Tag Archive for: travel blog

WINE AND COCKTAIL EVENTS FOR “DAYS” AT HOTEL FORTY FIVE – MACON

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 5/6/24

Hotel Forty Five – Loom and Hightales Rooftop Bar

 401 Cotton Avenue, Macon, Georgia

Hotel Forty Five is mixing things up for several boozy “holiday” celebrations in May, including World Cocktail Day, World Whisky Day, and National Wine Day. Guests are invited to come toast the spirited occasions at the hotel’s signature restaurant, Loom, and its sixth-floor Hightales Rooftop Bar, which will be fizzing with excitement over specialty cocktails, liquor flights, and the perfect glass of wine.

  • World Cocktail Day (May 13) – Sip, savor, and celebrate the art of mixology with 20% off any specialty handcrafted cocktails at Loom’s bar and Hightales Rooftop Bar.
  • World Whisky Day (May 18) – Weave your way through a global whisky adventure at Loom’s bar with a tasting flight of whiskies from around the world. For just $22, each flight will include bold Buffalo Trace from America, exceptionally smooth Jameson from Ireland, and perfectly blended Crown Royal from Canada.
  • National Wine Day (May 25) – Corks will be popping at Loom’s bar and Hightales Rooftop Bar, with 30% off all bottles of wine. Come explore complex flavors and aromas of crisp whites, velvety reds, and other fine wines.
  • Wine Down Wednesdays – Join your friends for a midweek merlot, Hump Day hybrid, or other fermented favorites at Loom. Guests can soak in the relaxing ambiance and enjoy half-off select bottles of reds and whites. Wine selections rotate weekly.

WHEN: World Cocktail Day – Monday, May 13,4 to 10 p.m.

             World Whisky Day – Saturday, May 18, 5 to 10 p.m.

             National Wine Day – Saturday, May 25, 4 to 9 p.m.

             Wine Down Wednesday – Every Wednesday, 5 to 10 p.m.

For additional information, visit the Events Calendar orHotelFortyFive.com.

FIND YOUR AHHH IN VALDOSTA, GA!

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 9/11/23

Just a few hours south of Atlanta in South Georgia, Valdosta is the perfect stopping point to relax on the way to Florida or even better for a weekend getaway. They call it finding your “ahhh.” Downtown has everything you could imagine with delicious food destinations, a brewery, a wine bar, shopping, boutique hotels, a local playhouse, artwork to see, all wrapped up in a walkable adventure! Start with staying at the McKey boutique hotel, have dinner at 306 North, take a walking tour of the artwork and murals around downtown, stop for a brew at Georgia Beer Company, and stay for brunch at Downtown Social. So, whether you stop through or stay a while, it’s ahhhmazing. Let’s explore. 

The McKey 

Where can you stay in Valdosta that SOAKS up everything downtown has to offer? It’s The McKey! A brand new, luxurious 12-room boutique hotel in the historic McKey building. It is steps from restaurants, bars, and shopping. Fun fact: all the suites in the McKey are named after tenants that at one time we’re in the building, like restaurants, law firms, or historical facts like the year the building was constructed, or year the first pecan tree was planted. Each room has its own tribute and photos to go along with it!  

We stayed in the S&K Suite that is named after the S&K diner, a local hang out spot nicknamed “sit and kiss,” the suite is thought of as their bridal suite. Feast your eyes upon this one bed, one bath suite, with a spectacular bathroom boasting a massive soaker tub that has changed my mind about baths, a large full-length mirror and sitting area, two spacious vanities, a separated shower and toilet area. If I could have a bathroom at home, this would do! Then, on to the bedroom where there is a large, comfy long bed with a view of downtown right out the window! In the sitting area and kitchenette, it’s the perfect spot to relax with a glass of wine and chat about everything you want to do in downtown Valdosta!  

306 North 

Southern fare was on our mind, so we visited 306 North in downtown Valdosta! They have elevated traditional Southern dishes like fried green tomatoes, fried duck, salads, and even Tuna Tataki, all paired with a great cocktail menu, wine list, and beer selection.  

Starting with this fresh Tuna Tataki, the fish is lightly seared and surrounded by creamy, spicy mayonnaise, a wonderful cilantro soy vinaigrette, pickled ginger, and a spicy wasabi cream to round out the dish. It is a delicious start to our meal. Then, we paired it with their amazing fried green tomatoes. The tomatoes themselves are crunchy yet tender and topped with a sensational, sharp pimento cheese and a spicy, sweet pepper jelly. It’s a flavor train!  

