Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

For the second year in a row we made a fall trip to River Vista Mountain Village in Dillard to explore the beautiful north Georgia mountains. Last year we explored Black Rock Mountain State Park, visited waterfalls in North Carolina and wandered around Tallulah Gorge State Park.

This year we had adventures in two new places. One day we went to the top of Brasstown Bald. Another day we drove an hour and a half to Blue Ridge, Georgia to take a ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway.

Our seats were in an open air car for the hour long ride beside the Toccoa River. The train departed the station right on time at 11:00.

As we traveled along at a whopping 10 mph we were able to enjoy the scenery and snap a few photos. A few trees were starting to show signs of autumn but we were too early for the brilliant oranges, reds and yellows that will come later in the season.

Our destination was McCaysville, GA/Copperhill, TN. There was plenty of time to explore the town before the scheduled 2:00 departure. It’s hard to tell which town is which since the state line runs right through the middle of town.

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GA/TN state line

As we wandered around the town we crossed back and forth between Georgia and Tennessee several times. The state line even runs through the middle of some buildings. “Dine on the Line” is the motto for the Copper Grill restaurant where we had lunch. Their address is Tennessee but the state line goes right through the restaurant.

It was nice to sit back and relax on the return trip to Blue Ridge. Before driving back to Dillard we walked across the street from the depot for some fried apple pies from the Mercier Orchard downtown restaurant and store. These pies have been featured on the Food Network and are melt in your mouth delicious!

What’s not to love? A scenic train ride, cool mountain air, beautiful scenery, fresh trout and catfish for lunch, going back and forth between two states just by walking through town, and delicious fried pies! A great day!

Brasstown Bald, Georgia’s Highest Point

Located in the northeast Georgia near Blairsville, Brasstown Bald is the highest point in Georgia at 4,784 feet.

Just getting there is quite an adventure. We drove west from Dillard on beautiful Georgia mountain roads. The last few miles we drove on narrow Georgia Spur 180 with sharp turns, switchbacks, and steep grades before arriving at the parking lot for Brasstown Bald.

The parking lot is located .6 miles below the top of Brasstown Bald. We could either hike up a steep trail or take a shuttle. We chose the shuttle.

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The observation deck as seen from the parking lot

After the shuttle dropped us off at the top we walked up a few steps to the observation deck where the views were spectacular in all directions. On a clear day visitors can see 4 states. It was cloudy that day but we were able to see three states – Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. We also toured the museum and watched a short film about the mountain.

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Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia
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The tower is closed to the public
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View from top of Brasstown Bald
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View from top of Brasstown Bald
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Wandering Dawgs at the top of Brasstown Bald

Florida Vacation without the RV

For the first time in many years we took a vacation without our RV. Instead, motels and a condo were our home for the week.

We decided to break up our trip to Orlando and spend a night near a beach to take a drive along A1A. Flagler Beach sounded like a perfect place. It’s a small beach town on the Atlantic Ocean that still has that old Florida feeling. Driving down A1A the Atlantic Ocean is on one side of the road and beach houses and locally owned restaurants are on the other. Heaven! After a walk on the fishing pier we ate fish sandwiches with an ocean view at the Funky Pelican next to the pier.

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Flagler Beach Fishing Pier

Our home for the rest of the week was a condo in a resort in Lake Buena Vista. We enjoyed the screened porch with a view of the fountain and pond.

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Our home for the week

We had the condo to ourselves for the first three nights. We celebrated my birthday at Bongo’s, a Cuban restaurant at Disney Springs.

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We started off with a mojito at the bar at Bongo’s
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Birthday Dinner at Bongo’s at Disney Springs

On Wednesday we picked up our two oldest grandchildren at the airport. After a long travel day they enjoyed a dip in one of the pools.

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Pool at the resort

Going to Universal Studios to see the Harry Potter attractions was at the top of their wish list so the next morning we got up early to be at the park as soon as it opened.

Universal is made up of two separate theme parks with Harry Potter attractions in both parks. We purchased the park hopper tickets so we could ride the Hogwarts Express train between the parks. The train ride was fun and when we disembarked we were in The Islands of Adventure Park in Hogsmeade. We cooled off with a Butter Beer before riding any more rides.

