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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Big Canoe, Georgia

Driving through the gate of Big Canoe on Sunday afternoon, May 26th, 2013, I felt myself falling in love. We are spending the week here to see if this is a place we would like to move to from Connecticut. Chuck has family within 90 minutes of this beautiful gated community. As we drove through the pine trees that bordered each side of the road, I felt myself relax and breathe the stress of the life I had left behind out of my lungs. We wound around wood lined roads, curving around corners with glimpses of golf greens peeking at us through the woods. When we got out of the car, from the parking lot we could hear a waterfall which we later discovered was the rock slide area where people can actually slide down part of a river on a man made rock slide. We entered the condo to an afternoon of discovering the nooks and crannies of our home for the next week. We roamed around the one bedroom condo finding new corners including an outside porch outside the living room and an inside porch outside of the bedroom. The living room holds and amazing brick wood fireplace with a hearth that can provide extra seating. And besides the bathroom attached to the bedroom with a queen sized bed. We immediately went to the fitness center sow e could work out before they closed at 6. We got a 1 week membership. Chuck used the work out equipment but I was too excited to be here and to see the place so I headed outside to find some hiking trails that I had been given a map for by the woman behind the desk at the fitness center. I started out on the lake trail which ran .6 miles behind the center. On the way, I watched some young people going down the rock slide which looked like a lot of fun. I headed out onto the path and was immediately surprised at the quietness of the trail. I missed my dog Reeses and imagined how much she would have enjoyed walking on the trail with me. The trail wound up and down along the edge of the lake through the trees. It was shady for most of the trail and although the temperature was about 80 degrees it was cooler under the trees. I came to an area where I crossed a floating bridge which had been built by volunteers and reached across the lake. I saw a turtle sunning on a rock, and must have surprised either a few turtles or fish or frogs as I could hear them jumping into the water before I got there, and saw the ripples in the water that were evidence of where they had been. The trail intersected with a wildflower trail which I followed for a bit but then when I realized that the trail did not go around the lake, but just continued on to another trail, I followed that wildflower trail for a bit, then turned back. After our workout, we went out to eat at a place called, ‘Forno” which was in the Foothills Shopping Center which also includes an IGA. The pizza we had was delicious and was made from home made dough. I was glad I had read the review online about Fornos before we needed to find dinner somewhere. After dinner, we went to the IGA around the corner but in the same shopping center. It was small, probably the same size as a dress barn store. It had what we needed for the Memorial Day picnic tomorrow with Chuck's family..... Monday, 5/27/2013 Today we woke up and had a cup of coffee on the back porch area of the condo. We sat and watched the groundskeepers mowing the greens and watched ducks swim in a nearby pond. I can’t believe how peaceful and quiet it is here. We hardly hear any voices, and since there are no lawn mowers and lawns allowed, it adds to the peace. The rock slide is behind where our condos are so we can hear the water that sounds like a waterfall. After breakfast we went exploring and tried to find some of the homes we were interested in by following streets. It was really fun exploring the roads at Big Canoe. After 45 minutes of that, we went to the fitness center. I did laps in the indoor pool while Chuck worked out. I started a conversation with a very nice lady who has lived here with her husband for 6 or 7 years. They really love it here. They moved here from Atlanta. After working out we went back to the condo and Chuck's daughter and her family arrived. Shortly afterward his son and his family also arrived. We headed down to the Swim Club which is where we decided to have our family picnic. At the entrance, guests pay a fee to use the swim club amenities which included the rock slide, picnic area, pool, lake and canoes and paddle boats. None of the adults swam but the kids had a ball. After the picnic, about 5 p.m., most everyone left except a few family members and we sat on the back deck and drank wine and watched the golfers. We also saw two deer wind their way across the golf course, and chipmunks and squirrels, and geese. It was so amazing. I love the wildlife here. After everyone left Chuck watched TV and I just felt the need to get out there in nature. So I left the condo and walked along the golf course path. It was so beautiful I just needed to be out in the wild. I saw a deer on the edge of the golf course, but I scared her so she ran across and back to the wooded area. I noticed she watched me from the woods. I followed the path up and around a hill and found a sheltered area with rest rooms and Styrofoam cups with ice cold water. I was hot from my walk so the water tasted good. On the way back to the condo, I saw Chuck coming toward me so he met me halfway and we walked back together. It was so peaceful and beautiful. I am falling in love with Big Canoe!Here are some pictures of what we see from our back deck: Tuesday, 5/28/2013 We woke up and enjoyed a cup of coffee together on the back deck again watching the squirrels play. We planned on exploring Dahlonega and Jasper today. Jasper is the town closest to Big Canoe that has most of the grocery stores, pharmacies and a Walmart. We took off around 11 a.m. to head to Dahlonega. It took us 45 minutes to drive there, and it was a beautiful drive with mountainous twists and turns the whole way. Dahlonega is the town in which the first gold rush in the u,S, was started. If you would like to read more about Dahlonega, I have written an article all about it for HubPages and you can find it here: http://karenhellier.hubpages.com/hub/The-Delights-of-Historic-Dahlonega-Georgia On our way back to Big Canoe, we decided to head into Jasper to check it out. We had heard that is the closest town where we can grocery shop and where the drug stores like CVS, and Rite Aid are, with a Piggly Wiggly grocery store nearby. We were really happy to see that there is a CVS, Walgreen’s and Rite Aid all on the same corner, and one mile away there is a Walmart, Kroger and IGA to grocery shop at. I timed it on the way back and from the Rite Aid to the main gate at Big Canoe, it took us 16 minutes. Now of course if we buy a house here, it will take longer to get to our home, but 16 - 30 minutes is not bad at all, when there's an IGA for emergencies not too far from the gate. We would just have to plan our trips into “town” in advance. I sounded like Laura Ingalls Wilder right then! We returned to the condo and took a nap, and then went to work out at the Fitness Center. Chuck did his usual routine of biking and using the weight equipment while I swam for 35 minutes continuously and then sat in the hot tub for 10. I loved being able to just swim as a workout and was imagining how great it would be to be able to have a heated pool available to me every day to swim in. I started to feel healthier already! I spoke to a recently divorced man who was also in the hot tub. He has been leasing a home at Big Canoe for a year and his lease is up in June. He enjoys it here so much he is looking for a house to buy. He told me he loves it here at I asked about the cost of the extra and he didn’t seem to mind it too much. On the way out of the Fitness Center, I stopped to ask how much it would be for a membership for Chuck and I for the fitness center and the indoor pool, For the 2 of us as a couple it costs $55 a month which I thought was great. Cheaper than in CT. at Chuck’s fitness center. We came back to the condo, had a glass of wine on the outdoor deck as the sun went down and I watched a deer meander across the golf course looking for food. We had leftover pizza for dinner, then watched TV, used our computers and I read all the brochures I had picked up in Dahlonega earlier in the day. What a life huh? In case you can't tell, we are really enjoying it here in the North Georgia woods of Big Canoe! Here's a picture of Dahlonega...

