LIVING THE DREAM, Part 20b: View from ‘the Bell’

July 29, 2019

Hiawassee, GA.

So here I was, at 11:30 a.m., rummaging through last night’s dream  in search of  fodder for future books when Jeff woke me up.

“Hey, babe, Get up and get dressed! Dorothy and Phil want to drive up to Bell Mountain before they have to go home. Let’s get ready and go with them.”

About five minutes later, I wriggled into leggings, a comfy tee-shirt, and Skechers, splashed water on my face, brushed my teeth, and was ready to go. After we stoked up on roast beef sandwiches at Hardee’s, in town, we started out for the one-lane road straight up to the top.

Pictured above is the highest point of Bell Mountain County Park and Historical Site, an eighteen-acre summit located in Towns County.  Below, the Hal Herrin Overlook, which, according to a plaque placed there, exists to “preserve for all to enjoy its beauty “as described in 1883 by J.A. Gant, an Athens, Georgia newspaper editor who described the overlook of mountains encircling Lake Chatuge as the GRANDEST VIEW IN AMERICA.”

Campers Russ and his faithful Jack Russell terrier, ‘Corky’, joined us once we arrived.

As if the steep climb to the top weren’t dicey enough, the six-plus flights of steps to the very top and the breathing techniques that the climb required rewarded us with a breathtaking view of the three states — Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee — connected by the bottomless, emerald waters of Lake Chatuge capped it off.

So far, we have taken in some breathtaking sights in Georgia. There will be more to come, including a swing-by to Vogel State Park, a place we happened onto on the way to Blairsville. Until then, stay tuned!

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LIVING THE DREAM, Part 20a: Playing ‘Tourist’ at Brasstown Bald

June 19

Since Jeff and I became camp hosts at Appalachian Campground, we haven’t done a whole lot of sightseeing. It took his daughter and teenaged grandchildren driving down from Texas for a visit for us to get out and play “tourist” along with them.

Breakfast was the first order of the day, as we crowded into a booth at Huddle House in Hiawassee and feasted on omelets, eggs, grits, bacon, and sausage. For those not familiar with Huddle House, it is similar to Waffle House only it is larger and offers a more varied menu.

After stuffing our tummies, we hopped into our Subaru Legacy Outback wagon and jogged off the highway to Brasstown Bald Mountain in Georgia.  According to the Visitor Center, Brasstown Bald is the highest peak in Georgia. I’ll admit that as the shuttle chugged up the steep, winding road to the lookout, my ears popped.

Once we arrived at the top, the view was beyond amazing! Velvety-blue mountains were juxtaposed against lush, green vegetation. Rivers and lakes scattered like throw rugs in the basin. According to the above link, visitors looking through a telescope can also see both North and South Carolina and Tennessee on a clear day.

Having snapped pictures with our cell-phone cameras, we filed into  Mountain Top Theater for a short video about Brasstown Bald before heading down to the store where Jeff bought me a pair of bear earrings and, for himself, a tiny bear that is now perched on top of our coffeemaker, and a packet of “Mystical Fire” to make our campfire turn different colors.

After coming off the trail, we were exhausted. All we were good for was lolling in the cabin, cramming down Quarter-Pounders with cheese, French fries, tall Dr. Peppers, and, later, strawberry ice cream.

“We’ll do Helen, tomorrow,” we promised each other, as we turned in for the night.

Stay tuned for our next sojourn onto Bell Mountain, coming up in Part 20b of “LIVING THE DREAM” followed up by Part 21, about Georgia’s own Bavarian village, Alpine Helen.

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