Needless to say, after 4+ days of steady rain and damp, raw air, when we awoke on Wednesday, December 7th and the sun was shining, we were up and ready to hit the road for exploration! Following our daily workout at the gym, we headed south toward Georgia. Now keep in mind, we are located off Exit 1 of Interstate 85 in South Carolina, so the Georgia state line is only a mile south – we had just never ventured south since our arrival; therefore, we were heading toward unchartered territory!
Our first stop was in Lavonia, Georgia, at 211 Main Street , a Mennonite eating establishment that is open only for lunch except on Fridays when they serve an evening meal, and the restaurant is closed on Saturdays and Sundays. The daughter of one of the cooks at Chickasaw Point’s Trails Grill, where I’m working, is the baker at 211 Main Street, and they are known not only for their delicious food but also for their homemade breads and luscious pies and cakes. We were certainly not disappointed! After a meal of soup and 1/2 of an Italian Panini for me and a chicken salad sandwich for Bill, we broke the rules and indulged in a piece of lemon meringue pie – one piece and two forks of course! It was incredible!
By the time we left the restaurant the sun had disappeared, but from there we turned northwest toward Toccoa, Georgia, in search of Toccoa Falls. There are numerous waterfalls in northern Georgia which we hope to see, but his one seemed particularly intriguing as it is the tallest free-falling waterfall east of the Mississippi and is located on the campus of Toccoa Falls College, a Christian liberal arts institution at the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. You access the falls through the college bookstore after paying an admission price of $1.00 (for us old folk!) and it is a short and very peaceful walk out to the actual falls. In addition to many chairs being set up in view of the falls, there is also a memorial to the students who lost their lives in 1977 when a dam on the lake above the falls broke and the entire campus was devastatingly flooded. On our return trip – again through the bookstore – I asked one of the girls working if they held services or classes by the falls and she explained that the chairs were there because of the many weddings that are held in that spot – and what a beautiful spot it is!
We had read about a small town close to Lake Rabun, Georgia, that is experiencing a revitalization, so our next stop was Lakemont, Georgia. Although very quiet on the day of our visit, we stopped into Annie’s at Alley’s, a market and deli housed in a building that served as a general store in the 1920’s. It now is one of several antique stores, galleries and lodging sites in a small strip of U.S. Highway 441 that was originally a train depot. In speaking with the owner of the market, we learned that the summer is crazy here in that residents of and visitors to Lake Rabun flood the area. She also directed us to a road that goes around the lake and ensured us that it would be worth the trip! Of course we couldn’t leave without purchasing a piece of her freshly baked apple cake – which we took home because we still hadn’t recovered from our lemon meringue pie!
Following the recommendation of our new friend in Lakemont, we followed her directions and drove around Lake Rabun. On a very narrow and curvy roadway we witnessed some of the most beautiful lake homes we have ever seen. Most, if not all of them, include a boathouse, complete with a rooftop deck, and range anywhere from half a million dollars up to almost four million! What a wonderful place to call home!
As the sun was beginning to set, we made our way home on somewhat of a circle, through mountainous countryside. We noted signs for several other waterfalls so made plans to return for several days of hiking and discovery. Overall, our first day in a southern direction was certainly enjoyable on both the culinary and the natural beauty front!