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Summer 2014

Explore the mountains of Northeast Georgia

TOP SPOTS SPO to p l ay outd oors in N orth east G eorg ia

Where to... hike, bike, camp, shop, eat, stay The Clayton Tribune • The Dahlonega Nugget Dawson News & Advertiser The Northeast Georgian • White County News




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new beginnings. P.O.Box 7200 Chestnut Mountain Georgia 30502 p: 770.967.8500 f: 770.967.3757

Many people ask what kind of child comes to Eagle Ranch. Our answer is simple: a child you know. A child whose family has tried to find answers and is desperate for help. Eagle Ranch children come from all backgrounds, and all face challenges: trouble fitting in, academic struggles, anger, defiance, lack of confidence. The goal of the Eagle Ranch program is to lead children to lifelong change. It’s not just about making a child well-behaved; it’s about changing their heart. It’s about uncovering potential and showing a child they have worth. It’s about time-honored principles of respect, honor, work ethic and responsibility. It’s showing a family that things don’t have to be the way they’ve always been. It’s showing how Christ gives grace and mercy, making brokenness whole again.



T ab le of Contents

File Photo

Festivals and events ........................................... 6-8 Geogaching in Northeast Georgia ........................9 Local waterfalls .................................................... 11 Regional Map .................................................. 54-55 Index of Advertisers ...................................115-117


Destination Lumpkin County

Gold Mines .....................................................................14 Camping .......................................................................18 Planetarium .................................................................20 River Rides....................................................................25


Destination Dawson County


Destination Rabun County


Destination Habersham County


Destination White County


Destination Northeast Georgia

Cycle racing .................................................................29 Jungle Paradise daylilies .........................................30 Music and Beer Festival ..........................................32 A moonshiner’s stories ............................................36

Rabun worships on water.......................................40 Mountain biking ........................................................44 Rabun vineyards ........................................................48 Take a hike....................................................................50

Lake fun ........................................................................56 Nik Wallenda wire walk ..........................................62 Elvis Festival.................................................................68 Glorious Fourth of July ............................................72

Dancing on the edge ..............................................78 Interactive map ..........................................................84 Dog hikes......................................................................86 Gourd artistry..............................................................90

Gainesville music scene .........................................98 Splish Splash - park fun ....................................... 100 Vogel State Park ...................................................... 104 Sunrise Grocery ....................................................... 106 Byron Herbert Reece Farm and Heritage Center ..108 Brasstown Bald ........................................................ 111 The Mountain Traveler is owned by Community Newspapers, Inc., Athens, Ga. Community Newspapers retains the rights to all materials and photographs used in this publication. Copyright 2014. A bout the cove r: Along the Appalachian Trail in White County, this grandfather takes his grandchildren on a short hike, showing them some spectacular views along the way. Photo/Submitted

We’re glad you’re here


elcome to Northeast Georgia, a fantastic place to downshift from your high-speed lifestyle and switch gears into relaxation mode. Are you looking for a new favorite waterfall or a better view of the stars? How about cooling off in an old gold mine or walking through a garden of one-of– a-kind-hybridized daylilies? Flipping through these pages you will learn about geocaching and where to attend church in your boat. Or you might be interested in finding a new place Alan NeSmith to ride your mountain bike and how to plan your next petfriendly vacation. There is even an Elvis Festival featured. Bringing you this regional publication, a homespun guide to Northeast Georgia, required the combined efforts of five community newspapers in this area. Our newsrooms, which keep a finger on the pulse of our communities, boiled down the content especially for you. The Mountain Traveler features interesting facts about the area, short stories, a map to meet the traveler’s needs, a calendar of events, information on hiking trails and guides to waterfalls. And please pay close attention to the advertisements promoting our shops, fine restaurants and businesses. We’re excited you’re here. ou’ll find out, Northeast Georgia is a charming place to visit or live. It’s a place where people look you in the eye, ask how you’re doing – a nd really mean it. Y’all have fun now. And we’ll look forward to your return. Alan NeSmith Regional Publisher



The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

Photo/Sandra Veal

Festivals and Events May 23-Sept. 1, 2014

O ng oing Tallulah Falls Opry House, bluegrass jam every Saturday night through November, downtown Tallulah Falls. Jamming on Dahlonega’s Historic Square Acoustic musicians of every kind gather on the lawn of the Dahlonega Gold Museum from 2 -5 p.m. every Saturday for the Dahlonega Appalachian Jam. Saturdays, May through Oct. 11. Details 706-864-3513. 13th Anniversary Georgia Wine Country Festival Every weekend in June, Saturdays from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays noon-5 p.m. at Three Sisters Vineyards & Winery. Details 706-864-3513, May 2 6 Dawson County Memorial Day Celebration hosted by Veterans Affairs of Dawson County, eterans Memorial Park. Details rebdon May 3 0 Cornelia Summer Concert Series, The

Regulars, 8 p.m., Depot. May 3 1 Contra Dance at Sautee acoochee Center Gym. 7 30-11 p.m. Details 706754-3254, River Bassin 2014 Tournament Trail, Dawson County. Details June 1 Ride to Rescue Motorcycle Run, Rock Creek Park, Dawson County. Details June 5 - 7 Helen to the Atlantic Hot Air Balloon Race and Festival. Details 706-8782271, June 6 First Friday Fest, The Rock House, Clayton. Details 706-782-1520, Tallulah River children’s fishing rodeo, Moccasin Creek State Park. First Fridays Music Pickin’ on the Porch, Inside Out Sautee, 6-9 p.m., 2454 Ga. 17, Sautee acoochee. Details 706-878-0144, insideoutsautee.

com First Friday Concert Series, 6 30 p.m., Hancock Park, Downtown Dahlonega. Details 706-864-6133. June 6 - 8 Third annual Bar W Rodeo, Rabun Arena. June 7 SummerFest Lawn Party, Sautee acoochee Center, Details 706-8783300, The Return, The Holly Theater, Dahlonega. Details 706-864-3759, Movies Under the Stars, 7 p.m. Disney’s Frozen, Hancock Park, Dahlonega Alto Spring Fling. Parade, vendors, activities, entertainment. Bootlegger Half Marathon & Four Miler presented by Five Star NTP, Georgia Racing Hall of Fame. Details June 1 4 id’s Day at the Park, outdoor education and recreation. Smithgall Woods State Park, Helen, 10 a.m.-


The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

2 p.m. Details 706-878-3078, smithgallwoods June 2 0 - 2 1 25th Annual Mountain Top Rodeo, R Ranch in the Mountains, Lumpkin County. Details June 2 0 - 2 2 and 2 7 - 2 9 orth Georgia Community Players presents Foxfire at the Dillard Playhouse. Details June 2 1 BHA Horse Show at Rabun Arena outh Fishing at Buck Shoals State Park. 8 a.m.-noon. Details 706-8783078, gastateparks. org/ smithgallwoods. June 2 2 Rabun County Musical Festival presents Atlanta Symphony Orchestra at Rearden Theater. Details rabunmusicfestival. com. June 24 Alternative Fuel Vehicle Road Show, Clayton Municipal Complex. June 27 Cornelia Summer Concert Series, Dixie Still, Depot. June 2 8 Wateree Cutting Horse Show, Rabun Arena. Fourth Saturday weaving demonstration, Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences. Contra Dance, Sautee acoochee Center Gym. 7 30-11 p.m. Details 706754-3254, July 1 - 7 July Fourth celebration, Babyland General Hospital, Cleveland. Details 706-865-2171, July 4 Rubber duck race and parade, Sky Valley. Fireworks display, The Dillard House. Lake Rabun Fireworks display. First Fridays Music Pickin’ on the Porch, Inside Out Sautee, 6-9 p.m., 2454 Ga. 17, Sautee acoochee. Details 706-878-0144, insideoutsautee.

com. Fourth of July fireworks in Helen. Annual display of beautiful fireworks at dusk. Details 706-878-2181, helenga. org. Old-fashioned Independence Day Celebration, Public Square, Dahlonega. Details First Friday Concert Series, 6 30 p.m., Hancock Park, Downtown Dahlonega. Glorious Fourth of July, Demorest. July 4 - 6 American Wine for American Holiday, Tiger Mountain Vineyards. July 5 First Friday Fest, The Rock House, Clayton. Details 706-782-1520,

at the Dillard Playhouse. Details July 1 9 outh Fishing at Buck Shoals State Park. 8 a.m.-noon. Details 706-8783078, July 2 0 Rabun County Musical Festival presents Embraceable ou, a tribute to George Gershwin, Rearden Theater. Details July 2 5 Show and Shine car show to benefit cystic fibrosis, Helen. Details 706795-2264.

July 2 6 Folk Life Festival, Unicoi State Park. Traditional Appalachian demonstrations. Details 706-8784738, gastateparks. org/ unicoi. Children’s heritage day, Foxfire Museum & Heritage Center Fourth Saturday weaving demonstration, Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences. Dawson County Conventions & Visitors Demorest G lo Bureau 2 nd Shine ri o u s held Frida F y, July 4. P ourth of July will Pedalers Metric Annual be hoto/E. La ne Gresha Bike Ride. Details m Fireworks display on Lake Burton. A ug . 1 - 3 Dillard Barbecue & Bluegrass Festival. July 6 Rabun County Musical Festival A ug . 1 presents a Beatles tribute at Rearden First Friday Fest, The Rock House, Theater. Details rabunmusicfestival. Clayton. Details 706-782-1520, com. First Fridays Music Pickin’ on July 1 1 the Porch, Inside Out Sautee, Movies Under the Stars, 7 p.m. Mr. 6-9 p.m., 2454 Ga. 17., Sautee Peabody & Sherman, Hancock Park, acoochee. Details 706-878-0144, Dahlonega. First Friday Concert Series, 6 30 July 1 1 - 1 3 , 1 8 - 2 0 and 2 5 - 2 7 p.m., Hancock Park, Downtown Monty Python’s Spamalot, Fridays, Dahlonega. Saturdays and Sundays, The Holly Theater, Dahlonega. Details 706-864A ug . 2 3759, Atlanta Ballet performance Wabi Sabi troupe) , Sautee Nacoochee July 1 8 - 2 0 Center. Details 706-878-3300, snca. SE Mountain Drill Team, Rabun org. Arena. orth Georgia Golf Tour at Sky orth Georgia Community Players ▶ Valley Country Club. presents The Little Mermaid


The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

outh Fishing, Buck Shoals State Park, 8 a.m.-noon. Details 706-8783078,

A ug . 3 Rabun County Musical Festival presents Sentimental Journey Orchestra, Rearden Theater. Details abunmusicfestival. com.

A ug . 2 3 Fourth Saturday weaving demonstration, Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences Gold Fever and Golden Memories. Local gold mining history at Smithgall Woods State Park. Details 706-878-3078, smithgallwoods pottery.

A ug. 8 Movies Under the Stars, 7 p.m. The Lego Movie, Hancock Park, Dahlonega. A ug. 9 Children’s heritage day, Foxfire Museum & Heritage Center.

A ug . 2 2 - 2 3 2nd Annual Music and Beer Festival, behind Dawsonville City Hall. Details dawsonvillebeerfestival.

Dawsonville’s 2n will be held Au d Annual Music and Beer Fe stival gust 22-23. Sh ow Caroline Park, Maddie Park en n are Jerrah Cantrell, Photo/Kimberly joying last year ’s event. Boim

A ug. 1 5 - 1 7 Antique Car Show, Habersham County Fairgrounds, Clarkesville. A ug . 1 6 orth Georgia Golf Tour, ingwood Country Club & Resort. BHA Horse Show, Rabun Arena.

A ug . 1 7 Rabun County Musical Festival presents Emile Pandolfi at Rearden Theater. Details rabunmusicfestival. com.

