I took the scenic route as I continued my December Road Trip from Tennessee to Georgia. It can be a challenge when it rains. There are some twisty roads, but they lead to some lovely towns to explore in the mountains. Ultimately, I discovered seven sites to see in Georgia.
The German-styled town is a tourist paradise. There are plenty of shops and eateries in scenic surroundings. While the city has nothing to do with German ancestry, it was the brainchild of John Kollack, a local artist who had spent time in Bavaria. Kollack was hired by two local businessmen who thought the town would flourish if styled in a German fashion. It is a fun place to stretch your legs and have some strudel. It’s worth spending some time here.
On the way from Helen to Atlanta, I stopped in Dahlonega. I visited the old Dahlonega Courthouse, which is the Gold Mine Museum. Two gold mines in the area have tours. The courthouse square is ringed with many restaurants and shops. From wine tasting to fudge, you will find many tasty treats. The Georgia State Parks run the Gold Mine Museum. It provides an informative look at the history of gold mining. Visitors can have a fun afternoon of lunch, wine tasting, and shopping can be had in Dahlonega.
As I moved on from the mountains, I started a journey through Civil War and Presidential History.
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield
This was the site of one of the most significant battles of the Civil War. The National Park Rangers know the story of the battlefield. There is an excellent film about the battle narrated by Peter Coyote.
The museum looks into the soldiers’ daily lives and has many artifacts from the Civil War. The battlefield is enormous, and visitors can drive or walk most of the battlefield if the weather is good. It was a foggy, damp day when I visited, so going through the battlefield was not advisable.
Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History
Not far from the Kennesaw Battlefield is the Southern Museum. This museum houses the General, a restored 1860s Steam locomotive, and World War 1 Merci Boxcar. Exhibits on the Great Locomotive chase involved the General locomotive in 1862.
Visitors will see an automated locomotive assembly line in the Glover Machine Works exhibit and learn about the issues in the post-Civil War age and how railroads were the lifeblood of the South during the Civil War.
This massive museum is a must-see for railroad and Civil War enthusiasts.
Jimmy Carter Presidential Library
Martin Sheen narrates the film that begins a visitors’ journey through the museum. Visitors start with exhibits on Carter’s beginnings in Plains, Georgia, his naval career, his term as Governor of Georgia, his campaign for President, and his Presidency. This was my third visit to the Carter Library, and I always find something new to learn.
Carter’s achievements are many, including the Camp David Accords, where he negotiated the end to the 31-year state of war between Israel and Egypt and negotiated the SALT II treaty with the Soviets. However, it was never ratified, established full diplomatic relations with China, and paved the way to return the Panama Canal to the Panamanians.
Carter’s one-term presidency was handed some challenging issues, including the Three-Mile Island Nuclear accident, the Mt. Saint Helens eruption, and the Iranian hostage crisis from 1979-1981.
The Iranian hostage crisis was resolved when the hostages were released within minutes of President Reagan’s swearing-in. President Reagan immediately dispatched Carter to meet the hostages in Germany on their return.
He is the oldest surviving President at 98 years old and has recently experienced some health issues. He and Roselyn have been married for 76 years.
The Carter Center has been active since mediating conflicts and verifying elections around the globe. Until the last few years, Carter himself would work with Habitat for Humanity to build houses for the underprivileged. Jimmy Carter continues to serve his country with humility.
At the time of this posting, the Carter Center has advised that President Carter is in hospice care.
Please see my previous article on the Carter library here.
FDR’s Little White House
On my way to Warm Springs, GA, I was delayed by a train. It reminded me of the train that carried President Roosevelt back to Washington after his death at the Little White House in 1945. Warm Springs embraced President Franklin
Roosevelt contracted polio in 1921 at age 39 after his loss of running for Vice President in 1920.
It was George Foster Peabody that led Roosevelt to Warm Springs. On Roosevelt’s first visit to the mineral pools, he realized they could benefit him. He visited the pool numerous times after 1924. While there, he would interact with patients from the rehabilitation hospital and was just another patient. Between 1924 and 1945, he traveled to Warm Springs forty-one times.
FDR had a small house built in 1927 to have ready access to the therapeutic waters. In 1932, FDR’s Little White House was built when he was Governor of New York. The house turns ninety this year.
The exhibits at the Little White House have been updated, and the new legacy exhibit has newly acquired materials regarding the unfinished portrait of Roosevelt.
David Frohman donated three studies for the portrait that artist Elizabeth Shoumatoff completed while working on the portrait of Roosevelt at the time of his death.
The Little White House is a fascinating look at the life and death of the 32nd president.
Please see my previous article on the Little White House here.
Historic Roosevelt Pools
The Roosevelt Historic Pools have a new museum exhibit about polio and the pools’ role in the rehabilitation of victims of polio. They are open as staffing allows. Jason Grantham, Assistant Historic Site manager, gave me an in-depth tour of the pools and the Little White House. Jason’s knowledge of the site is remarkable.
After a lengthy fundraising campaign, the renovation of the pools should begin this year. The site is well worth a visit as it tells the story of the rehabilitation for polio patients as it was. You will see FDR’s swimsuit he wore when using the pools. Here is a video of the museum site.
The pools were an original draw of the Merriweather Inn, constructed in 1869 to use the nearby mineral waters for its guests. The rainwater runoff from Pine Mountain is in constant motion at about one hundred gallons a minute.
The restoration of the pools begins soon, and they hope to have them refilled in 2024. Perhaps then visitors can take a dip in the 88° water.
If you’re considering staying in the area, you might want to try the Historic Warm Springs Hotel, built in 1907, now a B&B. It has seen a lot of history through the years.
Want to learn more about the Presidential History? See more here