By Mark Holloway
I remember catching my first glimpse of Lake Burton from the air when my wife Carol and I took flight with our surgeon buddy Denny and his pilot son. It was peak autumn and the afternoon sun was dancing on Burton’s shimmer. Jonathan Alter and Denny had flown up from Florida to their cabin near the lake and asked if we’d like to see the Northeast Georgia Mountains from the air. They’d landed at Heaven’s Landing, ten minutes from the lake.
My officer dad taught me, “Son, never screw up a free lunch.” So we jumped at the chance to tour this amazing corner of paradise from the air.
Glassy Mountain sports a U.S. Forest service station with a fire tower. We took some friends to hike to its nearly 4,000ft peak and observation deck. When we reached the top we looked west on a day when the skies were as clear as Burton’s stream-fed water. There is a childlike wonder in discovering a body of water from a high elevation.
So what’s the deal with Lake Burton? What about her holds our fascination? For starters, it’s green. I mean really green. The lake produces the cleanest form of energy, helping light up Atlanta, Athens, and well, every light bulb on the grid in much of the southeast. In the early 1900s, some gutsy and forward thinking engineers built a series of dams to harvest gravity’s gift. The majestic Tallulah river is the quiet giant which fills Lake Burton and produces energy behind the scenes.
The lake also produces generations of memories. From its very start, the lake has been the Siren on the Rhine, enticing thrill seekers and solace seekers alike.
My good friend, Duke Gibbs, is also a visionary. He and Leigh Barnett, a veteran mountain land agent found a tucked-away track of Shangri-La, which is now Cottages at Burton. Access to the lake is like scoring a backstage pass to a Beatles concert. Lake lots and homes come at a premium on Burton and for good reason. Nearly 200,000 acres here are undeveloped public lands. The land around Burton is no exception. So getting to own a home with private lake access is somewhat of a coup. Cottages at Burton is unique. Long ago, some enterprising investors drafted an arrangement with Georgia Power allowing each three-acre lot owner in the development deeded access to a beautiful, large private dock on the lake only 60 seconds away. The crazy thing is none of the 12 lots ever got developed.
Duke’s plan is now reality. Cottage at Burton is now available for you to buy, build, and boat your big city cares away.
Depending on what’s going on in your life, you can escape to the mountain to simply rest and relax, or get your adrenaline on…wake boarding, skiing or whitewater rafting nearby on the world-class rapids of the legendary Chattanooga River. You can start your day blasting down the mountain bike trails of set aside land at White Twister and Stonewall in the morning and then rest your legs on your pontoon at sunset. Or you can kayak Burton’s flat water at sunrise and hike to Rabun Bald or Brass Town Bald for a spectacular sunset, all in the same day. Both mountain peaks are near enough. Maybe you’d like to fly fish on the upper Tallulah river only 10 minutes away from Cottages at Burton. Taking in a live outdoor bluegrass concert, hiking the AT, the William Bartram Trail, and countless others.
The Irish discovered these mountains in the 1800s. They chose to look no further than this land which reminded them of home. Cottages at Burton is nestled in the very center of the area the celts chose as their new homeland. Maybe you too should come discover what they did.
Come play, Come rest. Come build memories for your children and grandchildren.
Mark is an adventure writer and guide. He and his wife Carol own Fresh Start Property Stewards, which takes exquisite care of mountain homes. 706.490.7060