I double-checked my email with anticipation. Check-in at 4:00 p.m. I thought I had it right.

I looked up from my phone to an antique piece of silver jewelry and caught the strong perfume of a classically Southern grandmother strolling one grandchild with the other anxiously tugging at the linen on her hip. Our lunchtime detour had led us to Sweet Pickins’, an antique mall only minutes away from downtown Childersburg. We had just finished a late lunch at Old Town Grille and strolled through the mall as a way to walk off our hearty home-cooked meal.

“It’s time to go,” I nodded toward the doorway. We headed back to the car and set out for the final leg of our trip. We had decided to take the scenic route from Birmingham through Childersburg to Cheaha. We passed familiar sites like Majestic Caverns, formerly DeSoto Caverns, and Selwood Farm. A recent festival round-up had featured the Kymulga Grits Festival, and we passed banners for the upcoming event on our drive. We took these as good omens.

We saw signs marked “Cheaha State Park” and before long we were ascending the mountain. Listening to our oldies playlist at near full volume, we rolled down a window and made our way up top to the Mountain Store for check-in. Admittedly, my stomach dropped slightly when I glanced over and saw we were nearly at the top of the mountain. I had been distracted by the music and did not realize we were so close to the top. The view was so breathtaking that I paused my off-key singing for a moment to soak it in.

(Timberline Glamping Cheaha/Contributed)

The moment we got out of the car, the mountain air met me, and all fear of heights and the unfamiliar left me. It instantly felt like we were welcomed. Having arrived early for check-in in all of our eagerness, we meandered through the Mountain Store appreciating everything as if for the first time. It was stocked with all of the classics—moon pies, Yoo-hoo, and old-school candy sticks of every color—and a strong sense of nostalgia washed over us.

We decided to stick to our original plan of enjoying s’mores later that night and walked over to the check-in desk to get everything we needed for our stay. Shortly thereafter, we were inside the gates and headed to our campground. A deep anticipation kept our eyes peeled and we made note of everything we saw along the route as the mountaintop view peaked through the trees.

(Anna Kathryn Fitch/Contributed)

After a quick drive, we pulled into the upper campground where our campsite was waiting for us. As we drove a minute or two we marveled at how many families had set up their own campsites and were having a peaceful afternoon on the mountain. We drove past a friendly group of young girls who waved as we pulled into our parking space.

What we found was positively picturesque. We were greeted by rows of string lights and a front porch with two Adirondack chairs for lounging. The tent was bigger than expected and we were eager to see more. We unclasped and unzipped the tent with spirits high, but we couldn’t imagine what was inside.

What we found was out of a catalog. Two queen beds dressed in blankets and pillows, a coffee station equipped with custom Timberline Glamping Cheaha insulated mugs, a seating area with a hanging mirror, games and books along the foot of each bed, and, most excitingly, the s’mores kit we had ordered.

(Anna Kathryn Fitch/Contributed)

After snapping some photos and videos of the pristine space, we sat our bags down and took a long, deep breath in our new home for the night. It was exactly what we needed. A beautifully curated, impeccably clean, and perfectly homey space to enjoy the mountain air. We couldn’t have asked for a better weekend to enjoy our first glamping trip—seventy degrees and sunny.

While tempted to nestle in for the evening, we decided to take advantage of the unbeatable weather conditions and set out for a short hike. After looking at the park map, we found a quick trail from our campground to the nearby observation tower. Still slightly heavy from our late lunch and fighting the urge to curl up and nap in the comfy queen beds, we set out. We were so glad we did.

After a minute or two of getting our bearings, we found the trail. The trail took us up a rocky pathway toward a higher point of the mountain, and we stopped along the way to read each storytelling sign. After ten or fifteen minutes, we arrived at the Observation Tower, a historic and fascinating piece of architecture, with far more knowledge than before.

We found the main door open and spotted a staircase to the top. We followed it, looking out the windows on each side as we ascended and appreciating the way the old stone kept the inside of the tower comfortably cool. After a handful of flights, we were inside of a small room with panoramic views. It was breathtaking. We stayed there for a little under a half hour, enjoying the view and speaking with a couple and their toddler as he looked out at his surroundings, amazed.

(Anna Kathryn Fitch/Contributed)

Before long, we were back at the camp and decided to have a quick meal we had packed. We took our snacks out back to the firepit and hammock. We climbed into the hammock, talked, and enjoyed the profound silence of the mountain. While nearby campers were speaking in excited tones, the background noise of the city was nonexistent. It was bliss.

The late evening saw our first attempt at a fire and a round of s’mores. Timberline Glamping Cheaha gave us the option of several add-ons, three of which were a firestarter bundle, roasting sticks, and s’mores kit. With our materials, we were able to make some incredible sweet treats to end the night. We savored every bite and, before long, only wrappers remained.

Later on, we made our way back to the tent, got ready for bed, and crawled into the queen beds under the relaxing spell of a fulfilling day. That night, I fell asleep quicker and more soundly than ever before to the sound of wind in the trees and neighbors laughing around a crackling campfire.

The next morning, I had to be peeled out of bed. So completely content with life, I spent the next few hours having breakfast, breathing deeply, and walking around the camp. We set off for home not long after, and as we started our descent, my eyes began to well with the prospect of not being back here for quite some time.

I looked over and whispered, “So, when are we coming back?”

To book your own experience with Timberline Glamping Cheaha, visit their website here.