Posted by: RasmaSandra | June 7, 2018

Georgia – Off the Beaten Path

geo cloud

Cloudland Canyon State Park is located in Trenton. The Sitton Gulch Creek has carved a large gorge through the western edge of Lookout Mountain making the elevation between the highest and lowest points more than 1,000 feet. There are wonderful scenic views of rugged rock faces, ridges, valleys and waterfalls.

Hemlocks, dogwoods, holly, mountain laurel and rhododendrons fill the forests. For hikers and nature lovers there is the 4.7 mile Rim Loop Trail which leads through thickly wooded mountain terrain. Along the way, one can see cardinals, red-tailed hawks, barn owls and pileated woodpeckers. Grey foxes and white-tailed deer can often be seen and on occasion a bobcat. There are several picnic areas and a playground.

Among the activities to be enjoyed here are hiking, camping, swimming and even tennis. Accommodations include rustic cabins with fireplaces and screened porches, family camping areas and more remote primitive sites accessible only on foot.

geo gold

Dahlonega Courthouse Gold MuseumProspectors came rushing to this area when word spread that gold had been found here in Cherokee country in 1828. This led to the illegal annexation of much of the Indian’s ancestral land. In less than 10 years time more than $1.7 million in gold had been shipped to the Philadelphia Mint. One of the new districts created from Cherokee Territory was Lumpkin County. Dahlonega takes its name from a Cherokee word meaning “precious yellow” and it became the county seat. Today one can visit the handsome 1836 brick building which served for nearly 130 years as the courthouse.

The Lumpkin County Courthouse is the oldest courthouse in Georgia. Here one can see many interesting reminders of the quest for gold. Visitors are introduced to the region’s history by a short talk and a 12-minute slide show. Exhibits and paintings illustrate the sad fate of the Cherokees and show the methods used in gold mining. Among the many fascinating displays are gold nuggets and coins, a working miniature model of a stamp mill and a chart showing Georgia gold-production totals from 1832 to 1942.

geo travelers

Traveler’s Rest is located east of Toccoa. In the early 1800s, the Tugaloo River Valley was inhabited by the Cherokee Indians. It became a busy crossroads for stagecoach and riverboat travellers. An enterprising local plantation owner Devereaux Jarrett bought a small wayside inn in 1833 and expanded it into a long, rambling structure with eight rooms on the ground floor and five more above. The building housed an inn, a store, a post office and a home for the Jarrett family.

It was also the headquarters of Jarrett’s 14,000-acre plantation.  It became known as the Traveler’s Rest and stayed in business until 1877 but it remained in possession of the Jarrett family until 1955. It has now been restored to its mid-19th-century appearance as a combined plantation hall and hostelry. It is panelled throughout with wide, unpainted pine planks and contains many original pieces including a roundtable with a Georgia marble top, a 1840s cherry plantation desk and a 1840s walnut corner cupboard. One can see the original second-floor post office and a common bedroom with a tin tub and two beds (each large enough for three guests). The outbuildings surrounded by white oaks and American holly include slave cabins and a loom house. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark on January 29, 1964.

geo mound

Etowah Mounds Historic Site – From 1000 A.D. to 1500 A.D. the Etowah Indians lived on this 54-acre site. Here along the river that is in their name, the Indians built a village with two public squares or plazas, three great earthen mounds with flat platform tops and several lesser mounds. The plazas were used as gathering places for the villagers and other Indians who came for commerce, important festivals and burial ceremonies. The largest of the mounds (63 feet high, with a platform a ½ acre in extent) is thought to have been a temple as well as the priest ruler’s residence. Excavations of one of the smaller mounds revealed the burials of more than 500 of the tribal elite.

geo mound museum

Today the plazas are overgrown with grasses and the great mounds loom over them in silence. One can see traces of the moat and the borrow pits from which earth was taken to construct the mounds. Climbing atop of the highest mound you can see on the eastern horizon a deep notch in the Allatoona Mountain range. When the summer solstice (about June 22nd) arrives the sun rises through this notch, a phenomenon that may have figured in Etowah rituals. Near the entrance of the site is the Etowah Archaeological Museum which displays artefacts, slides, and a diorama depicting the life of the Etowah.

