Hiking Providence Canyon State Park

I often hear people complain how hard it is to lose weight.

Let me tell you, losing 100 pounds was easy!

What’s actually hard is maintaining weight loss and not slipping back into ages old habits! It’s so easy to have a cheat meal here or there that becomes weeks of poor nutrition, to become disillusioned or bored with the gym, discover a new series on Netflix, or decide to take a little break because we can just jump right back in.

Believe me, I struggle with this a lot, and since moving to Atlanta two years ago it’s been a continual struggle as I emotionally ate my way through the move, MacKenzie’s wedding, Bradley’s enlistment, and now sheer boredom and loneliness has become my worst enemy. Thankfully I have an amazing husband who has dove into his own fitness journey and is now my “let’s get off the couch” motivator.

hiking Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

My handsome Spartan running motivator.

For the first time in years Audley is working 40 hours a week… a Monday-Thursday schedule. It’s so nice, but it didn’t take long for us to go stir crazy in the house on his off days. While scrolling through Instagram one day I saw pictures of this gorgeous location right here in Georgia; Providence Canyon.

Providence Canyon State Park / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

We decided to take a short road trip and get our rear ends off the sofa and away from the pantry.

Located about 2 1/2 hours south of Atlanta, Providence Canyon is actually the result of poor farming practices 200 years ago (many lessons learned), but it’s also a beautiful location for picnicking, exploring, and photographing.

in the base of Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

The stunning red, white, purple and pink sandstone walls that form the canyon might have you thinking you’ve gone out west, but I promise, you’re still in the South!

The canyon makes a gorgeous backdrop for hiking and exploring.

Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Hiking Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

There are roughly 10 miles of trails you can hike throughout the beautiful canyon. These various hikes range from easy to moderate in difficulty. Choose wisely for your level of fitness and health.  Each can take a couple of hours to five or more. You’ll be amazed at the different scenery as you wander through the canyon. One minute you’re in a lush forest and the next sandy desert. It’s a beautiful result from costly mistakes generations ago.

Overlooking Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Providence Canyon Wooded Trails / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

When hiking Providence Canyon you need to prepare accordingly. First, this is a state park, so there is a $5 fee to park. If you purchase a Georgia State Parks pass you can find all kinds of adventures throughout the state and only pay once! While strolling around the top of the canyon is relaxing and easy, going into the canyon is a little different. The grounds throughout the area are sandy and wet. Trails take you down and up hills, through forest areas and into various rocky fingers of the many canyons. Wear appropriate shoes for these trails; shoes made for hiking and that you don’t mind getting muddy and wet are best. Smalls steams of water flow all through the canyon floor. You also need water for drinking. Once down in the canyon there are no bathrooms or water fountains. We packed a small backpack with bottles of water.

And don’t forget bug repellant.  Mosquitos love wetlands.

Hiking Necessities / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Our lightweight Kavu bag holds several bottles of water and snack packs of nuts for a trail hike. Audley is partial to his Salomon trail shoes, and I love my Merrells. Shop for hiking/trail shoes that fit your feet well and work for various weekend adventures. Protecting your feet is so important if you are going to hike!

Hike Providence Canyon / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Dress comfortably for your hike. I wore leggings and a tee-shirt even-though it’s hot, just because of their water wicking ability. You don’t want blisters on your thighs from hiking and sweat rolling down your legs. It is NOT comfortable. Wearing pants also leaves less places for mosquitos to nail ya.

There is a longer hike through the canyon that you will need to pack snacks as well as extra water to take as it is pretty long. We plan to go back and do that one in the fall.

Canyon Floor at Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

img_6459canyon bottom at Providence Canyon / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Nature at Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Providence Canyon Lumpkin, GA / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Audley and I hiked over five miles in and around the canyon, then enjoyed a yummy picnic up on the rim.

Providence Canyon Picnic / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Providence Canyon was one time a thriving town. Remnants can be found throughout the park including an old wooden Methodist church building and cemetery dating back to the mid-1800’s. There are also old rusted out cars along the trail up to, but we didn’t explore that area to see them. We will definitely add that to our hike in the fall.

