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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Relishing Rabun! (Rabun County, GA)

Relishing Rabun!

On my way into Clayton (in Rabun County, GA), I stopped at my “go to” place for caffeine (Coca-cola, never coffee!), bathroom breaks, and wi-fi: Micky D’s (McDonalds!) Then, I picked up the August issue of Georgia Mountain Laurel magazine, at the magazine’s office in downtown Clayton. (You can now read the magazine online by clicking HERE. )

I’d seen an article in the Georgia Mountain Laurel’s online version about the Orianne Society, which is an organization dedicated to conserving reptiles and amphibians in the wild. Having never heard of them, I called to see if they are open Saturdays. Upon finding they are not, I stopped briefly by their organization’s headquarters on 441, across from the United Community Bank. I spoke with some very nice people, and saw several venomous snakes, a venomous Gila Monster, a tortoise, and a majestic Eastern Indigo snake, which is listed as “threatened.”

I called Annie’s at Alley’s in Lakemont to see what time they closed, and to make sure they had some pimiento cheese. I slid in, just before 5, to pick up bread and pimiento cheese. I don’t care much for hot and spicy foods, but Annie’s pimiento cheese has a nice “kick,” and is almost addictive! All their sandwiches and soups are good, as well. Annie’s is now open on Sunday afternoons, starting at noon!
Be sure to try the pimiento cheese!
While having a snack at home, and enjoying the long-range view of the beautiful mountains of Rabun County and beyond, I happened to look behind me, and saw a baby bear, about the size of our puppies, playing in the grass! I’m estimating it was about 30 pounds. (Our property adjoins National Forest land, and has bountiful wildlife trails crossing it.)

Baby Bear!

My friends, Jean Jones, and her daughters, Kelly and Shannon arrived about 9 p.m. for the weekend. We caught up, and then had a “midnight snack,” which included more of Annie’s pimiento cheese!

First thing Saturday morning, I saw a beautiful sunrise! When everyone else got up, we watched wild turkeys and deer. Hoping for another bear sighting. No luck! We went to Tiger Food Mart and split a biscuit and cookies, to hold us till lunch. Tiger Food Mart is where I get my "sweet tea" caffeine fixes! (Sweet Treats and Antiques was closed for vacation. I was disappointed, since that is my favorite dessert place!
My "Mountain Cathedral" (with thanks to Dan Fogelberg for the term.)

Next on my regular agenda: Goats on the Roof. Shannon and Kelly earned their Goat Ranger Stickers by feeding the goats. Kids of all ages enjoy feeding goats!
Kelly and Me

The Jones Girls with a Goat Friend!

We crossed over into South Carolina, to go to the Chattooga Wild and Scenic River. We walked down to watch rafters and kayakers at Bull Sluice. Jean and the girls walked down to the beach and rafting put-in point. We worked up an appetite for lunch at the Dillard House, which was our next stop! I can't believe we forgot to take pictures there! Shannon went crazy over the Butternut Squash Souffle and biscuits!

Bull Sluice Rapids on the Chattooga Wild and Scenic River

After lunch, we stopped by Sylvan Falls Mill for some freshly ground cornmeal. I bought blue cornmeal to try! We continued on to the lake in Black Rock State Park, where we walked off some of our lunch, on the mile-long trail around the lake. I enjoyed taking wild flower photos.
Sylvan Falls Mill Grinding Machinery

Lake and walking trail in Black Rock State Park

We stopped in at the Foxfire Gift Shop, where I saw my friend, Laurie Brunson Altieri. Laurie is back with Foxfire, after living in Virginia for 35 years. She was one of the "Foxfire kids" in the 70's, and worked for Foxfire after college for a couple of years, too. Laurie is a great story-teller, and I know she’s an asset in her new job! She really whetted our appetite for a tour of Foxfire’s 22 reconstructed historic buildings! We didn’t have time to complete the self-guided tour Saturday, but I can’t wait to go back to explore some more!

We finished our day with some "rest and relaxation:" reading, napping, hot tubbing, and wildlife sightings! Everyone decided to turn in early, in anticipation of another fabulous day in Rabun County!

Sunday morning, Jean awakened me a little after 6:30 with these exciting words: “There’s a bear outside!” I jumped up, handed Jean my camera, and told her I’d go tell Kelly and Shannon. We saw a fabulous sunrise, and watched a fairly large male bear exploring our yard for almost an hour!
"The morning sun is shining like a red rubber ball...." From a song by Cyrkle.
It was really redder than it looks!

Medium Sized Male Bear 
After the bear left, since we were all wide awake, we decided to head out for breakfast at the Cupboard Café in Dillard. We all enjoyed our bountiful breakfasts, and were glad to have started our day early!

On our way from breakfast to Wal-Mart for some necessities, Jean spotted a sign for The Kudzu Factory in Mountain City. We were intrigued, so we stopped. We enjoyed the artistry of Joleen Oh’s and Cleve Phillip’a woven pine needle and kudzu creations. We sampled white chocolate Kudzu Candy and I bought some kudzu blossom jelly, which I love! Joleen and her mother also make beautiful cards out of kudzu paper!

Joleen let us in to the Promenade Arts and Craft Mall in Mountain City, located behind the Kudzu Factory, so we could peruse the wonderful treasures inside. The Promenade is located in Mrs. Rodgers’ warehouse, which for many years housed a mail order craft kit business. While I was growing up, Mrs. Rodgers was my grandparent’s neighbor across Johnson Street.  

After Wal-Mart, we visited one of Rabun County’s many waterfalls for some photo opportunities. After Shannon got into the falls, I got in with her! Then, Kelly and Jean joined in the fun!

The “Jones Girls” got to see bears twice on Sunday, and after they left, I got to see TWO baby bears with a male bear! I was stunned by how quickly baby bears can climb trees! What a blessing to be able to see such magnificent creatures in the wild!
TWO baby bears!

Here is a link to a previous blog about Rabun County, showcasing some of the MANY reasons I loved Rabun County as a child and why I love living here part-time! 

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like some busy days, Jamie. I'm sure your friends had a great time.
    I tried to "like" your blog, but didn't see the link. I'll go back and try again.
    Enjoy writing!


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