Callaway Gardens

Pine Mountain, Georgia
November 11-14, 2022

Callaway Gardens is a 6,500-acre resort complex located in Pine Mountain, Georgia, nestled in the southernmost foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and about a 35 minute drive from Robert and Natalie’s home in Lanett, Alabama. The destination is said to draw over 750,000 visitors annually. The resort includes nature trails, a Butterfly Center, a Birds of Prey show, and Robin Lake – the largest man-made white sand beach in the world, stretching a mile around the 65-acre lake. The resort is home to two golf courses and a variety of other attractions.

The BradenClan: Jay, Karen and her family, and Robert and his family, convened over the Veterans Day Weekend at Calloway Gardens. This adventure had been scheduled for the Labor Day Weekend but COVID put a hold of those plans, necessitating the rescheduling.

This trip was also destined to have some excitement: Tropical Storm Nicole was making its way north through Tampa and up towards Georgia. The tropical storm was projected to have enough force that the Hillsborough County School District scheduled a school closure on Thursday, the day before we were scheduled to depart. Well, we went with a Thursday departure from Tampa and Karen did all the driving, arriving at Robert's house around 3:15 AM on Friday morning. Everyone was quickly bedded down and got about six hours sleep. The overnight stay with Robert and his family provided Karen and her family the first opportunity to see the Robert Braden Family Home in Lagrange. They were very impressed with the home and the modifications that had been made, and with the pool and the new pool house, and with the other improvements to the property.

The previous night's arrival of Jay plus Karen and her family enabled everyone to be packed up for an afternoon arrival at Calloway Gardens where we all checked into our three bedroom villa and picked up the two 6-passenger golf carts that Robert had reserved for us to travel around the resort.

Over the weekend we "hung out" at the villa, playing card games and chess, and watching movies on the TV. We also had lots of fun traveling using our golf cars. Yes, the weather was a bit brisk, but the carts were so much fun that we hardly noticed. We attended the Bird of Prey Show, soared on the Treetop Adventure (Discovery Course and Sapling Course), ate at the Discovery Center Café, played Putt Putt, and competed on the beach at the volletball net with our paddles and balls. We also had a great time stealing early looks at the various displays associated with the upcoming Fantasy in Lights. Really fun for Daylin and Skyler who had each turned 16 less than two weeks before and who each had a drivers license they got to drive the golf cart (with an adult present). Also - and do not tell anyone - there just might have been a time when some of the younger kids got to do a little highly supervised golf cart driving, which they also enjoyed.

For food and drinks, Natalie had ordered "a bunch" that we enjoyed over the weekend, including daily breakfasts, a lunch meat mid-day meal at the Treetops Adventure, and a super tasty Taco Soup. We also brought in two dinners from food establishments right outside the resort: a wings and pizza dinner and BBQ-with-sides dinner. Yumm!

We understood that our visit was between Pumpkins at Callaway and the Fantasy in Lights, so the activities associated with these events would not be available. With all this being said, our family felt like we did not have the Callaway Gardens experience that we expected. Yes, a great time, but still we had some unhappiness that we conveyed to the CG staff. In fairness, they empathized with our concerns and provided some financial relief.

Most important, however, was that we didn’t let little things get us down and had a fabulous time together.

Monday morning we packed up and headed home with lots and lots of good memories.

(Click on any slide to enlarge it.)






Birthday Month!

You should have moved your Pawn here!




Veterans Day!












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