The kids loved the two Harry Potter thrill rides. Henry liked the Escape from Gringotts. Our 14 year old grandson said the Forbidden Journey was his favorite. Our granddaughter liked them both. I’m not a fan of thrill rides. The train was more my style.

After our epic day at Universal we took it easy the next day. While it rained all afternoon we played some games and enjoyed hanging out with our grandkids.

One evening the kids enjoyed the pool while I enjoyed the evening sky.

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Sunset at the pool

On our last day we put on our bathing suits and went to Blizzard Beach, one of the Disney water parks. We were able to enjoy a few rides before the afternoon thunderstorm came through. Just as predicted, at 1:00 the lightening was so close they closed all the rides.

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The Summit Plummet at Disney’s Blizard Beach is on the right where the flags are.

One thing that is almost guaranteed if you travel to Orlando in late June is the daily thunderstorms. The only day we didn’t get rained on was the day we went to Universal. How lucky was that?

What a great week making memories with our two oldest grandkids!

Favorite Alaska and Canada Wildlife Photos

Five years ago this week we were on the road to Alaska from Georgia. Once we crossed the border into Canada, I spent every day looking for wildlife. There were many “WOW” wildlife sightings in both Canada and Alaska.

I’ve been thinking about posting some of my favorite wildlife photos from the trip and today I finally got the boost I needed to put it all together. When my friend Ingrid at Live, Laugh RV posted that the theme for her very first Wednesday photo inspiration was wildlife, I immediately started going though the thousands of photos from the trip.

If you would like to participate or see other posts inspired by Ingrid, click on over to Ingrid’s post Wandering Wednesday.

Here are just a few of my favorite wildlife photos from our Canada and Alaska adventure.

Elk in loop 63
Elk near our campsite in Jasper National Park, Alberta
Bear in British Columbia
Soon after entering British Columbia we were in Mount Robson Park and saw this grizzly beside the road
Black Bear eating Dandelions
Bear in British Columbia
A small herd with calves
Bison herd with calves near Liard River Hotsprings in British Columbia
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Moose in Denali National Park, Alaska
Black Bear Cub
Black Bear Cub in Valdez, Alaska
Stellar Sea Lions on day trip to Juneau
Stellar Sea Lions on wildlife cruise from Haines to Juneau, Alaska
Whale Tail
Humpback Whale on wildlife cruise from Haines to Juneau, Alaska
Two Sea Otters Valdez
Sea Otters on Columbia Glacier cruise from Valdez, Alaska
Pod of Orcas with calf
Pod of Orcas with calf on Columbia Glacier cruise from Valdez, Alaska
He was looking at me
Eagle at Deep Creek Beach, Alaska
Pair of Eagles
Pair of Eagles on Columbia Glacier Cruise from Valdez, Alaska
Puffins
Puffins on the Columbia Glacier Cruise from Valdez, Alaska

 

 

 

Mosley’s Wiregrass Junction

When was the last time you were driving down the interstate in the state of Georgia and saw a camel or a buffalo?

The first time we saw a buffalo from the interstate as we were traveling east on I-16 towards home we knew we were going to have to stop. Ever since then Moseley’s Wiregrass Junction has become a favorite stopping place when we are traveling along that route.

Usually we just watch the animals from the parking lot but the last time we were there we opted to pay the $2 per person fee to see them up close. We also bought a bag of animal food before going through the gate to see animals.

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Mosley’s Wiregrass Junction just off I-16 at exit 98
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Camel at the Animal Exit
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Tortoise
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Emu at the Animal Exit
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Black Swan
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Peacock
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Peacock Feathers
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The goats weren’t shy
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Feed Me!
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Goats waiting for a handout

Next time we may opt for an additional $8 to take a tour of the farm where their zebra, buffalo, cows, pigs and other animals live.

Mosley’s Wiregrass Junction Animal Exit Farm is located on Georgia Interstate 16 at exit 98 in Aline.

You can connect with them on their Facebook page at https://facebook.com/wiregrassjunction57