Cave Spring exudes water, passion and preservation.
Take a pitcher to Cave Spring to capture the pure and delicious water in this northwest Georgia community. There are no chemicals in the 1.2 million gallons flowing every day from deep underground — just a dash of fluoride and a bit of required chlorinate. “99.9 percent pure,” Cave Spring Mayor Rob Ware says, of his community next door to Rome. To get to the source:
- Meander through 29-acre Rolater Park, cross a little stream with ducks of many-colored heads.
- Venture into the limestone cave with rocky passageways. Self-guided tours are available for $1.00 in the spring and fall, or by appointment.
- Squat outside the cave entrance to fill as many containers as you like. Paper cups are available, but I recommend taking a substantial vessel. This water tastes too good for just a sip. It is worthy of my Waterford.
The water is reason enough to visit this suburb of Rome, and so is sleeping over. Two historic inns are real options.I chose the two-story Victorian Tumlin House where the great-great niece of the original owner is today’s proprietor. I like real-live history connections, and Nancy Boehm (pronounced “bome,” spelled like the artisans of porcelain birds but not related) has a house full of them. Nancy knows lots of family stories in Cave Spring, going back to her Aunt Julia Dickerson receiving this house as a wedding gift from her father in 1896 when she married Albert Tumlin. Albert’s hat hangs in the parlor.
Passionate people live here, caring deeply about their town of 1,200 neighbors. Enduring spirits do too: the Cherokee.Local historians three years ago discovered a two-story log building belonging to the Cherokee Vann family, built in 1810. That means before the Trail of Tears, and before Cave Spring was claimed by white settlers. Quite something, this two-story house and also the substantial Cherokee family home of Major and Schoya Ridge in nearby Rome. How was the log home protected so long? It was covered up by the Green Hotel, built all around the Cherokee building.
There is plenty of evidence of what happens in this tiny town when preservation people fuel their passion. Start in Rolater Park, the same place you get the water. Hearn Academy is the name to know, the private school established in 1839 to be “a permanent school of high order.” It seems that worked until 1922 when public schools were flourishing in Georgia. This exquisitely restored building was a boys’ dormitory; today it’s an inn.
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