Was that the Chattanooga Choo Choo we heard in Georgia? Not sure the 40s era Glenn Miller Band was thinking of the Peach State when it penned the song , but the Inn where we stayed outside Macon could have served as a backdrop for this iconic tune. Why? Because it had a track running behind it and we were up almost ever hour on the hour listening to the deafening sound of train whistles blowing in our ears. Ugh. Live and learn.
Bleary-eyed the next morning, your Tour leaders continued on through Georgia toward our ultimate destination of the day – Tennessee. We ascended the ear-popping Appalachian Mountains and motored by the scenic Tennessee River, which featured an impressive river boat meandering along its shores.
Our first stop of the day was Calhoun (pop approx. 15,650) to see and experience some of the quirkiest local attractions we’ve seen yet on the Tour. Named after U.S. Senator John Calhoun in 1850, and known as the “Land of the Cherokee”, Calhoun is where the Trail of Tears (http://bit.ly/1hUMN3f) officially began and the Civil War was fought.
First on our itinerary was a hidden, magical Folk Art Garden tucked away behind a church and lovingly built by volunteers. With an acre of gorgeous flowers and greenery to enjoy, the real show-stopper here is the more than 50 miniature buildings crafted from tiny stones, pebbles, shells, glass, china, tile, wire and cement. Winding paths leading to castles, cathedrals, moats and monasteries are nestled in the foliage just waiting to be discovered by the child in all of us. And we’re virtually certain we spotted a faerie or 2 hiding in the village!
This church was patterned after the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and is just under 4′ tall.
Bart was on the lookout for Robin Hood and his merry men.
It takes a village to build a village.
Just around the corner from this magical garden lives a mysterious, renaissance man named Sam Edwards. Former aide to President Carter and Senator John Glenn, successful author, and tree house builder extraordinaire, Sam lives in a multi-level tree house tucked behind a Mexican restaurant. But this is no ordinary tree house (http://samstreehouse.com/house.html). One bedroom is the fuselage of an airplane and another is a ski boat, there’s a room in the submarine prop from a 1960’s Elvis movie, and of course, no home is complete without a compartment made from a helicopter. HGTV’s Tiny Homes have nothing on this guy!
Rorie said “what the ****?”
The final stop on our way to The Volunteer State was the historic and picturesque town of Roswell, GA. Developed into a cotton mill town in the mid 1830’s by Roswell King, his mill soon became the largest cotton processor in north Georgia. Hiking along the Old Mill Trail next to Victory Creek, you can see the ruins of the original company mills.
In the center of town is the beautiful Roswell Town Square (featuring a very large Christmas Tree!), dedicated to the founding fathers of Roswell and a monument to the mill’s workers (mostly women and children) who were charged with treason during the Civil War by General Sherman and forced to go to the North. After strolling through the lively town, we wandered into the 640 acre historic district full of gracious old homes where the mill towns rich and famous residents lived .
Barrington Hall ~ Circa 1839
Music City…here we come. But first we’ll need to gas up. Look at these bargain prices!