As fall approaches, I always want to go the mountains. This weekend was perfect for a little trip to Bert’s Pumpkin Farm and enjoy the perfect autumn weather. Of course, one of the joys of living in Atlanta is that if you think of doing anything, there are probably thousands of other people who decided to do the exact same thing. As we snaked our way into the parking lot and passed SUV after SUV (of course, who I am to judge… I think as we drive past in our Chevy Blazer) and Minivan after Minivan, all with license tags of “Cobb”, “Forsyth”, “Gwinnett”, “Cherokee”, and “Fulton”, I felt a little sad. Bert’s Pumpkin Farm was almost as crowded as a mall the day after Thanksgiving. The secluded mountains of north Georgia aren’t really very secluded anymore. They are practically a suburb of Atlanta now. As I watched the crowds there, I thought about a book I read about the Berkshires of Massachusetts. The locals love and loathe the loud, obnoxious, rich people they call “212′ers” (Manahttan’s area code) who visit every fall and turn their quiet mountain towns into crowded, dirty, loud places that feel a lot like, well, New York. They bring their money, though, so the locals can’t really turn them away. We stopped at an apple stand to purchase some apples and fried apple pies to take home and even though it was crowded and we had to wait in a long line, I was at least glad there are still apple orchards and family farms still existing in the hills of Georgia.
Not that there wasn’t crowds and tremendous amounts of traffic when I used to go to the mountains as a child. I can remember cars lined up for miles trying to get into the tourist trap of Helen, Georgia, everyone so eager to purchase their fake German souvenirs and tube the Chattahoochee River. Somehow, though, it feels different now, like a piece of rural Georgia is slowly fading away along with a piece of my childhood.
Childhood. I’ve taken a lot of comfort lately in sitting and watching children play at playgrounds and this past weekend around the pumpkins. They aren’t weighed down by all the things that trouble my mind and they go from one extreme feeling to the next, not even bothering to hide their emotions to save face. Watching all these kids makes me forget about everything bouncing around my head for a little while. My opinion on children sure has changed in the last couple of years. They are also great subjects for photographs
One of the upsides of all the crowds in Ellijay is that other parts of north Georgia weren’t so crowded. We enjoyed a lunch at the Smith House in Dahlonega, and sure it’s overpriced, but it was nice to sit around a big table with friends and pass food like fried chicken, black eyed peas, green beans, and pot roast around and enjoy the company. Plus, I found a new used bookstore in Dahlonega full of old hardbound books from the 50′s, 60′s, and even stuff more recent that I’m sure will have me coming back.
Add to that a little cold Friday night of high school football, and I’d say it was a pretty enjoyable weekend.