Four easy weekend trips just across the Georgia state line
Dry Falls

{Photograph} courtesy of Russ

Highlands, North Carolina

I don’t know why I didn’t take into consideration the bears. The evening earlier than, as we’d dined on the outside terrace at Skyline Lodge, we’d watched two cubs frolic within the bushes close by. In actual fact, the lodge’s mascot is Butler the Bear (a stuffed model is out there for buy, $30). But, we have been deep within the woods alongside Ranger Falls Path earlier than it occurred to me that we’d run into dwell animals. Happily, our group’s squabbles about instructions will need to have been loud sufficient to scare away wildlife, and we reached our vacation spot, a multitiered waterfall on Skitty Creek, with out incident. Subsequent time, I’ll bear in mind the bear spray.

Rookie hikers are nothing new in Highlands, the place metropolis folks go for upscale buying, tremendous eating, luxurious resorts, and humanities collection—and outside lovers go for mountain climbing, fishing, and exploring one of the crucial biologically various components of the Appalachians. Our crew fell someplace in between.

We’d been lured to Highlands by the opening of the fully renovated Skyline Lodge. Designed within the Thirties by Arthur Kelsey, a scholar of Frank Lloyd Wright, the historic lodge retains its midcentury-modern attraction, with interval options like hand-cut native stone partitions, floor-to-ceiling wooden paneling, walnut mattress platforms, and hip, low-slung furnishings—plus nostalgic accents like electrical logs, plaid upholstery, and boob lights. The place the motel courtyard as soon as had a swimming pool, there’s now a lush garden with deck chairs, firepits, and cornhole video games, zigzagged above with romantic string lights.

Although the lodge sits on a hilltop not far out of Highlands—which has venerable eating places like Paoletti, Lakeside, and Wolfgang’s—it took us about two minutes after check-in to resolve to cancel our downtown reservations and settle into Skyline’s groovy bar. The property was refurbished by Indigo Street Hospitality Group, which owns some two dozen eating places across the Southeast, together with Oak Steakhouse, O-Ku Sushi, and Sukoshi in Atlanta. So, not surprisingly, the Oak Steakhouse Highlands excels at charcuterie, steak, potatoes, and seafood (significantly native trout and smoked oysters). However kudos additionally go to the pastry chef for these melt-in-your-mouth dinner rolls, served that evening with ginger butter, and the fragile particular person peach soufflés.

Four easy weekend trips just across the Georgia state line
Skyline Lodge’s Oak Steakhouse Bar Highlands

{Photograph} by Andrew Cebulka

The subsequent morning, after the aforementioned backwoods journey, we visited two, extra accessible waterfalls. Bridal Veil Falls is a lacey curtain of water so near the street that vacationers used to drive behind it. And Dry Falls—an 80-foot cascade that jets dramatically off a cliff—obtained its identify as a result of guests can stroll behind it with out getting moist, although that declare is debatable. We toyed with the concept of mountain climbing the straightforward half mile as much as Sundown Rock or following the two-mile loop up Whiteside Mountain (although it was too early for the well-known bear-shaped shadow that exhibits up in October). In the long run, we opted to discover the city as a substitute.

Highlands is a kind of traditional old-school locations the place “summer time” is a verb. It could make setting for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The Highland Playhouse’s repertory theater, the Highlands Cashiers Chamber Musical Festival (helmed by Emory music professor William Ransom), yearly occasions, and vintage auctions provide amusements throughout “the season.” We obtained our tradition repair on the Bascom arts middle, which hosts about 10 exhibitions of regional and nationwide artists all year long, and the place we, coincidentally, noticed two monumental sculptures by Atlanta’s Shanequa Gay.

Subsequent, we strolled downtown, the place upscale boutiques like Rosenthal’s and TJ Bailey’s have attracted rich snowbirds and Palm Seashore regulars for many years. Ogling $500, hand-illustrated scarves by Sabina Savage at McCulleys, I needed to remind myself that I don’t put on scarves. In an property jewellery gallery (of which the city has many), my good friend was admiring an opal ring once I overheard a buyer gushing over her companion’s newly bought five-carat diamond bracelet, including conspiratorially, “Are you going to inform Jimmy?”

