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North Georgia Mountains - Waterfalls, Vistas, & Wineries

giradman

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Susan & I just returned from a 5-night stay in the mountains of northern Georgia (GA) just below the North Carolina state border (maps below show our 4+ hour drive) - we stayed at the Brasstown Valley Resort which is near Young Harris, GA - spanning the NC/GA border is a dammed mountain lake called Chatuge Lake w/ finger-like extensions into the valleys between the mountains - very typical of these water bodies. Although we've been to the North Carolina, Virginia, & West Virginia mountains numerous times, this was our first visit into the mountains of Georgia, which is about a two hour drive north from Atlanta, the state capital & largest city.

The Brasstown Resort is a beautiful place (see pics below - surrounded by mountains w/ a top rated golf course and spa - Susan went one morning, and I to the exercise room!). Much of the the furniture style is of the rustic type (see quote below - Source), i.e. natural wood materials (sticks, branches, etc.) - very typical for many of these mountain lodges and resorts. The grounds are well landscaped w/ shrubs, flowers, etc. (next two pics below my own). The lobby is timber-framed and rises to 3-4 floor levels w/ a huge stoned fireplace extending to the top - large antler chandeliers grace the area - I sat there each night w/ a draft local beer looking up - probably a half dozen people could fit into the hearth of that fireplace.

Further posts will cover the many attractions in the area (many of which we are too old to do!) - please contribute if you've been or live in the area and ask questions (now, as a first visitor, I'm not an expert!) - Dave :)

Rustic furniture is furniture employing sticks, twigs or logs for a natural look. The term "rustic" is derived from National Park Service rustic style of architecture. Many companies, artists and craftspeople make rustic furniture in a variety of styles and with a variety of historical and contemporary influences. Rustic furniture using recycled and reclaimed materials is becoming more and more popular.

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scifan57

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That's a wonderful resort, very different from cookie cutter designed chain hotels. That lobby is a tourist attraction in it's own right.
 
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giradman

giradman

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That's a wonderful resort, very different from cookie cutter designed chain hotels. That lobby is a tourist attraction in it's own right.

Hi Scifan.. - as usual, you're the first to respond to my 'new' travelogue - this one will be quite different from that on the Civil War - :)

The lobby is amazing - I put some arrows on the location of our room in the same pic of the lodge below - we were on the 4th floor - the top of the lobby was even higher and that stone fireplace went to the very top in a tapered appearance.

I love rustic furniture being an amateur woodworker - takes a LOT of vision and skill to grab a bunch of sticks, branches, and logs and put together a wonderful piece of furniture - I could look up and post some images but for those interested, just google 'rustic furniture' and click on images - I've not gotten into that genre of making furniture but enjoy the imagination - our beds in the room had headboards of bent branches that made you feel like sleeping in a tree house (well, kind of - ;)) - Dave :)
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giradman

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Appalachian Mountains

Just a brief post for those who may not have a knowledge of the Appalachian Mountains running along the east coast of the North American continent from Canada into the state of Alabama - below an introductory quote (Source) that nicely discusses the features and attractions of these mountains.

The map below shows the extent of these ancient mountains - note their most southerly position in the states of Georgia (GA) & Alabama - the location of the Brasstown Resort is roughly at the position of the arrow point, so Susan and I were @ the tail end of this chain. Now, some would claim that these are not really mountains - BUT, considering their age (250-450 million years) and the amount of erosion over the eons, they were as majestic in their youth as the Rockies out west whether in Canada or America - their lower and rounded appearance topped w/ green trees is a beauty onto its own - think of islands of broccoli popping up all over the land! :)

Relative to the above, these mountains are not as high as those out west or in other parts of the world - the highest mountain east of the Mississippi River is Mt. Mitchell in North Carolina (about a 2 hour drive from our home) - height is 6,684 ft above sea level (I've shown pics of this mountain in my NC mountain travelogue - take a look). We took a trip to the 'highest' mountain in Georgia (about 2,000 ft less than Mitchell) and will post later. Below are just some images of mine from previous trips to the North Carolina mountains - enjoy. Dave :)

The Appalachian Mountains are the oldest mountain chain in North America. They sweep from Newfoundland to Alabama. The Appalachian Mountains are made up of mountains, ridges, and valleys. The Great Smoky mountains are in this region. They run from Tennessee to North Carolina. The Blue Ridge mountains are the backbone of the system. They extend from Georgia to Pennsylvania. In the Appalachian mountains there is Mt. Mitchell. This is the highest mountain on the eastern coast.

