Middle age-that is what 51 years old used to be defined as. Two long years of Covid has unfortunately accelerated the aging process to make this old gal feel shall I say “vintage”. A bit worn for the wear, yearning for a reboot, rejuvenation. A Girl, Her Hubs and a Suitcase through the last 24 months have evolved into a kinder, gentler travel experience. Last year as “yours truly” entered AARP status, we escaped to a North Carolina cabin for some good old-fashioned R&R. It was my version of eat, pray, love-significantly more boring and less exotic than the original story-for sure. 1 year prior as we drove home, 8 hours into the sojourn we passed a captivating area that stayed with me for 365 days. The blurred vision of beauty as we zoomed by at 80 miles an hour, I screen shotted in my mind writing it down in hopes that we could one day recapture the magic. Tallulah Falls- Tallulah Falls – Home of Tallulah Gorge (tallulahfallsga.gov) was the destination.
A couple new challenges have been added since last year’s getaway. These additions go by the name Lucy and Hank, 5-month-old energetic miniature dachshund siblings. They have rounded out the family if you are keeping track to a sausage party of 3-the OG Juliet remains the head of household. In an effort to enhance family bonding and embrace our new offspring an inaugural weenie wagon voyage was about to take place. This certainly added a unique nuance to travel, including managing 5 bladders in an overstuffed aging SUV.
We mapped out our quest and stopped at the halfway point in Ashburn, Georgia Home – City of Ashburn in a sleepy, truckers oasis motel settling in for the night. In the am, we packed up dogs, Hubs and our exploding caravan of goods and set off for the remainder of our travel. As we dodged the madness of Atlanta, the roads got curvier, and the geography shifted to wide open vistas. The ears began to pop as we made our way to Toccoa, Georgia-Toccoa | Official Georgia Tourism & Travel Website | Explore Georgia.org final destination. Coming from Tampa, Florida, any elevation above sea level creates a stirring in the heart and a yearning in the soul. Being able to achieve this a little bit closer brings out the allure of Georgia. It takes 4 painful hours to exit Florida but from there-the Georgia options are endless. After decades of international travel, A Girl, Her Hubs and a Suitcase continue to be inspired looking for creative ways to capture wanderlust without a passport. As mentioned in previous entries, Hubs retired last year. Covid and a year of impacting travel restrictions made downsizing life very easy. So, for now and perhaps-forever, domestic globetrotting it is. We are at peace with this decision and are grateful for what we continue to see and experience-right here in our glorious backyard-USA.
As we made our way through the winding concourse of Toccoa, the many rapid turns and dips, catapulted our turbulent tummies into a buoyant roller coaster. We eventually made it to the Toccoa Lake House Airbnb Cardinal Cabin on the Lake – Cabins for Rent in Toccoa, Georgia, United States (airbnb.com) pulling into the driveway as Hank released a messy mound of puppy puke on my lap. A delightful welcoming after 6 hours trapped in the vehicle. As we unloaded, excited with glee and anticipation we plugged into the keypad the assigned code. I entered it 1, 2, 3 -10 times-no success. The dogs danced around our feet, leashes hogtieing us captive in a precarious hostage stance. Realizing in self-directed annoyance-I did not have the owner’s number, I went to the app in futility observing in frustration a complete lack of cell service. Unraveling ourselves as we snapped irritatingly at each other, an argument percolating in the wings of my negligence, we all piled back into the car. We made our way down through the swerving roads as I tenderly hushed Hank’s gurgling gut. As we crossed county lines, I willed my phone to indicate cell service. Eventually, a tiny bar emerged, and I was able to contact the owner and get the necessary corrected code.
We made our way back to the Lake House-Hank’s GI system cooperating this time, liberating my lap from further carnage. As we approached the precarious 45-degree down sloping driveway, the previously locked door was now wide open, the alarm discharging a high pitch piercing chirp screeched in an anxiety provoking tempo. Successfully disabling the alarm, we then exhausted the next 2 hours unloading 5 days’ worth of contents, while ensuring all 3 dogs did not escape into the vast wilderness beyond.
