“How y’all doing?”
While I live in the city that traditionally epitomizes “Southern Hospitality”, it’s a phrase that is slowly but surely falling out of favor. Despite all of the challenges this region has dealt with, there was always a silent edict that no one was a stranger and most lived by it. When I arrived in the city of Blairsville a small town north of Atlanta in the North Georgia mountains, I’d forgotten how much I’d missed hearing it. Especially since it was offered so generously and graciously at every turn. I’d began to wonder if Atlanta had lost a part of its southern charm; a bit of its soul during its conversion into the International city it has grown into. To some degree, it has lost some of its warmth and genteel spirit. I’d been to the North Georgia Mountains before, Helen, Georgia was a fantastic experience, but it took over four hours to get there. Taking a different route this time yielded a trip of a little under 2.5 hours and Helen is another 30 minutes away.
When Michelle, the owner of the Lodge at CopperHead, extended a gracious invitation to us, I gladly accepted. I didn’t quite know what to expect, but I was excited at the prospect of staying somewhere in the peace and quietness of the mountainside. It had been almost a year since my last sojourn so this would be a nice change of pace from my usually hectic work week. I live almost 30 miles NW of Atlanta, so it was a quick ride to I-575 from my house. If you know where Barrett Parkway is in Kennesaw, I-575 is literally two block east of I-75. To my amazement, 2.5 hours later (with a stop to eat lunch) we arrived in Blairsville. It is literally a straight shot all the way down I-575N. No twists, no turns…a straight shot. Eventually, the highway’s name change to route 515 and once it intersected with hwy 362, we turned right and the Lodge was about a half a mile on the right. As soon as you enter, there are several cabins to your immediate right, but spaced quite generously throughout the resort’s 40 acres. Beyond that was obviously the lodge; which was huge. To the left of the lodge was an olympic sized swimming pool probably closed for the season, but it was uncovered so who knows? We were greeted by the desk clerk, a very friendly woman who checked us in quickly and directed us to our cabin location. For some reason, I thought that I would be staying inside the lodge which houses 10 suites on the ground level, but they were putting us up in a cabin. Nice! We made our way out of the parking lot and drove maybe 500 yards to cabin # 25. It was larger than I’d thought it would be and as you pulled into the driveway, you could see small garage at the end of it. It looked too small to accommodate my CR-V, so I reasoned that it must be a storage unit after checking out the neighboring cabins…all of which had SOLD signs on them. Obviously, you could either rent or buy your own cabin getaway in the mountains. Standing in front of the cabin, you could see the porch taking up the entire length of the cabin. Two wooden rocking chairs sat to the immediate right of the front door and on the far right side stood a charcoal grill waiting to be fired up by hungry guests looking to enjoy a lively bbq. On the far left was a three sectioned patio. The first section had a tall patio table with high backed bar stools surrounding it. The second section was a patio table with four cushioned chairs flanking it and where we would end up eating lunch a few days later. the last section was lowered to accommodate a four person hot tub. That is one thing that I have learned about mountain living, hot tubs are not optional, they are necessary. What better way to soothe those aching muscles after a day of hiking, whitewater rafting, horseback riding or any other strenuous activity that can partake in while you are here. We were greeted by a large lumber-framed futon as we stepped into the cabin from the patio side. A table and two chairs on the right had a huge flat screen satellite tv hovering over. Right beyond that and past the front door was a small alcove or loft where two twin beds were hiding away ready to greet two kidlets who happened to accompany their parents on their holiday. Below the loft was a 3 piece bathroom with a standing shower. There were no shortage of linen and travel sized toiletries for its guests. Directly across was the fully staffed kitchen, complete with a small fridge, microwave, stove, sink and a bar with two bar stools ensconced opposite the oversized futon. Lastly, there was the master bedroom with a king sized bed flanked by a built in closet on either side. The headboard had built in reading lights and a smaller tv was mounted right above the threshold. One of the most eye-pleasing aspects of the cabin was its richly appointed wooden walls throughout the interior and exterior. There was no mistaking that you were in a beautiful cabin oasis. A place where you can truly connect with the inner peace that slowly deteriorates during the course of a work week. That’s why a trip like this is so ideal….even a long weekend will be worth the drive.
