Lucille's Mountain Top Inn & Spa

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

Holiday Shopping in the North Georgia Mountains 19 Nov 2015, 10:00 am

This year, why not tackle your holiday list up here in the mountains? We have a delightful collection of one-of-a-kind stores where you can shop for everyone on your list. Below are a just few of the many options.

The town of Helen looks like old St. Nick himself would be roaming the streets, so what better place to head for shopping! At Hansel & Gretel Candy Kitchen, homemade goodies abound—rich almond butter toffee, cherries hand-dipped in chocolate, caramel pecan turtles and decadent truffles, just to mention a few.
8651 N. Main Street, Helen

Aromas of another sort can be found at Helen Souvenir and Candle Company, which offers locally made and hand-carved candles in a wide range of sizes. And if you want a custom candle, you can watch as they make it right here in the store.
8635 N. Main Street, Helen

Tim’s Wooden Toys is like Santa’s own workshop. Every toy in the store is made here, and the selection is awesome. Push and pull toys, trucks, trains, crossbows, and more, as well as art sets, and games. It’s hard not to feel like a kid again!
8635 Main Street, Helen

For a special handmade treasure, stop by Southern Comfort Quilts where you’ll find a large and beautiful selection, each one unique. Also for sale: quilted throws, handbags and tabletop items.
8580 North Main Street, Helen

On the way back to the Inn, swing by The Lavender Cottage & Garden in Sautee. The shop’s herbal goodies include bath and beauty products made from organic, natural ingredients as well as lovely artisan goods.
53 Highway 255, Sautee

Oh, there are just too many to mention! Plan to stay at Lucille’s for a shopping weekend and we’ll give you a list of even more great places to visit.

Savor a Taste of North Georgia’s Habersham Winery 12 Nov 2015, 10:00 am

One of Georgia’s oldest and largest wineries, and one of our neighbors in nearby Nacoochee Village, is Habersham Vineyards & Winery. Established in 1983, the company took advantage of a growing interest in regional wines and created a company that now encompasses two vineyards, three labels and more than 20 quality varietals.
Photo courtesy of Habersham Vineyards & Winery 

The process begins in the company's vineyards, located in Mossy Creek, near Cleveland, and Stonepile, which is near Clarkesville, Georgia. Together these two fields produce nearly 150 tons of grapes annually. Under the careful watch of winemaker Andrew Beaty, a UC Davis grad who trained in California, grapes are transformed into wines that have garnered more than 100 medals over the years.
Included in the varieties grown at Habersham’s vineyards are cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, seyval, vidal, riesling and chambourcin. Other grapes are purchased from local and southern Georgia producers, including those for sangiovese, viognier and muscadine.

Visitors to the winery can taste of up to five wines, including a 2010 Creekstone Cabernet, with hints of rich black cherry, toasty oak and blackberry. The popular white Traminette has a crisp finish with tastes of rose petals, honeysuckle and apricot. And the afore-mentioned white muscadine offers a fruit-forward, sweetly acidic taste, ideal for a warm Georgia afternoon. You can purchase Habersham wines at the tasting room here in Helen, or at the winery’s other two Georgia tasting rooms, in Dahlonga and Juliette. Come back to visit in May, and you can enjoy more wine, music, food and art at Habersham Winery's Annual WineFest.

Habersham Vineyards and Winery
7025 South Main Street, Helen
Monday – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, 12:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. 706-878-9463
Wine tasting, $7.50/person, includes 5 wines and a souvenir wine glass

As you can see, Lucille’s is located nearby lots of cool places! Come for a visit soon, and take advantage of this and all the wonderful experiences our area offers.

North GA’s Nora Mill Granary Still Grinding Away 5 Nov 2015, 10:00 am

When Nora Mill Granary says it does things the old-fashioned way, they mean it! The company, which was established in 1876, still operates out of the same four-story building that sits on the banks of the Chattahoochee River in Helen.
Photo courtesy of Nora Mill Granary

It still uses the 1,500-pound French burr millstones, and feeds water to a water turbine via a 100-foot wooden raceway. For Inn guests who are both foodies and fond of local lore, the mill and its next-door store are a must to visit.

