LaFayette, a Georgia city about a 45-minute drive south of Chattanooga, offers visitors Civil War history, Southern small-town charm and mountainous surroundings.
The city is the Walker County seat and home to Chattooga Academy, now the oldest brick school building in the state. Confederate Gen. John B. Gordon went to the Chattooga Academy when he was a boy, and later, near the end of the summer of 1863, it was Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg's base as he strategized for the Battle of Chickamauga.
Catherine Edgemon, the leader of downtown development in LaFayette, recommends that visitors also look at some of the art hanging in the Foothills Gallery. The gallery is sponsored by the Northwest Georgia Arts Guild and features works from artists around the area.
C.J.'s Southern Traditions was named best lunch and best dinner in Walker County the past three years.
The gallery, school and restaurant all are located on Main Street and are within walking distance of each other.
"[LaFayette] is a little, small Southern town with the history of charm that you think of when you think of Southern towns," Edgemon said.
AT A GLANCE
-- Population: About 7,100.
-- Best things to do/places to visit: Chattooga Academy, Joe Stock Park, Foothills Gallery, C.J.'s Southern Traditions.
-- Biggest employers: Roper Corp., Shaw Industries, Walker County Schools.
-- Miles from downtown Chattanooga: 28.
-- Landmarks or geographic features: Queen City Lake, a 237-acre reservoir.
-- Date founded: Incorporated Sept. 30, 1885.
-- Historic info: Benton and Chattooga were early settlements at the site of present-day Lafayette. In 1836 the city was renamed after the Marquis de Lafayette, who helped American colonists during the Revolutionary War.
-- Most-famous residents: Spencer and Ruth Marsh, who built the antebellum Marsh House, now a historic attraction.
-- Unique traditions: Scare on the Square during Halloween, Freedom Festival Independence Day celebration.
-- Best-kept secret: Pigeon Mountain, just outside the city limits, is home to flowers and animals found nowhere else in the world.