A ug . 3 0 Folk Pottery Show and Sale, Folk Pottery Museum, Sautee Nacoochee Center. Details 706-878-3300, snca. org. Sept. 5 First Friday Fest, The Rock House, Clayton. Details 706-782-1520, Sept. 5 - 1 3 Chattahoochee Mountain Fair, Habersham County Fairgrounds, Clarkesville. ■


The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

Dr. Toby Hopkins, a Dahlonega chiropractor, goes by the geocaching name FanasFreaks. Here, Hopkins is retrieves one of his geocaches behind a waterfall on McClure Creek in White County. Photo/ Kimberly Brown

Northeast Georgia rich in geocaches


ore and more people are discovering geocaching – a perfect way to enjoy the beautiful outdoors by finding hidden treasures with satellites and GPS receivers. Geocaching is an outdoor sport in which the geocacher uses a GPS receiver to locate coordinates where geocaches are hidden. Recently, as technology has improved, geocachers can use the GPS function on their smartphones, along with free or almost-free geocaching apps. In Northeast Georgia, including Dawson, Habersham, Lumpkin, Rabun and White counties, there are more than 500 geocaches, according to Geocaches range widely in size and type, and there is truly some-

By KIMBeRly BRowN, The Northeast Georgian

thing for everyone. Some, known as microcaches or nanocaches, are as small as a tiny button. These are usually hidden in an urban area, sometimes on a street sign or guard rail. Others, the size of a quart plastic container or larger, can be hidden in the woods and can involve gentle to strenuous hikes. The larger geocaches can hold treasure, such as small toys, key chains, etc. But almost any geocacher will tell you it’s not the treasure they like about the sport, but the journey to find it. Dr. Toby Hopkins, a chiropractor in Dahlonega, has been geocaching since April 2009. For his geocaching name, Hopkins uses FanasFreaks, with Fana being the family cat. Hopkins said he likes geocaching because it takes him to places he never would have discovered.

That’s why I do it, he said. I do them all, but [ woods geocaches] are my favorite kind. Hopkins has placed 359 geocaches, mostly in North Georgia. He also has several in Florida and New York, which family members help him maintain. To date, Hopkins has found 4,566 geocaches. He grew up in Lumpkin County, but, he said, there are waterfalls in the woods I never knew existed. Using a waterfall book which lists coordinates, he determined to find as many waterfalls as he could, and, he said, If the waterfall is cache-worthy, I put a cache there. On May 8, 2010, Georgia State Parks kicked off its geocaching challenge, with 43 state parks participating. There is also a History Trail GeoTour with 14 historic sites participating. ▶


According to the Georgia State Parks website, geocaching is rapidly becoming one of the most popular outdoor activities in Georgia State Parks, because it combines the high-tech feel of online games with the old-fashioned fun of a treasure hunt. State parks in the Northeast Georgia area include Tallulah Gorge, Black Rock Mountain, Moccasin Creek, Amicalola Falls, Unicoi and Smithgall Woods. Each has a state-park-sanctioned geocache, as well as geocaches placed by other users. The Dahlonega Gold Museum is the only state historic site in the area participating in the History Trail GeoTour. Gail MacMillan and John Carsello are a husband-and-wife geocaching team known as WeCacheALot. They split their time between Helen and Titusville, Fla., and they have found 2,313 geocaches. Both retired, they’ve been geocaching since July 2011. MacMillan said the Georgia State Park challenge was what got them started, and they have completed the challenge by finding geocaches in 42 parks all over the state. We camp near Unicoi State Park and would regularly hike the trails, she said. We kept seeing

The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

signs for ‘ Get Out, Get Fit, Get Dirty’ so one day we inquired and learned Unicoi would lend us a GPS. Our first find was the Unicoi State Park hide and we were hooked. Like Hopkins, MacMillan said geocaching gets us to places we would never know about, and, she said, it has introduced us to some of the finest people you could ever want to meet. Geocaching really is an amazing sport, she said. It challenges you on so many levels physically, emotionally at times, puzzlesolving abilities, intellectually, risk-taking, organizing, computer skills, creativity on and on. MacMillan said geocaching in the mountains of Georgia and the swamps of Florida have unique challenges. In Georgia, one is ever mindful of bear, snakes and other critters, she said. In Florida, we cache a lot in swamps and are mindful of alligators and snakes. Slogging through a foot or two of swamp water also requires stamina and endurance, especially on some of the longer hikes. I can’t say one is harder than the other; they’re just different terrains, each with its own unique demands.

MacMillan said their most memorable cache was one in Florida that required about 20 miles of hiking in the swamp in some pretty tough situations, puzzlesolving and kayaking to the finish. It is truly a masterpiece hide, she said. Lots of boo-boos along the way but no snake bites. Their most unusual, and at the time, scary, find in Georgia was a tidal dependent geocache on Skidaway Island State Park. Because of a mistake in calculations, they found themselves stuck in the quicksand-like muck on the bottom of Skidaway arrows. John was horribly stuck and out of breath from struggling to even lift one leg, she said. I was yelling at him to get out because we would drown when the tide came back in and it would start coming in soon. We pulled at anything we could to make a cover over the mud. Obviously we made it out all right, but there were some scary moments. Once we were safe and saw how we looked covered in mud, we just laughed and laughed. To find geocaches near you, see For more information about the Georgia State Parks challenge, see gastateparks. org/ Geocaching. ■ An ammo box geocache hidden off the Short Line Trail at Tallulah Gorge State Park is unnoticeable unless you have the GPS coordinates and are specifically looking for it. The box contains a log book for finders to sign their name, as well as small toys and trinkets for finders to trade. Photo/ Kimberly Brown


The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

Waterfalls delight

Panther Falls is near the USFS Lake Rabun Recreational Area and is on the same trail as Angel Falls, which is 600 yards farther. File photo

By DoNAlD FRASeR, The Northeast Georgian


abersham County has scenic wonders to enjoy in its forests and along its rivers and streams. Fortunately, some of its picturesque waterfalls have relatively short and easy trails, allowing access by younger children. Some of the waterfalls are close to each other and can be visited on one trip without too much wear and tear. Other journeys, for example visiting Hemlock Falls, offer other activities along the route. Cascade Falls A moderate to difficult oneway hike, Rhododendron Trail starts at the historic Chenocetah Fire Tower in Cornelia and descends down to Lake Russell in Mt. Airy. The trail to the almost hidden Cascade Falls is 1.75 miles in and is good for families and novice hikers. The complete trail to Lake Russell is approximately 2.6 miles in. From Cornelia’s Main Street, turn onto Wyly Street. Across from the City Park, turn onto

File photo

Chenocetah Drive, and then follow the road to the top of the mountain. The trail starts on the left, across from the marble entrance sign. Follow the blue blazes. Panther Creek T rail and Falls This 6.6 mile trail is probably best traveled by older children, as it is more rugged and longer than the other. The trail begins across the highway from the Panther Creek Recreation Area on Historic Highway 441. The trail is on steep slopes that fall to the creek below. There are scenic views, including wild owers, cascading portions of the creek, then Panther Creek Falls. Remember, Panther Creek Falls is 3.3 miles in. Do not be fooled by the high shoals that are 2.3 miles in. Minnehaha Falls This falls is a relatively easy half-mile walk from the parking area. Located just south of Lake Rabun, Minnehaha is a 100-foot

falls down a stair-step ledge to the pool below. Minnehaha can be reached from Habersham either from Highway 441 to Lake Rabun Road, or by a picturesque drive along ew Liberty Road to Bear Gap Road, then Lake Rabun Road. Head north on Highway 441 past Tallulah Falls, turn left onto Lake Rabun Road and drive around the north side of the lake. Turn left about one mile past the Rabun Beach Recreation Area, crossing Seed Lake Dam and following Bear Gap Road around the lake for about 1-1/ 2 miles. Hike Fall Branch Trail about a half mile to the falls. Panther Falls/ A ng el Falls These falls are close to the Rabun Beach Recreational Area, too. Turn right into Area 2 of the recreation area. Drive back along the loop road to the sign ▶


Lumpkin County

The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

Getting to Panther Creek Falls is a just more than six-mile round trip hike. The Panther Creek Recreational Area also has rustic picnic shelters along the creek for family enjoyment. File photo

designating the trailhead. This is an easy trail that follows Joe Branch north of the recreation area to the two waterfalls. Panther Falls is located about a half mile up the trail, while Angel Falls is another 600 yards farther down the trail. Hemlock Falls Further afield, this 15-foot falls is on a scenic trail directly across from Moccasin Creek State Park. It offers the falls and also an interpretive trail for children to learn about wildlife in the North Georgia mountains. Children would also be interested in the Lake Burton Fish Hatchery next door to the campgrounds. Fingerlings can be seen in the concrete raceways. From Clarkesville, take Highway 17 to Alternate Highway 2 55. When this road dead ends, turn right onto Highway 2 55. In Batesville, turn left onto Highway 197, driving past LaPrade’s at Lake Burton to Moccasin Creek State Park. ou might also drive Highway 197 orth all the way from Clarkesville and stop at public portions of the Soque River, which both starts and ends in Habersham County. You can also stop at Mark of the Potter to visit a repurposed mill and feed some tame trout from the back deck of the mill. ■

File photo


Lumpkin County Find out more Gold Mines 14 Camping 18 Planetarium 20 River Rides 25

In this photo... From left, H annah J um p of Athens, and H annah W on of Suwanee, tak e tim e to enj oy the coolness of the upper falls at DeSoto Falls R ecreation Area and Cam pground. Photo/Greg Finan J r.


The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

Lumpkin County

Keeping cool in the gold mine


hen the summer heats up, it’s time to take your vacation to the comfortable confines of Dahlonega’s gold mines. Whether you are looking to

By JoHN ByNUM, The Dahlonega Nugget

get your hands wet with some old-fashioned gold panning or explore deep underground, it’s all here. Consolidated G old Mines Cool off at Consolidated Gold Mines with a 40-minute

underground tour of the mine accompanied by a knowledgeable tour guide. The authentic tunnels keep a constant temperature around 60 degrees throughout the year and appear much the same today as when min- ▶

Allyssa Bickham enjoys an afternoon of panning for gold at Crisson Gold Mine. Photo/John Bynum


Visitors to Consolidated Gold Mines explore the authentic mining tunnels where miners discovered gold more than a century ago. Photo/John Bynum


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The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014


Lumpkin County

Visiting Dahlonega all the way from from Switzerland are Michael Fox and his daughters, from right, Lily and Lorne and wife Silke. They were panning for gold for the first time during a visit to Crisson Gold Mine. “In Switzerland, we keep our gold in the bank instead,” Michael commented. Photo/John Bynum

ers blasted with dynamite to extract gold-bearing quartz over a century ago. Once your adventure leads you above ground, try out your skills as a gold panner, or let the kids or grownups) mine for semi-precious and precious gemstones. Consolidated is open seven days a week and is located in town near the Walmart shopping center. 706-864-8473. Crisson G old Mine If you want to learn what it’s like to crush your own rock and discover gold, check out Crisson Gold Mine’s 131-year-old stamp mill. It’s the only one in operation in the state, according to owner Tammy Ray. We are still digging out quartz and crushing it with the stamp mill, she said. Visitors can see working original equipment dating from the 1800s all the way to the 1980s, Ray added. When it’s time to strike it rich, you can grab a gold pan and dive in. Or more serious miners can use a trommel for a couple hours of mining a larger quantity of ore. Crisson is located two miles north of Dahlonega on state Route 60. 706-864-6363. ■ Hannah Peacock strikes it rich while panning for gold at Crisson Gold Mine. Hannah, her brother Houston and mother Michelle visited Dahlonega from Mobile, Ala. Photo/John Bynum

The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

Dwayne Cooper enjoys the beauty of his creekside campsite at DeSoto Falls Recreation Area and Campgrounds. Photo/Greg Finan Jr.

The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

Lumpkin County


From left, David Solakian, Robert Gregory Wagh and Robert Wagh celebrate setting up their tents at the Dockery Lake Campgrounds. Photo/Greg Finan Jr.

