We stopped on the way at Rucksack Military Surplus in Gainesville where Larry was able to find a bunch of patches he didn't already have and I got a pair of gray Army training shorts that I LOVE. I sleep in 'em. Then we were off to Babyland General Hospital in Cleveland to see the babies in the cabbage patch! I've wanted to go there since I was a teenager and got my first CBK, a preemie boy that I named Jory, after a V.C. Andrews character. I was really, really into V.C. Andrews books back then. We could see the hospital from the road and it was sooooo pretty! There were pots and pots of flowers and rocking chairs all the way around the porch.
A sweet nurse offered to take our picture in the famous cabbage leaf chair. I was more than a little giddy to be there! Ha!
We walked around the hospital and the gift shop. I'd already made up my mind that I was taking one home with us and when I saw this little red-haired, green-eyed girl, I knew she was the one.
Her name is Grace Hannah, named after Larry's grandma, Grace, and my grand-grandma, Hannah. We paid a little extra for her birth certificate and off we went to Mountain Laurel Antique Mall and walked around in there for a little while. I found a couple of things I couldn't live without. :)
I loved this plate! It's the Helsinki design by One World. I'd love to have the whole set or at least find more of it. I've never seen it before.
And this funky little vintage trivet. I couldn't leave it. :)
We had rented a cabin at the top of Little Andy Mountain several months ago and it was the most beautiful little cabin in the most beautiful little spot. We didn't want to leave! Gorgeous mountain views, sunrises, sunsets from the deck, and the moon and the stars through the huge window across from the bed. It was just amazing and sooooo romantic.
If anybody would like to stay here, leave me a message and I'll give you the info. It's got a living room, kitchen, bedroom and bath, Jacuzzi tub, hot tub, gas grill, pool table, TV room downstairs with a leather sectional sofa, washer and dryer so you can do your laundry, a full bath downstairs and a beautiful wraparound deck. We loved it and will definitely go back! It's so funny because when I posted the pics of the cabin on Facebook, a friend of mine recognized it as the cabin she and her husband and baby son stayed at years ago!
We got to Helen around 6:00, starving slap to death and couldn't wait to get our hands on some authentic weiner schnitzel! We found it at Hofbrauhaus Restaurant and G.I. Germany Pub. We went all out with schnitzel, German potato salad, sauerkraut, cheese beer dip with a baked pretzel, German black forest cake, German chocolate cake and we even tried escargot for the first time. They tasted just like stuffed mushrooms. I still don't understand the big deal with escargot. Probably won't ever have 'em again but at least I can say I tried 'em!
We made a quick walk through Helen after supper (well, we kinda rolled through Helen after supper), stopped at Hansel and Gretel for some fudge and got a few groceries at Betty's Country Store and called it a night. Friday morning, we went back to Helen and Larry dropped me off while he went back to Mountain Laurel to get something for me that I couldn't see. I walked around by myself, had an apple strudel at Hofer's Bakery (if you're in Helen, you HAVE to go to Hofer's! We went three times!) and waited for him to get back. It took him a little longer so I went shopping! I got a Helen t-shirt, a pretty tie-dyed top and some Christmas presents. So, yes, I have officially started Christmas shopping!
Once Larry joined me, we had lunch at Hofer's. Reubens with sauerkraut and melted Swiss cheese! Hofer's need to stop. Really. Their sweet tea was as good as mine, too. I heart them so much.
We walked the town again, visiting the toy store, the model train exhibit, the Christmas store, Nacoochee Village Antique Mall (where I got a 1961 promotional Empire Golden Scroll Pyrex casserole dish with the lid AND the cradle! I also hid a rock that I painted there and a lady visiting from Pennsylvania found it and posted it on Facebook. Made my day AND hers!), the grist mill and country store and then went back to Betty's for some German beer and coffee and went back to our cabin and crashed.
