Back to Nature (Published on - July 6, 2005)
Getting back to nature on horseback
Photo by Rick Tremmel
Lucy gets brushed, Dottie gets in on the attention, and Karen Mitchell Tremmel gets the honeymoon she wanted.
The rain played a symphony upon the log cabin’s tin roof late into the evening, but the early morning sun was already casting beams across the knotty pine wooden floor. One rooster was hard at work singing reverie, while a couple of hounds bellowed that it was time to rise and shine.

After greeting the day with a large cup of coffee and a bowl of grits, salt and peppered, we thumped our boots against the railing to scatter any critters that might have crawled in for night’s rest. These were the rituals we’d become accustomed to while staying at a ranch in Georgia.

Joe and Richard, the hired hands, were down by the stables hauling water and unrolling bales of hay. Lucy, a beautiful red-haired Paint met me at the gate, while Dottie, a dappled Blue Roan, pushed her head against my shoulder.

My wish for our getting-back-to-nature honeymoon was to spend time with horses, while Rick’s desire was to feel cool mountain air. Solution: a guest ranch with outfitted log cabins in the north Georgia mountains on about 35 acres. With rivers nearby for kayaking, wooded trails for hiking, and crystal clear, cold springs to cool off we were set.

Wayne and Linda, co-owners of the ranch, gave us the lay of the land as we sat in rocking chairs upon a long covered porch, lined with an assortment of muddy cowboy boots. A cool breeze blew in from the mountains. Linda served up homemade peach ice cream and watermelon. A big, old, orange tabby tumbled into my lap, while the men exchanged tales and stories and spit watermelon seeds over the porch railing.

“There be a couple of fox dens down in the hollow near the spring. We think she uses both of them accordin’ to the weather and run off, but if you go down there, watch out for the rattlesnakes and water moccasins by the creek. They can be kind of cantankerous.”

We nodded and smiled appreciatively while looking over the pasture.

Dude ranches, guest ranches, guest ranch B&B’s and ranch cabins offer an alternative to getting back to nature, if camping is not your style. Horse ranches such as English Gap in Georgia or Ace of Hearts in Titusville offer an alternative to being in the great outdoors. These vacations vary from the rustic experience, where you bring in your own bedding and cook your own meals, to the higher priced luxurious experience which may include fireplaces, queen bed, shower/tub, wet bar, sitting area, rocking chairs, screened covered porches and gourmet meals. You have your choice between working, educational or sedentary chill-out ranch experiences.

While surrounded by the calm of the natural world, the sweet scent of hay and the soft nuzzles of horses, you’ll be catapulted far away from the business of everyday city life and gently swayed back to nature.

Karen can be reached at

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