Saturday, March 31, 2012

Roll into Pine Mountain, Georgia

I have been wanting to make a family trip to Callaway Gardens in picturesque Pine Mountain, Ga., since friends talked about their outdoor adventures in this 13,000-acre resort complex. But when Joe and I looked at our spring break calendar, a family trip was not possible this year. So when Joe and the boys headed to Atlanta to watch Kentucky basketball, the girls and I rolled into Pine Mountain. Although we only spent one night in Pine Mountain, we packed so much in that I feel like we fully experienced spring in one weekend. Come along with us as we experience this Georgia gem.

The Bakery and Cafe at Rose Cottage

"Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts!" ~ James Beard

We rolled into Pine Mountain in time for a late lunch at The Bakery and Cafe at Rose Cottage. Before we left home, I researched dining options online and couldn't wait to visit this charming bakery.

There is something so warm and cozy about a bakery, and Rose Cottage oozes charm. Of course, my eye was drawn to the tea accouterments!

The girls and I enjoyed exploring the restaurant while we waited for our food.

And there were plenty of pretties to tempt us to shop.

The ambiance alone was enough for me to enjoy my visit to Rose Cottage, but the food was definitely worth the trip.

Chef John W. Makin made his mark in the culinary world, being named one of Food and Wine's top 10 chefs in America in 1987. His impressive resume includes serving as the executive chef at The Four Seasons in Los Angeles, and serving as executive chef for Sun International Hotels of South Africa, where he was chosen to cater the presidential inauguration of Nelson Mandela. Most recently, he worked as Food and Beverage Director at Callaway Gardens before opening the Bakery and Cafe at Rose Cottage with his wife. Explore Chef Makin's menu of lunch, dinner and lite-bite options here.

The Lodge and Spa at Callaway Gardens

After lunch we headed to Callaway Gardens to settle into our room. Thanks to Joe's frequent travels, he was able to give us a night at The Lodge and Spa at Callaway Gardens. We felt completely pampered in this premier luxury resort! With the girls being so young, we didn't venture into the 13,000-square-foot Spa Prunifolia. That will be something to look forward to on a future girls trip!

Every room in the hotel has a balcony, offering beautiful views of the lush landscaping.

After lounging in the room for a bit to settle Emma's tummy after lunch, the girls were ready to explore our new home away from home.

The girls were eager to find bike trails, but first we wanted to stroll the grounds of the Lodge.

Surrounded by towering pines, the heated pool beckons just beyond this gate. We looked forward to taking a dip after our bike ride. I wanted to snap a few pictures of the girls before we headed out on our bicycles.

My sweet girls!

And finally, after days of build-up and anticipation, it was time to ride.

Emma learned to ride a bike last year during spring break, so it was fun to plan this trip, knowing we could all participate.

"It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills or coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle." ~ Ernest Hemingway

We explored just a portion of the more than 10 miles of bike trails the gardens have to offer.

I so enjoyed glimpsing the cabins and cottages that dot the landscape. Doesn't this look like a wonderful retreat?

Robin Lake Beach

The girls were delighted to discover Robin Lake Beach, a man-made, one-mile, white-sand beach near our hotel. On this cool afternoon, we had it all to ourselves.

Emma and Mary Ashley dipped their toes in the water, skipped, twirled and sang to their hearts content.

I loved watching my sweet Mary Ashley embrace the moment.

"A lake carries you into recesses of feeling otherwise impenetrable." ~ William Wadsworth

We arrived in Pine Mountain with rain in the forecast, but my little Emma always brings sunshine.

"A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature." ~ Henry David Thoreau

"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." ~ John F. Kennedy

After a restful night at the Lodge, the girls and I spent a perfect spring day exploring Callaway Gardens. Join me next week for a breathtaking explosion of spring!

"It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade." ~ Charles Dickens

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pink Bicycle: Pedal-Pushing Products

"When man invented the bicycle, he reached the peak of his attainments. Here was a machine of precision and balance for the convenience of man. And (unlike subsequent inventions for man's convenience) the more he used it, the fitter his body became. Here, for once, was a product of man's brain that was entirely beneficial to those who used it, and of no harm or irritation to others. Progress should have stopped when man invented the bicycle." ~ Elizabeth West

Oh, but then someone precious made it PINK!

