Archives for posts with tag: Georgia back roads

A very dear friend of my daughter’s, Beauregard, sent me a PM on FB about this event and encouraged me to come have some fun. I’d met the owners of Hatch Camp & Art Farm a couple of years ago when they hosted other musical events where Beau (of Beauregard & The Downright) was performing when Mama & Daddy Hatch were awaiting their blessed event. The timing was perfect as I’d been on the computer in my office for days doing research and working way too hard for a retired woman. So, armed with water, camera and excitement, I jumped in my truck and headed  East toward what promised to be a fun day at Hatch Camp & Art Farm!

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Yes, I cheated. I took a screen shot of their FB page to post what they are doing, who was there and was quite surprised at many things. Firstly, they plan to have one of these monthly! Secondly, they have spaces for booths available for people to share their art! Thirdly, they have a lovely place for exploring on a good sized stream, which I hear is good for fly fishing, where people can camp for the weekend and do the kumbaya thang all weekend long if they want or just hit and run like I did.

As an aside, Mama Hatch was busy with orchestrating the whole event while looking after Baby Hatch who was exploring everything! Turns out that Daddy Hatch is a master fly fisherman who loves creating flies so much so that he explores his creek regularly to see what larvae are in the water so he can mimic just the right fly de jour! He has turned his garage into a shop and fun place for you fly-fisher-persons to explore!


Another interesting aspect of venturing out in this area is that you never know who you will run into! I saw one of the waiters who always took care of Mom and I when we went for our traditional Sunday Brunch at the Lake Rabun Hotel! But this time, Tolvin Stiles wasn’t waiting on tables, he was sitting at one making the most delicious copper wire jewelry!


Tolvin’s works of art!


Tolvin creating new ones!

I meandered around the pathways and byways of this lovely retreat meeting a variety of local artists along the way whilst musicians played folk music. It reminded me of the many times my daughter, Ava of, and I went to events similar to this. Those, however, were much larger. I like the more intimate variety where you actually have a chance to connect with people instead of getting lost in the crowd. This was lovely and I will go back again!

Now, for what I really came for. I could hear Beau getting ready on stage. It was time for me to have some Beauregard! Not only do I love seeing him but also having the chance to  listen to one of my favorite singer, songwriter, musicians who really puts his heart and soul into his music like few do these days of cheating with canned music, tricks and screaming. Bearegard & The Downright are Down Right! Personally, I love his most personal touch to all his ukulele songs. Something very beautiful in his soul is revealed each time he plays it. Don’t get me wrong, when you hear his band, you will be moved…but to the dance floor! I’ve been known to dance the night away the first time I went to see them play a few years back. If he is in your neighborhood, go see him! Follow him on FB! It’s a funky Jamaican Mountain Country City boy sound unique just to Beauregard!


As he makes his living doing what he loves, he always has hats and albums for sale a his events!


Beauregard singing solo and so good!

If you are up this way for their next event, maybe I’ll see you there! Y’all come on up, ya’ hear!

HAPPY TRAILS…until we meet again!


I do love Atlanta because of its Southernness and history; my history there; varied trees,  plants and flowers; backroads; special places to visit; and Ava memories. I had a blast giving one of Ava’s dearest friends and mentor Phase 1 of Donna’s Atlanta Driving/Some-Walking Tour.

As always, I start in my home area of Sandy Springs which is in Northwest Atlanta which used to be a sleepy little area of farms (including ours) and quiet country living. Now, it’s all that and more. It’s THE place to live! Do those rich people know that a tenement farmer raised pigs on that property and that’s probably why their grass is so green? Or that the multi-million dollar house sits in our cow pasture of yesteryear? It’s definitely hard to recognize and my brain gets all tangled up in reality and my memories of horseback riding over to the Chattahoochee River and riding the old timber roads or milking the cow or playing in the creeks or happily padding along barefooted chasing after someone or something. Awww. The Good Ole Days!


Me “driving” our tractor I called “The Green Dragon!” Looks like I got stuck!

Anyway, here’s some of which I included in the Phase 1 Driving/SomeWalking Tour for Ava’s friend and one of my Chirrens yesterday. Yeehaw!

