We are tucked away in the midst of Chattahoochee National Forest in northwest Georgia, the states' designated “Mountain Bike Capital”.
This multi level wooded property was beautifully designed by George Mitchell of Dalton, Georgia. Previously a mountain retreat for his family and friends, George brought in three sleeping cabins, a camp kitchen and rustic dining hall. He cleared spacious camping areas and added enormous hand built picnic tables. He provided a small bathhouse on the hill leading to the camp area. Two small ponds, fed by natural springs trickle into a brook which runs behind the cabins and camping area. Small bridges, viewing areas and paths were constructed as well. Trout were stocked in the ponds for his grand kids. Wildflowers, wild mushrooms, butterflies, moths, salamanders and turtles were plentiful as were rhododendron bushes, hardwood and hemlock trees. An outdoor paradise!
The upper portion of the property was eventually equipped with a home, barn, pasture, ferrier shed and large workshop. His hobby was mules and horses. Hitching posts as well as large chains concreted into the ground remain on the property which formerly secured the livestock. All utilities were installed underground before adding a large circular, paved driveway. Nothing interferes with the natural beauty of the property!
Meanwhile, we Floridians were getting antsy from back to back hurricanes, sweltering heat and skyrocketing land prices. We were tipped off to the beauty of north Georgia and began making occasional trips to scout out an acre or two for camping purposes. While scouting the area, we learned of the property at Mulberry Gap. Purely out of curiosity, we requested to see what was behind the closed gates. We took the tour with the owner, learned it’s history and fell in love at first sight. The wheels began turning!
We began to imagine building a business on the 15 acres based on home away from home comforts for outdoor enthusiasts that love the outdoors but not the hassle that often goes with packing and unpacking endless gear. After a few months, the arrangements were made and we jumped in on a wing and a prayer! Leaving established and routine lives in Vero Beach was scary, but new hopes, dreams and challenges are exciting.
Little by little we began upgrading the amenities. The first priority was to build a larger, comfortable bathhouse, close to the center of activities in the camp area. With that in progress, we tackled the dining hall-scrubbed it down, replaced the ceiling, stained and decorated the walls and accumulated tables and chairs. We doubled the size of the deck and added koi to the existing trout in the ponds. We fixed up the sleeping cabins – new blinds, spreads, sheets, pillows and porch railings. Camp kitchen, about half the size it is now, got a good scrubbing and we began stocking it with cooking and serving supplies. There were lots of windows to wash, leaves to rake and rocks to move. We had a blast!
Since the fall of 2006, we have continually adapted the property to add to the enjoyment of our guests. We brought in hot tubs, prepared a bike wash area and planted wildflowers around the property. An additional 2 unit couple/family cabin has been added. The Barn has been converted to a rustic event facility which has hosted a number of biking events, adventure races, the original Southern Cross cyclocross ride, music events, weddings and a festival. Our screen in porch now serves as the registration office and our old living room now functions at the retail shop!
We have enjoyed sharing Mulberry Gap with our guests and do our best to make it a comfortable, casual home away from home. It is the ultimate honor for us to have many guests who return regularly and become our friends. We appreciate the support and encouragement we have received to continue the mission of Mulberry Gap as a unique mountain bike destination!
Meet The Owners
We’re mostly family. It’s complicated, it works, and we can’t wait to meet you!
Ginni: Head Chef
Ginni Taylor - Is our Gifted Chef and prepares the fabulous meals at Mulberry Gap. She has strong motherly instincts to feed and watch over our guests after raising two children of her own and adopting 5 others. Ginni grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh. In addition to banking and real estate, she ran a B&B at a ski resort in Vermont.
Diane: Owner & Bookkeeper
Diane Kepley - Grew up moving around the northeast, graduated from Middle Tennessee State University, traveled a bit in Europe, the continental United States and Alaska and worked as Certified Property Manager. Eventually moving to Vero Beach, FL with her husband, Steve, who is an optometrist and owner of Tropical Eye Associates, she served as his office manager for 20+ years while raising three children; Jason, Kate and Rachel. She has a soft heart for animals, especially the homeless and wounded and has raised a myriad of birds, turtles, snakes, squirrels, dogs, cats and pigs…
Andrew: Jack of all Trades & Lumbersexual (@thelastamericanman)
Andrew Gates - Holds certifications as a Firefighter and EMT-I. He began practicing the art of Seibukon karate at the age of 7 and obtained his 2nd degree black belt at the age of 17. He was fortunate to travel extensively while competing at an international level. Since retiring from karate, he has become an avid mountain biker and completed his Mountain Bike Instructor Certification through IMBA. Andrew & Kate met in high school while living in Vero Beach, FL and married at Mulberry Gap in November 2013. They enjoy challenging themselves and adventuring together; including cross-country road trips, hiking, biking, climbing and whitewater sports. Along with Andrew’s medical training, he is known for his ability to problem solve, fix things and get the job done.
