Tag Archives: Georiga

Callway Gardens – Pine Mountain, GA


The morning of Sunday, July 3 was shaping up to be another hot day in Phenix City, Alabama. My friend and I (along with her husband and his family) had made plans to carpool to Pine Mountain, GA to check out Callaway Gardens. My friend had previously been there and suggested that it was perfect place to soak up some sun and relax by the water.

We arrived at Callaway Gardens and paid a $12.50 per person entrance fee. My friend, and fellow Army wife, told me that it was normally free admittance for military. We were a bit disappointed that because of the “holiday weekend”, we had to pay the entrance fee. We did, however, save some money. The normal entrance fee is $20 per person. I don’t necessarily agree with the entrance fee because of the holiday weekend. We were there on Sunday, July 3 – not the 4th of July.

As soon as we parked and got out of the vehicles, that southern hot air just takes your breath away. Maybe not for everyone but I have spent the last three years living in the Pacific Northwest. The air in Georgia is definitely very hot and humid! We walked towards the lake with our coolers and beach towels. The lake was not nearly as packed with people as I surely imagined it would be. We found what I considered to be a perfect spot on the grass. We opted for a spot on the grass versus the sand because, well, the sand was hot! We set up shop and immediately started putting on the sunscreen. In my case, I put on the sun tan oil.

My friend and I walked up to the gift shop to browse around for goodies. I am a sucker for gift shops and souvenirs! I ended up purchasing a lime green Callaway Gardens drink koozie ($1.25). While in the gift shop, my friend paid a $10 per person/an hour fee to take part in climbing on and sliding down a huge blow up obstacle course out on the lake. It looked appealing but I actually passed up on the adventure. Instead, I walked over to the refreshment bar and ordered the Sunday Special : a Bahama Mama ($5.00). While my friends and their family enjoyed the obstacle course, I sipped on my delicious, ice cold adult beverage and soaked up some sun … a lot of sun.

 It eventually got to the point that it was too hot, so that meant it was time to take a dip in the lake! Normally, I have minor “issues” with water that I cannot see the bottom of. I had bad past experiences with dirty lake water that just had creepy things in it. This was not the case at Callaway Gardens. My friend and I walked across the white (and hot!) sand beach and approached the water. I could immediately see that the water was clean, clear, and very inviting. As I dipped my toes into the water, it was not freezing, it was a refreshing warm – but not too warm – temperature. We walked out into the lake until the water was about chest high and waded around in the water. As mentioned before, the lake was not overly crowded so we felt that we had our “own space” to enjoy in the water.

 The great thing about Callaway Gardens (which is different from some places I have been) is that you are allowed to bring your own cooler full of food and drinks. You are not expected to fork out tons of money on their food (they do have a place that you can order food) or drinks. We all enjoyed the homemade sandwiches and ice cold water that we brought with us. We also enjoyed the adult Sunday Special beverages offered at the refreshment bar.

While eating lunch, we watched a boat out on the lake that was pulling patrons on an inner tube as well as other people who were knee boarding. Callaway Gardens offers a lot of different experiences! The blow up obstacle course, laser tag, inner tube rides as well as many other things. Callaway Gardens is a rather large park that spans several acres, from what I understand. There are cottages available to rent as well as a large golf course and spa to enjoy.

Overall: Callaway Gardens has a beautiful, clean lake to cool off from the notorious southern heat. Laying under the sun, next to the white sand beach, and the blue green water gives the impression of laying right next to the ocean on a beach side vacation on the coast. The staff that I encountered in the gift shop and the bartender who made my Bahama Mama drinks were courteous and extremely friendly. I was able to completely relax – maybe take a little nap – and enjoy the sun. Although there were plenty of people nearby, I never felt crowded or felt like I was having my space invaded. This is definitely a place to go to enjoy fun in the sun!

If I had anything negative to say it would be: the admission prices are a bit steep. Although on any other day of the year (not including holidays or weekends leading up to a holiday, apparently) I could get in for free with a military ID, I do understand that not everyone is affiliated with the military. A $20 per person fee seems a little much. If I lived there and my girlfriends (and did not have a military ID) and we wanted to spend the day at the lake, we are easily looking at spending $80 – $100 for all of us. I do understand that at a such a beautiful lake with such clean surroundings, it probably does cost quite a bit to keep it that way. However, if my friends and I are looking to get together to enjoy the sun, what would stop us from enjoying margaritas poolside versus paying so much for admission to a lake?

As a visitor to the state of Georgia, it was a nice “tourist” place to visit. I enjoyed my time at Callaway Gardens! My friends who live there say they take almost all visitors there for some relaxation time. I really like the caption that Callway Gardens has on their Twitter page: “Callaway Gardens is an unspoiled paradise just beyond the lights of the city” – because that is just what it was: paradise!

