I’m an unabashed fan of the Len Foote Hike Inn. It’s a place everyone should visit at least once in their lives and it’s one of Georgia’s amazing granola getaways…simple, peaceful, cozy.
But wait…it gets even better. You see, the Georgia Conservancy and the Hike Inn teamed up for a volunteer weekend so we could enjoy the Inn for a couple of nights at a discounted rate in return for some manual labor. Let me tell you, that’s a granola trifecta!
The Hike Inn…
A refreshing five-mile hike to the lodge and all you need is your personal items. Simple as that. They provide the food as well as linens. There’s a sunrise room, showers, books, friendly staff and fellow visitors, and usually some sort of entertainment like a storyteller. The food always leaves everyone raving. The view is rejuvenating.
The lodge is eco-friendly in both construction and operation so you can relax guilt-free. And relax you can in this device-free zone. People of all ages and experience come through the Hike Inn. And minus the distractions of our electronic age, these people come together to play games, do puzzles, and chat in the sunrise room.
The Georgia Conservancy…
In addition to the great work they do for our state and the fact that they’re super nice, the folks at The Georgia Conservancy also know how to run an outing. We had a great time paddling the Okefenokee with them because of their casual but attentive approach. I knew their handling of the Hike Inn volunteerfest would be no less fabulous. They did not disappoint.
And while we’re still indie travelers by-and-large, I would happily sign up for one of their programs again…if I could manage to find one that fits into our bizarre calendar.
So as for the work, there was such a variety for all ability levels and inclinations from chopping wood, to clearing brush, to cleaning the game room. Everyone could do something, even the kids who came along. The Hike Inn staff members were amazed by what we were able to accomplish and that was even with having to call it quits early due to some surprise sub-freezing weather. It just goes to show how much progress can be made when a motivated group comes together to improve something they care about.
For ages, we’ve been trying to find volunteer opportunities that include kids only to come up empty. It seems the minimum age we can find for events has been ten but in most cases 14, usually because of liability. That makes involving Fred and George in community projects at an age when they’re most receptive (i.e. much younger) a bit difficult wouldn’t you say?
Imagine my delight when this opportunity came up. I couldn’t sign up fast enough! We so appreciate the Hike Inn and the Georgia Conservancy for creating an event that allowed us to foster a sense of community in our little minions. Even though they don’t necessarily produce the amount of work an adult might, they still get to be a part of something bigger than themselves which plants the seed for greater involvement later on.
The world according to Fred and George…
So what did they think of all this? The Hike Inn was a huge hit and they’d readily tackle the hike again to be able to go back. George reports that using the loppers to cut away brush was his favorite work activity and he certainly went at it with gusto. Fred was fascinated by the wood chopper which remains his most distinct memory of the work portion of the weekend.
The funny thing is that they were more inclined to work because it wasn’t at home. The contagious let’s-get-it-done attitude of our fellow volunteers certainly caught on with the them. Seeing other kids taking on some pretty big tasks motivated them to try some things they probably would have groaned about in their own yard.
As far as the Inn itself, they both adored the sunrise room with all of it’s puzzles, blocks, and games but I think it was the wide variety of people to play with that made those activities stand out for them. Exploring the grounds held great fascination for them as well. Fred’s imagination was clearly in overdrive as he meandered about, mesmerized by the buildings and winter-barren forest.
Obviously I had a great time on many levels. Aside from getting Fred and George a volunteer opportunity with one of my favorite organizations at one of my favorite places in the world, I got to work alongside some fascinating, friendly people. Of course, we got to experience of the granola trifecta in that regard, but even if you can’t make it to something that epic, by all means, at least do each one separately.
So one last time, here are the links to get you started on fabulous Georgia adventures…and if you have questions, I’m always here for you.