Four easy weekend trips just across the Georgia state line
The Lodge at Previous Edwards Inn

{Photograph} courtesy of Previous Edwards Inn

It appears not possible to go to Highlands with out spying some new vacation spot being constructed by ever-expanding Old Edwards Hospitality. House owners Artwork and Angela Williams purchased a historic lodge in 2001 and employed Atlanta architect Keith Summerour to replace it, ultimately turning the property right into a four-star, Previous World–model resort. The corporate affords lodging on the inn—which stretches over 5 blocks of downtown, plus visitor residences—the 200 Predominant motel, and the close by Half-Mile Farm. Facilities embrace a full-service spa, non-public golf course, health amenities, and 4 totally different eating places. This journey included my first visits to their Wine Backyard, the place we lingered over Aperol spritzes surrounded by flowers and a waterfall—twice—and to the glossy Four65 Woodfire Bistro, which makes a speciality of wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas and cast-iron sandwiches.

On Sunday morning, we skipped Skyline’s buffet to seize breakfast on the way in which out of city. We ended up at Black Bear restaurant largely as a result of that’s all that was open. With its 3-D Elvis picture and comfortable vinyl cubicles, the diner is traditional Americana. However its Latinx house owners have added their very own twist with egg dishes like huevos del rancho—and inexperienced beans with onions and bacon served as an alternative choice to toast. Our stellar brunch gave me another reason to recollect bears in Highlands. —Betsy Riley

The place to go to

The Bascom
323 Franklin Street

Black Bear
137 Predominant Avenue

465 Predominant Avenue

Highlands Playhouse
362 Oak Avenue

Highlands Cashiers Chamber Musical Pageant
507 Chestnut Avenue

Lakeside Restaurant
531 Smallwood Avenue

McCulleys of Highlands
242 South Fourth Avenue

Oak Steakhouse Highlands
470 Skyline Lodge Street

Ristorante Paoletti
440 Predominant Avenue

Rosenthal’s Boutique
375 Predominant Avenue

Skyline Lodge
470 Skyline Lodge Street

TJ Bailey’s
343C Predominant Avenue

Wolfgang’s Restaurant & Wine Bistro
474 Predominant Avenue

Four easy weekend trips just across the Georgia state line
Learn Home

{Photograph} courtesy of Learn Home

Chattanooga, Tennessee and DeKalb County, Alabama

Like several self-respecting 150-year-old lodge, the Read House in Chattanooga purports to be haunted. It was constructed on the positioning of a former Civil Conflict hospital, however the lodge’s actual draw is Room 311, the place a homicide is claimed to have occurred in 1927 (and, later, the place Al Capone stayed on his solution to federal trial). You probably have a spare $666, you can also keep in Room 311, however solely in October. Free excursions can be found for the remainder of us.

Lookout Mountain—a phase of the Appalachians that begins in Chattanooga and stretches for 84 miles, throughout the northwest nook of Georgia and into Alabama—is a type of trip catchall. In 48 hours, you’ll be able to see (low-key creepy) glow-in-the-dark fairytale dioramas inside a cavern at Rock City; bike 16 miles alongside the banks of the Tennessee River; and lose cell service in one of many deepest canyons east of the Mississippi. If you happen to don’t thoughts a scattershot itinerary, mildly fascinating honorifics abound: longest pedestrian bridge, steepest passenger railway, deepest publicly accessible underground waterfall within the U.S.

My husband and I began our weekend on the Learn Home, the oldest repeatedly working lodge within the Southeast, meticulously restored to its Roaring ’20s heyday: excessive ceilings, outsized chandeliers, checkerboard flooring. Chattanooga’s free electrical shuttle stops simply exterior, on Broad Avenue, however the metropolis is sufficiently small that you could simply cycle from one finish to the opposite in a day. (It’s even simpler in the event you rating considered one of Bike Chattanooga’s extremely coveted electrical bikes, which I did.)

