Disclaimer:  We are travelled this drive during COVID-19.  However, we did not come into any contact with other people.  We packed a cooler with drinks and food and put a portable toilet in our van for bathroom breaks.

Yellow butterfly

There are 15 scenic byways in Georgia. Courtney and I have decided to drive them all.  For those that are interested in learning more about them, I’m gonna dedicate a blog post to each one as we complete the drives.

Last week we drove the Ridge & Valley Scenic Byway, which is number 12 on the list. This drive is located in Northwest Georgia and the full byway is 51 miles long.

I’m a very opinionated person with high expectations, so this is my honest opinion of the drive: HATED IT!

Honestly, I do not know what qualifications a drive needs to meet to become designated a “scenic byway,” but the bar is set pretty low.  OR I am used to the beautiful North Georgia Mountains on the East side of the state and this truly does not compare. Perhaps I am just too harsh a judge. If you want to also tackle all the byways, I’d recommend waiting until the fall for this one. I bet it’s a gorgeous drive in the fall.

My three biggest complaints about the drive:

  1. I did not personally find it very scenic. There were few things that made me go, “ooohhhh” or “aaahhh.” It just reminded me of the areas I grew up in except without any of the nostalgia.
  2. It was very poorly marked, which made it super hard to know where to turn to stay on the route.
  3. We did not have cell service for much of the drive. Normally, this is not a BIG negative for me, but because there was not enough signage to keep us on track, it became an issue.

Despite all of that, there was a moment of magic that I’d love to share.  We turned off the road when we saw a sign for a “scenic overlook.”  It’s the Johns Mountain Overlook, if you’re interested in driving there. Be prepared, though. It’s a two-mile drive up a gravel road to get to the overlook.  We were so lucky to have the place to ourselves. However, if you travel there during the fall, I’m sure it will be packed.  It was so peaceful and beautiful. We ate our lunch and enjoyed the view.

 

John's mountain

Because we got started on the trip a little late in the day and got lost, we did not stop anywhere else after our lunch break.  However, there is a recreation area and several hiking trails off the drive. So if those things interest you, definitely check them out.

butterfly

I’ll continue to post about our byway adventures as we are able to have them. For those of you that are looking for an inexpensive outing, I recommend checking these out.  For us, all it cost was about half a tank of gas.

Y’all stay safe and well!

’til next time,

~jen

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