Advice: Don’t get too comfortable while soaking in the sun and forget to rotate your body! I failed to do so and ended up with a tan on the left side of my body only. Oops!


Roger’s “Pit Cooked” Bar-B-Que – Hogansville, GA


On Friday, July 1, I traveled to Seattle to board a Delta airline heading for Atlanta, GA! I had never before been to Georgia. After arriving in Atlanta around 7:15pm and getting somewhat lost inside the enormous Atlanta airport, I was finally reunited with one of my very good friends. We were heading south towards Phenix City, AL when she told me that we had to stop in Hogansville for some good that she had heard about. I was starving, so stopping for food sounded like a great idea. What kind of food did she have in mind?

My friend drove us directly to Roger’s Pit Cooked Bar-B-Que right off of highway I-85, exit 28. It looked just like how a southern restaurant should look – at least in my mind. The building is pale yellow with white trim and a large porch that features several lounge chairs for enjoying the wonderful southern weather.

We were immediately greeted by a young woman sitting at a picnic bench in a gazebo right outside Roger’s front door. This is going to sound really silly but I thought her thick, southern accent was just as adorable as can be! And everyone is right about that good ol’ southern hospitality. As soon as we walked into Roger’s Pit Cooked Bar-B-Que, we were greeted with genuine smiles and greetings.  The restaurant is relatively small and was pretty empty but it was also about 8:30pm when we arrived. I’m sure not many people are out eating dinner that late. The interior felt very home-like and has wood paneling and decorated with all sorts of antiques. My favorite were the Coca-Cola metal signs.

My friend and I ordered sweet tea. It was the first time I had ever had authentic southern sweet tea – YUM! As soon as I opened the menu, one thing in particular caught my eye: Fried Green Tomatoes ($4). I have made them before but seriously, I had to try them in Georgia – I don’t pretend to think that I could make them as good as the south can! It wasn’t even a question – I ordered them immediately. While waiting on the fried green tomatoes, we asked our lovely waitress several questions about the food and types of Bar-B-Que sauce. They have two: one that is mustard based and one that has more of a hickory taste to it. She brought us two small cups of each sauce to try. I preferred the hickory and my friend preferred the mustard based sauce. We each ordered the Bar-B-Que pork dinner with coleslaw and fries ($8.49). The pork would be chopped and with our preferred sauce.

The friend green tomatoes came out to the table and looked scrumptious! There were four pieces that we cut into bite sized pieces and sampled. Heavenly! The green tomato had a sweet but slightly sour taste that the batter/breading complimented perfectly. The waitress brought us out home style ranch to dip them in but she said she didn’t like the ranch with friend green tomatoes. I enjoyed the ranch but I think I would agree, the friend green tomatoes on their own were amazing. You should definitely give these a try … or maybe send me some!

Our dinner came out rather quickly and – again – it was just as I imagined a good southern meal looking like: a warm bun topped with a hearty, mouthwatering portion of chopped pork Bar-B-Que, a dish of creamy coleslaw topped with a pickle, and a generous portion of fries. The only problem was, I didn’t know where to begin! The pork was tender, chopped into these perfect little morsels of perfection and drenched in that delicious hickory sauce. The coleslaw was cream, fresh and crisp. The fries were cooked to golden perfection and were not drowned in a mountain of salt like you find at so many other places. I was surprised to see pickles on my sandwich but then again, I love pickles, so it was a nice surprise. Regardless of the fact that I was hungry, the delicious food was hard to stop eating. I kept saying, “one more bite!”. Topping it all off with sips of that fine sweet tea was what made that meal heavenly.

What really made this experience unique (probably not too unique in the south!) was the fact that every employee that walked by greeted us and asked how we were doing … and you could tell they genuinely wanted to know how you were doing. Even the manager (I am completely assuming he was a manager figure and forgive me, I forget his name) made small talk with us and asked where we were from. Our waitress was courteous, friendly, outgoing, honest and adorable in the fact she had a smile on her face the whole time. I would mention her by name but I failed to ask for permission to do so … probably because my mouth was full of all that delicious food! I would almost guarantee that any waitress/waiter you have at Roger’s Pit Cooked Bar-B-Que will be outstanding and friendly. At Roger’s, I’m not sure what is better: the delicious food or the outstanding hospitality you will find there. The flawless combination of the two made this place memorable, enjoyable, and a place I just had to share with you. Do yourself a favor and if you are in the area, stop by Roger’s “Pit Cooked” Bar-B-Que, you won’t be disappointed.

Here is where to find Roger’s “Pit Cooked” Bar-B-Que:
1863 E. Main Street
Hogansville, GA 30230