Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

September 27, 2012

North Georgia mountain resort is a relaxing escape


CNHI

BLUEFIELD — Morning tea on the porch of a cottage in the forest, watching deer and birds, sensing the changing seasons.

Good as an antidote to busy days?

Since the co-owner of this North Georgia mountain resort called Forrest Hills believes in doing just that every morning, he built cottages and lodges into the woods, inviting relaxation.

All day relaxation is fine here; David Kraft enjoys visiting with Forrest Hills Mountain Resort guests too much to stay long on his own porch, but believes in starting the day with a sense of place.

Believing forms the foundation of everything here -- believing as a family they could shape a vision in the woods, and believing in expansion the next 35 years.

Kraft was graduating from high school when his dad surprised the Florida family with 140 acres in Georgia’s mountains, near Dahlonega.

Pioneers from West Palm -- they launched cabin building with hand tools and determination. No electricity. No running water. No heat.

Good cheer too. I recommend finding David for a chat when you go, and sister Michele Kraft-DeBlois. They’re partners in this adventure, siblings continuing the dream the family launched in 1977.

That translates to one, two and three bedroom cottages plus inns and lodges with eight, 12 and 16 bedroom capacity for family reunions, church retreats and business meetings. Weddings too.

And relaxation. Dinner is served in the Secret Garden: entry from a patio overlooking the woods.

Tables for two. This is adult dining.

Don’t bring the kids to dinner in this dining room. There are other options. Forrest Hills is serious about down time, R&R, conversation, intimacy.

“Such a pleasure it is for us when the couples who stay here tell us they talked to each other, remembered why they fell in love, rediscovered pleasures in the calmness,” Kraft-DeBlois smiled.

“People always ask what there might be to do in the area,” she said. “We share a long list but they rarely do any of it.”

I see why the others just stay put, so lovely to be calm – but I forged ahead.

The Old Federal Road, a tie to the Cherokee Trail of Tears, lured me on a detour. Sort of matches the approach I recommend to Forrest Hills Mountain Resort.

Try this; it matches the Kraft family concept of relaxing. Interstate 75 north from the Atlanta airport, merge into Georgia 575. Exit at Talking Rock for Highway 136 and wind through woods and neighborhoods until you reach Georgia 52.

That gives you the Forrest Hills driveway, where calming commences.

My cabin was more than 1,000 square feet, nestled into the forest. If I wondered about neighbors, I needed to go looking. This is private.

Lie in the king-size bed with massive wooden headboard anticipating time in the hot tub through the double glass doors. Inside your room, bubbly warm, music system, three floor to ceiling windows.

Easy up and down shades if you’re shy about the birds and deer while wearing only your birthday suit.

Spacious living room with the kind of soft sofa for stretching out. Flat screen TV with a few channels. Fits the resort mood better to help yourself to some movies in the registration area.

Wooden rockers and a hanging double swing on the back porch, only forest in sight.

Two miles of walking trails into the woods easy access, and the paved roads with slight inclines allow hikes all over Forrest Hills.

Spa and horse stales too. Arrange a carriage ride or horseback, and a wagon ride with cookout.

That means steaks and chicken off the grill, horseshoe games, ping pong and pool, sand volleyball, darts and a bonfire after.

Food to go seems a Forrest Hills specialty.

I recommend taking their picnic basket to the Edge of the World. You can get there in 15 minutes.

Class IV rapids at this Edge of the World, gravel parking lot and ramp for your canoe or kayak.

ADA access, and picnic spots too on this Amicalola River Trail.

That’s the name of the 72-foot waterfall, another walking, gazing and picnicking spot nearby.

Launch a hike of 2,184 miles along the Appalachian Trail because this is the starting point.

Dahlonega and Dawsonville are the nearby towns. If you leave the resort that is.

Should you think about the spelling, here’s a perspective: most of us learned to spell the synonym for woods with one letter R.

For Rest is the notion here. I’m a bit curious too how many babies might be named Forrest.

Who’s telling?

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Christine Tibbetts is a travel writer for the Tifton, Ga., Gazette. Follow her at www.TibbettsTravel.com.

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When you go:

www.ForrestHillsResort.com

706-864-6456

www.Dahlonega.org

706-864-3513