Camping options abound in Lumpkin County By GReG FINAN JR., The Dahlonega Nugget


he wilderness of the North Georgia mountains has long been a sanctuary for those who love the outdoors. Whether you want to camp in the comforts of your own car or go primitive, the area has it all for would-be outdoor explorers. If you’d rather not leave the luxuries of home, Etowah River Campground has what you need. Located only ten minutes from downtown Dahlonega, the riverside campground boasts tubing, playgrounds, bath houses with hot showers and laundry facilities. Or if you are looking for

something a little closer to nature, DeSoto Falls Recreation Area and Campground gives you the best of both worlds. Set back just inside the Chattahoochee National Forest boundary, DeSoto Falls sits along Frogtown Creek with scenic campsites that offer easy access. The site offers a bathroom facility with shower and is watched over by an on-site host camper. DeSoto Falls is known as the perfect spot for those who want to be in the wilderness, but need some running water. If you’re a true gung-ho outdoorsy-type, Dockery Lake offers primitive campgrounds that

are located along the banks of the lake and secluded deep within the mountains, just 12 m iles north of Dahlonega. The campground has no running water or bathroom facilities but offers a true camping experience. The campground is also located near the Dockery Lake Trail, a 3.5-mile hike that leads to the Appalachian Trail in Miller Gap, and Lakeshore Trail, a half-mile hike around the lake. Whether you want to camp with all the luxuries of home or are looking to live off the land, Dahlonega’s mountains have all you need for an outdoor adventure. ■

University of North Georgia professor Dr. Joe Jones shows stargazers how to peer into the Milky Way on clear-sky weekends. Photo/ Matt Aiken

The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

Lumpkin County


Spend a night with the stars in Dahlonega By SHARoN HAll, The Dahlonega Nugget


n a clear night away from the lights of town, it is easy to see a shining myriad of stars in Lumpkin County’s skies. But even if the clouds roll in during your visit to Dahlonega, you can still see the stars every Friday at 8 p.m. at the George E. Coleman Sr. Planetarium. Located at the University of North Georgia’s Health & Natural Sciences Building on Sunset Drive, the planetarium has been open to the public for 2 2 years. It has seats for

46 and offers free shows every week while the university is in session. The themed presentations last about an hour, and all are invited to the school’s observatory after the show to view the real thing through the observatory’s 16-inch diameter, research-grade telescope. We try to make it educational and entertaining, said U G astronomy professor Dr. Joseph Jones. We always do live shows not prerecorded – where our staff interacts with the audience during and after the show. We love for visitors to

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ask questions. Our lead planetarium operator typically narrates the show with a very entertaining storyteller style. Located approximately four miles west of Dahlonega on Day Drive, just off state Route 9, the observatory is also open during special celestial events, such as the occasional lunar eclipse or passing comet. Under excellent conditions, Jones says, we could potentially see one of the closest quasars, which is located almost a quarter of a ▶


The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

Lumpkin County

billion light-years away. For more information and current schedule, visit planetarium. ■

The stars shine brightly in the University of North Georgia George E. Coleman Sr. Planetarium. Photo/University of North Georgia

Dr. Joe Jones is watching the skies at the University of North Georgia’s observatory. Photo/Matt Aiken

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Make a splash in Dahlonega’s waterways By MATT AIKeN, The Dahlonega Nugget


river runs through it. In fact, a pair of rivers run through Dahlonega and Lumpkin County as they serve as the source of much summer fun for tubers, kayakers and water-based thrill seekers. This is inexpensive and healthy outdoor relaxation, said Dahlonega Lumpkin County Chamber of Commerce Tourism Director Jay Markwalter.

And there’s plenty of it to go around. For starters, there’s the 163-mile long Etowah River, which begins in the mountainous regions of the county and becomes kayaker friendly at Hightower Bridge in the shade of the Chattahoochee National Forest. The rowdy waterway includes a series of Class II rapids, a small waterfall and the famously infamous

Etowah Mining Tunnel, a quartermile-long tube that carries brave boaters through the darkness of an old mine-shaft. The Chestatee River is the Etowah’s more laid-back cousin, as its relatively calmer waters serve as a safe haven for tubers and canoers alike looking to beat the heat in a cool mountain stream. Popular put-ins can be found on state Route 60 as the riverside ▶

A flotilla of tubers eases along the Chestatee River on a hot summer day. Photo/Jack Anthony

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The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

Lumpkin County

staff from Appalachian Outfitters River Outpost and Chestatee River Adventures help provide adventurers with plenty of tubes, boats and air-conditioned shuttles needed for a day of oating fun. After the paddling, boaters can dry off in the new county constructed SR 60 river park which is complete with a changing station, picnic areas and plenty of parking. Our river access promotes not only canoeing and kayaking and tubing but fishing, picnicking and even hiking, said Markwalter. Come relax and cool off. For an extensive guide to local river routes, check out ■

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Find out more Cycle racing 29 Jungle Paradise daylilies 30 Music and Beer Festival 32 Moonshiner stories 36

In this photo... More than 5 , 0 0 0 hyb ridiz ed daylilies can b e viewed and purchased at J ungle Paradise. T he b reed shown is “ H is Splendor.� Photo/Suz anne Frank lin

Photo/Lee Henson


The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

Cycle racing also popular in Dawsonville


By MelISSA MAyToN, Dawson News & Advertiser

lthough Dawsonville is known largely as being the unofficial home of NASCAR, it’s not the only kind of racing done in town. Every Tuesday, May through September, cyclists gather at Atlanta Motorsports Park for the AMP cycling series. Each week, cyclists get to race a variety of courses on the park’s Formula 1 track. A Formula 1 track is the best of the best, said Betty Hodges, co-owner of Dingo Race Productions, the company that organizes the races. Hodges said she and partner Nathan O’Neill came up with the idea after being part of a similar series in Austin, T . We were looking for something that would draw a little more attention to us orth Georgia and also be safe, sanctioned and closed the track . This the second season of the cycling series, Jeremy Porter, owner of AMP, said. We put out on Facebook that we wanted to have a cycle series, he said. We want to get people more aware of what the city has to offer. Cyclist Dustin Heard said he is excited to participate in this year’s series. It’s awesome it’s the safest form of racing you can do because the track is so wide, Heard said. It’s a lot of fun. The series is open to all ages and all cycling abilities. And even if you’re not a cyclist, there’s still an opportunity. The community is invited to come out to Atlanta Motorsports Park for free to watch. Anybody can come watch, Heard said. It is fun to watch kids love watching it. Races are every Tuesday beginning in May. ids start racing at 5 15 p.m., and the last group takes off at about 7 20 p.m. For more information, visit the series website, For more events at AMP, the public is invited to attend, including the park’s karting racing series. Visit events. ■

Photo/Lee Henson

The gardens at Jungle Paradise make for a relaxing day in the country. Photo/Suzanne Franklin

Jungle Paradise daylilies


little girl once had a dream she was walking along a lush green path, all sides of which held vibrant, colorful owers in full bloom glistening in the sunlight. Suzanne Franklin said that dream so long ago created an image in her mind that later became her business and her life’s work. Today, she hybridizes daylilies and has spawned thousands of one-of-a-kind owers such as those with gold dusting and glittery edges. God is really the creator I

By KIMBeRly BoIM, Dawson News & Advertiser

just cross them and come up with brand new owers no one in the world has ever seen except on this property, Franklin said. It’s so amazing. As soon as the sun comes in the window, I just run to the garden, and I get to see new owers that never existed before. Jungle Paradise is a daylily lover’s dream. With her husband Bobby’s help this year, Franklin hybridized more than 5,000 daylilies of all sorts. These can be seen in the large garden behind their home and in a separate garden along a small stream on their property. The

gardens are open to the public, and the home is available for weddings and special events. For anyone who loves owers and wants a beautiful background for a wedding, there is nowhere more beautiful, she said. Eighty percent of the owers hybridized at Jungle Paradise are from expensive crossing stock. ou have to pay at least $100 to get one good ower to cross, Franklin said. But one ower can produce a thousand different looks. It’s really amazing. Franklin also spends a good bit of time doing landscape design

The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

Dawson County


and consulting. I love to create and to design, she said. I feel like it was God’s gift to me, and I want to share it and my owers with people. Jungle Paradise’s gardens also feature 40 types of wild owers, tropicals, perennials, annuals and rare owers such as the Hawaiian Lai ower known as plumeria. Tours are free with purchase of one plant or $10 without purchase. Call for appointment, 678-410-6830, or visit jungleparadisedaylilies. com. ■ “Frolic.” Photo/ Suzanne Franklin

More than 5,000 hybridized daylilies can be found at Jungle Paradise. Photo/ Suzanne Franklin


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Blue skies and warm weather helped make Dawsonville’s first music and beer festival a success. Photos/Kimberly Boim

The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

Dawson County


Music is in the air this summer in Dawsonville


By MELISSA MAYTON, Dawson News & Advertiser

f you love music, Dawsonville is the place to be this summer. The second annual Dawsonville Music and Beer Festival will be held Aug. 2- 23. The event is located just behind city hall in downtown Dawsonville. For two days, thousands will enjoy the best music, food, beer and crafts Georgia has to offer. A taste of bands folks can expect to see are: The Alex Hall Band, Kurt Thomas, Across the Wide, Southern Accent and Radford Windham and the Step Back Cadillac. “They’re all Georgia bands,” festival promoter Jennifer Moore said. A few of the vendors attending include: Sweet-

water, Abita, Jack Daniels and Corbin Sweet Potato Vodka. “There’ll also be food and craft vendors,” Moore said. Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan said city officials are excited to host the festival in the city again. “This festival will be bigger and the entertainment will be excellent,” Grogan said. “More vendors are coming to offer a wider selection of food along with many craft vendors displaying and selling their crafts. This event drew 6,000 people last year and we fully expect over 10,000 this year. Plan for an outdoor extravaganza in Dawsonville this August.” Tickets for the show cost $10 per day in advance, or $15 at the gate. VIP tickets are available for ▶

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The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014 Committed to the Perpetuation of the Family Shooting Sports with the Bonding and Values they Instill.


Muscian Alex Hall enjoys a bit of what comes along with playing good music. Photo/Kimberly Boim



$30 in advance and $35 at the gate. A VIP ticket gets tent seating, a free T-shirt and two free beers. VIPs also get a free tour of Dawsonville’s Georgia Racing Hall of Fame and Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery. A portion of the proceeds goes to Camp Southern Ground in Fayetteville. Tickets will go on sale for the festival in mid-June, Moore said. For more information, follow the festival on Facebook at dawsonvillebeerfestival. ■

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Dawson County

Backwoods distiller Dwight Bearden enjoys sharing his stories for audiences large and small across Northeast Georgia. Photo/Kimberly Boim

Oh, the stories moonshiners can tell


By MELISSA MAYTON, Dawson News & Advertiser

ackwoods distiller Dwight Bearden has generations of authentic, liquor-makin’ moonshiners in his family, and he is one of the most genuine, entertaining storytellers this side of the Mississippi. He can weave stories together faster than Betsy Ross can sew an American ag. “My great-grandpa on my mother’s side is Will McClure,” Dwight said through mouthfuls of Brunswick stew at Big D’s Barbecue in Dawsonville. “He was a little-bitty man, but boy could he a-run.” McClure lived in what was known in the late 1800s as Bucktown on the edge of Gilmer and Dawson counties. Bearden’s granny told him Will McClure was operating a copper still when a revenuer sneaked up on him out of the woods to arrest him. “Will grabbed the copper cap of that still and took off a-runnin’,” he said. “He ran clear through a neighbor lady’s yard where she was a-hangin’ clothes. She got kind of startled, but then recognized Will and let him go on. But then this revenuer came a-runnin’ after him, and she said, ‘ Ha, you’ll not catch Will McClure.’” Bearden said his great-grandpa went on and got away clean. Switching gears and generations, Bearden’s greataunt, Roamer, was a fairly old lady, and she had never married until she met a man who worked for a traveling sawmill. “He’d come into town and kind of sparked her,” he said with a chuckle. “Pretty soon they was married, and

he stayed around just little bit, cuttin’ that timber, then when the tract was cut he moved on to the next county and left her.” Shortly afterward, his daddy, Jay Bearden, said he was missing a pair of good shoes that were a little too small. The traveling sawmill man had offered to wear them for a few days to stretch them out. “Daddy, I said, ‘ what happened to ole’ Roamer? And, he said, ‘ I wasn’t worried about Roamer, I was worried about my dang shoes.’” Bucking family tradition, Bearden makes legal moonshine for Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery, located at 4 15 Highway 53, next to the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame in downtown Dawsonville. For more information, visit ■

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Free Live Georgia Birds of Prey Shows most Saturdays @ 1pm in The Lodge lobby. Free Goodness Snakes Snake Alive AliveShows Showsmost mostSundays Sundays @ 1pm in The Lodge lobby. Friday Night Surf and Turf Buffet for only $16.95

(Crab legs are featured the 1st and last Friday of each month for an additional $5.00.)

