Fun Things to Do in Savannah

 

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Looking for a beautiful city to visit with a walkable historic district?

After visiting Charleston and enjoying my stay there, I added Savannah to my travel list. I’ve discovered that I love exploring cities with a lot of history and the colorful stories that contribute to that history. And if it’s easily walked, that’s even better, as I usually fly to my destinations and prefer not to rent a car.

Savannah did not disappoint. I spent four nights and parts of five days there as a solo traveler and created wonderful memories.

Check out these fun things to do in Savannah and plan your trip.

Fun Things to Do in Savannah title

Ride the Hop On Hop Off Trolley

There are ample historical tours to choose from in Savannah. However, my favorite way to get to know a new to me city is to ride the hop on hop off trolley, if there is one.

My first full day in Savannah began with hopping on the green and orange trolley at stop number three, which happened to be two blocks from my hotel.

The Savannah Hop On Hop Off Trolley offers a 90 minute narrated tour of the historic district, passing by 100 points of interest and making 15 stops. I made a complete circuit before beginning the “hopping off and back on” part.

It’s a great way to get an overview of the city and learn interesting facts and historical stories about Savannah. A trolley comes by about every 15 minutes so you can get back on the next one or explore for a while and catch a later trolley.

One or two day passes are available.

Fun Things to Do in Savannah tours
Fun things to do in Savannah – hop on hop off trolley tour

Ghost Tour

In addition to a historical tour, I enjoy a ghost tour too. You hear different stories on a ghost tour and learn about the darker events that shaped the community.

For atmosphere, I like to do night time ghost tours, although many companies offer daylight times as well for families.

In the most haunted city in the US, I chose to do the Savannah Ghosts & Gravestones Trolley Tour. It is informative and very entertaining. The tour lasts about 75 minutes and includes two stops: the Andrew Low House and River Street’s Perkins and Sons Ship Chandlery.

The guide boards the trolley in costume and shares stories with wonderful dramatic effect. Our guide, Helena, was both funny and dramatic.

Fun Things to Do in Savannah ghost tour
Fun things to do in Savannah – ghost tour

Find Savannah’s Squares

One of Savannah’s unique characteristics is that the city was designed around 24 squares. Today, 22 of those squares remain, spread in a grid across the historic district.

Each square is different. Some have monuments or statues at their centers, others water features and at least two offer gazebos to sit in. All contain shady live oaks, plants, flowers and benches to people watch from. Gorgeous old homes and buildings containing businesses, shops and cafes surround the squares.

I used this illustrated map of Savannah to navigate through the city, finding and photographing each square. The hop on hop off trolleys drive by many of them as well.

Watch for a future post about the Savannah squares and their unique stories.

Fun Things to Do in Savannah squares
Explore the 22 squares in Savannah. This is Crawford Square.

Forsyth Park

This 30 acre park, named for Georgia’s 33rd governor, is a beautiful spot to take a break from exploring.

The city’s most famous fountain is here, installed in 1858 and modeled after the fountains at the Place de la Concorde in Paris. Benches surround the fountain and you’ll find artists, musicians, families and dog walkers clustered around it as well.

Further into the park are children’s playgrounds, a concert and event space and a fragrant garden for the blind. Continuing south the park opens up into large grassy areas for playing, napping or sunning. Basketball and tennis courts hug the southern edge while another strip hosts the Saturday Farmer’s Market. You can also find Brighter Day Natural Foods there and the Sentient Bean, serving coffee and delicious treats.

Forsyth Park is conveniently one of the trolley stops. Or you can walk there although it is about a 20 minute walk from River Street.

Fun Things to Do in Savannah forsyth park
Fun things to do in Savannah – Forsyth Park fountain

River Street

River Street is Savannah’s waterfront destination for fun, food and nightlife. It runs along the broad Savannah River with shops, art galleries, cafes, bars and hotels lining the opposite side.

Musicians play along the waterfront, Artists sell their work. People sit to watch the huge barges go by, loaded with colorful containers.

In the 1700s, Savannah’s port exported cotton from River Street. The huge cotton warehouses there were eventually converted into the hotels and shops that occupy those spaces now.

I spent my first evening in Savannah wandering along River Street. My first meal was at Olympia Cafe there. And my last walk before I left for the airport was along the waterfront, watching the sea gulls circle overhead and listening to the sounds of the river.

Fun Things to Do in Savannah river street
Stroll, dine, grab a drink, shop and have fun on River Street.

Savannah City Market

City Market is a four block area containing 19 restored warehouses. Those buildings house unique shops, art galleries, cafes and pubs. It’s a colorful spot to have a cup of tea and a scone or a pint of ale, purchase gifts for family back home or browse through art by local artists.

From morning wake up coffee to afternoon entertainment to dinner dates, City Market has lots to offer every day.

The trolley stops here, for easy access to all the fun.

Fun Things to Do in Savannah city market
Fun things to do in Savannah – City Market

Jones Street

One of my favorite activities in Savannah was exploring the city. Walking along cobblestone streets, sitting in the squares, looking at gorgeous houses and buildings, fills my soul with incredible joy.

While out walking, be sure to stroll along Jones Street, considered the most beautiful street in Savannah.

Stretching a mile long, in the center of the historic district, Jones Street is lined with houses and buildings constructed in the 1850s to 1880s. Live oaks shade the homes and overhang the wide street.

It’s an idyllic street to wander down, to really appreciate Savannah’s architecture.

Fun Things to Do in Savannah jones street
Wander down historic Jones Street, with camera ready.

Bonaventure Cemetery

Visiting this old cemetery is a must, while in Savannah. It’s filled with gothic monuments and statues, towering live oaks, and stately headstones. And of course, so much history.

Bonaventure Cemetery was formed from 70 acres of the original Bonaventure Plantation when cemeteries in the city neared capacity. It was designed as a traditional Victorian cemetery with grassy areas for families of the deceased to gather for picnics.

Many notable people of Savannah are buried here including musician and singer Johnny Mercer, little Gracie Watson who died as a child, Oscar Wilde and city officials.

Scenes were shot here for the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

I enjoyed the tour with Bonaventure Cemetery Walking Tour with Transportation. The cemetery lies outside the city, making it too far to walk there. This tour company provides pickup at your hotel, which was so convenient. Plus Tim, the owner and guide, is extremely knowledgeable about Bonaventure.

Fun Things to Do in Savannah bonaventure cemetery
Bonaventure Cemetery is a must see.

More Fun Things to Do in Savannah

There are so many fun things to do in Savannah that I didn’t get to all of them.

Savannah has museums, historic houses open for tours such as the Mercer House, made famous in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil book and film, beautiful churches to peek inside of, river cruises, Tybee Island and many other points of interest. The variety of restaurants, pubs and shops is tremendous and every building, every park has a story and usually a ghost or two haunting it.

Savannah is a fascinating city that I will certainly return to, soon.

Have you explored Savannah? What was your favorite fun thing to do?

The Olde Pink House
The Olde Pink House, the oldest house in Savannah, now a restaurant.

 

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American Horror Story Halloween Party

 

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My family enjoyed the annual family Halloween party on October 28. With a new theme, fresh costumes and lots of delicious food, the party was a huge success.

Take a look at the total house transformation for the American Horror Story Halloween Party…if you dare!

American Horror Story Halloween Party title

Meet the Hosts

This yearly party is created and hosted by my sister Debbie, niece Ashley, nephew in law Jon and their children.

This clever, resourceful and hard working bunch goes way beyond the typical Halloween party! Adhering to a new theme each year, Debbie, Ashley, Jon and kids transform their home, room by room. Furniture is stored away and personal items removed, to create a blank canvas for their work.

They build, repurpose and create all the decor from wall coverings to life sized mannequins to the smallest macabre details to create an authentic experience. They begin preparations early in the year, scouring estate sales and discount stores, procuring what they need. Using those items as a base, they add to them or remove pieces to shape their creations.

Additionally, the ample food buffet that they prepare matches the theme.

These family members put a LOT of time and effort and not a small amount of money into this party and it shows. I’ve said for years that they could make big bucks doing parties professionally. At this time, everything they do is for love and fun.