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Swan House is in an area we call Buckhead because it was there was a General Store at its old crossroads with a Deer Buck Head over the door. The Swan House is a part of the Atlanta History Center. One Ticket at the History Center gives you access to Center’s fabulous Exhibits, the Swan House, and, in October, to the relocated Cyclorama which used to be at the Atlanta Zoo!

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Fox Theater’s outstanding acoustics have been recognized all over the world!

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When we used to go to the movies here, each side of this area was where the latest, finest lady’s fashions were exhibited. It was saved from demolition in 1976 by locals. YAY!

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I’ve been wondering where they moved the famous CocaCola sign to and there it was in all its glory right over the building at Five Points in the heart of Downtown Atlanta on top of the old Wormser Hats Building!

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Brand new Mercedes-Benz Atlanta Stadium! Quite impressive!

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On to my favorite restaurant – No Mas – in the Castleberry Arts district across the street from the old GE Supply Building where I used to work a hundred years ago!

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Whoever created this place, needs a gold star for doing it right! Plus, the food is amazing!

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Got a hankering for outdoor seating?

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So many interesting things going on inside with the old and new structure being married with Mexican artifacts and art!

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Ohm yeah! I want one of these for my front porch!

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Before you leave, go into their Artisans Market store just to the left of the restaurant patio for more stimulation of the purchasable kind! LOVE this place!

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Our State Capital Building is crowned with none other than Gold from our very own Dahlonega! I remember when they brought the gold to the Capital in wagon trails from there to refurbish it.

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And, last but not least, Ava’s love – Little Five Points. She loved living here and felt safer here than anywhere. Junkman’s Daughter was her favorite place to shop; The Vortex was her favorite restaurant; and the Brew House was where she’d go for libations.

I modify each tour according to the wishes of my passenger, their age, the heat/humidity index and my energy. Most of this was a driving tour but we’ll hit the streets next time she’s in town and do it right! This was just the tip of the iceberg tour!

HAPPY TRAILS…until we meet again!

Mom’s favorite place for me to take her for any occasion was our very own Lake Rabun Hotel & Restaurant (  but especially for Sunday Brunch! So, whenever a newbie comes to the my mountain home (Southern Comfort Cabin) to visit, I  take them for their great Sunday Brunch.

I’m  truly blessed to have many wonderful Chirrens and Grand Chirrens, especially after  my daughter, Ava, passed ( My Chirrens keep in touch with me and visit when possible from all over the country and beyond. I had two of my Chirrens meet for the first time! It’s been so exciting! They really are twins! Mirjana (from Canada) has been with me learning Southern beginning in Jacksonville, Jekyll Island, Savannah, my mountain cabin with Little Five Points being her last stop, of course. Stacey, who I adopted upon meeting fifteen years ago, came up to meet Mirjana (her “sister-by-another-mother”). We’ve easily recognized we’re all of the same Gypsy, Bellydancing Singing blood! How could we not be when Ava brought us all together?

As my Chirrens come up for a visit, the tradition has become for me to take them to Lake Rabun Hotel’s Sunday Brunch. Today was the day! Yum!

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Path entrance Lake Rabun Hotel

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Front View Lake Rabun Hotel

Deck Picture

Lake Rabun Porch Dining

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Lake Rabun Hotel Witham Room

100 plates

Local “farm to table” foods

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Always good eats!

For more information, please visit or email Josh Addis, their General Manager, at to make your reservations to stay in one of their newly renovated suites, have dinner or to have one of their signature drinks!

It’s all good and a fabulous way to spend your time up here in the Northeast Georgia Mountains…and make new friends!

HAPPY TRAILS…until we meet again!


Savannah, Georgia…deeply steeped in history beginning with its founding in 1733 and the women who were responsible for much of it remaining mostly intact…is a breathtakingly gorgeous city worthy of a much longer stay than Mirjana and I had. But, we gave it our all even to the very minute we left.

We finished our whirlwind tour with none other than the infamous Shannon Scott walking tour of the Bonaventure Cemetery mostly made famous by a book/movie a couple of decades back, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” We who have made that trek to Savannah for decades know, or thought we knew, a great deal about this Cemetery and it’s residents but Shannon Scott’s ability to entertainingly weave this base knowledge with his obvious hunger to find the secrets behind the curtains in his guided tour ( is certainly a treat worth doing. In the two hour tour, Shannon not only gave his audience the insider view of how the Bonaventure Plantation became a cemetery but how Savannah lives changed by the persons who now reside within its hallowed grounds.

