Our weekend in the mountains is sadly over. I don’t think any of us wanted it to end. It was the perfect getaway from the city lives we all lead and a care-free schedule was pretty fantastic. the beauty of the end of vacation is you can start to plan the next one.
We stayed at the Wisteria Lodge in Blue Ridge, Georgia that we rented through an amazing company - Mountain Top Cabin Rentals. I can not recommend this company enough. We looked at quite a few different places when looking where we wanted to reserve the space, and Mountain Top won me over. Their site was easy to access, the photos of each property were clear and crisp, the representatives were incredibly helpful, and the prices were very reasonable.
We had 10 people travelling with us, and really wanted a nice big space that everyone could fit comfortably in. We had mostly couples travelling with us, as well as a few single friends, so finding a house with enough space for everyone to have their own beds was key. The Wisteria Lodge was exactly what we were looking for. There were 5 bedrooms, one of which had twin beds – perfect! There was also a fully stocked kitchen, satellite tv, speedy wireless internet, a fireplace, hottub, and amazing views!
We ended up reserving our trip for a time that was considered out of season, so we were given 30% off of our total rental price! It was an unexpected surprise, and made the trip even sweeter! Being from Florida, we were excited to get up to the mountains where there could be a chance of cold weather and snow. The snow didn’t really happen, except for a little bit that we found on a hiking trail, but the cold weather was amazing. Yoga pants and sweatshirts was our uniform for the weekend – ultimate lounging attire!
Our goal of the trip was to relax and enjoy each other’s company. Given that everyone who travelled with us are athletes, an active vacation was important as well. I am fairly certain it would be near impossible to keep us all in one place for a full four days. We hiked, we ran, and we really enjoyed everything the mountains of Georgia had to offer, with plenty of R&R in between.
Day 1 took us to a waterfall via a short hike. We covered about 90 minutes of the Appalachian Trail, which put us finishing right around lunch time. Needless to say , the hike was some what short lived. We were so hungry!
I was able to get in a 3.5 mile run post hike with my friend Felipe. It was pretty much all straight up some pretty intense hills, so I am going to have to give this run a bit more credit – our exertion felt way closer to a 5-6 mile run – not easy. It was well worth it – I think we may have found the best views in the area.
Our second day had some more hiking, relaxing, and running. See a theme here? Meghann and I got in a few very hilly miles before the group was up and ready to head out hiking. We went about an hour east to Brasstown Bald, the highest mountain in Georgia. After a short hike, we reached the summit and discovered some unbelievable views.
With 10 people on a trip together, it can get a little crazy. We all have different opinions and have our own idea of how to do things. Here are a few tips on how to plan an amazing trip with friends!
1. Start planning early
We all have crazy schedules so picking a date that everyone could agree on was not easy. We started planning our vacation before Thanksgiving even rolled around. This way, as many people as possible could attend. Not everyone was able make it, but 10 out of 11 people is a pretty good showing.
2. Stay organized
I made a Google doc that contained everything we needed to bring from home, and we all signed up for different items. We assigned each meal to everyone, so everything was covered. We knew what we would be eating, and when. We all pitched in food and supplies so that everything was pretty evenly distributed. It is the only way to go!
3. Be flexible
Keeping a schedule is pretty easy when it is only a few people, but when you have almost a dozen people in the mix, it can get a little hectic. Have a time goal in mind to do activities, but don’t take the time too seriously. It is not easy to get everyone out at the same time. Focusing too much on an exact time will drive you a little crazy. Remember flexibility is key.
4. Stay on a budget
When everyone commits to a certain time, be sure to check a few different companies to rent through. We knew what budget we wanted to keep, so finding a good property to rent within those parameters was key. Like I said before, I can not recommend Mountain Top Cabin Rentals enough. They were awesome, and even gave us a 30% discount for booking the trip in the off season.
5. Get Creative
We brought plenty of games and ways to keep us occupied, without having to focus on a tv. It was so nice to not even turn on the tv, except for some fun video games and karaoke. We played cherades and Catch Phrase – my ultimate favorite!
6. Enjoy Yourself
Everyone has so much going on these days, that relaxing and just enjoying each other is pretty few and far between. Have a great time and treat it as an amazing vacation. If all 10 people do not want to do the same activity, then don’t. No one ever said that just because you are all staying at the same place means you have to spend 100% of your time doing the same things. Split up and divide activities, then reconvene for meals. That way everyone wins.
Have you ever travelled with a group of friends? Did you rent a house or stay in a hotel?