Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Georgia Traveler Epsiode 204- Rabun Gap Ramble

Hello there! As the Executive Producer of the Georgia Traveler series it's my pleasure to tell you a little bit about the "behind the scenes" action involved in the production of our fourth brand new show this season. As you may know from the Georgia Traveler website, on this episode we’re on a Rabun Gap Ramble, exploring the Rabun Gap Loop in the northeast mountains.

Rabun county is a beautiful place, and it's about as far northeast as you can go without being in the Carolinas! It's a very popular place for tourists to visit and fall is the perfect season for leaf peeping. The main drag (so to speak) through the county is US 441, so, that's the basic route we choose to travel. The road goes directly through some beautiful mountain scenery but is fairly straight and has four lanes in most places, which is also what made it perfect for the motorcycling segment. Phil has been interested in motorcycles for a while and he volunteered to take the State's Motorcycle Safety Training Course and become licensed in order to complete the shooting on this show. Since Phil was a relatively new rider, we wanted a safe, straight road. Motorcyclists with more experience will want to check out US 76, which winds from Ringgold to Clayton throughout the Georgia Mountains. One of our future shows explores part of that path, show 206, Scenic Mountain Highways. Phil was joined by some friends and we chose Clayton as the rally point to start our ride. From Clayton we went north on US 441 through Mountain City, Rabun Gap and Dillard. Then we turned south and went to Tallulah Falls. Part of the crew went to Tallulah Gorge State Park to interview our riders fr the motorcycling segment while Phil and Dan (one of our photographers) went over to Isabelle's on the Gorge to shoot our food find for this episode.

If you watch the Isabelle's segment on GPB's website, you'll see all the motorcyclists in the background because the majority of us went to join Phil for lunch once we wrapped those interviews. And I must tell you, the food at Isabelle's was fabulous. I had never had a fried pickle before and that was a very tasty appetizer. My main course was the chicken salad plate and it was great- fresh, homemade chicken salad and some fresh fruit along with a yummy muffin. I always eat so well when I travel with Phil.

In addition to being the show's EP (that's TV lingo for Executive Producer), I also produce segments. For this show I produced the motorcycling segment, but because we were able to shoot both in a single day, I also had the privilege of being present for some of the Isabelle's shoot. David Zelski wrote, produced and edited the story about Lake Burton and our Associate Producer, Jennifer Houston Wood, wrote and produced the segments about the Dillard House and the Chattoooga River. Excellent work by all!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Behind the Scenes: Rabun Gap Ramble

This week I have two segments in the upcoming show, Rabun Gap Ramble. And both endangered my life. Kind of.

My two day shoot in Northeast Georgia started out well. I rode horses at the Dillard House Stables. And this was not life endangering part at all. It was a fun, beautiful ride through pastures, woods and the Little Tennessee River. Pam Thompson, the stable manager, was kind and accommodating. The horses were gentle and handsome-- although mine kept stopping to drink water from the river and thereby holding up the rest of the party.

No, the life endangering part came at lunch and then again at dinner and by breakfast I was nearly dead. Fed to death. That's what my tombstone might have read. The food at Dillard House is good. The quality is great. Mostly from local area farms, I'm told. But the quantity! Oh my, the masses of food they bring to the table. Even Phil couldn't help me polish it off. My advice: the restaurant is called "family style" so don't, I repeat, don't forget to bring your family. All of them. Including distant cousins and maiden aunts. Don't leave anyone behind. You'll need all the recruits you can muster.

The second life endangering part came the next morning. Phil and I met up with the crew at the Nantahala Outdoors Center, an outfitter on the Chattooga River. The staff was great and friendly-- but that "trip talk"! Whew! This was scarier that any moment on the river. Of course, there are inherent elements of risk on a class 4 river-- but the warnings and video animations were intense. When we got to the river I asked John, our photographer, what he was thinking about he answered, "Three things. One last smoke. Breaking this camera. And death." Yes, death is on your mind when you're on the Chattooga. But all was well. Everyone not only survived but had a awesome experience.

Again, my advice: before you raft don't google "Chattooga deaths" and don't watch Deliverance. Save both those things for after you return safely home-- which you inevitably will --with a perma-grin which will last the rest of the day.