Originally built by a miner who came in search of gold, the mill was bought in 1902 by former Georgia governor, Dr. Lamartine G. Hardman—who named the mill after his sister Nora—and sold to a group of investors in 1998. Starting in the 1980’s the head miller was Ron Fain, who with his wife developed and marketed many recipes that are now standards of the company.

Photo courtesy of Nora Mill Granary
Though there have been changes and improvements over the years, the concept is the same: to grind fresh grains with no additives or preservatives for old-fashioned quality. Classic Nora Mill Granary products include grits, cornmeal, pancake and waffle mixes, biscuit and bread mixes and pioneer’s porridge. If you’d like to find some great Southern ways to use these items, check the company’s website and you’ll find recipes for including a delicious-sounding Grandma’s Buttermilk Chess Pie. In addition to mill-produced items, the store also sells things like speckle ware bowls, cast iron cookware, jams, jellies and much more.

Nora Mill Granary Grist Mill & Country Store
7107 South Main Street, Helen
Monday – Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Sunday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

While doing things the old-fashioned way works for Nora Mills Granary, we at Lucille’s take pride in providing guests with all the modern-day comforts. Give us a call and we’ll show you!

Try Yummy Baked Apple Recipe For Breakfast or Dessert 29 Oct 2015, 10:00 am

Autumn’s favorite fruit gets all dressed up for breakfast at the Inn and the guests couldn’t be happier. The aroma is heavenly—and the taste is even better!

Maple Syrup Baked Apples
Serves 6
6              large Macintosh apples, peeled and cored
4 Tbsps.  finely chopped walnuts
4 Tbsps.  raisins
4 Tbsps.  firmly-packed brown sugar
½ tsp.      cinnamon
¼ tsp.      ground nutmeg
2 tsps.      melted butter
2 Tbsps.   cream
6 Tbsps.   melted butter
¾ cup maple syrup

Crème Anglais (see separate recipe below)

Preheat oven to 400º.
Place apples in well buttered cake pan.
Mix together walnuts, raisins, brown sugar, spices, 2 tsps. melted butter and cream. Divide mixture evenly between all apples, stuffing as much into each apple as possible, then heaping the rest on top. Pour 1Tbsp. melted butter and 2 Tbsps. maple syrup over each apple. Bake 35-40 minutes until apples are tender but still hold shape. Cool slightly, then top with Crème Anglais prior to serving

Creme Anglaise

1 cup     heavy cream
2 tsps.   vanilla extract
4            egg yolks
1/3 cup  white sugar

In a small, heavy saucepan, heat cream and vanilla until bubbles form at edges. While cream is heating, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until smooth. Slowly pour ½ cup of hot cream mixture into egg yolks, whisking constantly. Then gradually add egg yolk mixture back into remaining cream mixture, whisking constantly. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.

Cherokee Ceramics at NE Georgia Folk Pottery Museum 22 Oct 2015, 10:00 am

If you enjoy learning about the history and art of the area as much as we do here at the Inn, you’ll want to make sure to stop by the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia for its newest exhibit featuring Cherokee Ceramics.
Asheville Art Museum photo: 
Queen and Maney Original Dancing Quails

For nearly 3,000 years, the eastern band of the Cherokee Indians, located in Western North Carolina, has been creating pottery. Theirs is one of the oldest, ongoing ceramic traditions in the world. After nearly dying out in the late Nineteenth Century, the artistry is now alive and well and visitors to the Museum will have a chance to view some of the exquisite designs.

Joel Queen
Included in the exhibit is a wide array of contemporary artists from the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. Working in a variety of mediums, they blend their history, culture and creativity to create original pieces.

While at the Museum, be sure to also check out its permanent display of Northeast Georgia folk pottery, a rare treat as the museum is just one of a handful of exhibitors in in the world that focuses primarily on folk pottery.

Cherokee Ceramics
Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia
Sautee Nacoochee Center
283 Highway 255 North, Sautee Nacoochee
Monday – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

A trip to the museum makes a lovely day outing when you’re staying at Lucille’s. For a great evening, it’s hard to beat watching the sunset while sitting on our deck. Come visit soon!

