Georgia Governor’s Mansion

“Are you sure we can do this?” my daughter asked. “I mean, doesn’t somebody live here?”

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We had just turned into the Governor’s Mansion in Atlanta. I presented my driver’s license and the guards at the gate told us where to park.Walking up to the orange brick building flanked with 30 white columns, we rang the front door bell where a white-haired, petite docentĀ greeted us on this rainy day and gave us the history of the mansion.

Built in 1965 during Lester Maddox’s tenure, it had formerly been property of a Robert Maddox. After his place burned, he donated the land to the state so that it wouldn’t be turned into a subdivision. Previous governor’s mansions were in Ansley park and Peachtree street in Midtown.

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A docent stationed at each room on the first floor gave a description of the function and history of the furnishings. My favorite was the library with its wood walls and fireplace made in England of Italian Carrera marble.”I could sit here by a warm fire and read a book with a cup of tea, ” I told my children.

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My favorite room

My least favorite room was the guest bedroom which is located to the left of the front door. It has a tiny alcove bed reminiscent of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. It’s only used on rare occasions as there are 7 guest bedrooms on the 2nd floor.”One time an aide to President Clinton was staying here. He was very tall and said he was so uncomfortable, he got his pillow and slept on the floor.” Seeing the marble floor with only an oriental rug to cushion it didn’t look that appealing to me, but at least he could stretch out.

“If Ms. Deal was here today, she’d be greeting you right here,” a docent proudly informed us. She’s so down to earth and once a year invites us upstairs to see their suites. “Education is her big thing so she’s signed up to read at one of the schools, ” the docent continued.

Wouldn't it be fun to be invited to dinner here?

Wouldn’t it be fun to be invited to dinner here?

The main living room is large and supposedly so decorated during Christmas, you can hardly even see the furniture. Several different docents encouraged us to come back during the holidays when they have it decorated and serve cookies.

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The living room with a view of the informal sitting room through the opening.

 

The fireplace in the family sitting room

The fireplace in the family sitting room

The informal dining room has a mahogany table and red chairs purchased by Sonny S (from Midnight in the Garden of good and evil to pay for one of his trials). To the right, we could peer into the kitchen where staff were preparing lunch. Christmas ornaments of the mansion and the state seal are for sale for $20 while a cookbook is for sale for $10.

I loved peering in the kitchen to see a meal being prepared.

I loved peering in the kitchen to see a meal being prepared.

Outside, we wandered the gardens. Surprisingly there’s a swimming pool. Somehow I just don’t picture any governor and his wife swimming, but there it was. I loved the rocking chairs outside with the large columns. Despite the fact that the mansion resembles a Georgia state rest area, it is beautiful. A large fountain is at the front door, as well as two rockers – one says governor and the other first lady.DSC_0109

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Vogel State Park – Fall Hike

Autumn:

Crisp Air.

Harvest Time.

Fall Leaves.

Time to get out of Atlanta and go “Leaf- peeping”

The Former Lumpkin County Courthouse is now home to the Dahlonega Gold Museum

First stop is Dahlonega. Flags and crosses honoring veterans line the streets leading into the town of 5,000 residents. Central to the historic downtown is the Dahlonega Gold Museum. Housed in the original Lumpkin County Courthouse – the oldest courthouse in Georgia, the museum details the history of the first gold rush in U.S. history.

 

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We stopped at The Picnic Cafe and Dessertery across from the Gold Museum to order sandwiches to go – chicken salad and BBQ Pork. While waiting for the food, I walked next door to the Dahlonega General Store filled with a collection of different gems, stones and geodes for sale. An old fashioned piano player played tunes while tourists looked at t-shirts, hats, walking sticks and candy. Scented candles, soaps and cards were in the back of the store. My mother-in-law even purchased a Santa decoration for an upcoming Christmas swap. (How she will get it on the airplane – nobody knows.)

Back on the road, which was pretty curvy, the landscape was dotted with oranges, yellows and a few reds. Despite the captivating scenery, we had to roll the windows down to help prevent motion sickness for those in the far back seat. Another 45 minutes and we reached Vogel State Park.

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At the base of Blood Mountain, Vogel is one of Georgia’s oldest state parks. A glistening lake sits to the right of the road, while cabins provide overnight accomodations. Choosing a spot near the lake pavillion, we set up our picnic at the tables. The orange and brown leaves against the blue sky backdrop were magnificent. As the sun warmed us up, we decided to hike around Lake Trahlyta. Built in the 1930’s when the Civilian Conservation Corps damned Wolf Creek, the 22 acre lake is a popular fishing spot. The one mile trail is flat and easy – perfect for both the in-laws and the children. Benches and swings bring rest to the weary.

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Trahlyta Falls – the highlight of Vogel

At the far end of the lake, we walked the short distance to Traylyta Falls. The path descends for 1/4 mile leading to the observation deck near the base of the 110 foot falls. Water rushes underneath the deck making visitors feel part of the falls.

Peace.

Serenity.

Even though we were about a week past the “peak”, the trip was well worth it. For more information, visit www.gastateparks.org/Vogel.

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