geo remus 2

Uncle Remus Museum in Eatonton is where the fabulous characters from the Uncle Remus stories were born – Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, Sis Goose and others. The author Joel Chandler Harris was born in Eatonton and the slaves “Uncle” George Terrell and “Uncle” Bob Capers worked on Joseph Addison Turner’s plantation. Turner was a lawyer, a scholar and the publisher of a small newspaper. He gave Harris his first job at the age of 13. The museum is housed in two connected slave cabins. In these simple log structures the world of tar-baby, the laughing place and the brier patch are brought to life by dioramas and other exhibits.

geo rabbit

Colourful scenes in each of the windows depict the countryside of a southern plantation during the antebellum days. A replica of Uncle Remus’s fireplace is at one end of the cabin and around it are displayed the various 19th-century household articles mentioned in the tales. Against one wall of the cabin hangs a large portrait of Uncle Remus and Joseph Sydney Turner, the Little Boy in the stories and the son of Joseph Addison Turner. The first editions of many of Harris’s works, including his stories of the Old South and the Reconstruction days are on display and copies of his and other children’s books are on sale.

geo providence

Providence Canyon State Park is a scenic 200-acre canyon area (massive gullies as deep as 150 feet were caused by poor farming practices during the 1800s) which is dominated by the 1,208-acre park. Here wild plants and shrubs grow including the rare Plumleaf Azalea whose flowers range in color from orange to various shades of red. It blooms from July to September. Other indigenous plants include verbena, maypop, wild ginger, and prickly pear.

There is a two-mile trail called the Canyon Rim Trail which has 20 overlooks. It winds past clumps of sumac and stands of hickories and slash pines. One may see racoons and opossums and hawks circling overhead. The park also offers picnic groves, two short trails leading to the canyon floor and an eight-mile backpacking trail. Camping and cottages are available at nearby Florence Marina State Park on beautiful Lake Walter F. George.

geo seminole

Seminole State Park was named for the Indians that lived in the region before settlers came. This 300-acre park is known for its water sports – boating, water skiing, canoeing and swimming. The main feature here is Seminole Lake which is a favorite with fishermen. The lakes shallow waters contain more species of fish than any other lake in Georgia. It is reputed to have the best largemouth bass fishing in the U.S. Other fish to be caught here are crappies, jack, bream, catfish, and yellow perch. Along the lakefront one can find picnic tables some beneath shelters.

You can also view the lake from rented cottages, tent and trailer campgrounds which are shaded by longleaf pines, poplars, sweet gums and cedars. Pioneer camping is available in the more remote areas of the park where the blooming of dogwoods and wild blackberries signal the arrival of spring. Bird watchers can view several species of large hawks and the gopher tortoise which is an endangered species can also be found here. Observant visitors may also see alligators, osprey, bald eagles and other wildlife.

geo cumberland shells

Cumberland Island National Seashore – This historic sandpit which is the southernmost of Georgia’s sea islands has been inhabited for some 4,000 years. To help protect their holdings in Florida the Spaniards built a fort here in the 16th century. A Franciscan mission was established and many Timucan Indians were converted. The Spanish called the island San Pedro. In the 18th century, an Indian who had visited the Duke of Cumberland in England suggested changing the name of the island in honor of him. This small island, about 18 miles long and 4 miles at the widest point supports a fascinating range of ecological zones, each with its own population of plants, birds, and animals.

The beach is great for swimming and is frequented by shorebirds that follow the tides. The grasses and the sand are stabilized by sea oats and low-growing plants carpet the meadows between the dunes. At the place where the soil is the deepest a maritime forest of oaks, magnolias, red bay, and various pines has been established and a salt marsh sanctuary on the estuary side supports its own waving sea of cordgrass. The sloughs and ponds are home to alligators, otters, and minks. Wild horses may also be seen. The island has walking trails and camps for backpackers. There is a museum displaying Indian artefacts and interprets the history of the island.


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  1. Love the overview as I had never heard of Uncle Remus museum great photos

    • The photos are mostly from Wiki or those that have been on Pinterest. Since I am writing about the US I figured that many people would know about the usual tourist attractions so I decided to add some that are not known as well or at all. Glad you enjoyed the tour.

  2. Another great post. Fascinating.

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