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Archive for April, 2009

Sautee-Nacoochee Indian MoundThere’s not just one particular gateway onto Southern Highroads. You can hop onto it from basically anywhere. However, some good entry points from the South are through Sautee-Nachoochee, Helen, and Scenic Hwy 197.

Just as you’re coming around a curve you see a beautiful field with a mound and a memorial sitting on top of it. That is the Indian Mound of Sautee-Nacoochee, often mispronounced, but the people are pleasant enough to correct you and smile and keep listening while you try again.. and get it wrong.. again (I know because it’s what happened to me). But there’s more to this area than a historic Indian Mound. The beauty of Sautee-Nacoochee is the richness and development of their culture and appreciation of the arts. There is a wonderful folk pottery and history museum, heritage sites, and the Sautee-Nacoochee Center enter that really encourages the Fine Arts in the area.

You can pick up Scenic 197 through Clarkesville, which has a historic downtown with many original 1800s buildings (more on that later) or you could just pick it up a little past Helen. We chose to pick it up off of Helen, GA. A cute Alpine village tucked to the side of a mountain. It’s a family-friendly area with a lot of wonderful shopping, restaurants, and things to do. I highly recommend staying in this area by way of cabin or quaint Inn to really get the full effect of the area.

Scenic 197 may be a beautiful scenic highway, but originally it was to run moonshine. It has twists, turns, and quaint shops, restaurants, and inns dotted through-out the entire highway. It really is a nice beginning to logging your miles onto Southern Highroads. Follow 197 all the way to the end.. and by taking a right, you can go to Mountain City, where the Foxfire Museum is or you could take a left and head over to Hiawassee.

Kind of like a You-Choose-Adventure story right? More to come on our travels.

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Southern Highroads TrailAll that is required to ride the Southern Highroads Trail is a car, a brochure, enthusiasm, and maybe some bottled water (can’t have you dehydrate!). Your trip may not last a long time, but it’s an experience that you walk away from feeling invigorated and talking about it for a long time.

The 364-mile scenic highway loop runs through 4 states: Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The highway is marked with signs that indicate you’re on the Southern Highroads Trail and if you email them, you’ll likely get a brochure to help guide you on your way. It lists vendors for all that you need on a vacation: places to stay, places to eat, things to see, and stuff to do. The website has a list of events that are going on or near the Southern Highroads so no matter when you plan to visit.. there’s always something to check out.

So that’s what I do. With my trusty Southern Highroads brochure, a GPS (I get lost by nature), my family in accompaniment, and a cooler full of snacks; we head off for our vacations through this beautiful scenic highway. We can go so often because there’s always something we’ve never done before, some city we never stopped in before, and never a dull moment.

Our cameras and laptops in tow.. we set off.. through 4 states of beautiful mountain scenery. We meet strangers along the way and very quickly they turn into friends. The Southern Highroads is more than just a scenic byway.. it’s a road to bring people closer together, to experience life, and have a great time!

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