All the drama that precipitated our arrival was worth it as we checked out our luxurious accommodations. The Airbnb concept is relatively new for us but has created options that would have previously been impossible. Being able to explore off the grid and still have the comforts of home-transform a trip into an all-around ultimate experience. As preparations began many discussions were had with the always available owner Misty. Having that local connection to seek recommendations from was extremely helpful.
The Lake House is a welcoming presence nestled amidst infinite tall, bare native trees. They tower high into the sky creating a curtain of dappled light between the timber towers. The Georgian rusty soil earth lies beneath the thickly layered carpet of crunchy fallen auburn-colored leaves. The angled ground is imperfect perfection. Perched up in the graceful crevices of the alpine lumber shadowy stalks a cacophony of bird arias ricochet through the forest of trees signifying the stark winter’s end and the promise of spring. The silence at times was deafening presenting an echo of eerie noiselessness.
Bags unloaded; sibling puppies contained in their cage; we toured the house. It is a wooden wonderland of sophisticated, chic fabulousness with equal parts homey comfort and modern-day elegance. An open floor plan on the ground level that included a kitchen with chef level copper cookware, high end countertops and a farmhouse sink swoon worthy-all these amenities carry an intimidating element of use. A bio-fireplace embedded in the shared wall with a monolithic TV screen and high-end sound system provided hours of entertainment during our 5 days. A firestick contributed a plethora of viewing options-once we figured out how to use it-we spread out on the plush, spacious couch partaking in judge free binge-watching.
Making our way outside there was a wraparound deck facing down below the infinite Hartwell Lake-Lake Hartwell | Georgia | South Carolina – Community and Visitors Guide (mylakehartwell.com). Surrounded by a labyrinth of trees, the porch was a sanctuary of tranquility. Porch chairs and a firepit were a daily meeting spot for A Girl and Her Hubs while Little Green Sprout maintained a watchful guarded eye on the home. Later on, I would read in the Lake House welcome book that detailed Misty’s father-in-law outlining the labor of love that entailed securing Little Green Sprout to the porch.
Moved to curiosity, weeks later I texted Misty inquiring in further detail the meaning of Sprout. She volunteered personal insight on Sprout’s presence. He was there as a watchful protector resurrected out of love. This one small detail distinguished this Airbnb from others, offering a true connection from the owner. During our stay we would find many other similar examples that allowed us to feel like family instead of a stranger’s Airbnb.
Inside the house a wooden staircase leads the way to 2 spacious bedrooms. I did not realize until the final day when we left that both rooms had a TV. The bed was exceptionally comfortable. The bedroom was pretty sparce which is how I prefer it, with little opportunity for any kind of breakage.
We had gone food shopping at the local store-Ingles Store Location and Information (ingles-markets.com)-stocking up for a 5 day stay. I prepared a steak dinner while Hubs sat on the deck, drinking a beer taking in the view with the pups. We sat outside as the sun set on the lake’s horizon eating our dinner alfresco. As we took our final bites, the temperature steadily dropped. We made our way back into the welcoming heat of the warm fireplace.
We watched the President’s State of the Union with apprehension as the uncertainty of war was descending upon us. The comfort and solace of the Lake House helped to soften and mitigate the ever-present angst of an unsettled and unknowing world.
As accommodating as the bedroom was it lacked one thing an aging gal needs, a bathroom at night close by. Trudging down the steps at 3 am I stealthily snuck by the pups’ cage as they slept. A creek in the floor alerted them of my close proximity signaling their bladders as well. Back home, as a city dweller, our streets are lit up like a stadium. However, as the pups and I went into the pitch-dark night, the charcoal black sky speckled with Van Gogh starry night white flecks-I realized I am not in Downtown Tampa anymore. Flashlight in hand, I tiptoed cautiously in the driveway as my feet loudly pulverized the decaying leaves. I immediately heard savage howling reverberating in the cold night obscurity. Unable to distinguish how many and where-I darted the gaze of the flashlight like a weapon. At once, yards away-eyeballs met mine. I yelped grabbing all dogs, running with determination into the house. Fueled by fear, I screamed for Hubs.
