Sunday, February 17, 2013

Things to do in Etowah, Tennessee

It may be a small town but there are lots of things to do in Etowah, Tennessee. Visitors can come, relax and enjoy the peacefulness of small town life. We have lived here for a couple of years now and still find things to do in Etowah that are fun and even educational. You might even say that I've fallen in love with the place.

Bald River Falls, Tennessee

Etowah is on U.S. Highway 411 between Chattanooga and Knoxville. If you are traveling on I-75 the best way to get there is to take exit 49 at Athens. Turn onto Decatur Pike (Tennessee Highway 30) and go through Athens. You will arrive at your destination in about 15 miles.

One of the things that I like best is that Etowah is known as the Gateway to the Cherokee National Forest. This glorious bit of nature is filled with every type of outdoor activity that you can imagine. If you decide to drive through Tellico Plains from Etowah access the Cherohala Skyway
, then you will be awarded with glorious views of the forest. Stock up on picnic supplies at the Bi-Lo Grocery store and made it a day.

Another of the things to do in Etowah is to simply stroll through the town's historic part of U.S. Highway 411, do some shopping and see the depot. The L&N Railroad wanted a stop between Atlanta and Cincinnati that would bypass the north Georgia mountains. Land was purchased in 1904 and a depot built to serve the railroad was completed in 1906. It's one of the things to do in Etowah that you don't want to overlook.

The depot has become an Etowah focal point and a museum
that's filled with old photographs and some exhibits.The Chamber of Commerce and Tennessee Overhill Association are housed here. Both organizations can provide you with maps, brochures and answer any questions about the area that you may have. Plan to spend awhile at the depot. It is time well spent.

The Hiwassee River Rail Adventures excursion trail picks up passengers at the depot. It's a partnership between the Tennessee Overhill Association and the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. Get set for amazing views of the Hiwassee River Gorge! One of the highlights is a part of the excursion that is known as "The Loop" that resembles the eye of a needle when seen from the air. The train passes over a railroad bridge then "loops" back over the bridge that you just crossed.

Consider yourself lucky if something is playing at the Gem Theater when you're in town. The Gem Players that were formed in 1993 is the official resident theater company. The Gem Theater was built in 1927 and has all the charm of an old era theater.

Another one of the things to do in Etowah is shop, shop shop. Did I mention that it's called an "antiques and discount store Mecca"? The Sundry Store and similar stores in town are filled with deals on all kinds of household items. It can take awhile to sort through the shelves and find what you need. In the end, you're guaranteed to snag a bargain.

Also lining U.S. Highway 411 are antique shops, a music shop and a number of restaurants. You'll have no problems finding meals or a place to stay. Visitors can stay in the Etowah Red Roof Inn, area campgrounds or book a stay at one of the Bed and Breakfast Inns in the area. The eatery variety includes Michael's, Tony's Italian, some Mexican places, the southern-style Farmhouse Restaurants, pizza, fast food and more.

Before going to Etowah, there is another thing to do. Read my article on a loop road trip that my husband and I took. We went from Etowah to Etowah in six hours but could easily have spent more time. It was a great way to spend the day and is just one of the things to do in the Etowah area that you might enjoy.