The Wedding Part 2: Happily Ever After

After a very stormy yet successful wedding, Jared and I were off to our honeymoon.

We stayed in a beautiful cabin in Mountain City, GA– right near Black Rock State Park.

And when I say beautiful I mean absolutely gorgeous.

mountains

The backside of the cabin hung over a steep incline and a fertile valley with several produce farms growing cabbage, sweet corn and tomatoes as well as hay.

valley

The valley

I was in love. I’ve always loved Georgia but this little escape made me love it even more!

The setting for the first half of our little honeymoon: Raburn County, Mountain City and neighboring Tallulah Gorge which are world famous for two reasons: Deliverance and Foxfire.

(Praying for) Deliverance:

During the first half of our honeymoon, Jared and I decided to visit Mayfield Dairy. However, after finding the location of the nearest ice cream tourist attraction and discovering that “nearby” is a very relative term–we decided to ride through Tallulah Gorge.

Keyword: ride. I was in sandals and a dress; Jared was in boots and a button-up western shirt. Not exactly hiking gear!

However, after discovering that the trail was somewhat constructed of concrete or wood structures (HA!) we decided to tackle the climb to the highest peak on the gorge.

It was a breathtaking view. Pictures don’t do it justice. It was deep and wide and full of cool, moist air. It was worth the blisters and burning lungs to get to the peak.

Tallulah gorge

Tallulah gorge

Tallulah Gorge

 

After our ascent, we decided to venture to the cable bridge back down the mountain so we could peer down into the gorge floor. I mean Deliverance, the creepiest movie I’ve never seen was filmed here. It would be fun!

Once we climbed down the mountain to begin the descent to the bridge we saw a sign that said: “630 steps down to cable bridge. Do not attempt if you are pregnant, overweight, faint of heart, have common sense or hope to survive the climb back up. Otherwise–have fun!” (paraphrased)

Ignoring that fact that we were inappropriately dressed, without liquid refreshment and the fact that I had skipped lunch–we took off into the wild blue yonder in search of the cable bridge. And we found it–and it was pretty darn spiffy. We took lots of pictures, then began our climb back up the 630+ stairs. (I believe they added a few more on the way up)

cable bridge

Halfway to the top, feeling exhausted and strangely uneasy we stopped to rest. The last thing I remember was saying, “Man, my heart is beating in my ears…” When I woke up Jared was shaking the stew out of me and boxing my ears. (Or in his word’s warping. I’m not sure of the difference.)

I had no recollection of passing out. Nothing. Nada. For all I knew I had decided to take a nap. In the middle of a stairway. Where a horrific horror movie that I have yet to see was filmed.

Jared was terrified. There wasn’t a soul insight. Not even the inbred hillbillies that were famed for living in the park. (Although, I doubt they would have had a Gatorade handy.) There was just an endless flight of steep, stairs that went back to the start of the trail.

After gathering the remains of my exhausted thoughts and with a ringing in my ears, we headed back up the mountain.

Lesson of the Day: Dehydration>Jillian

Foxfire:

Toward the end of our time in Georgia we chose to visit the Foxfire Museum.

Foxfire is a series of books, magazines originally, that high school students have written about Appalachian history and the folks that lived it. What started as a school project in 1966, has blossomed into a method of classroom instruction, museum and living link between students and their elders.

Foxfire

The museum touted it’s own “village” with historic buildings, farm equipment and housewares from the Southern Appalachian culture. However, the building that impressed me most was a small wood structure sitting on blocks. A local man, with great knowledge in Appalachian history, and several students built it–the old way.

No electric tools. No Quikrete. No cinder blocks. Just large rocks, wood and elbow grease.

foxfire

Talk about hands-on learning. That is what makes Foxfire special. It is about students interacting with the “old folks” and learning where they came from and how hard it was to get to where they are. It’s about a community coming together and investing time in their young people. It’s about students gaining skills that will benefit them the rest of their lives. It is Foxfire; and it is amazing.

Cullman, Alabama:

After bidding farewell to Georgia, we ventured west to Cullman, Ala. Jared and I had some good friends from college that weren’t able to come to the wedding, so we made a pit stop to visit on our honeymoon.

I wanted to go so that I could do this:

race car

Our good friend, Travis, races the dirt track circuit and needed a few more sponsorship stickers on his car.

So this happened:

racecar hood

Now, the fact that no one knows where in the heck Cottonwood is or what Etress Farms is for that matter is not significant. What is significant is that Travis’ hood was naked and now it is not. (This was a surprise to us by the way! Thanks Travis!)

He also did up this little sticker:

race car

Yep, we like Travis a lot.

Aside from getting to crawl in a race car and rev the engine, Jared and I got to experience the wonder that is a sweet potato farm.

Meaning Travis got free labor for the day. Maybe that hood sticker was just bait…?

We learned alllll about what it takes to grow the slips, or the transplants, as well as how to plant them and how to wash taters.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll let them explain:

slips to be transplanted

slips to be transplanted

Travis' sister and the crew transplanting the tater slips

Travis' sister and the crew transplanting the tater slips

potato plants

washer

Travis' family and the crew sorting taters

Travis' family and the crew sorting taters

sweet potatoes

After working with the tater crew, Travis took us into the town. Cullman was one of the hardest hit areas during Alabama’s April tornadoes. It definitely showed.

Despite the tragedy, people from all over the country, as well as families and local businesses had bonded together to clean-up and rebuild. Although the efforts are far from over, it was refreshing to see the care everyone showed for their neighbor.

After our time with Travis, we headed to South Alabama to get our new home settled.

Here are  a few more pictures from some of our other honeymoon adventures:

Glenn Falls

Glenn Falls

 

Glenn Falls

Glenn Falls

Foxfire

 

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