Then there's the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, located 45 minutes west of Clayton (Highway 76) in the town of Hiawassee. This authentic Appalachian Mountain village among the pines is where local folks demonstrate the operation of yesteryear technology and industries like sawmills and moonshine stills. Quilting demos are given and bluegrass groups play the music that originated here. Flattop guitars, fiddles, mandolins, banjos, acoustic basses, and vocals come together in the delivery of classic tunes like "Cumberland Gap," "Blue Moon of Kentucky," and "Amazing Grace."
Northeast Georgia boasts an array of excellent eateries with fare that spans the entire epicurean spectrum. In and around Clayton are several restaurants where you simply can't go wrong. Grapes & Beans, a gourmet lunch box, serves specialty coffees and wines from around the world. Just south of Tallulah Gorge is Glen-Ella Springs, where Chef David Knopp takes creative license with gourmet cooking and brings dining to a new level. The Tallulah Gorge Grill serves a delightful eclectic mix of redneck and New York Fifth Avenue fare. Near Helen is the Nacoochee Grill where the chef could easily step into the lead role at any five-star restaurant. Edelweiss German Inn & Restaurant, just minutes south of the town of Helen on Highway 384, serves sauerbraten, strudel, bratwurst, knockwurst, and smoked chops (all made on site) among the many selections. Soque Smokehouse in Clarksville is as good as barbecue gets. At this roadside stop, pulled pork, homemade coleslaw and baked beans, and baby-back ribs, chicken, and turkey are in abundant supply and in great demand.
Bellies full and minds fully at ease, we were ready to get home. We were impressed with the new Ram, the biggest shock being how thrifty the Dodge was on fuel. We used the dash light to observe when the ECU took cylinders out of service to conserve fuel at the optimal times (steady state, cruising conditions, etc.). In fact, we completed our travels logging an amazing average of 24.0 mpg. Dodge touts a significant improvement in fuel economy for 2009, but this level was a pleasant surprise.
As for luxury, comfort, and road manners, this truck excelled on all levels. The new interior is stylish and functional, and we were happy in the cab. That plus the beauty and culture of northeast Georgia made this a trip we won't soon forget.
Museums and historic sights, lush farmland and vineyards, the strains of bluegrass music i
Gracious locals continue the tradition of Southern hospitality with excellent restaurants