Lucille's Mountain Top Inn & Spa

964 Rabun Road P.O. Box 638, Sautee Nacoochee, Georgia 30571
Innkeeper(s): Jim Matthews and Jerry Morris

African American Heritage on Display at North Georgia Museum 23 Jul 2015, 10:00 am

In 1850, a rustic slave cabin was constructed in Sautee Nacoochee, not far from where Lucille’s is now located. Still standing on private property in 2002, it was donated by the owners to the Sautee Nacoochee Community Association, which carefully restored it into what is now the AfricanAmerican Heritage Site.

A look inside the cabinthe only known antebellum cabin in the regionis a look inside history. Filled with locally collected artifacts, the Site serves as an educational tool for telling the unique story of slavery in our area. For the restoration, a local preservationist worked to remove additions and bring the cabin closer to its original structure. With the help of an archivist, tax digests, will and family records were assembled, together with census information to help paint a picture of one-time residents. Also included in the permanent exhibit are photographs that document the important architectural features of the cabin.

In an effort to help visitors gain a more true experience, the African American Heritage Site features living history demonstrations, reenactments, 19th Century interpretations, festivals and special events.

Photo: FPM Greear
Courtesy of Sautee Nacoochee Center
The Site is associated with the Sautee Nacoochee Center, which was the focus of last week’s blog, and together, they tell the varied stories of our rich heritage.
African American Heritage Site
Sautee Nacoochee Center
283 Highway 255 North, Sautee Nacoochee
706-878-3300
Monday – Friday, 10:00 a.m. -5:00 p.m.
Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.


Whether taking in the history or the beauty of the areaor both—make Lucille’s your home away from home. Come visit soon.

Folk Pottery Museum Highlights the Culture of Northeast Georgia 16 Jul 2015, 10:30 am

It is rare to find a wonderful museum nestled away in a small mountain village. It’s even more rare to find one of the quality and depth of the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia. It’s a gem, and we are lucky to have it so close to Lucille’s. (See, one more reason to come visit!)

Photo courtesy of the Folk Pottery Museum
The Museum is part of the Sautee Nacoochee Center, which in addition to pottery, has a wealth of information on Cherokee heritage, as well as local history of gold strikes, railroads and timber. But the Folk Pottery Museum is definitely the star of the Center, one of just a few museums in the world to focus on folk pottery.

Early on, pottery was considered utilitarian and what was made was used for preserving and storing foods. Most was made by families such as such as Meaders, Hewell, Dorsey and Fergusen, local families that were especially noteworthy for their work. With the introduction of refrigeration and new types of products utilitarian pottery was less in demand by the mid-1900’s. To survive, several companies began creating pottery as a decorative art form.

Plan to spend a good amount of time at the Museum—there’s just so much to see!
In the living history area, visitors can learn the process start to finish: how the clay is dug, shaped on a treadle wheel, the intensive firing methods, and finishing with a locally-made glaze. Through interactive exhibits you can trace the 200-year history of pottery in the region, and see how the tradition has carried on through today. There are excellent examples of pottery, and special exhibits throughout the year that feature area artists.

For those who would like to get out and meet some of these artists, there is an established Folk Potters Trail featuring 15 potters in northeast Georgia. You can download a map at the Museum’s website.

Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia
Sautee Nacoochee (4 miles southeast of Alpine Helen, Georgia Highway 255)
Monday – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
$5, adults; $4, seniors; $2, children
706-878-3300


If the directions sound tricky, not to worry. Come stay with us at Lucille’s—we'll always make sure you get to your destinations just fine!

2015 Yonah Crush Fest Gets Georgia Wine Lovers Stomping 9 Jul 2015, 10:00 am

Remember that infamous I Love Lucy show where Lucy and Ethel hiked up their skirts and stomped the grapes?
Photo courtesy of
Yonah Mountain Vineyards
Well, get ready to do a little stomping of your own at
the 6th Annual Yonah Crush Fest, Saturday, September 5, 2015!

