Lake Chatuge, Blue Ridge Mountains
The Blue Ridge Mountains of west-side North Carolina would not be as significant without the Lake Chatuge (pronounced as “sha-toog”). It is surrounded by the breathtaking view of the mountains, the valleys of Clay County (plus other several counties) and the Hiawassee-Young Harris region of North Georgia. The vastness of the lake visibly occupies a great portion at 7200 acres with nearly 132 miles of shoreline and 3700 of which is in Clay County. Lake Chatuge is a man-made lake originally constructed for flood control and for providing electrical power to its surrounding areas. It was finished in 1942 with a 2950 foot earth-filled type dam just across the Hiawassee River. Although it was created for these purposes, the lake has gained an extraordinary beauty on its own. At present, Lake Chatuge or Chatuge dam serves other purposes to the townspeople and visitors.
It has become a family-friendly environment for various recreational activities such as boating, skiing, hiking, camping, swimming, and fishing. There are also hiking tours at its area’s picturesque waterfalls which may also include horseback-riding, and s a memorable trip to the Zell Miller Mountain Parkway where one would explore a world of archaeological sites, Indian burial grounds, antique shops, and art galleries. The best season to stay at Lake Chatuge is in the summer. Its summer temperatures are mild with just the right heat to have fun. Midsummer afternoons are at 80 degrees. Nights are cool, nonetheless, the right place to camp. Lake Chatuge is opportunely appropriate for unwinding, especially for people who have that passion for old, majestic and uncanny feeling that can only be found in places like this.
Possibly, a time warp covers the Lake Chatuge as it brings visitors to a level of imagining life in the old times. It undoubtedly is a place of attraction one would be so proud to have visited – old-fashioned inns, the cozy beds and big breakfasts, idyllic cabins to stay at; and, mainly, the priceless time spent. Lake Chatuge is one of the most obvious reasons why North Carolina is said to be a perfect destination for vacationers. Considered to be a silent witness of history, Lake Chatuge is a whisperer of invitation to slow down and appreciate nature’s bounty.