These Georgia B&Bs Will Make You Want to Move In

Photo Courtesy of  Lucille's Mountain Top Inn and Spa

Photo Courtesy of
Lucille’s Mountain Top Inn and Spa

Spring is right around the chilly corner.  The 2015 class of Appalachian Trail thru-hikers will soon be hitting the Trail northward from Springer Mountain.  Quite often friends and families gather together to encourage loved ones who are starting their trek.  We hope this brief list of fabulous bed and breakfast inns (B&Bs) in the Northeast Georgia Mountains will help you find a special place for your fond, temporary farewells.

These B&B ideas come from our friends with the Northeast Georgia Mountains Travel Association.  They always have great tips on the best places to enjoy spending time without necessarily spending a lot of money.

Bed and breakfast inns are special places to get away that offer an entirely different experience than cookie-cutter motels.  At B&Bs in Northeast Georgia’s mountains, you’re truly guests, not simply occupants of a room with iffy towels and TV clickers that are more germ infested than most CDC labs.

Cozy.  Comfy.  Friendly.  Fascinating get-aways. B&Bs are entirely different from places where you try to sleep by a busy freeway with a breakfast menu that consists of soggy cereal in a tiny Styrofoam bowl.

B&BS are mini vacations that you’ll remember long after most sleazy motels are plowed down to make room for another car lot.

When you need a break – when you REALLY need a break – pick one of Northeast Georgia’s lovely B&Bs with one-of-a-kind decorations and fabulous attitudes.  Enjoy a delicious homemade breakfast (that someone else makes for a change), have a quiet conversation (without you-know-who bothering you) in a spot with beautiful views and not-so-strange strangers.

Here’s a B&B you might like: Your Home in the Woods Bed & Breakfast Inn serves oatmeal from baked peaches and locally sourced blueberries.  Foodies will love their apple cheddar quiche and “creamy eggs” — scrambled eggs with cream cheese and Dijon mustard.  Going with a fussy eater?  Don’t tell him or her what’s in it and watch as it’s munched down faster than you can say, “I knew you’d like it.”

All of Northeast Georgia’s B&Bs are above average, of course, and many use local foods to add a gourmet twist to their breakfast offerings.

Twin Creeks Bed and Breakfast Inn, for example, makes a blueberry, cream cheese and croissant casserole.  Their signature dish is a carrot-cake Belgium waffle with cream cheese, cinnamon sugar butter and sublime syrup.

Photo Courtesy of Misty Mountain Inn and Cottages

Photo Courtesy of Misty Mountain Inn and Cottages

The Misty Mountain Inn B&B includes a full breakfast with fresh ground coffee and juices.  Daily offerings vary, but think of … a country breakfast with home fries and scrambled eggs with diced ham.  Add in a few cheeses, bacon, biscuits and toast with jams, jellies and locally produced honey and you’ll have a good idea of what’s for breakfast.  Or select a vegetarian quiche, a breakfast sausage casserole, waffles and pancakes or simply delicious coffee with a loved one.

Glen-Ella Springs is a fabulous place for dinner or to spend the night … followed by breakfast and appreciation.

Photo Courtest of @cgponder via Instagram

Photo Courtest of @cgponder via Instagram

If you’re adventurous, take a drive around magnificent Lake Rabun – be sure to notice the unique boathouses – then, stop by for a quick hike up Minnehaha Falls (honest).  Afterward, head down Bear Gap Road, the back way to Glen-Ella Springs.

Just when you-know-who is absolutely sure you’re lost and promises himself/herself never to trust you again, say, “Oh, no!  We’re almost out of gas and we have no food!  We’re going to die in the wilderness!”

Keep driving few miles through deepest, darkest Georgia to Glen-Ella Springs.  Park and go inside where you’ll say, “We have dinner reservations!”

(Yes, I actually did that years ago.  I’ve forgotten her name, but I’ll bet she remembers that date, if not me.  She’s probably doing better after all these years.  Probably.)

Glen-Ella Springs offers blueberry pancakes with Vermont maple syrup and hickory smoked bacon that could make almost anyone forgive you for almost anything.  (Some restrictions apply.)

Everyone’s favorite culinary masters at Glen-Ella delight guests with their Two Cheese Strata served alongside creamy stone-ground grits from Nora Mill Granary of Helen, GA.  Count me in for country ham and made-from-scratch biscuits.  Unless they’re serving Caramel French Toast Casserole and Mini Herb Egg Muffins.  Tough choices.

