At first, Brasstown Valley Resort seems to be a typical mountain getaway. It’s located at the base of the Appalachians in the Chattahoochee Mountains of Northeast Georgia and has a small-town, woodsy kinda vibe. But as you start to meander up the tree-lined driveway towards the 503-acre resort, you’ll soon discover that this resort has so many amenities that it definitely isn’t your run-of-the-mill mountain retreat. And while every season here is nice, now is the perfect time to visit with cooler temperatures and amazing fall foliage.
The best part about Brasstown is that you can do as much or as little as you want. The resort features an 18-hole championship golf course, stables that offer one and two-hour guided trail rides, and a 7,500 square-foot spa. Add in tennis courts, a fishing pond, swimming pool and an onsite art gallery and you’ll never want to leave this jewel in the mountains. And, if that’s still not enough, Lake Chatuge is located nearby and offers boating, skiing, tubing and fishing.
See the Sights
The view from the large deck of the resort is amazing and is a great place to sit back in one of the wooden rocking chairs, sip a drink and watch the sunset. On cool evenings, there is an outdoor fire pit and as the darkness envelopes you, you can listen to the sounds of frogs and the nearby waterfall. I highly recommend doing this every evening you are at the resort.
In addition to many waterfalls and hikes in the surrounding area, the resort itself has over 9 miles of hiking trails and you can either hike on your own, or sign up for a guided hike. The Miller Trek is popular, but at 6.5 miles and an elevation change of about 1200 feet, it can be a little strenuous. There’s also a 2.5 mile loop trail for those wanting a milder hike. Both offer great fall foliage views of the Chattahoochee National Forest along with possible sightings of wildlife such as deer, fox and black bears.
Be sure to take a drive to Brasstown Bald. This is Georgia’s highest mountain at 4,784 feet and on clear days you can see four states. There is a great viewing platform along with interpretive exhibits and a small general store. You can either hike the 6/10th’s of a mile and climb 440 feet or pay an additional (there’s a general admission fee) fee of $3 per person for ages 10 and up or $2 for ages 3-10 for a shuttle to the observation deck. We rode the shuttle up and hiked down.
There are differing opinions about how Brasstown Bald got its name. I personally like the Cherokee legend that says that there was a hideous flying monster that came into Cherokee villages and carried children away. The tribal council could not kill or capture the monster so they decided to clear the mountain tops to provide lookouts for the monster. They asked for aid from the Great Spirit and a bolt of lightning demolished an ancient cliff sending the monster to its death. They thanked the Great Spirit and promised that never again would the mountaintops be covered with trees in which a similar beast could hide. That’s a much more interesting tale than Brasstown Bald being derived from a Cherokee word meaning place of fresh green, which is also true.
Yes, there’s even shopping
While the shopping choices are somewhat limited in the area, pretty much anyone can find something at Alexander’s Department Store. Their tagline is everything under the sun and they mean just that. With over 50,000 square feet, this local store has a little of everything- from clothing and shoes to guns and ammunition, to furniture and appliances. This family-owned business was started in 1957 by Hoyt and Ruby Alexander as a general store and is a testimony to how a family business can be passed on from generation to generation. The unique store has become a landmark and must stop for tourists and locals alike.
Equani spa is actually located across the main highway (Highway 76) from the resort and you can either take a shuttle or drive over yourself. They are closed on Monday and Wednesdays so make sure to allow time in your schedule. The spa is quite nice and spacious and has a pretty extensive list of treatments available with reasonable prices. Located on Cherokee land, the treatments are inspired by the native Cherokee people who originally sought the lands healing power. Organic clays and natural botanicals are used in many treatments and each treatment room has a private deck with a Hydro tub that offer outstanding mountain views.
At just under two hours away from Simpsonville, Brasstown Valley Resort is a perfect weekend getaway. There are a number of events happening at the resort over the next couple of months including a new art exhibit, Thanksgiving Buffet, Holiday Arts and Crafts Show and a New Year’s Eve Gala.