It was August and as hot as a skillet on a wood stove when we pulled into Rolater Park. The digital sign at the nearby bank read 97 degrees.

Within just a few minutes, though, we were walking into the namesake cave of this tiny Floyd County town. The heat gave way to the most delicious coolness. The blazing sun faded behind us as our family went through the narrow rock walls that opened up into an expansive cavern. This was just what the doctor ordered.

In the 1980s, I lived in Rome and came to Cave Spring often, sometimes just to fill jugs with spring water to use at home. When you live 25 minutes away, why not, right?

I had been eager to visit again. Cave Spring is a little under 60 miles and a little over an hour drive due west of Canton.

Cave Spring is small and close enough that you can make a spur of the moment trip if you want. Or you can come on a weekend when a festival is going on and spend the day.

We planned to explore Cave Spring and then do some hiking, fishing and sightseeing at nearby Lock and Dam Park. We stayed longer in Cave Spring than we intended and wound up skipping the park.

In the summer, Cave Spring is a great place for a picnic at Rolater Park, where the kids and adults feed some beautiful trout in the small pond outside the cave.

The water meanders down a shallow, rocky creek bed toward a giant, stone walled swimming pool built in the shape of the state of Georgia.

Fall is a great time to visit, too.

On Sept. 28, the Cave Spring Pigout barbecue cookoff and festival is going on from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.

The Georgia Mushroom Festival comes to town Oct. 12-13. Visitors will hunt for mushrooms with experts in Rolater Park and along the Pinhoti hiking trail. Growers will teach visitors about growing mushrooms. The festival is in Rolater Park and begins at 9 a.m. both days.

On our afternoon in Cave Spring we fed the fish, waded in the creek, hiked trails that cover the hill overlooking the park. We played on the swings at the park playground. We filled a few jugs with spring water.

We then took a 45-second drive from Rolater Park to the downtown gazebo to leisurely walk around.

We had lunch at Local Joe’s, a barbecue joint a very short walk from the main commercial streets. There is also Linde Marie’s Steakhouse on the Square and Southern Flavor, if you like. There are gift shops and antique stores, including one that is also a garden store where we bought several plants to transplant at home.

Cave Spring is a fun, laidback little town that’s well worth your drive for an enjoyable day trip. Just remember to take some jugs with you so you can bring home some delicious spring water.

Managing Editor

Gary Tanner is managing editor of The Cherokee Tribune, Cherokee Ledger-News and Cherokee Life magazine. He has been working as a journalist since 1985.

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