There’s a lot of great information out there on the Internet, but these are a few of the print publications that I continue to consult. Several are out of print or hard to obtain, but still worthwhile if you can find them.
Longstreet Highroad Guide to the Georgia Mountains by the Georgia Conservancy, with Fred Brown and Nell Jones. Atlanta, Georgia, Longstreet Press, 1998.
This is the one book that everyone who is interested in the mountains should have in their cabin at all times. Natural history, hikes, car trips, maps, and sources. This was formerly titled, The Georgia Conservancy Guide to the North Georgia Mountains. I understand it is still out of print, but well worth seeking out, if you can find it.
The New Georgia Guide, Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 1996.
This is the University of Georgia’s rewrite and revision of the old WPA guide to Georgia, with completely new material. Day trips, points of interest, in-depth essays. John Inscoe’s essay is well worth reading for those seeking to understand the economic and social history of our area. Steve Gurr is a good tour guide for car trips.
Brown’s Guide to the Georgia Outdoors, edited by John W. English. Atlanta: Cherokee Publishing Company, 1986.
Selections from the now-defunct Georgia Magazine. Still very good for Biking, Hiking, and Canoeing in North Georgia.
Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont: A Naturalist’s Guide to the Carolinas, Virginia, Tennessee & Georgia, by Timothy P. Spira, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2011.
This is a “new generation” field guide. Instead of focusing on individual plants, it focuses on the ecological community they belong to, their “relations.” If you can identify which basic environmental type you have, it will tell you what plants are likely to be there.
Great Smoky Mountains Wildflowers, by Carlos C. Campbell, William F. Hutson, and Aaron J. Sharp. Knoxville, University of Tennessee Press, 1962.
Organized by color, this is probably the best known guide to the flowering plants of our area, with photos of every plant. Small enough to easily take along.
Wildflowers of Tennessee, Jack B. Carman, Tullahoma, Highland Rim Press.
This book is organized by family, not flower color, but it has a good photo for every plant. It is the most comprehensive guide available, and it covers north Georgia. Highly recommended.
Trees of the Carolinas, by Stan Tekiela, Adventure Publications, Cambridge, Minnesota, 2007.
Small enough to fit in a pocket, this is the best one for beginners, and is still useful to experts. There’s usually a photo of the bark, flower, and fruit.
Native Trees of the Southeast: An Identification Guide, by L. Katherine Kirkman, Claud L. Brown, and Donald J. Leopold, Timber Press, Portland, 2007.
This is the best one if you want to go further. Full descriptions and good range maps.
Native Shrubs and Woody Vines of the Southeast, by Leonard E. Foote and Samuel B. Jones, Jr. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, 1989.
This is scholarly, but well illustrated. This is the one for landscaping with native shrubs.
Trees of the Southeastern United States, by Wilbur H. Duncan and Marion B. Duncan. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1988.
Scholarly, and well illustrated. It’s an older work, but still worth consulting.
A Field Guide to Southern Mushrooms, by Nancy Smith Weber and Alexander H. Smith. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1985.
Very well illustrated. If you find any morels hereabouts, let me know. I’ve found a few, but a very few.
Exploring Southern Appalachian Forests: 30 Great Hikes in the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia, by Stephanie B. Jeffries and Thomas R. Wentworth, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2014.
This is so you can experience some of the ecological wonders of our mountains.
The Hiking Trails of North Georgia, by Tim Homans. Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers, 1981.
Hiking Trails of the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock and Citico Creek Wilderness Areas, by Tim Homans. Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers, 1990.
Hiking Trails of the Southern Nantahala Wilderness, Ellicott Rock Wilderness, and Chatooga National Wild and Scenic River, by Tim Homans. Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers, 2002.
Tim Homan’s guides are the best, hands down. He’s walked them all with a surveyor’s wheel to get exact distances.
Tennessee Hiking Guide, edited by Robert S. Brandt. Sierra Club, Tennessee Chapter. Knoxville: University of Knoxville Press, 1982.
Slim and basic, but still useful.
Trout Fishing in North Georgia, by Jimmy Jacobs. Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers, 1993.
A comprehensive guide, with good discussions of specific streams.
A Fly Fisherman’s Blue Ridge, by Christopher Camuto. New York, Henry Holt, 1990.
Not the town of Blue Ridge, but the Eastern Blue Ridge (mountains). Philosophical and practical.
Northern Georgia Canoeing, by Bob Sehlinger and Don Otey. Hillsborough, North Carolina: Menasha Ridge Press, 1980.
Covers the best streams. Very helpful because it locates river gages and gives minimum readings for canoeability. They also have a guide to south Georgia. See also Brown’s Guide to Georgia (above).
Mountain Cooking Traditions
Smokehouse Ham, Spoon Bread, and Scuppernong Wine: The Folklore and Art of Southern Appalachian Cooking, by Joseph E. Dabney. Nashville: Cumberland House, 1998.
The title says it all. A good read, with many, many interesting recipes and comments by the old mountain cooks. For instance, if you don’t know how to cook a cooter (snapping turtle), this one will tell you how. Also a great bibliography.
Side Orders: Small Helpings of Southern Cooking and Culture, by John Egerton. Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers, 1990.
This has become something of a classic.
The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery, edited by Linda Garland Page. New York: Gramercy Books, 1984.
Part of the Foxfire project.
The Flavor of Home: A Southern Appalachian Family Remembers, by Earlene Rather Odell. Johnson City, Tennessee: The Overmountain Press, 2000.
Recipes don’t impress me much, but interesting observations.
In Touch with the Past: A Guide to Historic Homes and Places in Fannin County, GA and Polk County, Tennessee. Blue Ridge, Georgia: Kathy Simpson, POB 1222, Blue Ridge, Georgia, 1982.
Among other things, fascinating discussion of the construction and function of the flume that carries water to Ocoee No. 2, down past the Olympic Whitewater venue.
Facets of Fannin, edited by Ethelene Jones and Dale Dyer.
Lots of family and business histories, this much sought-after classic is now back in print. Order from Fannin County Heritage Foundation, 411 W. First Street, Blue Ridge, Georgia, 30613, 706.258.2645.
By far the most helpful map is the forest service’s Chattahoochee National Forest, Georgia because it has the forest service road numbers. It covers our entire area. This is the one I carry when I go into the field. Get it from REI or the Forest Service. The Fannin Chamber of Commerce (up above the CVS) usually carries the equivalent National Geographic maps, which are better in some ways than the forest service maps. They have some of the names of the surface roads (the forest service map doesn’t), and they have the forest service road numbers. I actually carry them both in the car.
A Note on Sources: REI is a good source of maps and hiking books. The Fannin Chamber publishes the best map of the local subdivisions. The trail store on 129/19 where the Appalachian Trail crosses has a great selection of hiking and nature books. The gift shop at the John C. Campbell Folk School (see Day Trips) is good for cooking and mountain crafts. The federal forest service closed their Fannin County office. The nearest office is now in Blairsville on 515, just to the west of town.