CLARKESVILLE - Once a wild and reckless thoroughfare, and the dirt road drag way for the delivery of illegal corn liquor, Georgia Highway 197 from Lake Burton to Clarkesville now teems with galleries, restaurants, studios and antique stores. But the legacy of these North Georgia hills still echoes like a big-block V8 engine rumbling in the distance on a moonlit night.
And, the merchants are about to celebrate that by-gone era, a colorful (and illegal) part of North Georgia history.
The moonshine history in this part of the country and in neighboring Tennessee and North Carolina was immortalized in the 1950s movie "Thunder Road," which starred Robert Mitchum as the son of a backwoods moonshiner whose job it was to ferry the 'shine out of the hills and to customers in nearby cities.
The Scenic Highway 197 Association is planning the first Historic Moonshine Mile, April 10-April 30. Purchase $10 or more at any participating business and receive an equivalent amount in "distillery dollars" that may be redeemed at the Revenuer's Auction on Saturday, May 2 at LaPrade's Marina, or online at Scenic197.com.
Shoppers can earn their "still bills" at Soque Art Works, Once Upon A Time Antiques, Mark of the Potter, Serendipity Stained Glass, Batesville Restaurant, Hickory Flat Pottery, Cottage Garden Furniture, North 40 Lodge, Burton Gallery & Emporium, Lake Burton Bottle Shop, Paradise Properties, LaPrade's Marina, Lakeside Grille, and Water's Edge Restaurant.
For directions and other information, go to www.scenic197.com.