Manic with terror, fight or flight activated-I rattled off my “wolf-like” encounter. Earlier in the day Hubs had also seen the beasts, roaming the driveway, stalking our puppies, terrorizing us with wagging tails. As city dogs, our pooches have never been off leashes outside. The site of wandering dogs conjured up Cujo-the killer dog-visions-slobbering, death jaw grip ferocious and feral-locked on my helpless brood.
Commissioned by my belligerent bellowing Hubs staggered haphazardly, pants on backwards, still asleep muttering. My fearless warrior grabbed a broom -yielding it straw forward in protective defense prepared for battle. We all ventured out, reattempting the dark night and task-the warning sounds of howling persisted. Hubs cloaked in the armor of a dusty sweeper in Mr. Clean guarded pose sheltered the clan as the puppies peed in unison. We retreated back to the safety and warmth of the couch dozing off the next several hours-the whole gang traumatized more from my antics than the rabid roaming dogs.
I laid on the couch pups molded under each arm, my eye shield ministering me in a blissful Shangri-la as my Peloton meditation app lulled me into a heavy slumber. I dreamt of devilish dachshunds and robust rainbows with no annoying alarm clock to disrupt my current utopian state. I lingered in this heightened hypnotic hiatus heated by the soothing synthetic embers of serenity. Abruptly, I was pulled back to reality by dachshund puppy breath and a scratchy tongue licking my face. In the cold air, the pups did their business as the first pink signs of the morning dawn merged with the lingering remnants of the still night.
Day 2–In the morning (technically 4 hours later) I texted Misty-the owner-sharing my sad drama filled saga. She was alarmed, concerned and I believe mildly entertained. She posted an alert on the neighborhood Facebook page. The “wolves” never did stop their shenanigans -however, my fear and trepidation lessened as the days went on.
We slowly got ourselves together preparing for a day of hiking. We drove about 30 minutes to Tallulah Falls – Home of Tallulah Gorge (tallulahfallsga.gov). Tallulah Gorge State Park is 2,689-acres surrounding the 1,000-foot-deep Tallulah Gorge.
We stopped off in the visitor center, Hubs acquiring a sturdy walking stick. We then made our way onto the trail that consists of 1,099 steps-uniquely arranged on ascending and descending staircases that follow the perimeter of the gorge.
A bouncy wooden plank suspension bridge straddles the daunting gorge below. Meteorological conditions were top notch-sun bright, clear sky, cool air.
There were few people on the path, but all were friendly and visibly enjoying the stunning scenery and weather as well. The staircases circle around the rim so one gets a 360-degree view of the gorge and thunderous waterfalls.
Green calm waters below combined with white foamy falls signaling the changing of seasons. Tall, exposed trees, next to varying shades of green brush peppered the skyline. At the halfway point we sat on a bench enjoying a picnic of cold PB&J as we gazed out at the panoramic wonders. All in all, Tallulah Falls provided a dynamic day of hiking full of captivating visuals, phenomenal weather and longstanding memories.
Back at the Lake House, we sat outside, I exuberantly swung in the hammock under the shadowing canopy of trees with not a care in the world.
We explored the grounds making our way down a rather dubious gradient to the lake below where the owner’s pontoon boat was docked. We approached wobbly legged, awkwardly balancing ourselves on the floating dock mystified by the foreign seascape, unlike a Florida water view we are accustomed to.
I made Hubs a fine salmon dinner, dining again outside as the last of daylight dissipated. We ended the evening lounging fireside watching mindless TV on the inviting couch.