To drink, we tried their Manhattan. This one is boozy with hints of cinnamon and cherry! A delicious accoutrement with our main, the duck breast! On the side, we started our main dish with the wedge salad. It is creamy and cool, crisp bacon, tomatoes, and peas atop a mild blue cheese dressing. The perfect pair for the Maple Farms Duck breast.  

The Maple Farms Duck Breast is lightly fried and crunchy out, tender and juicy in, then topped with a delicious and tangy, sweet blackberry jam reduction that is just stunning with the savory of the duck. On the plate with the duck, we got the Balsamic Mushrooms that are savory and deep, earthy and the honey-truffle sweet potatoes are sweet and tangy, tender, hints of truffle and honey!  

Georgia Beer Company 

After our scrumptious meal, we took a short walk to look at the murals and artwork around Valdosta, GA! All on the way to a great brewery, Georgia Beer Company! They have a large list of brews to choose from, like stouts, sours, IPAs, lagers, and everything in between. The space is large and open with a long bar, table seating, and a huge outdoor space with live music!  

Some of the beers we sampled included the Destress Express sensational coffee milk stout with a coffee forward nose and on the palate then mellowing into a creamy yet slightly bitter aftertaste. Being only 6.5% it is more like a cup of Joe than a boozy stout. Another favorite was the Blueberry Field Party Blonde Ale, a 5% blueberry forward beer on the nose and palate, very fruity. If you love sours, Grandmas Jelly Mayhaw Berry Sour is a 5.3% tangy and tart beer but not overpowering and refreshing. 

Of the rest we sampled, the Foggy Bottom is a 7% west coast IPA, large hops, bitter on the back, while Azalea City amber ale is a 5.5% malty yet balanced, mellow, and smooth amber. Dark 30 Black IPA is a 6% beer that’s both toasty and hoppy, while the Back Nine Lager is a smooth, sippable light beer that only has 130 calories! You really can’t go wrong with any of these beers from Georgia Beer Company! 

Downtown Social 

One morning, we were craving brunch, so we headed just around the corner from The McKey over to Downtown social. Their shareable brunch was right up our alley! Downtown Social is an incredible boutique bowling and game destination with a large full bar and shareable bite menu! We enjoyed the shareable brunch board, mimosa flight, breakfast empanadas, and even a bowl of tot-chos!  

We just couldn’t resist their shareable brunch board stuffed with all the brunch goodies like sweet and crispy waffles, crunchy, tender chicken tenders (Pro tip: make chicken and waffles), savory egg frittata, flaky, buttery biscuits with savory sausage gravy, sweet French toast sticks, fruit, jam, honey, and a helping of bacon and sausage on the side! It will blow your mind! To pair with this we got the super cool mimosa flight with sweet and floral pea flower, bright pineapple, sweet cherry, and tangy orange! 

The other two dishes we tried were the Breakfast Empanadas and the Tot-chos. The empanadas were crunchy outside warm in with spicy chorizo and jalapeño surrounded by egg, paired with bright pico and a sharp beer cheese. For our side, we got an amazing fruit bowl filled with blueberries and strawberries. Another fun dish is Tot-chos. Starting with a savory egg that’s over a bed of crispy warm Tots with sharp beer cheese, savory pulled brisket, and tangy peppers. Either way, you’re in for a treat. 

Valdosta has so much to do, you should get down there for a weekend trip and soak up all the relaxation and fun you can! 

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 8/20/23

Always Exploring, Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL is a BLAST for space lovers of all ages! We recently adventured down where we relived the Apollo launch at the Apollo/Saturn V Center, then blasted into the future at the NEW Gateway, The Deep Space Complex, followed by a mesmerizing look at the actual Space Shuttle Atlanta, got to chat with an Astronaut, Charlie Walker, and explored the larger-than-life rocket garden. And that just the beginning of the adventure, the adventure has just begun at Kennedy Space Center. To the moon!

Our first stop was to the bus tour to Apollo/Saturn V Center where you go behind the gates onto NASA property and see the Vehicle Assembly Building that’s bigger than three Empire State buildings and even a NASA crawler transporter (it was in the movie Armageddon). Then, enter the world of Apollo 8 and Saturn V, where first you’ll relive the Apollo launch where they immerse you in a lifelike reenactment of the Apollo launch. I was particularly impressed with this and even got goose bumps! Then, head over to the vault where you’ll see Shepard’s space suit, an Apollo capsule, and other cool relics from that time in the Space race. On top of that you can touch a moon rock AND stand underneath the largest rocket ever flown.

After the bus tour, we rode back to the main visitor’s complex and made our way into Gateway, The Deep Space Complex. There we explored visionary human deep space travel designs from SpaceX, NASA, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin including Deep Space Habitat, Starliner from Boeing and their innovative space suit “Rosie.” Interact with a variety of touch screens to explore further into each cutting-edge innovation. Gateway also includes Spaceport KSC, immersive rides that will take you on an epic futuristic journey.

