Reviews & Photos
December 20 2015
2 families found this helpful
Big Canoe Company, LLC
54 Wolfscratch Village,
"Relax and Enjoy the Mountains With Your Family"
If you and your family are looking for a place to relax and enjoy the beautiful Georgia mountains, then Big Canoe is the place for you! Big Canoe is located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, just a short drive north of Atlanta. You will leave your worries at the gate while you spend a weekend, week, or lifetime within this beautiful community.
My family and I enjoyed a fun weekend at Big Canoe. We stayed in a gorgeous three-story home located directly on the golf course. Check-in was a breeze! The gate attendant was given all of our information before our arrival. When we pulled up to the gate we gave the attendant our name and driver’s license in exchange for our car pass. We received an email containing the code to access the rental property and once we entered were we amazed. The view was beautiful! Our balcony overlooked the golf course along with the magnificent mountainscape. The home's windows and glass doors allowed us to enjoy this uninterrupted view during our entire stay! Our home was spacious for my family of four. My boys occupied the 2 bedrooms and bathrooms upstairs while my husband and I occupied the second level. The first level with its 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and living room was used as a play space for my kids. A fireplace was located on both the first and second levels of our home away from home. We made good use of the second level fireplace, especially during the cool Georgia evenings.
Where to Eat
Our home contained a full sized kitchen, so we took a quick trip to the local store in order to stock up on delicious food for the weekend. Before visiting the grocery store, we enjoyed a filling breakfast at Mary’s Bread Basket. It was very good and her cookies were wonderful too!
Mountains Grill on Lake Sconti is a great place to enjoy dinner. We visited during seafood night and the food was wonderful! Our waiter was amazing. He was very attentive to our needs and to the guests around him. He even knew the names of several of the regulars. The chef who made our food was outstanding. My boys can be picky eaters, but the chef listened to my kid's likes and dislikes then made dinner accordingly. My kids, ages 7 and 10, wiped their plates clean and then requested seconds!
What to Do
We are a family who loves nature which is why our favorite activity during our stay was hiking the mountains. There were several trails to choose from. We chose the Jeep Trail because we wanted to explore the Lower and Upper Falls. The falls were beautiful. Our favorite was the Lower Falls. My boys had a blast exploring the falls and finding treasures in the form of rocks along the water's banks. We met several friends on our hike including cute furry ones. (dogs not bears)
Boating is a must when visiting Big Canoe. We explored Lake Petit on a large pontoon boat. It was so peaceful and relaxing. The Marina provided us with everything we needed for our fishing excursion. They gave us poles, lures, bait, nets and life jackets. Also, the lake is well stocked for everyone who likes to fish!
Big Canoe is home to a beautiful golf course. We did not enjoy a round of golf during this trip, but we did have fun watching the deer that liked to roam the course. In fact, we saw a buck one evening It was beautiful.
During the summer, there are also some great activities for families including a rock slide!
I highly recommend a visit to Big Canoe. It is the perfect vacation getaway for families of all sizes. There is a lot to do on and off the property. Check Big Canoe’s website for all of the details. If you decide you would like to call Big Canoe home, be sure to make an appointment with one of the sales staff. Tom Petrigliano with Big Canoe Realty gave us a fabulous tour and would be a great person for you to ask for. Have fun, relax, and make memories at Big Canoe in Jasper, Georgia!
Disclosure: I received a complimentary visit to Big Canoe in Jasper, Georgia. The community requested nothing more than an unbiased account of my visit and all opinions are my own.
December 20 2015
1 family found this helpful
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
1 South Castillo Drive,
"You Must Experience This!"
When visiting St. Augustine, Florida you must visit the Castillo de San Marcos! There is so much for you and your kids to see and do at this historical fort. You will have the opportunity to explore the fort on your own or enjoy demonstrations and Ranger Programs when they are available.
During our visit we decided to wander around the fort on our own. The Castillo de San Marcos is huge and there are lots of little nooks and crannies to explore which makes for a fun afternoon. We walked into the fort while a Ranger Program was going on. We stopped and listened for a bit. My oldest (10) was listening to every word while my youngest (7) started wandering about. So, we listened for a bit and then started exploring all of the storerooms and such.
The Powder Magazine chamber was a favorite for my youngest. He really enjoyed crawling into the small room where they tried to store the gun powdered long ago. I was able to crawl into the room as well and it was pretty neat. I really liked the pictures and information plaques throughout the room. Learning about how they lived and the attacks that the fort survived was fascinating.
Both of my boys enjoyed watching the the soldiers (re-enactors) as they marched around the fort and carried on with their “fort” life. All of the soldiers were approachable and kindly answered questions when asked.
The firing of the cannon was the highlight of our visit to the fort. We all climbed the stairs to the top of the fort and watched as the soldiers prepared themselves and the cannon for firing. Watching the soldiers along with the firing of the cannon was amazing. The view from the top of the fort was amazing too!
Each of the rooms in the fort are home to different exhibits. I would recommend looking at the Castillo de San Marcos brochures and website before visiting so that you and your kids can become familiar with everything before visiting. Also, be sure to check the fort’s calendar so that you can plan your trip around the different events appropriately.
