Spring is “springing.” On this beautiful February afternoon, fellow Atlantans spread out over the beautiful Lenora Park. The sound of children running and playing, owners walking their dogs, as hubby and I are walking by the cool breeze of the water…is like music to our ears. The lot of us could hardly wait for this day. After months of cold and rainy weather, we were delighted to once again feel the sun on our faces, and see the blooms beginning to sprout – soon the green leaves will return on the towering trees. Only a few more weeks to go before we officially celebrate a most popular season. We outdoor lovers and the parks, await.
With temperatures in the mid-30’s, my husband and I set out to explore the terrain at Red Top Mountain State Park. Only an hour drive from our home near Atlanta, we enjoyed the drive we referred to as “up North.” Wrapped in our caps and gloves and heavy jackets, our first stop was at the Visitor Center. We browsed around admiring the promotional merchandise. Later, as we walked around admiring the picnic tables, shelters, and cookout grills, our minds wandered to the upcoming warmer climates of Spring and Summer – immediately filling us with hope, anticipation, and the promise of these cherished seasons. This popular state park, located on 12,000-acre Lake Allatoona, is ideal for swimming, boating and fishing. Named for the soil’s rich red color caused by high iron-ore content, Red Top Mountain was once an important mining area for iron. Definitely recommend for outdoor adventures or just a day trip to enjoy the surroundings and breathe the crisp mountain air of this idyllic place.
On an overcast day and looking for some fun and adventure, my husband and I decided on an outing that would be close by home but just far away to feel like we’d experienced something new…and we did. We settled on a trip that was only an hour away yet brought happiness and satisfaction. We drove to Reynolds Lake Oconee, a reservoir in central Georgia, located on the Oconee River near the towns of Greensboro and Eatonton. This stunning lake has 374 miles of shoreline; shimmering in quiet tranquility, with a conveniently-located, beautiful Ritz-Carlton resort. We visited the hotel property and enjoyed strolling the immaculately landscaped grounds that feature a Bistro, hiking trail, lakefront chiminea dining, an eloquent Steakhouse restaurant, lakeside rental cottages, and a casual dining spot called Gaby’s by the Lake. This is where we enjoyed a delicious lunch with a promise to our very charming and friendly server that “we’d be back.” We found the staff’s service to be exquisite from the moment we arrived until the moment we drove away. We were grateful for the golf cart tour of the property, the education we received from the concierge, and the hotel’s personnel who helped promote the property. We agreed on a return trip to experience their mantra to give their guests an opportunity to be entertained, refreshed, relaxed and rested. Definitely recommend a visit to such a lovely place if you like walking/biking, canoeing, kayaking, pedal boat riding, sedway touring, horseback riding, tennis playing, bank fishing, basketball playing, boating (pontoons), jet-skiing, and relaxing to a campfire. Yes, they also have an amusing train ride around the resort. Indeed, we found happiness during an overcast day.
Spending time in Tampa prior to boarding a cruise ship bound for the Cayman Islands and Cozumel, Mexico. Enjoyed a leisurely day shopping and dining. Found the city to be attractive and the residents to be friendly and engaging. Had a delicious meal at Carmines Restaurant, located in the heart of Ybor City – Tampa’s Latin Quarter. The restaurant specializes in dishes from Spain, Cuba and Italy. We had a front row, window view of 7th Avenue, recognized as one of the ’10 Great Streets in America’ by the American Planning Association. Ybor City today is one of only two national historic landmark districts in Florida. The shopping and dining in Ybor City are quite enjoyable. There is also a movie theatre on the property. This multi-purpose complex is located just northeast of downtown Tampa. Ybor City, founded in the 1880s by cigar manufacturers and populated by thousands of immigrants, grew to be a popular spot for visitors and citizens alike – especially the night club and entertainment areas. Definitely suggest a visit.