Saturday, May 25, 2013

We Leave for Big Canoe Tomorrow!!!

Tomorrow Chuck and I leave for a one week trip to Big Canoe, Georgia. Two of his three adult children and their families live nearby. This 8,000 acre gated community is 80 miles north of Atlanta. We are staying in a condo inside the gates of Big Canoe for a week to try out the community and to see if we can picture ourselves living here on a full time basis. We went last year for a day and met with a real estate agent. We fell in love with the area, and the peacefulness of this mountain community. I am not sure that I want to live in the South, being a born and bred New England Yankee from a long line of New England stock. I am a Yankee through and through, but do want to get out of Connecticut and have wanted to for a very long time. So, we have an appointment set up with the same real estate agent as last year and I have been researching homes that are within our budget and that we can imagine us actually living in. I originally came up with a list of 22 homes, trying to leave no stone (or home...LOL) uncovered since this may be the only chance we have to see some homes before buying if we do decide this is the right place for us. After sitting down with Chuck the other night, the list has now been whittled down to JUST 11!!! But since right now we only have one day scheduled with the real estate agent, I sent the list to him to whittle down further. He has our list of requirements and there are some things about these homes that only he has access to, such as do these homes all have mountain views, the square footage, etc. Based on those details, we have faith that he will develop a list of what will work for us, and we look forward to touring some homes. On Monday, Memorial Day, Chuck's son and daughter and their families will be coming up to spend the day. We are going to have a cookout and enjoy some of the facilities. The kids are especially looking forward to enjoying the natural rock slide on the property. One day, Chuck and I are going to explore a nearby town called, "Dahlonega" which is supposed to be cute and quaint and a nice relaxing place to spend a day. There are also some wineries in that general area which may be fun to check out. About seven miles outside the gates of Big Canoe is a state park with a beautiful waterfall so we are looking forward to seeing that too. At the end of the week,on Saturday, June 1st, Chuck's granddaughter Hannah will be graduating from high school. We will be attending her graduation and the party afterward, and coming home the next day. Once we get home we will be processing all we heard and saw about Big Canoe to decide if it's the place for us. I will definitely keep you all up to date! Here's the link to an article I wrote about Big Canoe when we went to visit in 2012: http://karenhellier.hubpages.com/hub/Resort-Living-A-Review-of-Big-Canoe-Georgia

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Chuck Hellier, my Mr. Wonderful on YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdNfy4H6XTU&feature=youtu.be I am so proud of my husband. Although we have been together for eight years and married for three, I still find him very handsome, sexy, intelligent and full of charisma. He recently was on a business trip to Pennsylvania and was interviewed. Here is the link to the interview. Watching it may give you an idea as to why I love this man so much!!! He's my Mr. Wonderful!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Add Some Romance to Your Marriage

