Happy summer! Although it feels like it’s been here for a while, it's officially here. Right now it's storming outside. Fortunately, two weekends ago the weather was really nice throughout Georgia. Sunshine, blue skies, fluffy white clouds and highs in the mid to upper 70s. Too nice to stay in! My husband and I decided to take a day trip to Georgia’s highest peak, Brasstown Bald.
As more and more people are becoming plant based, the demand for veg-friendly restaurants is rapidly increasing. Many omnivores that may be skeptical about the lifestyle or what foods it actually entails, would be surprised to know it’s more than just salads, smoothies and quinoa (all of which I truly love). As a foodie myself, I’m always down to check out a new restaurant or cuisine that has vegan options, but especially so when the whole menu is up for grabs! One of the hottest spots right now in Atlanta is Slutty Vegan and I finally got to check them out! Here’s a little bio on them from their website:
“Slutty Vegan was founded the summer of 2018 by Pinky Cole. Having established roots in the West End community of Atlanta, we have made it our mission to provide quality vegan meals to communities that would have otherwise never had these options. The philosophy here at Slutty Vegan is “VEGANS CAN BE SLUTTY TOO”. We actively seek to dismiss the notion held by many we serve, that vegan food is either too expensive or too bland.”
I love trying out new restaurants, especially when they are vegetarian or plant based. My husband and I were running some errands and came across Vegreen in Duluth, GA when trying to figure out what to have for lunch. After a quick glance and Google search (All vegan restaurant?!) we were sold.
Once we walked in, we were greeted by a hostess and seated. Immediately we noticed how clean and bright the restaurant was. The décor is mostly white, with clean lines and pops of color throughout. It has a modern theme that feels vibrant and inviting. They also have a few TVs that you can see no matter where you are sitting in the restaurant. It may be showing a big game if it’s on or typically a slideshow of sorts that features various quotes and stories from vegan and vegetarian celebrities.
Aside from the food, one thing I love about vegan restaurants is that the full menu is up for consideration. The options at Vegreen include sushi, rice dishes, noodle dishes, main entrees and desserts. We have been there twice now and each time we fully enjoyed our dishes. For starters, we had the veggie dumplings.
Atlanta has no shortage of festivals of all kinds. There are festivals of all sorts, for all tastes, year round in Atlanta. My favorite category has to be the food festivals! Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Atlanta Vegfest. It's been going on for several years, but this was my first time going. It is a gathering of various businesses (mostly food related) that share a general foundation of being vegan-friendly, plant based and environmentally conscious. RIght up my alley!
Happy Fall! One of my favorite seasons has arrived and it brings with it weather that makes being outside much more bearable than the summer heat. I recently set out with my husband to explore something new, Lula Falls. The Lula Lake Land Trust consists of over 8,000 acres of protected land, with selective visiting dates each year. They are only open May-November on the first and last weekend of each month. This helps to preserve the area according to their mission statement per their website:
"The Lula Lake Land Trust preserves the natural and historic landscapes surrounding Rock Creek and Bear Creek, and their tributaries, through conservation, education, and low impact recreation."
From Metro Atlanta, the drive is about 2.5 hours. The route we took actually took us into Tennessee, through Chattanooga for a bit, then back down into Georgia. The entry feee to the Park is $10 per vehicle. This cost goes towards property restoration. The entrance we used took us right to a gravel parking lot.
After you leave the parking lot and pay the entry fee, the trail starts right there. They have maps available to show you all the different trails throughout the property. We took the route that leads directly to the waterfalls. It’s about 3.2 miles round trip to the falls and back, not bad at all! This route is also well shaded by the surrounding trees most of the way. The pathway is wide enough for people to pass one another comfortably.
Along the way to the falls there are a couple stops you can make. One is a detour to the right that leads to a mini nature trail over a creek. Further up the main trail, there’s another path that dips down and takes you right to the base of a river. Not long after that back on the main trail, you come to a bridge that takes you over what leads to the smaller of the two falls we saw that day. This view was the first wow factor we came across on our path. We went from a path of shaded trees to this vast opening and rushing water.
As we made our way across this bridge, we continued to trek along in search of the large waterfall.
This viewpoint looks back towards the previously mentioned bridge
Just past these tree-lined rock walls, was the path that led down to see the first waterfall from the other side. It cascaded down into a gorgeous pool of turquoise water. I’ve never seen such beautiful water here in Georgia!