Our Kennedy Space Center adventure then led us to Space Shuttle Atlantis. After a brief video about the shuttle, the curtain raises to reveal the ACTUAL shuttle! The sheer size of the shuttle is absolutely breathtaking. You can explore the orbiter that traveled 126 million miles up close and explore every aspect including what the bed quarters looked like, the toilet, a replica of the controls that actually work, as well as 60 other exhibits, see shuttle-era artifacts, and fun interactive simulators. PLUS, Shuttle Launch Experience that simulates an actual launch into space!

Being huge space lovers, we went to infinity and beyond and got an intimate Chat with an Astronaut. Two times a day, join a small group of Space aficionados for an intimate and thrilling adventure. During this experience, ask questions of one of NASAs astronauts, enjoy an unlimited food buffet with fruit, sandwiches, and hot foods, as well as water and soda. They’re also frosty adult beverages for those 21+ like local beers and wine. Our astronaut was Charlie Walker, an industry payload specialist from 3 Discovery voyages! He told us they DO drink their own pee in space (it is filtered!), that it takes 30 minutes to prepare a meal in space, and the best food is shrimp cocktail. You go home with a signed photo and a coin!

Finally, we took some time to make our way around the Rocket Garden, a “garden” of HUGE ROCKETS! Explore these engineering feats of technology that got us to where we are today. The most fascinating to me was the Titan-Mercury.
Kennedy Space Center is $75 for adults and there are specials on their website. Please note, chat with an Astronaut is extra/an add on.


Courtyard by Marriot Titusville


Beyond Kennedy Space Center, we stayed in the Courtyard by Marriot Titusville at Kennedy Space Center that is the closest hotel to the visitor complex. It is only 10 minutes! Launch into the lobby where you’ll see a NASA space suit, space toys, Lockheed Martin rocket, and small touches like little rocket lights and space related art. They have a bistro and bar with coffee and light bites downstairs, then on the roof is The Space Bar with full food menu and themed cocktails overlooking the inter coastal waterway between Titusville, FL and the Space Center! It’s a beautiful view from the lobby or rooftop.
Then, exploring our large King room, what hits you first is the view! It is the same view as the rooftop bar of the inter coastal. A large comfy king bed literally is beneath the stars with a beautiful space accent wall. Near the window is the circular couch, while the wet bar area is angular lines. The bathroom is also crips, clean, and spacious. Everything screams Space!

Something that makes this hotel special is that you can watch the scheduled launches from Cape Canaveral right from your room, the seating near the water behind the hotel or from the rooftop bar (preferred spot!). We got to see the Falcon 9 SpaceX launch at 11:41pm on 8/6!

The Space Bar

Remember when I mentioned that the Courtyard Titusville has a rooftop bar called The Space Bar? Well, the sky calls to us and we dined in style overlooking the beautiful waterway surrounded by space themed murals, neon signs, and more! Let’s not forget their out of this world tuna poke bowl, marvelous mahi tacos, creative cocktails, creamy deviled eggs, and perfect pretzel. It’s all delicious.

Here’s the details about The Space Bar’s food and drink starting with The Causeway Cosmo cocktail that is tangy cranberry, floral hibiscus, cool lime paired with vodka and triple sec and topped with blue edible glitter. Named after a Beastie Boys song, the Intergalactic Planetary cocktail is cool and sweet, coconut rum, tangy citron, St. Germain floral elderflower liqueur, blue curacao, and pineapple.

We dove into the Deviled eggs & Bacon, a sweet and savory treat with candied bacon, yet creamy and rich inside. It comes with a side of spicy, candied bacon and chips! The Blackened Mahi tacos are creamy and sweet up front with flavorful, meaty fish that is lightly seasoned and enveloped in a grilled shell. Plus, the Tuna Poke bowl is savory tuna, tender, with creamy avocado, spicy aioli, seaweed and a side of wasabi for heat. This one is unique as I’ve never had asparagus in a poke bowl. It adds a crunch that’s good! Finally, the Bavarian Jumbo Pretzel is large and presented hanging! Buttery, warm, crisp outside and soft inside and served with cheese and mustard!

When are you planning your trip to Kennedy Space Center?