Shopping in the North Georgia Village of Sautee 15 Oct 2015, 10:00 am

One of the joys about being up here in the mountains is the slowed down pace of things. It’s the kind of place where you can really just poke around shops and stop for a casual lunch—no hassles or long lines.

So some day, do just that! After breakfast at the Inn, head into the Village of Sautee and have a fun few hours exploring. First stop, Inside Out Sautee. This sprawling shop is a touristy haven for all kinds of souvenirs. Sort through the items and you can find gems like wood-turned bowls, hand-painted chairs and whimsical clocks.
Inside Out Sautee
2454-A Highway 17, Sautee
Sunday, 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Monday, Thursday and Friday, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Closed Tuesday-Wednesday

Stop by Shotgun Annie’s and you’ll find a variety of antiques mixed with clever handcrafted items, including twig chairs and furnishings many made from reclaimed objects. The engaging store also has custom lighting, and other art and crafts pieces. Shotgun Annie’s
2276 Highway 17, Sautee
Monday, Wednesday-Thursday, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday – Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Closed Tuesday

Feeling like a break? Sweetwater Coffeehouse is just a few paces down the road. If you’re lucky, they’ll just be taking their sour cream pound cakes out of the oven and you can enjoy a warm slice with your latte. The café also serves light lunches, such as homemade chicken salad on a bed of organic greens.
Sweetwater Coffeehouse
2242 Highway 17, Sautee
Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Gone With the Wind lives on at the plantation-style home that houses Scarlett’s Secret, a museum and gift shop that pays homage to the story and era. Here you’ll find items of memorabilia related to the movie and the Civil War, including books, paintings and dolls. Call ahead and you can also schedule tea and dessert.
Scarlett’s Secret
1902 Highway 17, Sautee

While you might look at a gourd as, well, just a gourd, Pricilla Wilson and Janice Lymburner see them as works of art. At their shop, The Gourd Place you can see the wonders of what they create using gourds as a base and as molds for their pottery. A small onsite museum includes more than 200 artistic gourds from 213 countries.
The Gourd Place
2319 Duncan Bridge Road/Highway 384, Sautee
April 1 – December 23:
Monday – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Closed Easter and Thanksgiving days
By appointment only January through March.

Further down the highway, you can stop for a tasting—or two!—of Georgia wine at Sautee Nacoochee Vineyards tasting room. The winery makes a selection of whites and reds, including the delightfully named Red Headed Stepchild, a spunky pour that has a touch of sweetness and a bold earthiness of Merlot.
Sautee Nacoochee Vineyards Tasting Room
1299 Highway 17, Sautee
Monday and Thursday, 12:00 p.m. – 5:00p.m.
Friday – Saturday, 12:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, 12:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Back “home” at Lucille’s you can enjoy another glass of wine on the patio as you watch the sun set over the mountains, and toast another great day in the mountains

Visit Historic Cleveland In The North Georgia Mountains 8 Oct 2015, 9:50 am

Head south of the Inn for 15 miles, to the intersection of Highways 129 and 115 and you’ll be in Cleveland, a pretty mountain town steeped in history.
Founded in 1857, it was then called Mount Yonah and occupied the area that is now Underwood Street, between Main and Church streets. It remained mostly a small farming community through the first half of the Twentieth Century, when more commercial enterprises began moving in. Soon Cleveland, the seat of White County, was the center of activity for the surrounding area, and today boasts more than 2800 inhabitants.

Known as the “Gateway to the North Georgia Mountains”, Cleveland is where the Appalachian Trail begins—or ends, if you’re coming from the north! If you’re a hiker, biker or just plain love of outdoor life, you’ll feel at home here. If you fish, bring your rod because you’ll find more than 40 spots to cast your line nearby the town.

Take a stroll through town and visit the restored courthouse, which now houses a museum where you’ll find a wonderful exhibit of local clay pottery. White County Historical Society Courthouse Square, Cleveland 706-865-3225 Thursday – Saturday, 10:00 a.,. – 3:00 p.m.

