Welcome to Trips 'n Toys!

Welcome to Trips 'n Toys!

War Hill Park - Dawsonville, GA

And we finished up our afternoon of Kids' Museums, NASCAR History, and Moonshine Distilling with a relaxing time in War Hill Park on the Northern end of Lake Lanier.

The quest for a letterbox brought us to this park, but unfortunately we weren't able to locate the box itself. Instead, we enjoyed the beautiful weather and the gorgeous skies until it was time to head to dinner.

If you've got a boat, or are looking for a primitive campground area, check this place out. There aren't a lot of facilities, but it's rustic, and very pretty.

War Hill Park in Dawsonville, GA

Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery - Dawsonville, GA

If you are familiar with the history of NASCAR, you know that moonshine running through the hills of Georgia had a little something to do with it. 

Come see how moonshine is made in this family-friendly micro-distillery tour in the same building as the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.

The guides are super friendly and great with letting the kids touch and smell their way through the tour and exhibits. 

The price of the tour includes a "free" bottle, but if you don't drink and aren't interested in the product itself, ask for a discounted rate. Be sure to peruse the gift shop for other local food and gift items. We're not drinkers, but we decided to get Grandma some Peach Moonshine Jelly! It didn't last long, so I'd say she enjoyed it!

Georgia Racing Hall of Fame - Dawsonville, GA

Awesome Bill from Dawsonville?

Yep, it's the Bill Elliott Collection at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame!

From Moonshine to NASCAR, come get your race on!

INK (Interactive Neighborhood for Kids) - Gainesville, GA

INK (Interactive Neighborhood for Kids) 
999 Chestnut Street,
Georgia 30501

"Our Experience Was Pretty Rough"
I've seen a slew of solid 5 star reviews on this place, so I'm hoping our bad experience was just an anomaly. But, it was a bad enough experience for me to feel the need to comment. 
First, upon entering, the woman at the counter seemed nice. I explained to her that I was interested in purchasing a membership. We didn't need it specifically for this place, we were just on vacation and wanted a membership with ACM reciprocal benefits to save us money on other stops along our journey.

I asked if they had the ability to prepare our membership cards that day. Some museums from which we have purchased memberships in the past do have the ability to prepare cards immediately. Some don't. That's fair.

At first, she ensured me they could have our cards ready. Then after filling out the forms while negotiating a toddler anxious to get started in the museum, she decided that the woman who makes the cards was "too busy" and "didn't feel like making the cards today" so I would just need to come back later in the week.

Since we were on vacation and coming back was not possible, we just paid the full admission price and continued on our way.

Upon entering the museum itself, you can quickly tell this place is in the category of a very hand-made museum. It reminds me a bit of the Children's Museum of Acadiana in Lafayette, Louisiana, which we actually adore.

But beyond being hand-made, everything just felt very dirty. And dingy. And worn out. And dirty. And broken. And dirty.

Through the first few rooms, the kids had a pretty good time. There is a dedicated infant/toddler room, a construction area, a grocery store, a bank, dentist's office, hair salon, motorcycle, train tables, and a cafe.

We had a pretty big group playing all together in the cafe. Taking orders, cooking, serving, eating, cleaning... My children love when they can get other kids to all join together to participate in a creative scenario.

After that, though, it got rough pretty quick. I'm not sure if it was a large school/camp group, or just a busy summer day; but there were HORDES of unruly kids, with nary a chaperone in sight.

I wouldn't normally be so quick to blame this on the museum, but there wasn't a single employee in sight either. The place rapidly became a dangerous free-for-all. My 1-year-old was thrown off the motorcycle, and then pushed and shoved away from the trains. Kids were throwing toys and fighting. Everyone was running and screaming.

It was a little quieter around the corner. There were a few more toys. Nothing specifically museum quality, just a handful of things we own at home. The airplane in the back of the museum was pretty awesome; but by the time we got ready for take off, the crowd found us, so we decided to get in the van and take off from the premises instead. 

Maybe it wouldn't have been as much of a disappointment had we not paid full admission to enter, and instead put our money towards a membership that held a financial value to us for the rest of our trip. 

And, again, it's not INK's fault if parents were not minding their own kids, but I don't see how you can run a museum with no floor staff whatsoever. Surely that's a catastrophe waiting to happen. A catastrophe for which we weren't willing to subject ourselves. 
Of all the dozens of kids' museums we have visited, this is the first one my kids have begged to leave. I'm usually dragging them out at closing time. Here, they were dragging me out after less than 90 minutes.

Rocky's Grill & Soda Shop - Brevard, NC

Rocky's Grill & Soda Shop 
50 S Broad Street,
North Carolina

"What a FUN Place to Eat in Brevard, NC!"  
Brevard, North Carolina is a fun little town in any season. 
In its quaint downtown area, you will find a plethora of unique food choices. Some are more expensive than others, though; so if you are looking for something fun, casual, and not bank-breaking, consider Rocky's Grill & Soda Shop!

If you have kids, you'll definitely want to be checking out the two story O.P Taylor's Toys. If you park on the east side of the building, Rocky's is just two or three doors down.

The second you walk in the door, the 1950's swallow you up and transport you back to a time of good, simple family fun!

The jukebox is cranking out tunes, while the decor and ambiance engulf your senses. Whether you're in the mood for a burger, or a shake... Or even a banana split, Rocky's is going to hit the spot.

The wait staff is super friendly, and they all go out of their way to make sure you and your family are having an absolute blast.

When we visited, my youngest was 11 months old, and she spent the entire visit in her high chair bopping away to the classic tunes.

When you are done eating, be sure to check out the souvenirs, and the awesome shop connected to the diner... Yep, you guessed it! D.D. Bullwinkel's General Store! Whether you feel the need to browse old-fashioned toys, modern hiking supplies, or just spend a few moments absorbing the local flavor, these two places are definitely a load of Brevard-style fun!

For great music, excellent burgers and fries, and super huge, delicious banana splits, Rocky's Grill & Soda Shop gets 5 stars from our gang!

Yum, yum!

Daniel Boone's Wilderness Trail - Kingsport, TN

We spent a morning in Kingsport, Tennessee perusing some of the sites along the beginning of Daniel Boone's Wilderness Trail.

Alongside the South Fork of the Holston River, you can see a Flat Boat, an integral means of transporting goods in the late 1700's.

Across the street, you have the historic Netherland Inn, first built as a salt yard, but eventually repurposed into a tavern and inn.

Behind the Netherland Inn, you have several preserved log structures, including Daniel Boone's Cabin and The Old Schoolhouse,