Florida Georgia Line

It has become this weird tradition that I run the Peachtree Road Race every year. I’m so dedicated that each year I do the same thing; I sign up, do a few training runs, complain about those runs, buy some race shoes and show up wishing I had dressed more for the part. This year I turned the trip to Atlanta into a little adventure with several stops planned around it. Let’s start at the beginning… Race morning.

“Do you know where you’re going?” I asked the woman in the elevator wearing a race bib. “Yes,” she replied. “Great! Because I don’t. Can I follow you?” and that’s how I met this group of women.

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5K top 8% overall, 10K top 14% overall,                                           women top 8%, women 35-39 top 10% 

We chatted as we rode the train to the race corrals and they later found me and sent me this group photo. How awesome is that!? The Peachtree Road Race is the largest 10k in the world. It has over 60,000 participants including Olympians and para-athletes, many setting course records this year. Most people don’t care about finish times and just show up for fun and their costumes reflect the holiday. My greatest accomplishment was beating Abraham Lincoln across the finish line.

A quick shower and back on the road to the next destination, Savannah. A pub sub along the way helps to make the drive better and what’s this? I recognize that sign! Quick detour… I know where I want to go but have no idea how to get there. I plug the new destination into Waze and exit the highway. Before I know it, I’ve arrive to my destination a.k.a the middle of a dirt road with no cell signal. No need to panic, I can read a map, but what’s this? A sunflower field in full bloom. Right place, right time and I can’t help but take a few shots.

sunflower1sunflower3I’m not that far from where I want to be so I do what they do on country dirt roads. Go passed the church and take a left at the old old tree and you’re there. And BAM, you’re in Svalbard.

glstree1.jpgI love this place. The calm waters that reflect the trees and skies, the beautiful cypress forest, the paper wasps and the gigantic fishing spiders.Everything that is beautiful needs to be approached in caution and this is no different. Since this was an unexpected stop, and there is a storm brewing overhead,  I don’t have time to get out on the water. I stop at a few launches and enjoy my surroundings before getting back in the car and on the road just as the sky opens up.

elizabeth.jpgNext stop, Savannah. Found something new and delicious this trip, Elizabeth’s on 37th. I’m not one for desserts, but this restaurant had the best cobbler in the south. After some southern comfort food I head back to a bar that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind since I was there last, Artillery Bar. I’ve been moving towards tequila lately when trying new cocktails and there was something new that caught my attention. Smoke & Mirrors is a mixture of mezcal, chartreuse, blackberry, peppercorn shrub and lemon served chilled in a nick and Nora with a sage garnish. Yea, that’s heaven. Go and try one… or 17, but seriously be careful, those will go down like fruit punch and sneak up on you.

husk.jpgThe next morning, a quick stop in at Husk and off to Bonaventure Cemetery. Seeing so many tour groups go around a cemetery was very new to me. I did stop the car for a few pictures and managed to listen to some tour guides at a few points. From what I understand, a film called, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” features this location and there are several notable tombs and burial sites. Some of the more popular sites have fences built around them, one such sculpture being Gracie Watson. A little girl that died at 6, just a few days before easter. Her sculpture is now 125 years old and in hauntingly beautiful condition.

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A short drive down the coast to the next stop, Jekyll Island. Last time I was here I was poised to take the most perfect sunrise photo but had some people get in the shot just as the sun started rising. Now I’m back and ready for another chance. Considering it has rained every afternoon I’m feeling lucky for sunrise. I arrive to the beach with plenty of time to spare and carefully go over all the driftwood looking for my favorite angle. The sky has more cloud coverage than I was hoping so what do I do? Mess around taking selfies and snap a few pics of the trees hoping I can make up for the lack of a colorful sky in post processing. Here’s where things get a little redundant. I apologize for all the photos of me in advance.

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And the non-stop ones of me…

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Rainy days aren’t so bad. Jekyll Island has a lot of history and some is reflected in architecture. The Jekyll Island Club is right on the bay and has distinct southern charm.

jekyll hotel2.jpg Deer roam the grounds and giant oaks are covered in Spanish moss. The property looks like it was built to postcard specification which probably accounts for the amount of wedding that happen here. It also has a pretty good restaurant and lounge area with a slight Stephen King twist.

shining.JPGI’m only kidding about the shining part, but this photo does remind me of the movie.

Back across state lines and into Florida. Some of the best kept secrets are in northern Florida. It’s hard to believe I’ve spent most of my life living here and only just started exploring the springs in the past few years. This trip I had time for two. Can you guess the first one from the photos?

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madison springsHere’s another hint. Just around the corner from this beautiful spring is a cave that people go to for dive training. I got a little excited about the idea when the ranger first told me about it. When I went over and saw it I realized I’m not experienced enough for that sort of adventure yet and 5″ of visibility just doesn’t sound like fun for me.

Now for spring #2. This one is fun to kayak and jump into swimming holes along the way.

Any guesses?

rockrock springs kayakrockspringsYou have to love water this clear. And on a day that is this hot, jumping in feels so much better.

I have mixed emotions about telling people some locations. I know these places are getting more and more popular and not so secret any more. One of the ways I can tell is the amount of trash I picked up at each location. Cans, bottles, chips bags, diapers… Honestly, diapers?

If you know where these places are, I hope you enjoy them. When you figure out where they are, I hope you take care of them.

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Well this feels a little weird… I’m finally caught up! I guess that means time to plan something else. Arts and crafts anyone?

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