I have no idea how it happened that we spent the entire day in the stunning Fort Valley and took not one photograph. I searched for Google images and found pages of them but none of them did the place justice so you'll have to use your imagination.
We headed over the mountain from Woodstock to visit the Tamkins (Jodi hasn't been a Tamkin for years but it's still how I think of her). From the age of 12, I spent great swaths of time in Fort Valley, commonly referred to as The Fort. Jodi and I got into all manner of mischief in those mountains and her sister Lori, 4 years our senior, was on hand to make sure I didn't kill myself during later high school ridiculousness. I literally spent weeks at a time in the Tamkin abode.
The Fort is one of those places where families live. I mean, really live. Generations of them. When I was a kid, I think Jodi and Lori were somehow related to 90% of the people who lived in The Fort. Now, lots of people have built pricey homes there to escape their madcap lives inside The Beltway, but the place still appears largely unchanged. In The Fort, I frolicked barefoot all summer, went to pig roasts by the creek, sat on the dunking booth at the Fireman's Carnival and swam buck naked in the Jinny Hole on nights so dark you could hardly see your hand in front of your face. Fort Valley was a major setting for my idyllic childhood. I love that place.
Recently, both Jodi and Lori have built homes there. So we headed over the mountain for grand tours followed by an afternoon of swimming. Both houses are gorgeous and are in areas so stunning it defies proper description. Kate fell in love with Lori's youngest, Bailey and they played together most of the afternoon. Both Kate and Sarah were captivated by the kittens. Of course there were kittens.
I'm spoiled by our urban lifestyle. I love being able to recreate any funky recipe I find in a magazine or online, even if I realize right in the middle of cooking, that I've forgotten some rare ingredient whose name I cannot properly pronounce. I can just dash out, pick up said item and be back home before the oven's preheated. I love being able to walk to favorite coffee shops, bars, restaurants, my hair dresser, my eye doctor, shops, you name it. But part of me desperately wants to dig into a place like the Fort and bask in the surrounding beauty and clean air forever.