American Horror Story Halloween Party hosts
American Horror Story Halloween Party – hosts Ashley, Kaleb and Debbie
And Jon
And Jon! Other two adult children pictured in a costume photo later in the post.

2023 Party Theme

This year’s party theme was American Horror Story.

This anthology television series, which began in 2011, features different characters and locations that showcase varying aspects of horror. Each year  focuses on a different story. Created by Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy, the series has attracted big name stars over the years such as Lady Gaga, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Sarah Paulson, Jessica Lange, Emma Roberts, Zachary Quinto,  Wes Bentley and Dylan McDermott.

American Horror Story is currently in its 12th season. You can watch in on Hulu.

For the family Halloween party, guests were encouraged to dress as any character from any of the seasons, giving a wealth of possibilities! Our hosts decorated different rooms in their house, corresponding with the first five  seasons of the series.

As you see from the pinnable title photo, Freak Show decor welcomed guests into the home. Lights, music, fog and mannequins contributed to the creepy vibe!

Enter the American Horror Story Halloween Party…if you dare!

American Horror Story Halloween Party hallway
American Horror Story Halloween Party – even the hallway gets a makeover.

Season One – Murder House

Synopsis: Ben Harmon, his wife Vivien and their daughter Violet move across country to get a fresh start in life. They purchase and move into an old house with a dark, troubling past: the previous occupants were the victims of a murder/suicide.

In fact, many people were murdered within the house. The family experiences a series of horrific, twisted events through this first season.

The living room became the basement from Murder House. Note the incredible details!

American Horror Story - Murder House
American Horror Story Halloween Party – Season One Murder House
Guests in the Murder House
My nephew, niece in law and their daughter Lola in the Murder House.

Season Two – Asylum

Synopsis: Briarcliff, a former tuberculosis hospital, is now an insane asylum run by the Catholic Church. Sister Jude Martin is the day administrator to a host of seriously disturbed patients. There’s something sinister, something secret, going on in the asylum. The in house doctor treats patients during the night and disposes of their bodies immediately when they die.

The dining room transformed into the asylum rec room.

American Horror Story Halloween Party - asylum rec room
Season Two Asylum rec room. My mom getting comfy there.
The Barnes kids, in costume.
The Barnes kids, in costume, in the rec room.
Aubrey and London in the asylum rec room.
Aubrey and London in the asylum rec room.

Season Three – Coven

Synopsis: A young girl named Zoe discovers she possesses a genetic affliction tracing back to Salem, Massachusetts. She is sent to Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies, a mysterious boarding school in New Orleans dedicated to protecting the remaining descendants from this unique bloodline.

The sunroom became a Louisiana swamp, where one of the series’ characters lives.

American Horror Story Halloween Party season three swamp
Season three swamp.
The Coven
The Coven includes me, my mom, niece, daughters and granddaughters.

Season Four – Freak Show

Co-joined twins Bette and Dot join a circus in Jupiter, Florida, after their mother’s shocking murder. Show owner Elsa Mars rents a farmer’s field and sets up tents for the show. The community does not welcome the troupe and few people attend the show, especially after a strange series of disappearances and murders by Twisty the Clown.

The family room/den morphed into a striped tent.

American Horror Story Halloween Party freakshow
American Horror Story Halloween Party – Freak Show tent
American Horror Story Halloween Party eating in the tent.
American Horror Story Halloween Party – Greg and Finley eating in the tent.

Season Five – Hotel

Synopsis: A pair of sisters from Sweden check into the mysterious Hotel Cortez, a place known for its many paranormal activities. While there they encounter a Los Angeles detective who is investigating the brutal murder of a couple in the hotel. This season ties in with Murder House and Coven.

The upstairs landing, hallway, a bathroom and two bedrooms became Hotel Cortez.

American Horror Story Halloween Party hotel room
American Horror Story Halloween Party – Hotel Cortez
Secret room at Hotel Cortez
Secret room at Hotel Cortez.

That’s a Wrap for This Year

We had such a fun afternoon and evening at the family Halloween party! As always, it was fun to tour the house to see this year’s amazing transformation and to chat with family and friends.

I don’t know what next year’s theme is yet…but I look forward to attending the party, in costume of course!

Did your family gather for a Halloween party this year?

Yearly tradition
A yearly tradition, the sibling photo with my brother and sisters.

Check out last year’s party!

Same house, different theme.

Antonia Graza Ghost Ship

 

Get an American Horror Story tee! Click image or this link.

 

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Ghost Stories from Savannah

 

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Savannah is a beautiful, fascinating, historic city in southern Georgia. Home to 22 squares, cobblestone streets and a bustling river front, Savannah is filled with southern charm and hospitality. It is also considered one of the most haunted cities in the US. Savannah claims so many haunted locations, in fact, that I had a difficult time narrowing my stories down to five.

Check out these ghost stories from Savannah. And discover the possible reasons for the city’s haunted reputation.

Ghost Stories from Savannah title

Why is Savannah so Haunted?

Savannah was Georgia’s first city and it has a long, and often somber, past. According to historians and paranormal researchers, the following reasons contribute to the high number of hauntings in Savannah.

Many catastrophic battles occurred in the area. From the Siege of Savannah in 1779 to Sherman’s capture of the city during the Civil War, battles left behind energetic residue and hundreds dead around the city.

Yellow Fever epidemics in the 1800s decimated the population in Savannah, leaving restless spirits clinging to their former homes.

Deadly fires swept through the city in 1796 and again in 1820, destroying almost 900 houses and buildings and resulting in many untimely deaths.

Savannah was heavily dependent upon slave labor and the port played a part in the horrific Atlantic slave trade.

And, Savannah has known its share of mysterious murders, from the death of Danny Hansford in the Mercer House to the controversial deaths of three sisters in a house near Taylor Square. Souls who met such unfair deaths often stay earth bound.

Now, five of Savannah’s most haunted locations.

Ghost Stories from Savannah moon river brewing company
Ghost Stories from Savannah – Moon River Brewing Company

Moon River Brewing Company

Today a place to grab a hand crafted beer or dine on excellent food, Moon River Brewing Company resides in what began as the first hotel in Savannah. Built in 1821, by Elazer Early, over the years the building also offered the first post office in the city, served as a warehouse for lumber and coal, housed the dying during Yellow Fever epidemics and eventually became a supply store with a printing press. It is estimated that hundreds of fever patients died on the upper floors of the building.

The building then sat empty until the mid 1990s, when it was renovated and turned into the brew pub. Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures have shot episodes here, helping it to develop the reputation as the most haunted building in Savannah. Moon River Brewing Company boasts so many ghosts that I’ll take the building floor by floor, sharing some of the stories.

Moon River Brewing Company Basement

Toby is one of the most well known ghosts in the building and he prefers to haunt the basement. This ghost prowls the underground space and likes to brush up against people playing in the basement billiards room. Sometimes he gives more of a hard push! Patrons and staff report sudden cold spots in the basement, bottles falling off of shelves or flying across the room and being touched and then realizing no one is near.

Moon River Brewing Company Main Floor

A man named James Stark was shot and killed on this floor by Dr. Minus. His angry spirit makes bottles fly and he is deemed responsible for more violent acts such as grabbing, hitting and pushing people.

In the main floor dining area, guests report being touched when no one is around. Women complain about getting locked in stalls in the restroom or of feeling extreme cold there.

Moon River Brewing Company Top Floors

The top floors in the building are considered the most haunted. A full body apparition, known as the woman in white, appears here. She is referred to as Mrs. Johnson.

The third floor is the site of the yellow fever hospital. Many, many children died here of the disease. Workers and visitors report hearing children talking and playing on this floor or running up and down the halls. This floor is so haunted that construction workers do not like to work here. Some have complained of being pushed on the stairs. One said his wife was pushed so hard she fell all the way down the stairs. He quit that day.

There is also a dark energy that permeates the fourth floor, at the top of the building. More fever victims died here and perhaps their feelings of hopeless and despair remain behind.

