Needing a weekend away from the everyday pressures of home, we hopped into the motorhome and headed east on US76 to Clayton and Rabun County, Georgia. Thinking first to camp at the Black Rock Mountain State Park, we were scared off by a posting on the Internet saying that campsites were limited to a 25' RV. So, it was on to River Vista RV Park near Dillard, GA.
On Saturday morning our first venture was to the Cupboard Café for a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon, grits, gravy, ham, and toast - enough to be the meal of the day.
Responding to a brochure from the campground office, we next visited the Foxfire Museum & Heritage Center near Mountain City. Twenty plus log structures have been brought in and set up as a typical 1850s era community in the mountains. This entire undertaking has been financed by royalties from the popular Foxfire books published by students of the Rabun Gap School. Students and faculty of the school continue to volunteer time in adding to and maintaining the interesting exhibits.
The old log structures reflect the lifestyle of early pioneers in the southern Appalachians as do the Foxfire books that have made these exhibits possible. A grist mill, blacksmith shop, mule barn, wagon shed, church, hog scalder, root cellar, smokehouse, and several residences make up the community. A group of ladies had gathered in the front yard of one of the houses, each working on their individual spinning wheels. We had an interesting conversation with one who was spinning alpaca fiber into yarn.
One of the wagons on display - called the Zuraw wagon, built in the late 1700s - is the only documented wagon known to have traveled to Oklahoma in the Trail of Tears march in the 1830s. That was the sad trip that removed most of the Cherokee Indians to Oklahoma. The Zuraw wagon was donated to the Foxfire Museum in 1975.
Split rail fences surround many of the structures. Old farm implements - ox bows, plows, rakes, sleds- hang in the old barns. Primitive furniture, such as rope beds, handmade tables and chairs, etc., fill the houses. Stories of where each building came from, who built it, and when, are posted on the doors and the brochure provided us when we paid the $6 admission fee.
The complete story of the Foxfire Museum and Heritage Center can be found at:
Continuing up the mountain from the Foxfire Museum, we soon came to Black Rock Mountain State Park. Located astride the Eastern Continental Divide at an altitude of 3,640 feet, this park is the highest state park in Georgia. There are numerous overlooks providing spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. On clear days they claim to be able to see 80 miles. This was not one of those, but the views were still outstanding. From the deck at the Welcome Center we looked down upon the city of Clayton. Admission to the park on this day was free - a day sponsored by the Coca-Cola Company. They were giving away free cokes at the Welcome Center. On the way down the mountain we took a short detour to Black Rock Lake, a clear mountain lake where Canadian geese were swimming amidst schools of little fish.
Our next venture was a hunt for Dick's Creek Falls east of Clayton. A brochure we picked up at the campground described this as a beautiful water falls flowing into the Chatooga River. Directions were scanty though. After driving some 15 plus miles east on Warwoman Road without seeing any sign, we stopped at a little store and asked. The lady directed us back about a mile to Sandy Ford Road and told us to turn left and follow it to a bridge. There we crossed a small creek with some minor falls in sight a few yard upstream. An old mill, long abandoned, was near the falls. We took some pictures, but were unimpressed. Later, we decided we had been misdirected. Those beautiful falls emptying into the Chatooga River will have to remain unseen by us until another trip.
Back in Clayton we drove to the Clayton Pharmacy where Ann recalled seeing an old fashioned soda fountain. As it happened, this day (June 14th) they were celebrating one year of operation by offering old time prices. We had a cherry coke for a quarter, a hot dog for fifty cents, and two scoops of ice cream for a dollar. The Coca-Cola Co. may have had something to do with this too.. There were Coca-Cola items on display all through the soda shop and store.
We wound up the day with a stop at the local BP station where we filled up our gas tank with cheap?? ($3.92/gal.) gas. It was $4.05/gal. back in Hiawassee.