I highly recommend visiting Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida. It is such a unique experience and the perfect way to immerse yourself and your kids into our historical past!
Disclosure: I received a complimentary visit to the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida. The fort and CVB requested nothing more than an unbiased account of my visit and all opinions are my own.
December 14 2015
1 family found this helpful
St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Park
999 Anastasia Blvd.,
The St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Park in St. Augustine, Florida is pretty amazing. There are more than just alligators at this park. You and your family can enjoy zip lining, aerial obstacle courses, and observe a wide range of reptilian and non-reptilian wildlife.
When my family and I walked into the park, we quickly noticed that a gentleman was inside of the large alligator exhibit casually watering plants. Every once in awhile, he would talk to the alligators or pat them on their noses. It was quite a site. I was afraid for him at first, then noticed that the alligators were obeying his every command. One of the many things we learned during our visit was that like dogs, alligators obey commands and are easily trainable, which is why the gentleman did not appear to be afraid of the animals.
Next, we walked through the Wading Bird Rookery on a wooden boardwalk. It was a very peaceful walk with several bird and alligator sightings. The boardwalk then led us straight into the Maximo exhibit where we came face to face with the largest alligator I have ever seen. Maximo was the alligator’s name and he definitely took me by surprise. He was stuffed, he wasn’t living, but when he was alive he weighed over 1,250 pounds!
After spending quite some time in the Maximo exhibit, we explored the rest of the park. We observed crocodiles, birds, lemurs, pythons, and more. My boys had fun digging for fossils at the Fossil Discovery area and then playing on the playground as people zipped over their heads. We ended our time at the park by watching an alligator feeding. We watched a gentleman dangle a rodent over an alligator while the alligator was pushing itself out of the water to chomp said rodent. It was amazing to watch. The fact that the gentleman still had all of his fingers after the feeding was pretty amazing as well.
I highly recommend a visit to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Park in St. Augustine, Florida. I grew up in Florida and have been around alligators all of my life, but this visit was very eye opening and quite fun for this Florida native.
You may purchase your lunch in the park and their menu is on their website.
Enter the park’s photo contest. The contest details are on their website.
The park offers educational programs and downloads. Find all of the information on the Teacher Resources page of their website.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary visit to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Park in St. Augustine, Florida. The park and CVB requested nothing more than an unbiased account of my visit and all opinions are my own.
December 14 2015
1 family found this helpful
Potter's Wax Museum
31 Orange Street,
"Visit America's First Wax Museum"
Potter’s Wax Museum in St. Augustine, Florida is one of the attractions that I almost skipped over during my visit to St. Augustine, but I am so glad I didn’t. My boys, ages 7 and 10, really enjoyed this museum. In fact, this was one of their favorite places to visit during our trip.
Potter’s Wax Museum is located inside of the Oldest Drug Store. Be sure to arrive just a few minutes before your museum tour as this will give you plenty of time to browse the old remedies that were used to cure ailments in the 1800s.
Our tour of Potter’s Wax Museum began with a brief description of the elements that were used to make the sculptures. My family and I found it interesting that real human hair and prosthetic eyes were used to create each figure.
There were several fascinating wax statues throughout the museum, and each had an informational plaque or recording to go along with them. My oldest son has been fascinated by Benjamin Franklin, so when he saw the wax figures of Ben throughout the museum he was completely amazed. The statutes were extremely lifelike so this trip provided the perfect opportunity for us to bring historical greats to life for our boys. Of course, Harry Potter was there as well and both of my boys went crazy when they found him.
Visiting Potter’s Wax Museum in St. Augustine, Florida was a really neat experience for my entire family. I highly recommend a visit.
The figures are extremely life-like and may scare the younger kids so plan appropriately.
There are quite a few historical characters in the museum including Bach, the signers of the Declaration of Independence and more. You may want to plan your visit around your child’s school studies.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary visit to Potter’s Wax Museum in St. Augustine, Florida. The museum and CVB requested nothing more than an unbiased account of my visit and all opinions are my own.
December 13 2015
1 family found this helpful
Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse
14 St. George Street,
"Eye Opening Experience For My Kids"
Touring the Oldest Wooden School House in St. Augustine, Florida was an eye-opening experience for myself and my kids, ages 7 and 10. We are a homeschool family, so we understand how the one room school house works, for us at least. After touring this school house, I feel like I may not be strict enough. (Just kidding)
The animatronics added a nice touch to the tour, especially for the kids, as there is only so much reading they are willing to do. We liked being able to see the books and utensils the students used so long ago. The methods of discipline used back then were very interesting, and again, quite eye opening.
The grounds outside of the house were very nice. The chairs located under the shade trees made for the perfect place to relax.
If you have the time, I recommend your visiting the Oldest Wooden School House. The tour will take about 30 minutes and I think your kids will get a kick out of seeing how students were taught so long ago.
Notice the giant chain around the house that is attached to an anchor. This was used to keep the house in place during hurricane season.
There is an old pecan tree in the garden that is over 250 years old.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary visit to the Oldest Wooden School House in St. Augustine, Florida. The museum and CVB requested nothing more than an unbiased account of my visit and all opinions are my own.