Numerous other special events, lodging specials and educational programs throughout the year.

For Information & Reservations Call 706-265-8888 or 800-573-9656. A $5.00 per vehicle park pass is required.

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Rabun County Destination

Find out more Rabun worships on water 40 Mountain biking 44 Rabun vineyards 48 Take a hike 50

In this photo... R ab un B ald, Georgia’ s second highest peak at 4 , 6 9 6 feet, offers this stunning view from its sum m it at twilight. Photo/ Peter McI ntosh

Rabun churc

Rabun worships on water


ne of Rabun County’s most cherished summer traditions is boat church on L ake Rabun. Since 197 2 , Clayton First United Methodist Church has held Sunday worship on the water at L ake Rabun, attracting weekend visitors, summer people and yearround residents. It begins at 9 a.m. Memorial Day through L abor Day weekends and ends 30 minutes later.

By MICHAEL LEONARD, The Clayton Tribune

My first service there was on a Sunday that was also July 4 th,” remembers current pastor, the Rev. Charlie Green. “We had 4 07 people there on the banks, under the pavilion and in boats. It’s an absolutely unique ministry. There’s no other thing exactly like it, that I know of.” L ongtime member C.A. Henson, an 89-year-old veteran of World War II, remembers the beginning. He was there.

“Hal Brady was the preacher then and he had the idea for this. Guy Hall had a boat house on the lake he let us use. Then there was Stewart Witham. He was a banker from Atlanta who owned Witham Point on L ake Rabun and had a lot of in uence with Georgia Power. He helped us with them.” L akemont contractor Cannon Ramey built a boat house for boat church with a covered pavilion ▶

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n County artist Mary George Poss’ painting of Lake Rabun boat ch captures the atmosphere of the unique worship experience. Photo/Mary George Poss

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Guest concierge services for Nature-based activities and adventures. We’re not fancy, just really really good! Join us for Dinner Wednesday - Saturday & Sunday Brunch 800-398-5134 or 704-782-4946 35 Andrea Lane, Lakemont, GA 30552 The Clayton First United Methodist Church youth choir leads boat church music from the pontoon boat. Photo/ Clayton United Methodist Church Southern Hospitality at its best !


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The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

Helpful attendees give a sound check OK from the boat church’s boat house pavilion. Photo/Clayton United Methodist Church

on top to block the sun and rain. Services are on the water in front. L ake Burton also has Sunday services catering to summer residents, but on shore. At boat church, the preaching and singing are done amid the gently lapping waters — and the occasional splash. Green said the big thing for many in his youth choir and kids worshipping with their families is counting how many dogs are present and how many jump in the water to be followed by swimsuitclad kids. Attendees can also count down to when the pastor gets thrown in the water by his youth choir on Labor Day Sunday, a fitting season finale to boat church. From Clayton, take Old 4 4 1 South to L akemont. Bear right on L ake Rabun Road and go two miles. Boat church boat house is just past Hall’s Marina. For more information, go to ■

Youth collect the offering at boat church by circulating among the boats and holding out baskets on long poles. Photo/Clayton United Methodist Church

Ice Cream - Shakes - Floats - Classic Sandwiches - Soups and more

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Melinda Seaman tears down a steep descent on the Stonewall Falls trail. Photo/Submitted

The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

Rabun County


Mountain biking in Rabun By MAT PAYNE, The Clayton Tribune


ravel ies and dust clouds appear to be pulled from the earth by knobbed tires ripping down trails that snake through the rich green forests of Rabun County. Mountain biking in Rabun County has long been a favorite way to enjoy the beauty of the area and the serenity of of the woods while getting in a good workout and an endorphin rush. Two of Rabun’s most challenging and well-known trail systems, White Twister and Stonewall Falls, both originate just six miles south of Clayton off of Crooked Oak Road in Tiger. When he’s not overseeing the

A group of riders takes a break to commemorate their ride on the Stonewall Falls trail with a picture. Photo/ Submitted

day-to-day operations at Rabun County Bank, local mountain biker Greg Funkhouser can fre-

quently be found tearing up the trails in Tiger. “You know the White Twister ▶

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The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

Rabun County

is one that I do regularly,” Funkhouser said. “You know it takes a good bit of effort and you know the long section of stonewall is a good ride, too.” When done in succession, the two trail systems provide mountain bikers with more than 15 miles of moderately difficult single track that mixes with forest roads. True to its name, White Twister takes riders around a winding course that features stream crossings, small sections of rock garden and white knuckle descents. For a novice rider, the trails at Tallulah Gorge State Park are a great introduction to mountain biking as riders can traverse a combined 13 miles of well-maintained trails. Deb Goatcher, with the park, said about a dozen riders hit the trails each week, which typically are not very crowded. There is a $5 parking fee at the park. ■

Scott Neal crosses a small creek that intersects the White Twister trail. Photo/Submitted

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Summer 2014 Concert Series

Baby gifts and Christmas collectibles


37 S. Main Street • Clayton, GA 30525

J une 2 2 Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Season Tickets for all 5 concerts are $100. Ticket prices start at $20. Tickets to individual concerts will be on sale at Rabun County Welcome Center and Macon County (NC) Chamber of Commerc, at the door / Rearden Theater, and online at

J uly 6 The Return Beatles Tribute Band

All concerts are on Sunday at 4:00 p.m. at the Rearden Theater on the campus of Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School, Rabun Gap, Georgia.

August 3 Sentimental Journey Orchestra

R ead more ab out the concerts and b uy tick ets at

August 1 7 Emile Pandolfi

J uly 2 0 Embraceable You


The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

Rabun County

The vines at 12 Spies Vineyards work their magic on a recent harvest. Photo/File

Rabun vineyards turning heads across the country By TREVOR METCALF, The Clayton Tribune


isitors to Rabun County can take a literal piece of the mountains home with them when visiting one of the county’s three vineyards, each within short driving distance of each other. At Tiger Mountain Vineyards, owner and winemaker John Ezzard said the location plans to host events throughout the spring and summer. The new Red Barn Café , which opened in the spring,

brings gourmet organic lunches to the winery, courtesy of chef Charles Maddrey. More special events include jazz singer Monica Spears on June 5, a vineyard dinner on June 8 and a patio release party for the 2 010 Tannat on June 2 1. Ezzard said he once again expected the Petit Manseng white wine to turn heads this season. “You have to taste it,” he said. “The taste of it is a dry exceptional wine.”

For more information on Tiger Mountain, call 7 06-7 82 -4 7 7 7 or visit A few miles away from Tiger Mountain stand the rolling hills of Stonewall Creek Vineyards. Atlanta transplants Carl and Carla Fackler opened the location in 2 004 . Stonewall currently boasts a half dozen varieties. The vineyards will hold a Friends of Stonewall Creek Celebration on June 2 1. The winery also operates a tasting room on Bridge Creek

The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

Rabun County

Member of the Seed and Feed Marching Abominable blast out a tune during the 2007 Awakening of the Vines festival at Tiger Mountain Vineyards. Photo/ File

Road, in addition to the main location on Standing Deer L ane. For more on Stonewall, call 7 06-2 12 -0584 or visit Wine aficionados can finally head north on U.S. Highway 4 4 1

for about 10 miles to reach 12 Spies Vineyards, nestled away in Rabun Gap. Boasting four kinds of grapes grown onsite, the winery also selects grapes from other vineyards to make its Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and

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John and Martha Ezzard, co-owners of Tiger Mountain Vineyards, examine Petit Manseng grapes during the 2011 harvest. Photo/File

Seyval Blanc. The winery will celebrate its second anniversary on July 19, with an array of local foods, arts and crafts. For more on 12 Spies, call 813-335-2 886 or visit 12 ■

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Take a hike ... to four of Georgia’s highest peaks By BLAKE SPURNEY, The Clayton Tribune


abun County lays claim to four of the highest 10 peaks of Georgia, though if not for a poor surveying job it would count three of the four tallest mountains within its borders. The 30th parallel was supposed to serve as Georgia’s northern border, which would have put Ridgepole Mountain at 5,04 3 feet and L ittle Bald at 5,015 within Rabun. As it stands with the current border, Rabun Bald is the second highest peak in Georgia at 4 ,696 feet. “Rabun Bald, to me, is the single most expansive 360-degree view in the state of Georgia,” said geology enthusiast Anthony L ampros. “It far surpasses Brasstown Bald. Brasstown Bald in Union County is the state’s highest peak at 4 ,7 84 feet. One cannot get an unob-

structed view due to the visitor center built on its summit. Rabun Bald offers spectacular views from the wooden tower built by the Youth Conservation Corps in the 197 0s. To get there, drive past the entrance to Sky Valley on Old Mud Creek Road and continue for 2 .9 miles to Kelsey Mountain Road. From there, turn right and drive 0.9 mile to Beegum Gap and park at the base of 4 X 4 road. One also can access the road by hiking the longer approach on the Bartram Trail. Dick’s Knob ( 4 ,62 0 feet) is in the northwest corner of Rabun County, just east of Tate City. It sits just south of L ittle Bald. Though no maintained road leads to its summit, it can be accessed via old logging roads and hunting trails leading from the Tate Branch Campground. ▶



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Double Spring Knob on the western edge of Rabun County, far right, is illuminated at sunset. Photo/Peter McIntosh


Just over 45 years ago, a group of high school students took a genuine interest Home in their mountain heritage and worked to preserve a truly unique American of the Museum &the Heritage Center culture. Visit physical legacy they created in honor of their friends, Foxfire Museum & Heritage Center in the incredible Northeast Georgia Mountains books neighbors, and families while creating the Foxfire magazines and books—a Just over 45 years ago, a group of high school students took a genuine interest mountainside collection authentic and salvaged log cabins gathered to house in their mountain heritage and worked to preserveof a truly unique American culture. Visitthe the physical created in honor their friends, of Southern Appalachia’s storied past. tools,legacy the they trades, and the ofmemories

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neighbors, and families while creating the Foxfire magazines and books—a mountainside collection of authentic and salvaged log cabins gathered to house Take US 441 to Mountain City, GA. the tools, the trades, and the memories of Southern Appalachia’s storied past. Turn onto Black Rock Mountain Parkway.

Take US 441 to Mountain City, GA.About one mile up, follow the brown signs. Turn onto Black Rock Mountain Parkway. r 8 0 4 0 About one mile up, follow the brown signs. o o r 8 0 4 0 • 706-746-5828 Home • 706-746-5828

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olk O n The Clayton, GA 30525 ountain Office: 678-320-4800



, a group of high school students took a genuine interest July 5–6 eritage and worked to preserve a truly unique American A Celebration physical legacy they created in honor of their friends,of Folk Art & Music Mobile: 770-355-2274 ilies while creating the Foxfire magazines and books—a on of authentic and salvaged log cabins gathered to house A Celebration of Folk Art & Music Take US 441 to Mountain City, and the memories of Southern Appalachia’s storied past.GA.

July 5–6

Turn onto Black Rock Mountain Parkway. Take US 441 to Mountain City, GA. About one mile up, follow the brown Turn onto Black Rock Mountain Parkway.signs. About one mile up, follow the brown signs. Mon-Sat, 8:30am - 4:30pm o r 8 0 4 0 (706) 746-5828 • 706-746-5828

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Grassy Ridge ( 4 ,4 2 0 feet) sits on the Eastern Continental Divide just north of Patterson Gap. To get a great view of the mountain, head down Betty’s Creek Road to Andy’s Trout Farm, which is at the foot of Ridgepole. L ampros said one can see Grassy Ridge by panning southward from Andy’s. There are no maintained trails to its summit, but it can be reached by hiking from Patterson Gap. “[ It’s] really pretty right there,” L ampros said. “Gorgeous country.” Double Spring Knob, also known as Kelly Knob ( 4 ,2 80 feet) , is on the Appalachian Trail just south of Dick’s Creek Gap on the Towns County line. The best way to reach it is to park at Dick’s Creek Gap on state Route 7 6. From there, the summit is a hike of about 2 -1/ 2 miles. ■

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MaryAnne Gotham of Tiger takes in the view from the wooden tower atop Rabun Bald. Rabun County claims four of the 10 highest peaks in Georgia. Photo/Peter McIntosh

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Dillard Tourism Association •






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Downtown Areas

_ Places of Interest FRANKLIN Ï State Parks ! _

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Map Prepared By GMRC, September, 2010. Information depicted herein is for reference purposes only and is compiled from best available sources. GMRC makes no warranty expressed or implied, concerning the accuracy or completeness of information contained herein.

