Thursday, September 23, 2010

10 Day Escape to the Mountains

Well, I am happy to be posting once again after 3 weeks. It has been an action packed three weeks that is for sure. We had a glorious time on our vacation; a ten day escape from reality. We headed up to our favorite spot in the mountains, the southwest corner of North Carolina. A few years back we purchased some acreage there and our goal is to build a log cabin for our vacation home. We took a 3 1/2 hour road trip one day to South Carolina to meet with a log cabin builder. It was a great learning experience for the kids. The man we met with was great. He was so good with the kids. He really took the time to explain things and included them in the whole process.
Another day was spent going to the health department filling out paper work for our well permit. Then we headed out to our land to clear out the new growth form our last visit there, so the inspector could see our markings for the propose well site. They called us the next day and said the permit was ready to be picked up. How is that for quick work! Man they got it together up there.
Our trip was filled with lazy days and action packed days. My husband took our oldest son whitewater rafting with this outfitter, NOC, and had a blast. The pictures are up on the companies site. Click HERE and then on the page, click "Favorites Slideshow" to view their awesome pictures.
He also took our daughter horseback riding at Trackrock Stables. They had a wonderful time. Here are some great shots of that.

We also had fun going to various shops and looking at antiques and searching for all of the boiled peanut stands. Our daughter LOVES boiled Valencia peanuts.
One of our favorite spots to go is the Nora Mill Granary in Helen, Georgia. Talk about some great U.S. History--can you say "field trip"? We bought some goodies there for the kids and then headed over to a winery and then a really cool and very large antique shop. The drive there is amazing with hair pin turns through the mountains and scenic views like you wouldn't believe. The oldest two always need to take motion sickness pills to make that trip. 
 Here is our 4 year old hanging out at Pappy's, another one of our favorite stops, with his new "friend".

I  cannot believe he actually sat down next to that scary dude. I thought for sure he'd say no way. Too funny. Pappy's is a very cool store right on a trout river. It has a huge deck out back and a fire place out front. They have everything from furniture, gifts, food items, collectibles, clothing and even an ice cream parlor. We of course pretended that the ice cream was not even there...since we are dairy free. I was really proud of the kids, they didn't even mention it. Way to go!
Check out this article from a motorcycling magazine. It pretty much traces the route we take, but ours is by minivan with 5 kids in tow!!

"Motorcycle Touring - South East

Riding North Georgia's Viper
From the February, 2009 issue of Motorcycle Cruiser
By Scott Cochran

If you like 117 miles of wide, sweeping curves on well-maintained asphalt, followed by tight, tortured, hairpin curves with elevation changes, then this ride is for you.

Start your trip in rural north Georgia, in downtown Helen. Jump on Highway 17, across the river, and head north out of town. At Mile 1.4, turn left on SR 75, ride to Mile 9.5 and turn right on U.S. 129/SR 11. At 16.5 miles, you'll pass Turner's Corner Cafe, a 1928 vintage restaurant and popular motorcycle gathering place. Once operated as a gas station and rural country store, Turner's no longer pumps fuel or sells grocery items. It's still a favorite meeting place for the local motorcyclists, however, and the food is quite good. You can sit inside or outside on the balcony overlooking the Chestatee River. Try any of the homemade pies (pronounced "paaahz") for dessert.

As you leave Turner's Corner, continue north on U.S. 19/129 up Blood Mountain.

Local folklore has it that the mountain got its name after a great battle between the Cherokee and Creek nations-so many braves were killed that their blood ran down the mountain, turning it red. This seems to be a truly war-torn area, as violent names were also given to nearby Slaughter Creek and Slaughter Gap. To the Cherokee, Blood Mountain was sacred because it was the home of the Nunnehi, the spirit people who watched over hunters and hikers.

On my last trip in this area, the Nunnehi must have been watching over me. I was enjoying a spirited ride up SR 129 in the mid-morning hours; traffic was light and I had become one with my motorcycle, leaning into the curves and using both northbound lanes to carve the road as I never had before. I was feeling quite good when something unusual caught my eye and I immediately slowed down to see what it was. As I rounded the next curve at half speed, I rode headlong into a patch of sand covered with diesel fuel. I knew it was diesel by the smell. I stayed upright, but couldn't believe my dumb luck-there's no doubt I would've gone down had I not slowed to see what the source of my initial distraction was (I never did find out).

At Mile 27.1, you'll turn left onto SR 180, also known as Wolf Pen Gap Road. I remember "discovering" Wolf Pen Gap Road quite by accident a few years ago. I was scouting a route for a poker run, came upon this road, and decided to see where it would lead me. When I arrived at SR 60 almost 12 miles later I'm sure I shouted something like "YES!"

