Cool Interlude.

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.

The view of the more downstream swimming hole area.

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.

Looking upstream from the end of the boardwalk is an area of higher rapids and low falls which create many pools in which to swim amongst the rocks.

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.

Here’s a panoramic 180 degree view of the swimming hole area.

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.

View back towards the bridge from our little picnic spot. We submerged between the outcropping of rocks in the foreground and the channel made by the one you see closer to the center.

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!

Our simple and delicious picnic lunch among the rocks, with lots leftover! Hmmm. There’s that Humboldt Fog again…

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.

Looking down towards the water from our multi-tiered little rock edge…not far down, I might add!

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.

River “tidal” pools.

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.

View down river from our picnic spot.

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.

Art shot…river rising at end of day.


67 thoughts on “Cool Interlude.

  1. I love the shot of the feet and sandals. I love water, too. Our own native summer fog has been busy this July, so I’ve been cooking biscuits and gumbo and hot chocolate and Mom has been making chicken and noodles — from the food, it would appear to be winter, except that we have strawberry shortcake and I put a fresh peach in my morning cereal.


    • As long as I’m in the air conditioning, that hot food sounds great, Sharyn! Gumbo is good anytime, I think…but of course having a fresh strawberry shortcake is one of the best things in life! So how cool (temperature wise) is it when the fog rolls in during summer in SF? I’ve never been there, but my husband went to school at Berkley in the day.


      • It’s been in the low fifties (forties at night) unless the sun decides to come out. We get our hottest weather in September and early October — and sometimes at the end of August. I used to hate hot weather — now I just go down to Marina and swim.


  2. What a gorgeous afternoon Betsy! I love your picnic, just my kind of food. In fact, if you count JTs four essential food groups (bread, cheese, wine and chocolate) you’re only missing one! Thanks for bringing us along.
    We broke our record high in Toronto today; I was wetter on the street car than just out of the shower after my workout this afternoon! It’s brutal, thank goodness for A/C.


  3. What a lovely and relaxing day and of course you need wine with a picnic. That water really does look cool and refreshing. Does the water warm up or is it quite cool? I imagine it is melted snow from mountains? I love the look of your picnic lunch. That sausage sounds divine xx


    • Hi Charlie Louie, and thanks for your comment and your question. This place is located at the beginning of our mountains, and the water was cold, but warmed up quickly once you got in, as most of our rivers do here in summer. Further north as close as 20 or 30 miles, you are are in a higher range, and the streams and falls there are pretty icy, though not sourced so much from snowmelt down here as further into North Carolina and above. The mountains in Georgia, as well as those in north and central Alabama, comprise the foothills of the Appalachian Mountain chain. The average mountain elevation is around 3000 feet, but we have some 4000+ in Georgia and the tallest of the chain is in North Carolina, Mt. Mitchell at 6,684 ft, the highest point in the U.S. east of the Mississipi River, and those streams and rivers are always quite cold. I’m going to become a regular at Pine Street now because of that sausage!


  4. Oh I wish i had come with you, cool gorgeous and even a yummy pernick nick! Thank you for showing us esp today when it is 9.07 pm .. i must get to bed. .. and still just under the 100 will be a hot night here c


    • Hi Barb, actually that’s Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese in the foreground, an American craft cheese that’s spectacular. The one behind it is Forme d’Ambert a raw milk blue from France, and the harder cheese in the back is a Farmer’s Gouda aged 5 years. I need to check for Morbier next time and see if they have it!


  5. What a great idea for a Summer’s afternoon. A nice picnic and a place to dip one’s toes. You picked a beauty of a spot, Betsy, and took full advantage of it. Good for you!
    As hot as it’s been so far, I’m really looking forward to getting back to Michigan in a couple weeks so that I can do a little toe dipping, myself. There’ll be no picnic, though. Max will be paw dipping with me. 🙂


      • Mom, & Dad, Zia & Uncle, all retired to homes in a small development on Lake Huron about 120 miles north of Detroit in Michigan’s “Thumb.” The beach is protected; you need a permit to just trim the reeds, for example. If i can get some good, clear pics of the oft-deserted beach, I’ll gladly share them.


