More than 300 miles of scenic public roadways crisscross the Red Hills hunting plantation lands providing the traveler with a view of a distinct American landscape. Along the main paved roads, one sees for miles the broader spatial relationship of the landscape, with its panoramic view of the rolling clays hills and its green tapestry of park-like pine forests. It is on the dirt back roads, however, that the traveler experiences a visual sense of history. Along these narrow winding roads, it has taken centuries for travelers to cut ravines as much as 12 feet deep forming the red clay embankments. Lining the roads are majestic live oaks. They provide a cathedral tunnel of shade that once cooled the cotton wagon hauler some 150 years ago.
Today, some of these scenic roads are under intense pressure from urban development. Their visual character is threatened by the call to "modernize" them into wider, faster asphalt boulevards. To curb that threat, Tall Timbers has taken a leadership role in working to establish a Scenic Roads Program for Thomas County, Georgia, and designating New Hope, Millpond, Glasgow, and Twelve-Mile Post Roads to the program. In Leon County, Florida, Tall Timbers succeeded in getting designated Sunny Hill Road, Old Centerville Road, and Pisgah Church Road as official Canopy Roads protected by local ordinance.
Take A Tour of Some of our Favorite Scenic Roads
New Hope Road
Thomas County, Georgia
New Hope Road begins directly northeast of the historic village of Metcalf and winds its way northward 11 miles to its endpoint at US 84. New Hope Road was first cut between 1830 and 1850. It is the oldest and longest intact antebellum roadway in Thomas County. The road served as a direct route for farmers and planters to ship cotton from Thomas County through Tallahassee and on to the port of St. Marks. The lower and middle sections of the road (6.7 miles) are the most scenic, with a pristine canopy section just east of Millpond Road. Here the 18-foot dirt road makes a series of curves around majestic live oaks providing the traveler a unique historic experience.
Meridian and Beachton-Metcalf Roads
Leon County, Florida/Grady and Thomas Counties, Georgia
The history of the roads begin in 1824 when Federal Surveyor Benjamin Clements laid lengths of chain through the Tallahassee woods to establish the Prime Meridian as he point of beginning for all land surveys in the State of Florida. The straight line northward later became Meridian Line Road. Seven miles south of the Georgia-Florida state line, Meridian Road departs from its straight line and curves around the northern section of Lake Jackson and the western shore of Lake Iamonia. Here, the road rises and falls in elevation up to 279 feet. Although the two lane canopy road is now paved, its high embankments reflect the deep cuts made by those antebellum wagons. At the state line, the canopy road ends and so does Meridian Road. Now on the Metcalf-Beachton Road, the tree line is set back some sixty feet. This is quail hunting plantation land - Grady County, Georgia style! Along the road there are many scenic plantations, including Birdsong Nature Center which is open to the public.
Old Centerville/Moccasin Gap Roads
Leon County, Florida
Old Centerville Road began as a 30-mile long wagon road linking the antebellum plantations to the port of St. Marks. About midway along the route was the small community of Centerville (near historic Pisgah Church) in Leon County. While the village of Centerville has long since disappeared, the unpaved section of Old Centerville has retained its historical character. From the Georgia-Florida state line, the road travels south passing the beautiful quail plantations of Loveridge, Foshalee, Cherokee, Sunny Hill, and Horseshoe. Near its intersection with Moccasin Gap Road is the famous Bradley's Country's Store, which has been selling its renowned sausage since 1927. A great pit stop on any day, travelers can enjoy a fresh sausage sandwich, Moonpie, and a cola, and chat with the Bradley family. Heading east, Moccasin Gap Road (which is another designated Canopy Road) leads to the picturesque village of Miccosukee, which is an historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For additional information about sights to see in the Red Hills, click here.