Callaway Gardens

Pine Mountain, Georgia
September 4-7, 2020

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.

We again spent a super nice Labor Day Weekend at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia. We stayed in a different location this time. Previously we have stayed in one of the two bedroom cabins in Pine Mountain Cottages, but this time we needed three bedrooms so we went with the Pine Mountain Villas.

Overall our Villa was very, very nice with plenty of get-together space. There were a few things that might have been improved such as queen size beds instead of full-size beds and a larger kitchen and some pesky ants that we had to deal with, but the accommodations overall were great. A plus for the villa was that it was right across from the Villas’ Pool. And we took advantage of water fun there also.

For this visit we rented two, six–passenger golf carts. Staying at the resort and driving around on golf carts adds a whole new and very positive aspect to the vacation. Traveling around the various roads and trails of Callaway Gardens in a golf cart is a sweet experience.

Robert and Natalie did a whole bunch of shopping for all of us. That had to have been a lot of work. They also checked into the Villa for us and arranged for the golf carts to be picked up. During the stay Robert made food runs every night which was also very good of him to do so.

Jay and Joyce, and Karen and her family traveled from Tampa on Friday, departing in the morning for the eight-hour trip. The Jay and Joyce car included Cinny, who would be with us on this family vacation. We all arrived at Callaway Gardens around 4:30 in the afternoon. That left time to unpack and take the golf carts down to the beach area where the balloon festival was ongoing and where there were fireworks later that night. For our first night dinner we had barbecue treats, and all of this was a fun start to a fun weekend.

The next morning we packed up to canopy tents, chairs, drinks and games, and headed for the Robin Lake Beach, where Natalie suggested a location on the beach that was excellent in all respects; close enough to hear the music and far from the crowds. Our site also was right next to a volleyball court, and our activities included swimming, competing in bocce ball, and playing paddleball using the volleyball net. In the early afternoon we returned to our villa for some food, some naps, and to recharge our batteries for the trip we made back to the beach in the late afternoon for more fun including volleyball. For this night we had pizza and chicken wings and also got to dig into pretty good leftovers from Friday night meal. Later it was movie time watching the latest on Disney+ ... a good way to end a busy day.

On Sunday we got up and made our way over to the Adventure Center where most of the group participated in the zip line and obstacle course called the TreeTop Adventure. Lots of good fun, though Joyce noted that the climbing under the wire ropes and negotiating the wire obstacles was fun, but exhausting.

While in the area, Luke and Everett fed some fish, Charlie caught and released turtles, and we all enjoyed a nice lunch that had been prepared by Robert, Natalie, Karen, and Cathy.

After returning to the Villa for our required afternoon naps we got motivated again and drove down to the beach for about an hour and 45 minutes for more beach fun and games and then returned to the villa where we all went swimming and played pool games such as catching a football while jumping in the pool and competing in a water version of Ultimate Frisbee. For dinner we again voted for pizza and wings and leftovers.

Later, we played a couple of games including the adults breaking their brains on Rebus puzzles; and we also broke into three teams for a contest to see who could make the tallest marshmallows and toothpicks structure. Winning was the team of Karen, Cathy, Braden, and Everett. (Note to self: In the future specify that the marshmallows are not to be formed in one’s mouth – Karen – and then used as a sticky mass as part of the construction.

Here are some family comments:

  • Joyce - Family, fun , food, fellowship, and one furry little dog named Cinny. What could be better than the Braden /Alvarez gathering at the beautiful Callaway Gardens? In my humble opinion: nothing. What a wonderful family to be part of.
  • Cathy - I liked many aspects for different reasons. Golf carts provided a special relaxation and scenic component that we would not have been able to experience otherwise. Beach activities fed the playful athletic side of me. Hanging out and bonding with family is a need that can not be measured and those times are special in and of themselves. Watching my kids form closer bonds and have fun with their cousins was the most special for me as a parent. The TreeTop Adventure was challenging and we all need to push ourselves out of our comfort zones more often than we do! It was a perfect balance of adventure and relaxation. I also ate a lot of food that I do not normally eat. That was tasty and a nice treat, but I am trying to offset that!
  • Braden - My favorite part of the trip was when we played games in the pool.
  • Daylin - I liked the TreeTop Adventure and swimming in the lake with everybody when the water was warmer.
  • Skyler - I really enjoyed the TreeTop Adventures and going on the golf cart to get to places!
  • Natalie - This trip felt relaxing, and I can't totally put my finger on why, but i was very thankful for that. I loved staying in the villas, plenty of space, easy to say "yes!" To the pool at any time. The golf carts added a nice freedom as Cathy said... there's something about not having to get in a car to get around. The kids loved it and I enjoyed all the different combos of kids and adults in every golf cart ride. The side of the beach we stayed on was fresh and new and felt more spacious and that was nice. The over arching best part was watching the kids/cousins and aunts, uncle, grandparents all enjoying each other in an uncomplicated setting and hopefully storing up lifelong memories.
  • Jay - Have to stay true to form and say games bond us even further together: Pool games such as Pool Ultimate Football and catching a ball while jumping into the water; beach games such as bocce ball and volleyball and paddleball; and party games such as Rebus and Mini-Marshmallow Mountains. Sure, we could have done those anyplace but doing them on Robin Lake Beach, at our mountain villa, in our nearby pool, and between golf cart rides and swinging through the treetops was delicious icing on the cake.

Monday morning we packed up and headed home with lots of good memories of fun family time together

(Click on any slide to enlarge it.)

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