Country stores and general stores were the original one-stop-shops in the South, offering everything from farm equipment to fresh produce. They served as the community hub as they sold the odds and ends for rural areas long before the days of online shopping.
From 1865 to 1930 no institution influenced the South’s economy, politics, and the daily life of its people more than the crossroads store. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of these stores were scattered throughout the region.The Encyclopedia of Southern Culture
These stores still exist throughout the South, selling the same items they always had along with new and improved services. You’ll find many throughout your travels in North Georgia, each with its own unique history.
Sunrise Grocery, Blairsville
Sunrise Grocery near Blairsville traces its origins back to the 1920s when it had rumored ties to bootleggers. It remains family-run, selling canned foods, bread, and fresh vegetables. You’ll also find their famous boiled peanuts and homemade soaps.
It’s also a functioning gas station with a fully operational antique gas pump. Sunrise is a popular stop for motorcyclists to fuel up before navigating the winding mountain roads.
Where to Stay Nearby: Paradise Hills, Winery Resort & Spa or Getaway Chattahoochee
Old Sautee Store, Sautee Nacoochee
The Old Sautee Store was the valley’s general store dating back to 1872, selling all the essentials needed for life in the area until the 1940s.
It even operated as the Sautee Nacoochee post office. The front section of the store is a museum with items from its early days.
But the other half still functions as a store, selling locally made art, jams, cheese, canned goods, and other food items. The Old Sautee Market crafts delicious sandwiches on freshly baked bread alongside vintage bottled sodas.
Where to Stay Nearby: Nacoochee Valley Guesthouse or the Summit Cabin
Fred’s Famous Peanuts, Helen
Fred’s Famous Peanuts opened in 1982 by Fred and Dianne Jenkins in an unincorporated section of White County. They started with the namesake boiled peanuts but added other items over the years.
Today you can also find items like beef jerky, pork rinds, local honey, and jellies. You might even find pumpkins in the fall.
Where to Stay Nearby: Unicoi State Park & Lodge (review here) or the Lazy Lair Cabin
Betty’s Country Store, Helen
For travelers visiting Helen, Betty’s Country Store is an essential stop. Opened in 1973, the country store and grocery originally had gas pumps and Betty’s famous Mississippi Mud Pie.
Today it carries everything you need to spend a few days in a cabin including beer and wine, baked goods, coffee from nearby Jumping Goat, and grits from neighboring Nora Mill. You can also pick up camping essentials.
Where to Stay Nearby: Valhalla Resort Hotel or the Downtown Helen Cabin
Cass Grocery, Cassville
Little remains of the town of Cassville in Northwest Georgia apart from the Cass Grocery. The area around it was burned during the Civil War.
The grocery was built in 1837 and sells groceries, local produce, hardware, and prepared foods. In the mornings, you might find homemade biscuits. There are also functioning gas pumps.
Where to Stay Nearby: Barnsley Resort (read our review) or Cozy Country Studio
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