It started out in 1996 as a simple weekend getaway to North Georgia for Robert and Liz Coleman. But the mountains worked their magic and something clicked for the city-stressed Atlanta couple…
Now, after 10 years of being near-evangelists for mountain living, their development company, Fort Mountain Resort & Properties, has announced the opening of The Summit of Fort Mountain near Chatsworth, Georgia, just 90 minutes from Atlanta. The 150-acre property offers residential home sites geared to those seeking the mountain life but minus golf, tennis, or community pools. As Coleman explains, With The Summit, weve created an experience and feeling quite removed from the huge luxury mountain communities built on the golf/tennis/swim model. Weve built it for the family who comes to the mountains for the mountains hiking, biking, horseback riding, and more. According to Coleman, its more than just the absence of links, courts, and pool chairs that sets The Summit apart. The property has only 60 lots, and annual dues are $250 far lower than most golf/tennis communities.
All home sites offer views of the nearby mountains, creeks and valleys, and the property features miles of hiking trails throughout. In addition, The Summit sits right next to Fort Mountain State Park, and down the road from the 40,000-acre Cohutta Wilderness Area. The Colemans path to The Summit started in 1999 when they built their own cabin on Fort Mountain. Over time, the one cabin became ten rental units known as Wilderness View Cabins. Next, the couple Robert, an apartment manager, and Liz, an HP employee converted the local Rock Shop into a six-bedroom B&B, The Overlook Inn, set on its scenic namesake overlook. Shortly after quitting their jobs to pursue their dreams full-time, they purchased the acreage for the future home of The Summit. There are so many families out there at that crazy, stressed-out place where we once were, explains Liz. The Summit enables us to make a living by helping people own the incredible quality of life we enjoy people who like their nature untouched and lightly developed. Its a pretty special place for a pretty special kind of person. For information on the Wilderness View Cabins and The Overlook Inn B&B, both owned by Fort Mountain Resort & Properties, visit www.wildernessviewcabins.com and www.theoverlookinn.com.
Wildflower lovers will love Fort Mountain. The walk is a short section of an 8.8 mile backcountry loop trail, The Gahuti Trail at Fort Mountain State Park, less than a mile from The Overlook Inn and Wilderness View Cabins.
This portion of the trail is just inside the entrance, steps mark the entrance on the right side of the park road,. This walk hugs the tops of the slopes as it skirts a couple of Coves, finallty descending to the bottom of the second cove to the stream that drains it. In early spring (late April), Flowering dogwoods create white clouds among the leafless trees of the forest. Sweet-shrub’s maroon flowers dot the shrub layer.
In the herb layer, Speckled wood-lily, yellow star-grass, spear-leaved violet, giant chickweed, and wild geranium can be found blooming. Two of Georgia’s 22 species of trillium, Catesby’s trillium and sweet Betsy, bloom here in early spring. As you walk around the second cove, look to the left of the trail for lily-of-the-valley, an occasional plant that grows on wooded slopes in southern Blue Ridge coves. This is the only place that you can see it in Georgia.