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Hi Folks, Ron & Alley, writing again from the beautiful North Georgia Mountains to share some important news about how the Vacation Rental market is changing, and how you can avoid paying extra hidden fees.

HomeAway and VRBO (Same ownership: Expedia) started to add hidden fees to the cost of your rental.

It used to be that owners like me would pay a fee to advertise on HomeAway, and then the payment you made came straight to me. HomeAway apparently needs more money to make more cheesy commercials, so in addition to my advertising payment, that will increase the price of our cabins. The increase will be approximately 9%. Which means if I am charging $200 for a night, the price you’ll see will be about $218 per night. Ouch!

This means higher prices for you with no added value. But it does not have to be that way…

Skip The Middleman!

Whether you rent from me or someone else it is very likely that when you contact the owner directly, you’ll be able to save some money on your next rental. The price on our website will always be lower than the new HomeAway prices (or AirBnb or TripAdvisor for that matter). Among the hundreds of other owners I’ve spoken to, they’ll be doing the same thing – offering a discount for dealing directly with the owner.

Visit our Websites, Facebook and other Social Media!

Most Vacation Home owners have a private website and a Facebook page, so take a moment and look us up so you can go straight to the owner. (All of us! Not just me!).

Questions? Drop a note!

This is a big change to the Vacation Rental market, so I’m happy to answer questions. Drop a note any time to chat.

Thu, 03 Mar 2016 16:42:06 -0500

We’ve been amazed at the number of people who wish to spend at least one of the major holidays up at Bearadise Retreat and Buck Valley Lodge. For Thanksgiving this year we had over 100 people inquire on those dates. After one family was told that the week had been booked for a month they immediately reserved the cabin for Thanksgiving week, next year! Christmas and New Years also have just as large of following for cabin stays. We’ve found our guests fall into one of two categories; 1) It’s an annual tradition to rent a property for family to get away and just enjoy the holiday without all the distractions of day-to-day home life. or 2) They are looking to start a new tradition that can be built on year after year.

Regardless of why our guests decide to stay at Buck Valley or Bearadise Retreat over the holidays they all have built lasting memories that will be around long after the toys are broke and the sweater gets worn out.

Fri, 02 Jan 2015 11:02:23 -0500

Searching for a romantic mountain getaway with that special someone is a rather easy task when your destination is the North Georgia Mountains. Located in Dawson County, just 17 miles from Bearadise Retreat, Amicalola Falls is the perfect spot to rekindle love and rediscover the natural beauty of the great outdoors.


Amicalola is a Cherokee word meaning “tumbling waters,” which is very fitting considering Amicalola Falls is the tallest cascading waterfall in the Southeastern United States.  Surrounding the waterfall are 829 acres of picturesque scenery and trails. The “spray zone” is the nearby area that attracts rare plants and animals that can only exist in humid conditions.  Amicalola Falls supports a variety of aquatic life and offers a ton of fishing opportunity for trout in seasonally stocked watercourses.

For those that love to hike, Amicalola trails offer a great way to soak up the majestic mystique of this beautiful state park. Longer trails and waterfall attractions are found at Black Rock Mountain, Cloudland Canyon and Vogel.  There are hundreds of different bird species in Georgia, including bald eagles, ruby throated hummingbirds and redwing blackbirds. Nearby attractions also include the Dahlonega Gold Museum and the Appalachian Trail.


Mountain top lodges  and cabins are very popular with guests who prefer the comforts of a hotel, but require more of the aminities of home. With full kitchens,open living areas and private bedrooms; cabins tend to spark appeal to a broarder range of people. While cottages and campgrounds attract the more rustic visitor. Some notable places are:

  • The Lodge at Amicalola is perfectly positioned atop the 729 foot falls. This setting offers a perfect location for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Bearadise Retreat Cabin and Buck Valley Lodge is full of romance. Featuring jacuzzi’s, breath-taking views and top of the line furnishing, just to mention a few.
Discover all that the north Georgia mountains have to offer. Ellijay is a destination full of wondrous natural beauty and romance that can create life-long memories.

Thu, 11 Sep 2014 10:57:00 -0400

Those of you who have stayed at Buck Valley Lodge or Bearadise Retreat Cabin know that, because of the excellent team we have in place from our cleaners to maintenance people we can feel free to travel and not be concerned about things going awry.

And when we do travel, it’s an amazing opportunity to draw connections between Ellijay and other destinations: to understand how we compare – socially, culturally, historically – with the most interesting cities and towns in the world.

We sometimes give the North Georgia Mountains some grief for many of its strange, stubborn, and sometimes downright quirks. But most recently, I got inspired to identify the lifestyle compartments in which Ellijay thrives.

Here are 3 ways in which Ellijay really differs from most of the world’s most interesting towns:


Know thy neighbors: No longer is it common to really truly know one’s neighbors. Sure you might see them getting their mail or taking their dog for a walk, but when was the last time you really interacted with them in a non-chance sort of way?

Ellijay in this regard is completely different.

Everyone knows everyone. Whether you like it or not, you’re bound to bump into your neighbors anywhere from 5-10 times per day. This has a wonderful way of forcibly building community and I don’t know how I could live without it.

The art of saying Hello: Some might say this is a result of knowing thy neighbors (the fact that everyone says “Hello”) but I’d argue that even strangers in Ellijay are far more cordial – almost a throwback to the era of hat tipping and curtsies. It’s safe to say that if you’re walking on a quiet road or trail and you pass someone without giving some salutation, you’ve probably not been here long.

Ellijay itself is a smashing poster child for this folkway. And when I visit other cities and towns, the lack thereof is accentuated.

Saying Hi is just a simple, lovely little gesture that sometimes gets forgotten in day-to-day life.

The race that wasn’t: Remember back in your childhood when things were simple? There was a time when running from appointment to appointment wasn’t the top on everyone’s priority list. Ellijay offers a throwback to a simpler time when people just aren’t in a hurry. No traffic jams (Apple Fest not included), even a trip to the grocery store is more laid back. Sitting on the front porch at Bearadise, watching the leaves change relaxes and invigorates the soul.  I always find that some time spent in the North Georgia Mountains recharges my batteries and continues to draw me back when I’m away.