The Family Trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains
A family trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains in Georgia is the most memorable vacation that I’ve taken with my family. Although we have visited many places in the United States including Austin, Boston, and Denver, this trip brought new experiences and fresh perspectives. We planned the trip weeks in advance and my children Adam and Eva were as full of excitement and anticipation as my husband and I.
Spending time with my children is very important and the trip was a new way to enjoy our valuable time together. Our ordinary routine includes working and going to school in a noisy, bustling, polluted city. This vacation provided the experience of quiet, peaceful nights, beautiful mountain scenery and lots of clean, fresh air. From start to finish, the vacation was a perfect way to connect with each other.
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Upon arriving at the cabin, everyone was stunned by its outside views. Our lodgings were completely surrounded by nature and being in that setting left everyone feeling renewed and refreshed. It was surrounded on three sides by tall oak trees, and gorgeous mountain ridges were clearly visible from each of the many windows. Porches wrapped around the building, giving us a private space to enjoy the outdoors. Each morning when we woke up, crimson red stripes appeared on the horizon. It was very humbling to be able to meet the first flashes of the new day.
Throughout our stay, we experienced the exquisite joy of hearing songbirds, the awakening of cicadas and sometimes the gentle patter of rain. Being enveloped in nature this way had a very calming effect on each of us, and even the children took the time to slow down and enjoy it. The sudden appearance of mushrooms in mornings after a summer rain brought me back to my childhood memories. I remembered casual walks with my late father in the forest and mushroom pickings with my sister. At nights that we watched movies, ate and played together showed me the importance of even day-to-day activities and their bonding effects over our family.
We visited Brasstown Bald, the highest point in the state of Georgia and one of many picturesque places for the family to visit that were close to the cabin. We set out on a pleasingly cool morning with relatively clear skies. We hiked to the mountain’s peak and were rewarded with a breathtaking, panoramic view. The observation deck had many maps, signs and interactive activities that the children were able to enjoy.
They were in awe of the fact that they could look past the horizon into other states. All of us were new to interacting with the many species of plants and wildlife that we encountered including wild turkey and rabbits. The fresh and verdant plants and thriving wildlife gave us a feeling of exhilaration and we could not wait to see what more the environment had to offer. Seeing my family playing, learning, sharing experiences and excitements was very fulfilling.
We took in the beautiful sights of nature as we boarded a restored freight train on a four-hour trip to Copperhill, Tennessee. In my mind train trips were always associated with the family. When I was growing up, we were frequently visiting my grandparents by train. I wanted my children to have the same associations as well. The excitement and nostalgia of traveling by rail were elevated as the winding journey brought us before spectacular views: green, rolling hills, and calm, clear waters. Copperhill is a small old-fashioned city along hills by the river and a quaint place for the family to eat lunch, shop for local crafts and walk across the town’s historic bridge to view the riverbank.
I was so happy to see my children laughing, smiling and enjoying ice cream. They were even more delighted to “be in two states at once,” and I took photos of each of them with one foot in Tennessee and one foot in Georgia. We stopped at a beautiful, 100-year old, family owned café, that had been refurbished with its original chandeliers. The welcoming atmosphere helped us to relax as we sampled some of their delicacies including coffee from a roaster in south Atlanta and freshly baked bread with locally-sourced jam. A full day of exploring left us happy and tired but even more excited for our next adventures.
We fully immersed ourselves in a nature expedition by exploring Ruby Falls. Accidentally discovered by an excavating team in the 1920s, they are the tallest and deepest underground waterfall in the United States. On our way to the falls, we passed mountains, scenic national parks trails, and bridges over fast-flowing rivers. To access the underground formation, we descended over 1000 feet by elevator to a cavern path where we were led on a guided tour by interesting and informative park staff. It was astonishing to see the stunning rock formations that took thousands of years for nature to create.
Walking through the caverns made us feel like we were in another world and we were amazed by the spectacular view of the waterfall deep inside the cave. Adam and Eva were excited to explore strange looking formations and asked many questions. To witness their growing interest in nature was amazing. As the lights illuminating the falls changed from blue to red to white, the natural atmosphere reminded us that our lives become more enriched by experiencing the wonders of nature.
The family trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains was an unforgettable experience. In addition to providing a break from daily routines and household chores, the peaceful setting allowed us to truly connect as a family. By forgetting about the small details that lead to worries in everyday life, we were able to truly enjoy this joyous time. We were not aware of what we had been missing in our lives, but we came back from the trip refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to live life to the fullest.