Sunday, October 7, 2012

Vogel State Park, Blairsville, Georgia – Oct 4, 2012

We were sad to leave Riverbend RV Park in Lake Toxaway, NC, but as we pulled into Vogel State Park in the North Georgia mountains, we knew our Florida neighbors had given us a good recommendation. What a beautiful place! Trees everywhere, a beautiful stream winding through the park, a lake, store and lots of trails!

At this park, you can make a reservation online, but once you get there, you drive around and pick the site you want. We got a great one, number 48. It was very deep and backed up to the creek.

We set up camp and explored a little bit. I walked down to the creek and took some photos and we stopped by the camp store and picked up some firewood for later.

Since we hadn’t eaten for quite a while, and our homemade stew was all gone by now, we drove a couple miles down the road to Jim's Smokin' Que another place recommended by our neighbors. OMG! Some of the best bbq ever! We ordered pulled pork sandwiches which we could not finish as they were so big! Share one! The bbq sauce was so good we bought a bottle of sweet and one of smoky. They had great sides too like coleslaw and Brunswick stew. It had a wonderful local vibe with a real ‘hometown’ feel.

Down the road was a stop for Appalachian Trail hikers. There was a little shop and a hostel.

Back at home base, we went for a bike ride and immediately missed the flat ground in Florida! We then decided to have a camp fire. It was a bit of work, but in the end we had success! We didn’t buy any of the ‘kindling’ they had, just the larger pieces of wood. The kindling we gathered was a bit damp so we thought, hey, let’s use a piece or two of the charcoal we have. Well, it must have gotten damp or something too as it wouldn’t do anything. Then, our only lighter, ran out of fluid! Good grief! I really wanted a fire though, so I snagged the candle inside the RV that we had lit earlier, and I tore a cardboard box lid up and we held pieces of it into the candle flame then put in the fire pit. At one point, the candle went out, but I was able to relight it from the tiny flame in the fire pit. Eventually, the combination of leaves, cardboard and fire wood yielded a successful fire!

 This was the view from our bedroom window.

The next day we got up early and headed out with the siteseeing list Dave had prepared. It was an ambitious list with ten stops on it!

First was the little town of Cleveland. Cute, but we decided not to stop. It didn’t have a lot of shops or anything we felt we had to see. Next was Dahlonega. We walked around for a bit…real cute town. I think I came here with my family several years ago.

From there we went to Amicalola State Falls State Park. The waterfall is 729 ft high! Below are photos from the top and from about midway down.

Next on the list was the town of Blue Ridge. There was a lot more in this town than we thought! Below are just a few photos of the cool stores and restaurants. The scenic railroad also goes through town. We ate at Harvest on Main…yum!

From downtown Blue Ridge we drove four more miles to Mercier's Orchard, which our neighbors also had recommended. You can pick your own apples and they have a pumpkin patch. They have a huge store with apples and all kinds of produce, fresh pies and their famous fried apple pies! They were small and we limited ourselves to one!

Arms loaded with pecan apple butter and apple cider, we headed out again. We drove past Brasstown Valley Resort, which looked cool, but didn’t stop. We intended to drive a bit further to Helen and check out their Octoberfest festivities, but Dave remembered that Vogel locks their gates at 10:00. I called the park to verify, and yes, even if you are a registered camper, they padlock the gate at 10:00! So…..we decided to skip Helen so we didn’t get stuck sleeping in the car!

So, we headed back to our campsite and ate some dinner. We had a new neighbor arrive who had a cool vintage Shasta camper, Turquoise and white with a striped awning and cute colored camp lights hanging from it! It was adorable!

The next morning, we took our time and savored every minute of our last morning before heading back to Florida. We walked down to the stream and found a couple nice river stones to take with us.

A couple little things I forgot to mention: at least 60% of the people we talked to on our trip (in SC, NC & Georgia) were from Florida! They either still had a home there, or had lived in Florida for several years and had moved after visiting on vacation. Amazing! One thing we noticed was that every shop we visited had wonderful, old creaky wood floors. We have wanted to install wood floors in our house for quite a while, now, we are thinking of finding old, reclaimed wood.

We had such a great time and feel like we just scratched the surface on discovering cool mountain places! For a coastal trip, Hilton Head was great. For the mountains, NC is still our favorite state.

I will post more photos on my FB page over the next couple days.

We cannot wait to plan our next trip and be….on the road again!!

Misi and Dave

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