The Best Little City You Never Heard Of

Author: Alecia Pirulis  

Blue Ridge Mountains

Come on Down to Cleveland … Georgia, That Is

As someone who enjoys nothing more than being in the Blue Ridge Mountains on a crisp, autumn morning watching the sun come up as I sip coffee brewed over a camp fire, Cleveland has a special place in my heart. Cleveland, Georgia is a beautiful little city complete with an old-fashioned town square.

Cleveland was settled in the 1800s and is named after a War of 1812 figure. The first gold rush happened in this area, and gold panning is still a popular pastime. (There are plenty of gold-panning businesses, or you can grab a pan, a screen, and your hiking boots and find your own stream to work in. Either way, it’s great fun!)

Yes, Cleveland is small – the population is about 2,000. But Cleveland is anything but dull, especially if you enjoy the “great outdoors.” From waterfalls to golf courses to an Alpine village, this place is unique.

It’s a bit of a drive to get to a large city – Gainesville is about 25 miles south, and Athens is 60 miles southeast. Cleveland has a good amount of businesses, ranging from Babyland General Hospital (where those cute Cabbage Patch dolls are made) to vineyards.

Helen is a Bavarian village nestled in the mountains. It’s a great little place to hang out and shop, get some brats at the tavern, and – of course – spend Oktoberfest.

Unicoi State Park is a gorgeous park with several hiking trails. Discovering hidden waterfalls and scenic overlooks is just part of this park’s charm – you can also fish, go boating, swim, and camp. Don’t miss Anna Ruby Falls – this waterfall is actually two waterfalls in one. It’s quite a climb to the top, but well worth it.

So, sure, Atlanta has the skyscrapers, the museums, the nightlife – but nothing beats those quiet, hushed mornings, when the clouds hang like a misty veil between endless mountains and the orange morning sun peeks over the ridge, casting shadows into the deep valleys below as an eagle glides across the sleepy blue sky.