  6. A picnic without wine – I´m sure there´s a law against that sort of thing here! Glad you managed to sneak a bottle in! What a wonderful day you had. I have never swum in place like this. Have seen a few lovely rivers but as they were in England the desire to throw myself into the water was minimal due to freezing temperatures! Thanks for sharing these gorgeous photos 🙂


    • Unfortunately, the no alcohol thing is everywhere here in protected areas. They don’t enforce it much, so as long as you are discreet you can usually get away with it. I think it’s because so many folks abuse it, and also don’t clean up after themselves…and perhaps some liability issues with rocks and water. These places are all in National Forest or State Park designated areas, so it’s a government rule. I grew up on the Tennessee River, but we are pretty land-locked in Atlanta. It was great to be around and play in a river again! 🙂


  7. Aw, I wish I had a river like that near where I live. What a lovely way to spend some hours, and the sun glinting on the water… so lovely. Peaceful and relaxing. Did you see any other folks around or did you have the place to yourselves?

    I love finding places like this – my family always had our own “locations”… places we would go to again and again to picnic where we would never see anyone else! 😀

    Love your inpromptu picnic – tasty and simple… perfect for a lazy day by the river!


    • Hi Charles! Yes, there were other folks around. When we first got there, we took those pictures of the swimming hole area and there were already folks, with more coming by the moment. But where we ended up for our picnic was relatively quiet, just the occasional person floating by on a raft, and once a family came down to a little beach area next to us for about 30 minutes, then departed. It’s rare to get that much privacy around here these days in places like that.

      I remember the days (just 10 years ago) when we had many haunts and you’d never see a soul, but with the bad economy and the heat, more and more folks are heading to the mountains to hang out…unfortunately some of those folks are kind of piggy and don’t clean up after themselves. I long for the old days in that respect!


      • Aaah. I hate it when people just leave bags of trash. It just looks terrible when you go into the country side and fine empty McDonald’s boxes and some cans of beer thrown on the floor 😦


  8. I am so jealous. That day sounds and looks lovely Betsy. Your picnic is truly a thing of beauty…my kind of lunch al fresco. What a great App. Can’t wait to see if there’s anything around here…so glad you shared it and really much better than the new Zombie chasing app my nephew was trying to get me to buy.

    Can’t believe you took all those pics on your iphone! You amazing woman you. I would have never guessed and I am so glad you shared that tidbit of info.


    • Hey Geni! You are too kind! 🙂 I felt kinda bad not making anything from scratch for our picnic…but no time, and I do love that typical French-style approach to a picnic. That app is a google app I believe, and although I am Mac through and through with my desktop and laptop, my phone is a Google G2. That is the camera I used for the first 6 months of this blog! It takes amazing outdoor pics and I didn’t touch them, that’s the way they came off the camera…except the panorama which my husband patched together. I just looked at the app again and it’s called Swim N Hole by Tom Hillegass. It looks like it covers the entire U.S. and most of Canada. 🙂


  9. I love the sound of the ap, how cool is that that someone created an ap to find pools! (oh and the pun wasn’t intended but i’ll leave it in 🙂 ). And oh for your pincic, a simple yes please!!


    • It is a really cool app, Claire. Some of the info is a bit dated, but the places still seem to exist at least. And it covers the whole U.S. and the Canadian provinces…something I didn’t notice until just now. Simple picnics are great, aren’t they? I always like to make something, but in this case, this was perfect!


    • Hey Barb, you need to get out there and picnic! It’s such a wonderful way to unwind. And though I’d normally make something to take on a picnic, I have to say the ease of this one, and the simplicity of the really good ingredients that were the food, was just right! I just noticed that the app we used extends into Canada and the provinces…it’s called Swim N Hole, if you want to check it out! 🙂


  10. Love the name of the app…Swim N Hole. So perfect. It’s been damn hot in WY so my wife and I like to head up into the National Forests to cool off. Nothing better than hiking and then sitting with your feet in a cool river. 🙂


  11. Your post reminds me of the wonderful swimming spots that can be found all along the Kancamagus Highway (which is not a highway but a wonderful road) in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. What a wonderful cooling day you must have had.


  12. What a BEAUTIFUL spot! Very much missing my own little river heaven near Lake Shasta in Northern CA. I need to check out that Swim N Hole app!


    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the images, Sawsan. It makes me feel cooler just looking at them, and yes, it does clear your head and make you feel refreshed…at least for a little while. I think we’re heading for the 100’s by mid week, so any way to stay cool is on my radar!


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  14. Betsy, I believe you know how to have a most delicious picnic! And what a lovely spot in the world. We did a little hiking around those parts many years ago and I remember it breathtakingly beautiful.


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