Day 3-Another challenging night of restless sleep. But I promised Hubs I would not attempt another 3 am dog walk. In truth, the dogs were thriving in this environment. The fresh air, parental love 24/7 with no distractions-they had never behaved better. Which was fantastic because staying in someone else’s home does create a layer of anxiety that does not accompany a Holiday Inn stay.
We made our way to Toccoa Falls College-Toccoa Falls College – North Georgia Christian College (tfc.edu) which coincidentally is also the entrance to the Toccoa Falls. Founded in 1907 it is a Christian based college on a beautiful campus. The vibe is young, hip and academic. Once again, the sun was out and shining, the air was cool with a slight chill. There was an energetic atmosphere of youth and innocence that was palpable. We hit the coffee shop first-Odyssey Coffeehouse at TFC | Facebook– entering as it had just opened. An engaging hipster element with touches of Christian love sprinkled throughout. The friendly Barista provided an aromatic, robust French press delivered with a sweet smile and a bold sharpy handwritten blessing scribbled on the cup. We lounged in comfy chairs enjoying this unique campus.
We made our way to the colorful gift shop and with a $2 fee one is provided entry to the majestic falls. A gravel, whitewash path less than 100 yards takes you straight to a dazzling water display. 186 feet high of milky white aquatic ribbons cascaded down from the primordial sunbaked brown rock backdrop. A steady thundering stream emptied into the shimmering iridescent pool below. Gutsy, daredevil tourists took selfies climbing the stratified, slippery rock.
Hubs and I strolled along the path, pausing at a sign commemorating 39 individuals who tragically died in the early morning hours of November 6, 1977, when the Kelly Barnes Dam broke overtaking the college grounds. The dam was never rebuilt, and the financial damage was over 3 million dollars. The memorial was dedicated on the 10th anniversary of the flood and stands today as a symbol honoring the victims on that fateful day.
Our next stop-very close by in the tiny downtown of Toccoa was the Currahee Military Museum Currahee (toccoahistory.com). The museum is situated in a renovated train depot where 5,000 men in July 1942 trained to be paratroopers.
These brave soldiers made up the newly formed Parachute Infantry Division and were known as the “Toccoa Men.” The museum takes one on a historical journey through the training at Camp Toccoa HOME | camptoccoaatcurrahee that ultimately prepared these courageous men in defending the free world from the German offensive that culminated to World War II. The museum includes an actual stable that housed the paratroopers before and after the war leading up to D-Day.
Nearby, in the Chattahoochee National Forest Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest – Home (usda.gov)-the soldiers would train at Currahee Mountain Currahee Mountain | Official Georgia Tourism & Travel Website | Explore Georgia.org which was made famous by the series “Band of Brothers” Band of Brothers (TV Mini Series 2001) – IMDb . The soldiers ran up and down the 1,735-foot mountain coining the still widely used phrase “3 miles up, 3 miles down”. At the time of our visit, there was virtually no one else there. Our self-guided tour was an information packed hour for a reasonable $5 entrée fee (with discount).
We had worked up an appetite and after chatting with the friendly cashiers from the museum, they suggested X-Factor for a late lunch HOME | x-factorgrill (xfactorgrill.com). A diner like environment with a small-town local feel, an overly seasoned black beans and petrified rice veggie taco dish was painfully consumed. The owners were very friendly and deducted a dollar from the bill for using cash. Other than that, it is not worth mentioning and for me best forgotten.
Conveniently, right next door and dually owned by X-Factor was the Cornerstone- Home | Cornerstone Antique & Craft Market (toccoaantiques.com) according to the Airbnb owner-a genuine Toccoa staple for antique shopping. We browsed the many miles of recycled bric-a-brac leaving me with the same burning reflux my lunch had unfortunately-which was good as no coins were spent. Hubs secured a few items spending less than $6 and thrilled with his new acquisitions. Weather wise-it was simply divine, so we strolled the bucolic main street. Interesting stores, boutiques and vintage shops lined the traffic-free quiet road. We popped in each store, touching and exploring with novelty infused curiosity. We ended the fine outing sedate on a bench in a sugar induced bliss courtesy of a ridiculously overpriced, exquisitely indulgent delectable dark chocolate truffle.