I wish I could have made notes during Shannon’s tour for this writing, but I was totally captured by his vibrant storytelling; of interjecting the secrets of its inhabitants; and how strangers’ lives were forever changed by these now gone but forever alive people in history. Shannon’s sixteen years of Bonaventure touring experience and love for its history and art is most evident and entertaining. Take the tour; absorb its ambiance and his knowledge as it’s so worth the investment.

As pictures speak volumes, I’ll just tell of my adventure with photos.

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Bonaventure’s Custodial House at the entrance.

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Bonaventure gardens

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Elegant chiseled white marble art forms.

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Walz was the most famous of the artists who took wooden mallet & chisel in hand to create these standing beauties of art history.

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Different symbols on these iron slave grave markings indicated the person’s standing at the time of death…slave or freedman.

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Angels among us.

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Gracie is the story of a young girl who won the hearts of many just by being herself, playing daily in her parent’s hotel and surrounding area. Walz was new to Savannah and hoped to get his monument sculpting business started when a grieving father walked into his shop, handed him a picture of a young girl and turned and walked out without a word. The rest is history.

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Ode to Gracie. 

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Johnny Mercer was born a musical savant and into a wealthy, established Savannah family. His early talents were reflected in his ability to pick up and play any musical instrument. He wrote volumes of songs loved by all: “Moon River,” “One For My Baby.” “Blues In The Night,” and “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” It was in the Mercer House in Savannah where the story of murder and mayhem took place in the 1980’s touted story written in the 1997 book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”

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Italian artists and historic influences evident here!

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Flowing fabrics of marble reminded me of Michelangelo’s hand.

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All roads in Savannah eventually lead to the River! Nice ending!

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Wow! The ultimate in intricate, elaborate gateways.

Words of wisdom for your summer visit to Savannah’s Bonaventure tour are: dress code is cool & comfortable, bring water, tennis shoes over sandals because of sand and ants, hat for shade (or find shade) and listen to every word Shannon imparts. He definitely gives his all in this mystical, magical tour the likes of which I’ve rarely seen in a cemetery!

HAPPY TRAILS…until we meet again!

It was wonderful being with my daughter’s dear friend of eighteen years and her precious baby who celebrated her first birthday recently. They live in Florida, and, anytime I’m on the west coast, it gives me a good excuse to go to my favorite beach. I can’t tell you the name because it’ll become my hated beach…too many people will show up and ruin it for me!

Where's Montana? On the beach!

Where’s Montana? On the beach!

As I was drooling over the small black line roads everyone tries to avoid, I found a new treasure. There’s no using the GPS when you’re going back roads. It’s map all the way!

Florida back road through Three Rivers State Park. Ponds loaded with wildlife and  fishing lakes.

Florida back road through Three Rivers State Park. Ponds loaded with wildlife and fishing lakes.

Back roads lined with blooming bright red clover and thistle!

Back roads lined with blooming bright red clover and thistle!

Lily Pads floating lazily in the ponds.

Lily Pads floating lazily in the ponds.

Blooming thistle.

Blooming thistle.

Beautiful Spanish Moss draped oaks and mysterious dwellings tickling one’s imagination about who lives/lived there and where in the world did they work? There’s nothing for miles!

What a view!

What a view!

Then you cross the Georgia State line and the terrain switches to commercial pine thickets and agricultural fields.

Then you cross the Georgia State line and the terrain switches to commercial pine thickets and agricultural fields.

Fields and old houses of a different nature.

Fields and old houses of a different nature.

I've passed by this State Park a million times over the last 45 years of taking back roads to my favorite beach but I'd never taken the time to go to it. This time I did. Kolomoki Mounds was intriguing and I'll go back.

I’ve passed by this State Park a million times over the years of taking back roads but I’d never taken the time to go to it. This time I did. Kolomoki Mounds was intriguing and I’ll go back.

Then civilization! I just love this beautiful south Georgia town. Blakely, Georgia is so very quaint.

Driving by Quail Motel has been part of my back roads experience for over 45 years. I never see cars there!

