14 Places You Must See in the North Georgia Mountains

 

 

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“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going homes; that wilderness is a necessity…” – John Muir

My happy place is in the mountains of North Georgia/Western North Carolina. The area is so unique because you are on the border of Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Just a short drive can take you to so many different and unique places. Since our family has been going almost every year for as long as I can remember, I have rounded up some of the must see places in this beautiful region!

1. Nantahala River

Located outside Bryson City, North Carolina, the Nantahala River is great for white water rafting, zip lining and hiking. We have been white water rafting here several times and the rapids are mild but can be a little tricky (we have had a few riders bounce out of the rafts). More info about the Nantahala River can be found here: https://noc.com/plan-your-trip/nantahala-river

2. Andy’s Trout Farm

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Andy’s Trout Farm is a fun little day trip for families. My grandfather took us here when we were very young, and repeated the trip for my son’s 3rd birthday this year. Lots of special memories in this picturesque place. They have several fully stocked trout ponds and even a place to get married! Andy’s is in Otto, North Carolina and you can find out more info here: https://www.andystroutfarm.com

3. Wayah Bald

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Wayah Bald is a high-altitude treeless open area in Nantahala National Forest, near Franklin, North Carolina. The Wayah Bald Observation Tower is located at the area’s highest point (5,385 feet) and the was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1937 for fire detection. The Appalachian Trail and Bartram Trail cross at Wayah Bald. It is a short easy walk to the tower and the view is absolutely breath-taking and is always a must-see for us.

4. Goats on the Roof

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Real talk, I love goats. Goats on the Roof in Tiger, Georgia is a fun family stop to feed some goats, eat some nitro homemade ice cream and do a little shopping. Check them out here: http://www.goats-on-the-roof.com

5. Lake Rabun

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While we have never stayed on the lake, we have gone there several times. Lake Rabun in Lakemont, Georgia is a beautiful lake with some beautiful houses. There are hotels, rental houses and restaurants around the lake and it is very close to a bunch of other great attractions.

6. Clayton, Georgia

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Clayton is usually the closest town to us when we stay in the mountains. It is full of cute little shops, restaurants and bars. The town has gotten decidedly more hip in the last 10 years or so. We always have a good time in Clayton.

7. Helen, Georgia

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Helen, GA is a really unique town that is a must-see in Georgia. Located on the Chattahoochee River, Helen is a Bavarian Village­ in the Georgia mountains. It is a lot of fun when decorated for Christmas or to explore in summer. You can even grab an inner-tube and float right through town on the river!

8. 12 Spies Vineyard

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While Georgia isn’t necessarily known for its wineries,  12 spies Vineyards is a little taste of the west coast in Georgia. Located in Rabun County, 12 spies has some uniquely southern and delicious wines. Some of my favorites are the Muscadine Wine and Front Porch Peach.

9. Highlands, NC

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In addition to a multitude of outdoor activities in the surrounding Nantahala National Forest, Highlands boasts exquisite restaurants, fabulous shopping and a great cultural arts scene. The “postcard” downtown offers plenty of art galleries, antique stores and upscale boutiques. Five of the restaurants have been awarded the coveted Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. In the middle of downtown Highlands is Old Edwards Inn and Spa, a resort consisting of the historic main building, a full-service European–style spa, Madison’s Restaurant and Wine Garden.

10. Secret Falls

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Just 6.5 miles from busy downtown Highlands is this hidden oasis that is definitely a secret to many. Secret Falls (also known as Big Shoals Falls) is a gorgeous 50-ft. waterfall on Big Creek that cascades into a serene pool. We had a lot of fun playing in the water at the bottom of the falls.

It’s a moderately easy half-mile hike, but there are no signs to the parking area. So, this remote area is mostly visited by locals. There’s one lone stake in the small parking area at the start of the trail that says “Secret Falls.”

11. Minnehaha Falls

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Located on Lake Rabu, Minnehaha Falls is a short, easy hike to a beautiful, towering waterfall.

12. Anna Ruby Falls

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Anna Ruby Falls is a beautiful  and rare double waterfall. Located near Unicoi State Park and Helen, GA, it is a fantastic kid-friendly, stroller-friendly and dog-friendly hike (I have even done the hike while pregnant!).

