Outdoors, history and shopping

Outdoors, history and shopping

Calhoun offers scenic escapades, shopping deals and performing arts

August 9th, 2012 by Joy Lukachick Smith in Glimpse 2012-a

The home of Samuel Worchester, missionary to the Cherokees, is the only structure remaining at it's original site in the New Echota State Park near Calhoun, Georgia.

Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press.

From the interstate, Calhoun boasts of sales and deals at the local outlet mall.

The shopping is a feature the city of more than 15,000 boasts about, but the area also offers unique historic sites, paddling on a river and musical entertainment downtown.

Downtown cafes and diners feature Southern comfort food and delectable desserts. Local and national musical, dance and comedy talent are featured at the newly restored GEM Theatre.

Outside downtown, take a boat ride downstream or throw out a line along the 50-mile winding path of the Oostanaula River. Or visit one of the Cherokee Nation's historic sites.

— Compiled by staff writer Joy Lukachick

Where Native Americans trod

• The 200 acres of New Echota State Historic Site is the capital of the Cherokee Nation and the location of its supreme court.

• The park is open Thursday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1211 Chatsworth Highway, featuring seasonal events centered on the Cherokee Nation's history.

• Visit 12 historical places where the Native Americans lived. One building features the Cherokee Nation print shop with an 1870s hand printing press.

• In the summer, guests can learn how to research their genealogy and find out if they have any ancestral ties to the Cherokee Nation.

• On the third Saturday in October the park hosts a festival featuring historic interpretations of how the Cherokees lived, shooting demonstrations, how they made pottery and more.

Source: New Echota Historic Site

Shop till you drop

• Pass downtown Calhoun on Interstate 75 and take exit 312 to find 50 outlet stores at Calhoun Premium Outlets.

• Find savings at popular stores including Ann Taylor, Gap Outlet, Gymboree, Old Navy, Ralph Lauren, Nike and Tommy Hilfiger.

• For a list of sales, visit www.premiumoutlets.com.

• Regular hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sundays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

• Drive four miles back to downtown Calhoun to visit local stores that provide a variety of children's clothing, jewelry and art studios.

Source: Premium Outlets and Calhoun Downtown Development Authority

The Gem of downtown

• The GEM Theatre, built in the late 1920s, showcases a variety of musical and performing arts entertainment since it was purchased and restored to its original beauty.

• The GEM, best remembered as a movie theater, sat vacant for nearly 20 years until its grand reopening in August 2011.

• The 461-seat theater features comedy, jazz, bluegrass, country and rock 'n' roll shows, along with high school plays and musicals. Shows in 2012 include Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, and Stephen Freeman, A Tribute to Elvis.

• For a listing of shows and ticket prices visit the website www.calhoungem.org or call 706-625-3132.

Source: The GEM Theatre

Cupcakes and comfort

• The Red Door, located at 117 S. Wall St., features the best desserts in town. Their cupcakes are coveted.

• Thurston's Cafe, a soup, salad and sandwich cafe, features a unique themed magician look in honor of the magician Howard Thurston. It is located at 114 Court St., in the heart of downtown.

• Barbara and Jimi's Diner at 220 S. Wall St. features Southern cuisine home cooking. Signature dishes include banana pudding and sweet potato casserole.

Source: Calhoun Downtown Development Authority

The smooth waters of the Oostanaula River flow through the Calhoun, Ga., area Saturday.

The smooth waters of the Oostanaula River flow...

Photo by Jake Daniels /Times Free Press.

Drop a line

• Catfish, bream, striped bass, black bass and white bass populate the Oostanaula River, nearly 50 miles of winding water beginning northeast of Calhoun and flowing to Rome, Ga.

• Oostanaula, which stands for the Cherokee phrase for "Shoal River," offers a selection of bass during season and catfish year-round.

• Visitors can also take a five-day paddling trip across the river or day trips using boat ramps along the river.

• For a list of boat ramp locations and a fishing guide go to www.georgiawildlife.com.

Source: Wildlife Resources Division's Regional Calhoun office

Cherokee origins

• Population: 15,650

• Biggest employers: Mohawk Industries, Shaw Industries, Gordon Hospital

• Miles from Chattanooga: 50

• Landmarks: New Echota State Historic Site, Oostanaula River

• Date founded: 1852

• Historic Info: Calhoun was part of the Cherokee Nation until 1835, when Georgia claimed the land. Gordon County was created after the railway was built.

• Most famous residents: Musician Roland Hayes, Cherokee Indian linguist Sequoyah, professional football player Kris Durham

• Fun fact: MTV Cribs featured local architect Sam Edwards' treehouse in the 2011 season. The treehouse was built from an airplane, boat and a helicopter tucked away near downtown Calhoun.

Source: Calhoun Downtown Development Authority