Sunday, March 1, 2009

Mountain Music News

North GA Musicians Join Forces to Form
The Allman Tyler Band

We heard the news in January that Tony Tyler and Michael Allman were recording some new songs together as The Allman Tyler Band. A little later in the month we got word that a familiar face in the north Georgia mountains would be joining the band as well-Avery Dylan of the Avery Dylan project. This unites two of the area's most dynamic guitar players in Tyler and Dylan...and if the name "Allman" rings a bell, Michael is the oldest son of the legendary Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band. Clint Swords, who also plays with the Avery Dylan Project will play bass with the new group.
We wondered if this meant the demise of the Avery Dylan Project-a band we have reviewed and profiled on We got in touch with Avery and asked him about that and the formation of the Allman Tyler Band. His response: "Yea, Tony and I have talked about doing something together for a long time now, And I've known Michael for a while too. He has sat in with ADP a couple of times. This thing came up several weeks ago and we have been talking about me coming aboard to do some shows with them. For now, it's an opportunity I feel I need to take and will be beneficial to ADP as well. On top of that, we are all good friends who have a great deal of respect for each other. As far as ADP goes, we'll be around for many years to come."
The Allman Tyler Band already has some shows scheduled for Athens and out of state. We look forward to seeing them in north Georgia soon.

Sunday Brunch at Yahoola Creek Grill

My boyfriend (Chip) and I live in Dawsonville, both work in Atlanta, and Sunday is the only day we are both off of work. On Sundays we love to head up to Dahlonega or further up into the mountains to spend some quality time and almost always partake of one of our favorite restaurants. Our favorite new restaurant is the Yahoola Creek Grill on South Chestatee St. as you head into town from Hwy. 400-and our new favorite meal is their Sunday Brunch.
We have now been twice for their brunch and have enjoyed it immensely both trips. I am more of a breakfast person and Chip is more of a lunch person, so it works out great! The Yahoola Mini French Toast is to die for-French bread topped with bananas and chocolate hazlenut sauce, and the Yahoola Omelet with Canadian bacon and pepper-jack cheese is equally as good if not quite as decadent. Chip has tried both the steak and eggs and the pork chop with eggs and he raved about both.
The Grill is fairly new, opened in 2008, and there is a sushi restaurant downstairs we have yet to sample. It is a very nice, new building with a lot of exposed wood, stone and copper...and it has a nice deck out back we can't wait to try out once the weather warms up a little. We highly recommend the Yahoola Creek Grill-not every good place in Dahlonega is on or near the square!

Contributed by Katie Coffey, Dawsonville GA

Editors Note:

I got the email/review from Katie a couple of days before I was heading up to Dahlonega. I wanted to try out the brunch but I was running a little late in the afternoon. I did stop in for a late lunch and had a good hamburger with some fantastic fried sweet potato chips. I snapped a photo before I dug in (see below). You can check out the full menu and other info on the Yahoola Creek Grill Website.

Folk Pottery Museum of North Georgia

Georgia, and particularly the mountain area of northeast Georgia, has a rich history of potters and folk pottery. The works of Lanier Meaders (1917-1998) have been displayed in the Smithsonian Museum and the Meaders family is still producing pottery today. At Mossy Creek near Cleveland, the Dorsey and Craven families started producing functional pottery before 1850, the Meaders family built their pottery in 1893. They are just a few of the well known families who have created both utilitarian and folk art pottery in the area.
I visited the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia just after their second anniversary early last fall. The museum is on the grounds of and is the newest attraction at the Sautee Nacoochee Center located about 10 minutes from Helen, Georgia. I was expecting to see the works of the families mentioned above and others, and I did. I did not expect to see a 600 year old bowl (photo below) excavated from the Nacoochee Indian Mound just down the road.
The museum is very well laid out with an amazing variety of pottery and artifacts. The staff is helpful and knowledgable. I have had an interest in southern pottery for a few years, but I believe just about anyone with any level of interest could wander around here in awe like I did. If you are interested in exploring the museum, check out the link to their website for more information: Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia

Black Falls is not Off Limits

Black Falls is a spectacular waterfall on the upper Etowah River about 25 minutes outside of Dahlonega. It may also be one of the least visited of the north Georgia mountain waterfalls because of where it is located-within a training camp for our Army Rangers.
Camp Frank D Merrill, named for the commander of Merrill's Marauders in Burma during World War 2, is the where the mountain phase of training takes place for the 5th Ranger Training Battalion. I first read about Black Falls a couple of years ago while perusing J. Anthony's website, Waterfalls of North Georgia. At that time access to the waterfall and the camp was sporadic due to heightened security in the wake of 9/11/01. In January I decided to find out whether Black Falls was still off limits and ended up visiting twice. Both times I checked in with the gate security guard to ask permission (and directions on the first trip) and was welcomed. You don't have to pass through the security gate to gain access to the falls, and I'm not even sure you have to ask for permission..but I would advise it. There is a second gate at the top of the road that leads to the base of the falls which was closed and locked on my first trip. The guard had told me it might be but advised it would be ok to park along the road and walk down to the falls. On the second trip the gate was unlocked and we were able to drive right down to the river's edge very close to the base.
The rappelling wall used by the Rangers (and pictured above) is less than 100 yards from the waterfall, and there are other buildings and training structures in the area. A footbridge with a hand rope crosses the river near the bottom of the falls and should be used to get the best vantage point for viewing. I tried to climb up closer to the top of the falls on my second trip, but the rocks had all iced over and it was a little too dangerous.. care should be taken at any time of year because the rocks are wet when it is warmer. Black Falls is definitely worth the visit, and being inside the Ranger camp just adds to the interest. For more information about the camp you can visit their website- Camp Frank D. Merrill

Java Joe's in Clarkesville

Java Joe's in Clarkesville

Clarkesville has done a great job with the renovation of their downtown square. Wide paver sidewalks, crosswalks and aprons really enhance the older architecture and some of the building themselves have had a facelift.
Tucked in on one corner of the square is Java Joe's Coffee Shoppe and cafe. We stopped in on a very cold weekday afternoon not long ago for something warm to drink before we made our way around the square to do some shopping.
This is a neat spot to grab some good coffee and a pastry or light lunch, and there were a few patrons relaxing and reading. I'm no coffee expert-and I add some (ok, a lot of) cream and sugar, but even I could tell this was a cut above what I am accustomed to. Better than Starbucks and even a little cheaper. Many varieties of coffee and coffee drinks are available.
The deserts were enticing, but it was too soon after lunch for a slice of the 5 layer Red Velvet cake displayed proudly on the counter.

Java Joe's Coffee Shoppe
1349 Washington Street
Clarkesville, GA 30523
(706) 754-5282

Cajun Comfort Food in Ellijay

I have to admit that I was surprised when I heard about a "very authentic" Cajun restaurant in Ellijay. Not that Ellijay doesn't have some great and varied restaurants, it is just hard to find the real thing even in metro Atlanta. The Cajun Depot Grill was highly recommended by some friends and readers and did not disappoint.
The owners have done a great job of turning the old Ellijay train depot into an attractive dining space without a lot of noticable alterations.
The decor is definitely Louisiana influenced, the old plaster and brick walls with plank floors make the room seem warm and comfortable.
My son, his mother and I dined at the Cajun Depot Grill on a Saturday afternoon in late January. Son wanted to try the Andouille Po-Boy with some red beans & rice, his mom the quarter Muffaletta special and I requested another lunch special-Blackened chicken breast over rice with a house salad. While they split the order of red beans and rice I enjoyed the salad with a very tasty remoulade house dressing. The Mufaletta was huge (see below)

and served with fresh cut fries. I didn't get to see much of the Po Boy as it was being destroyed by my teenage son, but I did pinch off and sample a bit of the spicy andouille and it was very good. My chicken breast was perfectly cooked ( I generally shy away from boneless breasts as they tend to be dry), juicy and the seasoning was excellent-although it might have been just a tad "over-blackened"..but not too much.
Overall I was very pleased with the Cajun Depot Grill. Service was prompt and friendly, prices are very reasonable and it is a very neat historic location in a beautiful mountain town. I had my eye on the seafood platter from the dinner menu, planning ahead for my next visit.

Cajun Depot Grill
67 Depot St.
Ellijay, GA 30540
(706) 276-1676