When it’s hot—and it certainly has been for most of us in the northern hemisphere this summer—all I can think about is the opportunity to dip myself into some cool water. This past weekend provided that opportunity. And although our forecast threatened, we decided to take the risk and drive towards the nearby mountains to find a swimming hole…hopefully one that wasn’t too crowded, and hopefully one not under a pop-up summer thunderstorm.
And in what can only be described as a timely move, my husband discovered a new phone application aptly named “Swim N Hole,” which shows you all of the swimming holes located within a prescribed radius of your area. He zeroed in on one very close by that looked promising called “Edge of the World.” At a mere 45 minute drive north of us, it beckoned seductively, so we packed up our suits, threw together an impromptu picnic and headed out. What we found was a little hidden gem.
North of Atlanta traveling via GA 400, and located off highway 53W between Dawsonville and Tate, Georgia, this recreation area runs alongside the Amicalola River and downstream from Amicalola Falls—a place which I’ve mentioned before as nice for hikes and picnics, and you can read that brief post and see those pictures from last summer by clicking here. Interestingly enough, we found that the “Edge of the World” is actually quite easy to get to these days…and the journey provides a lovely and leisurely stroll through the forest on a boardwalk along the banks of the river.
Or if you’d prefer to arrive by water versus boardwalk, you can take a raft or inner tube and launch yourself from the boat launch area located a tiny bit upstream from the bridge that crosses the river, and just float down over the rapids for about half of a mile. Since we hadn’t visited this area at all before, and thus were uninformed about the river rafting option, we walked downriver the length of the boardwalk to the swimming hole area to check it out…and found there were a few too many folks for our taste on this day. But no worries, there are lots of nice spots one can stop to picnic off the boardwalk along the the way to the swimming hole area, and we found a perfect one to spend the day back up river and closer to the bridge.
Ours was actually a lovely site atop the ruins of an old stone structure that appeared to have originally been a bridge. And it was located alongside a shallow area of water amongst the rocks in the rapids, providing a spot where one could just submerge a full stretched out body or two into the current…a little too strong and shallow for swimming, but a perfect way to cool off!
Here we enjoyed notre déjeuner au milieu des rochers, which was both classic and simple, including a selection of cheeses, a bit of smoked trout dip and a handmade fennel and pinot noir sausage from our local and highly recommended Pine Street Market meat purveyor in Avondale Estates. (They make truly awesome saucisson, and their applewood smoked bacon is stellar, too.) Oh yes, and shhhhhh, no alcohol allowed here in designated Recreation Areas…but we snuck in a wee bottle of Domaine de Houchart Rosé (see review) in our cooler, because what is a picnic without wine? And for dessert, a few fresh cherries rounded it all out very nicely.
For the most part, we had our little area to ourselves. We could take a few careful steps down over the rocks as needed, for that submersion of hot selves into the cool and rushing waters. And all the while, watching a few folks here and there float lazily by over the rapids and down the river, with the sound of nature filling the gaps in between.
To say this place is quite beautiful, is an understatement. And on this day at least, it was far less crowded than many of the areas we’ve visited around here during the busy summer months. Next visit we plan to try floating down the river, swimming, and then walking back for our picnic…which should be a great way to see a bit more of the river from a different perspective.
All in all, a wonderful cool interlude on a hot day, and a terrific way to enjoy another day trip and a simple repast.
Note: All photos were taken with a G2 (Google-Android) phone camera.