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!

Saturday in Athens

On Saturdays in the fall when the Georgia Bulldogs have a home game, all roads leading to Athens are lined with vehicles flying their Georgia flags and the entire campus is filled with red Georgia tents and fans dressed in red and black.

We have had season tickets to Georgia’s home games since 1980 and our fall weekends revolve around home football games.  This past weekend was the SEC showdown between UGA and visiting University of Missouri. We usually stay in a town about 50 miles from campus but we decided to take the fifth wheel closer to Athens for this game. Last year we discovered Pine Lake campground in Bishop, about 15 miles from the UGA campus. With spacious wooded campsites, a lake, and even a small waterfall it is a well run private RV park that feels more like a state park.

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The lake at Pine Lake Campground
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Waterfall in the Pine Lake Campground

The SEC Nation pregame TV show was broadcasting live that morning just behind our tailgate area. Crews were in the process of breaking down the set when we arrived. Several semi tractor trailers were still there but we just missed seeing Tim Tebow, Paul Finebaum and the other announcers. It’s amazing how much equipment is required for these broadcasts.

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SEC Nation was live on campus before the game. We arrived as they were tearing down the set.

After a fun afternoon visiting with friends, eating delicious food, and enjoying an adult beverage or two,  we headed to the stadium for a 7:30 kickoff. It was a great night for the Georgia Bulldogs as the Dawgs won and went on to become the number 3 ranked team in the country. Go Dawgs!

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The teams take the field for pregame practice before a night game in Sanford Stadium
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Homecoming pregame show
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Georgia Bulldogs vs Missouri in Sanford Stadium
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The fans light up the stadium at the beginning of the fourth quarter

 

Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Pennsylvania

State 35:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next state in my series is

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania became the 2nd state on December 12, 1787. The capital is Harrisburg.

When I was a teenager, my family made a trip to Philadelphia to see the historic sites. All I remember is seeing the Liberty Bell (it was more years ago than I want to admit and I was a teenager after all). About 40 years ago my husband and I took our kids tent camping to Pennsylvania and toured the Hershey factory and the Gettysburg National Military Park. We made some wonderful memories with our children who were two and six at the time. Unfortunately I don’t have photos from those trips.

Just a few years ago Henry and I traveled through Pennsylvania on an RV trip with our fifth wheel. Always looking for a waterfront campsite, we found a great one at Ferryboat Campsites in Liverpool, right on the banks of the Susquehanna River.

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View of the Susquehanna River from the campground
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View of the Susquehanna River from the campground

The Millersburg Ferry is the last operating ferry on the Susquehanna River. The ferry landing is located in the campground so of course we took a ride across the river.

Millersburg Ferry in Liverpool, Pennsylvania
Millersburg Ferry in Liverpool, Pennsylvania
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Millersburg Ferry on the Susquehanna River
Millersburg Ferry is the last operating ferry on the Susquehanna River
Millersburg Ferry is the last operating ferry on the Susquehanna River
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Millersburg Ferry
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Each mark on the building represents the year and the height of a flood

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota    Mississippi     Missouri     Montana     Nebraska     Nevada      New Hampshire     New Mexico      New York     North Carolina    North Dakota      Ohio     Oklahoma     Oregon

Best Campgrounds of the year – 2016

Welcome to our third annual “Wandering Dawgs best campgrounds of the year” list.

Our 2016 wandering took us on a short trips to Florida, Georgia,  Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi.

We prefer staying in state and federal parks and this year our top three all fall into one of those categories.

Number 3: Oak Mountain State Park, Pelham, Alabama

Early Morning at Tranquility Lake
Tranquility Lake was just a short walk from our campsite

We stopped at Oak Mountain on our way to Mississippi and enjoyed it so much we returned to the same site (A28) on our way back home to Georgia.

Our site was spacious with full hook ups and nothing but woods behind us. This large state park has a golf course, archery range, equestrian camping and horse stables, nature and hiking trails, lake front beach, mountain bike trails, and scenic drives. The road through the park is a popular place for bicyclists. Nearby Pelham and Birmingham have restaurants and shopping.

