The Country Living Fair

While the calendar says autumn doesn’t end until December 21st, we all know it really ends this of this week as we celebrate Thanksgiving and usher in all the fun and excitement of the Christmas holidays!
After attending the Country Living Fair at Atlanta’s Stone Mountain a couple of weeks back I have both seasons with their wonderful holidays filling my heart at the moment!  With a quiet Thanksgiving Day here in South Carolina planned for Audley and the kids, I am planning a magazine worthy spread (MAD magazine of course) to celebrate this day of gratitude to make staying home a little more special.  This will be just before Christmas explodes in the house Thanksgiving night and Friday as we deck the halls and fa-la-la ourselves into festive cheer!
Yes, I found so much inspiration and fun at the CL Fair.  There were antiques.  There were decorations.  There were cooking demos.  There were craft demos.  And then there was this tower of pumpkins and gourds.
All of it just set off this little spark of creativity that I haven’t had in quiet sometime!
Won’t you take a stroll through the Fair with me and see what all has fueled my holiday spirit?

Vendors from all over came and set up their craft, antique spaces, as well as bit of fresh local baked goods and homemade soaps and candles.

HGTV’s Cash & Cari was there all day

 

Sweet little hanky cards

 

 

Vintage Christmas ornaments
Homemade soaps … they smelled divine!

I loved all of the variety and while I thought some altered crafts were just not my cup of tea, and other things were a bit too pricey, I did find a gorgeous small milk glass candy bowl the perfect size for my living room shelves and a set of absolutely stunning pink depression glasses that will be adorning our Thanksgiving table filled with chocolate pecan pie triffles!

The lady who ran this particular antique booth was just so sweet and took great care in wrapping my glasswares.  She has a booth that she runs regularly in Illinois.  I do believe I would love to visit her sometime!

 

Mismatched recovered furniture seems to be the latest trend in decorating.  We saw a lot of this while walking through the vendors.  I can’t decide what I think of it, but I think my teenage daughters loved the idea of it!

The always fabulous Sisters on the Fly had a small encampment set up showcasing a couple of the antique campers remodeled for weekend girl’s get-aways.

 

 

I absolutely loved the anglophile themed camper.  So much fun!

 

 

 

I tried to steer clear of the cooking demos as I have enough temptation (and planned cheats) coming up in the next couple of days.  They did look so much fun though and I am sure next year I will check these out and not feel so pressured!

I did love the unique table settings set up in the pavilion showcasing Country Living decor that draws us to their magazine each month.

 

 

 

 

One of my favorite demos was on the main stage with Heather Patterson, blogger At the Picket Fence.
Heather really got my creative holiday spirit going with her demo on simple DIY Christmas trees.

 

So much fun and so many ways to decorate up cones to match your themes and decor for this holiday season!

 

 

Heather is just so sweet.  I met her a year ago at the Southern Bloggers Conference in Raleigh and was glad that I was able to see her again.  She has also been on a weight loss journey and has lost 75 pounds to date!  I m so excited for her, and isn’t she just gorgeous?!

 

The day itself was so lovely with all of it activities and sights to see.  MacKenzie had band competition in Atlanta, so she was with the band while we were killing time before her performance.  I gave Madeline and Bradley a little money and let them do a little Christmas shopping.  They enjoy events like this for shopping.  So many fun and unique options.

The Country Living Fair has many locations through-out the autumn season.  I highly recommend that if there is one near you that you check it out.  It’s such an enjoyable time!

Beautiful Stone Mountain Georgia

When I was a little girl we used to sing a song in Bible class that went something like “Climb, climb up sunshine mountain, heavenly breezes blow…”
When we visited Stone Mountain, Georgia a few weeks back I think I sang those words over and over as we climbed the mountain with our kids.
Audley kept singing Alabama’s “Mountain Man”.

We are all a little crazy.

One side of Stone Mountain holds the famed carving of the 3 of the Confederacy’s heroes; Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E Lee.It’s the largest carving of it’s type in the world.

{You know us Southerners, we may have lost the war, but we are proud of our heritage.}

Anyway, the other side of the mountain is the walk-up trail that we took.

The famed carving on the side of Stone Mountain:  Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson & Robert E. Lee.  It’s the size of TWO & 1/4 football fields!

