Sky Valley is indeed sky high in the forest highlands on the Georgia Golf Trail. This magical little community on the slopes of Rabun Bald was once the only ski area in Georgia. Turns out, the snow was man made as the climate is quite temperate in the “highest and coolest city of Georgia.” If curious, check Scaly Mountain for the most accurate Sky Valley temperatures.
Sky Valley Country Club is now the center point of the community. Members at the semi-private club were most welcoming and invited us to join them on the Croquet Lawn in our “whites” for some competition and wine. All whites are required per the British tradition. The style doesn’t matter as long as the apparel is white. Hats, shoes and belts may be colored. The members are proud of their croquet club which won “Best New Croquet Club in the US” their first summer of ’18 by the National Croquet Association. It is a sport rapidly gaining in popularity across the country.
The clubhouse is filled with history, merchandise, and elegant dining areas indoors or al fresco on the patio. Camaraderie is keen and humorous among members as evidenced while dining with the Conleys and Akins. And the cuisine is top notch! All members were very engaging, sharing stories of their quest for such a retreat, many relocated from Florida or still with a dual residence there. It’s a secret haven for future “halfbacks” with real estate prices ranging from $150k (not for long) to $1m. An unlimited golf membership is $360 per month on a course any golfer would love to play repeatedly.
The course designed by Bill Watts and redesigned by Bill Bergen begins next to the steepled church whose bells and music ring throughout the round. A blind tee shot around the hillside opens to a cascading waterfall behind the green, a beautiful introduction to the continuing ebb and flow of the natural routing. Golfers ascend and descend among ponds which spill into babbling brooks or mountain streams, like the Matterhorn at Disneyland. Serious forward advantages on many holes lend to fun ladies’ outings. Number 15 is the signature hole over a ravine with Mud Creek Falls rushing to the left while the grand finale 18 skirts around the main lake beside the clubhouse. Soon a webcam at the clubhouse will give online visitors a peek at life at the Country Club. https://www.skyvalleycountryclub.com/
Visitors have options. RCI has twelve associations for timeshares. We however stayed at a VRBO “Sky Lodge” where we sat on one of America’s best porches for viewing the fall foliage in the mountains and star gazing in the evening. It is conveniently located directly above the Country Club and on the road to Mud Creek Falls which is a splendid morning hike. Fine heritage furniture appoints all the bedrooms upstairs and down along with two dining rooms, a fully equipped kitchen and laundry room.
Sky Valley is located minutes off Highway 70 which is part of the Georgia Wine Trail routing from Brazelton to Clayton making wineries accessible on day trips. The Dillard House in Clayton offers chateau and cottage lodging, great dining experiences, a distillery, farm zoo and stables for the horse lovers. A thirty-minute side trip was recommended to Highlands, the highest city on the east coast where shopping is a pretty big deal. We’ll make that a tall order for the next trip.
Sky Valley offers simple beauty with easy friends. Creative members collaborate and decorate for occasions as hay bale art proliferated the town for the fall holidays. If you are looking for panoramic beauty in a heavenly valley, Sky Valley will meet your highest expectations. Arrange a visit through http://www.georgiagolfandtravel.com
By Alice & Danny Scott