Four easy weekend trips just across the Georgia state line
Chattanooga Riverwalk

{Photograph} by Getty Pictures

After using alongside the Riverwalk, a paved path that runs for 16 miles on the banks of the Tennessee River, we checked in our rental bikes close to Rembrandt’s Coffee House and wandered via the Bluff View Art District to the two-acre River Gallery Sculpture Garden, located on a hillside overlooking the river. From there, we handed the Hunter Museum of American Art and hopped on the Walnut Avenue Bridge, one of many longest pedestrian bridges on the planet. Simply throughout it, in Northshore, a left flip takes you to handcrafted, microbatched ice cream (Clumpies Ice Cream Co.) and a proper takes you to Brewhaus, a German-American gastropub. Both path, units of bronze footprints are embedded into the sidewalk, numbered to show passersby steps to dances just like the mambo and the merengue.

After a beer and a pretzel, we walked to Coolidge Park, checked out new bikes, and rode towards State of Confusion for ceviche, first wandering right into a dwell artwork public sale at WanderLinger Brewing Company after which stopping by American Draft, a tiny beer corridor nestled inside a historic prepare automobile on the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel. From there, you could possibly bike straight again to the Learn Home to take pleasure in a complimentary glass of champagne within the billiards room. Or you could possibly, as we did, cease by the Pickle Barrel—housed in a Flatiron-esque brick constructing inbuilt 1893—the place the bar served Picklebacks, pictures with pickle juice chasers. (I abstained, not quickly sufficient.)

We began the subsequent morning with a groggy tour of Room 311 and, on our approach out of city, grabbed breakfast—inch-thick, fluffy pancakes (“assured to remedy your ails from ales”)—at Aretha Frankensteins, the place band posters and classic cereal packing containers line the partitions and the beer faucet is a bronze scuba-diving helmet.

Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga will get a whole lot of tourism buzz, possibly due to the traps there. However the majority of the mountain (50 miles of it) is in Alabama. So, we traced the vary 45 minutes south to DeKalb County, Alabama, the place we stopped at Little River Falls, the 45-foot waterfall that marks the formation of Little River Canyon. Greater than 600 toes deep in some locations, it’s one of many deepest canyons east of the Mississippi River, etched into sandstone over hundreds of thousands of years by Little River—the one river within the U.S. that flows for almost its total size alongside a mountain prime. A path off the boardwalk there runs a few mile via the woods to Martha’s Falls (aka the Hippie Gap). If you happen to’re searching for a extra strenuous hike—I used to be not—take Little River Canyon Rim Parkway, a scenic route that hugs the west rim of the canyon, 11 miles to Eberhart Point path.

Four easy weekend trips just across the Georgia state line
Manitou Cave

{Photograph} by Alan Cressler

In close by Fort Payne (the previous Sock Capital of the World!), previous life-size bronze statues of hometown band Alabama, previous the circa 1941 theater downtown, and nestled in a hillside behind Twin Metropolis Used Automotive Gross sales, is Manitou Cave of Alabama, the place nineteenth century Cherokee syllabary inscriptions are carved into 50-foot cave ceilings. Manitou Cave, as soon as a ceremonial website for the Cherokees, was used as a ballroom within the late 1800s, then a chilly battle fallout shelter. The cave was closed throughout my go to in January (in order to not disturb hibernating bats) however will reopen later this 12 months. To guard its fragile ecosystem—together with salamanders and the uncommon Manitou Cave snail—excursions are by request solely.

We rented an Airbnb on Lookout Mountain in Mentone, a small city (inhabitants 320) and a sleepy one. Be ready for companies’ restricted working hours. (The Log Cabin Village, 10 tiny retailers that make up a lot of the downtown, is simply open Friday to Sunday.) No matter you do, don’t miss Wildflower Cafe, whose Well-known Tomato Pie is price no matter effort you spend to get it.

On our final morning, a Monday, we wakened early, brewed some espresso—Mentone’s Tip High Bake Store is simply open Fridays and Saturdays—and drove to DeSoto Falls, one of many tallest waterfalls in Alabama. There, you could possibly hike 30 miles of trails in DeSoto State Park or lease a kayak and paddle the peaceable west fork of Little River. We handed, nonetheless feeling the lingering results of Saturday evening. However right here’s one final cease to contemplate: The route from Mentone to Atlanta passes via Summerville, house of Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden. —Heather Buckner