Providence Mothodist Church / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Providence Cemetery / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Cemetery at Providence Canyon / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Providnce Canyon Cemetery / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Methodist Church Building / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

If you are looking for a quick weekend adventure and an opportunity to get off the couch, a trip to Providence Canyon is definitely worth making! I won’t say hiking is a way to lose weight, but it’s a great way to explore where you live (statewide or regionally), get in some fresh air, and get moving!

Being sedentary is hazardous to your health.

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Hooray for gorgeous days and beautiful places!!!

Enjoy the views and let me know what you think!

Looking down onto Providence Canyon Trails / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Providence Canyon State Park

8930 Canyon Road
Lumpkin, GA 31815
Stewart County

 

Summer Fruit Salad

Summer has fully encompassed Georgia and let me tell y’all…. it’s ridiculously sticky, humid and hot. Georgia has always been known for these type of summers and rarely disappoints its residents and visitors.

When the temps are still at 95° and it’s time to prepare supper I don’t know about you, but I have zero desire to turn on the stove and cook. I still want my husband and our occasional guests to feel spoiled and special, so enter my go-to dish: fruit salad.

Now this isn’t a big bowl of fruit like you might be picturing , but instead a crisp green salad which includes fruit. I love adding fresh, seasonal fruit to homemade salads and serving them up with complimentary vinaigrette dressings.

Summer Fruit Salad / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

When my friend Tammie joined me for lunch last week I served up a salad that incorporated peaches that was a real hit!

Peach Orchard / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

With Georgia’s peach season in full swing, peaches are definitely my fruit of choice, but it pairs so well with other fruits as well. For this particular salad I also added blueberries, mozzarella cheese, pecans, and bacon.

All of the ingredients (including the cheese, bacon & greens) were local and fresh which makes a summer fruit salad taste even better! You can hit up your local farmers or Saturday market, or a U-Pick Farm to find the freshest of ingredients as well as support locals farmers.

Peach & Blueberry Salad / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

As you can see from my picture, all I did was layer the ingredients so that they look appetizing. It is quite simple.Peach Blueberry Salad / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

For the peach salad I made a Lemon White Balsamic Vinaigrette using a gourmet Sicilian balsamic vinegar (purchased at a vinegar & olive oil shop nearby) and combining with California olive oil; 1/3 cup vinegar to 2/3 cups olive oil seasoned with salt & black pepper, and fresh minced garlic. Shake well and taste to see that you like the flavor. If it’s too bitter for your taste, add a teaspoon of sugar. I like mine a little extra vinegary, so I often add extra.

Make the vinaigrette yours.

Peach Salad with Chicken / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

I served the peach salad with sliced rotisserie chicken breast (once again, no oven/stove needed) since it was lunchtime. When I ate leftovers later in the day I just enjoyed the salad!

That’s the beauty of summer salads; they’re delicious and filling!

And if peaches aren’t your thing you can definitely change up your fruits. I served a similar salad in red, white and blue for our Independence Day cookout.

{My husband doesn’t care how hot it is when he fire’s up the grill; Audley holds the well-deserved title of Grill Master for a reason.}

This salad included strawberries, blueberries, mozzarella cheese, and almonds. Using the same ratios above for my dressing I used balsamic vinegar to make the dressing.

Red White and Blue Salad / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Red, White & Blue for the holiday. This salad is also delicious with blue cheese instead of mozzarella, and pecans instead of almonds. I told you these are so versatile.

There are so many ways to keep your diet fresh and clean as well as cool in the summer. These salads just happen to be my favorite way! How would you serve up a summer fruit salad? I would love to hear your ideas!

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Summer Peach Salsa

After picking peaches over the weekend at Southern Belle Farm I’ve had to work quickly to get them put away before all my girls and sons-in-law arrive for the holiday weekend! Tammie came over yesterday and we used up a good portion of them making peach salsa.

I love a good fruit salsa and peaches make one of the best! Not only is it delicious on tortilla chips like any good salsa, it makes a scrumptious accompaniment to grilled pork, chicken and fish!  Then there is always the option of eating it straight from the jar like my son is prone to do.

