When I am out exploring, I don’t really have a hard “to-do” list. I have a rough idea of the things and places I would like to see and visit. Case in point; on one of our recent trips to Blue Ridge, GA I wanted to see an “old iron bridge” I had read about. The problem was there was not a lot of information on the exact location of the bridge so I did a Google search and found “Iron Bridge Cafe and General Store”. Without knowing for sure this was, indeed, the Iron Bridge I was looking for, off we went to just see for ourselves. When we set out to see something, the “something” is very open. A 13 mile 20 min drive between two points may turn into a full-on three-hour excursion because I may get sidetracked seeing “other” things.
Within the Chattahoochee National Forest runs a mountain road called GA Hwy 60. It twists and turns through the treetops and along the Toccoa River. There are pastures, old homes, barns, and shacks: it is rural country. As we drove, whenever I saw something of interest, I would snap a few photos. I thought I would pass these along to you.
So let’s go!
The map above shows the starting point in Morganton with the end point of the Iron Bridge Cafe & General store. We got off track during the route, and the story goes a bit like this….
We were camping on Lake Blue Ridge at Morganton Recreational Area, therefore we left from there.
Head south down Hwy 60 past Hoot Owl Hill (yes that is the name) and you will see a red barn.
A few miles past the barn just after Sourwood Lane, is an old cattle barn. It is just before Dial Road on the right.
Skeenah Creek Mill
I planned a stop at Skeenah Creek Campground on the way in search of the bridge, because I wanted to see the old mill there. At 23300 Morganton Hwy, we turned on Skeenah Creek road and pull immediately into a driveway at 20 Skeenah Gap Rd, Suches, GA I got out of the car and asked if we could check out the campground and mill. We were granted permission to look around. Such a neat little place!
There is a building directly across the street from Skeenah Creek Road on Hwy 60, where I took this photo. I got out of the car and walked down a little dirt road about 50 feet and stood in the midst of these wildflowers to capture this shot.
The address is close to 23394 Morganton Hwy and I am certain this is private property so do not venture too far, as it is illegal. Leaving Skennah Creek Mill, we turned left. Our GPS was struggling to load and we figured we should go the way we already were heading before our mill detour. WRONG. PROTIP: GPS Signal is limited in the mountains. Don’t depend on your maps to tell you where to go.
As you continue along Hwy 60, you will pass Cooper Creek Baptist Church on your right, just before you reach Cooper Creek Store. The church doesn’t have an address, but if you get to the store, you just passed it 20 seconds prior. The church was built in 1849 and has some very primitive headstones. As you head towards the church you will see a glimpse of the Toccoa River on your right.
At this point without GPS we figured we needed directions, so stopping at Cooper Creek Store for a drink and a photo and directions made sense. Cooper Creek store is located at 27880 Morganton Hwy, Suches, GA. Directly across the street is Hemlock Lane, which we cracked up about because nearby is Tilley Bend where the Witch of Blue Ridge legend originated. We asked the store owner if he had heard of Tilley Bend or Tilley Baptist Church and he said: “no, that he had lived here for 40 years and never heard of either.” We find this hard to believe as you can’t throw a rock up there without hitting a Tilley. He did tell us that Suchee is home to Georgia’s smallest public school. “It’s just a few miles up the road” (by few miles he meant 10 and 10 miles takes 30 minutes in the mountains. We decided that the schoolhouse might be worth our time and that we would take the detour off our route. As we were climbing in our car I noticed across the street from the store there was a set of steps leading nowhere, which I thought was cool looking. I am assuming they go up to someone’s home, maybe the store owner.
We passed a restaurant out in the middle of nowhere. called the WildCat Cafe. It was closed when we stopped, or we would have grabbed some lunch on the patio. It looks like such an eclectic place, right up my alley (cat). Check out the neat photos I took here. Next time we are in Blue Ridge, we might just have to stop by here for lunch. The address is: 7475 State Highway 60, Suches, GA
Right past the WildCat there is a road called Johnny Cap Road, on the corner sits an old abandon barn. As you near it you will see some bee hives on a little hill.
I couldn’t help but stop and take some photos of rural mountain life on Hwy 60 near Harkins Road. I parked the car on the dirt road and took the photos below without intruding on the owner’s property. Please remember to be respectful when photographing peoples land and buildings.
Woody Gap School located at 2331 GA-60, Suches, was less than exciting. Honestly, I was hoping for something a little bit older and rustic. Like you know a log building from 1890. But it’s kind of neat to think that kindergarten through twelfth grade is housed in this one little building. At the beginning of October, they host a square dance at the Indian Summer Festival that everyone is welcome to join. I would have loved to go get my square dance on, but we had other plans, maybe next year.
Finally, our GPS kicked back on and pointed the way to our original location, The Old Iron Bridge Cafe.
We had veered off course quite a bit, but by doing a little exploring look at what we saw! From Skeenah to the school is 16 miles. We had been on the road for two hours, it was time to head to our original destination, Iron Bridge Cafe & General Store, 8436 Aska Rd, Blue Ridge, GA and hope that there was indeed an iron bridge there.
Doubling back means that we had to go all the way back past Skeenah Mill to Dial road. Then onto Aska Road. The Old Iron Bridge Cafe was on our left. I parked the car and went to ask if there was an iron bridge anywhere in the vicinity, as I turned around BOOM! there it was the Old Iron Bridge.
Keep the Lust for Wandering Y’all