If you’re thirsty for an old-fashioned lunch, head across the square to The Soda Fountain Café, which just like the old days, is located inside a pharmacy. Order a Georgia Burger topped with grilled fresh peaches and onion or maybe a true Southern specialty like the pimento cheese, banana and pineapple sandwich. And top it off with an old-fashioned shake.
The Soda Fountain Café
19 East Jarrad Street, Cleveland
Monday – Wednesday, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Thursday – Friday, 11:00 a.m. – 9;00 p.m.
Sunday, 11;00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Hungry for some Southern country comfort? Glenda’s Restaurant serves a “meat and 3” with dishes such as chicken fried steak and white gravy. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s where the locals go for their fix.
Glenda's Restaurant
286 South Main Street
Monday – Saturday, 5:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Sunday, 6:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

If you once owned a Cabbage Patch Kid, or are just curious about how they came about, you can check out the official birthplace of the unique doll at Babyland General Hospital. On the outskirts of town, it was built to resemble a real hospital, and besides housing all things Cabbage Patch, it hosts events throughout the year. Upcoming is the Hillbilly Hog BBQ Fall Festival on October 23-24, 2015, with music, arts, crafts, and of course, BBQ.
Babyland General Hospital
300 N.O.K. Drive, Cleveland
Monday – Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00
Sunday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

After exploring Cleveland, head back to Sautee Nacoochee for some serious relaxing. Sitting on the balcony at the Lucille’s with a glass of wine and a view that goes for miles makes a near perfect end to the day.

Toast Oktoberfest At North Georgia German Restaurants 1 Oct 2015, 10:00 am

The setting of Helen, Georgia is like a mini Bavaria, so it’s only fitting that you can find some fine German foods there. And what better time to enjoy a beer and a brat—or some other German specialty—than during Oktoberfest month! So here’s a little taste tour of German restaurants nearby our Inn.

Chef Aurel Prodan and his wife, Doina, lived in Bavaria before moving to Helen to open Bodensee Restaurant—named for a lake on the Rhine, at the foot of the Alps. Here you’ll find hearty platters of Sauerbraten with potato dumplings and red cabbage, Schweinebraten with sauerkraut and spaetzels, and other savory German dishes. Bring an appetite if you want the Haus Platter—it’s a plate filled with knockwurst, homemade garlic wurst and smoked pork chop with traditional sides. As filling as the entrees are, sweets such as Black Forest Cake are too tempting to pass up.
Bodensee Restaurant
64 Munich Strasse, Helen
Open daily, 11:00 a.m. until...

Check out the collection of steins lining the walls at The Old Bavaria Inn and Restaurant, which offers a selection of more than 35 beers, imported and domestic. Order a pint to enjoy with some of the tasty Hungarian goulash soup or German potato pancakes with applesauce and sour cream. Spatzle lovers (count us in!) can enjoy the house specialty with Black Forest ham, Parmesan cheese and cream. Or order up the Oktoberfest platter, a meat-centric entrée that includes pork medallions, sauerbraten and bratwurst with red cabbage, sauerkraut and spatzle.
Old Bavaria inn and Restaurant
8619 North Main Street, Helen
Open daily, 11:00 a.m.– 8:00p.m.
Happy hour, Saturday – Sunday, 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Head downstairs to the delightful GI Germany Pub where you can find a great selection of imported beer, or upstairs to Hofbrauhaus Restaurant if you’d like something to eat with your pint. If the weather is nice, the terrace overlooking the Chattahoochee River is delightful spot to have a delicious rueben and a brew.
Hofbrauhaus Restaurant and GI Germany Pub
9001 North Main Street, Helen
Monday – Thursday, 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Friday – Sunday, 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

For a real Oktoberfest feeling, stop by King Ludwig’s Beer Garden. Its casual outdoor setting is conducive to tipping a pint with friends—or with your favorite black lab, as the restaurant is pet friendly too! The menu here is equally casual, including giant pretzels with cheese sauce and sausages. And on many nights, you can catch music on the an outdoor stage.
King Ludwig’s Beer Garden
8660 North main Street, Helen
Monday – Saturday, 11:30 a.m. – midnight Sunday, 12:30 p.m. – midnight

Not that you need an excuse to come visit us at Lucille’s, but October is a great time to be here in the mountains. Give us a call—we’d love to have you!

