You all probably noticed I haven't been on in a couple of days. Well... the husband and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary, on August 25th, by going on a second honeymoon! We decided we would go back to Helen, Georgia, the location of our first and original honeymoon. The only difference is a different cabin. And I must say, we had quite the adventure! We didn't announce our adventure publicly for obvious safety reasons, but now that we are back home, let me take you through it.
We woke up on Thursday, August 25th, at 3 a.m. and were out the door by 4 a.m. Since we are in Southern Louisiana, we had quite the drive ahead of us. The only stopping we did were for bathroom breaks up until we got into Georgia and that's where the real adventure began for us!
Along the route, the first stop we added was for Expedition Big Foot in Blue Ridge, Georgia. This was something we thought would be a good laugh and a unique stop. Plus, after our son overheard me mentioning this to my husband and he was excited so if nothing else, we had to stop and get him a little surprise.
This museum was small and a novelty for sure. There were a lot of "collectible" items of "proof" of Big Foot sightings and such. Now, my husband and I believe Big Foot existing is a possibility but didn't honestly believe the items were real evidence of anything. Nonetheless, it was an experience. The staff was friendly and sociable. If nothing else, it was a memorable stop with friendly people. Plus, we picked up a couple of plush dolls for the kids which were a hit. I grabbed a huckleberry chocolate bar since I never had one before and O-M-G it was delicious!
For our next stop, we attempted to go to Bay's Covered Bridge in Helen, Georgia. We don't have covered bridges (at least none that we have come across) where we live so we were looking forward to this unique view. For our trip, I found 2 along the route I made. Well, you can clearly tell by the photos that we didn't make it to the first one. I mean, we made it to the park itself, but not the bridge. Let me explain.
We went into the park, where there is a $5 parking fee. No big deal. We went in and told the park ranger we were there simply to check out the bridge. We weren't looking to hike the trails. It was already around 4 p.m. Georgia time and we had been on the road all day. So a good opportunity to stretch our legs for a minute, see a cool site, then continue on our way. The park ranger said it was about a mile hike to the bridge so 2 miles round trip hiking. No big deal. I don't mind walking. I walk a lot around my area. Well..... nobody explained that a 1-mile hike in Southern Louisiana is totally different from a 1-mile hike in Georgia! Being in the mountains, you're not walking a straight path. You are walking up and down the mountain. It has a nice incline. So for people like us who are not used to that, it was like torture. LOL! So we walked about a mile and didn't see the bridge. But we were exhausted and hurting so we turned around and headed out. Later on, we found out that 1 mile in that terrain feels more like you are walking 4-5 miles. We are not in shape for that! Oops! It's a good laugh now, but I'm still sore from walking around on our trip (as a whole, not just this stop) in muscles I hadn't felt before!
So we made it back to the car and went on to the next location: Stovall Mill Covered Bridge in Sautee Nacoochee, Georgia. For us, it was totally unique. It was really sad to see the bridge had vandalism all over it rather than being kept up, but the bridge itself was just a neat experience. You get a nice view of the water/creek - whichever it is referred to. This one was free to check out and no hiking was required!
After spending a couple of minutes checking out the area, we got back in the car and made our way to our cabin where we would stay for the duration of our trip.
The trip to our cabin was an experience in itself. As someone not used to driving in the mountains... woah! So we hadn't taken this route the last time we were in Georgia 10 years prior. We had taken a plane and then rented a car. Our previous cabin was in a different location. Well, since we drove this time and I added on the above-mentioned stops, we got to experience driving along the mountain... which is absolutely TERRIFYING for us! We are used to dodging potholes. Not driving where you literally had about a tires width of space before a drop-down! No guard rails. No shoulder. Just no extra space. Basically, if you sneeze and swerve, you could go down. At least, that's what it felt like. And I didn't realize how much that had an effect on me until we arrived at our cabin and after showering and feeling relaxed, go to close my eyes to rest and it felt like everything was spinning with very VIVID images of a black road winding through the forest. Took about 4 hours for that to stop. Something I never had happen before. Remember, we don't have such things nor have I ever driven through such areas.
Thankfully, the rest of the trip my husband drove, and while I didn't have that happen again, those certain select areas had me on edge. And you Georgia people are saints! We would be 10 under the speed limit and not once were y'all honking or trying to rush us out the way. I really wanted a sign in my back window to tell y'all how sorry I was for going so slow! LOL!
The cabin itself was beautiful though. We stayed in Cleveland, Georgia. We had plenty of room. As soon as you walk in the door you could smell the cedar wood. Of course, at night, we city people opted to stay inside. But it was an amazing view and a great layout! We had the main floor which contained the master bedroom, master bathroom, kitchen, and living room. If you go upstairs it is simply a bedroom with a small full bathroom. If you go downstairs into the basement there was another bathroom with a shower and sauna along with a game room that featured a bunk bed, futon, video game system, pool table, arcade game, and a laundry area.