Autumn is grape harvest time and Yonah Mountain Vineyards has created this festive day to celebrate it. So if you like wine and are up for a bit of fun (which we at Lucille’s highly support!), take off your shoes and join the party. Stomping grapes is definitely a highlight of the festival, and even owner Bob Miller gets in the action with a rousing accordion accompaniment. 

Photo courtesy of
Yonah Mountain Vineyards
All this messy fun is just part of the day-long party that draws more than 3,500 wine lovers from around the Southeast. Wine, of course is the focus and there will be opportunities to taste some of the variatals YonahMountain Vineyards produces, including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot.

In between sipping, you can head over to the special festival marketplace and check out the local and regional artisans selling wine and food related products. While in that area, you’ll find plenty of good things to eat at several gourmet food vendors and food trucks.

Along with wine and food, music is a big part of the event, and visitors will have a chance to see two top Georgia draws performing hourly, the Atlanta Falcons Drumline and the Atlanta Pipe Band. In addition, there will be two stages featuring live music performances throughout the day.

Though wine is a main attraction, Yonah Mountain Vineyards promotes Crush Fest as a family friendly event, and they follow through with lots to amuse the kids, including a horse-drawn wagon tour, mule-drawn ice cream maker and a “Kid-Zone” bounce house.

Yonah Crush Fest
Saturday, September 5, 2015
11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Yonah Mountain Vineyards
1717 GA-255, Cleveland
706-878-5522
General Admission, $30;  includes four 3-ounce tastings of wine and a take-home Crust Fest glass.
Non-drinkers, $15; Youth under 16, free

Yonah Mountain Vineyards is just a 15-minute drive from the Inn and makes a nice visit even when there’s no big fest going on. The setting is lovely and you can sample wines in their Tasting Room seven days a week. They also have music from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. each Saturday. Many guests purchase a bottle of wine there to enjoy back on the deck at the Inn. It’s a relaxing way to end another great day in the mountains!







The Wedding of Your Dreams on a Georgia Mountaintop 2 Jul 2015, 10:00 am

Starting a beautiful life together is even more beautiful in the North Georgia Mountains!

Our Inn’s beautiful setting in the Blue Ridge Mountains provides a gorgeous backdrop for the perfect wedding. And if you’re hoping for a special day without having to suffer stress planning it, we can help with that too.

We find great joy in working with brides and grooms to plan their small weddings or elopements, and have finely-honed the process to make it easy. For those wishing a more elaborate custom wedding, we can help with every detail from hair and makeup to cake design, photography, flowers and table settings.

Another benefit of booking your wedding at our Inn is The Spa at Lucille’s, which offers full spa treatments, so you and the wedding party can enjoy some much needed relaxation and pampering before the big day.

The Intimate Elopement and Small Weddings Package provides an indoor or outdoor ceremony for up to 30 guests. Amenities include a wedding officiate, wedding cake and anniversary topper, bridal bouquet, groom’s boutonniere, wedding consultation, and an overnight stay in one of our beautiful mountain-view rooms. Extra services, such as professional photographer or appetizers pre- or post-ceremony, are also available for an additional charge.

The Custom Wedding Package includes further options such as rental of the Conference Room for wedding preparations, additional flowers, champagne toasts, and wine and beer service.

Those considering booking the Inn for a wedding are welcome to make an appointment to tour the Inn. Because we are a smaller property, we do require you to call in advance to arrange a time for the visit.




The Tavern Brings Great Pizza to North Georgia Mountains 25 Jun 2015, 10:00 am

It’s not just because Nacoochee Village Tavern & Pizzeria is a mouthful to say, it’s because everyone who eats there—including all of us here at the Inn—feels like a local. So we just call it the Tavern. And it’s our go-to spot for great pizza.

