Fresh mountain air in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains is the best vacation for me.
A recent trip to River Vista RV Resort just north of Clayton, Georgia proved to be the perfect weekend getaway.
Only a two-hour drive for us, as well as another couple who recently purchased a motor home; we met at the resort to enjoy some down time.
Located near many attractions and full of amenities, River Vista RV Resort maintains a beautifully landscape campground which can accommodate larger rigs.
Why River Vista?
During most of our camping trips, we like to do three things…
- make a campfire and be lazy
- hike to local waterfalls
- visit nearby vineyards or wineries
Being in Rabun County, extreme northeast Georgia, River Vista is near so many waterfalls, it could take years to visit them all.
The same can be said for wineries. So many to choose from, but we narrowed our adventure to just two.
We were so glad to hear our friends were excited to try some wine and hike to a waterfall with us!
After looking at several campgrounds, we chose River Vista because it easily accommodates larger RV’s. Paved roads are wide enough and sites are relativity easy to back into; although there is pull through sites available, just not the weekend we visited.
An outdoor pool with a whirlpool, an adult-only indoor heated pool, a playground, two bath houses and two laundry facilities are within the resort.
Full hook-ups are at each site, as well as cable television and a picnic table.
A spacious pavilion is available for any guest, which includes a fireplace. Although sites do not have fire rings, campfires are allowed as long as they are at least 6” off the ground and contained.
Waterfall Hiking and Vineyard near River Vista
Many scenic waterfalls and hiking trails are a short drive away. Other activities include:
- Shopping in Highlands, NC
- Golfing at Sky Valley, NC
- Trout Fishing at Lake Burton
- Black Rock Mountain State Park
- Tallulah Falls State Park
Our first night, we decided to dine out in downtown Clayton. A quaint main street is lined with eateries and antique shops.
We ate at Clark’s On Main and enjoyed a roof-top view (although our home back deck view is better).
Despite the large craft cocktail menu, I asked for a sweet, fruity vodka cocktail and the bartender did not disappoint.
With over 30 beers on tap, anyone can find some suds to quench their thirst.
The soft pretzel served with a Guinness-spiked cheese dip was the perfect appetizer.
Hunger convinced me to try the Unapologetic Pub Burger with house fries. Half-a-pound of beef, topped with a friend egg, smoked cheddar cheese and a house made bacon jam was decadent and delicious.
Fries were served with a Chipotle Aioli which was not too spicy, even for a spice-whimp, like me.
Several other locally owned restaurants are on Main Street, as well as fast-food chains.
One night we dined at the infamous Dillard House. No menus here. Diners are brought portions of fried chicken, fish, shrimp and a version of beef steak. Sides included fried okra (which was the most redeeming item served), squash, and beans.
Very disappointed. Our friends admitted they had eaten at the Dillard House many years ago and the restaurant has declined. I cannot recommend it.
After the arrival of our friends, we decided to go wine tasting the next day.
12 SPIES VINEYARD coined its name from the Bible, however, only four grape varieties are grown on site.
The small tasting room is rustic but inviting. Unfortunately, it was hot the day we visited, so the adjacent, larger veranda went empty.
However, 12 Spies has “Friday Night Pizza on the Veranda,” and up until recently, you could purchase an unbaked pizza from several local eateries (or make your own), bring it to the vineyard and they would cook it in their brick oven. Now, they are serving cheese, pepperoni, veggie or supreme pizza, which are already on-site!
My favorite wine, we bought a bottle, was the 2017 Holy Moses Sweet Red. A semi-sweet, balanced blend of Cab Franc, Tannat and Malbec grapes. It will pair nice with a steak cooked on the Big Green Egg.
We also visited Tiger Mountain Vineyard. I was a bit disappointed because we were not invited to tour the vines (I didn’t even see them). More focus was spent on all the awards and accolades for their wines. They were displayed everywhere. I was not impressed with their wines and did not purchase any. I felt we were rushed through the tasting.
Our final day worked up an appetite – which Doug grilled us steaks and potatoes on the Big Green Egg for dinner.
Issaqueena Falls is about a 40 minute drive from River Vista; however, it was so worth it.
A small parking area leads to a small, short path to the top of the falls. A small observation platform is adjacent to the falls; however, I was eager to tackle the very tough, straight-down hike to the bottom of the falls.
Myself and Lois were guided by Doug. Grasping for roots, rocks and anything stable, the hike was very strenuous 50-yards going down.
The 100-ft high waterfall cascade is beautiful, with many boulders and rock out-cropping.
Crashing water on the rocks is so loud, it is hard to hear. I highly recommend making the trip to see this impressive water fall, as well as, Stumphouse Tunnel, which is nearby.
A wonderful weekend getaway with some of our barbecue family was relaxing and fun.
River Vista RV Resort is a wonderful campground with many things to do in the Georgia Blue Ridge Mountains.
Check out the quick video I made of the campground.
Read about other camping adventures at: Smokin J’s Barbeque RV Travel