Our weekend getaway to Blairsville, GA

Last week was FABULOUS.

1488679_628562840599773_8688649441795156692_nA few months ago a group of my nearest and dearest got together and planned a long weekend trip up in the North Georgia mountains. Back in 2004 my mom and I were looking for a place to go camping during our winter school break (both my parents worked for the school system, so we always had the same time off!). I can vividly remember sitting at the kitchen counter at my parent’s house scanning a map of the southeastern United States looking for a place that would be a) A day’s worth of driving distance and b) A change of scenery from our regular beachy Florida views. 

We ended up putting our finger smack on a city called Blairsville; in the Appalachian Mountains of North Georgia. After a quick Google search we learned that this town was only an 8 hour ride from Tampa, boasted beautiful views, wasn’t commercialized and “touristy” like other mountain towns (i.e. what Pigeon Forge has become) and was home to Brasstown Bald Mountain- the highest peak in Georgia.

SOLD. So much that we’ve returned almost every year since. 

When my mom passed away, I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to return to the area, but in 2012, Brian and I did just that. And it was an amazing time, especially being able to visit spots I had visited with my mom just years earlier. We didn’t make it out there in 2013, but knew we would not miss another year. 

This past September I began searching for the perfect cabin for a long weekend getaway with friends. I wanted to find a cabin with mountain views, one that was dog friendly (one of my girlfriends was bringing her pup), close to all of our favorite places and restaurants, and one that had lots of room to stretch and play- both indoors and out. I started searching Craigslist rentals of Northeast Georgia, then moved on to looking through Vacation Rentals By Owner (vrbo.com). There wasn’t much listed on Craigslist, but as soon as I began scouring VRBO, I knew I would be booking something that day. There are SO many beautiful cabins for rent in the area, but just 1 caught my eye. 


This lovely cabin checked off all of our boxes AND came complete with breathtaking views of Brasstown Bald and other surrounding mountains. When I contacted the owner she informed me that it was available for the days we were looking at. So we promptly sent in our deposit and locked in the dates! Throughout the next few months we made our plans, solidified check-in procedures with the oh-so-accomodating (and patient!) owners and built up a LOT of excitement! 

After waiting, and waiting, and waiting, the weekend had FINALLY arrived! We packed up all of the necessary items we’d need for a (COLD!) four days in the mountains and hit the road. We arrived early on Wednesday morning and were just blown away by the incredible views of the sunrise as we walked in the house. 


IMG_1441And while the views were my favorite part of the house, the rest of the cabin did not disappoint! Between the comfortable beds, a kitchen with all the essentials, spotless accommodations, fireplaces, wrap around porches, wi-fi and so many other comforts of home, we were on cloud 9!










IMG_1458We spent the next four days relaxing, hiking, sight seeing, eating (biscuits and gravy!), stargazing, roasting marshmallows by the fire, enjoying the cold weather (and ice and snow!) connecting and just being in the moment. It was everything I could have hoped for and more. 











And I may or may not have spent a bit *too* much time in these 2 positions:


IMG_1533When I read the reviews for the cabin, and was thumbing through the guestbook at the house, everyone mentioned how lovely it was to watch the deer eat in the backyard. And after 3 not-so-patient days of feeding, using deer calling apps, and having binoculars on my face way more often than I would have liked to, we FINALLY saw deer on Saturday morning, which I may or may not have scared away from my cries of excitement. 

IMG_1768And on that same day, before we prepared to pack up and head south, we ended our vacation by chopping down our third Christmas tree together at a local tree farm just down the road. 







We were sad to say our goodbyes, but excited to get back home to hug our cats and decorate our fresh mountain tree. 


We had such a fun time and would recommend visiting Blairsville if you’re looking for a wonderful and relaxing getaway. If you’d like to rent this cabin, click here for more details. The owners, Mike and Jaynee, will answer all of your questions and help to make sure you have the time of your lives! 

And while you’re planning your trip to the North Georgia Mountains and Blairsville, keep these places in mind!

Helton Creek Falls (just a short hike from the road!)

Desoto Falls (1.50 miles round trip to see the upper falls; .50 miles round trip to see the lower falls- both easy hikes)

Vogel State Park (camping, wildlife, holiday events, horseback riding)

Trackrock Stables and Campground (camping, wildlife, hiking, horseback riding)

The Sawmill Place (Farm to table, best biscuits and gravy in town!)

Dan’s Grill (Great Cuban food from Miami transplants)

Jim’s BBQ (only open Th-Sat- great bbq!)

Alexander’s (Blairsville’s “mall”) 😉

Muffy’s (quick bites, sandwiches, burgers and more)

Brasstown Bald Mountain (highest peak in Georgia, gorgeous views, hiking, geocaching)

Pappy’s Trading Post (shops, tubing, fudge, restaurant, outdoor fireplace, riverside)

Sunrise Grocery (local treats, gas, fresh eggs)

Logan’s Turnpike Mill (freshly ground grits, pancake mix, jams, jellies, baked goods)

Hiawassee Antique Mall (just a short drive from Blairsville- HUGE!)