Back at the Lake House, dogs released, we sat outside, Hubs on the porch, I dozed off in the hammock as the tall trees creaked and moaned, caramel-colored leaves danced from above, daintily gliding their way down. Energetic squirrels played hide and seek, while birds flew gracefully above the soaring tree line. Mesmerized, I stayed in this trance, until I looked over and saw one of the beasts-the “howler” from the 3 am nightmare. In the light of day, this “mut” seemed slightly less primitive predator and more house pet Husky. Regardless, Hubs brandished the broom, as if a sword preparing for a dual-swinging it in the air, dust particles released from the ends as if a warning call. Eventually, bored by our antics-the killer canine left us in peace.
Day 4-March 4-MY BIRTHDAY!
Waking up with the main loves of my life on my 51st birthday in Toccoa, Georgia was truly all I could wish for. The day in the end, granted me more than I could have ever asked for. The sun was golden, the beginning of morning’s hope emerging into a day of promise and endless potential. Using the app All Trails AllTrails: Trail Guides & Maps for Hiking, Camping, and Running | AllTrails as a guide has revolutionized hiking for A Girl and Her Hubs. This electronic tool provides helpful tips, accurate levels of difficulty and a handy map for navigation. This innovative addition has turned us from novice to hiker extraordinaire (in the “easy” category) and removed any guess work or surprises in our planned adventures. Hubs did research and designated the most perfect hike for my birthday activity. A beautifully serene drive 30 minutes from the Lake House brought us to Tugaloo State Park Tugaloo State Park | Department Of Natural Resources Division (gastateparks.org) located on the shore of Lake Hartwell in Franklin County, Georgia.
The enchanted wooded peninsula occupies 393 acres of majestic beauty. We positioned ourselves in front of the placid calm water of Lake Hartwell taking in the picturesque setting. Sassafras Loop Trail Sassafras Loop – Georgia | AllTrails is 3.6 miles that weaves in and out of the forest never straying far from the domineering lake.
The barren, leafless trees exposed visual opportunities and glimpses straight through to the gleaming aqua water. We stopped halfway, nourishing ourselves picnic style on packed snacks. Silence accompanied us as we refueled in the stillness of the quiet woodlands. We continued our trek, passing an RV park with bucket list worthy camper set ups. Eyeing the motor homes dreamily, sparked a frenzied monologue of ambitious fantasy future goal strategies that we both knew would remain sequestered in our imagination indefinitely. We wrapped around the lake, completing a full circle-2.5 hours of sublime enjoyment.
Back at the Airbnb, we lounged on the porch lazily tired from our hike, savoring the luxury of nothingness as the end of the day sun warmed our faces. The dogs planted at our feet, unused to this stress-free version of us, piggybacking off our obvious contentment. We dined outside again mimicking the previous 3 nights, savoring our last final days.
Day 5–Today was a gift. We were only booked until this day and then our long journey home was to begin. However, Misty the Airbnb owner, made a very generous offering of a complimentary additional night due to the code mishap on our arrival day. We were enjoying ourselves so much and embracing this much needed down time that we graciously accepted. Making the very most of our last day, Hubs planned out another hike for us. The temperature was transcending, the nicest we’ve had. Wanting to take full advantage of nature’s patronage, we set off early.
Traveling Northeast we headed into the bordering state South Carolina. The topography began to change subtly with curving winding roads flanked by high reaching stark pines. Lustering sunbeams of morning light penetrated the window creating a shifting mosaic of opaque shadow and brilliance as we snaked along the twisting two-lane highway.
