Stone Mountain is one of the most unique mountains in Georgia because it is an enormous granite pluton that was formed during a complex geological folding process approximately 350 million years ago. With a peak elevation of 1,683 ft., Stone Mountain is visible as far away as Kennesaw Mountain to the west and Mount Yonah to the northeast. At the top of Stone Mountain where the rare species of Georgia Oak was first discovered, freshwater rain pools contain a unique type of clam shrimp that die when the water evaporates, leaving eggs to survive until the next rainy season. Within Stone Mountain’s lower forested areas, clusters of Georgia Oak thrive and the extremely rare Confederate Yellow Daisy can be found growing out of rock crevices on the face of cliffs.
The largest bas-relief sculpture in the world was carved on the north face of Stone Mountain. The Confederate Memorial Carving that depicts Confederate President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee and General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson is 90 ft. tall, 190 ft. wide, 400 ft. above ground level, and its deepest point occurs at General Lee’s elbow where it was carved 12 ft. into the surface of the mountain. In 1958, the State of Georgia purchased Stone Mountain for $1,125,000 and the Confederate Memorial Carving was completed on March 3, 1972.
Stone Mountain Park
Owned by the State of Georgia and managed by the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, the 3,200 acre Stone Mountain Park features some of North Georgia’s most beautiful scenery. The most popular tourist attraction at Stone Mountain Park is the Summit Skyride, a high speed Swiss cable car that transports visitors on a breathtaking ride past the Confederate Memorial Carving to the top of Stone Mountain where they can enjoy a stunning view of the Atlanta skyline and the Appalachian Mountains more than 60 miles away.
Another popular tourist attraction in Stone Mountain Park is the Crossroads, an 1870’s southern town where people wearing period style costumes demonstrate their skill at the arts of glass blowing, candy making and blacksmithing. The Antebellum Plantation contains many buildings that were built between 1783 and 1875. These buildings were moved from their original sites, restored to preserve their authenticity and historical value, and are filled with the most extensive collection of period furniture and decorations in the South.
Competing with the Summit Skyride as the most popular attraction in Stone Mountain Park, the Lasershow Spectacular featuring mind boggling displays of laser lights, graphics, characters and fireworks has entertained more than 20 million people. Other attractions in the Crossroads area of Stone Mountain Park include the Scenic Railroad, which transports people on a 5 mile excursion around Stone Mountain in open air cars pulled by a 1940’s locomotive, and the Scarlett O’Hara, a bright white, side-wheeled paddleboat with shiny red trim paint that takes people on 20 minute cruises around Stone Mountain Lake every half hour.
Real estate in areas near Stone Mountain
Stone Mountain is northeast of Atlanta about halfway between the cities of Decatur and Snellville. Outside Stone Mountain Park in the countryside, homes and properties are remarkably affordable considering how close the area is to Atlanta. Decatur has the ambiance of a college town with many rental units and its downtown district is filled with historic structures. In addition to single family homes in older neighborhoods, mid-rise condominium developments in Decatur offer another affordable living alternative.
Snellville is primarily a residential community consisting of single family homes on private properties and homeowners associations. Both Decatur and Snellville offer homeowners beautiful tree lined streets, large parks, excellent public schools, and the convenience of a short commute to Atlanta on Highway 78 together with the charm of quiet life in a rural Southern town. The demand for commercial real estate and rentals is also high in the areas surrounding Stone Mountain because of its close proximity to Atlanta.
Lodging is available in Snellville at two hotels and two bed and breakfast inns, the Village Inn Bed & Breakfast and Silver Hill Manor. The Village Inn Bed & Breakfast was built in the 1820’s as a roadside inn and it is the oldest structure in Stone Mountain Village, a quaint old area containing over 50 specialty shops and restaurants that is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Several discount hotels and motels are located in Decatur.
The closest large shopping mall to Stone Mountain is Discover Mills, a 1.2 million sq. ft. shopping center near Snellville featuring over 200 retailers, unique restaurants and entertainment venues like the Action Skatepark, a small concert cafe, and rotating exhibits in Georgia’s only annexes for the Georgia Music and Sports Halls of Fame. Downtown Decatur and Oakhurst village just south of Decatur’s city square contain more than 200 stores, restaurants and art galleries.
The City of Snellville celebrates the Snellville Days Festival in May with one of the best arts and crafts shows in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area and a parade with creatively decorated floats that are judged on the basis of theme, originality and creativity. Decatur sponsors an Arts Festival on Memorial Day weekend and an annual Bar-B-Que, Blues and Bluegrass Festival during the summer. The largest book festival between Washington DC and Miami is the Decatur Book Festival on Labor Day weekend with more than 200 authors and 50,000 festival attendees, and Decatur also sponsors a Wine Tasting Festival in November.