Located at the intersection of Hwy 75 (Helen Highway) and Hwy 17 in North Georgia, lies the 162-acre Hardman Farm State Historic Site. It is one of the newer additions to the Georgia State Park system. The farm was built by Colonel James Nichols in 1870 and originally called West End. After discovering the Indian Mounds, he built the red-roofed gazebo on top of it. As a side note, the nearby Anna Ruby Falls was named after Nichols’ daughter.
The farm was sold in 1893 to Calvin Hunnicutt who used it as a summer home for ten years. Then, Lamartine Hardman bought it and it became a working farm and dairy. Later, Hardman served as the governor of Georgia from 1927-1931 and his family donated the property to the state in 1999. The historic site is only open Thursdays – Sundays.
On this day in late July, they were having the corn festival. You could go out into the one acre and pick your own corn for the bargain price of 25 cents per cob.
Among the rows and rows of five-foot tall corn stalks were four varieties: Peaches & Cream, Ambrosia, Temptation and Providence. The volunteer explained that the first two are often the varieties found at local grocery stores. Temptation is a smaller corn and is the first to harvest. Because it was a bit after the picking time for Temptation, they told us the corn cobs would be a bit smaller than the rest.
We also learned that you look at the tendrils at the top of the stalk to determine whether it is ripe enough to pick. Once you find a ripe corn, grab it with one hand, pull down with other hand and gently twist. It readily comes off the stalk. After we spend a few minutes picking from the Ambrosia and Peaches and Cream area, we headed back to the visitor center for popcorn, music and corn tastings.
After trying several different types of corn, we decided that Providence was our favorite. It was amazingly fresh and crisp! We went back into the fields and picked a few more from the Providence section. I also saw small red flowers on some of the stalks. I had no idea corn stalks produced flowers.
Inside, we talked to the rangers about the farmhouse. Tours are given every hour on the hour from 10 to 3 pm. Each tour takes about an hour and encompasses many outbuildings as well. When we have more time, I plan to come back for a longer visit. Directly across the street is the Sautee Nacoochee Indian Mounds. Currently, you can’t walk on this site, but you can see the gazebo that has topped the mound since 1890.
For more information about the Hardman Farm State Historic Site, visit here.