Before I get to climbing the mountain, let me assure you, there is so much more to Stone Mountain than just a climb, so a visit is well worth your time.  First is the quaint historic village of Stone Mountain Georgia with shops and restaurants to enjoy.  As for the park itself, there is golf, museums, riverboat & train rides, ropes course, antique car museum an interactive play area, antebellum mansion, water park, tram and so many other things that you can do, creating a vacation that would last for several days.And if you like history, there is plenty of it to be found here!

Stone Mountain with it’s carving was originally envisioned by the Daughter’s of the Confederacy in 1916 as a memorial to the South.  The project took a lot longer than envisioned as the original artist abandoned the project in 1925,  then the family that owned the property actually forbid any more work on the the project, leaving the sculpture unfinished.  It sat unfinished through the depression and WWII, until the state of Georgia purchased the land (in the 1950’s) to turn into a park and hired two other artists to finish the work during the 1960’s.

While there is some past dark history surrounding the mountain, the carving was not made to encourage it. People (especially the family who owned the property at the time) took advantage of a memorial situation.  Stone Mountain has also played a role in many different unique ways in our country.  Granite originally mined from Stone Mountain was used in the foundation of the Georgia Capitol building, the steps of the east wing of the U.S. Capitol, the dome of the Federal Gold Depository at Fort Knox and the locks of the Panama Canal.  

Stone Mountain was also a destination for young couples on dates even as far back as the 1800’s.  They would ride on horseback for a day of hiking and picnicking.  In 1838 there was a wooden observation tower built at the summit for people to enjoy the views from the top.


So climbing this mountain is not a new thing! 
General admission to the park for a couple of the museums, hiking the area, picnicking, and watching a fabulous laser show on the side of the mountain after dark is only $10 per vehicle.  Each of the other available activities to do have their own price and I was feeling rather cheap the day we visited.
{I can be that way sometimes.}
We really only had a few hours, so climbing the mountain was our main goal anyway.
I grew up climbing Stone Mountain at least once a year, since we lived just outside of Atlanta.  At the time all the park consisted of was the train ride & tram, antebellum mansion, a couple of museums, the golf course (which has been been upgraded) and naturally the mountain climb and the laser show added when I was in the 9th grade.
{I feel old now.}
Audley and I took our kids about twelve years ago and climbed it.  I was already on my way to gaining tons of weight (well, I was clinging to baby weight …. for 13 years!) so it was not a very enjoyable day for me.
When I put together my Fit Girl Bucket List a while back I added this as a test to see how far I had come.
At the start point of our climb with my girls.
This time I planned our little climbing adventure and was really looking forward to it.  We couldn’t have picked a better day to climb the mountain.  It was mostly sunny with a few clouds, not too hot although that Southern humidity was weighing heavily in the air & when we got to the top of the mountain there was an amazing breeze!
My kiddos ready to roll!
The United Daughters of the Confederacy flag terrace at the base of the mountain.

The actual climb up the mountain is one mile.  Sounds easy enough, but it has been a challenge before. I was super excited just to see how much I’ve changed over the years!

The rocky hike up

And it is a very steep climb at some points which is why many people will take the tram to the top & maybe walk back down.

Believe me, I thought about it.

But, I didn’t.

The views of from the top of Stone Mountain are breathtaking.

Downtown Atlanta from the top of Stone Mountain
At the top after our climb.
That’s Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park in the background

And this once very unhealthy woman climbed right up the mountain making very good time (for me) …. about 20 minutes. Besides being REALLY thirsty when we reached the top, I felt great!

{There is a snack bar with plenty to drink once you get to the top!}

This was a really huge deal for me!

Enjoying the views with my Audley
It’s amazing the little things you find on top of a granite rock…..
So full of spirit and adventure!

After the hike back down we really enjoyed a fun supper picnic.

Do you really expect them all to be serious & paying attention?!

Like I mentioned earlier, there is so much more to do than climb the mountain (they have some pretty good homemade fudge as well).  If you are planning a day trip (& you live in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, or South Carolina), this is a perfect one for you!

You are only 15 miles from downtown Atlanta, so it also makes for a great two or three day get-away You’ll love being close to Six Flags, the Atlanta Braves, the Georgia aquarium, lots of great shopping, & a little fun local history in Marietta that you won’t be bored!