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Local Flair

  • Writer's pictureMarcy Lytle

Northern Georgia

We love road trips. So we thought why not road trip from Atlanta upward in a circle and back? It was a blast, and here's how it went...

We flew in to Atlanta and arrived pretty early, so had a full day to have fun! First stop was Margaret Mitchell's House tour, to see where she wrote Gone with the Wind. She was a fascinating young woman! Right around the corner, we ate a delicious sandwich at Savi Provisions. It was raining, but it didn't hamper our trolley tour in the afternoon, which allowed us to see the highlights of the city. And that first night, we enjoyed Romeo & Juliet live, in a Shakespearean theater while eating shepherd's pie. It was such a cool venue!

Day two, drove over to Kennesaw Battlefield but weren't able to ascend the mountain due to ice! Yes, it was cold! We drove on to Marietta, Georgia - a cute and quaint town with a square and an assortment of eclectic stores and eateries - a British novelty store, an Australian bakery, and guacamole "to die for" so they said. It was pretty good! We enjoyed an Aussie meat pie for lunch. After that, we walked the Sope Trail to see some paper mill ruins (so fun) and then drove on to tour the Archibald Smith Plantation. We were the last tour of the day and our young guide was extremely knowledgeable about the lives of the people that lived there - the tour was great and the house was beautiful. We drove to Roswell and saw a beautiful bridge and more ruins... We spent the night in Alpharetta, near a huge outdoor mall similar to the Domain in Austin but much more grand - and we enjoyed room service and a movie in our hotel room.

Day three was Saturday and it was a fun one! We had a 10 am tour of The Consolidated Gold Mine - going underground to see how and where the gold was gathered...and then we panned for flecks of gold. The tour was interesting. We drove on past there to Frog Town Winery and had lunch - with a beautiful view across a valley - the most delicious food, too! The afternoon we spent at North Georgia Zoo - not your ordinary zoo. We went on a wildlife walk and saw exotic animals. By late afternoon, we were in Dahnolega - my husband said it was his favorite town. Another cute square but loaded with personality and so pretty. Our hotel was The Dahnolega Hotel - old and so cool. We walked the square, I shopped at JR Criders (found some cute stuff!) and we ate dinner at The Smith House - boardinghouse style! Such a fun place to visit! The night ended with the musical The Wedding Singer at the old Holly Theater!

Day four was Sunday and we headed to our northernmost city Helen, Georgia. We started with a hike to Anny Ruby Falls. It's not a long hike but is steep. And the falls are breathtakingly beautiful - well worth the walk! We then met my niece and her family (they live in NC) and spent the day with them. We visited Nora Mill Granary, ate at Hofer's (German food), and walked the town. We also walked the Hardman Dairy Farm - so pretty. Helen is an alpine village in architecture and food and fun - so cute! They left and we visited Lavender Cottage and Old Sautee Store. We were so excited to have booked a room in a hotel built in an old windmill! And in one huge room they had a replica of a German town to every detail - we lingered there a long while! We enjoyed the BEST pizza and calzone at a tavern down the street, and settled into our windmill room (with a fireplace) - it was our favorite room on the trip!

Day five we had breakfast at Wendells (great pancakes and cute old place) before heading to Athens, Georgia. It was raining some, but we took our umbrellas and walked the downtown area of this college town. Found a couple of cute stores. Drove on to Madison, Georgia - a city on the USA's most picturesque list - and it was ! We toured three homes (upper, middle and lower class) and were amazed at the story behind the lower class home. I want a movie to be made of Rose, the woman that built it! We checked into the James Madison Hotel - elegant and stately - and then had dinner at The Chop House - it wasn't that great - just okay. Spent the evening in our amazing room, again in front of a fireplace, and ate a caramel apple!

Day six was our last full day. We drove the tour of the town and read all about the homes. They were spared in General Sherman's burning raid through Georgia. They stand tall, untouched and beautiful and we were able to download an app to hear about each one. We ate at The Farmview - my favorite meal of all - fresh farm to market. And they had a great store there, as well! Back to Atlanta, we had time for a tour of CNN. We opted for the less expensive tour and it wasn't worth the money - oh well. Headed to the airport and flew home late that evening.

I'd highly recommend this road trip - each town was different and unique and SO FUN.

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