Friday, August 9, 2013

Providence Canyon? Canyon? Where?

Canyon? What canyon? Photo © by Judy Wells.
If timing is all-important, the Good Girls - OK, I -  flunked with our stops near Lumpkin to see Westville Village and Providence Canyon.

Westville was the vision of John West, who wanted the young to learn about the handicrafts - woodworking, cloth-making, open-hearth cooking, shoe-making - of early Georgians. This high school and college teacher, a fan of John D. Rockefeller's Colonial Williamsburg and Henry Ford's Greenfield Village, in 1928 he opened "The Fair of 1850" in Jonesboro, GA. When he died in 1961, Stewart County residents created a new industry, heritage tourism. As circumstances changed, the displays and re-creations moved until "Gates to the Past" permanently opened  on April 2, 1970, making it the third-oldest living-history project in the country.

I'd seen it once before and knew it was a time-worthy stop. Except for one thing, it is open only on weekends.

Canyons stay put, tree leaves don't. Photo © by Judy Wells.
You can't close a canyon so we pushed on to Providence Canyon State Park, where you can close the visitors center except on weekends.

I had first seen the canyon, a testament to bad farming practices in the 1800s, during December. Then, Georgia's "Little Grand Canyon" evoked a Good Grief, how did that get here? response with its 150 feet deep gullies and horizontal hues of cream, red, orange, pink and purple. That all of this, some 1,000 acres, had been created in less than 200 years by erosion was a revelation.

Trees, trees and more trees. Photo © by Judy Wells.
"Canyon? What canyon? Where? was the reaction as we pulled into the park parking lot. 

Taken from the trail. Photo © by Debi Lander.
Everything was green and leafy; trees and underbrush blocked the view. It was a little better around the bend or down the trail but not enough to warrant the time or effort.

Another effort from the trail. Photo © by Debi Lander.
Only one thing saved the day. Pie.

Our last stop that morning in Albany had been Pearly's,  a family owned and operated 50-year institution for breakfast and lunch. Just before we waddled out, they delivered a bag. They had heard the Good Girls were on the look-out for good pie and wanted us to try theirs. "You're gonna get hungry."

This isn't Pearly's buttermilk pie - we were too busy eating to take photos - but enlarge and eliminate the whipped topping and it's close. Photo by Debi Lander.
The aroma of buttermilk pie wafting from the back seat had beguiled us all morning. As we returned to the car, Debi said, "I think it's time for pie."

It was. And so we sat there, overlooking trees and murmuring between bites, "Good pie," "Mmmm good," "That's a good crust," "Good," "Wish we had more."

Canyon, shmanyon. Who needs one when you have a piece of good pie?

Moral: Don't miss Pearly's and come to Westville Village and Providence Canyon on a winter weekend. Otherwise, bring a whole pie from Pearly's.

- Post by Judy Wells.

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