The name Appalachian comes from the Apalachee Indians. A stream of pioneers first moved to the mountains where woodsmen found valleys and large gaps which made it difficult to travel. Later roads and trains ran through the valleys and gaps and tied the nation together.

Today, valleys and some small hillsides serve as small farms and orchards, and here and there are business, ranging from small craft shops to large paper and rayon manufacturing plants. In the north the farmers will grow potatoes, wheat, and they raise dairy products. In the south the farmers will grow corn, tobacco, and raise poultry. In the valleys they grow alfalfa, hay, and apples. Deciduous forests cover most of the Appalachian Mountains. Trees in this region consist of hickories, maples, and oaks. They are beautiful when they are changing colors, in the fall. The trees are shipped to North Carolina furniture makers. Coal is found in much of the region. It is a major industry, and employs many people. Also produced in the upper land is iron, stone, oil, and timber. The tumbling streams have been harnessed to supply hydroelectric power. This provides the region with electricity.

Tourism is an outstanding industry. Rivers, lakes, and state parks provide lots of recreational activities. In the winter it snows in this region, and people come from all over to ski. Trails and parkways serve many hikers and motorists. Many people come in the summer and fall to hike along the Appalachian Natural Scenic Trail. This trail is two hundred miles long, and is the longest foot path on the eastern coast. Go rafting , fishing , and take a balloon ride trough this region.

Some people come to the Appalachian mountains to take a drive through the scenic beauty. You will drive past farms, lovely trees, and running streams. The Appalachian people are very kind, down-to-earth people. Many of them own bed and breakfast places, and would be glad to have you. Many travelers come to visit Mount Mitchell National Park. It was established 1915,and was named after Dr. Mitchell. He was a scientist that was sent to the mountain to accurately measure it, but he died in a fall from the mountain. There is a memorial in his honor on Mount Mitchell.
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giradman

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Those views are magnificent. Are there any local hiking trails?

Oh, there are hundreds of trails available in the mountains of varying length & difficulty - and each location has a number of options - e.g. at the Brasstown Resort that we just visited, there were about a half dozen different trails and a connection to the lower end of the famous Appalachian Trail that extends from Maine to where we were near; over 2000 miles if you want a long hike! We've never been on that trail and most of our 'elderly' hikes have been in the 'several' miles range (we had a good one last year at the Stonewall Jackson Resort in West Virginia - another travelogue in this forum).

There are numerous books on mountain trails in various states in the mid-Atlantic area (and likely further north); we have a half dozen related to trails and/or waterfalls. For those who may be hikers and want to visit this area of the USA, I would suggest traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway (starts in Charlottesville, VA and ends in Cherokee, NC; 469 miles length) and obtaining a book or two on trails off the parkway - there are just innumerable options - a good book will describe the length & difficulty of the trails, the latter important to consider depending on one's hiking experience - Dave :)

Footpath for the People
The Appalachian Trail is a 2,185 mile long public footpath that traverses the scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild, and culturally resonant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Conceived in 1921, built by private citizens, and completed in 1937, today the trail is managed by the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, numerous state agencies and thousands of volunteers.

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scifan57

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thanks for the very informative answer. I had no idea that there were so many trails available. One could easily spend several years hiking them all.
 
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giradman

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thanks for the very informative answer. I had no idea that there were so many trails available. One could easily spend several years hiking them all.

One of our favorite mountain 'get aways' (only 90 minutes from home) is the wonderful town of Blowing Rock, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway and near Boone, North Carolina. We always take a few walks around Bass Lake (paved and flat but beautiful mountain scenes and views of the Moses Cone Mansion up on the hill- discussed in my NC mountain travelogue) - there are a number of more difficult and longer trails that come off the lake loop.

