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» Saturday, April 21, 2007On the Road Again, The Spring Edition, Volume 2, Part 1
I love this place, but the beds suck.
Of course at home we have a queen-sized bed which has baffles so we don't wake one another when we turn over in bed and it's very like a padded board, so we're used to hard and hotel beds almost never suit.
In any case, neither of us slept well and I got up with a screaming headache at the back of my neck which comes from the arthritis. So I took some ibuprofin and slept flat until the pain cleared and had another hour's sleep, after which I joined James and some others having breakfast in the common area. He'd had some bagels and I feasted on toast with peanut butter, a high protein bar, and a granola bar.
So we did go up to Hiawassee, via route 75, which, soon after it gets out of Helen, turns into a switchback railway within the woods. The road inclines steeply and does a series of hairpin turns, and you eventually climb to 2949 feet before cresting the ridge and gliding back down to the valley in which Hiawassee resides. Along the way there is a trailer park full of Airstream trailers, the line of the Chattahoochee River (or a tributary thereof, since it isn't marked), mountain homes, brief spurts of "civilization" like a country church or a clutch of homes, and fields of cows or horses and, one time, goats.
Hiawassee is a pleasant small town with a line of several chain stores, small shops, and the usual businesses of village life. We found Always Christmas on the way out of town in a strip shopping center. It is quite lovely inside, with all sorts of Christmas things including Department 56 villages (also Hallowe'en villages), Jim Shore artwork, ornaments, music boxes (including a wonderful gramophone music box with a record that actally turns over like a real one), lights, garlands, and sundry other things. Also, the store opened into the other stores in the shopping center, so you could just peruse in one shopping trip.
I was very bad. One of the Department 56 villages is circa 1920-early 1950s (depending on which figures you buy) and they have a Woolworth's building. When you look in the window you can see someone being served at the lunch counter. I also got some stuff that looks exactly like snow when you wet it. It has the crystal consistency and the texture of snow, but it isn't cold. You mist it to expand it. Plus I got a Christmas/winter "welcome" sled and some wreaths and garlands to trim the village homes.
Right before I left, I saw this adorable Lamb Chop puppet. I always loved Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop when I was a childshe was the naughty but never malicious child with the smart mouth. This puppet did talk; it says the new "smarmy" phrases, but in looks it's still a Lamb Chop. But we left, having spent enough, and drove on, through another small town called Young Harristhe whole "water department" is a shed-sized concrete block buildingand then to Blairsville.
There we turned around and came back. It was lunchtime, so we stopped at the barbecue place that was next door to the Christmas store. It was quite delicious barbecue. James looked at me and said, "You want that Lamb Chop, don't you?"
So it was a late Easter/early Mother's Day gift from the fids. Also got a magnetic mailbox cover with a U.S. flag on it for Memorial and Independence Day.
On the way back we also stopped at what used to be a little five and ten cent store. It still had the old fashioned shelves and some five-and-ten things, like puzzles and cheap toys and dishes, but most of it was devoted to knitting/crochet/sewing with a small corner with scrapbooking supplies. And then it was back down through the switchbacks, listening to the greatest hits of Petula Clark, till we were back to the lodge and the happy chaos.