Ghost Stories from Savannah kehoe house
Ghost Stories from Savannah – Kehoe House

Kehoe House

This Queen Ann mansion was built on Columbia Square in 1892 by William Kehoe. This enterprising Irishman made his fortune in iron and became one of Savannah’s most prominent businessmen. His home showcased his iron trade. Much of the exterior details are made of iron.

The Kehoes had ten children. It is reported that two of those children, twin boys, died in the house, possibly of yellow fever. Later the mansion became a funeral home and it was owned for a short time by football player Joe Namath. Today it is a popular bed and breakfast that does not hide the fact that it’s haunted.

Guests and staff report the sound of ghost children playing in the house. Several staff members tell of hearing a boy’s voice in an empty room, asking for someone to come play with him. A guest in the front sitting room heard a disembodied voice whisper in his ear as the room suddenly grew cold.

Other paranormal phenomenon  includes  the scent of perfumes from ages past wafting through hallways and bedrooms, lights flashing on and off, doors locking and unlocking, shadows flitting by and the doorbell ringing when no one is there. Guests also report feeling someone touch them, waking them from sleep. Others wake up feeling someone unseen sitting on the bed and noticing an indentation appear on the bed.

Ghost Stories from Savannah colonial park cemetery
Ghost Stories from Savannah – Colonial Park Cemetery

Colonial Park Cemetery

Called one of the most haunted locations in Savannah, locals nicknamed this cemetery Paranormal Central.

The oldest burial ground in Savannah, Colonial Park Cemetery opened in 1750 and within its six acres lie more than 10,000 bodies…not all of them at rest. Visitors walking past the cemetery at night report shadowy shapes and ghostly figures moving among the gravestones and a greenish mist hovering around vaults.

Visitors report strange or dark energy in the area. Before the cemetery began to close its gates at night, voodoo practitioners performed ceremonies there. And grave robbers disturbed graves to obtain human bones. Before it was outlawed in Savannah, duelists squared off on cemetery grounds and the surrounding area. Often the duels resulted in one or both men dying. All of these occurrences created low vibe energy that contribute to hauntings.

Ghost hunters using recorders pick up ghostly voices and sounds from within the cemetery, especially in the northeast corner.

Ghost Stories from Savannah sorrel weed house
Ghost Stories from Savannah – Sorrel-Weed House

Sorrel-Weed House

Located on the edge of Madison Square, the Sorrel-Weed House is stunning. Built in 1841 in the Greek Revival style, the house was constructed by Francis Sorrel and later passed to his son, Moxley.

When Francis’ first wife passed away he married her younger sister Matilda AND continued an ongoing affair with a young slave girl named Molly. Francis even moved Molly into special quarters he made in the carriage house.

When Matilda found out about Molly, she leapt to her death from the house’s second floor balcony. Two weeks later, Molly hung herself in the carriage house. There are many reported paranormal occurrences in this house.

Matilda and Molly haunt the house, appearing as dark shadows walking through rooms or caught as reflections in mirrors. Visitors report the sensation of nausea or chocking while on the property and others enter the house with a fully charged phone and leave with a dead battery. People claim to hear voices coming from the empty living room at the front of the house. The voices stop when anyone enters the room.

Another contributing factor to this location’s haunting is that the Siege of Savannah, a very bloody American Revolution battle, took place here leaving more than 1000 dead. Some believe there are fallen soldiers buried beneath the house. Passersby at night claim to hear the sounds of that long ago battle and feel a dark energy.

Ghost Stories from Savannah andrew low house
Ghost Stories from Savannah – Andrew Low House

Andrew Low House

Andrew Low built his house in 1848 for his wife and growing family. Unfortunately, his wife died just a year later, in childbirth. Andrew remarried three years later and remained in the house until his death.

William Low inherited the house and he and his wife Juliette lived there until she caught him with his mistress. After the divorce, Juliette kept the house and lived there until her death in 1927.

The ghosts of the Andrew Low House are considered the friendliest in Savannah.

Andrew loved his home and roams it still. He is often spotted in a rocking chair in his study, slowing rocking back and forth. Some visitors only see the chair rocking on its own. Staff members in the house have heard the sound of someone coming up the basement stairs and then continuing on throughout the house. Except, no one can be found.

Visitors sometimes see Juliette lying peacefully on the bed in the room where she died. And Tom, the faithful family butler, can be heard walking down the hall, checking doors and rooms. He is known to move items around or put furniture back where it once sat, when he was alive.

Guests to the house also report catching ghostly images reflected in mirrors.

Would You Visit Savannah?

With its reputation as one of the most haunted cities in the US, would you visit Savannah?

For me, that was one of the draws to Savannah…the hauntings and the history. It is a beautiful old city, full of charming ambience and perhaps, characters from the past.

Don’t let that stop you from exploring all that Savannah has to offer. As a solo traveler, I did well there. And yes, I had a few ghostly encounters of my own. I’m an intuitive however, sensitive to spirit, experiencing unusual things wherever I go.

I know this…I will most definitely return to this city.

Andrew Low Study
Andrew Low Study

Check out the rest of this year’s ghost stories:

The Ghosts of Peel Mansion

Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA

 

And, check out my favorite map of the Savannah Historic District. I used this fun map EVERY day while there.

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

 

The Ghosts of Peel Mansion

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

 

When a business related trip took me to Northwest Arkansas recently, I built in time to visit Peel Mansion and Museum, in Bentonville. I’ve wanted to see this grand old house for several years, however I usually stop by too late in the afternoon to get a tour.

This time, Greg and I squeaked in on the last available tour of the day. I’m so glad we did. This beautiful home has been faithfully renovated and restored, in a way that preserves the authenticity of the house’s past.

Not only was it fun to tour the house and gardens, taking photos as I went, it was also interesting to learn more about the family.

For spooky October, this is installment two, the ghosts of Peel Mansion.

The Ghosts of Peel Mansion title

Peel Mansion History

Col. Samuel W. Peel built his mansion in 1875 and name it The Oaks, in honor of the many oak trees surrounding it. It is a two story stucco and brick masonry building, with a three story hip roof and a rectangular tower at the front of the house.

Samuel purchased the  180 acres in 1872, promising his wife Mary Emaline that he would build her a house that rivaled the ones she remembered from her childhood in Alabama. This Italianate style mansion, with its 14 rooms, fulfilled that promise. Eight unique fireplaces grace the home, each created as a work of art by John C Sheffield. Double front doors open to a covered veranda.

The ground level features a large entry with stairs that lead upward, a ladies’ parlor, designed by Mary as a place to receive guests, Samuel’s study, where he worked diligently on his business papers and a formal dining room. The kitchen is separate from the rest of the house, for safety reasons.

Upstairs there are bedrooms for the parents, daughters and sons, a sitting room and an extra room that over the years served as a nursery and later a sewing room.

A steep flight of stairs leads from the second floor to the attic.

The Ghosts of Peel Mansion exterior
The Ghosts of Peel Mansion – side view
The Ghosts of Peel Mansion dining room
The Ghosts of Peel Mansion – dining room

The Peel Family

Samuel Peel was born in Arkansas in 1831. He was a lawyer, politician and jurist who served in the US House of Representatives from 1883 until 1893. When Arkansas seceded from the Union, he served in the Confederate Army, ultimately reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel.

He married Mary Emaline Berry in 1853 and they had nine children, eight of which survived until adulthood.

Mary requested the addition of cellar rooms beneath her new home. During the Civil War, she saw houses burned to the ground, including her own home at that time. And she witnessed starvation among her neighbors and she and her children experienced hunger as well. As a result of those difficult times, her cellars were always filled with food from her huge garden, along with apples from the orchard. Mary was known as a generous woman who shared that abundance of food with others.

Mary died in 1906 and Samuel moved into a smaller house, shortly after. Over the years the home passed through several owners and began to decline. Eventually it sat empty and neglected and was under consideration for demolition when the Walton Family purchased it and restored the house, preserving its history.

The Ghosts of Peel Mansion parents' bedroom
The parents’ bedroom upstairs
The Ghosts of Peel Mansion Bucky
Bucky the rocking horse was loved by four generations of Peel children. It has a permanent spot in the house.

