Lake Burton and Lake Rabun – Clayton, Georgia

by Nathan


Lake Burton and Lake Rabun are the two largest lakes in a six lake series along the Tallulah River in Northern Georgia.  The lakes were constructed by the Georgia Railway and Electric Company (now Georgia Power) in 1917 in response to WWI and increased demand for electricity (for several interesting photos of the construction process, see Rabun County Historical Society’s website).

Since their completion, Lake Burton and Lake Rabun have hosted the relaxing summertime escapes of Atlanta’s families.  The mountain views; the crisp, clear water; and the undeveloped surroundings could not contrast more starkly with the sprawling city.


If one visits the area, I recommend popping into the rustic Lake Rabun Hotel.  Built in 1922, the Hotel is the last surviving mountain lodge on a lake in Georgia.  With a few small rooms, an excellent farm-to-table restaurant (menu found here), and a laid-back atmosphere, the Rabun Hotel reminded me of the simple inns and pubs that make traveling through Europe so special.


To authentically experience the lakes themselves, I can think of no better way than cruising around in a vintage Chris Craft:


That’s Woody, he’s a 1955 19’ Chris Craft Capri.  He lacks some of the modern amenities of newer boats and requires extra care because of his quirky intricacies, but he’s worth it.  These antique Chris Craft wooden boats are perfect examples of the classic, timeless pieces of Americana that I have grown to appreciate.  Pieces that survive from a simpler time, where quality and craftsmanship still reigned supreme.  My goal is to always capture some of this timeless quality in my photographs.


But most of my time at the lake is simply spent relaxing, soaking in summer’s care free ambience and reading a good book.  There’s nothing like pulling Brideshead Revisited out of my ever-present Filson bag, taking a deep breath of the cool lake side air, and allowing Waugh’s prose to carry me through romantic visions of Oxford and Venice.