The place to go to


Aretha Frankensteins
518 Tremont Avenue

Bike Chattanooga

Bluff View Artwork District
411 East Second Avenue

224 Frazier Avenue

Chattanooga Choo Choo Resort (American Draft)
1400 Market Avenue

Clumpies Ice Cream Co.
26 Frazier Avenue

Hunter Museum of American Artwork
10 Bluff View

Pickle Barrel
1012 Market Avenue

Learn Home
107 West MLK Boulevard

Rembrandt’s Espresso Home
204 Excessive Avenue
423-321-0235 Ext 3

River Gallery Sculpture Backyard
400 East Second Avenue

State of Confusion
301 East Predominant Avenue

WanderLinger Brewing Firm
1208 King Avenue #120


Desoto State Park
7104 DeSoto Parkway NE
Fort Payne

Log Cabin Village
Log Cabin Village Hwy 117

Wildflower Cafe
6007 Alabama Freeway 117


Howard Finster’s Paradise Backyard
200 North Lewis Avenue

Rock Metropolis
1400 Patten Street
Lookout Mountain

Four easy weekend trips just across the Georgia state line
Wakulla Springs

{Photograph} by Getty Pictures

Wakulla County, Florida

A roadside register Wakulla County: ROAD ENDS IN WATER. And it does, 500 toes later. There are a whole lot of roads like that round right here, branching off U.S. Route 98 in Florida and terminating at some marshy spot on the water’s edge, or resulting in little cities which have possibly two eating places and a marina. Like St. Mark’s, which has a marina and two eating places. One in every of them is the Cooter Stew Cafe, which serves burgers and beer and performs music loved by cool dads: Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett. The servers put on T-shirts that learn, a la The Large Lebowski: “The Turtle Abides.” The restaurant doesn’t truly serve cooter stew—probably the rationale the turtle abides. Up to now, individuals ate so many turtles that their numbers have been threatened.

The city of St. Mark’s abuts a nationwide wildlife refuge of the identical identify, a part of the Large Bend area of Florida—a quiet respite the place the dangling a part of the state curves into the Panhandle, price visiting for its lonely magnificence and massive skies, its shorebirds and wildflowers and carnivorous vegetation, its unusual little cities and waving salt marshes. If you’re lukewarm on individuals, you might love this nook of Florida, probably the most forgotten a part of what’s already referred to as the Forgotten Coast.

Numerous stretches of street right here have been organized into the Big Bend Scenic Byway, which follows the Gulf Coast and swoops up into Apalachicola Nationwide Forest, passing via locations with fascinating names. I stayed in Carrabelle, the place guests are warned to be looking out for Florida black bears. I obtained coffee in Panacea, the place beans from Tallahassee-based roastery Fortunate Goat have been served out of a transformed bus parked in a dentist’s parking zone. Southwest of Sumatra, deep inside Tate’s Hell State Forest, I climbed a boardwalk to look out over a patch of dwarf cypresses: bushes that, regardless of being a whole lot of years outdated, are shorter than 20 toes.

Four easy weekend trips just across the Georgia state line
Apalachicola Nationwide Forest

{Photograph} by Getty Pictures

The forest takes its identify from outdated Cebe Tate, who survived, however barely, an 1875 stroll via the swampy lowlands. Within the twentieth century, hell was drained and transformed to a pine plantation, such that, in the present day, it’s lower via with entry roads. Regardless of all of the timbering, the state lands embody pure communities from moist prairies to bottomland swamps to restored longleaf pine forests.

I wandered one morning via the minuscule city of Sopchoppy, setting my intention to return some April for the Sopchoppy Worm Gruntin’ Festival, which celebrates a folks technique, aka worm charming, of coaxing earthworms from the bottom to make use of for bait. Close by, you’ll be able to decide up the Florida Trail, a mountain climbing path that stretches 1,500 miles from one tip of the state to the opposite, knitting collectively varied public lands. I met it on the Oak Park trailhead: You drive north from Sopchoppy, the pavement turns to filth, you move a cemetery, take a left. Wander lengthy sufficient and also you’ll wind up within the Bradwell Bay Wilderness, one of many remotest components of the path system, and reportedly one of the crucial stunning.