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H a b ersh a mC h a mb

Demorest Glorious July 4th Celebration & Parade Chattahoochee Mountain Fair, Clarkesville – Sept. 5 - 13 Taste of Clarkesville – Sept. 27 Big Red Apple Festival, Cornelia – Oct. 11 Chamber’s Hills of Habersham Bike Ride – Oct. 11 Summer Concerts, Cornelia - Last Friday May thru July For more information, contact the Habersham Chamber of Commerce


Habersham County Find out more Lake fun 58 Nik Wallenda wire walk 62 Elvis Festival 68 Glorious Fourth of July 72

In this photo... A country road in the spring.

Photo/Sandra V eal

Adam Rhinehart of Sugar Hill and his son, William, 5, enjoy a misty morning of fishing at the Nancytown Lake Rodeo held every spring. The rodeo, which brings about 100 children and their families to the lake, has been held at Nancytown Lake, a half mile from Lake Russell, for more than 20 years. Photo/Kimberly Brown

The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

Habersham County


Lakes provide water fun in Habersham By KIMBERLY BROWN, The Northeast Georgian


isitors and residents of Habersham County enjoy the magnificent outdoor recreation options available in

the area. For summer fun, Habersham County has several lake options for swimming, picnicking, boating and fishing. L ake Russell is part of the Chattooga River Ranger District, and is located off Dick’s Hill Parkway in Mt. Airy. It’s a 100-acre lake open for swimming and picnicking May 1-Nov. 1. It offers 4 2 campsites that accommodate both tents and RVs, as well as a picnic shelter with seating for 30. It has a large, grass-covered beach and swimming area, fishing, hiking trails and a boat ramp. Camping at L ake Russell is $14 per site, per night for single, $16 for double; parking for picnic and swimming is $6 for a non-commercial vehicle up to four people, $1 per person over four people in

Shown is a dock at Lake Russell in Mt. Airy. Part of the Chattooga River Ranger District, Lake Russell, located off Dick’s Hill Parkway, is a 100-acre lake open for swimming and picnicking May 1-Nov. 1. It also offers hiking trails, fishing and a boat ramp. Photo/Kimberly Brown

a non-commercial vehicle; boat launch parking is $4 per vehicle per day. A half mile from L ake Russell is Nancytown L ake, with its popular annual Fishing Rodeo for Kids held every spring. In spite of rainy weather, this year’s rodeo attracted about 60 children and youth, as well as their families. A few days before the rodeo, the lake is stocked with several thousand brown, brook and rainbow trout, to almost assure success for the participants. The event is sponsored by the USDA Forest Service, Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Foothills Chapter of Trout Unlimited. The lake is open May 3-Oct. 1. Tallulah L ake, located at Tallulah Gorge State Park, which is shared by Habersham and Rabun counties, offers swimming in season, fishing and trails throughout the park. Nearby is the spectacular Tallulah Gorge, which runs two

miles and is nearly 1,000 feet deep. Parking in the day use area of TGSP is $5 per vehicle. Also shared by Habersham and Rabun counties is Moccasin Creek State Park, located on state Route 197 north of Clarkesville. Moccasin Creek is located on the shores of the 2 ,7 7 5-acre L ake Burton, a Georgia Power L ake, and offers fishing for all ages. The park has camping, a boat dock/ramp, fishing pier and lakeside picnicking. Parking at MCSP costs $5. L ake Tugalo, also a Georgia Power lake, is located off U.S. Highway 4 4 1, north of Clarkesville. It is a 597 -acre undeveloped reservoir with 18 miles of shoreline. Visitors to the lake can enjoy boating and fishing. Parking is free. For information about Chattooga River Ranger District recreation, see conf. For information about Georgia Power lakes, see in-your-community/ lakes-andrecreation. ■

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Tickets from Karl Wallenda’s 1970 walk across Tallulah Gorge are shown here. Photo/Submitted

The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014


Wallenda plans 2015 wire walk


By KIMBERLY BROWN, The Northeast Georgian

f you’ve ever hiked in Tallulah Gorge, just imagine walking across it on a high wire. This is the goal of high wire walker Nik Wallenda, who plans to cross the 1,000-foot-deep gorge around July 18, 2 015. The proposed walk will be in celebration of the 4 5th anniversary of his great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, accomplishing the feat in 197 0. Karl Wallenda later fell to his death in 197 8, while walking a cable between two buildings in San Juan, Puerto Rico. L ast year, Nik Wallenda crossed the L ittle Colorado River gorge in the Grand Canyon, and the Sarasota, Fla., resident crossed Niagra Falls in 2 012 . As of May 6, the Wallenda team had still not submitted an application for the event, said Kim Hatcher, spokeswoman for Georgia State Parks. “There’s no formal paperwork submitted,” but, she said, “talks are still ongoing with [ Rabun County] and Georgia Power.” According to reports, about 30,000 people came to Tallulah Gorge in 197 0 for Karl Wallenda’s walk. While it’s likely many more would attend the 2 015 event, Hatcher said there is no way to predict how many will ood the tiny town of Tallulah Falls, with its current population of about 2 00. She also doesn’t know what TGSP’s responsibility would be in the event. “Because we have so little information about what would be required, what’s expected and what’s planned, we can’t really forecast what ▶

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our involvement will be,” Hatcher said. Wallenda discussed the idea of crossing Tallulah Gorge in an interview with The Associated Press hours after he traversed a 100-foot-high tightrope inside the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Feb. 8. “To be able to walk literally in [ Karl Wallenda’s] footsteps is what my life’s about,” Wallenda said after the Georgia Dome walk. ■

The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

Nik Wallenda plans to cross the 1,000-foot-deep gorge around July 18, 2015, to commemorate his great-grandfather’s well-known walk in 1970. Photo/Submitted


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Joni Mabe, owner of The Loudermilk Boarding House Museum, is shown among her collection of “Everything Elvis.” Photo/Christina Santee

The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

Habersham County


Photo/Christina Santee

‘Big E Fest & ETA Competition’ in 11th year Event celebrates the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll Elvis Presley


lvis has left the building, but will soon return to the city of Cornelia this fall in an encore recognized as the 11th “Big E Festival & ETA ( Elvis Tribute Artist) Competition.” According to event coordinator Joni Mabe, “the Elvis Babe,” locally-known owner of the L oudermilk Boarding House Museum – f eaturing the Panoramic Ency-

By CHRISTINA SANTEE, The Northeast Georgian

clopedia of Everything Elvis – t he festival has attracted Elvis lovers and ETAs from near and far since its establishment in 1999. “A lot of people come from Atlanta … G winnett County [ and] Athens,” Mabe said, and as far away as “South Carolina, Florida, North Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee [ among other] states.” The last Big E Fest & ETA Competition was held in 2009,

Mabe said, but she’s anticipating a rather impressive turnout for this year’s return event. “Hundreds of people will show up to support their favorite ETA,” she said. “I have been remodeling/ restoring the restaurant at the [ Grant Reeves VFW Post 720] for the past three weeks. It will be something to see. Think 1970s in all its glory.” The upcoming event is sched- ▶


Habersham County

uled for noon Saturday, Aug. 2, a t the Grant Reeves VFW Post 720, 423 VFW Post Road, Cornelia. VIP tickets cost $20 pe r person. General admission costs $15. To enter ETA contests, fill out an application form and submit an entry fee of $25 onl ine at Each ETA will perform three songs, with the top 5 performing one song. First place awards $1,000; second place, $500; and third place, $250 . Winners of the Youth Division will be awarded $100, first place $50, second place; $25, third place. For more information, call 706- 78- 20 01 or visit bigefest. com. ■

The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

Photo/Christina Santee

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Shown, a banner in downtown Demorest showcases the town’s pride in its Fourth of July celebration. Photo/E. Lane Gresham

The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

Habersham County


The parade snakes down Central Avenue through downtown Demorest during the annual Glorious Fourth of July celebration. Photo/E. Lane Gresham

‘Glorious Fourth of July’ to arrive in Demorest By CHRISTINA SANTEE, The Northeast Georgian


Best Ethnic Restaurant 950 N. Main Street, Cornelia, GA 30531 706-778-5564



he Northeast Georgia atmosphere will soon be illuminated red, white and blue, when the city of Demorest again welcomes locals and visitors to its annual “Glorious Fourth of July” celebration. This old-fashioned celebration of the nation’s independence has been a Demorest tradition since 1890. On Friday, July 4 , the celebration will also mark the city’s 12 5th birthday. “We are still the oldest Fourth of July celebration anywhere around” in the state of Georgia, said City Manager/ Clerk Juanita Crumley. “And since it’s Demorest’s 12 5th year, we’re going to try to make it extra special.” Though all details have not yet been con- ▶

62 Walmart Way Eastanollee, Ga. 30538 FAMILY MEXICAN RESTAURANT 706-778-9445


The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

Habersham County

“I’ve lived here firmed, Crumley said all my life, so it’s the parade will start all I know. [ But] I at 11 a.m. on Historic couldn’t imagine Highway 4 4 1, with anything else exfood, arts and crafts cept for celebrating vendors opening at 10 the Fourth of July a.m. along Georgia in the city of DeStreet near city hall. morest,” she said. Kids’ activities will Festivities will be set up at Demorest continue well into Springs Park, along the evening. with the traditional “The crowd at horseshoe tournament night, there’s no at noon. Details are standing room,” pending for a returnCrumley said. “If ing 5K run by The you come back Torch Worship Center. Patriotism is in full display during the annual Demorest Glorious at night when the Trophies will be band is here and fireawarded in both competi- Fourth of July parade. Photo/E. Lane Gresham works [ are being set tions. off] , [ people are] back to back. It’s a huge crowd “I encourage everyone to stay in town, stay loand it’s not only downtown, it’s people parking cal because we’re going to have lots of fun things anywhere they can see the fireworks. It draws a going on, and lots of activities in the park for the large crowd.” kids,” she said. Rain date is L abor Day weekend, Saturday, Aug. Live entertainment will fill the air throughout 30. the day, Crumley said, with a fireworks display, For more information, call Demorest City Hall, sponsored by United Community Bank, to fire off 7 06-7 7 8-4 2 02 . ■ around dusk.



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he Hayes dealerships have been very involved in helping the community they do business with since the very beginning. As in any business, our people are what keep us here. They are the heart of Hayes. In 1971, A.D. Hayes, and his brother, Donald Hayes, started the first dealership with the simple belief that treating everyone like family was the key to success. He was right! We know times have changed and people have become too cynical to believe any business truly cares. But seeing is believing! At Hayes, our dad’s wisdom, over 40 years later, still rings true. If we expect the people in our community to support us, then we in turn should support them.

The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014


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The Piedmont College mascot throws candy to the crowd. Photo/E. Lane Gresham



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Greetings from Mt. Airy... Made from Georgia-Grown corn, peaches, apples and most important... sweet Georgia spring water

Now Carrying Gun Tote ‘n Mama’s Handbags



Home of Georgia’s ONLY Sour Mash Whiskey

Large or Small Gun & Coin

COLLECtiOnS Carlos Lovell - Master Distiller

Tours offered: 1st Tuesday and 3rd Friday of each month 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.


