Divided: Copperhill, Tennessee & McCaysville, Georgia

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Perhaps as a kid, you looked at a map and noticed the dotted-and-dashed state line, then imagined that such lines actually divided the states.  As far as I know, there’s only one place where it’s true: Copperhill, Tennessee, and McCaysville, Georgia.

Location

McCaysville and Copperhill are located at the very northern end of Ga. Rte. 5, which becomes Tenn. Rte. 68 once you’ve crossed the state line.  From Atlanta, take I-575 north until it turns into Rte. 5, then keep going.  From Chattanooga, US Hwy. 64/74 runs into Rte. 68, just north of town.

My Visit

Maybe it’s just a tourist stunt, but it’s pretty remarkable to see streets, parking lots, even buildings sliced in two by a state line.

By the way, that blue sign that says “GA | TN” also says in fine print at the bottom, “This is an approximation.”  I hope that doesn’t ruin it for you.

Parking between states is OK, but parking between signs is forbidden.

The blue line eventually reaches the Ocoee River, and from there, the state line follows the water.  So now the question is, could local officials find yet another way to confuse us?

That’s right.  On one side of the steel bridge is the Ocoee River, on the other side, the Toccoa.  Both names have a bunch of O’s and C’s, couldn’t they have come up with a compromise?

So let’s review.  If you’re standing in the middle of the bridge, you’re in two states at once, and over two rivers at once?

If pondering the town’s, and the river’s, identity crisis makes you hungry, stop in at the New York restaurant.  This is an honest-to-goodness down-home operation, where the food is cheap and delicious, and you’re bound to run into a few locals.

One reason to visit the NY Restaurant in Copperhill is to check out the photos on the wall.  Not only will you see pictures of some of the local waterfalls, but you can also read newspaper articles about the devastating flood of 1990.  Despite the TVA’s flood control measures, the Toccoa/Ocoee River swallowed the town, reaching the first-floor ceiling inside the NY Restaurant.

The Ocoee River was used during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics for kayaking competitions.  It’s still a popular place for whitewater rafters.

Note: This trip was first published in 2006.

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