As I push toward South Florida for the holidays, I'm through with this year's search for a homestead location, so I decided to return to locations and people I enjoyed too many years ago.
In 2017, I found a bike hostel in rural Georgia, and I am so pleased that The Blue Goose is still alive and well. I didn't get to chat too long with the owners, Donna and Roger, but it is pretty clear how they've continued to draw travelers and evolve in this small community. The hostel, a lovely cottage built in 1847, is still a comfortable spot for travelers, but now a delightful bakery, general store, and event space, too, to attract folks from the surrounding area. Roger is also in his second term as Mayor of Irwinton (population 840), and the couple are building a unique home on the 2.5 acre property. Stagnation does not seem to be in their vocabulary.
My visit was an afternoon at the historic church with friendly locals, one sunny day to bike about the area (nearby Toomsboro has not sold), and a rainy day to get soaked walking about town, then to be lazy. Otherwise, good meals, a long conversation with a wise 35 year old, and very sound sleep.
Eight years ago, I thoroughly enjoyed my second-ever Airbnb experience with a lovely woman named Eleanor in Gainesville. Following a backroads journey south through Georgia, I arrived to this 82 year old opening her front door to say, "I remember you!" and offering a hug. She invited me to a Dances of Universal Peace event, good food here and there throughout the week, and a trail ride to her favorite tree at week's end. Of note, she had three other guests as well. When you look up "sprightly" in the dictionary, Eleanor's picture is there.
Thankfully, this is my third visit to Gainesville as half the week was rain followed by heavy rain. Not so bad actually, as I played outside at my favorite spots and let myself sit to read and write. I like Gainesville as it checks a lot of the boxes on my "must have" homestead list. Unfortunately, it's in Florida.
Cyclist, writer, teacher, avid reader, bike/ped advocate, nomad, pie lover