With a full day of hiking and swimming behind us, we crossed the Chattanooga over into Georgia. As we continued west on Highway 76, we drove through a patchwork of Chattahoochee National Forest and private lands, through the town of Clayton, across beautiful Lake Burton, and almost to the North Carolina border - to the town of Hiawassee on the shores of Lake Chatuge. Selected on a whim, our lodgings were a perfect one-night getaway; the Lake Chatuge Lodge was comfortable, situated in a great location right across from the beach, and features spectacular views of the lake and the mountains.
First things first – dinner. We had packed food and charcoal in hopes of finding a campground/picnic area with built in grills, but when we came up empty in the first two areas we looked, it seemed to be fate to find ourselves in front of a bbq joint situated on the edge of the lake just when our stomachs started growling. The antiques shop and restaurant featured a back deck overlooking the lake, delicious food, and Saturday night karaoke. If you’re looking for good food and the friendliest service in town in addition to a view, Sadie Blue’s BBQ is your place.
Upon returning to the hotel we took in the sunset from the back patio. This was the most beautiful sunset I had seen in quite some time, rivaling even the izrāde sākās! sunsets overlooking Gaŗezers.
The next morning after eating a small breakfast and packing up, we headed across the street to Towns County Recreational Beach and Playground for some time on the playground and a stroll along the water. The beach looked nice, but I had planned another ambitious day in the mountains, and so despite the boys’ pleas we loaded up and headed out after only an hour spent in the coolness of the mountain morning.
Hiawassee has much more to offer visitors than a county beach and BBQ, but further exploration would be saved for another time. Besides its proximity to the state line and therefore dozens of recreational options in North Carolina, the town is also within easy driving distance from a score of state and county parks. In addition, it’s in the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest; this puts sites such as Brasstown Bald, the highest peak in the state, within a 30 minute drive. Can you guess where we were headed next?