Saturday, August 20, 2011

Autumn Dreaming

My favorite time of year is Autumn. The crisp, cool air after the humid and stifling heat of the Summer is so refreshing.

It is also u-pick time in the North Georgia orchards. It will soon be time to load up the family and take a drive through the beautiful colors in the mountains. A great day trip to Mercier or one of the other Apple Houses in the hills is fun no matter what age you are. You get the benefit of the fresh air, the beauty of the hills and those oh so gloriously delicious apples. If you have a favorit apple, Mercier lists on their web page which apples are being picked on any given week.
They are already picking some, and they still have some fresh Georgia peaches also.

You could rent a cabin and make a weekend out of it. There are great cabins available at reasonable prices. One of the ways we have found to get the best price is VRBO (which is Vacation Rentals By Owner). You deal directly with the owner on all the details, and get a better price and probably more information on the property.

I love to visit Amicalola Falls State Park...

Reservations (800) 864-7275
Lodge Reservations (800) 573-9656
Park (706) 265-4703

Amicalola Falls State Park is just off the Appalachian Trail and a favorite for local hikers.

You can either park at the bottom of the beautiful falls and walk up the winding staircase to the top, or drive up to the top of the 729 foot falls, where you will find the Lodge and the Maple Restaurant. The Maple Restaurant has a fabulous view overlooking the valley, and they have a reasonably priced buffet which is quite good.
The expansive lobby with a huge stone fireplace is where you will often find a Park Ranger showing off some of the local wildlife and giving talks to the children. The last time I was there they had a group of children entranced with an owl. The children were totally fascinated with the creature, and were allowed to ask questions after the Ranger finished speaking.

So, if you are looking forward to the Fall...think about a trip to the North Georgia Mountains. Make some memories.


TOP FIVE PICKS FOR BAKING...Braeburn, Jonathan, McIntosh, Rome and Granny Smith..and the newcomer - Honeycrisp. These are usually available August to October, and some even year round.

To make a delicious Caramelized Apple dessert, combine 4 peeled, cored and sliced baking apples in a skillet with 2 tablespoons of butter and 1/4 cup packed brown sugar. Cook and Stir over medium heat until apples are tender and nicely browned.
Serve warm spooned over vanilla or ginger ice cream. A real Fall Treat!

I remember as a very young child my Grandmother's apple tree. I would go and pick up the ones which had fallen and take them in to her. She would get out the iron skillet, fry up a piece of "fatback" (streak o lean) and slice those apples into it and cook them til they were browned and tender. Ummmmm...sweet memories. They were delicious! Great for breakfast or dinner.

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