Simpler is mountain climbing only a couple miles in and turning round. The path right here hugs the financial institution of the Ochlockonee River, whose swift present burbles round large outdated cypress bushes. This might be place, I assumed, to see over to the opposite financial institution and see a bear. It could be the proper distance: shut sufficient for look, however with little probability of pressure arising between you and the animal. Alas, although—no such luck. (The Large Bend space additionally welcomes bikers, with a 16-mile paved path, constructed atop a transformed rail line, that stretches from Tallahassee to the water’s edge in St. Mark’s; one other paved path begins exterior Panacea at Mashes Sands Seashore and ends in downtown Sopchoppy—the place you’ll be able to pause to drink a beer at Civic Brewing Co.)

I did see a couple of manatees, nevertheless, at Wakulla Springs State Park, the positioning of the world’s largest freshwater springs, which you’ll swim in, peer down on via an commentary tower, or cruise via on a ship tour. Look out as effectively for alligators—a 13-footer likes to hang around on the seaside (pets are forbidden in that space)—and roseate spoonbills, whose identify provides you some indication of what you’ll see: They’re a placing colour, and so they look bizarre as hell. The springs are ringed by historical bald cypress bushes bedecked with Spanish moss; additionally waterside, a rambling Thirties Spanish-style lodge homes a present store, lodge, and restaurant. (Enjoyable truth: Wakulla Springs was a filming website for the 1954 film Creature from the Black Lagoon.)

The pure springs round right here, and their supposedly healing properties, are how Panacea obtained its identify. (Another excuse to return: Panacea’s Blue Crab Festival, held in early Might.) I went there one evening to the Seineyard Rock Landing, a seafood restaurant on the finish of a street overlooking the water, the place there’s usually dwell music. I ate blackened grouper whereas a man did a canopy of Jimmy Cliff’s “I Can See Clearly Now,” with a sax solo within the center. Then, the man switched to Don Henley: “The Boys of Summer time.” No one on the street, no one on the seaside. An outdated man in a cowboy hat danced round, alone, leaning on his walker. Driving again to Carrabelle, I put “The Finish of the Innocence” on and tried to sing alongside whereas the moon—only one extra evening until full—shone via the motive force’s-side window, evident off Ochlockonee Bay.

The place to go to

Civic Brewing Co.
106 Municipal Avenue

Cooter Stew Cafe
859 Port Leon Drive
St. Marks

Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park
465 Wakulla Park Drive
Wakulla Springs

Panacea Espresso
9 Alison Avenue

The Seineyard Rock Touchdown
99 Rock Touchdown Street

Four easy weekend trips just across the Georgia state line
Reedy River Falls

{Photograph} by Getty Pictures

Greenville, South Carolina

I’d visited Greenville as soon as earlier than, in 2018, and I’ve at all times regretted not using a motorcycle across the South Carolina metropolis again then, as prevailing native knowledge and journey guides insist you need to. So, in mid-October, with the primary alluring hints of autumn within the air, my household of 4 overcompensated: We discovered an enormous, hitch-mounted, four-bike service on Amazon for affordable, packed it to the gills, headed two hours northeast, and rolled into GVL—because the hip branding now calls it—trying like a mixture of Pyrenees Peloton and Beverly Hillbillies.

Greenville had modified remarkably in three years—as you may count on in a city of roughly 71,000 that has swelled by greater than 20 % in a single decade. (One accelerant: Worldwide corporations like BMW have situated right here, giving the metro space probably the most international funding per capita within the U.S.) Former development websites had blossomed into mixed-use hubs teeming with school soccer revelers; bachelorette events spilled from a brand new AC Resort; vacant heaps had grow to be brewery patios; and nonetheless extra cranes towered over a walkable, historic downtown famend as an urban-revival template. Even our lodge—the approachably glossy SpringHill Suites by Marriott, bedecked with fashionable driftwood sculptures and windmill palms round a courtyard pool—was simply three years outdated. And, crucially for us, it offered ample bike racks close to the valet (in addition to cruiser-style bikes free of charge checkout).

Lured by the sounds of a countrified Leon Bridges cowl, we wandered throughout the road to convivial Fireforge Brewery, a postindustrial brewhouse that felt prefer it belonged on Atlanta’s BeltLine. A hazy IPA referred to as John Hopcock paired effectively with the most effective grilled cheese of my life—Buffalo kick, loaded with hen, for $13.50—and Carolina Kettle Chips. Easy, however satisfying. We zipped via River Street Sweets for contemporary pralines, then handed beneath lights twinkling in Predominant Avenue’s oaks en path to the attractive Reedy River Falls. It’s a central metropolis treasure that, at evening, roars and glows beneath the swooping, iconic Liberty Bridge’s pulsating neon.