13. Tallulah Gorge

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Tallulah Gorge is one of the 7 wonders of Georgia, and there is a reason why! The gorge is approximately 2 miles long and features rocky cliffs up to 1,000 feet high. Through it, a series of falls known as Tallulah Falls drop a total of 490 ft in one mile. There are 6 separate waterfalls to hike through and a suspension bridge! While it is a tough hike, it is certainly worth it.

14. Chattooga River

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The Chattooga River has quickly become one of our favorite places to hang out. It is a very short drive from Clayton and is short easy hike down. There are two separate parts of the river and both are very cool. The top part is fast moving and has lots of rapids (and rafters!). The bottom part of the river is very slow moving and is almost like a beach with its sandy shoreline. Our son loves playing in the shallow water and we spend hours hanging out!

 

These are just a few of my favorite places in the North Georgia mountains. Let me know what places you love and which ones I am missing!

 

 

 

 

10 Things

10 Things Spring.pngSpring is in the air! This warmer weather is giving me a serious case of wanderlust. Whether you are traveling and taking insta-worthy pictures, laying on the beach with a good book or need some other inspiration, this is a list of my current must-haves.

1 . This dress is perfect for Spring. I got it a few weeks ago and the compliments have been non-stop. Plus it’s so comfortable! Is there anything better?

2. Spring gives me serious hat-envy. I picked this one up recently and keep looking for excuses to wear it.

3. I am a terrible girl, and never could quite master the curling iron. I have been loving the beachwaver curling iron. Takes zero skill, and my hair is amazing.

4. I have read dozens of books this year, but this one has been my favorite so far. It has a little sci-fi feel to it, but it is done really well and the story kept me really engaged. This author also has another series that I really loved too called The Chronos Files.

5. This is my current must-have app! It is perfect for editing travel pictures and is super easy to use.

6. Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray is an essential for summer hair. A part mousse (but way lighter), part salt spray (but less gritty)—for big, beachy texture.

7. How cute is this iPhone case for when the travel bug bites?

8. I have been living in this shirt lately. Slightly oversized, jersey material and super flattering. This is a Spring staple when paired with boyfriend jeans and sandals.

9. Ridiculously adorable weekender bag. I have been lusting over it for weeks!

10. My new favorite website! I recently used it to update my resume and it was amazing. I have been using it for graphic design at work and even for this post! It makes being creative really easy.

 

 

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London is always a good idea

969792_529826093739937_947906313_nLondon. If you have ever been there, you know what I’m talking about. London has my heart and it calls me back every day.

We spent several days exploring London and I don’t think I could ever get enough of that beautiful city.

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Some must visit places for the history buff are the British Museum and the National Gallery. The National Gallery houses one of the greatest collection of paintings in the world. I can nerd out on some art, so this was a great experience. Vermeer, Titian, Cézanne, Monet, van Gogh. You name it, they have it.

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National Gallery

The British Museum was even more impressive than the National Gallery. There is an insane amount of artifacts preserved here. Almost every ancient civilization is represented. It is pretty awe-inspiring to see ancient artifacts first hand. Did I mention that it’s free? Because it is!

We also took a tour of the Tower of London (this was not free). The old fortress part of the Tower is really cool. You can walk through all of the old cells where they kept various people throughout London’s history. Except for the house where they kept Anne Boleyn – that “house” us guarded still. Super weird. Then there are new buildings inside of the tower, including the building where they keep the crown jewels. It was pretty surreal to see such a mixture of old and new inside of the ancient fortress.

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Guards keeping watch outside of apartments where Anne Boleyn was held)

From the Tower of London, you have a great view of Tower Bridge. I kept mistakenly calling it the London Bridge. Oops!

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Harrods, Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace are also must-sees!

But my most favorite part of London was the Underground. I don’t know why, but riding the tube was so much fun for me. Navigating the lines and feeling the rush of wind as the train pulled into the station made me feel like I was part of the city.

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I can’t wait to get my feet back on British soil! What was your favorite part of London?