Everything at Lucille’s Mountain Top Inn & Spa – truly one of America’s finest – is fabulous.  If you’ve never been treated like royalty, Lucille’s is your big chance.  If you’ve never seen a sunset or sunrise in the Northeast Georgia mountains, Lucille’s is your big chance.  If you’ve never spent a night in a deluxe room with a couple of robes that probably cost more than your first car, Lucille’s is your big chance.  If you’ve never had a gourmet breakfast where the only thing that could possibly intrude upon the delight is trying to figure out which spoon and/or fork to use (trust me, they’ll bring you more) … yup, Lucille’s is your big chance.

My three-course breakfasts at home – generic V-8 juice, a generic English muffin, generic bran cereal and inexpensive coffee – aren’t the same as what you’ll be served at Lucille’s.  In a dining room overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains of Northeast Georgia, you’ll dine on Gruyere and Shallot Frittatas, Crème Brulee French Toast with Minted Strawberries, Pancakes with Spiced Blueberries and a side of thick sliced Applewood Smoked Bacon.

Photo Courtesy of Lucille's Mountain Top Inn and Spa

Photo Courtesy of Lucille’s Mountain Top Inn and Spa

I’ve been to Lucille’s Mountaintop Inn.  Didn’t have a clue what I was eating (sorry), but if I get to choose where I want to eat my Last Meal, take me to Lucille’s, please.

Pffft.  Forget going to the Smokies.  Forget motels that have numbers in their names.  The next time you need to get away for a little adventure, exploration or relaxation, spend a night — and maybe the time of your life — at one of the forty B&Bs providing the best the Northeast Georgia Mountains can offer.

Robert SutherlandRobert Sutherland is a freelance writer enjoying life in Gainesville, GA. Robert has two adult daughters, six grandchildren, one Kawasaki and a loving girlfriend. Robert’s e-mail address is: RJS@RobertSutherland.com.

Sunrise Grocery

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Sunrise Grocery in North Georgia is a cozy spot to browse around for fresh produce, delicious jams and jellies, mountain treasures, worms and priceless lessons in business administration.

As a partially omniscient writer, I can hear the voices of women saying, “Wow!  Bernadette and I would LOVE to visit Sunrise Grocery, but our husbands have no patience.  They’d just rush us and it wouldn’t be any fun.”

Dry your eyes, little lady.  The owner of Sunrise Grocery – Jason Clemmons – is a truly brilliant and kind businessman who has learned a trick or two in the 30 years he’s owned this treasured roadside stand.

6Jason has a Secret Weapon that can make any grumpy hubby happy to stay busy while you browse until you drop.

(No, it’s not moonshine but that’s a good guess.)

Beverly Whitt, the crackerjack lady who helps run Sunrise Grocery, told me how Jason discovered the perfect way to give shoppers time to browse.

Jason, like all good men, had a brass monkey that he didn’t know what to do with.  Doubters said, “Throw that old thing away!”  Jason said, “Nope.  I’m gonna make a game out of this here monkey.”

Mister Clemmons decided he would hide the brass monkey all around his store and give a bag of world-famous boiled or roasted peanuts (featured in Southern Living Magazine, thank you) to folks who found it.

Wise women quickly spread the word to bring their men with them to Sunrise Grocery.  As soon as they reached the parking lot and you-know-who began to get all grouchy, the ladies said, “Don’t worry, you old goat, I won’t be long.  I’d invite you in, but you’d never find the brass monkey and win a free bag of peanuts, and I hate to see you cry in public.”

2Now, if they don’t find the brass monkey, women have to drag their husbands out of Sunrise Grocery and promise to bring them back soon.  Yes, this trick works on kids too.

You won’t learn smart stuff like that at Harvard.

Some visitors are so observant they can even find Miss Beverly behind the counter!

The next time you’d like a delightful drive up Georgia’s Route 129, you have to stop at Sunrise Grocery.  It’s only a few miles south of Blairsville and just up the road a piece from Vogel State Park.

Sunrise Grocery is the perfect place to browse around when you’re looking for something special … or just looking with someone special.

