We left SC, and made the much anticipated trip to not only Georgia's newest state park, but also our old stomping grounds. Don Carter State Park is located on the north side of Gainesville, GA, near the 1996 Olympic Rowing Venue on Lake Lanier. Way back in 1998 we moved to the Gainesville area and lived there for 10 years. Looking back at that move, we should have known we were already blessed with the adventurous spirit to travel to new areas. You see, we left our home, families and jobs in WI to move to Gainesville, GA...with a 1 year old...with no jobs lined up and oh did I mention the apartment we were moving into was not finished being renovated? Talk about a leap of faith! Rick's employer was looking to expand their restaurant concept into the greater Atlanta area and we decided to move then and get acclimated to the area. My mom had moved to the area a couple years prior, so we were not going there completely blind and thank goodness she was there because we ended up living with her until our apartment next door was ready.
Now fast forward to 2018 and boy has the area changed! It is unreal how it has all built up...and the TRAFFIC! It took a bit to get our bearings because everything looked soo different and the traffic was a bit overwhelming.
We had a great time catching up with old friends and even meeting new ones! Unfortunately, we were so engrossed in the moment, we forgot to take pictures! I see a trend here! Ughhh... Sorry Kathryn, Freddie, Lindsay, Mark and Rachel! We will try to get better about that.
We also had a great time visiting some of our favorite areas and one thing I just love is the small town squares. Most of the times, these squares were home to the town courthouse. It is nice to see these squares preserved and decorated for the holidays.
We also visited Helen, GA, which is a quaint little German themed town in Northeast Georgia. We always liked visiting when we lived in the area and it seems this is one of the areas that has not changed.
We also visited one of our favorite waterfalls in NE GA, Anna Ruby Falls. The falls are located in the Chattahoochee National Forest, just north of Helen, and you need to drive through Unicoi State Park to get to the national forest area. That also means you pay for a state park admission and national park admission. Good thing we had our state park pass from the park we were staying at BUT unfortunately we completely forgot to pull out our America the Beautiful pass to get into the national forest. We ended up paying the $6 fee and it was worth it. These falls are beautiful, as is the hike up to them, which takes you next to and over the river spilling from the falls. The day we visited it was more of a raging river than a meandering one. The hike up and down was a good workout, but there are benches along the way to stop and take in the sites and people of all ages can hike it. We brought the boys here when they were little and we all really enjoyed it.
Don Clark State Park where we stayed is the newest of Georgia's state parks at 5 years young. This was our first time in a state park here and we were pleasantly surprised how nice it was. Beautiful buildings and landscaping, clean as a whistle and really nice sites with great amenities. The paved sites are "semi" full hookups. I say semi because they have 50 amp electric, water, cable and gray water "sewer" at the site. We have never seen anything like this before. The sewer was a small metal trash can with the bottom cut out, buried into the ground and filled 3/4 with charcoal to slowly let your gray tank seep into it. It was really nice to have and we never had to dump tanks at the dump station during our 8 days here. Many of the sites had views of Lake Lanier and we were lucky enough to score one of the pull thru sites that faced the lake. The comfort stations have nice showers, restrooms and laundry rooms. They also have really nice cottages on the lake for rent. There were scenic hiking trails, a very nice beach area and lots of wildlife that walked around the park freely.
Our time here flew by and we will definitely return and quite possibly volunteer as camphosts. The weather was all over the place with a really rainy day, some nice days and then some cold days with some nights at freezing. Our last night turned out to be the coldest at 28 degrees. The next morning was going to be an early departure since we would have a long 5 hour drive ahead of us, so Rick packed up the water hose and put some water in the fresh tank. Everything went well in the morning and we pulled up to the dump station around 9am. This is when we discovered that the tank valve handle was frozen shut. After a couple head scratching moments, Rick fired up the generator and plugged the hair dryer into the outside plug in the cargo bay. After a couple minutes of warming, the handle came free. Again, our generator saves the day. I think it was worth its weight in gold and we are really glad we opted to get it, even though having a big Onan generator takes up some of our cargo weight.
Up next...Savannah baby! Stay tuned....
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