New Corn Maze Opens Near Inn

Just in time for the Fall season we welcome Dahlonega’s first corn maze. It’s located not too far from the inn off Cavender cornmazedahlonegaCreek Road which is also close to several great wineries.

Lee Anderson Farm in Dahlonega, Georgia is the location of the seven-acre corn maze that is designed in shape of an old-time gold miner. “We chose that symbol because Dahlonega is known for kicking off a gold rush in Georgia,” said Danny Otter, general manager of the Lee Anderson Farm Corn Maze.

The Georgia Gold Rush started in 1829 near Dahlonega and soon spread throughout the North Georgia mountains. The Anderson’s have lived on the farm since 1920 and is currently raising their fifth generation on the land.

Open Fridays 4 pm – 10 pm; Saturdays 10 am -10 pm and Sundays 1 pm – 6 pm every weekend now through November 6.

Located at 51 Lee Anderson Farm Road, just off Cavender Creek Road. Plenty of free parking.

Admission ranges from $5 – $14, depending on what you want to do.

For more information visit www.leeandersonfarm.com

#dahlonega #cornmaze #fall

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Fall In the North Georgia Mountains

Fall in the North Georgia mountains is always a beautiful time of year. It’s no wonder that it is also the busiest time of the year for tourism and guests visiting the inn. Around the inn we are seeing color changes. Weather influences when the colors change and the vividness of the colors.

Guests to the area can enjoy viewing the Fall colors from hiking on the Appalachian trail, visiting one of several waterfalls including Amicalola Falls or just sipping wine on one of the decks of the many wineries in the region. One of our favorite viewing areas is Preacher’s Rock which is located on the Appalachian trail near Woody Gap (see our video at Preacher’s Rock).

Come stay with us and enjoy the Fall colors.

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Photos courtesy of Julie Best

Goodbye to Stu

Very sad day at Cedar House Inn today.stu

Many of you remember our official greeter and beloved dog Stu. He would greet guests with Fred in the parking lot or Mary Beth when guests came in the inn front door. Many guests loved him since he was so friendly and full of love, enthusiasm and energy.

He loved guests scratching him on the rear and petting him! He was also fond of breakfast leftovers too which we had to restrict later on since he was putting on weight.

Today we had to put him  to sleep. He was 16 years old and having problems with walking. He had moved from the inn to our son’s house about six months ago because he had difficulty climbing the stairs to our second floor owner’s suite where he slept at night. The arthritis had taken its toll over the years with Fred trying to keep him comfortable with glucosamine and other natural treatments.

With our two sons and our son’s girlfriend we said goodbye dear friend and family member. The vetstu2 arrived at 5 pm so we got there early to love him, scratch him behind the ears (his favorite) and spend some quality time saying goodbye. We knew it was time for him to go since he wasn’t wagging his tail when we petted him. He seemed to appreciate the attention however from the look in his eyes.

Our son who is a chef cooked him a last supper of steak and salmon. He gobbled it right down. One thing for sure is that Stu always loved food and today he loved it too!

Once the vet arrived we all took turns loving him while he got the first shot (a sedative) and the final shot that would take him from us forever and take away his pain from old age.

We will miss him so much and know guests who have stayed with us will miss his smile, wagging tail and petting him. Putting him to sleep was the hardest thing we have ever done and we have heavy hearts.

So long “bubba Stu”. We will never forget you and the joys you brought us over the last 16 years.stu3

Nurse Plants in Your Landscape?

At Cedar House Inn we utilize permaculture and sustainable principles throughout the property. OneComfrey is one of the most beneficial of all nurse plants example is that we forego using synthetic fertilizers on the fruit and berry bushes planted on our swales (see related swale post). Instead we use nurse plants.

A nurse plant is a companion plant that can provide food for humans and animals while also providing benefits to surrounding plants. Examples on our property include nitrogen-fixing plants and dynamic accumulators.

Plants need nitrogen to help grow and flourish, hence, it is a key ingredient in many commercial fertilizers. Rather than using synthetic fertilizers made from petroleum and other laboratory derived ingredients, we choose a more natural method on our property.