The Ghosts of Peel Mansion

There are three ghosts associated with Peel Mansion. Staff, tour guides and visitors frequently report paranormal experiences.

The Ghost of Samuel Peel

It seems that at least a couple of the Peel family members liked the house so much that they chose to stay around.

Colonel Peel makes his presence known in various rooms throughout the house. Primarily, however, he is seen or heard in his study where he spent much of his time in life working, meeting with dignitaries or reading.

Samuel is seen as a shadowy figure prowling about the house or he is experienced through loud, unexplained sounds and footsteps.

The Ghosts of Peel Mansion Samuel's study
The Ghosts of Peel Mansion – Samuel’s Study

The Ghost of Minnie Bell Peel

The other family ghost is one of the daughters, Minnie Belle.

She is spotted in the house and described as a playful young woman wearing white. And she is quite musical. Minnie played the piano in Mary’s parlor for guests and also for her father, who especially enjoyed his daughter’s musical abilities.

Tour guides and visitors report hearing the piano playing in the empty room. However, if anyone enters the parlor while the piano is playing, the music stops abruptly.

Interestingly, the piano is known as a coffin piano. The top closes, creating a flat surface for a coffin to rest upon. Back in the Peels’ time, a loved one’s body was kept in the house after death, so that family and friends could visit and pay their respects to the deceased. The front parlor was the most common room for the dead to lie in, hence the piano that doubled as a table for a coffin.

The Ghosts of Peel Mansion coffin piano
The Ghosts of Peel Mansion – the piano in Mary’s parlor

The Ghost of Margery English

The English family purchased the Peel Mansion in the 1920s and moved into the home. The family included four children, two sons and two daughters…twins Margery and Elizabeth.

As a child, Margery fell ill. Eventually she suffered from a ruptured appendix. A local doctor and nurse attended her at home, performing surgery in her upstairs bedroom on a makeshift operating table. The infection from the appendix was so severe that the doctor gave Margery little hope of recovery and didn’t even close the incision. The nurse cared for the young girl until she passed away, 10 days later.

Margery’s body lay in her bedroom, covered with a sheet. And this is where the story gets strange. Five hours later, Elizabeth saw the sheet move and cried out for help. Margery, it turns out, was not dead. According to her account, she felt herself leave her body and move toward a bright light, however she was not allowed to go beyond that point and eventually returned to her body.

The Ghost Girl

Margery survived, grew up and married. She brought her husband to the home she grew up in, now owned by Lee Allen. Margery’s room, where she had surgery and died, was locked. Mr. Allen explained that the room was haunted by a little girl that cried and they didn’t use that space. Supposedly, the room remained locked for 40 years.

Staff and visitors hear a girl crying in that bedroom still. And some report experiencing a sudden drop in temperature in the room and feeling a sharp pinch on the arm by invisible fingers.

This story is an unusual one in that the girl died, but did not remain dead and yet there is a haunting associated with the room. Could it be the energy of extreme grief that permeates the room? And perhaps the crying comes from Margery’s twin sister.

The Ghosts of Peel Mansion girls room
The Ghosts of Peel Mansion – girls’ bedroom

My Experience in the Peel Mansion

I didn’t do any research on the house until after my tour. And I deliberately did not ask our tour guide about ghosts in the house.

As an intuitive, this is what I felt.

Mary’s parlor felt odd to me…like I was on alert and watchful eyes followed me. I did not hear the piano play however I felt drawn to it. My scalp tingled, which is my sign that benign spirits are present.

I didn’t feel anything out of the ordinary in Samuel’s study.

Upstairs though, I felt a great heaviness as I walked into the girls’ bedroom. Greg and I were alone in this room, which houses a collection of vintage dolls. I don’t like dolls. But the heavy feeling didn’t come from them. The energy in this room made my scalp tingle even more and I could hear a faint clicking sound in the room…disturbingly like dolls eyes snapping open and closing.

Sadness permeated the room. Reading about Margery after the tour I thought of her illness, her near death experience, the grief of her family and then the girl’s year long recovery. Those strong emotions seem to linger in the room.

The Ghosts of Peel Mansion gardens
The gardens surrounding the mansion are beautiful.

Visit Peel Mansion

If you are in Northwest Arkansas, stop by this beautiful, interesting home. Tours are free. Peel Mansion is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 until 3:00 with the last tour beginning at 2:30.

The property, which contains the house, a gift shop and botanical gardens, is located at 400 S Walton Boulevard, Bentonville, Arkansas. After your tour, visit the charming downtown square for lunch or dinner.

Have you visited a real haunted mansion before? Where was it located?

The Ghosts of Peel Mansion

 

Check out last week’s spooky post:

Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA

 

 

 

 

 

Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA

 

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It’s October! That means it’s time for my yearly spooky series.

When I visit a location, I usually book a ghost tour of the city. Not only do I hear the local ghost stories, I also learn more of the history of the area.

When Greg and I visited beautiful Blue Ridge, Georgia last May, one of the first things we realized upon arriving was this: we were in bigfoot country!

Instead of sharing ghost stories from the mountain town, I’m departing from the norm to share bigfoot stories from Blue Ridge Ga.

Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA title

Blue Ridge Georgia

This charming small town was established in 1886 as a railroad stop. Visitors rode the train into Blue Ridge, ate a meal and then walked to the mineral springs. Because of those pure mineral springs, Blue Ridge became known as a health resort town.

Today visitors can walk along Main Street browsing through boutique shops, dining in cafes and watching the town’s resident roosters strut about.

We arrived late our first day in Blue Ridge. Driving to our cabin atop a mountain, we noticed something out of the ordinary. People had life size bigfoot silhouettes or decor in their yards.

Doing a bit of research that night, I discovered that northern Georgia is indeed considered bigfoot country. There have been hundreds of sightings in the mountains over the years. Standing on the upper deck the next morning, gazing out over heavily forested mountains, I could easily believe that these elusive creatures roam the area.

Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA silhouette
Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA – these silhouettes were in many yards

Expedition Bigfoot – Sasquatch Museum

Curious about Blue Ridge’s reputation for bigfoot sightings, Greg and I stopped by the Expedition Bigfoot: The Sasquatch Museum.

I admit I expected this museum, located at 1934 GA Highway 515, Blue Ridge, to be cheesy. Wrong! This well done museum, opened in 2016 by owner and bigfoot researcher David Bakara, is packed with intriguing exhibits and a massive amount of evidence and scientific data supporting the existence of bigfoot.

The self guided tour lasts a minimum of 45 minutes, however, depending on your level of interest, you could easily spend a couple of hours here.

There is a theater playing bigfoot themed movies. Listening stations allow visitors to hear actual recordings of bigfoot hoots and howls plus there are recordings of eye witnesses, telling their stories. Exhibits include artifacts, photographs and drawings, plaster casts of sasquatch feet and hands, written accounts of encounters, equipment used for scientific expeditions and models  of creatures, created from descriptions by witnesses.

The museum is also a research facility. People call in sightings and tell their stories, which are then recorded as data to study.

I entered the museum a bit of a skeptic. I exited a believer!

Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA museum
Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA – Expedition Bigfoot Museum

Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA

While there are more than 10,000 recorded sightings from all over the US, including my home state of Missouri, the following stories are from the northern Georgia, Blue Ridge area.

Minnehaha Falls Sighting

At this popular northern Georgia waterfall, an off duty police officer visited the falls alone, at dusk. After eating a sandwich, he prepared to leave when he spotted a figure at the base of the falls, staring at him.

As he approached the figure to say hello, the creature stood up, measuring between nine and ten feet tall. The officer noted that the area smelled strongly of body odor and fecal matter. When the officer drew his weapon and yelled, the creature climbed up the hill to the right of the waterfall and continued on to the ridge above.

This sighting has a great deal of credibility, coming from a police officer who is familiar with collecting evidence and writing accurate reports.

Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA recreation
Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA – life size model created from a sighting. Exhibit in museum.
Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA plaster cast
Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA – cast of footprint

Bigfoot Hitchhiker

This sighting occurred near Blue Ridge. A 51 year old man, driving along Highway 515 at 8:30 pm, spotted a seven to eight foot tall creature standing near the road.