Photo courtesy of The Tavern
The setting is part tavern, part pizzeria with a big dose of neighborhood comfort thrown in. Owner Paul goes out of his way to deliver quality food and it begins with his use of pure and fresh ingredients. So flours for the dough are un-bromated and unbleached, the spring water is un-chlorinated. Crusts are made fresh daily and hand-stretched the old-fashioned way, then baked free-form in a stone oven. Local, fresh ingredients are used as much as possible, which all adds up to some mighty tasty pies. One favorite is the Spicy Piglet, which comes topped with homemade tomato sauce, cappicola ham, bacon, roasted onions and pickled jalapenos. Veggie options include the Tree Hugger with roasted eggplant, sweet peppers and onions, and portabella mushrooms. The Tavern also caters to special diets with a daily Paleo option and gluten-free crusts.

The Mess
Photo courtesy of The Tavern
In addition, the menu offers a few appetizers good for sharing, including a dish they call The Mess, which is a heaping bowl of Paul’s famous meatballs and melted cheese, served with homemade tomato sauce and bread. Spinach and bacon salad is a nice side. For those wanting something other than pizza, the hogies, cosmos and paninis are also top-notch. 

You might want to take some of your dinner to go, just so you have room for one of the Tavern’s oh-so yummy desserts, like the sticky bun spoonbread served with warm cream. Or you can get your dessert to go and enjoy it back at the Inn with a glass of wine.

Either way, plan a stay with us—and you’ll just be minutes away from all this deliciousness!
7275 South Main Street, Helen
706-878-0199
Monday - Thursday, Sunday, 12:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Friday - Saturday, 12:00p.m. - 10:00 p.m.



Host Your Next Conference in the Beautiful North Georgia Mountains 18 Jun 2015, 10:00 am


Meetings can take on an air of a relaxing getaway when you hold them at our Inn!

Whether you’re looking for a place to hold a small corporate team meeting or off-site retreat, we offer an easy commute, a quiet setting and all the amenities you require such as hi-speed internet connections, white boards and projection screens. But even better, we offer a setting that inspires. Instead of four walls, you can be looking out onto a pond and garden with the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. Inspiring, right?

The Inn is also an ideal setting for your next quilting or scrapbooking getaway. Our meeting room comfortably seats 10 conference-style or up to 20 in a classroom setting. And our wide back porch and deck, equipped with rockers and dining tables, are perfect for breakaway sessions or timeouts.

You’ll receive personal service from our attentive staff and, when your meeting is over, enjoy all the benefits of first-class lodging: elegant furnishings, plush towels and organic bath amenities. Every morning you’ll be treated to a gourmet breakfast and can savor complimentary desserts each afternoon. And if you really want to unwind and relax, you can book a facial, massage or skin-care treatment at the Spa at Lucille’s. Aahhh.


Give us a call and we can help you plan your event. If you’re based in Atlanta, Greenville or the greater northeast Georgia region, it’s an easy drive to get here. The problem will be with going homeyou aren’t going to want to!

North Georgia Inn to Host B&B Aspiring Innkeeper Seminar 11 Jun 2015, 10:00 am

Have you been thinking about opening your own B&B, but aren’t sure where to begin or what it entails? Then mark your calendar for A Better Way to Learn Innkeeping seminar, Friday- Sunday, August 14-16, 2015.

Photo courtesy of Bushnell and Bushnell Services, Inc.
The seminars will be held at here at Lucille’s and run by Scott and Marilyn Bushnell. Both are former successful executives for multi-national companies and former B&B owners and innkeepers, so they bring a wealth of first-hand knowledge.

The seminar offers a weekend filled with important information, offering insights and an understanding of all that buying, owning and running a bed and breakfast entails. Included in the topics covered are innkeeping basics such as trends and industry statistics; defining the inn that meets your goals and needs; a due diligence process for buying and selecting an inn; financing a purchase; developing business and marketing plans; and a look at the day-to-day life of an innkeeper.