DUNYA CAMP: LUXURY GLAMPING IN SUMMERVILLE, GA

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 5/8/23

Nestled in Western Georgia near Summerville, about an hour and a half from Atlanta, Dunya Camp’s peaceful vibes will coax you to leave the chaos of everyday life behind and find awe in the beauty that surrounds you. Secluded, intimate luxury tents await you here with opulent design and decor. Upon arrival, you are greeted with majestic 180-degree mountain views that fan out from their sprawling two-tier, magnificent deck.  Inside the sliding glass doors, you’ll find antique, beautifully crafted decor, a stunning canopy bed poised next to an alluring bohemian tapestry, flowing hardwoods, spacious area rugs, and fun touches. It all feels like a dream.  

Around the corner, a jaw dropping bathroom space boasts a soaker tub, floor to ceiling free-standing shower with glistening green tile, dual bowl sinks are sure to wow. Not to spare any detail, a gorgeous kitchenette complete with vintage fridge, utensils, and coffee awaits behind the bedroom wall. Don’t forget to look up. The ceiling is vaulted with a delightful pattern that is like icing on the cake. 

One of the best parts of these luxury tents is you can let the outside in! This inside-outside concept comes alive at Dunya Camp where you can roll up sections of the tent to create a true inside-outside feel. You can keep the screen on to protect from bugs or open it all up and walk right out onto the patio! We do recommend opening the flaps near the bathroom, back and front of the tent to get a cool breeze blowing through the entire tent!  

On the two-tiered manicured deck, you have several amenities to enjoy. Starting with the hot tub, relax and unwind while enjoying the mountain views in front of you. If you want to sweat out toxins and leave them behind, start up the sauna and enjoy. Then, you’ll need to cool off in the outdoor shower! At night, light up the grill for a feast on the patio and then fire up the fire pit and share some high-end smores and a bottle of crisp white wine. Sounds like heaven. 

Every detail is just impeccable at Dunya Camp with everything you can think of to create luxury in the woods! It truly makes you connect with the natural world around you. You’ll also feel the relaxation come over you in the quiet, secluded area, the perfect place to unplug! Get waited on hand and foot! Cozy up in the robes and towels, as they are over-the-top soft, we could wear them ALL DAY. If you hear the mockingbird, say hello for us, he was singing for us that evening! Beautiful!  

While you are staying at Dunya Camp, you can explore Summerville, GA or over to Mentone, Alabama to check out the Elevation Bistro. A true farm-to-table gem with a constantly changing, seasonal menu loaded with meats, fish, local produce, and top-notch cocktails. It is about a 20-minute drive.  

Dunya Camp is perfect for couples, groups, weddings, and any special occasion like anniversaries or birthdays! We suggest going with a few couples, having your own tent, but coming together for fun activities like sharing smores or grilling out!  

BLACK MOUNTAIN, NC: BEST LITTLE BEER TOWN

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 11/9/22

The majestic mountains roll up and down in front of us with a checkered pattern of red, orange, and green. As we move north, they grow larger and more vibrant.  The roads wind, twisting and turning towards the sky. As we round the corner, a cozy, small town with small shops and eateries line streets, while music can be heard from the brewery down the street. This is Black Mountain, NC. The Best Little Beer Town stuffed with live music, friendly locals, stellar restaurants, and of course, beer! Let’s explore.

Stay: Monte Vista Hotel:

Near the town square, the red brick historic Monte Vista hotel’s large lobby warms your cold hands as the crackling fire illuminates the entire room with warmth and light. Relax on the cozy couches or check out the elbow room art gallery filled with local art. Tables from Southern Proper Hospitality’s Milton’s dots the lobby and adjacent rooms, and a large bar opens to the beautiful outdoor patio with a lounge and fireplace area! Upstairs, the beautiful hardwoods stretch into each room. Inside the room, beautiful wood pieces, original hardwood floors, and comfy bed invites you to stay the night. The beautifully renovated bathroom is bright and light! 

This historic hotel dates back to 1917 when a school was converted into the hotel with 33 rooms. In 1937 the building added the brick, while in 1950 a new wing was added. As a staple of the community, it has been renovated over the years, but the touches and charm are still there to see! The most striking of the 1917 originals are the beautiful, original hardwood floors. Then, in 1975 a new building was built. So, the Monte Vista with its crackling fire and beauty has been housing and holding people since 1917! That’s over 100 years!

Best Little Beer Town:

From breweries to ale houses to garden parties to ale trails, this town is all about the beer! Starting with the Black Mountain Ale Trail, where you can explore three local breweries with tastings at each. It is a great way to explore the area and the local beer. Our first stop is at Black Mountain Brewing for a fantastic boozy Two-Way Mirror Bourbon Barrel Oktoberfest and their regular tasty Oktoberfest Marzen. Both are outstanding and paired well with the fall foliage and weather! We learned some fun facts about the brewery like it was an old wash building that was only open until 1963 and had been empty until they moved in. They also have a beautiful mural of Roberta Flack. She lived in Black Mountain until the age of 7 before she moved to Virginia Beach. If you don’t know who she is, this singer is one of the only people to have back-to-back record of the year.