Saturday morning, early, we had breakfast and then went to Cool River Tubing to tube down the Chattahoochee River. We signed up, got a push stick (and later on discovered that we needed TWO push sticks) and took a bus ride up the mountain so we could start upriver. The bus driver was a really sweet elderly man and it was a pleasant ride. Just him and me and Larry. Nobody else had signed up yet so we had the river to ourselves. We got our tubes and off we went. I probably don't have to tell y'all how awkward it is for a pudgy girl to get into an inner tube in the river. But I got in there, finally, and got situated. Kinda. Larry had the stick and he also held onto to my tube, bless his heart. His arms would pay for that later on. We set off down the river and it was really so, so nice. It was about 55 degrees and there was a little breeze blowing and we just floated. Most of the way was smooth but there were some areas where the water was rushing (I called it "rapids"...ha!) and there were some areas where the water was so deep the stick wouldn't touch the bottom but for the most part, the water was low and we got stuck on rocks. A lot. I was pretty hysterical after a while. It was just so, so funny.
There was this one big rock that I got hung up on and I had been trying to help Larry get us unstuck by rocking the tube and I rocked myself up over the rock (this is where two sticks would have been lovely) and the water splashed and filled Larry's tube with water. With his phone in the bottom of the tube. He let go of me and I floated away from him while he went to the bank to dump the water out of his tube and he slipped on the slippery rocks and fell into the water, soaking his phone for the second time. He wrapped it up in his sweatshirt in the only part of it that was dry, the hood, and started out to get me. I was hung up on a rock by that time, of course I was. When I drifted away from him, I was a little scared but the dang water was three feet deep right there so I knew I wouldn't drown. I just liked having him close to me. So when I got hung up on that rock with no way to get loose since I had no stick, I yelled back up the river, "I'll just wait for you right here!" I can't even write into words how hilarious this whole thing was. I guess I could have gotten out and gotten loose but that thought never occurred to me at the time. I just waited for him. He got to me and got me loose and off we went, on down the river. If so much of the river hadn't been shallow, we wouldn't have kept getting stuck on rocks and poor Larry's arm wouldn't have gotten such a workout.
Larry took this picture of me, with his soaking wet iPhone, as I floated away from him. He said I look so forlorn in this picture. Bwah!!
We got to the end of our hour-long tour and there were the two little Mexican boys who were going to help us get out. This little skinny kid says, "Be careful, ma'am" and I'm like, "No, honey, YOU be careful!" I was actually worried for his safety. A chunky, middle-aged woman desperate to have her feet on solid ground again. Yeah, honey, YOU be careful. You might get pulled in here with me. I got out with his help and my foot completely out of the tube and in the river and then Larry got out of his tube and it slipped out from under him and down he and his phone went again. We were SOAKED to the bone by then and we just knew Larry's phone was toast. We'd already talked about going to Verizon and just getting a new one today. We walked up the walkway and deck to the Cool River store where there were towels and bathrooms and dry clothes. We got us some dry t-shirts and tried out the phone. It still worked! I posted on Facebook that those Otter Box cases are NO joke and that we had one more miraculous story to tell about them. I had my phone run over at the beach by a Ford F-150 pickup truck and my phone was fine, not even a scratch on it. Larry's iPhone was in an Otter Box, dunked THREE times in the Chattahoochee River and it still worked. We took the case off and dried it best we could and got on the bus that would take us back to our truck.
Oktoberfest kicked off this weekend so the Oktoberfest parade was going on so we got to see that on the bus on our way back. That was an unexpected treat!
We started home around noon and noticed that Larry's phone was not charging. I've never used it but I've sure heard about the rice trick so we stopped and I went in and got a bag of Mahatma and we tried it. Worked like a charm! The phone's working great now.
We probably had the best weekend trip we've ever had. The weather could not have been better, the little town and mountains were beautiful and we laughed so much our faces hurt.
We can't wait to go back. But next time, there'll be TWO push sticks.