Our spring break girls getaway trip allowed a great place for bike riding, which had me looking everywhere for pink bicycle products. I shared the yellow and pink gift baskets I prepared for the girls in Tuesday's post. Find our favors here. I am pedal-pushing today with other favorite pink bicycle products, like the Schwinn Windwood Women's Cruiser Bike pictured above. I seriously dream of this pink bicycle, which could only be more perfect with a basket on the front.

These Boatman Geller note cards from Sweet Tea Paperie are simply adorable! Also available, pink bicycle invitations and note sheets.

I'm also loving these monogrammed hats and bag tags from Sweet Tea Paperie.

I ordered several items for the girls this spring from Gymboree's Bright Tulip collection, including this Girl with a Bike tee. As I'm posting, find it clearance-priced here for less than $10.

And finally, check out this adorable machine embroidery design from Planet Applique. Find Valentine Bicycle here. We are ready to roll for a girls getaway, and I can't wait to share images from our special trip. Let's ride!

"After your first day of cycling, one dream is inevitable. A memory of motion lingers in the muscles of your legs, and round and round they seem to go. You ride through Dreamland on wonderful dream bicycles that dream and grow." ~ H.G. Wells

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

For My Biker Babes

Gift baskets set the tone for a fun weekend getaway for me, Mary Ashley and Emma last week.

"Bicycle" baskets from Michaels feature a hook on the back. Tied to the head rests on the front seats of the van, these baskets kept little treats within easy reach during the trip.

I found these silver bottles at Dollar Tree and dressed them up with scrapbook paper labels and monogrammed bicycle tags. I tied the tags on with thin ribbons, which gave the effect of bicycle streamers.

The girls love having little notebooks, but I couldn't find any that matched our pink and yellow palette. So I picked up journals from the $1 bin and recovered them with scrapbook paper and pink bicycle labels. I knew Mary Ashley and Emma would be delighted to discover new markers. They loved these double-tipped Cra-Z-art markers, and I appreciate that they are washable.

And how perfect is this Barbie Spring into Style coloring book with flocked stickers? These looked adorable tucked into our baskets and provided great entertainment for the drive. Mary Ashley pointed out that there is even a picture of Barbie riding a bike in Spring into Style.

So we were all set for drawing, writing and coloring, but I knew the girls might enjoy a sweet treat.

I picked up a favorite candy for each of the girls and repackaged them to coordinate with our baskets. If only Swedish Fish came in pink and yellow!

The girls' eyes lit up when they saw these pink and yellow baskets full of springtime surprises! We were ready to roll for a special girls getaway weekend. There is so much more loveliness to come, so I hope you will drop in again soon.

"Poor, dear, silly Spring, preparing her annual surprise!" ~ Wallace Stevens

Monday, March 26, 2012

Keep Calm and Pedal On

My husband is a huge Kentucky basketball fan, so when he decided to take the boys to Atlanta to watch the Wildcats compete for a spot in the Final Four, I wanted to plan something equally special for the girls and me. So I surprised Mary Ashley and Emma with a girls getaway weekend to kick off our spring break. I cannot wait to tell you all about it in upcoming posts!

My getaway with the girls inspired a whole pink bicycle theme with party printables, favors, a tablescape and more. I love how this Keep Calm and Pedal On print turned out! Click the photo below if you would like to copy it for your own springtime celebration.

A few days before spring break, Joe wandered past the butlers pantry and noticed me crafting. I asked him if he had already started on party printables for their guys getaway. He laughed and said, "Uhhhh, I kind of thought you would take care of that for me."

Mary Ashley and Emma were so excited to learn about our trip -- especially when they looked through the gift baskets I prepared to kick off our weekend. I will share more details tomorrow, so I hope you will stop by!

"I love the way spring tiptoes in, with a scattering of snowdrops here and a handful of hyacinths there. Then she throws her arms open wide to reveal an amazing abundance of blooms that delights us right down to our winter-weary souls." -- Phyllis Hoffman DePiano

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