Young Harris is a north Georgia mountain town, a popular road trip destination, with an obscene amount of beauty. You instantly feel healthier and happier exploring the small towns all around, breathing in the mountain air, and stepping into a geographical area where things are a little more laid back and less stressful. I love to come to this region and stay in a luxury resort while soaking up all the charms the small towns have to offer. Here are the seven best things to do in Young Harris, Georgia, that I have enjoyed in the past.
I was hosted by Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa in order to write about my experience.
1. See Waterfalls And Mountain Scenery
Young Harris, Georgia, has amazing scenery, and not just in the fall when the leaves are at their peak performance. The best thing to do in the area is to drive up the crazy, curvy road that takes you to Bell Mountain Park and Historic Site at 3,424 feet elevation. Heed caution; this drive is not for the faint of heart. Being from West Virginia, where the hills are twisty and curvy, I’m accustomed to this kind of terrain, but all may not be. The road is paved, and there is a parking area.
The rugged Bell Mountain mountaintop is covered with colorful graffiti rocks and epic views. It is quite photo worthy. There is a viewing platform to get complete 360-degree views of Lake Chatuge and Hiawassee. You may even spot an eagle as I did on my first visit. The winds in this part of town can be fierce at times.
2. Indulge In The Food Scene
Young Harris doesn’t have a lot of restaurants, but it has some good ones.
Mary’s Southern Grill is a good choice for breakfast, serving pancakes, omelets, and classic breakfast items. It is also a lunch option with a nice selection of burgers, daily specials, sandwiches, and side items that change daily. I loved the collard greens and dill potato salad. Another tasty lunch option is Brassies Grill at Brasstown Valley Resort and Spa. I like its fish & chips or the chicken quesadilla, served with sour cream and salsa — filling and tasty. While there, you can listen to music on the jukebox, watch sporting events, or play billiards.
Dinner is served and pretty near perfection at the Dining Room at Brasstown Valley Resort and Enrico’s Italian Restaurant. You can’t go wrong with the meatloaf from Brasstown Valley, but the New York Strip is fabulous with a brandy cream sauce. Save room for dessert; I’m confident it has the best in town.
Enrico’s is a local’s favorite Italian eatery, and I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into a good pasta dish. I got to do just that with a bowl of angel hair pasta topped with a meat sauce and warm, flavorful garlic rolls. The staff was friendly and accommodating; they will make pretty much whatever pasta dish you would like. Craft cocktails, beer, and an extensive wine menu are offered.
3. Drink Beer And Wine
Crane Creek Vineyards is a well-known Georgia winery in the Blue Ridge Mountains that produces smooth and delicious wines, plus has a gorgeous farmhouse market and separate stone-house tasting room. Tastings are available at both properties, just feet apart, but each has its own special vibe. My husband and I shared a four-glass wine flight and bought some local goat cheese spread and crackers to enjoy with it. His favorite, hands down, was Hellbender, a 100 percent Norton native grape wine, while I preferred the Traminette white wine.
If you are new to the wine tasting rooms, let me say that all wineries are not created equal, and Crane Creek is easily a step above most. We loved it!
Pro Tip: Nibbles are available for purchase, or you can bring in picnic or snack foods. I picked up a few of the items in the marketplace to use as stocking stuffers.
Hiawassee Brew is minutes from Young Harris and definitely worth a visit. The brewery is fun, has live music Fridays and Saturdays from 6 to 9 p.m., and offers stunning mountain views. The beer is pretty darned good, too. Join in a game of darts or play a board game. If you like dark beers, the Black Widow Porter is what I order.
FYI: Not a beer drinker? Hiawassee Brew also sells local wines.
4. Shop Local
You may find some treasures at the Shops at Lake Chatuge, but the one shop I can’t resist in Young Harris is the Brasstown Valley Resort and Spa’s pro shop and country store. Located in the hotel’s lower level, this boutique shop has an incredible selection of golf attire, shoes, and sunglasses. It has resort logo clothing, as well as baby gifts, toys, and seasonal items. I’m a sucker for its home decor items that run the gamut, from decorative glassware and hand towels to pillows, kitchenware, and serving pieces.
There are also quite a few thrift and antique stores around Young Harris and Hiawassee. A hotel worker told me that she finds great bargains on designer duds every time she goes shopping. I would have loved to have browsed them myself, but we didn’t have time to squeeze it in.
5. Go For A Hike
There are dozens of places to hike in the North Georgia mountains, but one for all skill levels is at the Brasstown Valley Resort and Spa. There are 9 miles of interpretive hiking trails on Miller Trek, a year-round hiking option. You can get a printed map of the property at the hotel and shoot for the entire loop or take the shortcut (green blaze) for a less aggressive 2.5-mile hike or 6.5-mile (orange blaze) loop. Expect to see squirrels, deer, and wildflowers, as well as a plethora of trees and maybe a cute red or gray fox.
On my last visit, I hiked the High Shoals Falls Trail in nearby Hiawassee to reach Blue Hole Falls, a picturesque single-drop waterfall that results in a series of cascades. This moderate hike is rough for an inexperienced hiker like me, but it was so worth it. A bridge is out along the way, so you will need to step on rocks in the creek, and your feet may get wet. You can do it. I survived and got the pictures to prove it. My then 25-year-old daughter cheered me on.
Pro Tip: Wear comfortable shoes, stay hydrated, and follow the main trail.
6. Book Yourself A Spa Treatment
My husband and I were treated to a couple’s massage at the Equani Spa (Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa) in Young Harris. From the time you enter the door, you are well on your way to enjoying skilled hands that will help you meet your goal, be it relaxing, soothing sore muscles, increasing circulation, or pampering yourself in this beautiful sanctuary.
A couple’s massage typically pairs the same-sex massage therapist for each person having a massage. All four are in the same room. My husband’s main focus was his tense shoulders and lower back, while mine were sore legs from hiking and forearms from typing and driving. We thoroughly enjoyed our massage treatment, but the Equani Spa has many other services, too.
You can choose pedicures, manicures, body treatments, hydrotherapy services, and facials. This spa offers treatments that I’ve only seen in Arizona, Mexico, and similar places — one-of-a-kind rituals indigenous to the native Cherokee people of the region. I was impressed.
7. Go Fishing
Lake Chatuge is in Towns County, so the lines of Hiawassee and Young Harris often get crossed and used interchangeably. Anglers and those who just want to give fishing a try should head over to beautiful Lake Chatuge to try their luck at catching striped, largemouth, and spotted bass. Catfish and crappie are also abundant. If you’d like someone to take the reins and take you to the prime fishing spots, fishing guides are for hire.
If you are traveling with your grandkids or just love water adventures, you may want to check out Splash Island, a massive inflatable water obstacle course and attraction open in the summer. Or, you may consider renting a pontoon boat, kayak, or ski boat from one of the area marinas. One hundred thirty miles of shoreline are waiting to be explored.
Pro Tip: You’ll find a sandy beach and swimming area at Towns County Beach, with a concession stand up and running in the summer months.