Truck Explorations–Blue Ridge, Talking Rock and Amicalola Falls
Our recent camping trip to Doll Mountain Campground provided us with an opportunity to explore this lovely area of the north Georgia mountains. The campground is located on Carters Lake which is about an hour or so north of Atlanta and in a very surprising twist, the drive to the entrance of the park is on a road that runs through a lakeside community. We weren’t too sure that we were heading for the campground as we drove past the charming and gorgeous homes. But sure enough, the GPS was correct and at the end of the drive we arrived at the campground.
On Tuesday, the first full day of this trip, we headed out to explore the surroundings and drove to Ellijay and Blue Ridge, both towns in a northeast direction from the campground. Ellijay seems to be a town that in which we would like to spend a bit more time, especially during the Georgia Apple Festival that is held in October. The center of the town circles around the courthouse and there were a number of small shops that we definitely want to visit when we go back.
We drove on to Blue Ridge looking forward to exploring the downtown shopping area and finding a dog- friendly lunch spot since we had Jasper with us. Turns out there were several outdoor seating restaurants to choose from and we decided to have lunch at C Bolt’s Restaurant and Malt Shop, located on Main Street. I was intrigued to try the Frito Pie and Bob had a foot-long hot dog with chili, cheese and kraut. The outdoor seating was in a covered patio and we sat in the shade, enjoyed our lunch and watching all the people strolling by.
Blue Ridge has three streets surrounding the Main Street area and each of them had plenty of interesting shops and restaurants. Most of the shops highlighted local artists and craftsmen as well as antiques. We stopped in the Big Frog Music Company store and visited with the owner for a while. She has been collecting records all her life and enjoys visiting with other collectors. We bought a couple of rock band t-shirts that will be great for future birthday presents. Blue Ridge was founded in the 1800’s when the railroad was established in this area. Today you can take a train ride through the mountains and this is definitely something we want to do on our next visit.
Our next exploring day was Thursday and after lunch we headed south to the small town of Talking Rock. When I say small, I mean tiny- maybe a three or four buildings at the most. In fact one of their claims to fame is the fact that they are the third smallest town in Georgia! They did have a lovely park right next to a creek with the water tumbling over the rocks- perhaps this creek is where they get the name Talking Rock.
Due to the off and on rain we continued our exploring by truck as hiking and biking were not going to happen this wet, wet day. So from Talking Rock we headed northeast to visit the Amicalola Falls State Park. A side note, when you stay in GA State Parks you pay for camping and a daily parking fee. On a recent camping trip in GA, we bought an GA Parking Pass so we can enter any park for free. We used the parking pass at Amicalola so we were able to check out the campground for a later trip and also visit the falls.
This park is located near Springer Mountain, which is the southern end of the Appalachian Trail. We drove to the lodge, near top of the Amiacolola Falls. Since the Appalachian Trail wanders right through the park, it is a convenient place for the hikers to get a shower and some supplies. The Lodge parking lot had several groups heading out for the trails and Bob met three guys who were taking a short break from the trail. Two were from West Palm Beach, FL and the other was from Castlewood, VA. They had met on the trail and became hiking buddies. Bob took their picture and wished them well as they headed out for the trail. We took a short walk to the top for the falls as it was raining fairly hard at this point. After viewing the falls, we drove on to the campsites to determine if we wanted to come back with our camper. The camping area was a large open area where you could see the other campers. It seemed to be a great place to come with other friends who also camp. Each campsite was level and large enough for a trailer or RV and was built into the slope of the mountain. We agreed that we would enjoy camping at Amiacolola and will try to reserve a campsite sometime in the future.