1896 Dicks Hill Parkway Mt. Airy, Georgia

we also carry ammunition and firearm accessories

DiamOnD JEWELrY & LOan 3840 State Hwy. 365 N. at mile marker 41, Baldwin




White County

Find out more Dancing on the edge 78 Interactive map 84 Dog hikes 86 Gourd artistry 90

In this photo... T his cuddly m onk ey sits am ong the toys at T he Gourd Place on Duncan B ridge R oad in Sautee N acoochee. Photo/L inda E rb ele

The Wabi Sabi summer troupe works outside of the typical performing-arts environment. Photo/Atlanta Ballet

The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

White County

Dancing on the edge


Atlanta Ballet brings unique program to Sautee By DEBBIE GILBERT, White County News


hen folks come to Sautee Nacoochee, they expect to see a picturesque valley dotted with grazing cows and perhaps a tractor. What they don’t expect to see is a brand-new ballet performed by a professional dance company. But that’s exactly what they’ll get this summer, thanks to a unique partnership between the Atlanta Ballet and the Sautee Nacoochee Community Association. In late July, Atlanta Ballet’s

summer outreach troupe, “Wabi Sabi,” will begin a weeklong residency at the Sautee Nacoochee Center, culminating in a performance in the historic gym on Saturday, Aug. 2 . John Welker, an Atlanta Ballet dancer, created Wabi Sabi about five years ago and still finds himself having to explain the group’s name. “Wabi Sabi refers to a Japanese aesthetic that celebrates the beauty of imperfection and impermanence,” he said. “The idea is to get out of the theater.”

Wabi Sabi performances tend to occur in offbeat locations and feature unusual dance styles. “We’ve even done pieces in the water,” Welker said. DeDe Vogt, arts program director of the Sautee Nacoochee Center, said Wabi Sabi first performed there at a lawn party three years ago, dancing on the grass. “Everyone was just blown away and wanted them to come back,” she said. Vogt noted the goals of the two organizations are similar. “Part of our mission is to nurture creativ- ▶

Bett�’� Countr� Stor�

Helen’s Oldest and Most Unique Store

established in 1973 in the quaint little Alpine Village of Helen

We are Open EVERYDAY 7am-9pm

open daily

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A Wabi Sabi dancer dangles from the doorway of a shop in Sautee. Photo/Atlanta Ballet

The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

White County


ity,” she said. “We commission these new dance pieces from young choreographers who are trying to gain experience.” You may even get to see creativity in action. Welker said the dancers will be rehearsing with the choreographer in the historic gym all week, and there may be opportunities for the public to come and observe this process. In addition, Welker will be conducting two master classes for advanced-level dance students. The Aug. 2 concert will consist of four or five pieces featuring a total of 12 dancers. “I think when you bring something like that to a rural area, you reach people who may not get to Atlanta for the ballet,” Vogt said. “And for people who have moved to the Northeast Georgia mountains from metropolitan areas and are used to being involved in the arts, we can help fill that cultural gap.” For event times and prices, call SNCA at 7 06878 -3300. To learn more about Wabi Sabi, visit ■ This Wabi Sabi dancer’s costume seems to blend in with the bark of the trees. The group often incorporates elements of nature into its work. Photo/Atlanta Ballet A favorite for generations!

As Seen on Travel Channel

Creekside Deli

A Real Mining Adventure

inside dining or casual dining on the porch, catering

OPEN DAILY 706-865-3666

North Georgias only commercially o erating gold mine

Gold & Gemstones Custom Mine By the Bucket or Right in the Creek Jewelry 16 Old Nacoochee Rd. • Cleveland, Ga (Hwy 129, North of the Square)


Ha e your nds cut and set in hand-crafted ewelry

OP N DAI a.m -

7883 Ga. 254 • Cleveland, Ga • 706-865-2285


Mining Camping Gold Nugget ane • Cle eland GA 0 • 06- 6 -

See all our Adoptable Pets...

Castle Inn The

Our family welcomes your family

Located in the heart of Alpine Helen on the banks of the Chattahoochee River Home of 13 elegant hotel rooms, four unique retail shops, as well as the Troll Tavern Restaurant on the river.

For reservations, call 706-878-0053 8580 N. Main Street, Helen, Georgia 30528

e r g r & u B e k #7 a h S

Weekday specials Over 75 bottle beers 16 beers on tap Craft beers Carryout & Catering Kitchen open late 7 days a week Children’s menu Live local musicians Menu available online at Mon.-Thurs.: 5pm-midnight Fri. & Sat.: noon-1 a.m. • Sunday noon-midnight

Bigg Daddys 807 Edelweiss Strasse • Helen, Georgia • 706-878-2739

Hours of operation: Monday-Saturday 11-9 Will be open soon on Sundays

706-219 -4 223 Hwy 129 S. Cleveland

Located in Colonial Plaza next to Habersham EMC



& Soul

of the Northeast Georgia Mountains Adopt HandStitched Originals

Bavarian Shops, Historic Landmarks, State Parks & Local Artists

May 24

25th Annual Pig-Out Barbecue Sautee Nacoochee – Sautee Nacoochee Center


Bavarianfest Helen – Festhall

29- June 1 15th Annual US Riders News Reunion & 8th Annual SE Victory Run Helen – Riverside Park

June 5-7

Enjoy Alpine Helen

41st Annual Helen to the Atlantic Hot Air Balloon Race Helen – Riverside Park


Award Winning Wines


4th of July Celebration Cleveland – BabyLand General Hospital


4th of July Freedom Festival Cleveland – Freedom Park


Annual Fireworks at Dusk Helen – Downtown

25-26 10th Annual Show & Shine for Cystic Fibrosis Open Car Show Helen – Riverside Park 26

Folk Life Festival Helen – Unicoi State Park

August 14-17 Destination Helen Bike Rally Helen – Chattahoochee Biker Gear

Explore Our Rich Heritage



6th Annual GarlicFest Cleveland – LoganBerry Heritage Farm


Crush Fest 2014 Cleveland – Yonah Mountain Vineyards & Winery


Folk Pottery Show & Sale Sautee Nacoochee – Pottery Museum

For more information on these and many other events and activities

DNR app creates interactive map By DEBBIE GILBERT, White County News


ouldn’t it be great if you could quickly design a searchable map of Georgia tailored specifically to your needs? Fortunately, there’s an app for

that. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources

recently introduced the Georgia Outdoor Map, a webbased tool that allows users to customize a statewide search for recreational amenities. This application works with any device that has a web browser, including desktop computers, laptops, tablets such as the iPad, and smart phones. Users are initially presented with a basic map of

The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014


The DNR’s new Georgia Outdoor Map is a mobile app that helps travelers easily locate recreational amenities, such as this beachfront on Lake Lanier at Don Carter State Park. Photos/Debbie Gilbert

Georgia. They then choose from a menu of options to find out which activities are available nearby. For example, say you’re a fisherman and you need to know where all the boat ramps are located. With one click, you can view every DNR boat ramp in the state. Or you can narrow your search by selecting only the ramps that are handicap-accessible, for instance. If you’re a hiker, you can peruse all the trailheads. Travelers can browse for cabins and campgrounds. Day-trippers can look for picnic shelters, historic sites or even Frisbee golf courses. With the touch of a button, you can make any of these categories pop up on your screen, or overlay as many of them on the map as you want. And if you click on one of the icons, the phone number and web page of that attraction will pop up, leading you to more information.

The Georgia Outdoor Map is free to all users and does not require downloading. ■

A unique tasting room i

o 51 Try our pomegranate, black cherry, raspberry, dark chocolate & more


Novice cook to gourmet chef



White County

The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

A hiker walks with her dog along the Rim Trail at Tallulah Gorge State Park. Dogs are allowed on this trail, but not on the steep trail that goes down to the floor of the gorge. Photo/Georgia Department of Natural Resources

On the road with Rover

Planning your pet-friendly vacation


ost Americans consider their dogs to be members of the family, so it’s only natural they want to bring their pets when they travel. And in Northeast Georgia, it’s easy to have a pet-friendly vacation. “Dogs are allowed in every campground, as long as they’re leashed,” said Kim Hatcher, spokeswoman for Georgia State Parks. “They’re also allowed on just about every trail.” One of the few state parks that does restrict some access is Tallulah Gorge. For safety reasons, dogs are not allowed on the trail that goes down to the gorge oor though they may walk along the canyon rim) .

By DEBBIE GILBERT, White County News

Dogs are also not allowed at state historic sites. In every state park, dogs are supposed to be on a 6-foot leash at all times. But in the federally-owned Chattahoochee National Forest, the rules are more relaxed. The forest website merely recommends that when hiking, you should “use a leash in crowded areas.” It does specify that dogs must be on a leash while in Forest Service campgrounds “because cars are more prevalent.” If you don’t enjoy camping, there are more comfortable accommodations available in many of the state parks. “Every park that has cottages has at least one set aside for guests with

dogs,” Hatcher said. She added the state can’t allow dogs in every cottage because of the increased maintenance cost. The website offers a list of all the “Fido-friendly” cottages. “There’s a lot of demand for them, so it’s best to put in your reservation early,” Hatcher said. You can have up to two dogs per cottage, and a $4 5 fee is charged for each dog. Visit the website to read the complete rules and regulations. Keep in mind anywhere you travel in Northeast Georgia, your dog needs to be a good “canine citizen.” If he poses a threat to visitors or wildlife, you may be asked to leave the premises. ■

Functional Stoneware Locally Made & Fair Trade Gifts


. ain treet • Helen • 706-878-1

The Inn At



Monday-Saturday 10am to 6pm Sunday noon to 6pm

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Boots ★ lothing ★ ewelry Men ★ Women ★ hil ren ig i es ★ ig & Tall asual Wear Western Hats & elts 50 o a ies ress apparel

ain treet • Helen 706-878-27



agnolia North Georgia’s Most Romantic Bed & Breakfast

770.540.8536 Terry and Marie Dawson, owners

6210 Dahlonega Highway, Clermont, GA 30527

The place to fall in love again...with each other, with your life, with your dreams.

Old Heidelberg German Restaurant & Pub

An original general store serving locals and travelers alike with Quality Goods since 1872

Extensive selection of beer 706-878-2281

Old Sautee Market

Open daily

11:30 a.m.-10:00 p.m.

Sports bar closes at 1:00 a.m.

Offering a unique menu of sandwiches, wraps, baked goods, cheeses, ice cream & much more.

Open Daily 706-878-2281

www.ol • Hwy 17 & Hwy 255 • autee

8660 N. MAIN STREET, HELEN | 706-878-0061

Explore Yonah Mountain Treasures for distinctive gifts and decorating ideas. Art • Pottery Wood Creations • Cabin Decor Books by local writers • Puzzles Custom Picture Framing Jewelry & Fashion Accessories

New ‘Distant Voices’ documentary now available


Family Restaurant 706-865-0411 •

ALL YOU CAN EAT Breakfast Buffet

Biscuits • Grits • Pancakes • French Toast • Bacon, Sausage • Hash browns • Eggs • Home Fries • Fruit Breakfast Burritos • Mexican Dishes • and lots more

Buffet served 7-11 am

- Open Daily -

Yonah Mtn. Treasures

Next to the Yonah Burger on Hwy. 75, two miles north of Cleveland.


6:00 am-10:00 pm Breakfast • Lunch • Dinner


Come in and satisfy your sweet tooth

A wi e assortment • a e resh aily Handmade chocolates • hocolate co ere strawberries Try our amous hattahoochee nappers *We also offer a great assortment of sugar free chocolates. WE SHIP •

Free parking at the chocolate factory

2 locations to serve you! 8651 N. ain t., Helen • 8078 . ain t., Helen 706-878-2 • 800-52 - 008

COUNTRY unich trasse • Helen, Georgia 05 5

Operated by U.S. Military Brat • Est. 1973


We have something to satisfy everyone’s taste!

Picnic Lunch, On-the-Go, Carryout, Home Entertaining



• owntown • Free Wi • omplimentary ontinental reak ast • Enclose Heate ool • eal eeting, We ing & E ents estination Helendorf

• isit s Helen or .com

For orders call: 706-865-9584 •

Find yourself at Unicoi


| 800-573-9659 1788 HIGHWAY 356 | HELEN, GA 30545

The Gourd Place features creative and artistic gourds for a number of practical uses. Photo/Linda Erbele

The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014


Art of a different gourd

The Cottage Vineyard & Winery Tasting Room with Mountain Views •

By LINDA ERBELE, White County News


ne of the most unusual places to visit in White County is The Gourd Place. Owned and operated by Priscilla Wilson and Janice L ymburner, the shop features gourd art of all kinds and is home to the patented Gourd Impressions pottery. Gourd Impressions is stoneware and porcelain dinnerware created from gourd molds, re ecting the delicate veins and textures found in nature. It was patented in 2 006 and is dishwasher, oven and microwave safe. It is offered in four different glazes. The little shop had its start when Wilson began creating art with gourds in 197 8. The two attended craft shows and their sales were brisk enough at the shows that they opened their first store in 1983. They have been at the current location on Duncan Bridge Road since 1991. “We’ve had a gourd life ever since,” Wilson said. ▶

Modern American Cuisine

5050 Hwy 129 North, Cleveland, GA | 706-865-0053

Gabby’s Country Cabins

Home of the Heart Shaped Jacuzzi! ets Welcome • Free W F

Often Imitated, Never Duplicated 706-865-6772 | 3083 Helen Hwy. Cleveland, Ga

A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words!

