So my husband planned a sponteous family getaway, in the mountains of the northern part of the state.

He googled ‘best state parks’ and this was the top in our state. It boasted beautiful scenery, great hiking trails, and waterfalls.

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AND it had cottages, which was a huge plus for me. It’s not that I don’t do tent camping – it’s just that tent camping and three kids and six hours away and making all your own food seems extremely time consuming and a bit stressful, and I’d rather enjoy my vacation, please! And it said ‘cottage’ – not even ‘cabin’! I was sure we’d be enjoying nature in style.

So off we went, with excitement through the roof on all of our parts. We had never done a family holiday before! With my family living far away, and my extended family living far away in yet another state, all of our travels have been to see them. And I have loved that! But maybe it’s as our family grows older that it’s felt as though we need our very own little family times as well.

So the packing began, and I was beaming as I packed my cute vintage suitcases, and our very old vintage ice chest. Later, as Ben unloaded, I realized his true feelings on my charming finds. “I feel like a GRANDMA,” he announced, quite embarassed. And I do have to admit – maybe the idea of vintage luggage sounds better than the actual usage! :)

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We checked in to our… cottage, which was really a rustic CABIN. Hello, just call it a cabin then! But hey, it had a [very teeny basic] kitchen, and a shower, and beds to sleep in, and air conditioning, so I guess it still was like camping in style. Just not in luxury – you can’t compare a State Park to a Hampton Inn!! :)

After getting settled in, and the girls running around shrieking in excitment, and Hudson running after them screaming just because it seemed to be the thing to do, we headed out for the trails.

It was then that we realized we had missed an important memo; actually, we had somehow missed the bold print title of Canyon. The whole state park was built around a deep canyon, and nearly all trails led straight down into the gorge! This was no leisurely stroll through the woods; this was considered ‘strenuous hiking’ even by the park map and ‘Warning: not intended for those with heart trouble’ on the big sign leading down the trail.

We’re used to flat land, pine trees, palm trees, and beaches. I had hardly realized that Georgia actually has mountains as well!

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And for those of us who aren’t exactly in tip-top athletic shape and who had to piggy-back kiddos part of the way, we had a few things like shaking legs and heaving lungs by the time it was all completed. But, we did it, and completed it! All 1200 steps, all the while passing other heaving and puffing and sweating fellow hikers. I guess we weren’t the only ones not quite prepared for the strenuous part of it.

The view at the bottom was so worth the thousand steps and mile and a half tough hike – the 100 foot waterfall was so beautiful, and the kids were so wowed at the huge rocks everywhere.

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The next day we did find a two-mile trail that was definitely more family-friendly. A rambling walk through the woods that was not life-threatening! Perfect.


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All that hiking and outdoor activity made for some hungry folks. And what’s better than an old-fashioned supper on the grill? But I have to say, taking all your own food for even a weekend vacation is a lot of work!! At the end of it all I was calling it a “Family Weekend” rather than a “Vacation.” Somehow, as a kid, vacations like this didn’t seem like so much work!! :)

// typical Hudson face after a nap: big puffy Barkman lips and tousled hair. i could eat him alive. //

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And we are left with a hundred fun and funny memories, and a few better-toned muscles besides. :) I love my little family SO much.


14 thoughts on “A Family Holiday.

  1. beklovesjeremy

    how fun! we did a family camping trip last year and yes it WAS a lot of work, but so very worth it. this year however with a newborn baby we are going to skip our fall camping trip… but we still did/are fitting in a family vacation with both sides of the family. so it’s all good. proud of you for making the effort to make this happen for your little family. and i seriously laughed out loud at Ben’s “I feel like a grandma” comment. too funny! happy labor day weekend to you!

  2. carmenbyler

    This looks like such a great time!! There’s nothing quite like it to be sure. I can also relate totally about having family out of state which defines most of our travel/vacationing! But, YES, as the family grows older there is definitely the need/pull for this kind of “family weekends” that are just priceless. Even tho it’s a lot of work for us mom’s, the pay off is worth every minute of work and planning!!

  3. Thelma

    i love that thot of family ‘weekend’ vs. vacation:-) i was thinking of a weekend we want to do in Sept, and actually how that when kids are involved, expectations of R&R just need to be shelved in favour of making memory thots. The kids will have a blast and remember the good times, and we’ll rest when we’re senior citizens:-)

    the mushroom/pepper/onion topping?? YUM! I am so making that this weekend when we are ‘camping’ in a ‘cottage’.

    and wow, those are high moutains, I would not think of them and Georgia in the same thot.

  4. Breana Rickman

    Been there, done that! *giggle* Tullula Gorge and Cloudland Canyon have both been visited by my huffing, tired, not-actually-hikers family… :) Ah, well. The memories sure stuck!!

  5. Ervina

    Oh, this just looks so fun. What troopers you all were. I’m glad your cute little family got to have its very own vacation, and I’m ‘specially glad the countdown is on to the Barkman one. 17 days and counting…

  6. Shannon

    Oh what fun! I do so very much agree, it is not a vacation with all the kids, cooking and everything! When we go camping Eric says, “It’s not that much work, just relax!” “Suuuuuure! Absolutely nothing to do!”
    Your girls could almost pass for twins. I love their blonde hair. 2 of mine were blonde but getting darker all the time now.

  7. Michelle

    Camping is always work instead of vacation in my opinion. ;) Something about needing to take your own food pretty quickly turns it into “weekend instead of vacation.” :) But, it is so much fun and I love especially seeing children exploring nature and finding it so fascinating. Y’all were troopers on that hike! We have a bad habit of picking hikes that are too long (just ask my dear friend, Rae, who has gotten sucked into them twice!). One of these days we’ll get it figured out, but by then WE will be the ones not making it and our kids will be towing us back up the hill with a bungee cord hooked onto us or something. :) Lovely pictures!

  8. Kellie

    How fun!!! I love the north GA mountains! So beautiful! When our oldest three were little, we went to TN to what was advertised as a cabin. We got there and it was just barely big enough to sleep in and that is it- no kitchen or bathroom! But we had a wonderful time and made lots of great memories!

  9. Shelly

    Yay, you did it! A getaway for just you guys! I’m reading this at 5:00 in the morning and it’s just giving me giggles the whole way through. :) Ben’s LOVE of your vintage suitcases (btw, *I* love them for real!!), the cabin vs. cottage, the huffing and puffing hike, etc. It’s all the “crises” of camping-type family vacations that create memories and family bonds. At least that’s what Gary Smalley says. :) Thanks for sharing and have a happy weekend!! xo

  10. amber

    fun fun memories!! and you KNOW i’m right w/ ya on the whole cabin vs. cottage thing. ;)) vacations w/ little ones is always a challenge – i think what makes it or breaks it comes down to our attitude. and sounds like you swallowed all your expectations and just went w/ it and i’ll bet that was 90% the reason everyone had such a great time. ~ love all the shots. you’re good at capturing real life moments and yet all in a dreamy sorta way!! :)) laughed at the “grandma luggage.” good man, that ben!!!!


  11. makingitcomplicated

    It looks a lot like Arkansas! So glad you guys got to have fun, in spite of the differences. FYI: As far as I know, state parks only have cabins, not cottages despite what their materials tell you, haha!

  12. Elizabeth

    First…I love your vintage luggage.
    Second…how sweet of your husband to plan a weekend away!
    Third…your photos are all gorgeous. Glad your little family was able to get away together. Those memories are the best!

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