Within 70 to 120 miles of Atlanta, North Georgia may be one of the South's best-kept travel secrets. City dwellers can hike through national forests, scale Georgia's highest peak, canoe and swim in mountain lakes, and return home at dusk, or stay over in a comfortable lodging or campground.

Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia meet in the "TAG Corner" on the Cumberland Plateau. The TAG (Tennessee-Alabama-Georgia) Corner is a terrain of sheer-walled canyons, limestone caves, boulder-littered fields, streaming waterfalls, and mesa-topped mountains that has been compared to a landscape in the West. The first European visitors claimed they had rediscovered Eden when they first came upon the area. It's amazing how little known these Georgia mountains are -- even today. Yet, the mountain chain, occupying some two-thirds of North Georgia, consists of the Blue Ridge Mountains frontal range to the east and the Cohutta Mountains to the west.

Northwest Georgia is also filled with remnants of the Civil War (called "the War of Northern Aggression" in these parts) and with artifacts left over from ancient aboriginal civilizations. You'll also be introduced to traditional Appalachian culture, Georgia style. Arts and crafts, including pottery making, basket weaving, and quilting, are still practiced in the region. And at all local festivals and even on the front porch on a Saturday night, the sound of bluegrass music still fills the air.

Dahlonega and its environs are the premier "gateways" to the area. The best parks to visit include Amicalola Falls, Unicoi, and Vogel.