On our swales we have many kinds of fruit and berry trees and bushes. Interspersed with our nanking cherries, aronias, and blueberries, you’ll find nitrogen-fixing plants like autumn olive and goumi berries. Both of these plants provide nitrogen to the surrounding plants and also provide edible berries for people and wildlife.

We have also planted dynamic accumulator plants like comfrey. Comfrey (see picture) is a perennial nurse plant with a very deep tap-root. The root mines minerals deep in the ground and brings those minerals and nutrients to the surface for nearby plants to use. Comfrey leaves are also used to make compost tea. The tea is made by cutting the leaves and placing them in a 5 gallon bucket with water to steep for several weeks. The nutrient rich water can be poured on vegetables in the garden or other plants as fertilizer. It smells like rotting flesh, so be careful where you brew it.

Comfrey can also be eaten like spinach but needs to be cooked since the leaves are a little rough. Some say you should not eat too much because it may be harmful to the liver in large quantities. Opinions differ on comfrey for human consumption but it has been used as a medicinal for many years. Chickens also love to eat it.

Another nurse plant that helps improve the nitrogen content of  garden soil is the siberian pea shrub. While we haven’t used that particular plant, we have planted pole beans (a legume) around trees to act as a nitrogen fixer for the trees. Come harvest time there were beans for us to eat.

There are other nurse plants that we haven’t used but would love to try in the future.

Work with nature instead of working against nature. Instead of reaching for a bag of your favorite commercial fertilizer or a can of insecticide next time you’re at the local garden center, choose some nurse plants. You will benefit from a healthier and more sustainable eco-friendly landscape.

What’s a Swale?

Many of our guests have been interested in how we practice permaculture on our property. WeNewly dug permaculture Swales frequently give tours after breakfast to show how permaculture works and to help guests get an idea of how they can use permaculture principles on their own property to have a more earth-friendly sustainable landscape.

One permaculture element that is readily apparent when entering the property at Cedar House Inn & Yurts is the ditches that seem to be everywhere. Some guests have wondered what are they for? They are permaculture swales.

We began digging our swales several years ago. After strong rains we noted where the rain water travelled on the property and that helped us determine where we should locate our swales.

Why have swales you ask?swalewithwater

Permaculture swales take rainwater that would normally run off the property and send the water into the ditch to be stored for later use. The water in the ditch is slowly released underground after a rain and also helps the mycorrhizal fungi that lives in the soil. Why help the fungi? The fungi attach to the root nodules on the many fruit and berry plants we have planted and help the plants in the uptake of water and soil nutrients.

Our permaculture swales are dug on contour to catch water traveling downhill after the rain. The swales are 1 – 2 feet deep and 1 -2 feet wide. The dirt taken from the ditch is used to make a berm on the lower side of the slope that is used for planting fruit and berries as well as nurse plants. In the future we will talk about nurse plants.

Bottom line is that we think permaculture swales are swell and encourage others to add them to their landscapes. You will have happier soil and plants.

For more information on using permaculture principles in your landscape visit our bed and breakfast inn permaculture page.

Dahlonega Thanksgiving in the North Georgia Mountains

 

Dahlonega Thanksgiving

We have decided to open this year for guests to enjoy a Dahlonega thanksgiving 2018. Normally we have closed for Thanksgiving Day to spend time with our family. This year we have already booked other guests for Thanksgiving Day with check in after 6 pm.

If you want to enjoy Thanksgiving in the North Georgia mountains please consider staying with us.

Check our Inn Web Site  and availability calendar for what we have available.

Where to eat Thanksgiving Dinner in Dahlonega?

At this time we know of three options that are shown below. We will be adding additional places for Thanksgiving Dinner when they become available to us. Check out our Facebook page for future additions.

  • The Smith House offers Thanksgiving Dinner each year.  Call 706-867-7000 for more information. They do not take reservations.
  • Yahoola Creek Grill is also having Thanksgiving Dinner– For Information and reservations call 706-482-2200. They fill up fast.
  •  Montaluce Winery is offering Thanksgiving Dinner this year. Visit http://montaluce.com/ for reservations.