Frogtown Cellars A North GA Winery With National Buzz 28 Sep 2015, 10:00 am

Nestled up in our little corner of the North Georgia Mountains is a winery that's not just making a name for itself in our region, but across the country. Frogtown Cellars Vineyards is the hot kid on the block, and wine aficionados across the country are taking note.
Logo courtesy of
Frogtown Cellars Vineyards

The winery, located about 40 minutes southeast of the Inn, in Dahlonega, Georgia, was founded in 1998 by Craig and Cydney Kritzer, who sought out this specific Lumpkin County area for its ideal soil and spectacular setting. Based on the awards they have received (more than 200 to date), they’re not just in a prime growing area, they’re making some excellent wines there.

Anyone who has visited this region knows its terrain is steep, and Frogtown uses that to its advantage, constructing its operation as a tri-level gravity flow winery—a gentler, less invasive process than forcing juice through pumps. Each level serves a purpose: the top is where grapes are crushed, the second level down is the where the fermentation happens, and the third level below is where wines are aged.

Photo courtesy of
Frogtown Cellars Vineyards
The winery has 25 wine grape varieties planted on 44 acres here in North Georgia. An additional 25 acres are planted in a South Georgia location, producing grapes for the sweeter Muscadine wines. Frogtown Cellars has won awards for many of its varietals. Notable among them are the medium-bodied Sangiovese; Bravado, a lush wine with hints of cherry and cassis; and Touriga Nacional, a deep, full-bodied with a lingering finish. Sweeter sipping varieties include Talking Rock White, with a distinct floral and citrusy flavor and aroma.

Visitors can sample wines in the Tasting Room daily. If you wish to linger longer, you can relax at the Bistro Café. Dine inside or snag a table outside and savor the views along with your wine. The café serves a nice cheese platter and has a selection of tasty panini sandwiches, such as the Sweet Georgia which layers ham, bacon, pepper jack and tomato.

Frogtown Cellars Vineyard
700 Ridge Point Drive, Dahlonega
706-865-0687 Dahlonega
Tasting Room Hours: Monday – Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; Saturday, 10:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; Sunday, 12:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Bistro Café Hours: Friday – Sunday, until 3:30 p.m.

Helen Tasting Room
7601 S. Main Street, Helen
Open daily, July – December; Friday through Sunday, January – June

Frogtown Cellars is just one of our area’s delightful wineries to explore. Plan a long weekend at Lucille’s and you can taste your way through the mountains!

Glass Mountain Gallery Opens Georgia Studio For Visitors 24 Sep 2015, 10:00 am

For a limited time each fall, artists Phillip and Janine Shelby invite visitors into their Glass Mountain Gallery and Studio to watch them work. Not only do we encourage our Inn guests to stop by, now through Christmas, we plan to sneak away for a peek too!

The couple established Glass Mountain Gallery and Studio in 1996 just one mile north of Helen in Robertstown, GA, near Unicoi State Park (about a 15-minute drive from the Inn). Here the artists produce gorgeous fine glass pieces that have been sold throughout the world. And now, we can all get a glimpse into how they create the magic—or as they call it Dance With Fire.

Stop by and watch as the Shelby’s give glass blowing demonstrations, see the furnaces they use—which operate at a scorching 2200 degrees!—and tour the cold shop where the artists cut, grind and polish their creations. After learning how the beautiful pieces are created, walk into the Gallery to be wowed by more of their glass masterpieces. Solid oak construction enhances this space that was originally built as a general store in 1930, and renovated by the owners.

A visit to Glass Mountain gives you a whole new appreciation for the talent and skill it takes to create glass works of art. Another bonus—with holidays just around the corner, it’s a great place to do a little gift shopping! During the rest of the year, you can find items for sale online.

Glass Mountain Gallery and Studio

257 Clayton Road, Helen
Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holiday Mondays, Labor Day – Christmas, 2015
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Glass Mountain is just one of the places to see great art in our area. Plan a little getaway with us at Lucille’s, and you can explore this and more!