Just two hours outside of Atlanta, you'll find one of Country Living's 50 small towns with the most beautiful foliage. Clayton, also dubbed the farm-to-table capital of Georgia, is a quaint mountain town that offers shopping, dining, outdoor adventures and spectacular views.
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With a population under 2,500, Clayton gives visitors a small-town feel from inside the Blue Ridge Mountains. For those who find joy in seeing the leaves change from green to the many shades of autumn, Clayton is the top fall peeping spot, according to the editors at Country Living. The writers tout the town’s Chattahoochee National Forest as the go-to backdrop for “beautiful fall colors” and “picturesque views” in October.
Here are five reasons why you might want to take the trip to Clayton this fall:
Paddlers brave gushing rapids and gasp-inducing drops on whitewater rafting trips along the Chattooga River in South Carolina. CONTRIBUTED BY WILDWATER
Go white water rafting on the Chattooga River
Chattooga River is known as the crown jewel of the Southeast. In 1968, Congress passed the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and the Chattooga River was soon added to the list. It's one of the few Wild and Scenic Rivers that offers commercial rafting opportunities. It's also the location where Burt Reynolds and Jon Voight filmed “Deliverance”.
Whether you enjoy canoeing, kayaking or whitewater rafting, Southern Expeditions will give you expert instruction as you navigate the famous waters of the Chattooga. You can make a reservation online or call them at 800-868-7248.
Go shopping on Main Street
If you find yourself in the downtown area, you'll see many of the local staples for shopping and sightseeing. For example, Clayton Pharmacy is well known for its college football gear and the attached Soda Fountain restaurant where you can grab a bite to eat. The Wander North Georgia store is another popular location where you can play games, grab coffee or ice cream, or pick up some outdoor equipment.
For trendy clothing and jewelry, the Treehouse on Main is a popular boutique with chic pieces for women and the home. If you don't have time to shop during your trip, you can browse the full collection online when you get home.
Grab a bite to eat
For its size, Clayton has more than enough options for fresh food and hearty plates. With a reputation based on locally sourced meat and produce, you should have no trouble finding the meal and ambience you're looking for. If you need a few tips, here are three of the top-rated Clayton restaurants on Google.
Fortify Kitchen and Bar – Named one of OpenTable's Top 100 Restaurants in America in 2014, Fortify Kitchen and Bar offers contemporary farm to table cuisine in a comfortable setting. Fortify Kitchen and Bar is located at 69 N. Main St., Clayton. You might also want to try Fortify Pi.
Universal Joint – Universal Joint is self-described as "a neighborhood pub offering a variety of excellent beers and food." On top of the good eats, the restaurant offers game nights and karaoke events that you can find on their Facebook page. Universal Joint is located at 109 N. Main St., Clayton.
The Wicked Pig – The Wicked Pig is a family-owned and operated restaurant serving barbecue and southern fare. With themed nights like Wing Wednesday and Thirsty Thursday, you can stop in any day of the week for specials. The website promises, "We're certain we'll have something you'll love, no matter what part of the country you call home…" If the food isn't enough of a reason to go, they almost always have live music on the weekends. The Wicked Pig is located at 151 N. Main St., Clayton.
Go on the Grow, Cook, Eat Farm and Food Tour
On Oct.18, the Bennett Shuttle Service is hosting a Grow, Cook, Eat Farm and Food Tour of Rabun County. The bus will take you through local farms, vineyards and restaurants as you get an in-depth taste of the farm-to-table experience Clayton and its surround cities are known for. Tickets are not yet available, but previous tours ran from 9:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and tickets were $80.00 per person. Contact Bennett Shuttle Service at 863-559-1941 or 863-450-8780 for more information. The company also offers occasional Distillery and Brewery tours.
Go to Harvest Stomp at Stonewall Creek Vineyards
If you've ever dreamed of stomping grapes in a bucket, nearby Tiger, GA has a special treat for you. The 2018 Harvest Stomp at Stonewall Creek Vineyards gives attendees the chance to stomp grapes and then step onto the back of their own souvenir t-shirt to make their own personal imprint. The event will also feature wine tastings and live entertainment from the Flamethrowers Surf Band.
Harvest Stomp runs from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 22. Tickets cost $30. To make a reservation, call 706-212-0584 or visit StonewallCreek.com.
If you can't be in town for Harvest Stomp, there are still other things to do at Stonewall Creek Vineyards including wine tastings.