1Sunrise Grocery opens at 7:30 AM Monday through Saturday and at 9 AM on Sundays.  They close at 6 PM, except on Friday and Saturday, when they stay open until 7.  Come early to watch the sunrise!

Sunrise Grocery is the perfect spot to begin – or end – any day.

 

Glossary:

Definition of Browse for Men:  Make a list of what you want.  Go to closest store.  Find everything without ever asking for help.  Pay too much.  Return home.  Make list of what you forgot and what you have to return.  Repeat.

Definition of Browse for Women:  Take a scenic drive with friends.  Talk, chat and enjoy the ride.  Choose a place to shop based exclusively on how interesting it looks from the outside.  Park.  Apply make-up.  Promise your friends you’ll only shop for a few minutes.  Enter.  Pick up every dang piece of anything not nailed down – except the clerk – and stare at it from every possible angle.  Put it back right where it was … so that your friends can do the exact same thing.  Buy something for yourself that you don’t need.  Buy something for a friend who doesn’t need anything either.  Exit.  Stop for dessert and recount everything you and your friends touched.  Make plans for your next trip.

Click Here for Sunrise Grocery’s Facebook Page

Robert SutherlandRobert Sutherland is a freelance writer enjoying life in Gainesville, GA. Robert has two adult daughters, six grandchildren, one Kawasaki and a loving girlfriend. Robert’s e-mail address is: RJS@RobertSutherland.com.

The Helen to the Atlantic Hot Air Balloon Race

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Going up and down in a hot air balloon is pretty simple.  You either add more hot air to go up or you let some out to descend.

Steering a hot air balloon is a bit more tricky because it’s pretty hard to float upwind.  You either go with the flow or you land.

Those minor details won’t deter the folks who take part in the 41st Annual Helen to the Atlantic Hot Air Balloon Race that’s drifting along until Saturday, June 7th in Helen, Georgia.

2The actual race started at 7 AM today (June 5th), but Helen will be hot air balloon heaven each morning and evening all week long.

Few things are as elegant as gently ascending in a colorful hot air balloon on a summer morning or evening, gone with the wind … headed for the beach.

Helen, Georgia, is an amazingly cool town any day of the year, but it’s especially scenic when flocks of hot air balloons fill the sky — with the weirdly Bavarian-themed town’s magnificent hills in the background — as they “race” toward the Atlantic Ocean powered by the breeze.

According to the rules, the winner of the race is the first balloon that crosses the finish line: I-95, anywhere between Maine and Miami.  The race’s website says,

“The shortest distance is 225 miles and the race usually takes two days.  It has been done in one day, while some races have taken as many as four days.  Six to ten balloons will be competing in the cross country race.

It is a race where both the pilot’s and crew’s skills are challenged.  A balloon can only go the same speed and direction as the wind.  The pilot must find the altitude which gives him/her the best speed as well as direction towards the finish line.”

1The Helen to the Atlantic Hot Air Balloon Race is the oldest balloon event in the South and the only long distance hot air balloon race in America.

You can take a ride in a “tethered” balloon that’s (probably) much more safe than the one seen in The Wizard of Oz.

Or glide over the area’s many waterfalls and wonderful hills for an hour or so … with a spot of champagne to quell any concerns you might have if you believe you can see dancing scarecrows and/or cowardly lions down below.

Flatlanders might prefer to park themselves on a bench by the rushing Chattahoochee River to let their spirits vicariously soar with the balloons … so their worries will float away with them.

Want more good news?  I could not find (after a very brief search) any prohibition in the rules to tying a few dozen balloons onto a lawn chair to enter the race.

Please Note:  Check with your doctor and insurance company before trying to fly your lawn chair.  Thank you.

Helen’s hot air balloon race is almost as exciting as NASCAR, but without all the noise, wrecks, motor homes, smells of gas and burning rubber and long waits at the rest rooms.

Fly away to Helen before the last balloon takes off.

Click Here for News About Lawn Chair Balloon Champion Larry Walters

Click Here for Schedules, Prices for “Tethered” Rides & More

Click Here for the Helen to the Atlantic Hot Air Balloon Race Facebook Page

Robert SutherlandRobert Sutherland is a freelance writer enjoying life in Gainesville, GA. Robert has two adult daughters, six grandchildren, one Kawasaki and a loving girlfriend. Robert’s e-mail address is: RJS@RobertSutherland.com.