Within the morning, after gorging on contemporary waffles and turkey sausage on the lodge, we boarded our Treks and headed for the famed Swamp Rabbit Trail. The 22-mile multiuse greenway slices via downtown alongside the river. The primary day, we opted for the north route, which heads towards the fittingly named city of Traveler’s Rest. I hadn’t anticipated that the northbound route was actually uphill the entire approach, on a slight former railroad incline. We’d barely breached metropolis limits earlier than my daughters, avid city cyclists at age seven and 10, grew whiny and uninterested in the bucolic surroundings. (I’d figured silos would enthrall them—oops.) That was remedied by a popsicle pit cease on the charming Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery, which was full of different cyclists.

Four easy weekend trips just across the Georgia state line
Furman College

{Photograph} courtesy of Furman College

With gold and maroon leaves snowflaking onto our bike helmets, we reached Traveler’s Relaxation (roughly 9 miles) in about an hour and promptly chowed on barbecue on the homey Whistle Stop at the American Cafe. A pleasant musician strumming on the rooftop patio insisted we hop off the path on the way in which again and tour Furman University’s spring-fed lake with views of Paris Mountain—recommendation we fortunately heeded. We pedaled via canyons of mossy rocks, goofed round on a tire swing, and raced individuals on each method of pedaling contraption, together with an grownup Large Wheel. As straightforward, outside journey locations go, the Swamp Rabbit is a gem.

Four easy weekend trips just across the Georgia state line
Yee-Haw Brewing

{Photograph} by Reese Moore Images

Initially meaning to take pleasure in a complicated meal on our final evening, we as a substitute bounced off two extra breweries: Southernside Brewing Company—the place we discovered our favourite drink of the weekend, a Peach Cobbler Milkshake IPA—and Yee-Haw Brewing Co., a energetic downtown house with a huge outside tv, plus not-to-miss broccoli casserole and Kölsch. For us, brewery periods are a pandemic-born pastime that enable house for the women to run round and partake of their favourite pastime: mercilessly petting each canine they will discover. Greenville boasts greater than two dozen breweries or specialty beer bars both walkable to one another downtown or a brief drive away.

After a requisite go to to the nostalgic, creaky-floored Mast General Store on Sunday, we got down to deal with the south leg of the Swamp Rabbit, which may simply be completed in a morning. Snaking forwards and backwards over the river, round inexperienced hills and tony neighborhoods, beside parks and tucked-away amphitheaters, it appears like traversing a large model of Chastain Park—a wholly totally different expertise than the northern phase.

Four easy weekend trips just across the Georgia state line
Collect GVL

{Photograph} courtesy of Greenville Division of Parks, Recreation and Tourism

Famished once more, having logged virtually 30 biked miles in 24 hours, we pedaled into the historic West Finish neighborhood. There, we stumbled into a colourful hive of outside eateries, all stacked Tetris-like in former transport containers, referred to as Gather GVL. Munching a well-earned unfold of gooey-crispy plantains and puffy hen empanadas dipped in cilantro aioli, listening to a guitarist in a Braves jersey strum a “Expensive Prudence” cowl, my youngest daughter jutted out a pouty lip and stated, “I’m going to overlook this place.” Lady, the sensation’s mutual.

The place to go to:

Fireforge Brewery
311 East Washington Avenue

Furman College
3300 Poinsett Freeway

Collect GVL
126 Augusta Avenue

Mast Common Retailer
111 North Predominant Avenue

River Avenue Sweets
12 South Predominant Avenue

Southernside Brewing Firm
25 Delano Drive
Unit D

SpringHill Suites Greenville Downtown
200 East Washington Avenue (one block off Predominant Avenue)

Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery
205 Cedar Lane Street

Traveler’s Relaxation

The Whistle Cease on the American Cafe
109 South Predominant Avenue

Yee-Haw Brewing Co.
307 East McBee Avenue
Suite C

This text seems in our March 2022 concern.

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