I woke up early on our first morning in the cabin. The sun had just come up. I made my way out to the porch to look for wildlife while Ashley slept in. The water on the lake seemed to shimmer as thousands of tiny bugs played. A light layer of fog rolled across the water. Sounds of nature filled my ears which was a welcome change to the urban sounds I am used to. Blue skies replaced overcast ones we had arrived to the day before.
Ashley eventually made her way out of bed and I made my wake back into the cabin. Coffee was, as always, the first order of the day. We found a drip coffee maker and proceeded to brew the coffee that we brought with us. I don’t like to rely on the coffee provided whenever I travel. With freshly brewed coffee, we made our way back onto the porch to enjoy more of the beautiful June weather. Eventually the sounds of park personnel cutting grass and our empty stomachs let us know that it was time for breakfast. I took on the duties of cooking sausage and eggs while Ash washed up all of the dirty dishes we had accumulated. With breakfast and chores out of the way, it was time to start exploring.
Just down the road from the park was a tunnel that was made in the 1800’s. Stumphouse Tunnel was partially built as part of a proposed route from Charleston, SC to the Ohio Valley. It was never completed for various reasons. However, about ¼ mile was finished which you can tour today. As we reluctantly made our way into the tunnel, it was apparent that the building of this tunnel had been quite difficult for the workers. Solid granite surrounds the tunnel. Cold water is constantly dripping from the top of the tunnel. We made it to the “end” of the tunnel where we found a steel door that was locked. My imagination got the better of me, and we quickly made our way back out.
I was reluctant to hike to any waterfalls on this trip after having viewed Lower Yellowstone falls last year. I had been so impressed by Yellowstone falls that I was sure other waterfalls weren’t going to stack up. Lying within the same park as the tunnel was a trail leading to Issaqueena Falls. It was only a short hike to an overlook where we viewed the falls. I was glad that the hike had been short because the view of the falls was very obscured by foliage. The view would probably be much better in fall or winter.
Before the trip, Ashley had researched points on interest online that were within driving distance of our cabin. One of the most interesting things that she found was a place called “Goats on the Roof” in Tiger Georgia. We loaded the address into our phone and headed west into Georgia. We followed narrow winding roads through the mountains of South Carolina and Georgia. Upon entering Clayton, GA, our route took us onto a four lane highway. Only a short drive from there we found Goats on the Roof right beside the road.
Goats on the Roof is literally what it sounds like. A series of ramps and bridges allow the goats to actually graze on the grass growing on the roof. The goats are accustomed to being fed by tourists, so it came as no surprise when they immediately ran up to the fence as we approached. Ashley was taken aback by the cuteness of said goats. She took plenty of pictures as the goats queried her about any food she might possibly have. Eventually I drug Ashley away from the goats so that we could further explore this attraction. Inside we found a goat themed gift shop as you might expect. There were a lot of local products available and we always try to support locally made goods while we are traveling. Salt and pepper nuts made from a company in North Carolina fit that bill and we purchased them.
One of the reasons people are attracted to GOTR is the freshly made ice cream and fudge that they make. As it was lunch time, and ice cream is always an acceptable lunch, we made our way to a separate building where said goodies where sold. Ashley ordered some peach cobbler and I got PB&J swirl (Butthead) ice cream. At the time I was totally unaware of how their ice cream was made. I noticed lots of what appeared to be smoke surrounding the young lady who was preparing our treats. Quickly I realized that they were using frozen nitrogen to freeze the ice cream. We each enjoyed our ice cream immensely. I would highly recommend you check this place out if you’re in the area!
One of our goals for this trip was to enjoy some cocktails on the porch of our cabin and we did not bring any liquor with us. I found a local shop called Smitty’s liquor on Yelp with good reviews. Inside, we found friendly staff who were more than happy to offer us some recommendations. There was a nice selection so it took a while to choose. We were tempted by some varieties of moonshine that we had not previously seen but we ended up purchasing some locally made bourbon.
Our itinerary for this trip was not set in stone. Originally we planned to visit a berry farm back in SC after we finished at GOTR. However, I found a state park that was only ten minutes away. I learned that Black Rock state park is the highest state park in Georgia so we decided to check it out.
The road leading into Black Rock is very steep and winding. We finally reached the top and immediately noticed the incredible views.
Inside the visitors center we found the souvenirs you normally expect to find. We have begun to collect coffee mugs when we find ones that we like.
Driving around the park we found they had cabins available to rent as well as a nice campground. We also found a “short” trail to a waterfall and we decided to explore. There were a lot of steps which we had to climb on our return trip. Ashley was filling a little sick after we returned from the waterfall so we decided to make our way back to our cabin.
Whenever I travel anywhere I try to go back a different way than the way I came. I checked the map and found a nice looking curvy road that would take us back into South Carolina. The road turned out to be just as nice as I had thought it would be. It started off going through a beautiful rural valley with lots of farms. After a few miles the road started got really curvy as it went into the mountains. I’ve always enjoyed driving on curvy roads like this one. However, after a few miles Ashley started getting car sick. We stopped for a few minutes on the side of the road until she felt better. We slowly made our way back to our cabin, ensuring Ashley’s lunch stayed down.
I relaxed on the porch while Ashley took a short nap. Later we made our way to the park office to inquire about bags for cornhole boards that were located near the cabin. We left a small cash deposit and left with the bags needed. Back at the cabin, we mixed some lemonade and bourbon together (mostly bourbon) and walked up to the cornhole boards.
After a few games we determined that bourbon makes Ashley better at cornhole, and me worse. With our bellies full of bourbon, we decided it was time for dinner. We attempted to make some pizza but had serious issues with the crust sticking to the pan. Resilient and hungry, we changed our plans and made some pizza quesadillas.
After dinner we continued to sip on some bourbon out on the porch. It was a beautiful clear evening to enjoy the early June weather. The quiet park was a perfect setting to spend an evening with my wife. Darkness fell as the sounds and distractions of our normal life faded away. The night sky was incredibly clear and we could see many more stars than we normally do back at home. It was all very inspiring. We both knew that we need more nights like this one.
Freelance Graphic Designer based in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. I enjoy creating digital art, illustrations and photography. I also enjoy hiking, birding, cooking, reading, traveling and a nice bourbon or two.