Driving by Quail Motel has been part of my back roads experience for years. I never see cars there! Bates Motel?

At the red light near Quail Motel looking toward the square in downtown Blakely.

At the red light near Quail Motel looking toward the square in downtown Blakely.

Early County Courthouse in Blakely, Georgia.

Early County Courthouse in Blakely, Georgia completed in 1905.

Early County shows off their history on the side of their downtown buildings.

Early County shows off their history on the side of their downtown buildings.


And the last thing you see as you leave Blakely, is beautiful roses planted along the sidewalks instead of trees! They were in full bloom!

And the last thing you see as you leave Blakely, is beautiful roses planted along the sidewalks instead of trees! They were in full bloom!

Even though I’ve traversed this route for many years, I never get tired of the quaint small town feel as you weave around the squares and watch the locals chatting as they walk along the sidewalks. It’s just southern and I’ll continue celebrating my history and the joys my parents gave me by taking me on this roads as a child.

Happy trails!

As promised, Sautee, Georgia was my next Georgia back roads stop. I do have my favorites as I’m so not a shopper. Actually, I hate shopping but what I do like is seeing other artists with their talents displayed in a store with price tags on them.

Art, you see, comes in all shapes, sizes, styles, languages, media and methods. Music is an art that holds very few choices of notes but an endless supply of combinations,genre, rhythms, intensity, chaos, synergy, synchronization and style. As does sculpting, painting, carving, turning, throwing and turbulence.

For the size of the area, the junction of  a T-bone, back road intersection of two little known highways (255 and 17), it never ceases to amaze me, lo’ these last 10 years or more, how it holds jewels of art.

Old Sautee Store is the backbone of this small but growing community of stores.

Old Sautee Store, Sautee, GA

Old Sautee Store, established 1872 (, has the absolute best Farmer Cheese on the planet. Farmer Cheese is a mild, tasty white cheese that’s fabulous with grapes, apples, crackers and wine. Yum. It also has some handsome Grog to be served with their ginger cookies, of course.

Shelves stocked with items from yesteryear.

When you walk into the front door, you’re reminded instantly of Little House on the Prairie or The Waltons. This general store was at a critical juncture for all who needed dry goods or tinctures in the late 1800’s living in this ancient Native American community. Old Sautee Store holds authentic treasures of the past with shelves stocked with products from days of old. It’s the charms of yesterday that beckon you to delve deeper into this quaint store.

Outside again, you are invited to have a snack or a delicious lunch inside the Deli inside Old Sautee Market which brings to mind an era of grass-covered roofs of the old country.

Old Sautee Market (and Deli)

Shapiro’s always promises a display of some of the finest artisans’ (local and not) wares of both the unique and challenging varieties. From delicate, unique hand-crafted jewelry to a huge moose sculpture made from wheel hubs and steel, this shop is one of my all time favorites. It’s always a surprise when you go inside!

Shapiro's at Sautee, GA

A peek inside Shapiro's.

My next stop is always to see my friends at Prairie Trails (706-878-8284). Fred Tinsley is always engaging and knowledgeable in the fine arts of Native American cultures. He is deeply steeped in their art, history and lives as he travels around to various reservations to collect only the finest items for sale in his shop.

Prairie Trails at Sautee, GA

As you can see, there is not only a fine display of Native jewelry but also music, weaponry, Kachinas, pottery, knives, drums, leather goods and other paraphernalia.

Fred Tinsley, proprieter

Next stop in this little area, all within easy walking distance from each other, is Sweetfield Mountain Company to meet Judy Hancock (706-878-3555).

Sweetfield Mountain Company, Sautee, GA

At Sweetfield, they have an eclectic variety of clothing, leather accessories, jewelry and home decor featuring favorites from Brighton and Pendleton as well as from local artists.

Judy at Sweetfield Mountain Merchandise in Sautee, GA

After leaving Sautee, my favorite easy and most breath-taking hike is just down the road a bit on my way home. It’s a little known place called Minnehaha Falls in the Seed Lake area of Rabun County.

Minnehaha Falls, Rabun County, GA

Full view of Minnehaha Falls

Now, it was time to get back to the cabin and crank up for the first day of our annual family reunion.

Happy Trails!