In years past, Jewish parents were known to take their children out of the city as tuberculosis or polio became rampant. This past year of the COVID pandemic, some Jewish Atlantans who own cabins sought the same getaway, enjoying the fresh air and safety of their home-away-from-home in the woods.
“Honestly, I’m a beach gal,” Cheryl Isaacs said of the cabin she shares with husband Phil. “I grew up in the small town of Wilmington, N.C., in the ’50s and loved the beach life more than anything, which was only 15 minutes from my home. I never dreamed that one day I would own a little cabin in the North Georgia mountains rather than a beach house at Wrightsville Beach.
“After I got married to my husband Phil, we frequently traveled to the North Georgia mountains to get away from city life in Atlanta. I had a client who was in real estate who offered up his cabin in Rabun County for us to stay one weekend in October,” she recalled.
“We had such a good time that we started looking for property to potentially buy the very next week. One dear friend, Winnie Brown, showed us quite a few possibilities until the very last showing, … in Lakemont, Ga. There stood the cutest little cabin overlooking Lake Rabun that beckoned us to call our second home. Phil drove up every weekend after, sitting on the wraparound porch looking out over the lake and mountain scenery. It was a magical moment for him.”
But the couple wasn’t quite sure. “Our answer came when Phil’s brother Frank suddenly passed away that fall at 49 years old. One never knows what life can bring and how it can change in an instant. We decided then and there to throw caution to the wind and buy what is now known as Phil’s Hill.
“Just breathing the cool mountain air, playing games with our grandkids, hiking, biking, reading books and relaxing has given us a fresh perspective on how to live a better life.”
Stress Relief in Blue Ridge
The Spiegels have been cabin owners for more than 20 years. “Robin and I loved spending weekends at our friends’ cabin, both of whom were doctors, and they were not able to use it much,” Mark said. “We loved it and eventually bought half-interest in the cabin.
“That was back in 1998 when Blue Ridge truly had a small country vibe. We shopped at the local Piggly Wiggly.
“The shops on Main Street were mainly composed of the old downtown stores that were filled with consignment booths selling everything from old collector Coke bottles to old meat grinders and other nostalgic antiques,” he said.
“We would hike, rent pontoon boats at the local marina, tube the Toccoa River, horseback ride at nearby farms and pick our own apples at the local orchard. Mainly we enjoyed our toasty fireplace and cooked our own gourmet meals dining on the back deck overlooking Lake Blue Ridge and the Appalachian Mountains,” Spiegel recalled.
“When COVID hit last March, we thought it was a good idea to retreat to the mountains. Early on Blue Ridge had very few cases compared to the big city Atlanta. We were very fortunate that the year prior, the local internet provider was looking to expand and offered our little mountain community the opportunity to have high-speed fiber. We could all do our work from our back porch with a true serene backdrop, not one of those digital mountain backdrops.”
Reconnecting with Nature
Larry Faskowitz said of the cabins he and wife Simie visit, “Because we love to take different road trips to visit family and friends located throughout the country, and because we have moved 10 times due to corporate relocation moves, it never made sense for us to purchase a cabin in any one location. … That is why we prefer to rent versus purchase and own in any one location.
“During the pandemic, one of the very few places you could go outside and feel safe from being too close to other people and contracting the COVID-19 virus is staying in a cabin in a mountain getaway from the city. My wife and I have loved renting cabins for three-day weekends in our beautiful Georgia state parks. Although the cabins are far more rustic than staying in a plush Marriott Hotel room, they still offer many of the modern comforts and conveniences us city dwellers have gotten used to,” he said.
“Staying at these cabins in the parks allow us to reconnect with nature, which feeds our souls in a calm yet invigorating way.”