The second stop is Lookout Brewing where we went hoppy with the Mountain Hopshine IPA, that John really liked and a crisp Schatz Lager that was refreshing. The final stop down the mountain in Old Fort, is Hillman Beer. There we got a boozy Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout that was Liz’s favorite of the day and two other great beers, the Old Fort Original Lager and a malty Festbier. Their space is pretty amazing, it is along the river and is bright and light with patio seating. Inside is a beautiful taproom that even serves food. For this sleepy town, we were impressed.

Back in Black Mountain, there are other spots you can grab a cold one, like The Lowdown. We stopped by around sunset, and we’re greeted by a garden of flower and plants with a cute little outdoor courtyard. The courtyard was filled with plants in the middle, tables dotted the perimeter, and a STUNNING view of the mountains is to the left. We grabbed a few local brews from the GROW building and relaxed out in the courtyard. While listening to Dirty Dog, a Grateful Dead tribute, we sipped on the hoppy Dissolvr Bones and Waves, a dry-hopped IPA, the malty Darwin’s Forehead Salty Brown Porter from Fona Flora Brew in Nebo, NC that was Liz’s favorite. After that, we tried the crisp Shadowclock Pilsner from Burial Beer that was John’s favorite and the lip puckering Tart Berry Berliner Weiss with blackberry, raspberry, and blueberry from Green Man Brewery.

Another spot is the Black Mountain Kitchen and Ale House, which we will talk about more later, but has a great selection of Black Mountain Brewery and other local brews from around the region. Liz’s favorite was the IFFY Pumpkin Ale from Hillman Old Fort. Plus, we stumbled upon their Oktoberfest so we got to enjoy live Polka band and stein holding competition! It was a nailbiter.

Note, North Carolina Beer Month is October!

Places to Eat:

Go wild and make sure to put Bush Farmhouse on your Black Mountain, NC Journey. Little did we know we would be enjoying a South African restaurant when we started our trip, but here we were with an incredible meal stuffed with African-inspired plates and cocktails. Tempting dishes like the sensational rack of lamb that is fall off the bone tender with the best seasonings paired with earthy and hearty UMNGQHUSHU or the fantastic peri peri spiced chicken wings that were tender and juicy. A good selection of beef jerky and Droerwors to start and a tender, seasoned, perfectly cooked grilled octopus. If you’re looking for curries or meatloaf, they have that too! Wash that down with a Bushveld Porch gin drink that’s easy drinking or go Durban Poison that’s smoky! On top of the food, they have a large patio and bar area, then beyond are the farm animals like chickens, goats, and pigs!

The spot for brunch in Black Mountain, NC is this brunch heaven called Open Oven Café. The two-story spot with plenty of outdoor seating has a little bit of everything from an amazing chicken and waffles that’s sweet, nutty and savory to omelets, avocado toast, sandwiches, and more. Benedicts your thing? The Hog Heaven Benedict is a bacon fat drenched biscuit with a gooey egg and thick cut bacon on top. It really is hog heaven. The locals tell us this is THE brunch spot for the town; we agree.

This is the spot for you to unwind with a beer, watch a little football, or catch live music is at Black Mountain Kitchen & Ale House! Beyond the local and regional beers, the food is outstanding like their tender, crispy, and juicy fried chicken sandwich enveloped in creamy mayo and crunchy pickles. They also have a selection of burgers and appetizers like the tender and delicious chicken wings, as well as sides like crunchy tots. We watched Tennessee beat Alabama here and listened to a singer song-writer after.

The Town & Lake Tomahawk

The cozy little town is bright with outdoor and scenic activities. Being near the mountains, it is definitely a spot to check out the fall foliage, take a hike, sit by the lake, or stroll around the small shops in town. Strolling the streets of Black Mountain, there are several small shops with everything you can imagine from souvenirs to hiking gear to hardware to coffee. And only minutes from the Appalachian Trail and down the road from Asheville, it is a destination! One of the highlights of the town is Lake Tomahawk. An easy stroll around the lake while taking in the changing leaves was breathtaking. On the other side of town is the town green where they have a beautiful clock and views of the mountains! You really can’t get away from the mountain views here!

We really enjoyed our time in Black Mountain, NC.

NORTH GEORGIA DAY TRIP: JASPER, TALKING ROCK, FAINTING GOATS

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 1/2/22

Join us for our North Georgia day trip to Jasper, Talking Rock, and Fainting Goats.

