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Old 06-11-2014, 02:11 PM   #1
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Vogel Park Logistics Recommendations

So, the wife and I are celbrating this weekend 7 years of marriage and 12 years total of being together

We are booked for Vogel State Park in Blairsville, GA. Per google maps it is approximately 4.5 hours drive from our home location of Birmingham, AL.

We are booked for friday through monday. My wife gets off of work Thursday at 9pm. My dad and step mom are keeping our two kids for the weekend.

I spoke to a person via phone from Vogel and was told that check in is at 1pm but could as early as 11am or 12pm pick up a spot.

If I leave b-ham at 7am (central time) I would perhaps arrive between 1pm-2pm (would hit ATL area about 10am). If I try to shoot for earlier I risk hitting (I presume?) ATL traffic around that beltway making that nearly pointless? Any advise about this drive?

I was last night toying around with the idea of just taking off thursday night, get Just around ATL, and find a place to park and sleep just overnight, then get up and easily get to the CG early for my prime pick? I have absolutely no idea at this point where I would park and camp...it would I presume be too hot to dry camp at a gas station or a WM...but its a possibility if someone has a good recommendation...yeah this is sounding a bit too ambitous aint it, lol...

We booked a quick 2 hour white water rafting trip for sunday at the ocoee river over near blue ridge, TN for sunday...we are really excited about that...other plans so far are perhaps a half day hike one day, swimming at the lake, grilling, and just relaxing etc...MAYBE will do a float trip on hiwasee river if we get bored with just R&R (doubtful)...

I hope to see some lovely wildlife and such and shoot some memorable nature photos...I spoke with skatiero (Katie) and they recently were there (just missed them ) and saw a tiny baby bear...I would die to get within reach of that shot...albeit at a safe distance and not be eaten (my long lens is 70-200 f4).

Will bring the mountain bikes for a bit of riding if there are fun trails there (we chill ride, nothing intense).


In looking at the map, if I am able to shoot for one of the spots around #50 spot in the CG, that looks prime? are there any terrible spots to avoid if possible? I have a reservation but they are first come first serve choice.

Any fun shopping in that area worth checking out?

We will try and find a nice place to dine out one night perhaps...hopefull nice, but nuthin "too fancy"...recommendations?

Recommendations, tips, etc are GREATLY appreciated....SO EXCITED! It is rare we are child free...its going to feel weird.
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Old 06-11-2014, 03:27 PM   #2
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have not been in a while but the Brasstown Valley Lodge in Young Harris (about 10 miles east) had a nice buffet lunch and of course a great place for dinner..you can check-out their website..also the drive up to Brasstown Bald (the highest peak in GA) is a nice drive with great views from the top...most of the shopping in the area is arts & crafts and antiques..blue ridge has a quaint downtown area with local shops..there is access to the Appalachian Trail from Vogel State Park
happy anniversary!!!
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Old 06-11-2014, 03:34 PM   #3
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Cool - and thanks !!
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Old 06-11-2014, 03:41 PM   #4
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You will love Vogel. It is one of my favorite mountain campgrounds (Cloudland Canyon SP on Lookout Mtn another one of my favorites). If you have time, Helen, GA is fun. It is a Bavarian village not too far south of Vogel. Also, Anderson Music Hall in Hiawassee just north of Vogel, has name bands playing there from time to time. You can check their schedule on their website. GA Mountain Fairgrounds campground is next to the music hall on Lake Chatuge.
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Old 06-11-2014, 04:17 PM   #5
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We were just there this past weekend w Katie and Rob. We live north of Atlanta and drove up 400 and 19. A very, very curvy road for the last 30-45 minutes. Beautiful scenery but very curvy as you work your way up. My husband and I talked about maybe trying 575 and the cutting across to Blairsville next time. It's 20 minutes longer per my map program but more of a straight shot - although not sure what the roads are like when you cut across but per my internet research, people are saying it's an easier drive. If you are driving up in morning rush hour time, 575 will have less traffic as everyone else is going the other way. Traffic is heavier going up 400 until you pass Alpharetta as that is a commuting route going that way. You may want to consider this.

They have a nice little lake where you can rent peddle boats and canoes too I think. Very relaxing. There's a 4.2 mile hike right in the park that we didn't have time for but plan to do next time.

Bring a sweater for the evening. I actually turned my electric mattress pad on at night ( just a bit to take the chill off). I bet that will be a welcome change from
Alabama

It's a great area!

Karen
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Old 06-11-2014, 04:18 PM   #6
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awesome..

Also, as I consider my drive...there is an alternative route that instead of doing I20 to hit 285 around ATL...I could just go up from b-ham through ft. payne on 20/59, then chatanooga, then east on this 2 lane highway that goes along lake ocoee...then clip bottom left of NC, then down to destination...google maps gives it similar drive time....

Chatanooga could be traffic problem, but arguably nothing like ATL...that highway going east from chatonooga looks nice an scenic as well....US 74 it is I believe
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Old 06-12-2014, 08:49 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by PharmGeek View Post
awesome..

Also, as I consider my drive...there is an alternative route that instead of doing I20 to hit 285 around ATL...I could just go up from b-ham through ft. payne on 20/59, then chatanooga, then east on this 2 lane highway that goes along lake ocoee...then clip bottom left of NC, then down to destination...google maps gives it similar drive time....

Chatanooga could be traffic problem, but arguably nothing like ATL...that highway going east from chatonooga looks nice an scenic as well....US 74 it is I believe
the drive around lake ocoee is very scenic, but be aware that the road in many places is narrow, curvy, and has rock overhangs..
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Old 06-12-2014, 09:02 AM   #8
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I am cautious - but the road is quite doable correct?
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Old 06-12-2014, 09:02 AM   #9
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There are several ways to approach the park but only one that I would attempt pulling a trailer and that is via 19/129 from Blairsville south to the turnoff to the park. All other roads involve mountain passes with steep and curvy roads. Ideal for riding a motorcycle but not so for a trailer. From Atlanta I would take 75 north to 575 to 76 east to Blairsville and the 19/129 south to 180 and then into the park.
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Old 06-12-2014, 09:03 AM   #10
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There is another route 20/59 to Gadsden then cut east to Rome etc
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Old 06-12-2014, 10:16 AM   #11
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Doable if you have a lot of patience. Lots of small towns each with plenty of red lights and trips around the town square. I've been that way and it seemed to take forever and we were on a Goldwing! If you can time your arrival into Atlanta on I20, you will soon be heading away on 75/575 and then it is four lane all the way to Blairsville.
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Old 06-12-2014, 11:15 AM   #12
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Problem with ATL is that it may prevent me from getting there by say noon

If I leave home at 5am I hit ATL rush hour

If I leave home 7am I hit ATL at 10am bit would not hit destination till 2

I think I will take the Chattanooga or Gadsden to Rome route but I'm still not sure

I am patient and do t mind the red lights and smaller roads - bit would mind if it is too much a "white knuckle drive"
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Old 06-12-2014, 11:55 AM   #13
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Google shows the route through Rome to be 221 miles and 4 hours travel time to Blairsville. Going through Chattanooga is the same drive time and only 22 more miles. I have been both ways ( I spent quite a bit of time in this area) and if I were going back up there with a 30' trailer, I would go through Rome. Chattanooga is not pleasant to drive through for me.
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Old 06-12-2014, 11:56 AM   #14
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Thank you!!!!
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