From Robert and Liz Coleman:
Liz and I have a passion for destinations steeped in nature because we love to hike, bike and tour the countryside. We tend toward National Parks, off-the-beaten-path natural attractions, and areas with great biking and hiking paths. Our passion for the great outdoors led us to pursue the American Dream: to work hard doing what we loved and success would follow.
It was 1996, and we were newly married, living in a congested area of Atlanta and reeling in phone calls, faxes and pressure from working at home. I had recently left my career as a funeral director to take up property management, and Liz was an account manager for HP. Our favorite destination to unwind and relax, on holidays and long weekends, was the North Georgia Mountains. We had fallen in love with the historic high country area and would rent cabins from owners or through cabin rental companies at every opportunity. After vacationing in cabins throughout Georgia and becoming disenchanted with the lack of customer service extended by most individual homeowners and cabin rental companies, Liz and I decided to purchase a large tract of land and build our own dream hide-away that would eventually evolve into a successful 120-acre cabin rental destination, country inn and wine and gift shop. My personal goal had been to create a sanctuary where we could slow down and ease out of our stressful lifestyle into one of inner peace and spiritual fulfillment.
Our new adventure took three years of planning and cajoling to install roads, electricity, water and septic tanks before our home and our first two cabins were completed. We traveled to cabin resorts throughout the United States to garner ideas, and implemented the best practices in our own business. We furnished each cabin with all the amenities that would attract the most discerning of visitors. Thus, our North Georgia Cabin business was launched in May, 2000, with two cabins featuring everything from stacked stone fireplaces, outdoor hot tubs carefully placed for ideal stargazing and mountain views, and all the luxuries of home (dishwasher, microwave, full size refrigerator with icemaker, washer/dryer, and phone). Each cabin was imprinted with the our personal style including totem poles, antique doors made into windows, antique claw-foot bath tubs, steam room, hand made doors, tongue and groove interior, wood floors, and oriental rugs. To insure absolute privacy, each cabin was located on its own five-acre parcel of land.
Over the next 12 years, the number of cabins we built grew in tandem with our reservation requests. Our repeat guests loved the area so much that some purchased our cabins and others purchased property and built their own dream homes that we managed. We bought an old rock museum and antique shop and renovated both into a Bed and Breakfast and Gift Shop that has been featured several times in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Southern Living, and other publications.
I had completed my goals in record time and received some positive reviews, however the inner peace and fulfillment I thought I’d gain was still alluding me. My type A personality had resurfaced after moving to the beautiful North Georgia Mountains and I found myself overworked and overstressed once again. I was overweight from sampling all the breakfast dishes, working long hours, and smoking 3 packs of cigarettes daily. My doctor was concerned that I would develop diabetes and high blood pressure if I kept up my current pace. My competitive nature had overrun my love of the outdoors and I had picked up some mighty bad habits along the way. In order to achieve the life I desired, I realized I needed to change. I began exercising by lifting weights, running, and cycling, by eating healthy, and by quitting smoking cold turkey. Within months, I entered a 5K, then a half-marathon, then a triathlon. I lost 50 pounds over a one-year period and competed in several trail runs, long road cycling tours and more triathlons. Today, I’m healthier than I was in my twenties and I’m living life to the fullest. Liz, who grew up eating healthy and exercising, upped the ante and bought a mountain bike. Now we find time for both our passions: exploring the outdoors and enjoying the success of our North Georgia Cabin Rental business. We even make time to help others seeking a similar life transformation.
We’ve never questioned our decision to leave corporate America, we’ve only asked “Why did it take us so long to pursue our dream?” Our hide-away in the North Georgia Mountains is the perfect home to explore the outdoors… Liz and I are still discovering new hiking trails, bike routes, fishing spots, and scenic drives to enjoy in our downtime and share with all our guests.