The following is a list of 50 Blue Ridge Mountain Secrets published in the March/April 2007 issue of Blue Ridge Country. Please call ahead to verify information.
1 Orbix Hot glass, Lick skillet
Lick Skillet hasn’t grown much over the years and remains a quiet community on the outskirts of Fort Payne, where it’s home to Alabama artist Cal Breed.
“I became fascinated with glass in 1994, first creating stained glass windows and finally works of art through glassblowing,” says Breed. “I fulfilled a dream by opening Orbix Hot Glass in 2002.” The building houses the furnaces where Breed creates beautiful works of art and a studio for displaying his intricate designs.
Breed literally breathes life into each piece he creates, easily turning a ball of hot glass into a pitcher or other object of rich transparent hues.
“We host open studios with live demonstrations, and classes in glass blowing, fused and stained glass,” says Breed, “to attract people who find joy in making or appreciating something handmade.”Orbix Hot Glass, 256/523-3188, www.orbixhotglass.com. —Patty Tucker
2 Willstown Mission
Established in 1823 to educate and convert the Cherokee Indians, it operated until 1838. Its cemetery still exists. Fort Payne, 1-888-805-4740, www.tourdekalb.com.
3 Unfinished Bridge Trail
The 1.25-mile hiking/biking trail leads to a set of rock pillars jutting out of the Little River. The CCC constructed the state park during the Great Depression and World War II halted the building of a bridge across the river, calling men off to war. The pillars still remain; in 2004 a pedestrian platform was laid down to span the gorge. DeSoto State Park, DeKalb County. 1-800-568-8840, www.desotostatepark.com.
4 Log Cabin Deli
Housed in an 1820s Indian fur trading post, it’s been a restaurant and deli for more than 30 years. “Be sure,” advises Patty Tucker, “to inquire about their chili corn pone and spiced tea.” Mentone. 256/634-4560, www.tourdekalb.com.
5 Gospel Greats
Multiple-Grammy winner Vestal Goodman was born in Fyffe, on Sand Mountain, and Ala. 75 through town was posthumously named the Vestal Goodman Highway. Influential gospel composer Jesse Randal “Pap” Baxter was born in DeKalb County and is a 2001 Alabama Music Hall of Fame inductee. —PT
6 The Camak Stone
Professional Surveyor magazine published a story in 2004 about the mysterious meeting of three states – Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia. A stone marks the spot, which is still a source of controversy. —Dan Cook
7 Kangaroo Conservation Center
Few people, when they think of the picturesque North Georgia mountains, conjure up images of marsupials from the Outback. That just makes the Kangaroo Conservation Center in Dawsonville – home to the largest collection of ’roos in captivity outside Australia – even more of a treat.
Hundreds of Eastern grey kangaroos and their softer-furred red cousins roam this 87-acre breeding facility and sanctuary at the foothills of the Appalachians. Several brush-tailed bettongs, a critically endangered species also known as rat kangaroos because of their diminutive size, have been born at the center. (No, they’re not related to rodents!) Dama wallabies, a near-extinct breed and the first species sighted by Dutch explorers when they landed in Australia in 1629, live here too.