I have been thinking about an article I wrote on HubPages awhile back. It's called, "12 Reasons Why I Love My Husband" and even though I published it over a year ago, people are still finding it and writing comments about it. To date 7,488 people have read it. That in itself is amazing to me. Some people seem grateful to me for writing it. Others I fear, feel sad after reading it and seeing what they are missing in their marriage or in their lives if they don't have a love in their life right now. A comment from today mentioned that they liked the way I make married life so romantic! I asked Chuck if he thinks I make married life romantic and he says that I score pretty high marks in that area. It's not that hard, and to me life is too short not to have romance in it. Life is sometimes very monotonous in the same thing, new day routine that a lot of people find themselves in. It's much more fun to break up the monotony by throwing a bit of sugar and spice into the mix. And that's easy to do. How hard is it to write a few love notes every month and hide them around the house where your spouse is sure to find them? And when they do, the surprise and the message is sure to bring a smile to their face. Hmm, that reminds me of a new topic to write an article about for HubPages. I can write a whole series about what to say in love notes that people can hide in their homes! But I digress...there are other ways to add romance to your life besides love notes. How about greeting your husband/wife when they come through the door with a huge hug and kiss and telling them how much you missed them? Or before you go to bed, face your spouse and tell them one or two things that you appreciate about them. That's it...don't go into anything negative, just tell them that before they go to sleep. How about drawing your wife a bubble bath with lit candles some night as a surprise? Or making him his favorite meal and dine by candlelight for no specific reason? Or maybe you could do something around the house that your spouse has been nagging you to do but you didn't want to? Complete the task and leave a little note on it saying you did it just for them with a smiley face so they know you weren't trying to be sarcastic. There are things that take more time that are romantic that one can do, such as plan a picnic, or a trip somewhere. But it's so easy to be romantic and helps your spouse feel appreciated. Here's the link to the article I wrote on Hubpages if you are interested in reading it, and may you have romance every day in your married life: http://karenhellier.hubpages.com/hub/10-Reasons-I-Love-My-Husband

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Reunion: Chuck came back!

Well it was a very busy week for both of us last week while Chuck was away. I met a friend for lunch on Sunday, and another friend for a nice long walk with the dog on Tuesday after work. The rest of the week, I was either working (substitute teaching), writing, or cleaning the house. Chuck is more particular about the house than I am so I decided to surprise him when he came home by having the house all cleaned and a nice dinner made for us to share when he returned home. On Thursday night when he came back, the three of us, and I'm including the dog in that number, were like one big happy family again. In fact, the dog was so happy to see him that she began repeatedly leaping two feet up into the air and barking! We were amazed at her sheer joy, and I am sure it must have sent the message to Chuck that he was sorely missed. After greeting each other, we went in and had dinner together. Upon noticing the house, Chuck remarked that maybe he should go away more often. Oops, that plan backfired on my part! I put the brakes on that plan by telling him if he did go away more often I would stop cleaning the house so that would not be a good choice! We are together now for about 2 weeks, and then he has a short trip before we go away together during the last week of May to Georgia for a week. I wrote an article about Big Canoe, GA. which is a gated community we are thinking of moving to. If you are interested, you can read about it here: http://karenhellier.hubpages.com/hub/Resort-Living-A-Review-of-Big-Canoe-Georgia ...I will be using my new camera to take some much better pictures of the area so will be replacing the current ones. I am just not sure I am ready to move to the South. I am a born and raised New Englander through and through and don't like the heat. But it can't hurt to take a look and get to know the area a bit. We have rented a condo for 1 week so we can really have time to explore and meet people that may be our future neighbors. The community is in the North Georgia Mountains so it's a bit cooler than the lower lying towns. More to come after this after our trip south. Here's a picture of a view from inside the community:

Sunday, May 5, 2013

On Missing Chuck

It has been exactly 34 minutes since Chuck left to go on a business trip to Las Vegas, and I already miss him like crazy.Since I was finally able to move in with him in September, this is the first time we have been away from each other for this long. He has had some overnight business trips that he has taken, but this is the longest one. I left my job at the local high school and became a substitute teacher last June so I could travel with him on his trips. But since we just returned from an almost 3 week cruise, and are planning to leave again for another week at the end of the month (to check out a gated community we may move to in Georgia), we have decided not to ask my parents to take care of the dog for these 5 days, and instead, I will stay home with her while Chuck goes off on his own. I thought this time away from him would be no problem. But when you are in love with someone, and are fortunate enough to be with that someone day in and day out for months at a time, it's a huge emptiness when they leave. Oh yes, I do have things planned to keep myself busy while he is gone. I have some days already booked to work this week. And I plan to write as much as possible. And I still have things that are coming down from my old house that I promised Chuck would be put away before he comes home (where I will put them is still a mystery at this point, but I will find a place). I have plans to get together with a few friends. And I plan to do some cleaning and maybe some scrap booking as well. But all of that doesn't replace the quietness of the house. After all the dog is here with me, but she can't talk. And it doesn't replace the empty space in the bed next to me at night. And it doesn't replace the empty chair at the table during meal time. But I guess we will somehow muddle through, and when he comes home, we will be that much happier to be back together again. Although, in my heart I would rather be in Las Vegas with Chuck (sorry Reeses!)