Friday-Sunday, August 14-16, 2015
Seminar, $375/person; mountain-view room at 15% discount for attendees
Lucille’s Mountaintop Inn & Spa
964 Rabun Road, Sautee Nacoochee

Friday, August 14, 2015
Registration, 3:00 p.m.
Innkeeping 101, 3:30 p.m.
Casual Dinner and Networking, 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, August 16, 2015
Building the Profile of your Inn, 8:30 a.m.
Coffee break, 10:15 a.m.
Due Diligence: The Acquisition Process, 10:30 a.m.
Lunch, 12:30 p.m.
Inn Financing – What You Need to Know, 1:30 p.m.
Afternoon Break, 3:00 p.m.
A Case Study for Practice, 3:15 p.m.
Wine and Cheese Gathering and Dinner, 6:15

Sunday, August 17, 2015
Inn Operations and Marketing, 8:30 a.m.
Morning Break, 10:15
Open discussion, Q&A, 10:30 a.m.

The Spa at Lucille's
It’s going to be a jam-packed weekend of information. We suggest that while you are at the inn, sneak in a little time for a relaxing treatment in our Spa. Just the thing an innkeeper would really appreciate!





Whee! Ziplining Through Glorious North Georgia Mountains 4 Jun 2015, 10:00 am

Think the Georgia mountains around our Inn are stunning? Just wait until you see them from a whole new viewziplining over them! Strapped on a wire and gliding over the lush landscape is not just a great adrenaline rush, but a really great way to take in the scenery. Several local companies specialize in tours and they all are top-notch.

Photo courtesy of North Georgia Canopy Tours
Adventure Tour is a perfect name for the North Georgia Canopy Tours’ 3 hour-escapade that has 12 ziplines, two sky bridges, three nature walks, a rappel, plus zips over ponds and the Oconee River.  The grand finale? A 695-foot dual zip over the Hilltop Pond. For thrills in a shorter time-frame, the Sky Bridge Tour takes two hours and includes nine ziplines, including the longest zip on the course, with the same dramatic ending. To prove to family and friends back home that you did it, you can rent a GoPro camera from the company, and video the whole thing.
North Georgia Canopy Tours
5290 Harris Road, Lula
Adventure Tour, $89/person
Sky Bridge Tour, $69/person
GoPro Camera rental, $35
770-869-7272

If you’d like to learn a little local history while you’re having fun, check out these ZipnTime Tours. As you’re zipping tree to tree on the four zip lines of the Moonshine Canopy Tour, certified guides will be entertaining you with the history of early moonshiners and the legends of the Sautee-Nacoochee area. For even more adventure, add on the “Intimidator” option and experience one of the longest ziplines in the country.  Sign up for the Goldmine Canopy Tour and you can not only glide above the forest floor, but also hike to an former 1880’s mine.
ZipnTime Tours
7019 S. Main Street, Helen
Moonshine Canopy Tour, $49/person; Intimidator option, $20
Goldmine Canopy Tour, $69/person
706-878-9477

Photo courtesy of Sunburst Stables
Sunburst Stables offers two miles of cables with nine ziplines. For extra excitement, take one of the special Twilight Night Tourswhere you jump off into the darkness and soar high over trees on a lighted course. Afterwards, you can share stories while munching s’mores around a campfire.
Sunburst Stables
251 Sunburst Lane, Clarkesville
Open daily, except Thanksgiving Day
Twilight Night Tours, $95/person
706-389-9544


After being up in the air for a while, coming back to a comfy chair and a glass of wine at the Inn will sound pretty good. So if you don’t yet have reservations for the summer, give us a call!

Hiking, Horseback Riding in Stunning North Georgia Mountains 28 May 2015, 10:00 am


Just taking in the beautiful views from a balcony at the Inn can sweep guests away from life’s hustle and bustle and bring them in touch with nature.
But there’s nothing like taking a hike in the woods to really get away from it all, and see some of our area’s real beauty. This area is rife with waterfalls, and the hikes to them are wonderful. The good news is, you don’t have to be a die-hard hiker to get to some of the prettiest places! Here’s a little sampling.

When the rhododendron are blooming, the easy 1-mile trail to Duke Creek Falls is a delight. You can find parking and the trailhead just off Richard Russell Scenic Highway.
Off that same highway is where you’ll find Raven Cliff Falls, a 2.5-mile trail that winds up and down and across several small creeks, rewarding you with stunning falls and scenery.

