KING COLUMN: The Third Weekend in June

Published 10:00 am Friday, June 28, 2024

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I love my wife, and we love to travel. I love to play guitar and other stringed instruments, and I love to build things. A couple of weekends ago, I was blessed to enjoy all of these.

Occasionally, Jean and I have the privilege to travel to places far away, but we have realized that there are great places not so far from home too. Since Jean and I are both retired now, (yeah, right), we have been taking little three-day mini vacations. This year our wedding anniversary and Father’s Day fell on the same weekend. To celebrate both, we took a little trip to the big city of Lakemont, Georgia. What? You’ve never heard of it? Well, it is a great little place and the perfect spot for a mini vacation.  Lakemont is an unincorporated community of almost 3000 residents in the North Georgia mountains. They even have their own post office, along with about a half-dozen shops, three very good places to eat, a little park with a bench swing overlooking the river, and Lake Rabun Hotel. Oh, and Lake Rabun. Tallulah Gorge is only a few miles to the south. Foxfire Museum is a few miles to the north.

Last Fall, on our way to eastern Tennessee, we stopped over for a night in Georgia. We toured Foxfire Museum then. Les Barnet, the mountain music man, has a shop there where he plays and sells his hand-built musical instruments. He not only builds cigar-box guitars, but he builds stringed instruments from almost anything you can imagine…even tin cans. He told me he did workshops that I could attend and build my own guitar. I had a conflict with the date for the next one, and the second one fell on our anniversary weekend. We decided to make it a combo weekend, so we booked two nights in the Lake Rabun Hotel. The rustic old hotel is a nostalgic two-story log hotel that was built 102-years ago near the banks of the newly-formed Lake Rabun. The grand-old wooden structure stands nestled among the trees on a hillside. Its grounds are filled with flowers, including the most beautiful hydrangeas, loaded with massive sky-blue blossoms, I had even seen. Breakfast is served each morning in the dining room. You just tell them how you want your eggs, and they take care of the rest!

We celebrated our anniversary on Friday. We began with a three-mile hike on the trails along the top of Tallulah Gorge. God definitely did some of His best work there! The rock cliffs rise as high as 1000-feet above the rambling Tallulah River below. We saw where the great tightrope-walker Karl Wallenda scaled the canyon on a tightrope back in 1970. We were not the least bit tempted to try that! From different vantage points along our hike, we gazed at the six-separate waterfalls below. One of the waterfalls is almost 100-feet tall. We even made a new friend on the trail. We nicknamed him Copper…short for Copperhead. He was our friend because we almost stepped on him as he sunbathed in the middle of the trail, but he was kind enough to not bite us!  After an afternoon of antiquing, we returned to the hotel just in time to spruce up for our reservation at the delicious award-winning restaurant downstairs.

On Saturday, I spent the morning back at Foxfire, where I built my first three-string-cigar-box guitar. I came back home armed with the knowledge, and hopefully the ability, to build more. We made it back home Saturday night in time finish off our weekend in church the next morning. It was a marvelous little weekend!