According to the Enota Mountain Retreat website,
Enota is the perfect mountain escape to spend time with your friends and family. Enota is a non-profit conservation facility committed to preserving our beautiful land with a number of accommodations including vacation rental cabins, full hook-up RV camping sites, pop-up and tent camping sites and a Retreat Center for conferences, groups, events and seminars. Enota is rated to be in the top 100 camping destinations in the country.
Enota located at the highest private elevation in Georgia in a lush valley among the highest mountains in North Georgia, in the shadow of Brasstown Bald whose elevation is 4,780′! Enota is centrally located between White, Union & Towns counties and the towns of Helen, Blairsville, Hiawassee & Young Harris.
We got into town in time for a late lunch, early dinner. We were going to eat at a fancy restaurant called, Mully’s Nachoochee Grill, but it was closed, so we went across the street to a little pizza place that served artisan-style pizza. It was very good, we ate outside because the temperature was perfect.
We arrived at Enota Mountain Retreat on Thursday June 11, 2015 at around 4:30pm. It was my husband, Lucky’s, birthday and we were so excited to be there. I had been researching them for a long time and couldn’t believe I was actually here!
It started raining just as we arrived at our cabin, but we were not complaining. Our cabin was secluded, cozy, clean and comfortable. We had a little covered deck outside with a grill that overlooked the campground below. That night we slept like babies to the sound of the pouring rain.
The next morning we were up early and decided to go exploring. We found a little stream that runs through the park, we were told that Enota has the highest quality water in the USA. This particular stream is fed from a 200ft waterfall, so we decided we needed to climb to the top. The climb up was steep and slippery from the rain the night before. We saw an old, run down pump house on the trail and jokingly said it was what they used to power the waterfall…lol 😀 We also came across a HUGE rock, I took a picture of Lucky underneath it, it looks like he’s holding it up.
Later that morning we headed to Trackrock Campground & Stables to go horseback riding. That was a pretty cool adventure, we had a chance to gallop our horses across a field, we walked them across a covered bridge and we went down many tree covered trails. I made tuna, pasta salad for lunch, so, afterward, we had lunch on a wooden swing overlooking the stables.
When we returned to our cabin after horseback riding, Lucky took a nap and I went to go check out the farm. In their commitment to sustainability, they raise chickens from which they get their own eggs. They have cows & goats that they milk daily, along with a miniature horse, rabbits and ducks. Enota serves the local community by acting as an animal rescue center also.
There’s a creek that runs right along side where the animals are kept. They’re hoping to transition to alternative energy in the near future. Enota has a state-of-the-art hydroelectric micro power plant, which has the ability for 28kw which is capable to run their main Lodge. This power source is completely functional but not yet operational. As part of their sustainable and educational commitment they are working towards implementing alternative energy sources, such as solar and wind, as demonstration models throughout the entire property. They are always on the lookout for anyone who will work with them to bring this transition into reality.
Their entire property is certified organic with a 10 acre bio-dynamic garden and farm. As part of their educational program in farming practices they are continually planting orchards, berry bushes and other edibles throughout the property.
Nothing goes to waste around the farm. Dead trees are brought to the wood shed. From there they turn them into firewood, building material and parking barriers.
After my trip to the farm and Lucky’s nap, we decided to head into town to get something to eat for dinner. We found a restaurant called “Georgia Mountain Restaurant”, the waitress at this restaurant was awesome. As soon as we walked in she yelled from the back, “Ya’ll come on in and have a seat anywhere you like”. After dinner, back at the cabin, we built a small bonfire and just sat there enjoying the beautiful, quiet night.
The next day was Saturday and I made us some homemade, organic, blueberry pancakes, before we headed out to hike the Appalachian Trail. On our way we stopped to take pictures by a pretty little stream running along side the road, we just couldn’t help ourselves, there’s nothing like it in Florida, that’s for sure.
Georgia is at the southern end of the Appalachian Trail and runs through, Swallow Creek Wildlife Management Area, it’s also very close to Enota. People walking the whole trail, sometimes stop by to take a much needed break. The part of the trail we walked was very steep, slippery and challenging. We had only hiked a short time, when I declared I was not going to be able to make it. Lucky told me that I had two choices, either keep climbing with him or I could go back to the car and wait for him, so I kept climbing. At the time I never heard of the phrase, “getting your trail legs”, but it’s true, once you get past a certain point, your body gets used to it and the trail becomes easier. It took us 5 hours to go up and come back down. It was the prettiest 5 hours of my life. ❤
At one point I saw a black bear. There are signs everywhere warning about them, and one of the most important things it says is, “do not run!” But what did I do? I ran 😱 I was later thankful he didn’t see me, nor was he very close…lol 😀
Once I felt like there was some distance between us and the bear, we stopped to have lunch. The scenery up there was so gorgeous, I had never experienced anything like it, Florida is so flat, I was growing to love the mountains with every step. At the very top of the mountain was a camp site. I was a little surprised to see how well kept it was. There was chopped wood and cleaned out, designated areas for tents.
Some would think that the trip down the mountain would be much easier. In some ways it is, but it’s also hell on your knees. But, I found it helped if I went down sideways instead of going straight down, softening the impact on my knees.
We left the trail and headed back to our cabin, but first we decided to do a little Saturday night trout fishing. I couldn’t believe Lucky caught one, it was very small so he released it. We found out later that your not supposed to do that, because once you touch the skin of a trout, he will die. 😦 Enota has a trout pond that you can fish for a price.
Never touch a fish’s gills, they are extremely delicate and just touching them can damage them.
Unfortunately we had to leave Sunday morning 😦 We stopped in the little town of Helen Georgia for breakfast. Helen is a mountain town in northeast Georgia. It’s known for its vineyards and Bavarian-style buildings. Unicoi State Park offers a lake and campsites. Trails run through the Chattahoochee National Forest to the Anna Ruby and Raven Cliff waterfalls. In Smithgall Woods State Park, Dukes Creek is known for trout. Hardman Farm State Historic Site includes an 1870 homestead and the Nacoochee Indian Mound burial site. We didn’t see any of these sites, we’re saving them for our next trip 😉