You get not one, but two falls when you hike to Anny Ruby Falls, a short half-miler that is one of the area's most popular. For a truly take-your-breadth-away view, head over to Tallulah Falls and Gorge. Made famous by legendary aerialist Karl Walenda (who walked a high-wire across it!), the 1,000-foot gorge is visable via several easy hikes and points along the way.

In the mountains just north of the Inn, you’ll find access to the Appalachian Trail. Hike along this ridge-running trail and it’ll lead you to a springs that is the source of the Chattahoochee River. We’re also fortunate to have three state parks in the area: Amicalola State Park, Smithgall Woods State Park and Unicol State Park.  All three  offer easy-to-moderate hiking trails and more of that glorious north Georgia scenery.

If you’d prefer a guided hiking trip, Appalachian Wilderness Guides offers a variety of hikes led by experienced guides whose extensive knowledge of the nature and stories of the area enrich the journey. The company offers day hikes and teams up with North Georgia wineries for Wine Tasting Treks, short hikes into the mountains where you can toast the beauty with local vintages.
Appalachian Wilderness Guides
7675 US Highway 76 East, Hiawassee
Bargain Day Hikes, $50
Wine Tasting Treks, $75.
678-261-8406

Photo by Austin Elliott
Courtesy of North Sunburst Stables
For those who’d rather let someone else do the walking, you can see the area via horseback. Chattahoochee Stables have one-hour guided trail rides that take you 3.5 miles through the valley, along—and through!-- the Chatahoochee River.  North SunburstStables offers rides into the Chattahoochee National Forest, including  one and two-hour rides, a family adventure ride that takes guests to an animal farm and fishing, a sunset ride, and a lunch ride.

Chattahoochee Stables
2180 Highway 17, Sautee
1-hour rides. Call Stables for pricing.
Summer hours, 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.; winter hours: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
706-878-7000

North Sunburst Stables
251 Sunburst Lane, Clarkesville
Open daily
Daytime rides: 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Sunset ride: call for departure time.
706-389-9544

After an active day in the woods, head back to the Inn to be pampered in our Spa! It’s another one of the joys of staying at our Inn.


Appalachian Wine, Jazz and Art Festival is a Summer Must 20 May 2015, 12:28 pm

The 2nd Annual Appalachian Wine, Jazz and Art Festival promises to be one of the top summer festivals in the North Georgia region. Based on last year's success, festival goers will hear outstanding jazz and soul performances, see a variety of art talent on display, as well as taste some of North Georgia's outstanding wines. This year the festival will be held June 12 and 13, 2015 in the beautiful mountain setting of the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds in Hiawassee, Georgia.   
 
Enjoy Latin Jazz, rhythm and blues and more for two afternoons of great music, paired perfectly with wine tastings from vineyards throughout North Georgia’s increasingly popular wine country. Local jazz favorites, vocalist Monica Spears and guitarist Derek Worth will be performing again this year.  In addition, one of Kenya's leading R&B artist, Mercy Myra will be appearing, alongside The Rhythm Jets. Paired together, this outstanding vocalist and this jazz group are sure to be one of the stand-out performances of the festival.  This will be a performance that shouldn't be missed. To get you in the mood for the festival check out a recent performance by Mercy Myra and The Rhythm Jets, performing "Soul Satisfaction" here on YouTube.  
 
In addition to the music, artists from across the region  will be exhibiting throughout the festival grounds and there will be plenty of food to enjoy during this two-day event at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds along the banks of beautiful Lake Chatuge. Just a two hour drive from Atlanta, Greenville, Asheville and Chattanooga, it’s time for a perfect getaway from the city! Tickets are $20 Friday from 5 PM to 8 PM, $40 Saturday from 11 AM to 8 PM or $50 for both days. Tickets include a wine glass and four tastings.
 
For a lineup of artists, music and more visit the festival website then call us at 707-878-5055 to make your reservations for relaxation here at Lucille’s Mountain Top Inn and Spa. Be sure to check out The Spa at Lucille’s for new treatments, products and specials!