Shortly down the Parkway is the Julian Price Lake (part of a much larger memorial park of the same name) - a couple of pics below of the lake from the web - there is a 2.5 mile loop hike around the lake rated as 'easy', which we've done several times, the last hike was a half dozen years ago (below Susan & I ready to start!) - not sure that she would want to try that one again (both of us now being almost 70 y/o) - but for the younger and more experienced, there are much more strenuous and longer options, some involving climbing rocks and the use of ropes and ladders. Dave :)
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Blue Ridge, Georgia & the Scenic Railway

On our first full day, we drove to Blue Ridge, GA - about 45 minutes from the Brasstown Resort (first map below - red pin) to take a ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway - for those who love riding trains, more are becoming available in many of the mountain areas that we visit - some have been rather boring while others more scenic and varied - this one was in the latter category; below are a few of my own images of the Railroad Depot in Blue Ridge (a quaint touristy mountain town now) and one of two diesel locomotives - multiple options for a seat are available from 'open' cars to their premier air-conditioned cars w/ amenities (limited to adults and 18 year olds or above, i.e. no screaming kids - guess which option we picked - ;)).

The overall trip was 4 hours - an hour along the Toccoa River (which is renamed the Ocoee River at the GA-Tennessee border where the twin towns of McCaysville, GA & Copperhill, TN are located), then 2 hours in the twin towns for lunch and shopping, and finally an hour back to Blue Ridge; below, a view of the train on its way to the 'twin towns' - our car was in the back going and then up front coming back driven by the other locomotive.

In the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, the white water events were held on the Ocoee River at the Ocoee Whitewater Center (map below) - introductory quote also (from the link). Numerous water activities are available on the rivers (kayaking, canoeing, tubing, etc.) and on the lakes - I was planning on renting a motor boat but the weather was unusually hot, i.e. in the low 90s (F) most days. But if you are into these water activities and mountain hiking, then these mountains are certainly a destination if you're in the area. Dave :)

P.S. the river levels are controlled by several dams - we started out at 11 AM and the Toccoa River was low, but on the way back the gates were released at the dams and the water had risen w/ many more boaters and tubers on the river.

The Ocoee Whitewater Center, near Ducktown, Tennessee, United States, was the canoe slalom venue for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta,[1][2] and is the only in-river course to be used for Olympic slalom competition. A 1,640 foot (500 m) stretch of the Upper Ocoee River was narrowed by two-thirds to create the drops and eddies needed for a slalom course. Today, the course is watered only on summer weekends, 34 days a year, for use by guided rafts and private boaters. When the river has water, 24 commercial rafting companies take more than 750 raft passengers through the course each day.
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Sounds like you're having a wonderful time. The scenery is great. It's just the type of trip I'd like to take myself.
 
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giradman

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Sounds like you're having a wonderful time. The scenery is great. It's just the type of trip I'd like to take myself.

We enjoyed the locale much better than expected and will likely return in the near future - Lake Chatuge is beautiful and spans the NC & GA border as seen in my first post - I really wanted to take Susan on the water and we went down to the Boundary Waters Marina and looked at the 2 boats below - decided that the larger one was a safer choice for us oldsters, but the temperatures hit the 90s (F) each day - as stated before there are plenty river and lake activities depending on your age and boldness, e.g. Susan was not interested at all in the duo jet ski - ;)

There are about a half dozen marinas offering rentals on the Georgia side of the lake, so for those interested plenty of choices (also click on the marina link to see other 'larger' boat choices, if interested). Dave :)
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giradman

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Do you plan to do any fishing? The available boats seem well equipped.

Hi Scifan.. - I use to fish in lakes and ponds growing up in Michigan and Susan's father (who has been gone for 10 years now) was a long time yachtsman (he was a Naval doctor in the Pacific during WW II) and had boats, so I would occasionally fish w/ him first off the New Jersey shore and then in Long Island Sound where they had a house in Montauk, Long Island - flounder, sea bass & bluefish were the fish we usually caught; but 'fishing' is not one of my hobbies, so did not fish on our recent Georgia trip.