In front of you, the golden mountains point to the bright blue sky that’s dotted with puffy white clouds. As you weave through the hills, mountain streams bob and weave, cutting through the green grass and creating a beautiful, relaxing view from the road. Close to the mountain majesty, there’s a cozy downtown filled with warm red brick buildings that line the quaint two-lane street. Jasper has come into its own with cute shops, coffee houses, several good restaurants, and even a brewery. It is quickly becoming a hot day trip for Atlantans that want to get away for a day. Being only about an hour, we ventured up to Jasper to try Old Mulehouse for brunch, then meandered our way through the beautiful mountains to Talking Rock and Talking Rock Brewery, and our final destination at North Georgia winery, Fainting Goats.

On the corner heading into Jasper is Old Mulehouse, with a tea-light patio, and beautiful, old brick building that’s breathtaking inside! Rustic, yet industrial, the Old Mulehouse is a spacious, open-air restaurant with exposed brick and a sprawling bar area. They had transformed into The Old Yulehouse with stockings hung with care, multiple Christmas trees, and a gorgeous lounge area behind a pair barn doors. Outside, the patio is large, dotted with patio furniture and covered in case of rain. We sat near the end of the patio where you can sit and stare at the mountain views all day. There, we tried several brunch items like the salmon hash, the brunch burger, and the steak and eggs. We also opted for some unique items, the Greek hush puppies and egg nog cheesecake, as well as some of their featured Christmas cocktails.

Kicking off our brunch with a Christmas cocktail of the day, the Peppermint Martini. The one has a bit of everything from creaminess to minty to sweetness from the sugar rim and then a good hint of booze on the back. It’s definitely a cool Christmas cocktail! The other cocktail we tried is the Hayman’s Law, which is their take on a slow gin fizz, but with elderflower! It comes off refreshing, light, tangy, and a good sippable brunch drink. We know why it’s a customer favorite.

Our brunch meal was a mix of seriously good salmon hash, a hearty brunch burger, festively seasoned fries, and a savory steak and eggs. Starting with the Salmon Hash, which combined smoky, salty, tender salmon perfectly paired with earthy cooked spinach, crunchy potatoes, and a fantastic bright lime hollandaise on top. It was a spectrum of flavors that came together well. Beyond the hash, we also opted for the Brunch burger that is well-seasoned and perfectly cooked. On top, hearty pork belly adds a ton of savor, as well as sharp cheddar cheese on some nicely buttered buns. This beautiful burger came with the best seasoned fries! The seasoning is phenomenal and a good mix of crunch and potato. John loves a good steak, so he picked the steak and eggs. Now that’s one perfectly cooked and seasoned steak! It is paired with fluffy eggs and the same amazing fries.

Not only is the brunch fantastic, so are some unique apps and desserts they offer. Starting with the Greek Hush Puppies, these little numbers are house-made falafel that’s grainy and earthy just like you’d expect it with mellow chickpeas. Whatever you do, you must eat it with the sauce! It is spicy and creamy at the same time! Then, the best surprise of the whole meal was the Egg Nog Cheesecake! They have a new pastry chef, and her cheesecake of the day was this one, which was simply stellar! Creamy and thick with a mellow, sweet, and savory egg nog juxtaposing the delicate cheesecake for a fantastic flavor. The best part though must be the ooey, gooey sweet sugar cookie crust that melted in your mouth and was the icing on the cake for this dessert.

After our big meal, we took the mountainous road up to Talking Rock, GA, a quaint little town with only about 6 buildings downtown. Then, right on the railroad tracks, the main attraction, Talking Rock Brewery. Nestled in a train car, Talking Rock Brewery is not only cute and eclectic, but its beer also brings people together in this small town to watch the game or just to play some cornhole. We pretty much tried all of their beers, so here’s our take on them.

They have a little bit of everything for everyone, like the Caboose Georgia red that’s mellow up front with a good hoppy bit on the back, yet smooth. My favorite is the Pumpkin Express Pumpkin ale that’s soft, mellow with a hint of pumpkin but not overbearing. Another good option is the Pullman Pub Ale that is a little thicker with a creamy head and mellow malt balancing the hop on the back. If you like dry Irish Stouts, you’ll enjoy the Dart that had a range of toasty, smoky, and a slight back of the throat bitterness. John’s favorite is the Party Like It’s 95 Blonde Ale that is very drinkable, light, and refreshing. He also really enjoyed the Just the Ticket Pilsner that is also light, but with slightly more flavor on the back. If you like IPAs you can’t go wrong with either the Run 8 IPA or the Polar Express Double IPA, both hoppy, while the Double IPA is hazy and juicy.

