Georgia State Parks: Vogel State Park.

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December state park: Vogel State Park.

And also?

We DID IT!

We visited a different Georgia State Park, as a family, every month this year!

And I will have to do a separate post about all the feelings because the state park we went to this month?

So amazing.

I am so glad this was our final state park — because we ended on an extremely high note.

We loved pretty much everything about it.

It’s located in an area that has tons to do (it’s in Blairsville — about a 2-hour drive for us).

It’s near Helen, and Dahlonega, and lots of waterfalls, and the Appalachian Trail, and Brasstown Bald.

And we didn’t do hardly any of those things this time, because we had so much to do where we were!

We arrived on Friday around 4 p.m. to check into our efficiency cottage (which is another way of saying “small”).

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Now, Tom in particular, kept saying how small it was!  Ha!  I had no idea it would be something he’d even hardly notice.

But you guys?  The decor, location, and general awesomeness of it did not make it feel small to me at all!

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(We were in cabin #16 — and if we go back, I’d get it again because it was perfect!)

Our cabin was located with the playground across the driveway, and the creek running through our backyard!

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Approximately 2 seconds after we parked, Tom and Alice were throwing rocks in the creek!

It was amazing!

(It was unseasonably warm while we were there, but NOT warm enough to wade in that water!)

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It was an easy walk to both the Visitor Center, and to the field where they were holding the Christmas festivities on Saturday.

Speaking of Saturday, we pretty much spent the whole day having fun!

After we woke up, we decided to check out a nearby waterfall called DeSoto Falls.

We only went to the Lower Falls this time, but this area was super neat, with an easy hike for the kids.

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On our way to the falls, we passed a store.

And once we were hiking, I realized the store was Mountain Crossings — one I had read about! (Apparently, hiking helps me think!)

Here’s what’s super cool about this “store.”

The Appalachian Trail goes RIGHT THROUGH IT.

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(There are my feet — hiking the AT. Ha!)

It’s the only part of the trail’s 2100 miles that is covered.

And the building itself was built by the CCC in the 30’s.

It’s cool!  Definitely stop if you’re up this way.

Because not only is it already neat, but if you walk behind the building, it looks like this:

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And although I thought the view was spectacular and I kind of wanted to look at it all day, Alice wanted to look at this cat and his friend all day!

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He was obviously used to being fawned over.

And then if that wasn’t enough excitement, Tom and Kevin found Bigfoot.

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So, Mountain Crossings — the best!

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AT hikers’ shoes!

After that, we played a round of putt-putt at Vogel!

Alice was all pumped up to do it and had a blast.  Tom…well, Tom wished he’d been born with magical putt-putting skills.  Ha!

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He’s got good form!

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It was kind of hilariously awesome.

After that, we started to get ready for the evening festivities.  I’d picked the weekend we went so we could attend — and I’m so glad we did.

Wait! We had dinner first!  It looked like this:

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Okay, now…

The second Saturday of December, Vogel hosts Christmas festivities that are free to everyone.  You do not have to stay there to partake, and most of the people we met were local residents.

It was the cutest thing!  Seriously, it felt low-key — but totally perfect.

They had Christmas hayrides that went continuously starting at 4 — taking people from the parking lot to the field.  We rode it a few times, because they loved it so much.  At night, the rides were decorated with Christmas lights!

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They handed out candles to everyone as it got dark, and everyone sang Christmas carols.  It felt like…a movie.  It was awesome.

They had a Christmas tree lighting.

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And they gave out hot chocolate, cider, Christmas cookies, and had face painting!  It was so, so fun.

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I really liked it because it was not a big over-the-top thing at all.  It was just…fun.

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And on Sunday, we hiked the trail around the lake, so that we could see the awesome view of the mountains behind the lake, and the waterfall!

(I actually had hiked this by myself on Saturday morning to get the first picture you see in this blog.  So beautiful!)

This hike is really pretty, and the kids had a great time!  You MUST DO IT if you visit this park — because it’s what makes the park so special.

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After this, we packed up and headed back home!

I loved, LOVED this park.  We all did.  It was wonderful weather, and lots of fun outdoor activities, and awesomely beautiful.

We want to go back.

And I also want to say, that usually we don’t go out of town during December weekends because of all the Christmas activities going on — but I loved it.

I think we’ll do it again.

It was actually really great to be outdoors for an entire weekend in the middle of all the “go-go-go” that is the holiday season.  It was really, really nice.

So there you have it!  We did it!  Twelve parks in 2015!

It was the best family goal ever.  I will be forever thankful.

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Read about our other Georgia State Park adventures this year!

January park: Sweetwater Creek State Park.
February park: FDR State Park.
March park: Providence Canyon State Park
April park: George L. Smith State Park
May park: Tallulah Gorge State Park
June park: Watson Mill Bridge State Park
July park: Indian Springs State Park
August park: Panola Mountain State Park
September park: Amicalola Falls State Park
October park: Red Top Mountain State Park
November park: Fort Yargo State Park

Follow our adventures on Instagram! #12parksin2015

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This entry was posted in Alice, Family, Georgia Outdoors, Georgia State Parks, Kevin, Motherhood, Tom, Travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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