At Glen-Ella Springs Inn, we invite you to enjoy the many scenic drives in Georgia. Our steep mountains, bubbling brooks, deep forests, and rocky crevasses combine to create a magnificent landscape. Thanks to the modern road system, some of our country’s richest treasures can be enjoyed from the comfort of one’s own car! One scenic drive that is located quite near our Inn is Scenic Highway 197.
It’s fabulous when history and beauty collide and create one enjoyable pastime! There are many scenic highways throughout North Georgia, but Scenic Highway 197 was first used during Prohibition by moonshiners! These enterprising businessmen of yore used this picturesque pathway to distribute their “high octane” corn liquor, distilled under the cover of darkness (thus the term moonshine), to consumers from Atlanta and other points south when alcoholic beverages were considered contraband in our country. Although Prohibition has been lifted and the purpose of the road has changed, the mystery and intrigue of the secretive stills that once hid in these hills causes one to ponder on the days gone by.
Beyond its fascinating albeit slightly racy history, Scenic Highway 197 offers some of the most breathtaking views our Earth has to offer. The road starts just south of Clarkesville and meanders its way over “the dip” and across the Soquee River. As it makes its way into the Chattahoochee National Forest, the hills become steeper and the turns become tighter. Along the way, small arts and crafts shops are sprinkled here and there. One such store, Mark of the Potter, was referred to in a previous blog as, “…the oldest continuously functioning pottery shop in Georgia! Located in Old Grandpa Watts’ gristmill (built in 1931), Mark of the Potter seeks to showcase Georgia’s most beautiful pottery and features some of America’s finest potters.”
Highway 197 continues to follow the Soquee River north and eventually reaches the small town of Batesville. From that point, it once again crosses the Soquee and gently makes its way toward the incredible Lake Burton. Gently hugging the lake, 197 first encounters Cherokee Cove, then Wildcat Creek Cove, and on to Moccasin Creek Cove, and finally Dick’s Creek – all of which empty into Lake Burton.
Finally, Scenic Highway 197 stops at Lookout Mountain Scenic Highway – another road that those with a deep wanderlust should travel… but we’ll save that for a different day.
On your way back to Glen-Ella Springs Inn, perhaps you could stop off at Moccasin Creek State Park and do a little trout fishing or some canoeing on Lake Burton. The truth is, once you see the incredible splendor of nature that surrounds our Inn, you’ll never want to leave.
The North Georgia Mountains are full of wonder and awe. Highway 197 is just one of the many scenic drives in Georgia. Call us and make your reservations to stay at Glen-Ella Springs Inn today, especially as autumn is just around the corner and Mother Nature is gearing up to unfurl her incredible fall colors over our mountains.