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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Be an Adventurer, But Be a Lady

Last summer, while vacationing solo at High Hampton Inn & Country Club, I learned how to climb a mountain. It was a valuable, hard-earned lesson.

This summer, I learned that a lady sometimes lets a man climb it for her.

Last week, Georgia's Department of Tourism whisked me and seven other travel writers through the mountains of North Georgia.The whirlwind trip took us to the sites and treated us to the food and beverages and brought us to the sounds and let us meet the people unique to that region of the state. Every stop ensured a new discovery.

in Young Harris I learned the ins and outs of Georgia's wine industry, the kinds of grapes that grow best, the types of wines the public prefers, the legislative changes over the years that have allowed the industry to grow.



At Grandaddy Mimms Distillery in Blairsville, 
I learned who Tommy Townsend is.
Hint: Google Waymore's Outlaws. I also learned about the moonshine business and that moonshine can be incredibly (dangerously) delicious (try the apple brown Betty). 


 
 While eating lunch at Toccoa Riverside Restaurant
I learned that Blue Ridge is the Trout Capital of Georgia. I celebrated this new knowledge by dining on delicious rainbow trout (I recommend the lemon pepper trout).



 

At  Blue Ridge Olive Oil Company, I learned that olive oil and balsamic vinegar aren't just for lettuce and bread anymore.

They're delicious on ice cream!
But the most important thing I learned came as a revelation as I hiked up to Fall Creek Falls
on the Benton Mackaye Trail that branches and heads west from the Appalachian Trail. As I put one foot in front of the other on the uphill climb, I got caught up in my thoughts.

I considered the trip so far. What I had seen. The people I'd met. How much farther we had to go. What I would tell others about it. The stories I might write.


 I could hear Dave and Robert, the two men who'd set up camp in the seats in the rear of the bus, huffing and puffing behind me. When they could grab enough air in their lungs to force out words, they questioned whether they were obligated to participate in this type of torture on a media FAM tour. The strain of breathing through the debate abbreviated it, and they resorted to plodding forward. I should have let them read "How to Climb a Mountain" before we set out. It may have helped them.

But they weren't helpless. Dave and Robert were just two guys thrown in with six women, six well-traveled, independent women.They were challenged to find their place in the group, whether they realized it or not.

At first, I thought it odd their behavior. Certainly they knew we could all wrestle our own luggage, we could all step off the bus without assistance, we cared not if we were first or last or under the radar all together. But this wasn't for show, as their kindnesses continued from Tuesday to Sunday. And it wasn't because they believed us to be frail, feinting flowers. They were interested in our careers and our travels and our ideas, and they were happy to let us exert ourselves on the more strenuous legs of the excursion.

On the trail to Fall Creek Falls, I had an aha moment, an epiphany. Dave and Robert did these things and more because they are men. And we women were obligated to allow them to be men, obligated to accept their courteous gestures with grace and appreciation. Our acquiescence to their generosity indicated mutual respect.

I came down from those waterfalls with renewed intent to mind my manners. A lady can adventure all around the world, but she must always remember that being a lady is as important, if not more so, as being an adventurer. And a lady ALWAYS allows a man to be a gentleman.

Thank you Dave and Robert!

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