I'd ridden Deals Gap (The Dragon) in North Carolina and immediately decided that my new find was worthy of being named "The Viper." There are two man-made lakes, constructed by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp) on this stretch of premium motorcycle blacktop. At Mile 27.5 is the entrance to Vogel State Park and Lake Trahlyta ( This 20-acre lake was named for the Cherokee maiden who's buried at Stonepile Gap, at the intersection of U.S. 19 and SR 60. At Mile 33.7, you'll also pass the entrance to Lake Winfield Scott (www. georgia, the highest lake in Georgia.
At Mile 38, CR 180 dead-ends at SR 60 in the town of Suches. Just south of this intersection is the well-known motorcycle destination, TWO (Two Wheels Only) Motorcycle Resort. Operated by GT and Britt Turner, TWO offers camping, a four-bedroom lodge and a fully furnished two-bedroom mobile home. They also boast of having the only Wi-Fi Internet connection for miles around. Closed during the winter months, TWO usually opens around the end of March for the riding season. If you're coming to TWO, heed their firm policy that states all guests must either be riding a motorcycle or towing one. If you're hungry, ask about the Big (censored) Sirloin Burger. Lunch is available on Saturday and Sunday, dinner on Friday and Saturday, and you can check their Web site ( for other info. If you're there in the fall, try to time your visit for the 50cc rally in October, called the True Grits Fun Run. This event raises money for the local volunteer fire department. Watching grown men and women almost speeding for 60 miles around the North Georgia mountains is worth the trip.

When you leave TWO, head north on SR 60 toward the town of Mineral Bluff. Stay on 60 through a couple of turns until you reach U.S. 76/SR 2/515 and turn right. At Mile 87, you'll turn right onto U.S. 129/SR 11, and at Mile 92, you'll pass Pappy's Trading Post, an eclectic blend of businesses with a certain feel of roadside kitsch. The parking lot is gravel and sometimes soft, as the proprietor of Pappy's informed me one fine day. "The EPA won't let us pave the lot because of the river that runs directly behind the lot, so all we can do is keep putting gravel in every year. I estimate we now have about 20 feet of compacted gravel beneath your motorcycle, but every year the clay rises to the top and we have to add more." If you're uncomfortable on gravel you can park at the south entrance on the asphalt there and walk. At one time, Pappy, a retired firefighter from Florida, owned all the buildings at the Trading Post, but as he approached retirement, he began to sell off parts of the complex. Now almost each business is individually owned. There's a restaurant on site, but in the winter, the Trading Post keeps a fire burning in the outside fireplace, and the homemade cider mull is a welcome warm refreshment while you sit on the back porch and watch the Nottely River flowing by.

Return to U.S. 129 and head south to Mile 94.5, where you'll turn left on SR 180. At Mile 107 turn right on SR 75/17 and enjoy the last few miles of this journey on the twisty section of the Unicoi Turnpike. It's a nice ending to a ride you won't soon forget."
Back to my posting:

I forgot to pack my raw food recipe notebook that I intended to bring. I was making up dishes and just having a great time eating raw on this trip. I enjoyed local produce and of course had to overdose on peaches. We tried Georgia and S. Carolina varieties. By the time we were ready to leave some of the kids had there fill of peaches. I was still eating them happily even when we returned home. I had to bring home two bags full of course.
We went to an apple orchard and bought a huge bag of apples, an apple corer, real maple syrup, pure honey sticks, canned pickles and apple cider for the kids. It was a great time. I had wanted to get another bag of apples on our way out of town but there was no room in the van. Bummer! They were really good Georgia apples.
Our land is only 15 miles from the Georgia line, so we spend a good deal of time there when we are running around looking for things to do and places to visit. The Tennessee line is only 30 minutes away, so we have a good time exploring all parts of this Tri-state area.
How about a raw peach pie recipe?? First I want to share some photos of the three youngest enjoying there juicy peaches on the cabin deck.

I am happy to say that I did remember to pack some of my raw kitchen staples. I packed some raw pecans, walnuts, cashews, coconut, Deglet dates, figs, buckwheat krispies, blue green algae, my food processor and mini blender. I actually ended up using the blender that was in the cabin we rented to make the kids smoothies. I was going to use my mini blender for salad dressings but I decided to make ones that didn't need to be blended. I got a lot of use out of my small food processor. I am convinced that I just can't leave home without it.
Here is the pie I decided to throw together. It had a simple nut crust and a very easy sauce. Everyone really enjoyed it. I am pleased with how it turned out. You just can't go wrong when you are using such amazing fresh peaches.

South Carolina RAW Peach Pie
by Elizabeth @ Raw Living and Learning

8 Deglet dates, pitted; soak 3 of them in filtered water
1/4 C raw pecans, soaked
1/4 C raw walnuts, soaked
1/4 C raw cashews, soaked
1 capful of vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
1 T raw honey (optional)
4-5 large fresh South Carolina peaches (any fresh peach will do)
fresh lemon juice

In a small food processor process all of the nuts with 5 of the pitted dates, vanilla and a pinch of sea salt. Process until a sticky "dough" forms. Press into a pie plate. Slice the peaches into very thin slices and toss with some fresh lemon juice. Place the sliced peaches in a circular pattern on top of the crust, covering the entire crust with peaches. Next process the sauce. Put the 3 soaked dates into the food processor and add just enough of the soak water to process them into a sauce. Add the tablespoon of honey and process some more. Drizzle over the top of the peaches. Cover pie with wrap and refrigerate 4 hours. Slice and serve. Enjoy!

~JMJ~ Today I am grateful for the time I had with my precious family enjoying God's glorious creation on our 10 day escape to the mountains. It was just what I needed and now I am refreshed and ready to dig in again to the daily grind. 


Cosmic said...

mmm your peach pie looks good!


kelli said...

glad you had a great trip! love the photos of your little ones!

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for the comments Cosmic and Kelli!!
Have a great week.

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