As we were headed towards our hiking destination, we passed Chattooga Belle Farm Distillery Back Door Store Home | Chattooga (chattoogabellefarm.com) in Longcreek, South Carolina. The adorable hip country store/distillery stands out like a beacon in a sea of endless countryside. Upon entry we were immediately greeted by Evan-from behind the Whiskey lined bar. He confidently educated us on “the many spirits in this distillery makes it haunted”- appropriate whiskey humor.
I half listened distracted by the slanted sunrays bouncing off the amber liquor filled bottles anchored behind him. Aging wooden barrels stacked 2×2 of liquid happiness dominated the large open space. Country goods, provisions and distillery merchandise occupied the shelves in a rustic, uncluttered appealing display. Sauces, seasonal fruits, jams and other delights created a charming, welcoming experience. Evan offered a complimentary tasting-Moonshine, Whiskey, Vodka-name your poison. We both declined due to Hubs driving and yours truly gave it up many years ago. Instead, I was granted a ruby red, succulent apple. Evan eagerly shared Chattooga’s amenities-fruit picking events, camping on premises and encouraged us to dine at the popular bistro next door. He mentioned that it has limited hours and fills up quickly but is well worth it. We needed no more persuasion than that.
Piling back in the car, for the 100 yards distance, we arrived at Belle’s Bistro. We entered an imposing, stone and wooden barn structure. Once “inside” it opened to ethereal panoramic vistas of the sprawling vineyard and as far as the eye could see emerald-green lawn.
A small prop plane was taking off into the clear blue horizon, an enthusiastic gathering collected, necks craned up, eyes darted forward waving farewell in celebrated delight. We were unaware of who the pilot was and why we were all excited and waving with jubilation-but we joined in with shared passion.
The procedure for ordering food and eating were a bit odd. Orders were placed at a general store and then you were given a number and ushered out to wait. Pockets of people congregated amongst the expansive grounds. Adirondack chairs were scattered throughout all turned in various angles to capture the most perfect view. Every perspective was sensational, not a cloud in the sky, and not a bad way to kill time as our tummies grumbled.
The service was painfully slow, and we waited 45 minutes as the 2 waitresses ran around the many tables in a tandem rush. We noshed in silence concluding the memory of this moment centered more on the beautiful landscape vs a tasty meal. We departed Chattooga Belle Farm ready for the real mission of this drive-Sid’s Falls Sid’s Falls – South Carolina | AllTrails.
Just a short distance away with little to no cars passed-we reached our final hiking destination. No marking or indication signifying location-only a locked gate, two vehicles and a bizarre sign with step-by-step detailed instructions on how to “defecate properly” in the woods. Having memorized this important information, we progressed through the pine needle covered wide pathway.
The trail which is a 3 mile out and back innocently begins very easy with a generous clearance and no elevation although it is marked moderately challenging on All Trails and later, I would learn this the hard way.
At the halfway point the trail begins to narrow a bit, producing a limbo/mambo jig over/under sporadically dismantled fallen trees. As we continued the path began to tighten dramatically to the width of my being and then even less. Tenacious brush, branches and pointy thorns scrape my face and embedded stubbornly in my curls. Rapidly, all hell began to break loose the last 10 minutes as the path had become the Anaconda Jungle.
Sloping down a lunging 90 degrees full tilt I scrambled into life preservation mode clawing at anything my stumpy hands could death grip. I desperately clung to secured roots as I descended treacherously down this makeshift passage. My feet squished in the sloshy mud as I scrounged helplessly for steady footing. My eyes rapidly scanned in frantic futility for accessible limbs, rocks and other crucial protruding lifelines to help propel my pathetic plummet. I began to move quickly through the 5 stages of death and was left with only good old-fashioned prayer and bargaining. I am 100% convinced I was going to die-a slow painful death partially impaled by decaying vegetation, infested with poisonous ants causing me to lose my center of gravity eventually plunging me into the jagged rocks only to be swept away by the water’s deadly torrent and then ultimately submerged into a riptide of cold water laced with deadly flesh-eating bacteria. Meanwhile, Hubs with his “monkey-like” skill set and opposable orangutang thumbs had mastered the rain forest obstacle course waving eagerly “hey honey, come on down.” He was calmy planted firmly at the base, balanced boldly on a slippery rock, facing the splendor of the 50-foot rapturous falls. A few obligatory selfies were taken to document this magnanimous quest as now we had to make the return trip.
