Tallulah Gorge is a nearly thousand-foot-deep canyon which follows the Tallulah River for two miles resulting in one of the most beautiful natural areas in Georgia. The spectacular site is accessed at Tallulah Gorge State Park and is a mecca for outdoor recreation enthusiasts. I didn’t have much time when I was here, but even a visit of a couple of hours is one of the most rewarding trips in Georgia.
The first thing you’ll see if you plan on the strenuous descent to the Hurricane Falls suspension bridge, is L’Eau d’Or Falls, actually a series of several smaller falls. It’s a mere 350 feet below.
If you make it to the bridge, you’ll be rewarded with this spectacular view of the top of Hurricane Falls.
This is an attorney’s office. I don’t know if it was built recently for this purpose or if it was originally a house. Stone structures like this are emblematic of the mountains to me.
Opened in 1931, the Clayton Cafe is the landmark eatery in Clayton. It’s had numerous owners over the years, including the late Quincy and Jurelle Webb. Over several years, Quincy shared numerous memories of growing up in South Georgia in the old days on Vanishing South Georgia and I always looked forward to his insightful recollections. As to the restaurant, it has one of the most popular breakfasts in Northeast Georgia, among a whole slew of home cooked favorites.
A simple stone pillar with this bronze plaque honors Rabun County native son Logan Edwin Bleckley (3 July 1827-6 March 1907), who served the Supreme Court of Georgia as an Associate and Chief Justice. He was quite the renaissance man with interests far beyond law. Poetry, philosophy, and mathematics were just some of the subjects he pursued in his spare time. Though considered a brilliant jurist, his humility prompted him to feel unqualified to sit on the bench and citing health issues he resigned both his brief tenures on the state’s highest court. Bleckley County is named in his honor.
This appears to have served as the city hall at one time, or perhaps it was just an annex. I believe the roof is a later addition and this could have originally been something like an automobile dealership or meat locker. I’ll update when I know more.
Reeves is a landmark in Clayton. They’ve been in business since 1928 and are still one of the busiest places in town.
Downtown Clayton has a nice section of historic commercial storefronts, and since it caters to tourists, it’s a fun town to walk around.
Eclectic businesses have added a lot of color, such as Zeppelin’s Pub & Grill on Main Street.
The large brick building seen here was built in 2003 but a great effort was made to construct something with a historical influence. It’s really impressive, as are the mountain views in nearly any direction from downtown Clayton.
Located 15 miles west of Clayton on US Highway 76, Popcorn Overlook presents a great opportunity to stop and take in the scenery of Northeast Georgia. It’s one of the most beautiful spots in the mountains and on a clear day, you can see many peaks in nearby North Carolina. Recently, the movie Lawless did some location shooting here, and there’s a scene in the movie featuring Shia Lebouf that uses this as a backdrop.
An interpretive sign placed by the U.S. Forest Services notes: The forests you see beyond this roadside area are a miracle of regrowth. Much of this land was cut over during the logging boom that began in these mountains during the 1880s and continued through the 1920s. Beginning gradually and swelling to meet a growing national demand for wood, large scale logging operations caused extensive damage and forever changed the character of the southern Appalachians.
Early mountaineers, accustomed to a hard life and little cash, willingly sold timber, land and mineral rights for small sums. Huge yellow poplars, white and red oaks and black cherry were sold for 40 to 75 cents a tree.
Whole mountainsides were cut over and burned, hillsides eroded. Streams that dried to trickles in the fall became raging rivers each spring. Most of this exploitation was financed from outside the region. This destruction generated widespread interest in saving and protecting the mountains.
The Weeks Act became law in 1911, and the first land approved for purchase was a tract of 31,000 acres from the Gennett Land and Lumber Company of Atlanta. By 1930, thousands of acres of mountain land had been acquired to protect watershed areas and provide a timber reserve. The Forest Service had begun its long-term and ongoing effort to provide environmental protection and economic stabilization for the Southern Appalachians. Several large tracts acquired from lumber companies were “virgin” forest, remote and inaccessible therefore uncut. However, most lands were cut over or culled, and the best trees removed.