84 years and counting

My mother celebrated her 84th birthday this past week with all of her children and spouses.  We spent it in the North Georgia Mountains near Blue Ridge.  It was a far cry from the flat farm land where we grew up in Southeast Alabama and where most of us have lived since then in Southwest Georgia.
There is something that pulls you to the mountains.  We rented a home that was strikingly modern in its design, offering floor to ceiling views of the Toccoa River.  The near freezing temperatures and strong winds prevented building a fire in the pit near the banks of the river, but made it just that much more cozy sitting in front of the constantly roaring fire in the house.
Thanks to the thousands of rental and vacation homes around Blue Ridge, there are plenty of good restaurants in the area.  Some of our samplings included Harvest on Main, named one of the Top 10 Restaurants outside of Atlanta by Georgia Trend Magazine.
Big Joe’s BBQ was named the top BBQ Restaurant in the United States by Trip Advisor.   I’ll have to admit it was pretty good.   Honestly, in all my years I can say their ribs were second only to those done by the Ponder Brothers locally.
The Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad is a great way to spend part of a day traveling from Blue Ridge to McCaysville, Georgia and Copperhill, Tennessee.  The trip is 13 miles each way with a two hour stopover before returning home.  That is just enough time to grab a meal, shop a bit, and have your picture made on the state line running between the two towns.  
There were a few fishermen braving the cold while standing in the middle of the river trying to catch some of the area’s famous trout.  If you have never had a taste, then just know they are worth the effort.   A few other hardy souls could be seen in kayaks enduring the cold rushing water.
The area is known as the Apple Capital of Georgia.   While visiting one orchard, we could see the trees after sprinklers had been running all night, leaving a protective ice coating on the buds.  It was actually beautiful to see.  Of course, the apples themselves are prepared in many ways in the area and all of those I tasted were good.
Georgia has so much to offer in its different regions, including our own Southwest part of the state.  However, it is so much fun spending time in areas different from our own.
Once families get scattered, it is hard to get everyone together, even for big events.  After a lifetime of receiving trinkets and treasures from her children, I feel confident that there could be no finer gift for my mother than having her children around.   
From family and friends alike, Happy Birthday, Jobie, aka Momma.
o0o
Dan Ponder can be reached at [email protected]

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