The flight empty, we headed to our final destination even further up in the mountains, Fainting Goat Winery. The second you arrive, the vineyard sprawls in front of a large chateau perched high on a hill. Below, there is a pin with several goats that are as friendly as you can imagine coming up to the gates and smiling. The day was warmer than usual, so we sat on the lawn, tasting in hand, overlooking the gorgeous view of the vineyard, watched the goats play, and enjoyed the best mountain views! The best spot is on the porch above the lawn where you can watch the sunset! This winery has been on our list for a long time! This day we both got a wine tasting, John got The White Album and I got the Crowd Pleaser. Here are our thoughts! Pro tip: get the Wednesday Night Sauvignon Blanc! We know why it’s award winning.

Of the crowd pleaser tasting, I substituted the Revere Blanc du Bois for the Sauvignon Blanc. This one is floral and hearty, a sweetness up front that finishes dry. The second was a rose called the Summer Quartz. It tastes like roses, a slight sweet peach, and finishes dry. It’s mellow and great for sipping! For the red wine, Harvesting Homes Malbec smells like plum and tastes like a light red wine with a little bit of sweetness of that plum and a little bit of chocolate. Of the White Album tasting, the Amber Fields Chardonnay is very good, smooth and buttery with a good sweetness that comes out near the end. Didn’t get any oak on this one, even though it is oak barreled. The favorite was the Wednesday Night Sauvignon Blanc. It wasn’t what we expected; it’s lemony, citrusy and dry. I typically stay away from these as I don’t like grapefruit in my wine and this one didn’t have that at all! All around a great selection of wines and a beautiful view.

We round through the mountain roads back towards Jasper and the orange, blue, and purple sun set over the cozy little downtown. A beautiful day filled with great memories.

Photo Gallery

ACTIVITIES ABOUND AT SANDESTIN, FL

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 5/6/21

Activities Abound at Sandestin, FL

As the sunsets over the luxurious rooftop bar, the rays hit the beautiful bay water throwing up shades of purple, orange and pink, enveloping all spectators in the final moments of the day’s light. Down below a large stream interconnects with lakes, rivers, and eventually into the ocean where sunbathers sip cocktails under branded umbrellas. There’s also a walkway covered in palms and other lush trees where a couple walk hand-in-hand pass a treehouse and a large bridge with marina views. The rows of boats bob up and down in the water as the blue and purple of the evening sky meet at the horizon. Did you feel that? That’s Sandestin.

Grounds

The gates opened to the Bayside of Sandestin, and we drove around the first traffic circle and exited to the first right. Just to the right is one of our favorite spots on all the grounds, what we call the long walkway! The entrance to the wooden walkway and pier is wrapped in palms and other greenery and as you pass through, the long walkway opens into a breathtaking view of the bay dotted with grasses and lone trees. Go to the end and take in the beauty of the entire space. When you’re done there, keep going toward the Lakeside area, you’ll notice that it’s lined with a canopy of arching trees that create a beautiful dance of contrasting light and dark. It’s worth just driving through it to enjoy the natural beauty. Beyond that, the golf grounds are pristine and lush, the beach is gorgeous, and everything is freshly landscaped. There is not a lack of beautiful spots in Sandestin, so find your favorite locale.

Osprey Pointe – Accommodations

Near the Marina and Baytowne Wharf, the luxurious Osprey Pointe has 2, 3, and 4-bedroom condos that are great for couples, groups, and families. The second you enter the spacious condo, you feel right at home. With all the bells and whistles, the impeccably decorated kitchen has a full group of appliances and everything you’d need to make a meal! The kitchen is open to the living space and looks out onto the beautifully landscaped bay nearby. Out on the patio, you could sit all day and gaze at the bay view! This 2-bedroom has 2 bathrooms, and the master is spacious and has a huge, sparkling master bath with two showers! Beyond the beautiful condo, Osprey Pointe boasts a beautiful pool with a ton of seating, tables, and shade! So, take a dip in the pool, then take a bike ride or walk down to the Marina and Baytowne Wharf. It’s just minutes away. Even if Osprey Pointe isn’t for you, they have so many accommodation options from beachfront to bayfront.

Beach

Speaking of Beachfront, the wooden walkway maneuvers gracefully through the large sandy dunes and opens onto a spectacularly white and pristine beach. Dotted with blue, branded chairs, people lounge in the shade, build sandcastles, and play in the clear, blue-green water. Beyond relaxing and gazing at the beautiful water, there’s so much to do at Sandestin Beachside! You can grab a drink at the beach bar on the beach, lounge in a beach chair and umbrella with a good book, stay for lunch at The Beach House, get a sandcastle building lesson, or even take a ride on a jet ski or kayak.  We’d recommend a key lime daiquiri from The Beach House, then opt for a pair of chairs and an umbrella to enjoy the natural beauty of the beach!