~ Daily Specials ~  South Main St., Helen | --

Nora Mill Granary Grist Mill & Country Store

Stone Ground Grits & Cornmeal Biscuit & Gravy Mix Pioneers Porridge • Pancake Mix Bread & Muffin Mix Whole Wheat Flours

FREE Samples Daily Located in historic ‘Nacoochee Village’

706-878-2375 • • 2 miles south of Helen on Hwy 75

Weekend Breakfast Bar

Bountiful Country Bar

• Senior Discounts • • Hickory Smoked Meats on the Buffet • • FlameKist® Steaks available as menu items • • Private Dining Room Available • • Call ahead for large parties •


Western Sizzlin Cleveland • 8-1997 • westernsi lincle elan .com uincy s Toccoa • • 706-282-1953


White County

The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

The store includes a museum that features gourds from around the world. “It’s actually a very old art form from Africa,” L ymburner said. While gourds in the U.S. have typically been used for dippers and birdhouses, the Gourd Place features a number of more creative uses of gourds, including toys, games, holiday ornaments and designer items. In addition, work from other local artists is available at the Gourd Place, including jewelry, paintings, photography and stationary. The shop is open daily, April 1 through Dec. 2 3, and by appointment January through March. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. It is located at 2 319 Duncan Bridge Road ( also known as state Route 384 ) in Sautee Nacoochee. For more information, call 7 06-865-4 04 8 or see ■

Shown above, clowning around with gourd heads, Priscilla Wilson, left, and Janice Lymburner have fun with their art. Shown below, the Gourd Impressions dinnerware is created from gourd molds and is available in four glazes. Photos/Linda Erbele





So Good It’s RiDQulous

5 $30 or more

$ off

Not to be combine with any other deal or discount. Not accepted after 4 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays

Monday: Buy 1 Get 1 Free 12” Pizza Tuesday: 16” 2 Topping Pizza W/Craft Beer $25 Wednesday: 1-One Topping Slice with Soda $5 2-Two Topping Slices W/Bottle Beer $10 Thursday: ½ Off Draft Beer & Habersham Wine

Real People. Real Pizza. Real Good!

N W FFER NG Gluten FREE i a Hours: Mon.-Thurs: 12pm-9pm • Fri-Sat: 12pm-10pm Sunday: 12pm-9pm

7275-B South Main St., Helen www. illageta ernpi • 706-878-0199

123 Helen Hwy. Cleveland, Ga. 706-865-2213

Mountain Fresh Creamery

“Milk so fresh the cow doesn’t even know it’s gone!” All Farm Fresh Non-Homogenized Dairy Products

Milk • Chocolate Milk • Buttermilk Ice Cream • Butter Fresh Ground Beef & Sausage


HOURS: Monday-Saturday 10-6 Sunday 1-6


Visit our store and processing plant at 6615 Cleveland Hwy, Clermont, GA •

White County’s full service bookstore So much more than just used books –– a great shopping destination for gifts for the whole family

Mt. Yonah

Book Exchange •

Authentic Bavarian Bakery and Café


Breakfast and Lunch served daily S

Outdoor Biergarten. Live Music on weekends.


3779 Helen Hwy, Cleveland (located at the green locomotive train) Hours: Mon-Sat 10-4


We accept MasterCard, Visa and Discover

Get a great night’s sleep on a new mattress from the

lermont Overstocks

Name Brands You Know & Trust Full-size mattress set starting at $299 Queen-size mattress set starting at $399 King-size mattress set starting at $499

New overstock clothing

Designer Department Store clothing & accessories Hours: Tuesday-Friday 10-6 | Saturday 10-5 770-983-3006 5089 Cleveland Highway (Quillians Corner), Gainesville

Pizza Subs Wings & More Wine Tours • Private Charters • Travel Services Wine Tasting at five wineries/wine tasting rooms selected from: Habersham Winery, Serenity Cellars, Sautee Nacoochee Vineyards, Sylvan Valley Lodge Tasting Room, The Cottage Vineyard & Winery and Yonah Mountain Vineyards


$5 pizzas

uillians orner, lermont • 770-98 -9220 At the intersection o Hwy 52 & 129


Discover the hidden voices of almost 200 years at the...


p ot t e ry

at the


Sautee Nacoochee Center

Come See... What We Saw


Toys are 100% handmade in the workshop inside the store!

678-863-7742 706-878-1842 •

Visit the only museum in the Southeast dedicated exclusively to this unique art and its history.

Gallery • Gifts a



For information visit 2 3

255 n



: e


, Ga

: r


7 3300




per trip

Look for the Hot Pink Tubes


Helen’s Largest Attraction Children under 42” tall - $10 Children 2 and under - FREE


per person plus tax

FREE tubing with park pass



Helen Go Karts

Indoor and Outdoor Go Karts

706-878-1082 • 706-878-PINK • • Helen Tubing & Helen Waterpark 9917 Hwy 75 N • Helen, GA

Let’s Go to

Bernie’s Restaurant at Nacoochee Valley Guest House Serving the heart of the valley since 1989

Serving Lunch & Dinner to the Public Casual Dining in a warm and friendly atmosphere Open Year-round

706-878-3830 • 2220 Hwy 17, Sautee •

MA GOOCH’S Restaurant

50¢ wings –Tuesdays & Thursdays 2 for $20 New York Strip onWednesdays Friday & Saturday – Prime Rib

318 N. Main St., Cleveland, Ga • 706-865-2023

Large selection of beautiful quilts for every style and budget, starting at under $100

706-878-0086 •

• Bridal Parties • Wine & Canvas Sessions • Paint Your Own Pottery • Fun Photo Booth

Northeast Georgia’s ultimate Do Your Own Art Destination

• Handcrafted Boutique • Wine Bar



8669 N. Main Street, Helen, GA 30545

706.878.2357 Unique Items from all over the World

Mountain Laurel Antique Mall

Antiques Collectibles Home Decor Mon.-Sat. 10am-5pm Sunday 1-5pm

706-865-0575 Hwy. 129 South 233 Friendship Road, (4.3 miles south, look for the big yellow building)


Northeast Georgia

Find out more Gainesville music scene 98 Splish Splash - park fun 100 Vogel State Park 104 Sunrise Grocery 106 Byron Herbert Reece Farm and Heritage Center 108 Brasstown Bald 111

In this photo... Splash Zone at the Frances Meadows Aquatic Center provides local fun for all ages. Photo/City of Gainesville


The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

Northeast Georgia

Bourbon Bordline Band Photo/Submitted

If you like music you’re in for a treat!


By CATIEL FELTS, City of Gainesville

irst Friday events are underway on the downtown square, sponsored by Main Street Gainesville. Evening entertainment includes the Steve Bryson Band featuring country-oldies and today on June 6; contemporary jazz from the Nat Osborn Band, Aug. 1; the Bourbon Borderline Band on Sept. 5; and the Fly Betty Band on Oct. 3. First Friday showcases some of the area’s most talented musicians from acoustic to rock and jazz. During First Friday, visitors will find multiple dining options indoors and out on the downtown square. Once you’ve finished dinner, you can enjoy your beverage outside during the concert. Be sure to ask for a wristband. The concerts start around 6 p.m. and end at 10 p.m. Families are always welcome and parking is always free.

Steve Bryson Band Photo/Submitted

The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

Northeast Georgia


Fly Betty Band Photo/Submitted

Nat Osborn Photo/Submitted

Looking For The Best Carpet Cleaning Around?

Call Us For Kwik & Kleen Service!


Cleaning & Restoration Services Commercial & Residential

• • • • • • •

Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning Fire & Water Restoration Duct Cleaning • Windows Mold Remediation Pressure Washing Ceramic Tile Area Rugs

Certified Technician



44 Years Experience


For a complete listing of summer events in Gainesville, check out our Main Street Facebook page under Downtown Gainesville; stop by the Gainesville Tourism Office located at 117 Jesse Jewell Parkway, Suite 100; or call 770-531-2664.

The Splash Zone at Frances Meadows Aquatic Center in Gainesville is a favorite hot spot. Photo/Gainesville Parks and Recreation

‘Splish Splash…There was a Party Going On!’


By JULIE BUTLER COLOMBINI, Gainesville Parks and Recreation

hat would summer in Gainesville be like without the Splash Zone at

the Frances Meadows Aquatic Center? Gainesville’s favorite hot spot to cool off will open May 24, and summer can officially begin.

The Splash Zone is summer fun for the whole family. Whether relaxing poolside under a big umbrella, racing down a three story slide, or competing in fun

games, you’ll find just what you need to beat the heat. The Splash Zone has become a part of every summer for many local families. “We always look forward to the Splash Zone opening at the Frances Meadows Center; we have come every year,” said local resident Robin Halstead. “I have watched my daughter Rebekah play in the kiddy area, finally touch the bottom of the lazy river and now brave the slides. I love lap swimming inside and meeting up with friends under the big umbrellas outside. Summer can not come

soon enough.” Fun Splash Zone amenities include: two three-story body slides; current channel; swirl pool; drop buckets; zero depth entry and more. Even the smallest guests can play in its interactive water playground with happy loops and spray fountains in only 18 inches of water at its deepest point. Visitors can also cool off in one of two indoor pools. If you are looking to stay fit this summer, try the Summer Fitness special and enjoy the pools, splash zone and new fitness

Splash Zone has something for all ages, including two three-story body slides, current channel, swirl pool, drop buckets, happy loops, spray fountains and much more. Photos/Gainesville Parks and Recreation

center. The Frances Meadows Aquatic Center is available for special events. Celebrate birthdays, company picnics, church outings or team parties there. The center also does private rentals. Splash Zone Hours: May 24-Labor Day, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Indoor Pools and Fitness ▶

Servicing North Georgia For over 30 Years

A water park-goer enjoys a the play structure with interactive water elements. Photo/ Gainesville Parks and Recreation

Center Hours: Monday-Thursday 5:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sundays 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Where: Frances Meadows Aquatic Center, 1545 Community Way, off Jesse Jewell Parkway and one mile west of Exit 24 off Interstate 985 How much: Daily passes cost $6 and 90-Day Passports start as low as $75 More info: 770-533-5850 or recreation

2365 Browns Bridge Rd. Gainesville, GA 30504 William Ferguson - General Sales Manager (770)see532-5620 Fax: (770) 534-0430 Come our new complete line of Blue LS Tractors! Come see our new complete line of Blue LS Tractors!

Piedmont Tractor & Equipment

Farm Supplies including feed and seed in stock!

1780 MLK Jr. Blvd SE Gainesville, Ga 30501


Piedmont Tractor & Equipment offers: * Complete line of construction equipment by New Holland & Yanmar * Agriculture Tractors in stock by LS Tractors and Yanmar * Zero Turn Mowers in stock by Gravely, Dixie Chopper and Husqvarna * Tillers, Generators, Pressure Washers, Chainsaws, Backpack Blowers and Weed Eaters * All service work performed on site and same day service available to get you up and running. * Fully stocked parts inventory catering to the farmers, home owners and construction industry * Zero Percent Financing on all equipment sold and trades welcomed!

I personally invite you to come and visit our dealership and see our new expansive showroom! We offer complete satisfaction after the sale and our prices can’t be beat! Brian Hollis - General Manager

Stop in and see the latest in Tractors from LS Tractors.


MillionsofofItems Items Shop! Millions to to Shop!

