There's also a little creak that runs through the property and the kids never fail to wade in, jump from rock to rock, and inevitably fall in and get soaked. This place gets jam-packed. I mean wall to wall people and their pumpkins and sometimes their family photographers so hear me when I say, go early!




We always tent-camp when we visit North Georgia. The air is crisp, cool, and clear. The leaves are usually donning their fall colors and more often than not, we're camped beside a creak with rapids that lull us to sleep each night. Some of our favorite camping spots are Amicalola Falls Campground, Toccoa Valley Campground, Diamond Lure Campground, and Whispering Pines Campground. All of these also have camping cabins you can rent if you want to transition slowly into tent life. If you plan to tent-camp, bring a 30 degree sleeping bag because it gets chilly when the sun goes down. It's actually the perfect sleeping temperature!


What are your favorite fall traditions?

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Happy Fall my friends!


xoxo,

~j





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