FINALLY!!!! We got out for a real adventure. Went to a place we’ve never been, did things we’ve never done and saw things we’ve never seen…..all with friends that we’ll never forget. Alan and Jen are our best friends, they started out as BJ’s best friends and I was lucky enough to be accepted into the friend fold. Even though we’ve all been friends for over a decade, we’ve never done a bike ride together, either we had a bike and they didn’t or vice versa, and as too often, our schedules and busy lives just didn’t allow it. So for Jen’s birthday we decided to make it happen. On a beautiful fall Wednesday in October, with the first real chill in the air, we set out. Bundled up in multiple layers and wearing our heated gear (which is a must for anyone with a bike that doesn’t want to be stuck in the cold) we hopped on our, Harley Davidson Street Glide Special, around 9:30 to meet them in, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Molena, GA.
Our first destination was Pine Mountain, GA for some lunch. Along the way we rode parts of the Meriwether-Pike Scenic Byway. It was a great day for a ride, not a cloud in the sky, and the crisp weather actually just topped it all. We parked at a municipal building and stopped at the visitor’s center to pick a spot to eat. I didn’t catch her name, but the very sweet lady in the office gave us multiple tips, and after hearing Jen and mine’s requirement for a nice glass of wine, she pointed us in the direction of The Gourmet Cafe, a Greek restaurant. Now, Pine Mountain is TINY, so I was floored to hear that there was an authentic Greek spot there with a Lebanese proprietor. He was a hoot! He brought Jen and I a great glass of Pinot Noir and each couple split a gyro plate. The pita bread was perfectly warm and soft, and you could tell it was all handmade in house. And probably the best part of our dining experience, was the huge record player in front of the bar, that played everything from Madonna to Otis Redding. The owner, insisted we take a photo in front of the vinyl shrine.
With full bellies, and still more to see in Pine Mountain, we headed to check out FDR State Park and Franklin Roosevelt’s Little White House. Just a quick history lesson. FDR had polio and would vacation down in Warm Springs to help with the symptoms of the disease. He started visiting the area while he was Governor of New York and continued while he was President. He actually died in the home while having a painting done, the unfinished painting hangs there now. The park set atop the small Pine Mountain, but still offered some amazing views. We visited a spot that FDR would often go to have picnics. He even had a grill built there for entertaining (it has been filled in now, but you can see it in the photo of the boys standing on the mountain). There is a statue of FDR sitting on a bench in this spot as well. Head towards Dowdell’s Knob and veer right at the fork, to check-out this area of the park. F.D. Roosevelt State Park is over 9,000 acres and we only got to see a very small portion of it, but what we did get to see and do, definitely made us want to plan a trip back.
Next spot, The Little White House. They offer tours and a museum, but we knew we just didn’t have the time to dedicate to get the true experience. I am one of those people that reads every word of every display and it takes me forever to even make it through a small exhibit, this museum at The Little House is pretty big, and would easily take me a few hours to see it all. We rode out with the hope of at least a glimpse of the house, but you couldn’t see it behind the admissions building, but just to know one of the most influential Presidents in US history, perhaps stood where we did, was just a really neat feeling. BJ and I will be back to actually do the museum soon.
Our tummies started grumbling at this point, so we jumped on the bikes and rode to “downtown” Warm Springs to find a snack. We parked next to these old abandoned train cars, that used to be a store and restaurant, we think. So we decided to walk through them and see what was inside. It was super creepy, dirty, smelly, and kind of thrilling. I was just waiting for something to break or fall and scare the living mess out of us.
We decided to grab a bite at Mac’s Barbeque just off the main street in Warm Springs. It was an older walk-up building, with about 5 tables in a dining room attached to the kitchen. I had a Que Dog, which hit the spot perfectly. It was a pile of BBQ in a hot dog bun, and to make it even better, I had it topped with cole slaw, which in my opinion is the only way to eat BBQ.
And the main event…..after eating we went to do a wine tasting at Warm Springs Winery. Had Jen not told us where it was, there is no doubt we would have missed it. The fermentation area, bottling, labeling, wine shop and tasting all happened in the same building, which was about the size of two-car garage, maybe. But the wine was wonderful. We tasted nine, and my favorite, by far, was Hotlanta, a dry red with a hint of jalapeno. I had to finish Alan’s for him AND I asked for another, it was like nothing I had ever tasted. The Warm Springs Winery is a must do, if you’re in the area and it was the perfect ending for our adventure with Alan and Jen, and hopefully a wonderful birthday celebration for the birthday girl.
After parting ways with them we weren’t quite ready to head home and it just happened to also be dinner time. BJ did a quick search of nearby restaurants and we chose to try out The Pirate Deck on the square in Zebulon, GA. It was your typical small town grill, with wings, burgers and the such. I had the philly, and BJ lucked out, because tenders were on special for $0.50 each, he preceded to order a plate full. The food was good and if we find ourselves in Zebulon, GA another time, I think we’d probably stop there again, also because there weren’t many other options.
It was just the type of day we needed. We haven’t had the time or opportunity for just a good ol’, fly by the seat of your pants, kind of day. We had the perfect partners in crime to make it that much better. Here’s to many more adventures to come!