Falling for Georgia Fall

Pumpkin and cinnamon are my least favorite flavors, so I never had a taste for fall…until I got lost in a field of sunflowers, rolled a wheelbarrow full of pumpkins and stood over a waterfall — all in one 70-degree day.

The leaves had not turned and the weather wasn’t crisp yet. It was the very early stages of autumn in Georgia, when the summer tends to throw a few more punches of heat before bowing out. And it’s during this cusp that sunflowers are in bloom.

Ninety minutes north of Atlanta, there’s a family owned farm that dates back to the same year Abraham Lincoln gave his famous “A House Divided Speech”. It wasn’t until 2011 that Fausett Farms ceased poultry farming and converted their more than 30 acres into a field of sunflowers as far as the eye can see.

It’s the best $5 you’ll spend for a frolic in the field. If you’re feeling loose with your wallet, you can spend much more. You can buy sunflowers and sunflower oil, go on a carriage ride and eat sweet treats. Before I left with my goods, one of the good people of Fausett Farms suggested I stop at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm.

I took him up on it, even though I wasn’t a fan of pumpkins. It was only two miles away and in the same direction I was headed. But even if it was 20 miles in the opposite direction, it would have been well worth it. I had not known the joy of pushing a wheelbarrow until this day. I also had not known the awe of looking out onto a field of pumpkins that were diverse in color and shape. I was hard pressed to find any two that looked alike in the sea of gourds.

With a car filled with sunflowers and pumpkins, I went around the bend in search of the 729-foot Amicalola Falls. It was an easy hike. Maybe too easy. I expected to work a little harder to be able to capture these views:

I went home that day with a greater appreciation for the season, but I still won’t sip a pumpkin spice latte.

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