Great Smokey Mountains

Mountains in the Fall has GOT to be one of the best things in the world!  I love everything about them! The spectacle of changing leaves and watching them dancing with the breeze and drifting down to the winding road, just sets my soul at peace. Driving down any scenic road (there are numerous ones to try), you are sure to come across a rustic antique/souvenir store or an old man sitting behind his truck with Boiled Peanuts. Most of the time, both on the same bend!  I’d say the warmth of those hot boiled peanuts resting in that Styrofoam cup is about the equivalent to a nice hot cup of Tea in the UK.  There’s just something so comforting about it!

Then there are (*Insert angelic singing*) APPLES! Nice, fresh, crisp, delicious, glorious Apples! On top of this heavenly fruit, you have Fried Apple Pies, Traditional Pies, Fresh Apple Cider, Apple Bread, Apple Sauce, Apple Jelly and my oh my oh my, the list can just go on! Next on my “AAAAHHHH” list are the PUMPKINS!! And again; Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin pie…ok, so not as much as the Apples, but I LOVE pumpkins.  They are just so dang adorable!  Every little town we drove through on this trip had a HUGE obsession with these adorable big (and small) Orange Veggies! The displays were beautiful!  I honestly cant even imagine our local towns having so many pumpkins lying around without being stolen!  So, here’s a toast to, and a list of my favorite stops in Western North Carolina and North Georgia.

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  1. Festivals in the Fall are waaaaaaay better than Summer Festivals! I don’t know about you, but the down home Southern Georgia heat is sometimes unbearable! And with Fall, comes nice cool mornings and evenings.  This year, we visited the John C. Campbell Folk School, located in Brasstown, North Carolina. We literally stumbled into this festival, but it turned out to be one of the best we’ve ever been to.  Entrance Fee was $5, and the kiddo’s were free. This festival had sooooo much to offer. Set in a beautiful valley, with fields, gardens, and various buildings where crafting trades are passed down to the next generation.  The whole place was buzzing with activity and the wholesome company of like-minded people.  There was woodcarving, wood-working, Metal blacksmithing, pottery, quilting, sewing, felting, knitting, pony-rides, garden booths, re-wilding booths and Oh the Food section! Kettle Corn, Carolina BBQ (quite different from Georgia), Pork Rinds, Funnel Cakes, Sausage Dogs, and all that festival goodiness!  We settled with a couple baskets of Fries!

 

2. Hiking!!! We love to have active trips! We can sit around home and not do anything (….ok, not really….), when we are going somewhere, I want to see all I can! Hiking and Mountains go hand in hand. Since we had a short trip planned, we only attempted one hike.  We settled on the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest hiking trail.  Its located near Robbinsville, North Carolina and is about a 2 mile hike.  As of now, our youngest will turn 2 in a month, so I still carry her in a “Front-Pack”.  Our 4 and 5 year old hiked this whole trail by themselves this time!!!! (Say Whaaaaaa?!?!?!). We were so proud of them! This is supposed to be one of the few virgin Hardwood forests left in the Eastern United States, and it WAS impressive.  I have never seen an actual “Old World” forest, and it is truly special. Some of the trees were massive, and are up to 450 years old. We are sentimental nature lovers, so this kind of stuff really appeals to us!

3. Eat local and dont bring a diet!  When we are on vacation, we eat! My favorite Restuaruant, this venture, was Motor Company Grill, located in downtown Franklin, NC. It is an ole’ timey Diner. We feasted on good ol’ burgers and finished up with milkshakes!

4.  Ocanaluftee Indian Village.  This is a living farm museum resembling a working farm from the 1700s. It is located right out of Cherokee, NC going into the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Again, right up our Homesteading Alley. Its really quite unbelievable to imagine living as our ancestor’s did not so long ago.  The girls LOVED running around this place, looking for the farm animals and looking a the buildings! For kids, this is a great place to let them stretch their legs after being cooped up in the car for hours on end! Its also very educational, a double wammy!

 

5.  Mingus Mill, part of the Great Smokey Mountain National Park and just up the road from the Ocanaluftee Farm Museum.  If you are into taking pictures, this is a paradise! It has such an Old-World spirit, the inventions of man working WITH nature to produce a sustainable source of living. A short walk from the parking area takes you up to the old mill, which was established in 1886.  The Park Personnel are very friendly and quick to take up a chat on slow days!

 

6. Burt’s Farm, Dawsonville, GA.  This is our second trip to Burt’s Farms. We fell in love with the place last year and were eager to get back. They grow their own Pumpkins here, and have an amazing variety of pumpkins!  They are also much cheaper than they are back home. The little Tractor ride is fun for the girls and the big decorating pumpkins are a “cherry on top” for Mama.

 

So there you have it. Our favorite part of the mountains this year! I cant wait to get back to the Mountains! There is such a peaceful feeling about listening to a creek flow over the rocks, cascading down the mountain-side. …Interupted with squeals of little girls getting into stuff they aint supposed too….Ahhhh, The mountains are calling, and I must go!

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