Lake Chatuge, GA and NC
Trip Start Nov 19, 2007
217Trip End Ongoing
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Pulled into a county park in Hiawassee, GA for a couple of days to investigate Lake Chatuge and the surrounding area. We've been told that this is the "Crown Jewel of the TVA (Tenn. Valley Authority)" and everyone who has been here says it's worth checking out. We cruised around and got familiar with Hiawassee and some of the other towns around the lake. This lake is located in both GA and NC, with most of the development on the GA side.
Lake Chatuge, like many of the lakes in the TVA system, is composed of dozens of fingers that spread out from the main channel. This being the case, the best way to get familiar with the water and the shoreline is to get in a boat and motor down the main channel and in and out of the coves and inlets. So we rented a pontoon boat for 4 hours and went exploring and swimming on this beautiful sunny day. The water here is emerald green when the light hits it the right way. We had a blast diving off the boat, swimming around and under the pontoons and enjoying a day in the sun. While we have always been kayak and other non-power boat types, we really experienced the joy of seeing many miles of shoreline in such a short amount of time.
The level of the water is down from the extended drought as well as the start of the season where the TVA lowers all of the lakes under their control. The locals refer to a non-lowered lake as being "full pool", but we have not seen any of the TVA lakes full during the times we have been here in GA, TN and NC. I can't recall how many lakes are involved, but they are located in at least TN, NC and GA. The water is used for power generation and recreation, but it still doesn't make sense to us why it is lowered in the fall/winter and that it doesn't fill up again until spring? It is especially odd since the highest demand for electricity is in the summer when all of the airconditioners are cranking and yet that is when the lakes are their fullest.
We looked at about 15 lake houses with 2 different Realtors, but the prices of waterfront real estate are still too inflated for our budget and sense of sanity, so we decided to move on down the road with our search. In spite of hearing the standard Realtor mantra of... "The market for lakefront homes here is strong and they hold their value", we still see many "for sale" signs, we read that the number of closed transactions are way down from prior years and the MLS listings are mostly advertised as "Price reduced".
Luckily, we are in no rush to find a new home base and we count our blessings that the three of us are still enjoying the traveling RV life. Next stop...over the mountains and southward bound for Lake Sinclair, GA.