I absolutely love the North Georgia mountains! There are so many things to see and enjoy there! My husband and I love to take “road trip dates” and drive through the small mountain towns, stopping to peruse through an Antique shop or two, or taking a refreshing hike to see a waterfall, or even finding an old gravel State Forest road and attempting to get lost in the Cohutta Wilderness Area. We’ve had so many memorable trips and adventures. A few of our favorite drives and “pit stops” are the Richard B. Russell Parkway, Popcorn Overlook, Minnehaha Falls, Highway 197 and the Mark of the Potter, and Highway 60 between Dahlonega and Blue Ridge.
We love all the little towns of North Georgia like Dahlonega, Clarkesville, Hiawassee, Ellijay, Young Harris, Clayton and Helen. We try to go apple pickin’ in Ellijay in September (just not on the Apple Festival weekends, because we’d like to avoid the crowds!) and pumpkin searching at some of the local farms later in the fall. (We don’t usually go to the more commercialized ones, because it’s just too busy. 😉 )
We love the Mark of the Potter on Highway 197, which is an old grist mill that still has water running through the basement. It is now a potter shop, and I can absolutely spend hours in there…and it’s not a really big shop! Our boys love to go there, because the river runs behind the mill, and they provide a fish feeder for a $.25 handful of feed. The trout are huge! My husband loves to go there, as well, to peruse through the shop, but he loves most to stand on the back deck and look at the waterfall and Soquee River. It is simply a “must see” when you’re in the area. We, also, love to go to the little town of Dahlonega. The downtown square is something to experience. There is an old General Store that still serves 5-cent cup of coffee and has a pianola, or a player piano, which you can sit in the rocking chairs and listen to for another $.25. There are little shops all around the square where you can purchase homemade fudge, chocolates, ice cream, woodworking, potter, artwork and more. There are restaurants all around the square as well. It is a delightful little town. They have many festivals and events throughout the year; so, if you want to join in the fun, or you’d rather avoid the traffic, like us, you’ll want to check the calendar.
In Young Harris, Georgia, one of our very favorites restaurants is located. It is called Brothers (at Willow Ranch), and it could be best described as a locally owned Longhorns Steakhouse. Oh, my goodness! It is soooo good! Of course, they have steak, chicken, beef brisket, burgers, and they also have pasta, fish and all kinds of veggies and desserts. Every meal is served with yummy yeast rolls and honey butter, or regular, if that’s what you prefer, and they have the best sweet tea (aside from my house, as my boys say!) Have I made you hungry yet?? Another great thing about this restaurant is as you enter and leave, the mountains surround you to one side; so, the view is spectacular! Also, if you’d like a little resort living, the Brasstown Valley Resort is located right across the highway, and that place is awesome, especially at Christmas time!
Another little town we love is Ellijay. This town has special meaning for Joey and I, because for two and a half years of our dating, we lived two states apart and would meet in Ellijay every Saturday just to spend the day together. It was about an hour’s drive for both of us, and we would meet just as soon as I got off work on Saturday mornings, and we’d stay till we had to say our very last goodbyes on Saturday evenings before I would be late for my curfew! There are so many antique shops, restaurants and, now, retail shops in the area, it is a great “day trip for two.” As I mentioned before, they have the Apple Festival in the fall, and along the way to Ellijay, there are a few places to find pumpkins, too. If you’d like to take a nice hike, or simply drive to see a beautiful waterfall, Amicalola Falls is not too far from the downtown, and if you need a Walmart, Longhorns or a few other more “modern” conveniences, they’ve got that, too. We absolutely love Ellijay!
The North Georgia Mountains are a great place to come for a vacation, a short visit, or just a day trip to get away. It definitely won’t be the place you’ll find big citylights and the hustle-and-bustle of that city life, but if you’d prefer to kick back and breathe a little fresh air, this is the place to be!