Happy FriYAY evening, dears!
I hope you are kicking back, catching your breath, and getting ready for a super-fun weekend! This week's FriYAY Friends post is going to be two parts. Today I'm going to, in a sense, tell my side of the story of driving into North Georgia to visit Personify, and then on Monday (if I can wait that long, otherwise sometime this weekend), you'll get to hear from Maddie Morden, co-owner of Personify, and a little bit from her mom, Tammy Lopez as well (the other co-owner of Personify).
My earliest and perhaps only reasonably clear childhood memory of both Maddie and Tammy was the year I attended Camp All American at Perimeter Church when I was about 4. Tammy was one of my counselors, and Maddie was in my group. Other than that, though, I guess we have mostly just lived strangely parallel lives-- sharing many mutual friends yet rarely crossing paths. A few months ago, I began to follow Personify, their jointly owned, fabulously curated boutique in Lakemont, GA, on Instagram and am hooked on their aesthetic. It took forever for me to finally find the right day to make the drive, but I'm glad I waited-- fall leaves in the mountains were peak-ish today, and WOW, what a beautiful adventure!
It seemed silly to me to drive all the way to the mountains during leaf season and not do a little hiking and nature enjoying. But I was bringing both boys with me, so I wasn't sure if it was practical to attempt anything more than a few shots of pretty scenery along the way. But when has practicality ever stopped me, really? After all, I was driving over an hour north with the boys to visit a boutique. Most people would consider that impractical enough. Oh well.
I did a little googling of hikes and waterfalls reasonably close to Personify. I found a little information about Minnehaha Falls, a cascading 60 foot high waterfall about twenty minutes from the shop. It's trail was only 0.4 miles long-- a distance I figured Jem could at least walk one-way, and that I thought I could carry him (while wearing Ian) to get back if I needed to. The only catch was that the falls themselves were not readily locatable on Maps, and the directions online became vague about the same time the map did. I did say I wanted an adventure, right?
So I dropped a pin at the last clear turn, and started following the GPS directions. It was going along pretty well until about the time I got to that last clear turn and tried to load the web page with the remaining fuzzy directions... and I had no signal. With a humorous comment to the boys and a quick prayer for signage, I made the last turn. There was a sign pointing me left down a road that quickly became a dirt road. I was openly laughing at this point-- I'm crazy. However, two miles later, I spotted some stairs labeled "To Minehana Falls" opposite a few parked cars. Huzzah!
I put Ian in the Baby Bjorn in front of me, our lunch on my back, and put Jemsy's monkey leash pack on him. Once Jem figured out that we were trekking through the woods, he lit up and took off up the trail, attacking tree roots and rocks with impressive vigor and skill. He was full speed ahead for his first hike, then plopped down eagerly on our picnic blanket at the base of the falls, squealing with delight and devouring pretzels and raisins. I think he was satisfactorily impressed with his first waterfall.
We moved a little slower on the way back-- Jem had to stop and acknowledge (and sometimes kiss) every noteworthy log, root, or bush. I asked, "Jem, are you having fun?" He smiled and replied, clear as day, "Yes!" When we finished the last step back down to the little parking area, Jem grinned, squealed, and clapped for himself. I was right there with him-- at 22 months he tackled his first hike, 0.8 miles of uneven, up and down terrain. What a champ!
(Ian spent the hike in the bjorn facing out, kicking his legs, and grinning as he watched Jem step and climb. He enjoyed stretching during our lunch stop at the falls and trying to eat the leaves he picked up.)
We cranked up the tunes as we retraced our way back to the main road and followed it the rest of the way around the lake to Personify. Fortunately, it was a straight shot since I was still signal-less! Maddie greeted us at the shop (the last in a row of lovely looking shopping and eating destinations in the Historic Lakemont Art District).
Maddie greeted us when we arrived, and the boys ate some more of their lunch while Maddie and I swapped stories about our lives and creative journeys. I'll save the rest for next time, but y'all are going to love learning more about Maddie and Tammy! In the meanwhile, visit Personify on Instagram to drool over their gorgeous inventory (and impeccable taste) and visit String and Story to see updates on all my projects!
Talk to y'all soon!