Georgia’s Largest Selection of Certified Diamonds

Fudge, Ice Cream, Gifts, Home Décor, Plants & Christmas Shop at 22 Stephens Circle • Murrayville • 706-867-8660

(located just off 115)

Two Locations to Serve You

GIA Educated Appraiser on Site 100’s of Diamond & Gemstone Semi-Mounts Available

Produce, Jellies, Jams, Honey, Syrup, and Specialty Sauces at 2512 Highway 115 • Murrayville •706-867-8052

GE Capital Financing Available 1020 Jesse Jewell Pkwy


Welcome to Jerry’s Mountain Furniture


e offer everything you’ll need to furnish your mountain abode. As natives of the Blue Ridge mountain area, we know how enchanting the mountain lodge home decor is and we specialize in offering products and services to help you design your Mountain Home Dream. If you are in the North Georgia mountains or surrounding areas, we invite you to visit our showroom locations in Blue Ridge and Blairsville, Georgia where you find on display complete home furnishings. In addition, we offer rustic building materials from our sawmill and shop at Jerry’s Unique Wood Creations and full turnkey interior design service with Interiors by Charlotte. We look forward to helping you design your Mountain Dream Home

Mountain House

Jerry’s Mountain Furniture

3258 Hwy 515, Blairsville

1015 Aska Rd, Blue Ridge




1 Year Free Layaway Available

Hot Boiled Peanuts!

Vogel State Park Vogel State Park, located at 405 Vogel State Park Road, Blairsville, is one of Georgia’s oldest state parks. The park is located at the base of Blood Mountain in the Chattahoochee National Forest. For more information, visit Photo/Submitted

The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

Northeast Georgia



David and Katie’s Amish Food, Spice and Grocery Store


Premium Grilling Meat Black Angus Ribeyes New York Strips Fresh Sausage


12” Subs $500 Every Day Chips & Pickle Included Enjoy your lunch on our enclosed porch


Kids Ice cream $ 00 1 everyday Cone or Cup

969 Historic Homer Hwy., Homer, GA 30547 706-677-3646 Cell: 706-654-6370


Sunrise Grocery

Sunrise Grocery, located at 7568 Gainesville Highway, Blairsville, was built in the early 1920s. It is the oldest business in Union County still in its original location. Sunrise has supplied Vogel State Park for many years. In 1940, a grill was added, which they named Sunrise Grill. In the 1940s and 1950s, Sunrise earned a reputation of selling alcohol and some pretty intense card games. Today, the store remains a landmark, selling local jams and jellies, pottery, knitted goods, local produce honey, syrup, wooden bowls and more. For more information, call 706-745-5877. Photos/Submitted

Avocados Restaurant Now serving BEER, WINE & LIQUOR! Check out our new signature cocktail menu

We Do Catering! Monday: Closed Tuesday-Thursday: Lunch 11am-3pm; Dinner 5pm-close Friday & Saturday: Breakfast 8am-11am; Lunch 11am-5pm; Dinner 5pm-close Sunday: 10am-2pm


109 Bradford Street GaineSville, GeorGia

We support our Local Economy with many of our products made right here in southern Appalachia

Established 1920’s Hwy.19/129 Blairsville,Georgia

s Original location in Union County.


it of Everyth



B il


The Oldest Store in its Original location in Union County

• Candies • Produce • Ethanol free gas in

• Jam & Jellies • Honey • Syrups • Pottery We support our Local • Soaps


Northeast Georgia

The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

Byron Herbert Reece Farm and Heritage Center Byron Herbert Reece Farm and Heritage Center, located at 8552 Gainesville Highway, Blairsville, provides a stop for those familiar with Reece’s writings. The homeplace of Reece has 13 exhibits, featuring home and farm artifacts portraying life in the early 20th century. For more information, call 706-7452034.


Summertime For All N u F AgeS

Adventure Park



irthday Pa

11 Acres of Indoor & Outdoor Attractions! Cool off in our waterslide!!

World Class Canopy Tour • Junior Challenge Course Nature Trails • Zip & Sip Tour


B Character

Featuring Excitement For All Ages

Parties & group 706.335.FUNN packages for churches, family 40155 HWY 441 S, Commerce reunions, schools, corporate Exit 149 at Interstate 85 outings and team building. By Banks Crossing

Located between Dillard, GA and Highlands, NC

Toll Free: 855.947.6344 • 828.526.8773

Low Prices, Quality Vehicles & Family Values

TODAY’S TRADITIONS FURNITURE 1210 Thompson Bridge Rd. Gainesville, GA



MILTON MARTIN TOYOTA 2350 Browns Bridge Road Gainesville, Ga. 30504 770-532-4355

Baig B ear NTiQUeS Furniture made by Local Craftsman Home Decor Gifts Country, Cabin & Rustic Furniture Country Collectibles Primitives Antiques

4171 Hwy. 129 N, Blairsville, Georgia

Hours: Monday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday 10 am to 5 am - Sunday 11 am to 4 pm Closed Tuesday & Wednesday




Northeast Georgia

The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014


Brasstown Bald

Brasstown Bald is the highest point in the state of Georgia, with a summit elevation of 4,784 feet. It is located in the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest, and offers views across the states of Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. For more information, call 706-8962556 or 706-745-6928.



2407 Old Flowery Branch Road Gainesville, Georgia

Let’s get outdoors and have some fun!

415 Pottery Factory Drive, Commerce, GA 30529



Foxhole Guns & Archery is the place to find all the tools and knowledge you need to make your outing a success!

We make a blend of traditional Tex Mex, West Coast Mexican & Mexico City Recipes!

We specialize in archery, both traditional and compound, sporting clays, and rimfire 22LR target shooting.

(770) 297-8500 311 Jesse Jewell Parkway SW, Gainesville, Georgia 30501

We use locally grown ingredients. fajitasgainesville instagram 1210 Thompson Bridge Rd. • Gainesville, GA


(770) 534-7222

Shop Online at:


Northeast Georgia

The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

The Mountain Traveler • Summer 2014

Northeast Georgia

Photos/John Bynam, Patti Sells, Sandra Veal


Great Careers Begin Here! A Unit of the Technical College System of Georgia


Over 40 Majors Low Tuition Rate Education Guarantee 100% Placement Rate HOPE Grant Available


A special thanks to our advertisers... Lumpkin County

Heavenly Dove Christian ....................36

Cavender Creek Cabins.......................22

John Megel Chevrolet ................... 60-61

Chestatee Real Estate ..........................21

Kani House..........................................37

Consolidated Gold Mines ...................25

North Georgia Vein Institute ...............38

Dahlonega Chamber of Commerce .....16 Donna Minnich Insurance ...................23

Rabun County

Fudge Factory, The .............................26

ABC Liquor ........................................46

Gold Leaf Pet Resort...........................26

Christmas & More...............................47

Gold Shop ...........................................23

Dairy Queen, Clayton .........................47

Juliette Chapel & Events.....................22

Days Inn, Clayton ...............................43

Louver Shop ........................................17

Dillard Tourism Association .........51, 53

Outlaw Jerky .......................................25

Foxfire .................................................51

Rooster’s Cafe .....................................26

Highlands Aerial Park .......................108

Spoon Shine ........................................26

Hillside Orchard Farms .......................49

Three Sisters Vineyards ......................15

Kingwood Golf Club & Resort ...........41

Tomato House ...................................103

Lake Burton Cafe ................................53

University of North Georgia ...............21

Lake Rabun Hotel ...............................41

Walden & Co. Realty ..........................23

Mama G’s ............................................43

Wet Pets...............................................15

Mishima Express.................................47 Mountain Aire Cottages ......................46

Dawson County

Oinkers Family Restaurant .................49

Amicalola Falls ...................................37

Pepper Kelly........................................51

Atlanta Motor Sports Park ..................38

Rabun County Convention & Visitors

Big D’s BBQ .......................................31

Bureau .................................................45

Dawson County Arts Council .............33

Rabun County Music Festival.............47

Dawson County Chamber of

Rabun Gap Nacoochee ........................43

Commerce ...........................................37

Rabun County Historical Society........43

Dawsonville Gun & Pawn ..................34

Rabun River Cabins ............................50

Denny’s Baseball Clinic......................35

Reeves Hardware ................................52

Etowah Valley Sporting Clays ............34

Smitty’s Spirits ....................................47

Fausett Farms ......................................33

Wildwater Ltd. ..................................119

A special thanks to our advertisers... Valley Pharmacy .................................43

Mainstreet Cornelia.............................63

York House Inn ...................................53

Matt Mixon .........................................66 Medlink ...............................................71

Habersham County

Nest, The .............................................67

Art-full Barn, The ...............................64

Piedmont College ................................75

Attic, The ............................................67

Roots N Remedies...............................66

Bead Garden, A ...................................66

Scenic 197 Business Association ........64

Bed Shoppe, The ................................71

Sheep Hollow ......................................66

Bumbleberry .......................................67

Star Tractor..........................................71

City of Clarkesville .............................66

Taste of Clarkesville ...........................67

Clarkesville Lanes...............................63

Walmart ...............................................70

Copper Pot ..........................................67

Woods Furniture............................67, 71

Country Boy Satellites ........................58 Crossroads Cafe ..................................67

White County

Diamond Jewelry & Loan ...................76

Alpine Olive Tree................................85

El Jinete...............................................67

Babyland General................................82

El Patron..............................................73

Betty’s Country Store..........................79

Elizabeth & Company .........................66

Bernie’s Restaurant .............................96

Erin London ........................................66

Bigg Daddys........................................82

Fieldale Corporation .............................8

Burger & Shake #7..............................82

Glen Ella Springs ................................76

Cafe Cancun ........................................88

Habersham Chamber of Commerce ....58

Castle Inn, The ....................................82

Hanners College Shop.........................67

Clermont Trading Company ...............93

Hartford House....................................75

Cottage Vineyard & Winery, The ........91

Hawg Wild ..........................................67

Country Bake Shoppe .........................89

Hayes Chevrolet ..................................69

Creekside Deli.....................................81

Hayes Corner Country Store ...............67

Dairy Queen, Cleveland ......................92

Headwaters Realty ..............................66

Fancy Doodle ......................................96

Homestead House ...............................67

Gabby’s Cabins ...................................91

Ivy Mountain Distillery.......................76

Gold N Gem Grubbin..........................81

A special thanks to our advertisers... Gun Commanders Ltd. ..........................5 Hansel & Gretel Candy Kitchen .........88 Helen Water Park ................................95 Helen White County Convention ......120 Helendorf River Inn & Towers ...........89 Hofer’s Bakery ....................................93 Inn at Magnolia Oaks, The..................87 Lindenhaus Imports ............................96 Ma Gooch’s .........................................96 Mountain Fresh Creamery ..................93 Mountain Laurel Antique Mall ...........96 Mr. Edd’s Pizza Plus ...........................94 Mt .Yonah Book Exchange .................93 Mully’s Nacoochee Grill .....................91 Nacoochee Village Tavern ..................92 Nora Mill Granary...............................91 Old Heidelberg German Restuarant ....87 Old Sautee Store .................................87 Paul’s .....................................................2 Roper’s Clothing .................................87 Sautee Nacoochee Arts & Community Center ..................................................94 Southern Comfort Quilts .....................96 Tim’s Wooden Toys.............................94 Unicoi Lodge ......................................89 Victorian Cowgirl................................96

Yonah Mountain Treasures .................88 Banks County David & Katies .................................105 Funopolis Family Fun Center ...........108 Hall County Avocados ...........................................107 City of Gainesville ..............................99 Eagle Ranch ..........................................3 Fajitas ................................................ 111 Foxhole Outdoors.............................. 111 Gainesville Jewelry ...........................103 Greene Ford Co. ................................102 Lanier Tech .......................................113 Milton Martin Toyota ........................109 Piedmont Tractor...............................102 Rucksack Military Surplus................110 Traditions Furniture ..........................109 Jackson County Commerce Urgent Care .................... 111 Stephens County K & K Cleaning Services....................99 Union County

VIP Alpine Tours.................................94

Big Bear Antiques .............................109

Western Sizzlin ...................................91

Jerry’s Mountain Furniture ...............103

White County Chamber of Commerce 83

Logan’s Turnpike Mill ......................110

Willows Pottery...................................87

Sunrise Grocery ................................107

Proudly serving our communities in Northeast Georgia The Clayton Tribune

The Dahlonega Nugget

Dawson News & Advertiser

The Northeast Georgian





White County News 706-865-4718

The Mountain Traveler is a publication of these newspapers, which form the Northeast Georgia Region of Community Newspapers, Inc.


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2014 Summer Mountain Traveler