After deciding to go back down to lodge for dinner, we decided to take a look around. Walking into the lobby, there is an ornate hand-carved oversized bench made of gnarly branches shellacked to perfection.
I thought that this bench is going to outlive all of us combined, it was so sturdy and magnificent. Crossing the threshold into the dining room, you are greeted by a mammoth sized fireplace dead center in the first dining room.The second area to the right had mostly booths (our preference) so we asked our hostess if we could be seated there. We were the first to arrive as their operating hours were 6-9 pm during the winter months (their low season). We decided to split an order of raspberry spiced bbq chicken wings to start. It was so differently delicious with just a hint of heat to keep things interesting.
Before we could dig in, the waitress brought us a sample of one of their specialties, Fried grit balls. Yes, you read that correctly….it was a ball of grits with a cheesy mixture in the center FRIED to perfection.That’s one thing about the south….there is no shame in the frying game. Nothing is off limits. It came with a side of dip…couldn’t make out what was in it but it was spicy.
Was it a fave? Nope, but it is worth a try just for the experience and I really do want to know how they got the grits to cooperate with a vat of hot grease without crumbling under the pressure! For the main course, believe it or not…we wanted burgers! It had literally been months since we’d had a hamburger so we ordered the house specialty with steak fries and it was cooked to precisely as requested, medium well, but juicy. It’s times like these when it becomes very clear how carnivorous you are when you have been deprived for so long. lol We headed back to the cabin since we wanted to get an early start the next day. Somehow, the hot tub was summoning us to give it a test drive. It was a warm 93 degrees, but not warm enough as it was pretty chilly by that time but we got in despite the very real possibility that would could catch a serious cold that way. The next day, we had breakfast at the Lodge where we feasted on french toast, bacon, grits, scrambled eggs and bottomless cups of coffee. It was a great way to start the day since we’d planned to do a lot of hiking before hitting the local wineries. Though the town was small, there was still lots of activities to keep you busy, places to shop and untold opportunities to enjoy the stillness of nature. We decided to spend sometime exploring the lodge in greater detail. Right behind the front desk was a small souvenir/sundry shop where visitors could purchase mementos of their stay there. Just past the shop was the entrance to their full service bar where a small group of friends were meeting to catch up with one another. There’s a wrap around porch outside the bar that hosts various concerts throughout the year. The porch is more like a huge patio with large rocking chairs lined up against the spindles and comfy sofas leaning against the exterior wall with a regulation sized pool table dead center. As you walk toward the back of the lodge you can see the water cascading down the creek and more cabins sitting high in the distance. At the end of patio is an outdoor fireplace that keeps everyone toasty no matter the weather. As you turn the corner to the left there are more tables and chairs to accommodate any sized crowd.
Since we arrived in the low season, it was ideal for us because we sought peace and quiet. During the summer and Fall, it will be a different story because more people will be vacationing and there will be more outdoor activities to partake in. My guess is that you can’t go wrong visiting the Lodge at CopperHead at any time of the year because there is a little something for everyone.
Seasonal Activities and amenities at the Lodge at CopperHead
- Annual Pool Luau
- Ample parking, all paved roads
- Fourth of July Fireworks
- Free morning coffee
- Easter Sunrise Service
- WIFI (at The Lodge)
- St. Patty’s Day Party
- Salt Water pool & hot tub – open May – September
- Annual Chili Cook-off
- Wash/Dry service available
- Fine Arts Show
- Computer station with internet access
- Thanksgiving Feast
- Full service restaurant
- Valentine’s Day Ball
- Full service bar, serving a wide selection of beer, wine, and distilled spirits
- New Years Eve Celebration
- Poolside grill & tiki bar **Coming Summer 2012**
- Friday Night Karoke
- Live music every Saturday Night