Sunday, January 26, 2014

Callaway Gardens Weekend Getaway

This weekend, we traveled to Pine Mountain, Georgia.  It was about a 4 hour trip and we didn't leave until after school.  With the time change, we arrived at the Mountain Creek Inn around 10pm, Eastern Time.  We checked in, went to our rooms, and fell straight into bed.

The room was pretty standard, with a king size bed and a small bathroom.  The Mountain Creek Inn does have a nice lounge area with two restaurants.  The girls and Justin tried out one of them--The Plants--the morning of the race.  They gave it 4 stars.

Saturday morning we woke up pretty early and went to the Country Kitchen for breakfast.  We enjoyed pancakes, omelets, and biscuits and gravy with this view:

The southerner in me loved that they served my milk in a mason jar:

Following breakfast, we drove about 15 minutes to the Pine Mountain Animal Safari.  We have been to a drive-through safari before, but this was by far the best.  So much so that it deserves it's own post, which I'll try to get to tomorrow.  But I'll leave you with this teaser:
Yes, that's a zebra trying to eat my hair!
When we FINALLY left the safari, it was time to go the race expo and pick up my packet.  I'm going to save all race information for another post as well, so you'll get the race recap soon!

Before leaving the gardens, the girls wanted to go to the Butterfly Center at Callaway.  This was an epic fail--because it's been so cold, we ended up seeing more dead butterflies than we did live ones.  We did get a picture of one, very pretty blue monarch:

We left the gardens with no clue what to do.  I had picked up a 'Pine Mountain Experience Guide' from the safari, so we leafed through it.  When I saw the ad for Warm Springs Winery, I knew that was it.  Visiting a winery is on my 30 Before 30 list and it's something I've wanted to do for a long time.  I called ahead to make sure it was ok to bring the girls.  When we arrived, the vitner gave the girls grape juice (from their own vines), pretzels, and wine crackers.  (Wine crackers are now K's favorite snack..oops!)

We were all educated on the wine-making process and the nerd in me loved it!  Justin and the girls enjoyed it too and even asked questions.  I was very pleased with the way the staff included the girls.  Justin and I sampled a few of the wines and the girls sampled grape juice, chips and muscadine salsa, and pretzels.  (Libby even picked apart the tortilla chips.  She said "I taste a little sugar... and a lot of salt."  So funny!)

After the tastings, the girls made wreaths from the dried out grape vines.  They had so much fun!

We left the winery with a bottle of grape juice, a jar of Muscadine salsa, a box of wine crackers, and an un-named and thus, un-labeled bottle of white wine.

Dinner was at Aspen's Mountain Grill.  It was a very quaint, homey restaurant with a mountain vibe.  There are animals on the walls--a bear skin, a hog's head, an elk head--and it's nicknamed "the Hunter's Hangout."

After eating, we stopped in at Lulubelle's Ice Cream parlor and enjoyed some Baskin Robbins ice cream.  With our belly's stuffed, we headed back to the Inn and were asleep by 8.  It was a very fun, very BUSY day, and we were all exhausted!

Sunday morning, the race began at 7am (our time), which meant we were up and getting ready at 5:30. That's early!  The race happened (more on that later) and while I ran, Justin and the girls had breakfast. After the race, we stopped in at Cracker Barrel for breakfast (where I properly refueled) and then a potty break at the Bass Pro Shop.  While there, the girls posed in front of the fish tank:

They are getting much better at actually wanting to take pictures for me.  They requested I take this one "for the blog".  Isn't that funny?

Our getaway was SO much fun and I would recommend that anyone within driving distance make the trip.  It was such an enjoyable, beautiful, laid-back place.  Perfect for a weekend trip!

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