He said it was still light outside when he saw the creature who appeared covered with dark hair, walking on two legs, with a somewhat pointed head.

The driver skidded to a stop on the side of the road and watched to see if the creature, which disappeared into the woods, would return. It never did.

Although the man feared ridicule, and later shared that his own wife didn’t believe his story, he reported his sighting to Bakara at the Expedition Bigfoot museum. He affirmed the creature walked upright, like a human, but with long arms that swung back and forth as it walked.

The driver added that as he sat stunned in his car, a stranger approached, asking if he needed help. The driver explained that he saw a bigfoot on the side of the road that disappeared into the woods. The stranger simply smiled, said “I believe you” and walked away.

Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA head
Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge – head modeled after a creature sighting

Another Dimension

This is the strangest bigfoot sighting that I’ve read about.

A man stood in his side yard, late on a December afternoon, hitting golf balls. As he walked toward the woods to retrieve the balls, he stopped, dumbfounded by what he saw about 80 feet away.

A bigfoot, about nine feet tall, stood with the sun behind him, watching the man. The bigfoot had wide, massive shoulders, measuring at least four feet across, and a cone shaped head above the muscular body. The creature stood in the open, watching the man quietly.

The two stared at each other for approximately 10 seconds. Then, and this is where things get strange, the bigfoot stepped to the right toward a tree. Out of nowhere, a door appeared next to the tree. The man could see sunlight shining through the door and noted leaves on trees. In his woods, the leaves were all gone and the trees stood bare.

The bigfoot slid into the opening, almost folding itself in, the man recalled. And then the door and creature vanished.

The man stood frozen in disbelief for several more seconds, then went into his house and locked all the doors.

Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA exhibit
One of the exhibits at the Expedition Bigfoot Museum

Are You a Believer?

These stories are just a sampling of hundreds of tales told of sightings in the Blue Ridge area. Some are brief encounters. Others take place in full daylight. And some have bizarre twists, like the other dimension story above. All are from witnesses who swear by what they saw.

I’ve never seen a bigfoot although when Greg and I walked in the woods near Blue Ridge we did encounter a collection of small tree trunks arranged in an X formation. According to a museum display, this is a classic sign from a bigfoot that means, “do not enter”. We didn’t linger in the area.

Do I believe there are wondrous things that exist in the world, in the universe, that we cannot explain? Yes, I do. I’ve had enough paranormal experiences to stay open to all kinds of possibilities and all kinds of life forms.

Have you ever had a bigfoot encounter? Are you a believer?

Me and a couple of friends
Me with a couple of friends

 

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10 Tips for Long Flights

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I love flying. Do you? (If you have flight anxiety, check out this post for ways to overcome that.)

I love the high energy of anticipation in airports, how quickly one can cross a country or an ocean and the sense of adventure that comes with rising into the air.

However, those treks from coast to coast across the US or reaching those international destinations might require hours of sitting on an airplane. To make these trips more enjoyable and less stressful, try these 10 tips for long flights.

10 Tips for Long Flights title

10 Tips for Long Flights

Long flights of 6 or more hours can not only cause physical fatigue, they may create mental stress and increase the risk for dehydration, upset your digestive system and interfere with sleep patterns.

I accept that exploring a new destination in a faraway place comes with a price, beyond the cost of the airline ticket. There are ways to ease the effects however. Try these 10 tips for long flights so that you arrive ready for your adventure.

Stay Hydrated

One of the most common effects from long flights is dehydration. While flying it’s very easy to become dehydrated due to the airplane cabin’s low humidity levels.

As a result, you feel thirsty and your mucous membranes in the nose, throat and sinuses dry out. A headache frequently accompanies dehydration along with dry lips and skin.

To counter dehydration, drink LOTS of water. Most people won’t. Why? They might have to use the restroom more. This is actually a bonus though, as getting up and moving frequently is another important tip.

Those little cups of water offered during the flight are not enough. Carry your own water canister and refill it frequently. Note: you must take an empty cannister through security however once through that checkpoint, you can fill your cannister and carry it onto the plane.

If you run out of water, ask the flight attendant for a refill.

Sleep as Much as Possible

Especially on red eye flights, that travel to international destinations at night, sleeping helps you arrive feeling more fresh and ready to go.

Many people, including me, find it difficult to sleep while airborne.

Bring an eye mask and earplugs to help shut out light and noise. Get comfortable with a neck pillow and blanket. Or play a movie you’ve seen many times, turn the volume down low and sleep through it.

Whenever you stir, drink water, walk to the restroom and then get comfy and try sleeping again.

10 Tips for Long Flights hydrate
!0 Tips for Long Flights – stay hydrated and get as much sleep as possible

Choose an Aisle Seat

If you get to choose your seat, pick the aisle seat. That location makes it easier to get up to stretch, go to the restroom and occasionally stretch your legs out. Just don’t leave your legs out in the aisle to prevent tripping another passenger or a flight attendant.

Bring a Book to Read

If sleeping is out of the question for you, bring a book you’ve been meaning to read. For fun, try a genre you wouldn’t normally consider. You can pick up paperback books at the airport or purchase one from your favorite shop and when finished with it, give it to someone at your return airport or leave it in a the restroom or on a table in a cafe for another passenger to pick up.

10 tips for long flights aisle
10 Tips for Long Flights – choose an aisle seat if possible

Avoid Sugar, Alcohol and Caffeine

Avoiding products with sugar helps to prevent a sugar rush and the tiredness that follows and for some, like me, sugar can cause restless legs.

And alcohol and caffeine contribute to dehydration. Drink water instead of wine or soda.

Bonus tip: flying creates digestive distress, also known as gassiness. To prevent discomfort and perhaps embarrassment, also avoid carbonated drinks, veggies like broccoli, red meat, apples and other high fiber foods, beans and fried foods.

Distract Yourself

If you can’t sleep and reading isn’t your thing, try watching a movie or series, listening to music, playing games or chatting with your seatmate, if that person is awake too and wants to engage.

My personal favorite activity while on long flights is movie watching. I enjoy browsing through the large selection of on flight films and catching up on movies I’ve missed. I like carrying my own earbuds with me but they are available on request.

10 tips for long flights chat
10 Tips for Long Flights – I enjoyed chatting with my seat mate on my trip to Dublin Ireland.

Walk and Stretch Frequently

It’s important to keep muscles limber by taking frequent walking and stretching breaks. Use your trips to the restroom as an opportunity to stretch out cramped leg muscles and also improve circulation and help prevent swelling in lower legs and ankles.

Wear Comfy Clothes

During long flights, wear the comfiest clothes possible. Doing so creates less restriction and improves circulation. This isn’t the time for tight jeans. Opt for loose fitting pants, layered shirts, light jacket and sneakers. The only exception might be if you are taking boots along on the trip, then wear those to save space in your carryon or luggage.

I like layering because it’s generally very cool in the cabin and I can add the lightweight jacket over two shirts or use it as a blanket.

10 tips for long flights comfy
10 Tips for Long Flights – dress in comfiest clothes possible

Try Compression Socks

If your legs or feet tend to swell during long flights, try compression socks. I tried these for the first time last December, flying to Edinburgh, and I loved them. My legs and feet didn’t swell and they were less restless. In fact, I wore them every day while walking in Edinburgh and they seemed to invigorate my legs.

Remove Shoes during Flight

Carry an extra pair of thick, woolen socks and put them on during the flight.

On my last international flight, I removed my boots after we reached cruising altitude and pulled on a pair of thick woolen socks over my compression socks. It raised my coziness level considerably.

And bonus, when I wear those socks now I’m instantly transported back to that overnight flight and the thrill of adventure.

10 tips for long flights southwest
Charleston SC airport

 

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Favorite Alignment Quotes

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This year, 2023, is my Year of Alignment. As we pass the halfway mark, with six months gone already, I’m more aware than ever how important alignment is to me.

I look forward to sharing with you soon what this year has looked like as it has unfolded.

This post brings to you my favorite alignment quotes that I’ve collected the last few months.

Favorite Alignment Quotes title

Why Collect Quotes?

