Secrets Just Over the Border
Did you know that Georgia’s McCaysville is part of the Copper Basin, which also includes cities just over the border in Tennessee: Ducktown and Copperhill? And oh what a story this region has to tell.
The Copper Basin was home to the Cherokee until 1836, and it was shortly thereafter that copper was “re” discovered—nine different ore deposits altogether.
In 1860, several small-scale mines were consolidated to create the Burra Burra Copper Company. The mine extracted over 15 million tons of copper ore during its 60 years of operation and employed more than 3,300 people, making the Copper Basin the largest mining district in the Southeast until about 1900.
Today you can visit the Ducktown Basin Museum and Burra Burra Mine for a deep dive into the 150 years of regional copper mining history and a glimpse into the booming economy brought on by the mineral. Explore 16 structures remaining on the mining site, see artifacts from the by-gone era, watch a video and take a peek into a portion of the mine. We love that you can see three states from the mine!
The Toccoa River runs through the center of McCaysville with grace and power…and then changes her name to the Ocoee as she enters Tennessee. This 93-mile stretch is a tributary of the Hiawassee River (which is, subsequently, a tributary of the grand Tennessee River.)
In Tennessee, the Ocoee is known for its whitewater rafting and even hosted the whitewater slalom events during the 1996 Olympic Games. Good news! You don’t have to be an Olympian to enjoy 20 continuous rapids during one of the nation’s most popular whitewater rafting experiences.
Rolling Thunder Rafting Company has offered tours for 20+ years; pick from the Class III & IV rapids on the Middle or Upper routes (or combine them for an entire day of fun!).
McCaysville is home to the Blue Ridge Railway’s two-hour layover, offering plenty of time to eat lunch, shop for unique crafts and antiques, snack on ice cream or walk around.
Nearby, the Tennessee Valley Railroad also offers an extended 94-mile round-trip day-trip excursion through the lower Hiwassee River Gorge, over the Hiwassee Loop and into the Copper Basin, where a 90-minute layover provides opportunity to eat and shop before heading back.
For lunch, head to the Burra Burra, where you can eat inside or while savoring a view on the deck overlooking the Toccoa River. We also love Rod’s Rockin’ Rolls (Ducktown) —Southeast Asia dishes like hand-rolled sushi and Thai spring rolls. Sit inside or head to the outdoor patio for the picture-perfect picnic vibe. Or try the Rum Cake Lady's yummy Cuban sandwiches and empanadas.
While you’re exploring, grab a pint and enjoy the sunshine. The Copper Basin is home to several breweries. We love the variety at Copperhill Brewery, the patio at Buck Bald Brewing and the ghost stories surrounding one of Tennessee’s oldest bars, Copper Ale Station.