The Band Kelley is playing the Blue Ridge Community Theater this Saturday. I think the first set is at 7:30. This is a young and up and coming group of all siblings. The fiddle player has finished second in the North Carolina and Georgia fiddle conventions, and the others are equally accomplished. I think they’re headed for great things, as I’ve written before. I really think they have the potential to make it big. This fall they’re opening for Balsam Ridge (IMBA Entertainer of the Year) and Dailey & Vincent. In other words, they’re on the way up, fast. If you come and see them on Saturday, chances are that you’ll be bragging for years that you saw them way back when, when they played the Blue Ridge Community Theater.
We’ve had about an inch of rain over the past few days at our place. Most of the county probably had more. It was very welcome, although the “Blackberry Winter” that’s followed seems a little less so. It’s about 47 this afternoon (Friday) on the porch, and there’s a chilly wind. The dogwoods are mostly or all gone, but there’s still some flame azalea and native wildflowers in bloom.
We saw a great program yesterday at Amicalola Falls State Park, as part of the Georgia Master Naturalist class we’re taking. Lead naturalist Heather Abercrombie lectured on raptors and snakes, a class that starred a Barred Owl, a Great Horned Owl, a Screech Owl, a Red Tailed Hawk and (not technically a raptor) a Black Vulture. It was great to see them up close, hear some of them call, and learn about their similarities and differences. (Heather herself does wonderful calls for the ones who don’t feel like talking.) The snake portion of the program featured a black snake, two corn snakes in different colorations, and lots of additional information. After the lecture, we were given the (optional) opportunity to cuddle with the corn snake, who did seem to be a pretty lovable fellow. They tell me that they do some version of the program every Saturday, and it would be a great experience for almost any kid. (They do a lot of programs for school kids.) They have a revolving cast of characters, so as not to stress any of them too much, so the actual lineup of critters could differ. I couldn’t confirm this online, so if you are interested, I’d confirm by calling 706.265.8888. The park itself is a beautiful area, with lots of picnic tables and trails. The walk up to the bottom of the falls isn’t too bad, but from there it’s stairs to the top (604!) or take the road. I’m told it’s the most visited state park in Georgia, and it certainly deserves to be. There’s a $5 parking fee. I’m not sure if there is a charge for the Saturday program. It’s a little over an hour from downtown Blue Ridge.
They had a great waterfall map in the gift shop, “Waterfalls of Northeast Georgia and Upstate South Carolina.” It is done a lot like the National Geographic topo maps, and seems to be pretty accurate for our area. They even found Sea Creek Falls. For those of you who can still get around without the cool Bond girl whispering directions in your ear – and that’s apparently a very few these days – it’s a worthwhile addition to the truck. Price is $11.95, but if you go crazy and buy a state park pass and join the Friends of the Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites ($35 for seniors, $55 for others) there’s a 10% discount on everything but food and drink in the shop, and a few other perks like a free nights camping at any state park and 25% off historic site admission. If you pay to get in, they’ll deduct that if you show them your ticket. The pass without the membership and perks is $10 less. There’s a 25% discount for active military and vets.