At this spot there is sort of a rock "bench" where you can plant yourself and take in the serene sound of the water. After enjoying this spot for a little while, we went back up to the main trail to head to the large waterfall. It wasn't much further until we got our first peak of it. Then we came to the top of the stairs that led down to the base of the waterfall where the best views of it are. If you plan on visiting, be aware that these steps are steep, rugged and uneven. It’s also narrow in some parts, especially when passing others going the opposite direction.
Looking back at some of the steps while heading down.
Once we reached the bottom, the view was even better than we expected. A powerful flow of water was rushing over the 100+ foot falls and it was simply breathtaking! There’s a nice open area at the base where visitors can hang around for a while, take pictures, explore a bit and take it all in. It was such a calming atmosphere. We stayed for a while soaking up the scenery as the cool mist from the waterfall gently sprinkled over us.
If you live here in Georgia or are just visiting, consider visiting Lula Lake for a nice afternoon. I’m already planning our next outdoor adventure. If you live elsewhere, I encourage you to explore your own backyard and spend some time in nature. It’s nourishing for your soul and you’ll add in some great physical activity too!
Amongst the beauty of North Georgia, tucked away in the mountains, are a plethora of waterfalls that you can easily visit on a day trip from the city. The Georgia mountains are about an hour and a half to a two hour drive depending on where you're coming from in Metro Atlanta. This makes for an easy afternoon trip to get away from the city and into nature. Up until recently, I had only been to two waterfalls in Georgia and realized I was overdue to see some more. So this Labor Day weekend was the perfect time to head out and check another one off my list.
The drive from the suburbs was nice and easy and after about 1 1/2 hours we were at the Georgia Mountains. After coming off the main highway and onto a couple side roads, the GPS led us down a winding dirt road for a little over 3 miles. This part of the drive wound through a heavily wooded yet residential area in some parts.
Once you start to see beautiful Lake Rabun and the homes around the lake, the parking at the head of the trail isn’t too much further. The parking area isn’t large at all. It can accommodate about 7 cars comfortably. Right behind the parking you see the small sign and stairs that mark where the trail to the falls begins.
From this point to the falls is only about a quarter mile hike. The path is well laid out to lead you straight there without confusion. It’s also well shaded by trees which can come in handy on particularly hot days. As you make your way down the short trail, you can hear the rushing sounds of the waterfall getting louder. Once you make it there, you’re greeted with the site of a gorgeous, step formation of cascading falls.
There’s a bench perfectly placed right in front of the falls where you can sit and enjoy the view. Or you can walk right in if you want to splash around in the water to cool off on a hot day. The sound of the falls is so soothing, so we hung around to take it in for a while. It’s also a nicely shaded area being that it’s tucked away between the trees. I highly recommend you spend some time outside and explore the beauty that Georgia has to offer!
When it comes to being plant-based, it can seem like the dining out options are limited. However, these days there are more and more restaurants that are offering vegetarian and vegan friendly options on their menus. In addition to that, there are more dining options popping up that offer fully plant-based menus that everyone can enjoy. One of these gems here in Atlanta is Herbanfix! They specialize in authentic Pan-Asian cuisine made 100% plant-based and they're located in Midtown Atlanta.
Georgia is beautiful year round, but Fall is my favorite time of year to get outside and enjoy nature. The cooler temperatures and vibrant hues of the changing leaves add something special to any outdoor adventure. My husband and I went to check out Arabia Mountain last weekend and we were not disappointed!
We parked at the Davidson-Arabia Nature Preserve which offered plenty of parking and trail access. From there we took one of the paved paths that led a little way down and across the street to the base of the mountain. From there we were met with a long, tree-lined boardwalk that led us to the Atlanta Wild Animal Rescue Effort (AWARE) facility. There they have another small parking lot (you can park here for quicker access to the mountain) and the entryway for the trail up Arabia Mountain.
Some of the best things about Fall are the cool temperatures, changing leaves, apple picking and pumpkin everything (yes, please!).Well there’s a new favorite of mine that I’m adding to my list of Fall favorites: Sunflowers! I recently visited Fausett Farms in Dawsonville, GA where they have 15+ acres of tall, lush and beautiful sunflowers open to the public.