A Child's Wonderland

A Child's Wonderland

August 23rd, 2012 by Joan Garrett McClane in Glimpse 2012-a

Abigail Patton, from Fort Collins, Colorado., visits Babyland General Hospital, the birthplace of Cabbage Patch Kids dolls, located a few minutes from downtown Cleveland, Ga.

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

Cleveland, Ga., is most famous for its Babyland General Hospital, the birthplace of the Cabbage Patch Kids. For more than 30 years, children and adults from around the world have visited the "hospital" to name a Cabbage Patch Kid and take one home from the nurses and doctors who care for them there as newborns.

Die-hard fans and collectors come to find hand-stitched, one-of-a-kind dolls that can't be bought in stores, but children love getting caught up in the fantasy.

Not into dolls? Don't worry. Cleveland has enough adventures to make adults happy, too.

— Compiled by staff writer Joan Garrett

Mount Yonah and a silky chicken

• Population: 2,859

• Biggest employers: Walmart, Ingles, Frieudenberg-NOK

• Landmarks or geographic features: Mount Yonah in Cleveland is the tallest free-standing mountain in White County at 3,150 feet. It got its name from the Cherokee Indians. Yonah means bear because, in the distance, the mountain looks like a bear. The Chattahoochee River runs through White County.

• Date founded: 1870.

• History: Nearly two centuries ago, the city began as a small agricultural center in western Habersham County. Cleveland was officially established in 1857 as Mount Yonah. For the next 100 years, White County remained chiefly agrarian.

• Most famous residents: Xavier Roberts, the founder of Babyland.

• Unique traditions: The petting zoo on Paradise Valley Farm allows children to play with miniature farm animals such as a rare miniature zebu cow and a silky chicken.

Source: White County Chamber of Commerce

Adopt a Cabbage Patch

Babyland is a Day Full of Fun -- The Babyland General Hospital, where the Cabbage Patch dolls are born, was founded in 1978 and has grown to 650 acres. • The hospital is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

• As the story goes, an area boy named Xavier Roberts found a mystical animal called Bunnybees pollinating cabbages with enchanted crystals behind a waterfall and watched as babies peeked out of the vegetables. But really, Xavier Roberts was the creator of Cabbage Patch.

• The popularity of the fabric dolls reached its height in the 1980s, but Cabbage Patch Kids is still one of the longest-running doll franchises in the U.S.

Source: Cabbage Patch

Red or White?

Wine abounds in this North Georgia county. Four wineries call White County home and are the perfect place to start a Georgia Wine Highway exploration. The local climate and soil pair to nurture unique and great tasting wine.

• Habersham Vineyards and Winery, a mile south of Helen, Ga., is the oldest and largest winery in the county and is open seven days a week for tastings.

• At Sautee Nacoochee Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon vines are tended by hand. The tasting room, located in Nacoochee Crossing at the junction of Highways 17 and 255, is open to the public.

Source: White County Chamber of Commerce.

They'll Be Egging You On

Easter Eggstravaganza -- Come look for 25,000 eggs at Babyland General Hospital's annual event each March.

Christmas in the Mountains -- This annual event in December includes the lighted Christmas Parade and the Agri-Fest Country Market.

Source: White County Chamber of Commerce

Biscuits that will melt in your mouth

Glenda's (286 S. Main St.) is the go-to place for home cooking in Cleveland.

If you get the biscuits, get the gravy, too.

Their sweet tea is award-winning.

Homemade cakes will make you want to beg for the recipe. Choose from red velvet, walnut, German chocolate and orange crush.

Source: Glenda's