Victoria’s Mall (antiques, hobby shop, thrift store, coffee shop)

Cook’s Country Kitchen (cheap and great breakfast!)

Historic Courthouse (museum, beautifully decorated around Christmas)

Sundance Gallery (unique gifts, art, local crafts, pottery, decor)

Southern Tree Plantation (chop your own Christmas tree, hayrides, petting farm, pumpkins in the fall)

Anna Ruby Falls (just a short drive from Blairsville in Helen)


Judy’s tales: The Waterfall Incident

Today marks the 6 month anniversary of my mom’s passing. I cannot believe it’s been half a year since I’ve spoken to her. I cannot believe how time has flown.

I feel like I’ve spent each month awaiting for the arrival of the 11th day, to declare one more month of time since she passed. I don’t know when I decided to stop, but the idea entered my head not too long ago, and I have been waiting for the 11th day for a different reason this time around.

Today is October 11. Today I begin a story. It’s a story of my mom. Her tales of adventures, fun and hilarity. It’s how I, and everyone else should remember her. On the 11th day of each month I will write and honor my mom’s memory with a story she loved to tell about something that “would only happen to Judy.” I hope you’ll enjoy these tales, and if you were lucky enough to know my mom, I hope they bring a smile to your face whenever you read them.

The Waterfall Incident

In the winter of 2008, we packed up an SUV and a truck with family and neighbors and took an 9 hour road trip up to a little town called Blairsville, Georgia. The four of us (mom, dad, my grandmother and I + 2 dogs) had ventured to this beautiful northern destination just two years prior, and had fallen in love with the area. With it’s mountains, country restaurants, and quaint little markets, it’s a little-known vacation spot that we are so glad we discovered.

We rented two cabins in the tippy top of Blood Mountain, and had so much fun playing in the snow, roasting marshmallows in the fire, and squealing over the field mice who decided to vacation with us. I remember using the bathroom one morning (like sitting on the toilet) when one of these pesky rodents came running through the crack under the door, straight at my pajama pant-covered feet as I sat. I was completely calm, of course.

Each day we had different activities planned, as there is SO much to do up there. Hiking, shopping, scenic drives and horseback riding filled our days. But one particular memory sticks out above the rest: The Waterfall Incident. You see, Blairsville is the highest point in Georgia, and with that comes waterfalls- lots of them. After a half dozen trips up there, I still haven’t seen all of the waterfalls that the lower Appalachian mountains have to offer.

On this particular day, we had planned to take a drive over to Helton Creek Falls. As we pulled into the parking area, we realized there was about a half mile hike down, then back up to get to the top of one part of the falls, then the base of another part of the falls. My neighbor brought her elderly mother on this trip, and she wasn’t able to do the climbing involved, so she stayed in the car to wait for us while we dove into this adventure.

We began the trek down a some steep steps, then up what seemed double the amount to reach the top of the first 45ft. drop. The falls are divided into two sections. Walking up a bit further will take you to the bottom of the 60ft. waterfall, but unfortunately you cannot climb to the top of that part of the falls.

The base of the top falls.

As we reached the top, my mom decided she wanted to “take a closer look”. It was a very cold day, and had snowed the night before. Ice covered the steps and rocks leading up to the falls, so we were all extra cautious as we hiked. As the water rushed passed us over the slick rocks, we stayed on the observation deck…. except for Judy.

Before we knew it, my mom was walking out to the rocks by the roaring river, heading out towards the edge of the waterfall. My mother was never at a loss for crazy ideas (as you’ll soon discover) so when she decided to shimmy her feet over to take a peek, we weren’t surprised. What happened next wasn’t a shocker either. My mom was known for her clumsiness. She was always falling, slipping or tripping over something (usually because her daily movements incorporated some form of dancing), so when we turned our head and saw my mom on her back, slipping closer and closer to the final edge of the falls, we freaked!

You see, Judy was always known for her hair-brained ideas. And this one was no different. Fortunately she was wearing jeans, which prevented her from sliding towards an impending doom. As my father cautiously crept toward the edge to help my mom, I pulled out my camera to document the whole process on film (which I will frantically look for to share with you all!). My mom used to love to reenact the story of how she crawled onto her hands and knees and tried to reach out and grab my father’s hand as he continued to use his other hand to hold onto his precious cigar that he didn’t want to go to waste.

Needless to say, we were able to pull her to safety, and continue to enjoy the remainder of our vacation with little to no additional emergencies. When we returned back to the car, Ophelia, our neighbor commented on the screams she heard from her spot up at the parking area. She figured the falls were so beautiful and we were hooting and hollering in all of it’s glory. She, of course, wasn’t surprised to hear the truth, and from that day on those falls were dubbed “Judy Falls”. Pun intended.