Words are powerful. Spoken aloud, written as affirmations, whispered when no one else hears them to bolster the heart and fortify intentions, words have an energy of their own, to bring forth good…or not. Words can raise my vibrational frequency…or lower it.

I’m recognizing just how important this is as I journey through this Year of Alignment. The words I speak are a reflection of the thoughts and beliefs I hold. They are often a mirror, a true reflection back to me of my inner life, especially in an unguarded moment.

I collect quotes that “ring my bell”, as my granddaughter Aubrey used to say when she was younger. Those words were her way of expressing whether something, usually an object, was in alignment with her desires…or not.

During my “years of”…I gather words and quotes that align with who I am and who I am becoming at that time. My journals are full of reflections as I use those quotes as jumping off points into deeper truths. They become markers on the map of my journey, for the year.

Here are some of my favorite alignment quotes for the first half of the year.

Favorite Alignment Quotes traveler
Favorite Alignment Quotes – traveler

Favorite Alignment Quotes

“To turn you dreams into reality, all your resources, efforts and concentration should be aligned in the same direction.” Dr. Roopleen

These words ring true for me. When I join my efforts with a specific focus on my dreams, the reality is born.

It’s not magic. It’s alignment at work and it is powerful.

“In order to live a rich life, everything about who you are must be one, in alignment and in pure harmony.” Suze Orman

I know how painful it feels when my physical body is out of alignment. It affects every part of me. The same is true when my thoughts and beliefs are out of alignment with my words and actions.

“When your passions and desires align you cannot hold them back.” MF Moonzajer

The alignment of my passions and desires led to a new career path this year. More about that in a future post.

Favorite Alignment Quotes travel agent
Exploring a whole new world due to alignment.

 

Favorite Alignment Quotes from People I Respect

“Deep within, you know that the only thing that is truly important is being in alignment with spirit.” Wayne Dyer

For me, my spiritual self and my physical self MUST be in alignment.

“When you examine the lives of the most influential people who have ever walked among us, you discover one thread that winds through them all. They have been aligned first with their spiritual nature and only then with their physical selves.” Albert Einstein

Powerful words from someone I greatly admire. This man of science saw the importance of aligning the spiritual side with the physical.

“When you find that your life is out of alignment with your grandest idea of yourself, seek to change it.”  Neale Donald Walsch

When my reality isn’t matching my dreams and desires, I am out of alignment. The shift happens within, often after deeper soul searching. Then the reality shifts as well.

Favorite Alignment Quotes laptop
Working and living…in alignment.

Favorite Alignment Quotes that Guide Me

“If you can tune into your purpose and really align with it, setting goals so that your vision is an expression of that purpose, then life flows so much more easily.”  Jack Canfield

Experiencing the ease that comes with being in the flow of life is a mirror for me as well. Resistance takes me out of that flow of life…and out of alignment.

“A lot of conflict you have in your life exists simply because you’re not living in alignment; you’re not being true to yourself.”  Steve Maraboli

I am learning to see conflict at a warning that I am not living in alignment with my truest, most authentic self.

“Your goals and the tasks you choose to accomplish your goals either align with dreams and core values or they don’t. It’s that simple.” Julie Connor

I am finding it really is that simple.

Favorite Alignment Quotes - travel
Favorite Alignment Quotes – travel

THE Alignment Quote Taking Me into the Future

This profound quote and the accompanying photo mean a great deal to me.

“Whatever I align myself with are the very things that will create a line into my future.” Craig D Lounsbrough

The time I spent in the mountains of northern Georgia recently…exploring, creating content, working remotely in a beautiful setting, experiencing new things…casts out ahead of me the line I am following into my future.

The photo below of that time in Georgia perfectly captures the energy of the quote above.

I read that quote and look at that photo and they both resonate with me and inspire me.

Favorite Alignment Quotes mountains
This photo captures my year of alignment perfectly.

Your Favorite Quote

Whether you chose a word for this year or not, is there a quote that inspires your journey? Share it with me in the comments below.

As this Year of Alignment continues, I’ll gather more quotes for my own journey. And of course, I’ll share them with you!

 

Click photo to order this inspirational art from Amazon:

 

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

Quigley’s Castle

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

During a recent trip to NW Arkansas, Greg and I enjoyed a wonderful overnight experience at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, near Eureka Springs, Arkansas. After leaving the sanctuary the next morning, we decided to stop at Quigley’s Castle, located a short distance from Turpentine Creek, and on our way home anyway.

I’m so glad we did! This unique property was well worth the nominal fee to explore the house and gardens.

How unique is Quigley’s Castle?

I’ve never seen anything like it!

Quigley's Castle title

A Woman’s Dream Home

Elise Fioravanti moved to the Ozarks as a young girl in 1919. Walking to and from school each day, she collected pretty or interesting rocks that caught her interest.

When she was 18 years old, Elise married Albert Quigley. He owned a nearby farm and lumber mill. After their marriage, Albert moved Elise’s rock collection to their home, a three room lumber shack. The hard working husband promised his bride a home someday, built from the lumber cut off of their land.

Over the years five children joined Elise and Albert in their tiny shack. She grew impatient waiting for the promise of a bigger house to be fulfilled. One June morning in 1943, Elise gathered her children after Albert went to work at the mill.

She instructed them to help her tear down the shack. By the time Albert returned home, his family and their belongings were in the chicken house. He agreed to begin building their home.

Elise knew exactly what she wanted: plenty of room for her robust family and a “home where I felt I was living in the world instead of in a box. I designed it in my mind, but I couldn’t tell anybody what I wanted, so I sat down with scissors, paste, cardboard and match sticks and made a model.”

Quigley's Castle exterior
The rock studded exterior of Quigley’s Castle.

The Construction of Quigley’s Castle

Elise’s house plans called for 28 windows. Albert wanted to wait to build the house. Glass for those windows was unavailable during the war. However, living in a chicken house, as a family of seven, inspired him to begin building immediately. During the three years that they waited for glass to arrive, the family covered the window openings with layers of fabric.

To bring nature indoors for Elise, four feet of earth was left bare between the edges of the living space and the walls. Into that soil, Elise planted flowering, tropical plants that grew up to the second story ceiling. Some of those plants remain. They are over 70 years old now.

The rocks and stones that Elise collected over the years became part of her dream home. For three years she covered the outside walls with rocks, crystals, fossils and arrowheads. She cultivated a perennial garden around the house. And inside, a collection of hand made crafts and favorite items decorate the house along with cherished antiques. Elise’s love of nature is evident in every room as is her creativity.

Quigley's Castle indoor plants
Plants growing indoors, in the dirt between the floors and the walls.

Touring Quigley’s Castle

I don’t want to show you everything inside the house. Some things just have to be experienced. However, take a brief tour with me, and appreciate Mrs. Quigley’s Castle.

Lower Level

Albert and Elise are gone, passing away in 1972 and 1984, respectively. However a granddaughter currently lives in the home. She greets visitors at the front garden gate, shares her grandparents’ stories and then allows guests to roam the gardens and tour the house, on their own. She has a private bedroom and bath that is not open to the public, although the rest of the house can be explored at leisure.

The lower level of the house contains a parlor, dining area, living room and kitchen. These rooms are flooded with light from the many windows. And surrounded by the towering plants growing in the dirt around the perimeter.

The downstairs rooms are homey and comfortable, with handcrafted frames holding family photos and lots of natural wood. In one corner of the living room, Elise created a miniature indoor pond that holds fish.

Quigley's Castle living room
Quigley’s Castle – comfy living room.
Quigley's Castle kitchen
I loved the country kitchen, with plants growing at the end, in Quigley’s Castle.

Upper Level

Upstairs there are four bedrooms and at least one bathroom.

French doors open to the outdoors, reached by narrow wooden bridges that cross over the gap between floors and walls. Elise could enjoy the experience of sleeping in the tree tops indoors, with her plants brushing the ceilings of the second story.

One bedroom, called the Butterfly Room, contains an extensive collection of butterflies, all mounted on one wall. She completed this project when she was 68 years old.