Outside there was a full wrap-around deck with a hot tub and rocking chairs. A little bit away from the cabin was a gravel trail to the firepit area which was lit with some string lights.
When traveling to and from the cabin during early morning hours or early evening hours, you were likely to see a nice group of deer. It was lovely to see!
For our first day out on the town, we chose to spend it in Helen, Georgia.
We got an early start and ate breakfast at the local Waffle House - a favorite from our previous trip. We were happy that the service was still as friendly as ever. Our waitress was so nice and was all smiles and sociable. Of course, the food was still quick and amazing as well! We were happy to see that hadn't changed since we were last there 10 years prior.
After eating breakfast we headed into town on South Main Street to check out the shops we hadn't been to previously. We started our day at Outpost Gold and Gem Panning in Helen, Georgia. We got there around when they first open. The guy working was awesome. Very friendly and sociable. We got to take our time and we found some nice treasures to take home.
Next, we went to Nora Mill Granary and found a couple of things. We love the old school design of the shop. From there, we went across the street to the Antique store and walked around.
Once we were done with that, we checked out the Georgia Mountain Coaster. I'm not a fan of roller coasters and I was nervous about this one, however, it was actually really fun as it is not a typical roller coaster. You get to control it yourself to determine how slow or fast you go. Plus, it's a rather short ride. It was a ton of fun and glad the hubby pushed me to give it a go! I wasn't disappointed!
From there, we parked the car and walked around the Alpine German Village area. One of the places we stopped at was Pepper Palace, which was an experience. The guy working was very knowledgeable about their products, very friendly, and we had a lot of fun tasting the various hot sauces. The real excitement came when my husband decided to try their hottest sauce available. You have to sign a waiver as it contains the top 5 hottest peppers in the world! I didn't try it, but despite the heat, apparently, it had a really good flavor!
From there, we were surprisingly disappointed with the rest of the Alpine area. While it is gorgeous and the people were friendly, it was nothing more than a tourist trap... and not in a good way. Being from New Orleans, we can tell you Bourbon Street is a tourist trap. However, we are known as party city and you will find bars and a variety of alcohol. Overpriced, but themed to what we are. If you go to the beaches in Mississippi or Alabama, you will find tourist traps themed around the beaches. Well, while in the Alpin Village, the only thing that was themed, was the village itself. The shops, for the most part, were not themed toward Georgia or the area. Literally, a ton of 'souvenir shops' with waaayyyy overpriced items. I mean, plenty of stops with dollar store items priced at like $10+. So that really took away from the experience. Sure, a few shops here and there were unique, but otherwise, a big disappointment.
So we decided to go eat some lunch and head elsewhere. We ate at Cowboys and Angels in the area, which turned out to be very good. I mean the food was excellent! I had some type of burger with caramelized peaches, which was OMG delicious! My husband had a steak and didn't even need to add steak sauce because it was done PERFECT. Even I thought it was good and I'm not a steak person!
After we ate, not knowing what to do and feeling a bit homesick and disappointed from the experience of the Alpine Village, my husband found the Mt. Yonah Book Exchange. We didn't stop in for the books, although they have a HUGE selection for those who do want to check out the books. We stopped in to visit the cat. Look, I have 14 cats and we were staying in a large cabin for just the two of us.
The lady working was so sweet and friendly. She told us that we wouldn't believe how many people come in to pet the cat, Daisy. Daisy was so sweet and apparently loves people and attention! It was just what we needed and brought a smile to our faces.
From the bookstore, we decided to stop at Babyland - the Cabbage Patch Kids home! We stopped here previously to bring home our daughter a baby doll. She had cried because it wasn't a real baby. That was 10 years ago. This time, we went just to look around and left without a baby. It was still a unique little stop and is more exciting for younger children. However, it is still pretty cool to look at and it's free to get in!
Once we left there we to the Old School House Mall to check out the antiques while we were in the area. We enjoyed checking it out the last time and we enjoyed it once again this time. The staff was friendly and welcoming - the same as it was 10 years ago! Which we were really happy about.
From there, we headed back to the cabin for the night to figure out what we were going to do. We knew our original plans to stay in Georgia were just done. It didn't quite work out as planned. So we scrolled online to see what wasn't too far from us. That's when we discovered the Titanic Museum was only about 3 hours away from us in Tennessee!
So we made plans to wake up early and make the drive to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee to the largest Titanic Museum. We didn't check the route or anything, only selected the quickest route possible and boy were we in for an amazing surprise! First, we went through North Carolina, which had an amazing view. But that wasn't the best part. The best part was the route we took, took us right through the Smoky Mountains! And while driving through the Smoky Mountains is when we crossed over into Tennessee. Like I said, we didn't pay attention to the details of the route when we put it in the GPS. We went with the shortest drive and it was just amazing!!