Emotionally traumatized by the near-death circumstances I had just encountered; I began to formulate my strategy for my ascent. PTSD began to settle in my already unsteady bones and my quivering appendages tried to retrace my mud laden steps. Having mastered the terror of the descent, I was bolstered with confidence to conquer the beast. I thrust out a hearty guttural call of the wild, digging my manicured nails into the saturated earth. I reached for the roots this time anticipating their placement. Without even a twig in my frizz, I reached the top victoriously.
We passed one young guy, college age, fit, spry and agile. He asked us-as he gazed at my scratched, dirty face, haggard eyes and disheveled self- “How was it?” I provided him with an abridged version of the horrors that awaited him. 10 minutes later he passed us, a slow jog as he sped by. We asked him “How was it?” ready to share war stories and bond like soldiers in battle. He nonchalantly said “No biggie. It was easy.” Shoulders slouched, defeated, fatigued and feeling all 51+1 day-years old-we sought comfort for our egos in some gluttonous, fat laden Dairy Queen.
But first, we had a light dinner at Las Amigos Mexican Restaurant in Toccoa, GA | Mexican Restaurant Near Me | Los Amigos Mexican Restaurant (losamigostoccoa.com). We made our way back to the Lake House one final time to begin the daunting task of packing up for our departure early in the morning. It would be a long 10-hour drive no stops straight home.
As we packed the last item, locked the doors and headed down the winding streets of Toccoa and beyond, I reflected on this time together. The nature of our trips have certainly changed from Parisian Operas and 8 hour Louvre Museum marches to swinging on a hammock in South-Eastern USA. However, the gift of time, bonding and family love cannot be underrated. Shortly after we returned home, monumental life changing events took place. I can’t help but think emotionally about the treasured moments of nothingness combined with the lack of stress, big decisions and hard work.
Two big events occurred that would make the time we had together that much more precious. Juliet, our 5-year-old dachshund the following week while running with her siblings suffered a catastrophic injury rupturing her disc. She required emergency (very expensive) surgery. We were told she was paralyzed and may never be able to use her hind legs. Life as we knew it, with our most beloved “Juju” was forever changed. She spent several days in the ICU, while we processed all that occurred. She returned to us, certainly challenged and unable to do anything she used to do. But her spitfire determination and perseverance shined through, and she is slowly making a resounding recovery. We will most likely never have the girl we first took to Georgia, but we have our Juliet, and she is showing us what true strength looks like-way more than that silly climb down to the waterfall.
The other big life changer that occurred was I made the hard decision to resign from my job of 15 years. It was a major life event for me, a leap of faith, fear of the unknown and what was to come. If not for the time spent in Georgia -the much-needed rest, the joy and love experienced all together helped me to heal my mind, body and spirit-I know that without this I would not have been able to make the move so effortlessly. I have something new and exciting I am transitioning to. I am taking all my love, experience and now clear head with me to this new challenge. I embark on this rested and reassured-thankful for the momentary reprieve the Lake House and Georgia allowed me.
I end this trip journal on this one final note-not every vacation is a page turner, a spellbinding, bucket list adventure that includes a color coated itinerary with rest penciled in as optional. For A Girl and Her Hubs, we are continually learning this. Our simple Georgia retreat showed us that every destination has a purpose, time is more valuable than anything monetary in life and memories infused with love, light, waterfalls and mountain air can cure just about anything. I usually conclude with where to join us next-but for now-we have a blank slate, nothing on the horizon-but you never know where A Girl, Her Hubs and a Suitcase will show up next…..