Marina

Rows and rows of all types of boats bob up and down as the water ebbs and flows in the beautiful bay. Diners at the Marina Bar and Grill sip on cocktails and bite into tasty tacos, as they watch the sun set over the boats and disappears into the horizon. The Marina Bar and Grill is a chill little outdoor spot on the Marina with some serious eats like the grouper sandwich and fried fish tacos! Wash it down with a cocktail! Plus, they have a spot that you can bring your own fish, clean it, and they will cook it for you right there!! On one side of the restaurant is the resident Macaw, Mary Ann. She is out during the day when the Marina Bar and Grill is open and is a great photo op for you to catch. She was born in 2010, and did you know Macaws can live 50 years?

Next to the restaurant and set back from the water is the bike rental where a row of bikes are available for Sandestin guests and owners to use at their leisure. It’s so easy to bike around Sandestin, and beyond the golf cart parade we witnessed daily, is the preferred way to get around. On the other side of the lot is where you can rent kayaks and water toys to explore the bay even more.

Our favorite spot at the bay, is the wooden path between the Marina and Baytowne Wharf. Entering next to the Marina Bar and Grill, the thick trees feel like a jungle on one side with beautiful Marina and water views on the other. As you walk, the wooden path winds through the trees and views of the Marina and the boats are stunning. Stop off at the treehouse for the best top views of the entire area! As you find your way around from there, you’ll come upon a long wooden bridge where the marshy grounds turn into a beautiful stream and empties into the bay. It’s gorgeous. You’re reward is at the end with Baytowne Wharf upon you.

Baytowne Wharf

THE spot to shop, dine, and drink IS Baytowne Wharf. Taking a tour in a circle, your greeted with the sound of children laughing on the brightly lit carousel. Beyond that everything a child could want waits for them with an arcade, sweet shops, games, and a ton of activities! If you follow the circle around from there is where the dining and drinking options start. If you like bull riding or country music is your thing, they have it. If you want to sit with the view of the bay while you sip and nosh, they have that too at Hammerheads and Village Door. Village Door has a large 40 oz cocktail with a souvenir cup so you can remember your time there, plus they also have a great spot to eat on the bay. Hammerheads has a fantastic happy hour daily from 4 to 6 pm. We’d suggest grabbing a seat right at 4 pm on the water!

Sandestin doesn’t have a lack of places to see the sunset, so you should stay for the sunset here and walk out to the Wharf Pier and watch the sun disappear into the watery horizon. For the kiddos, they have fish food you can purchase and feed the fish below.

Continuing the circle, there’s a street that mimics New Orleans! That’s our favorite spot in Baytowne Wharf with several food and drink spots like Hartell’s Diner and Fat Tuesday, as well as a row of cute shops! Fat Tuesdays has great deals on daiquiris for $8 bucks and a shot for $1 extra. We’d recommend the Miami Vice or 44 Magnum. Plus if you’re looking for a fun evening out? Start at Fat Tuesday, then head over to Rum Runners for a dueling piano experience. You can pick your favorite songs for the piano players to sing, take a seat, and sing along!

Our favorite restaurant in the Wharf has to be The Marlin Grill. We stopped by there for dinner our first night and we fell in love with the Roasted Duck and the Scottish Salmon appetizer. Please make sure to make a reservation because they’re always busy or cross your fingers for a spot at the bar.

Hotel Effie

Only steps from Baytowne Wharf, Upscale, modern, yet, inviting, Hotel Effie is THE SPOT to stay in Sandestin. She is adorned with Ara Rooftop Bar where a luxurious rooftop pool meets the sky, cabanas, and a stunning almost 360 view of the entire Sandestin grounds. Stop by for a fantastic Toasted Coconut daiquiri and catch the sunset from multiple views! Downstairs, you should also visit the newest and hands-down best restaurant in Sandestin, Ovide. From Atlanta Chef, Hugh Acheson, this lavish dining spot has wonderfully crafted cocktails like the grapefruit forward Sun Kissed or our favorite cocktail, Shore Leave. They have fantastic dishes like the stellar filet mignon, flavorful blackened mahi mahi, uniquely good farm egg, rich prime beef tartare. We’d recommend anything on this menu, it’s that good.

As the gates closed on our time at Sandestin, we reminisced about our favorite memories and thought about all the wonderful food, drinks, and sunsets we got to witness. We felt we actually needed more time to explore even more that Sandestin had to offer. We’d recommend at least 4 nights to get the full experience. What would you like to experience most?

Sandestin, FL is located in Miramar Beach, FL in between Destin and Santa Rosa Beach on the Emerald Coast.

Website: Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort | Your Place in the Sun