Not All Eggs Are Created Equal

Like most people you may buy your eggs at the grocery store. Not all eggs are created equal and you do not always get what you get what you think you are paying for. We opt for pasture raised eggs.

pasture raised eggs

Years ago we were like most consumers purchasing our eggs at the grocery store. We would just grab a dozen and place them in the grocery cart without giving any thought where they came from.

Then grocers started offering standard eggs, premium eggs, organic eggs, cage-free eggs, free range eggs and, occasionally, pasture raised eggs. Prices varied greatly between the various choices but did we really know the differences and were the prices justifiable?

For years we purchased cage-free eggs when we learned that regular eggs were being produced by hens in very small cages called battery cages. We weren’t necessarily looking at healthier eggs for us to consume but more concerned about the welfare of the hens that were laying the eggs. We also purchased organic cage-free eggs that we thought would be healthier for us.

Then we found out that the term cage-free was basically a good marketing ploy for people like us who were concerned about animal welfare. We were shocked when we learned that those cage-free hens never see the light of day and never go outside for sunshine or to scratch in the dirt, eat insects and other things happy chickens do. Yes, they are not confined to tiny cages but commercial egg production centers (aka hen houses) hold thousands of chickens at a time so the chickens have very little room to run around. This certainly is not ideal.

So we started buying free range eggs and felt better because we thought the hens got to range freely about the farm. We later learned that in large commercial egg farms they are still in the henhouse with thousands of other hens (like cage-free) but they are provided a small door to go outside to see the sunshine. This outside area in many cases is a small fenced patio and most chickens do not know that they can outside. Since there are so many free range chickens in the henhouse there is not enough room for many of them to go outside even if they wanted to. These outdoor areas are small fenced concrete patios in some cases so the chickens cannot naturally scratch in the dirt or eat insects which they love to do. We wrote an earlier blog post in June 2010 about the difference between free range and pasture raised eggs.

Since running the inn we have learned about pasture raised eggs and that is all we now purchase. Our eggs come for a farm up the road and the chickens have a house to go into at night or during bad weather for protection. During the day the are roaming outside around the farm scratching in the dirt and small gravel and enjoying the bugs and grasshoppers they like to eat adding to their healthy diet. These chickens are not confined in a henhouse with thousands of other chickens (like factory farms) so they tend to be healthier and do not require all the antibiotics of factory farmed hens. We visit the farm and can attest that our eggs come from happy chickens.

If you can purchase eggs from a pasture raised source, go for it!  You will get fresher eggs (ours are usually gathered the day we buy them), healthier for you eggs (check out those bright orange nutrient filled yolks) and know that you are getting them from happy hens.

For more information about the organic breakfasts we serve at our inn visit inn organic breakfast.

Ways to Cool Off in the North Georgia Mountains

With Summer here the temperatures are getting warmer  and many Atlantans are thinking about a quick escape to the North Georgia mountains and wine country. The temperatures up here can be warm as well but tend to be a little cooler than the city and suburbs. We don’t have all that asphalt and buildings to soak up and retain the heat. The forests provide mother nature’s air conditioning.

While visiting Cedar House Inn and Yurts many guests find outdoor activities are the perfect way to stay cool. Some choose toZipNTime hike on the Appalachian Trail where cool breezes always seem to blow. Favorite hikes are Preacher’s Rock near Woody Gap and Blood Mountain. We have a short video showing Preacher’s Rock on our YouTube channel which is linked to this blog to your right.

Another option for staying cool is tubing down the Chestatee River or kayaking/canoeing on the Chestatee or Etowah Rivers. Appalachian Outfitters rents tubes and kayaks and provides shuttle services. Bring your own kayak and they will shuttle you for a fee. You can reach them at (706) 864-7117 or (706)867-7116 (for tubing).

If you want to get really wet bring some old towels for drying off and head up the mountain from the inn to Dick’s Creek. This is a favorite swimming hole with the locals so it may be busy on weekends. The creek features cold refreshing water that cascades down waterfalls into deep pools that are great for swimming. Some of the more daring types like to jump off the sides into the pools of water. You can watch a short video of Dick’s Creek on our YouTube channel linked to this blog to your right.