These bedrooms are quite charming and airy and feel so connected to the outdoors. When we visited in April, the French doors stood open and a wonderful breeze stirred through the rooms.

Quigley's Castle bedroom
One of the upstairs bedrooms at Quigley’s Castle.
Looking down from the upstairs
Looking down from the upstairs to the ground floor below.

Quigley’s Castle Gardens

After spending about half an hour exploring the house, we exited through the back door, to slowly walk in the gardens.

I have a special affinity for gardens and Elise’s are beautiful in a wild way. It was fun to walk down the paths, admiring the trees and plants and flowers, the koi pond and the many items Elise made from her rocks. She set up a table just outside the backdoor and did her concrete and rock work there.

Greg and I both felt inspired by her creativity and her dedication. She leaves behind her vision fulfilled as a legacy to her family and all who walk through the garden gate.

Quigley's Castle koi pond
Koi pond in the front garden.
Wildly beautiful gardens
Wildly beautiful gardens at Quigley’s Castle.

Quigley’s Castle Information

This amazing property is located at 274 Quigley Castle Road, just outside of Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

The house and gardens are open to the public from April 1 until October 31, from 10:00 am until 4:30 pm. The castle is closed on Sundays and Thursdays.

There is a $9.00 tour fee for ages 14 and up. Children under age 14 are free and must be accompanied by an adult. As stated, the tour is self guided although there are photos and information throughout the house.

Quigley’s Castle is not handicap accessible. You must be able to walk over uneven ground and climb stairs.

Check out their website HERE.

When you visit Eureka Springs or Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, add this incredible attraction to your list of things to do. If you appreciate unusual houses and robust creativity, you’ll love Quigley’s Castle.

Ozark garden

 

Do you have a child who loves to collect rocks? Click photo below to check out this National Geographic Rock and Mineral Kit.

 

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

 

10 Things to Do in Blue Ridge GA

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The mountain town of Blue Ridge, in northern Georgia, boasts a population of 1,244 residents. However, this beautiful town lives BIG and offers visitors many fun opportunities and activities.

With more than 100,000 acres of Chattahoochee National Forest, 300 miles of hiking trails, 100 miles of streams and those gorgeous mountains, Blue Ridge is the perfect location for a long getaway weekend or a family vacation.

Check out 10 things to do in Blue Ridge GA, recognized by Southern Living Magazine as one of the South’s Best Mountain Towns, in 2022.

10 Things to Do in Blue Ridge GA title

10 Things to Do in Blue Ridge GA

Whether you spend time outdoors, explore downtown Blue Ridge or get cozy at a local cabin, check out these fun ways to make the most of your visit.

Explore Downtown Blue Ridge

This charming small town was established in 1886 as a railroad stop. Visitors rode the train into Blue Ridge, ate a meal and then walked to the mineral springs. Because of those pure mineral springs, Blue Ridge became known as a health resort town.

Today visitors can walk along Main Street browsing through boutique shops, dining in cafes and watching the town’s resident roosters strut about.

The small town atmosphere inspires chats with friendly shop owners and local residents.  Download the Blue Ridge Historic Walking Tour HERE.

10 Things to Do in Blue Ridge GA explore downtown
10 Things to Do in Blue Ridge GA – explore the historic downtown

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

In the heart of downtown Blue Ridge sits the train depot. Enjoy a four hour rail excursion along Toccoa River from Blue Ridge to McCaysville. You can choose to ride in an authentic indoor rail car, an open air car or go premier class.

After arriving in McCaysville, travelers have two hours to explore the town and grab lunch before the return trek to Blue Ridge.

Check out the train schedule and purchase online tickets with this LINK.

10 Things to Do in Blue Ridge GA scenic rail
10 Things to Do in Blue Ridge GA – scenic railway

Enjoy a Thriving Art Community

Blue Ridge has a vibrant art community with galleries to visit, live music to listen to and a local theater.

The mission of the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association is to provide ample opportunities in the art realm. They are devoted to bringing quality exhibits and events to the community.

Purchase theater tickers HERE. And for a fun summer experience, visit Swan Drive In for an outdoor movie.

10 Things to Do in Blue Ridge GA art vibes
Check out the art vibes in Blue Ridge! Pictured, 4 Elements Fine Art & Custom Framing

Haunted Blue Ridge Ghost Tour

Take a night time stroll through downtown Blue Ridge and learn the spooky tales associated with the area. Hear local legends and see haunted spots with a knowledgeable guide.

The tour last about 90 minutes and covers a mile, with frequent stops. Tickets must be purchased online prior to tour.

10 Things to Do in Blue Ridge GA haunts
10 Things to Do in Blue Ridge GA – ghost tour

Indoor Mini Golf Downtown

Located on Main Street in downtown Blue Ridge, 2nd Story Entertainment offers indoor family fun.

Play a full 18 hole mini golf course that weaves in and out of eight themed rooms in the 112 year old building that once housed a hotel. Included on the mini golf course are other games such as giant connect 4s, giant checkers and magnetic darts.

The venue also provides arcade games such as Air Hockey and Ms Pacman and snacks along with water and sodas.

2nd Story Entertainment
2nd Story Entertainment in downtown Blue Ridge

Stay in a Local Cabin

While in Blue Ridge, you simply must stay in a Southern Comfort Cabin! Although there are many activities to enjoy in the area, having a comfy cabin to return to at the end of the day provides a place to gather, share the fun from the day and relax.

Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals offers so many accommodation choices from forest views to lake views to mountain views. There’s a cabin for every budget and spaces for two people….or 10. One could never leave the cabin and feel content!

I stayed in the Breakaway Ridge Cabin with mountain views. You can learn more about this beautiful place HERE.

10 Things to Do in Blue Ridge GA cabin
10 Things to Do in Blue Ridge GA – stay in a Southern Comfort Cabin

Blue Ridge Lake

Blue Ridge Lake is a reservoir in Fannin County, nestled along the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It encompasses 3,300 acres of water, rests approximately 1,686 feet above sea level, and has 65 miles of shoreline. The lake is fed by Toccoa River and is managed by the Tennessee Valley Authority.

The aquamarine waters make this lake one of the most picturesque in Georgia.  Blue Ridge Lake offers campsites, swimming, boating, picnic areas, a full service marina and rentals for all kinds of water activities. Explore the lake in a pontoon boat or rent a kayak, canoe or paddleboard.

The Morganton Point Recreation Area is the perfect spot for swimming. There are restroom facilities here and concessions.

Blue Ridge Lake
Blue Ridge Lake

Hiking Trails

Nature enthusiasts will love the many hiking trails in the Blue Ridge area. Choose from trails around the lake, trails through the forest or trails to waterfalls.

Hike to the Toccoa River Swinging Bridge or sit near the Fall Creeks Falls after a fairly short trek through the forest. Or walk part of the Appalachian Trail.

Check out the top ten hiking trails HERE.

10 Things to Do in Blue Ridge GA hike
10 Things to Do in Blue Ridge GA – hike to the Fall Creek Falls

Visit Mercier Orchards

Located just outside of Blue Ridge, Mercier Orchards is a 4th generation owned and operated apple orchard. The orchards offer pick your own fruit times, tractor tours and scheduled activities.

Their huge on site building contains a cafe, a market with fresh seasonal fruits and veggies, a bakery and a huge assortment of apple products, kitchen ware and other goodies.

Discover all that this place offers, including the BEST fried pies, HERE.

Mercier Orchards
Mercier Orchards

Expedition Bigfoot Museum

We initially giggled about wanting to visit this museum and data collection site. However, we discovered the museum is a fascinating place to explore. We left firm believers in the existence of Bigfoot!

You can tour this museum in about an hour. Those with an interest in Bigfoot could easily spend more time there. The site is also a research facility and reporting center. The exhibits are science based and contain a great deal of evidence collected over the years from those who have had encounters. Truly, it was an eye opening experience for me.

It turns out that northern Georgia is a Bigfoot hotspot. Many have reported sightings and encounters in the area. With the thick forests and mountains, I can believe these elusive creatures exist.

Watch for a future feature post about this museum. You can check out hours of operation and get more info with this LINK.

