Scenic USA - Georgia
Altamaha Scenic Byway
|Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website
America's largest state in the east and one of the fastest growing, Georgia's rich history, its incredibly diverse topography, hospitality, charm, plus its true southern cuisine offers something for everyone. One way to experience the state's cultural heritage and scenic wonders will lead travelers away from the interstate highways to its rural roads by way of Georgia’s scenic byways and historic trails.
Here along the coast, following routes 99 and U.S. 17, the Altamaha Scenic Byway introduces travelers to one of the major rivers on the eastern seaboard, Fort King George, the Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation and the Darien waterfront. The byway runs for 17 miles along the coast, among salt marsh flats, colonial plantations, coastal islands and century old oaks draped in Spanish moss.
Named for King George I, Fort King George was the southernmost outpost of the British held empire in North America in 1721. Surrounded by moats and the Altamaha River, the fort's main defense was a three story blockhouse. Aside from storing powder and ammunition, gun rooms on the second and third floors could fire on enemy river boats. Saw mill activities on the property destroyed any remains of the fort. Following historical fort archives, the fort was reconstructed to its original dimensions and appearance. Occupied for only 11 years, one of the oldest British military cemeteries in the southeast contains 65 graves, including 15 marked as British soldiers.
Also at the mouth of the Altamaha River, byway sightseers will find Georgia's second oldest city, Darien. Originally called New Inverness, Darien was once the busiest port on the southeast coast. Today, Darien visitors may enjoy strolling the Waterfront Park boardwalk along the riverfront, have lunch at one of its picnic areas and enjoy seeing shrimp boats as they bring in their catches from the sea. During April's annual Blessings of the Fleet, Darien comes alive with carnival rides, street vendors, musical entertainment and fireworks.
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