Our first stop after leaving Florida was Valdosta, GA. Our goal of this trip is to relax, enjoy, and go slowly. We want to see America, not speed through it. As we move throughout the country we don’t want to be in a truck for endless hours. We’re trying to limit our driving time to trips no more than four hours at a time. There are enough cool, small, towns in between our “bigger stops” that we would totally miss if we were only focused on the next big spot. Knowing we wanted to head to Stone Mountain, (outside of Atlanta, GA) as our first “big stop” we decided to utilize one of our “free camping” options with Harvest Host, a network of wineries, farms and attractions that invite self-contained RV’ers to visit and stay overnight! It’s a $44 a year membership, so if you stay at 1-2 places, you’ve made your money back and get to experience really cool vineyards, farms, and historical attractions throughout the U.S. and parts of Canada. We loved that this was our first stop! When you camp at a Harvest Host location, you have to be “self contained” meaning you won’t have water, electric, or sewer hookup. We “roughed” it for the night and did without. We turned our generator on for about 2 hours while we cooked and to cool off the Coach since it was raining and we couldn’t open the windows. Other than that we did just fine without hookups! We arrived after the vineyard had closed, so before we headed out to Stone Mountain the next day we enjoyed a wine tasting and bought a bottle of wine to take with. *If you want to join Harvest Host yourself, mention that you heard about them from our blog (EatSeeRV) to get an extra month of membership free!*
We arrived to Stone Mountain and planned on staying 5 nights. We wanted enough time to experience Stone Mountain and head into Atlanta and Decatur to try some great restaurants, visit friends, and check on 2 properties we had in the area. It rained the first few days we were there, which was a bit of a bummer but we used our time wisely and headed into the city on those days. We got to try a bunch of great restaurants and took a brewery tour at Sweet Water. If you want to read about that check out our post here! Our spot was across from the lake, and most of the time we had a great view. Here was our view from our spot for the week.
On Friday the sun finally peeked out (well, really it just wasn’t raining) so we headed out for a nature hike, bike ride, and headed up to the top of Stone Mountain. We loved getting to be in nature. The nature hike was gorgeous! We walked along the lake that surrounds Stone Mountain. The mushrooms were in full bloom from all the rain. We couldn’t believe the variety and amount we saw. We later found out the yellow/golden ones were Chanterelles which are super expensive to buy (we could have TOTALLY cooked them if we had more foraging knowledge).
We continued up Stone Mountain taking the Cherokee Trail which goes around the mountain and connects to the walk up hike to the top of Stone Mountain. We saw lots of birds, turtles, bugs, and even saw a deer! Dennis handled the hike like a champ, Liz however struggled. I am not used to hills, let alone hikes up super steep mountains. I had to take a lot of breaks, but it was worth it once we got to the top!
Our friends from Atlanta came to visit us for a night over the weekend. They were our first guests on the RV overnight. We grilled out, enjoyed the view, and company. Overall it was a great stay. We felt the price was reasonable for the sites and amenities offered (lake, hiking, trails, activities for kids) and was the perfect location to Atlanta and Decatur which both are well worth a day or two visit. We attempted to see the Laser Light Show on Friday but it was canceled due to weather, so we felt super lucky on our last night at Stone Mountain the weather cleared up and we got to see the show. It was a bit long and a little corny, but was something different to experience and was better than sitting in the RV watching T.V. I would definitely say it’s more geared toward children and families. We enjoyed the fireworks at the end of the show!
On our way out of Stone Mountain we had a bit of an accident that messed up our rear left leveling jack. It was definitely a scary slip up and gave us a quick reminder to go slow and not get over confident. It takes one small mistake to cost you a lot of money and time in repairs. We’ll be writing all about the details of the “learning mistake” and repair process in a later post. For now, we hope you enjoyed hearing about Stone Mountain. Don’t forget to leave us a comment with your thoughts below!