Which Blue Ridge Activities Will You Experience?

As you can see, there are so many fun activities in the Blue Ridge area. And I didn’t list horseback riding, ziplining or visiting breweries and wineries.

I must go back, for the ghost tour. Fall is the perfect time for a train ride, to appreciate the colorful leaves on the trees. And how fun to see the town decorated for Christmas.

Which of the activities will you try first, when you visit Blue Ridge?

Posing with Bigfoots...Bigfeet??
Posing with Bigfoots….Bigfeet??

 

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Favorite Things About Breakaway Ridge Cabin

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American essayist Philip Conners wrote,

“The greatest gift of life on the mountain is time. Time to think or not think, read or not read, scribble or not scribble—to sleep and cook and walk in the woods, to sit and stare at the shapes of the hills.”

While I don’t live in the mountains, I recently got to enjoy the gift of time that Connors refers to. During my hosted stay, I appreciated the time to think…or not…to read or not…to sleep and cook my own food and take a walk in the deep forests surrounding Blue Ridge, Georgia.

My home for those days spent in the mountains provided the perfect space to fully savor my stay. Learn more about Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals HERE. And then discover my favorite things about Breakaway Ridge Cabin. Spoiler alert…staring at the shapes of the hills makes the list.

Favorite Things About Breakaway Ridge Cabin

Greg and I stayed in the Breakaway Ridge Cabin, high atop a mountain just two miles from the charming town of Blue Ridge. We immediately fell in love with the area, the mountains AND the gorgeous cabin.

Following are my favorite things about Breakaway Ridge Cabin…the unexpected touches, the thoughtful inclusions, the great use of space.

Spacious Cabin

With five bedrooms, three bathrooms and two living areas, not including the incredible outdoor room, this cabin offers plenty of space to sprawl. Although it was just Greg and me on this trip, we appreciated the ability to choose different spaces to use, find a nook for solitude or enjoy the views from various vantage points.

With two  bedrooms and two bathrooms upstairs plus a full kitchen, dining area and great room AND three bedrooms/sleeping areas downstairs with a bathroom, mini kitchen and second living area, this setup is ideal for a family or a group of friends.

We could easily envision our entire family joining us in this wonderful cabin.

Favorite Things About Breakaway Ridge Cabin spacious
Favorite Things About Breakaway Ridge Cabin – spacious

 

Spectacular Views

The view from Breakaway Ridge Cabin is incredibly beautiful. The back of the cabin faces a deep valley and tree shrouded mountains beyond. The outdoor room, the covered patio below, all the living areas and the bedrooms offer amazing views of those mountains.

And those views continually drew me, whether from the windows in my bedroom at sunrise or the rocking chairs on the back deck or the dual porch swings below. I never tired of watching the mountains and the play of light and shadow on them.

Favorite Things About Breakaway Ridge Cabin view
Beautiful view

Full Kitchen for Meal Prep

I love accommodations with kitchens. Seven years ago I embraced a plant based lifestyle. Having a full kitchen to cook in allows me to create healthy meals and it saves money.

It’s also fun to try new restaurants when traveling so a good practice for me is to prepare my own meals for breakfast and supper and eat out for lunch, choosing places with vegan options.

The kitchen in Breakaway Ridge contained cookware, cutlery, glasses, mugs (for my hot tea!), plates, bakeware…everything needed to prepare meals. I shopped at home for groceries and toted them, since we drove to Blue Ridge. However, we visited nearby grocery stores TWICE for items we either forgot…or decided we needed.

Gas cooking stove
Gas cooking stove in full kitchen

Outdoor Room

When we arrived at Breakaway Ridge Cabin the first night, darkness was creeping up the mountain. We walked straight through the cabin and out onto the back deck to admire the view.

The outdoor room features comfy seating, a wood burning fireplace, a table and chairs for outdoor dining and two wooden rocking chairs tucked in their own alcove.

I LOVED this beautiful space and spent the most time out here, breathing in mountain air and relaxing or working remotely on my laptop. We built a small fire in the fireplace on our last night at the cabin and ate dinner watching the flames.

Favorite Things About Breakaway Ridge Cabin outdoor room
Outdoor room was a favorite space for hanging out

Desk for Laptop

Although I didn’t sit at the desk in the great room, I did appreciate its existence. The desk made an ideal location for my laptop when not in use. With a handy outlet strip on the floor I could keep my laptop charged and ready for use. Also appreciated, wifi at the cabin. That wifi served the outdoor room as well making it easy to get work done quickly.

Favorite Things About Breakaway Ridge Cabin desk
Favorite Things About Breakaway Ridge Cabin – desk for laptop

Rocking Chairs

I’ve enjoyed the soothing, meditative experience of rocking in a rocking chair since my toddler days. With great delight, I frequently gravitated toward the two wooden rocking chairs on the cabin’s back deck, cup of hot tea in one hand, a book in the other.

Greg often started his day there, sitting quietly in one of the rocking chairs. reading or simply appreciating the view.

Greg enjoying one of the rocking chairs
Greg enjoying one of the rocking chairs.

Storage Space

When I travel, I like to unpack my carryon and put everything away. At home, I’m a “place for everything and everything in its place” person.

The cabin features an abundance of drawers, shelves and closet space for unpacking and put clothing and toiletries away. I like a neat, tidy space because for me, clutter brings with it chaotic energy.

In Breakaway Ridge, the HUGE closets upstairs offer plenty of hangers and shelving for clothes, jackets and shoes and for stashing luggage. The bathrooms not only have drawers for belongings but adequate shelving behind cabinet doors.

I found out of sight storage in the kitchen for all of the groceries I brought or purchased and although we didn’t need to use any of the downstairs space, there’s lots of storage available there too.

Favorite Things About Breakaway Ridge Cabin storage
Favorite Things About Breakaway Ridge Cabin – lots of storage

Washer and Dryer

One of the bedroom closets upstairs holds a full size washer and dryer. An ironing board and iron hang on the inside of the door.

It’s so convenient to wash clothes after a day exploring in the woods or to do up all the dirty laundry BEFORE heading home. (Don’t you dislike having to do laundry as soon as you arrive home?)

Washer and dryer
Convenient washer, dryer, ironing board and iron.

Porch Swings

I feel about swings, the way that I do about rocking chairs. It’s a peaceful way to relax, giving the body something to do while the mind dreams big dreams.

Breakaway Ridge not only offers a swing, it offers two! These porch style swings hang beneath the deck, at the edge of the covered patio, and provide stunning views across the valley.

Porch swings with a view
Porch swings with a view! Looking through the windows at the end of the second living area downstairs.

Play Cornhole

Downstairs, Breakaway Ridge keeps the fun going with a shuffleboard table, a poker/game table and shelves of jigsaw puzzles and an assortment of board games.

Outdoors, we found cornhole boards and happily challenged each other to a game. How incredible, with the trees stirring in the breeze and the sun chasing shadows across the mountains, to compete in a friendly game of cornhole.

Greg carried out snacks and tall glasses of water and after he beat me at cornhole, we sat in one of the swings as the sun set. It made the perfect finish to a fun, full day.

Cornhole game
Double the fun…cornhole game in the mountains.

Bonus Favorites

Truthfully, this list of favorites could go on and on. The hot tub on the patio, the Adirondack chairs grouped around a fire pit, the big screen tvs in each room (although we rarely turned them on, had it rained we could have watched a movie), the comfy beds…it was ALL perfect.

One other thing that I must mention was the ease of checking in and out. For this particular cabin, I received a code for the keypad on the door. When we checked out, I keyed in a special code that notified the staff of our departure. So simple. And I was so grateful for the convenience since we arrived late on our first night. We didn’t have to make arrangements to pick up a key.

Experience this place yourself by visiting the Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals website. Book the Breakaway Ridge Cabin or select another from their many options.

Plus, there’s still time to take advantage of the book three nights get a fourth night free Memorial Day Weekend special with this link.

So tell me…which of the above favorites appeals the most to you?

Favorite things about breakaway ridge cabin remote work
Favorite Things About Breakaway Ridge Cabin – an outdoor office with a view.

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.