Northeast Georgia State Historic Site
A visit to the mountains and valleys of Northeast Georgia is a journey into abundant outdoor activities, vacation accommodations from cabins, B&Bs, boutique hotels, and lodges along with more traditional stays, and quaint villages and towns scattered among the hills. Northeast Georgia is a region at the southwestern nexus of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the southern border of North Carolina and the southwestern border of South Carolina. The region contains sparkling rivers, scenic waterfalls, lush forests, family adventures, Civil War & Cherokee history, and many natural enchantments among the Blue Mountains. The region is also known for its wineries and community of makers such as artists, farmers, and craftsmen who share the distinct culture of the region.
Nestled in the Northeast Georgia mountains along the Chattahoochee River a short distance from Georgia’s famous Alpine Village of Helen is the Nacoochee Valley. Settled into the western edge of the Nacoochee Valley is one of Georgia’s elegant yet simple historic treasures, the Hardman Farm State Historic Site. The Hardman Farm State Historic Site in Georgia is located in the historic community of Sautee Nacoochee, just south of Helen. The 173-acre historic site includes an 1870 Italianate mansion and the gazebo-topped Native American Sautee Nacoochee Indian Mound. The gazebo-topped mound and cow pasture is a favorite landmark in north Georgia with exceptional ties to Native American history. The Sautee Nacoochee Mound is a burial site and was probably used long before the Cherokee inhabited the area. Other structures include a kitchen, horse barn, carriage house, dairy barn, and spring house. Visitors also enjoy seeing the unique mansion with its 19th-century style and the juxtaposition of the large dairy barn and farm. The property also contains a scenic tree-lined road leading from the Visitor Center to the house which is a remaining portion of the historic Unicoi Turnpike. That 200-mile road went from Toccoa, Georgia to western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee. It began as a buffalo trail, then a Native American trading route.
Families of West End
The mansion is a grand example of Italianate architecture and was originally known as “West End” because it was at the west end of the Nacoochee Valley. Capt. James Nichols built the main house West End in 1870 and the gazebo atop Nacoochee Mound for his daughter Anna Ruby in 1890. His daughter Anna Ruby Nichols is the namesake of the Anna Ruby Falls located near Unicoi State Park, Helen, Georgia. The area around Anna Ruby Falls is part of the Chattahoochee National Forest and is accessed through Unicoi State Park.
In 1893 the home was purchased by Calvin Hunnicutt, a wealthy Atlanta businessman. The Hunnicutt family used the house only as a summer retreat and much of their original furniture still remains.
Dr. Lamartine Griffin Hardman purchased the property in 1903. Hardman was an American physician and politician who served two terms as the 65th Governor of the state of Georgia from 1927 to 1931. He believed that state government should be run like a business and was best known for his effort to make governmental processes more efficient. The property remained in the Hardman family for nearly 100 years until it was lovingly preserved and generously gifted to the state of Georgia in 1999.
Step Back in Time
Guided house tours include the 19th-century parlor, original lighting, an interesting telephone, and a climate control system. Visitors will also see the bedroom belonging to Anna Ruby Nichols, formal and family parlors, the dining room, family and guest bedrooms, and the detached kitchen. Also on the property is the old dairy barn instituted by Dr. Hardman and was the focal point of Nacoochee Dairy which operated from 1910 until the mid-1920s. Guests will learn how milk was processed and transported, plus they will see how food and dairy were kept cool in the Spring House, including barns, stables, and other farm outbuildings located nearby to explore. Come learn about the history of Hardman Farm from the Native Americans who first inhabited the land to the dramatic life of the post-Civil War era Nichols family to the festive summers spent here by the Hardman children and grandchildren.
Victorian Christmas Masterpiece
I was fortunate to visit the state historic site during the Christmas holiday season and was fortunate to experience the annual tradition of Victorian Christmas at Hardman Farm. Once Christmas rolls around, this stunning historical spot becomes a special showcase stepping back in time to celebrate Christmas of 1877. Step back into a time capsule of a bygone era, see the Mansion at West End decked in gorgeous period holiday decor, and learn about Victorian Christmas traditions from reenactors in period dress. Highlighted by twinkling lantern lights, live music, carriage rides, homemade cookies from the Victorian kitchen, and smores around the campfire.
FMG Feature Gallery of Hardman Farm State Historic Site
Hardman Farm State Historic Site
143 Highway 17
Sautee Nacoochee, Georgia 30571
N 34°41’05.5″ W 83°42’31.1″