96 Miles North & Take a Left

Pandemic travel in 2020 is closer to home. Yet you still can get in your car and go 96 miles somewhere. Just plan a small day trip.

Ok this is not a destination for world travelers. It is during the pandemic and my husband planned a surprise overnight trip for me. When my dog sitters called and asked where he was taking me, I replied I still don’t know, GPS says 96 miles north and take a left.

Hiawassee Georgia

This is a small town in north Georgia near the North Carolina border. It is surrounded by Appalachian mountains and a lovely lake. It was so much fun just to get in the car and go somewhere new. We pack food, sanitizer and try and find places where few people are around us. Hiawassee is about 96 miles from our home. I had a ball doing pretty much nothing but hiking and eating a fine meal.

Hamilton Gardens is a treasure!!!!!!!!!!!

In September we only found one rhododendron in bloom but the gardens are still worth it!

Hamilton Gardens has the largest collection of rhododendrons in Georgia. Over 1100 plants and 1500 azaleas in this tiny garden on the lake Chatuge. We went in September and none of that was blooming but the gardens were marvelous. We went on a Sunday and never saw a single person. I can’t wait to get back up here when the colors change and when the rhododendrons will be in bloom!!

They have an art in the garden and you have to do a scavenger hunt to find the 7 pieces of artwork installed in the garden. I missed the elephant so I want to go back! They have 1.5 miles of mulched trails for your outdoor pleasure.

Pack a picnic lunch and come eat and look at the fabulous view of the Appalachian mountains. Bathroom is supper clean and has live flowers in it too!

We found another trail the you walk around the lake and we really liked it because this trail was flat and you constantly saw the lake. It is called the Chatuge trail and it is about a mile. See the dotted line right off the ramp to put in your boat. We loved this flat trail and check out the trees on the edge that have been hit by lightening and are still living.

View from hike around Chatuge trail. Mountains will surround you on this hike.

Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds-We went to an outdoor mile long garage sale in here, but check their website as they have lots of car shows, Christmas lights and music events that are on the calendar here.

Copper Door Restaurant

Copper Door Restaurant is 10 miles away in Hayesville, NC. One of the top 100 restaurants in the United States by Open Table. A four course meal all inclusive will run about $78 per person. It is nestled at the base of the Appalachian mountains. It was very good but, I still feel a little uncomfortable inside restaurants. The wait staff all wore masks and tables were separated . Food was delicious but we decided to take our dessert to go so we could spend less time inside. It was so good in our hotel room.

Paradise Hills Winery Resort and Spa -has a very nice outdoor patio with live and local music on Saturdays from 1-5 pm. They are down the road near Blairsville, Georgia. You don’t have to buy their wine to sit there. We sat outside and looked at the mountains and the vineyards and heard really pretty good music from this fellow. If you walk down the hill they have several goats in a pen that are fun to look at too.

Live-local music in an outdoor wine patio is fun and felt safe being outdoor and small.

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