The first time I was ever exposed to the mountains of Tennessee I was about 16 years old and my parents took us on a family vacation in February. Snow was still lying everywhere on the mountains and I immediately fell in love with the look and smell of the land as it lay covered in white and was as tall as the eyes could see.
So when for my high school graduation present I was asked where I wanted to go the most, I chose the Tennessee Mountains. Every single high schooler I knew was headed to Panama City Beach to scream at the top of their lungs and heat their skin bronze in celebration of 12 years of their lives accomplished and finished complete. I however, chose Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Once again, we would head off to the mountains and that’s where I would spend the next however many days looking at the land that made me feel whole and complete. I’ve never been quite sure what my attraction to trees, hills and green land is, but it fills a hole inside of me that I can’t really explain.
When I was growing-up, my grandmother spent several of her vacations with my grandfather in Helen Georgia. She would talk about it like it was the land of magical mountains and with the same mellow sounds of satisfaction when she spoke, that seems to perfectly match my own feelings.
This year I couldn’t quite make up my mind where I wanted to vacation; Savannah, Georgia was my first choice, I lived there as a small child at the age of four, and I wanted to go back and see it as an adult. But I waited too long to try and make arrangements/reservations so that will be a trip for next year on me and my husband’s 10th wedding anniversary.
After a little more thinking and perusing the internet, Helen, Georgia was my next choice. I decided I wanted to see with my own eyes, what my grandmother found so enchanting about this special place. I’ve only arrived today, but I’ll tell you this, at the first sight of hills and grassy mountains in the distance, I was already in my own special place, as the sights and beauty began to fill that small empty hole inside of me that only the mountains seem to fill.
Tomorrow we will venture out on foot and see all the sights that I have outlined in advance – Anna Ruby Falls, the Baby-Land General Hospital, and the Christmas Shops, the Old Sautee Store where I’m told the ice cream is to die for, and rummage through the rest of the shops galore up and down the beautiful streets of Helen.
But tonight I am tired from the drive and the little bit of tramping-around we’ve already accomplished walking the creek behind our hotel at sunset. So I’m headed out to my balcony overlooking my requested mountain view and thank the heavens and my grandmother above for this very special vacation memory that is unfolding as I write.