He is actually hoping I pack a jar … or three in his next package headed to Camp Pendleton.

I usually preserve my salsa so we can enjoy it throughout the year, but the beauty of this recipe is you can half it if you choose and serve it up immediately with a delicious summer supper. Just refrigerate and it’ll keep a couple of weeks.

Not that it’ll last that long.

Canning the peach salsa is not that hard. All of the ingredients are fresh, easy to pronounce which makes it even better.

Gather together all the things you need before you begin so that you’re not scrambling around while scorching your salsa on the stove.

I used Ball jars to store the salsa. These can be found at just about any grocery store as well as Walmart. Canning supply lists can be extensive, but I stick to the basics for this recipe: jars with lids, funnel, tongs, 2 large stock pots (one for sterilizing the jars & one for cooking the salsa mixture), a ladle and a couple of towels.

For a few canning basics you can check out these canning tips from Martha Stewart.

If you want the freshest salsa hit up your local farmers market (you’ll also be supporting a local business), but you can also purchase your ingredients at the grocery store.

For this recipe all you need is peaches, red & green bell pepper, sweet and red onions, cilantro, jalapeños, garlic, cilantro, honey, vinegar, cumin and cayenne pepper. That’s it.

You’ll chop your peaches, dice your veggies and cook together until it comes to a boil.

Talking with Tami / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Next you’ll ladle the salsa into your prepared jars, wipe clean, seal and process in boiling water about 10 minutes. Allow to cool and make sure the jars have sealed.

Is it necessary to sterilize your jars? Yes. Absolutely. If you are preserving this for later use you do not want any bacteria to have an opportunity to build up. Two things will happen: one, your hard work will be wasted, & two, you may have a major mess as bacteria builds in a jar the pressure can cause a huge mess.

It may or may not have happened to me.

For the full detailed & printable recipe, click Peach Salsa

I hope you enjoy this little taste of summer! Let me know if you make the peach salsa and what you think!

Summer with McDonald’s & Southern Belle Farm

Peach season is in full swing here in Georgia and I’m super excited! Honestly I look forward to peach season every year, and can not wait to savor that first juicy bite each summer! Over the weekend Tammie (Talking with Tami) and I ventured down to Southern Belle Farm to check out McDonald’s new summer treat: a sweet peach slushie!

McDonald's Peach Slushie / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Limited time this July sweet treat from McDonalds

Available for a limited time in July you should definitely take the kids through the drive thru for this peachy taste of summer because we all need something refreshing as this heat wave rolls on!

Peach Slushie from McDonalds / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

You’re a peach!

The event with McDonald’s at Southern Belle Farm was so enjoyable. Y’all know I’m a country girl at heart so I enjoyed every moment we spent on the farm. This beautiful place is operated by the 5th generation of the Carter family in Henry County, Georgia.

Silos at Southern Belle Farm / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Once a dairy farm, Southern Belle Farm is now a gorgeous picture of agriculture here in Georgia and a huge proponent of agritourism in the state. Supporting local farms and business is something I’m truly passionate about. Let’s face it y’all, our nation was built by farmers, and they are who keep us fed today! I love Georgia is promoting agritourism and definitely enjoy the fruits and veggies that have been locally raised.

Southern Belle Farm tour / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Daniel from SBF explaining the best peaches to pick

Southern Belle Farm / Of Fiddle Dee Dee

Growing peaches, berries, muscadines and corn, the farm is open for u-pick as well as maintaining a market filled with fresh produce, delicious jams and jellies, the best peach cobbler and homemade ice cream you’ve ever put in your mouth!

Southern Belle Farm Market / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Tammie and I were able to pick our own peaches on Saturday as well as tour the farm via hayride.

Southern Belle Farm Peaches / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Picking Peaches / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Peach Picking at Southern Belle Farm / Of Fiddle Dee Dee

Talking with Tami / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Picking Peaches / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

I’m planning to whip up a little peach salsa this week and then a pie or two for Independence Day, so hang on for some recipes you’ll want to keep!

Visiting Southern Belle Farm / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Have a Peachy week y’all!!