After 3 hours of gorgeous scenery, we arrived at the Titanic Museum! They had quite a bit of memorabilia from the Titanic on the first floor, where photos are not allowed. You can begin taking photos on the Grand Stair Case. No flash and no video allowed either. However, there was a lot to see!
We loved how you could feel the cold Arctic air and touch the 28-degree water. That was freezing!! You could also experience the various angles of the ship sinking and what it may have felt like trying to hold on at that angle. I can only imagine what those passengers felt!
There were a lot of interactive stations along with knowledgeable and friendly staff who were dressed for the part as if they were working on the Titanic. It was clean and very well done!
My only disappointment with this was once I returned home to discover one of the items I purchased was not in my bag and it didn't fall out in my car. Once purchased, everything stayed in my car so we wouldn't lose anything. We're thinking that the staff checking customers out may have accidentally put it in the other lady's bag or possibly left it off to the side and none of us noticed. They were all chatting and a lot was going on during the checkout process of multiple people checking out at once and such. I have reached out to the museum to see if they will mail me my purchased item and am awaiting a response back. So I will update you on this once I know how this will be handled.
The Titanic Museum was quick to respond and after sending proof of purchase information they will be mailing out the violin tomorrow! Amazing customer service!
From the Titanic Museum, we went to the Hollywood House of Wax. There was soooo much to do on that strip in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. It was like the Vegas Strip of Tennessee. Just so much going on, it was amazing! That was the feeling we were looking for and it was achieved that day. The feeling of excitement and pure happiness.
The Wax Museum was so cool! While some of the faces of the celebrities weren't perfect, the wax figures were done so well that they looked like real people and you could tell who they were modeled after. The details were amazing! And taking photos with some of our favorites was really exciting. Some areas had props for you to take photos with, too. All they ask is not to touch the wax figures.
Apart of the wax museum is a little fun activity house thing. We played an interactive 3D shooting game and did a MIRROR MAZE! We had never done one of those before and it was so much fun. It's perfect for families as the mirror maze is not scary at all.
It was really clean and the staff was so friendly in both parts of this.
From there, we went to Wonderworks. This is basically an interactive Children's Museum. We walked through the "rotating tunnel" and tried out the bed of nails. The bed of nails felt amazing on my back! We were able to see water defy gravity and rain up rather than down. We got to touch the freezing water that those on Titanic experienced. There was even a timer to see how long you could keep your hand in the water! There were just a ton of activities!
We really loved the design of this as the outside looks like the building is upside down and when you first walk into the lobby to purchase your tickets, if you look up at the ceiling it looks as if everything is upside down as well. Just an overall cool experience that would have been even better if we had our kids with us.
From there, we decided to grab some lunch. Since we hadn't originally planned on going to this location, we weren't sure where to eat. As we drove down the road we saw an old school looking diner and decided that would be where we would eat lunch. It turned out this was the Sunliner Diner in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
Not only was the outside of the diner a classic design with two old school cars, but the inside was themed as well. This includes the wait staff dressed in appropriately themed clothing! Even the food! The menu looked like a newspaper! It had a little information about Pigeon Forge on the main cover, but when you opened it, there was the menu! It was a really neat experience and the food was delicious! I mean, everything was fresh and delicious!
I had an authentic old school strawberry milkshake along with banana nut french toast. YUM!
After we ate, we headed to Gatlinburg, Tennessee so we could check out Doc's Magic Shop. My husband loves doing magic, but there are no magic shops anywhere near us. So this was an absolute must since it was nearby!
Gatlinburg was beautiful! The magic shop was absolutely awesome as well. While it may be a small shop, they have a variety of tricks for purchase. And of course, Doc Waddell was in shop ready and willing to show you any of the tricks! Even show you how they work so you could perform them yourself if you'd like. It was such a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. We definitely were not disappointed!
From there, we did go to another magic shop called Make it Magic which was another treasure discovery for us. Once again, there were a ton of tricks to check out! But while my husband was checking out the magic stuff, I checked out the handmade craft goodies and found a couple of wooden puzzle boxes where you could hide little knick-knacks or jewelry for the kids. Those were a hit! Plus, the lady and her husband who own/work at the shop were so sweet and friendly!
After that, we headed back to the cabin and packed for our trip home. Woke up the next morning and made our way back. It was quite an adventure. A lot of fun, a lot of scary moments with the winding mountain roads, but an adventure neither of us will forget. What a way to celebrate 10 years! Now back to reality. We're taking today to get settled back in and then back to work it is for the both of us. Of course, one thing we didn't miss about home was the humidity! While sometimes the temperatures were the same as home in some areas, the heat was not bad at all because it didn't have the humidity!
I hope you enjoyed checking out my adventure!
Feel free to watch some of the video clips I took during our adventure:
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