View from Peavine Falls Road Overlook
View from Peavine Falls Road Overlook

Read more about our stay at First Stop on our Fall Football Road Trip .

 

Number 2: Stephen C. Foster State Park in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Fargo, Georgia

Do you see the alligator behind the Cypress tree?
Do you see the alligator behind the Cypress tree?

We love this place so much we have camped here numerous times in past 10 years. Our most recent trip was in March, 2016.

Just getting to the campground is an adventure. After turning off the highway, seventeen miles of driving through pine forests and palmettos takes you into the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. It is remote, quiet, and wild.

We camp in one of the large premium pull through sites. It is a short walk or bike ride from the campground to the marina where you can go on a guided tour of the Okefenokee Swamp, rent a boat or canoe, launch your own boat, or take a walk on the nature trail through the swamp. Alligators are often seen around the marina but we’ve never seen one in the campground.

Sophie the Mama Gator
Sophie the Mama Gator

You can read more about our stay at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

 

Number 1: Fort Pickens Campground, Gulf Islands National Seashore, Florida

Ready for Beach Chair Sitting on the Gulf of Mexico
Ready for Beach Chair Sitting on the Gulf of Mexico

Miles of white sugar sand beach in Gulf Islands National Seashore within walking distance from our campsite, an historic fort to explore, a nice campsite, nature trails, beautiful sunsets, fresh seafood, fishing pier, museums and a lighthouse nearby – what’s not to love?

Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico
Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico

Read more about our stay at Gulf Islands National Seashore .

Honorable Mention:

  • We returned to Mississippi River State Park in Marianna, Arkansas, our “Best Campground of the Year – 2014“. I left it out of the top three to make room for three new campgrounds
  • Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center, White Springs, Florida
  • Eastbank Corps of Engineers  Campground, Bainbridge, Georgia

Where do you think we will wander next year? Stay tuned…

Celebrating Ten Years of Wandering

What an amazing ten years! Each marker on this map represents a place where we camped in our RV.

Ten years ago, on July 1, 2006, we spent our first night in an RV park in Tampa, Florida. Two weeks later we left Georgia with no reservations anywhere and a bucket list of what we wanted to see. You can see highlights of that trip at Looking Back on our First RV Trip. Last year I posted a few of our most memorable experiences from our first nine years at Celebrating Nine Years of RVing.

Many of our trips revolved around either visiting family or attending a special event such as a wedding or Titanium Rally. Sometimes we traveled just for the fun of seeing new places. No matter where we were going, we always took the long way around to get there.

We discovered beauty in every state and province we visited. Sometimes the everyday things were the best.

I love watching the changing landscape and seeing the many farms and ranches.

I love seeing the farms as we drive along
I love seeing the farms as we drive along
We always enjoy seeing lighthouses.

Split Rock Lighthouse on Minnesota's North Shore
Split Rock Lighthouse on Minnesota’s North Shore
Seeing wildlife is always a treat.

Black Bear beside the road in British Columbia
Black Bear beside the road in British Columbia
And of course we loved visiting many of our National Parks.

Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View Overlook
Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View Overlook
Sometimes we enjoyed watching the sunset from our campsite.

Mount Redoubt sunset in Ninilchik, Alaska
Mount Redoubt sunset in Ninilchik, Alaska
We did a few amazing hikes.

At the Summit of Enchanted Rock
At the Summit of Enchanted Rock in Texas
Chilling by a camp fire is always fun.

Enjoying the campfire
Enjoying the campfire
Now that we have ten years of RV’ing under our belt, our priorities have changed. Of course, we are ten years older and it is more difficult to make long trips. When we started our wandering, we only had two grandchildren. Now we have four and we want to spend as much time with them as we can. Going on long trips takes us away from them for too long.

Our wandering days are not over. There are still many places we haven’t seen in and near our home state of Georgia so from now on we will travel a little closer to home.