Picturesque Georgia, a Perfect Day Trip from Atlanta

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I was hosted by Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa in order to write about my experience.

1. See the waterfalls and mountain scenery

Young Harris, Georgia has some amazing scenery, and not just in the fall when the leaves are at their peak. The best thing to do in the area is to walk up the winding, crazy road that takes you to the park and historic site of Bell Mountain at an elevation of 3,424 feet. Be careful; this reader is not for the faint of heart. Being from West Virginia, where the hills are twisty and twisty, I’m used to this kind of terrain, but maybe not all are. The road is paved and there is a parking lot.

The rugged top of Bell Mountain is covered in colorful graffiti and epic views. It is quite worthy of a photo. There is an observation deck to get a full 360 degree view of Chatuge Lake and Hiawassee. You may even spot an eagle like I did on my first visit. The winds in this part of the city can sometimes be strong.

Mary’s Southern Grill Vegetarian Plate (Photo credit: Melody Pittman)

2. Treat yourself to the culinary scene

Young Harris doesn’t have a lot of restaurants, but he does have some good ones.

Mary’s Southern Grill is a good choice for breakfast, serving pancakes, omelets, and classic breakfast items. It’s also a lunch option with a nice selection of burgers, daily specials, sandwiches and sides that change daily. Loved the coleslaw and dill potato salad. Another tasty option for lunch is the Brassies Grill at Brasstown Valley Resort and Spa. I love his fish & chips or the chicken quesadilla, served with sour cream and salsa – hearty and tasty. There you can listen to music on the jukebox, watch sporting events or play billiards.

Dinner is served and almost perfect in the dining room at Brasstown Valley Resort and at the Italian restaurant Enrico. You can’t go wrong with Brasstown Valley Meatloaf, but the New York Strip is fabulous with a brandy cream sauce. Save room for dessert; I am sure he has the best in town.

Spaghetti and meat sauce from Enrico's Italian restaurant in Young Harris, Georgia.
Spaghetti and meat sauce from Italian restaurant Enrico (Photo credit: Melody Pittman)

Enrico’s is the locals’ favorite Italian restaurant, and I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into a good pasta dish. I have to do just that with a bowl of angel hair pasta topped with meat sauce and hot, flavorful garlic rolls. The staff were friendly and accommodating; they will do just about any pasta dish you want. Craft cocktails, beer and an extensive wine list are on offer.

Offerings at Hiawassee Brew, near Young Harris, Georgia.
Offerings at Hiawassee Brew (Photo credit: Melody Pittman)

3. Drink beer and wine

Crane Creek Vineyards is a well-known Georgian vineyard in the Blue Ridge Mountains that produces sweet and delicious wines, as well as a beautiful farmer’s market and a separate tasting room in a stone house. Tastings are available at both properties, a few meters from each other, but each has its own unique vibe. My husband and I shared a flight of four glasses of wine and bought some local goat cheese spread and crackers to enjoy. His favorite, hands down, was Hellbender, a 100 percent grape wine native to Norton, while I preferred the Traminette white wine.

If you’re new to wine tasting rooms, let me tell you that not all wineries are created equal and Crane Creek is easily above most. We loved it!

Pro tip: Snacks are available for purchase, or you can bring picnics or snacks. I picked up a few items from the market to use as Christmas stockings.

Hiawassee Brew is minutes from Young Harris and definitely worth a visit. The brasserie is fun, has live music on Fridays and Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and has stunning mountain views. The beer is pretty darn good too. Take part in a game of darts or play a board game. If you like dark beers, the Black Widow Porter is what I order.

FOR YOUR INFORMATION: Not a beer drinker? Hiawassee Brew also sells local wines.

Shopping at Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa in Young Harris, Georgia.
Shopping at Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa (Photo credit: Melody Pittman)

4. Buy local

You might find some treasures in the Chatuge Lake stores, but the one store I can’t resist in Young Harris is the professional store and country store at Brasstown Valley Resort and Spa. Located on the lower level of the hotel, this boutique offers an incredible selection of golf clothing, shoes and sunglasses. It offers clothing with the resort logo, as well as baby gifts, toys and seasonal items. I’m a fan of his home decor items that run the gamut, from decorative glassware and hand towels to pillows, kitchenware and serving pieces.

There are also a few thrift and antique stores around Young Harris and Hiawassee. A hotel worker told me that she finds great deals on designer clothes every time she goes shopping. I would have loved to go through them myself, but we didn’t have time to rush them.

5. Go for a hike

There are dozens of places to hike in the mountains of North Georgia, but one for all skill levels can be found at the Brasstown Valley Resort and Spa. There are 9 miles of interpretive hiking trails on Miller Trek, a year-round hiking option. You can get a printed map from the property to the hotel and pull for the entire loop or take the shortcut (green light) for a less aggressive 2.5 mile hike or 6.5 mile loop (amber light). Expect to see squirrels, deer, and wildflowers, along with a plethora of trees and maybe a cute red or gray fox.

On my last visit, I hiked the High Shoals Falls Trail near Hiawassee to reach Blue Hole Falls, a scenic single drop waterfall that results in a series of waterfalls. This moderate hike is difficult for an inexperienced hiker like me, but it was well worth it. There is a bridge along the way so you will have to walk over some rocks in the creek and your feet might get wet. You can do it. I survived and I have the photos to prove it. My then 25-year-old daughter encouraged me.

Pro tip: Wear comfortable shoes, stay hydrated, and follow the main trail.

Relaxation room at Equani Spa at Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa in Young Harris, Georgia.
Relaxation room at Equani Spa (Photo credit: Melody Pittman)

6. Book yourself a spa treatment

My husband and I had a couples massage at Equani Spa (Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa) in Young Harris. From the moment you walk in the door, you’re on your way to enjoying skilled hands that will help you achieve your goal, whether that’s relaxing, soothing sore muscles, increasing circulation. or pamper yourself in this magnificent sanctuary.

Couples massage typically involves a massage therapist of the same sex for each person who receives a massage. All four are in the same room. My hubby’s main focus was on his shoulders and lower back tense, while mine were sore in my legs from the hike and in the forearms from the hitting and driving. We really enjoyed our massage, but Equani Spa has a lot of other services as well.

You can choose from pedicures, manicures, body treatments, hydrotherapy services and facials. This spa offers treatments I’ve only seen in Arizona, Mexico, and similar locations – one-of-a-kind rituals indigenous to the Cherokee people of the area. I was impressed.

7. Go fishing

Chatuge Lake is in Towns County, so the Hiawassee and Young Harris lines are often crossed and used interchangeably. Anglers and those who just want to try fishing should head to beautiful Chatuge Lake to try their luck catching striped bass, largemouth bass, and spotted bass. Catfish and crappie are also plentiful. If you want someone to take the reins and take you to the best fishing spots, fishing guides are available for hire.

If you are traveling with your grandchildren or just love water adventures, you might want to check out Splash Island, a huge inflatable water obstacle course and attraction open in the summer. Or, you can consider renting a pontoon boat, kayak, or ski boat from one of the area marinas. One hundred and thirty miles of shore are waiting to be explored.

Pro tip: You’ll find a sandy beach and a swimming area at Towns County Beach, with a concession stand that operates during the summer months.


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