The year was 1978. For three years, the Chota Falls founding couple had traversed North Georgia in search of mountain property just right for their family. When at last they found the perfect spot, tucked up in the northeast corner of Georgia, there wasn’t much to it.
Back in those days, the only way to reach the property was to cross a wooden bridge, a bridge that would occasionally wash out. To their surprise, the property also had five working moonshine stills. Nevertheless, the couple fell in love with the scenic meadows, streams, cascading waterfall, nature trails, and a mountaintop overlook from which you can see three states. It seemed appropriate that the family chose to name the place “Chota,” referring to an old Cherokee vision of “heaven on earth.”
Since the couple had simply wanted a getaway to spend time with family and friends, the first building they constructed was a log cabin in 1981. Over the years, additional buildings were added to accommodate more family and friends: a lodge, a pub, a banquet hall, guest cottages, and — at the suggestion of a former monk — a chapel. The decision to add the chapel wasn’t set in stone until after a man, unrelated to the founding couple, and out-of-nowhere, offered 20 church pews. At that moment, planning began to construct a chapel, and the chapel was built around the pews.
Having traveled extensively in Italy, the founding couple incorporated a warm Tuscan flair into the building’s architecture. Even Italian guests who visit Chota Falls say it feels like home. Early visitors to the property all remarked how beautiful the property was and how it was the ideal place to get married. And so in 1995, the estate opened its doors for weddings and other events, both social and corporate.
Three years after establishing the estate, a project to enlarge the original log cabin began, the construction was finished in 2005 — only to have it burn to the ground the very night it was completed. The lone surviving object was a portrait of Mary. With resilient hearts, the founding couple moved forward with a new building on the same footprint, christening it Villa Maria.
The legacy continues
To this day, Chota Falls Estate is loved by many. People often remark about the peaceful feeling they have when they visit. Even people who are ‘Type A’ personalities start relaxing in ways they don’t in other places. This tranquility applies as much to wedding parties as it does to guests of corporate and social events hosted here at Chota Falls Estate.