Kate: Business Manager & Events Coordinator (@partypacekate)
Kate Gates – Kate & Andrew met in high school in 2004, and their families have been close friends ever since. Little did any of us know this dating relationship would be the start of Mulberry Gap so many years later. During the early years of the business, she attended Florida State University and graduated in 2011. During the summers of her Junior and Senior year, she studied and worked in Florence, Italy and enjoyed traveling throughout Europe. Upon arriving back in the states she moved to Chattanooga, TN where she worked as a raft guide on the Ocoee River and studied to become a Registered Yoga Teacher. She and Andrew were engaged during the winter of 2013, and she’s been full time with Mulberry Gap ever since.
She fell in love with cycling in 2014, when she and Andrew went on their first bikepacking trip in Florida to ride the Huracan 300. Long-distance and endurance rides are her preferred method of exploring by bike. The bikepacking experiences led her to become a lover of the gravel and experiencing places at a slower pace. She’s completed multiple centuries including the Mississippi Gravel Cup, Croatan Buck Fifty, and Dirty Kanza 100 and 200. She and Andrew enjoy traveling within the states and abroad by bike. Beyond cycling and yoga, her passions include health & nutrition, traveling, photography and outdoor adventures with Andrew and their dog, Brewski.
Meet the Crew
Kathryn Palmer: Office Manager
Palmer is an audacious collector of experiences, constantly looking for new wildernesses to tame.
Her life and career have often focused on training animals, people, and animal-like people. In Florida, Palmer raised two lizard-catching daughters, who have now passed their skills on to the next generation of offspring and fur-babies. She is very proud of her successful daughters and adventurous grandkids. She also taught the public about fascinating creatures, such as the binturongs at the Palm Beach Zoo. But whether she was training park rangers for the Florida DEP, employees for American Red Cross, or crew members at Andretti (AIKG), her philosophy is always the same: help others, do no harm and learn daily.
She loves meeting new people and hosting trivia Meet Ups. Palmer is most at home while surrounded by nature. An avid camper and hiker, Palmer is now using her "same boots, different trail" attitude to master the mountain biking lifestyle at Mulberry Gap.
You can find Palmer and her partner-in-crime Parker walking around the grounds or behind the desk at the front office. Parker will either look like an adorable chug (Chihuahua + Pug) or a snoring pile of blankets, depending on his mood.
Dillon Nelson: Building & Grounds Maintenance
Dillon is a dedicated husband of his high-school sweetheart, a father of a beautiful baby girl, and a jack of all trades and master of a few.
He was raised in North Georgia surrounded by beautiful mountains, deep forests and friendly hillbillies. He was perpetually immersed in an ever changing rotation of hobbies and interests ranging from BMX biking to playing the violin, and nearly everywhere in between. His radically short attention span paired with being home schooled for his elementary school years enabled him to acquire a small amount of knowledge about a wealth of different things, and continues to fuel his adventurous spirit and desire to learn to this day.
His educational & professional background includes automotive repair, welding and metal fabrication, technical management and residential construction. He currently holds a residential contractors license and operates a small home repair and construction business when he isn't building and maintaining things here at Mulberry Gap. His current passions include but are not limited to being with his wife and daughter, woodworking, homesteading & permaculture, hiking, mountain biking and celebrating the beauty of our skillfully created earth while loving and caring for those who live within it.
Tori Barrett: Marketing & Business Development Manager
Tori grew up in the world of summer youth camping and spent 20 years as a summer camp director before joining the Mulberry Gap team. She loves all sorts of outdoor activities including hiking and backpacking, sailing and kayaking, and climbing. When indoors is calling you can find her curled up with her two border collies Izzii and Clover spending her free time absorbing a wide variety of nerdy media content, practicing yoga, playing guitar, and trying to make ever more creative and delicious recipes… with mixed success. :)