Several weeks ago we took a hike for the first time to Raven Cliff Falls which is northeast of the inn on the Richard Russell Scenic Highway near Helen. The 2.5 mile trail is along a roaring creek. At the beginning of the trail is a deep pool of water with a rope swing. Guests told us they saw people wading around Raven Cliffs Falls. Bring some old towels and check it out. We also have videos of our hike on the YouTube channel link to your right.

If you are really looking for a thrill check out North Georgia’s zip lines.

One is located next to Habersham Winery south of Helen and features the longest dual zip line in Georgia. The longest zip is almost 1/2 mile and reaches speeds up to 55 mph. That will cool you off and provide a thrill. Call 706-878-9477 for more info and reservations.

The State parks at Unicoi and Amicalola are also offering zip lines.

 

Cedar House Inn Awarded TripAdvisors GreenLeader™ Status

Cedar House Inn has been awarded the Gold level GreenLeader into the new TripAdvisor  GreenLeaders  program, which helps travelers plan greener trips by identifying environmentally-friendly accommodationsgreenleader_en-17354-2 across the U.S.

TripAdvisor GreenLeaders have met a set of environmental standards developed for TripAdvisor by a leading environmental consulting firm, with input from expert partners. The more green practices a hotel has in place, the higher its GreenLeader level, which is shown on the property’s listing on the TripAdvisor site.

Travelers can now search for accommodations that have a GreenLeaders status on the TripAdvisor site, and view a detailed list of environmentally-friendly practices that they can expect at each location.

“TripAdvisor GreenLeaders are leading the hospitality industry in making efforts to improve their environmental footprint,” said Jenny Rushmore, director of responsible travel at TripAdvisor. “We greatly applaud these accommodations and are pleased to share their eco-friendly practices with our online audience of more than 200 million travelers.”

The TripAdvisor GreenLeaders program was developed in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® program, the U.S. Green Building Council, and the United Nations Environment Programme. For more information, please visit www.tripadvisor.com/GreenLeaders.

For more information on the eco-friendly practices we use at the inn visit being green.

Byron Herbert Reece Farm & Heritage Center

Byron Herbert Reece, “Georgia’s Appalachian Poet/Novelist” spent most of the forty plus years of his life, laboring as a subsistence farmer on his family’s homestead.  His love of literature and gift for writing led to the publication of four volumes of poetry and two novels, all of which received national critical acclaim.  The Farm and Heritage Center seek to acknowledge and honor both his literary legacy and his life in Southern Appalachia.  The Byron Herbert Reece Farm and Heritage Center is located one mile north of Vogel State Park (north of our inn) on U.S. Highway 129 and south of the town of Blairsville.

Explore the farm and heritage center, learning about “Hub” Reece and his life as a farmer in the mountains of North Georgia.

Visitors to the site will find a Welcome Center with a gift shop and museum area; a Poetry Trail that highlights Reece poems representing the four seasons, inscribed on stone boulders;  Mulberry Hall, the poet’s writing studio;  five barn buildings housing 13 exhibits which feature home and farm artifacts, implements, and enterprises that portray life in Appalachia during the first half of the 20th century; and  the Reece Gallery & Theater, located in the loft of the main barn, which will display photographs, books, copies of Reece’s writings, and other Reece material, along with the showing on a large screen TV of the award-winning video, “Voices … Finding Byron Herbert Reece.”  In addition, visitors to the site stroll down a scenic walking trail along beautiful Wolf Creek.

At the Welcome Center, there will be brochures available that will guide visitors through a tour of the various exhibits.  Docent-led tours are available by reservation to large groups, such as school children and tour busses for a fee.  Admission is charged but current members of the Reece Society will be admitted without charge.  The restoration of the farm represents many years of dedication and hard work by the Byron Herbert Reece Society. The newly constructed Pavilion is available for family reunions, weddings, and other events, for a fee.

The Farm & Heritage Center will be 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Thursdays through Saturdays and 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays.  For further information, contact the Reece Society at reecesociety@gmail.com, or visit the Society’s website at www.byronherbertreecesociety.org.

Come stay with us and visit the farm just north of the inn.