BUT, fishing is a BIG TIME activity in the north Georgia mountains - Fannin County was named the 'Trout Capital of Georgia' (see quote below from the web) - the county seat is Blue Ridge, where we took the train trip - we saw a number of fly fishermen wading in the Toccoa River - TROUT of the three varieties below is the main game fish - on entry to Anna Ruby Falls (upcoming post), there is a sign (below) of the trout types in the waters there - I'm a BIG trout fan, i.e. as an eater of the fish - ;) - and had several excellent preparations for dinner while there - Dave :)

The Georgia House of Representatives this week passed House Resolution 1773 declaring Fannin County the Trout Capital of Georgia. The 13 bodies of water, designated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources as trout waters, are home to rainbow, brown, and brook trout, offering numerous fishing opportunities for anglers.

“Fannin County is widely recognized as a premier trout fishing destination by anglers from all over the country,” said House Speaker David Ralston. “It is only fitting to recognize Fannin County as the Trout Capital of Georgia.”


Fannin County provides numerous fishing opportunities comprising the richest, most diverse, productive trout fisheries in the state. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the United States Forest Service, and groups like Trout Unlimited and North Georgia Trout Online all work to preserve the county’s native species, the Eastern Brook Trout.

The federal trout hatchery in the Chattahoochee National Forest is also located in Fannin County. It is not only a resource for stocking fish, but serves as a tourist attraction and education center.
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Deliverance - 1972 Film

The film Deliverance was released in 1972 w/ the actors in the quote below from the web - this is just a 'bonus' post - Beatty & Cox made their acting debuts; the film is based on a 1970 novel by James Dickey - plot below - basically, four Atlanta businessmen going for a trip to the north Georgia mountains as a 'guy's get away' which goes awfully wrong! Portions of the movie were shot primarily in Rabun County in northeastern Georgia. The canoe scenes were filmed in the Talulah Gorge southeast of Clayton and on the Chattooga River, which divides the northeastern corner of Georgia from the northwestern corner of South Carolina - so we traveled the area - fun!

The soundtrack is still famous, especially for the Dueling Banjos (see quote & video below) scene - the performance won a Grammy Award - the film was also nominated for many awards (pic below along w/ several others) - but just for the record, Susan & I did not run into the 'mountain men' seen in this production - in fact, the people were extremely friendly and helpful - if you have not seen this film, read the link above - still disturbing and may be offensive for some - Dave :)

Four city-dwelling friends (Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox) decide to get away from their jobs, wives and kids for a week of canoeing in rural Georgia. When the men arrive, they are not welcomed by the backwoods locals, who stalk the vacationers and savagely attack them in the woods. Reeling from the ambush, the friends attempt to return home but are surrounded by dangerous rapids and pursued by a madman. Soon, their canoe trip turns into a fight for survival.

The film's soundtrack brought new attention to the noted banjo work "Dueling Banjos", which had been recorded numerous times since 1955. Only Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandel were originally credited for the piece. Noted songwriter and producer Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith, who wrote the original piece, "Feudin' Banjos" (1955), and recorded it with five-string banjo player Don Reno, filed a lawsuit for songwriting credit and a percentage of royalties. He was awarded both in a landmark copyright infringement case. Smith asked Warner Bros. to include his name on the official soundtrack listing, but reportedly asked to be omitted from the movie credits because he found the film offensive.
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scifan57

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Hi Scifan.. - I use to fish in lakes and ponds growing up in Michigan and Susan's father (who has been gone for 10 years now) was a long time yachtsman (he was a Naval doctor in the Pacific during WW II) and had boats, so I would occasionally fish w/ him first off the New Jersey shore and then in Long Island Sound where they had a house in Montauk, Long Island - flounder, sea bass & bluefish were the fish we usually caught; but 'fishing' is not one of my hobbies, so did not fish on our recent Georgia trip.

BUT, fishing is a BIG TIME activity in the north Georgia mountains - Fannin County was named the 'Trout Capital of Georgia' (see quote below from the web) - the county seat is Blue Ridge, where we took the train trip - we saw a number of fly fishermen wading in the Toccoa River - TROUT of the three varieties below is the main game fish - on entry to Anna Ruby Falls (upcoming post), there is a sign (below) of the trout types in the waters there - I'm a BIG trout fan, i.e. as an eater of the fish - ;) - and had several excellent preparations for dinner while there - Dave :)


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Thanks for the VERY informative post on local fishing opportunities. An avid fisherman would have no trouble enjoying his hobby.
 

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