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Posted: February 8, 2012 12:00 a.m.

Local parks provide an abundance of history

Ten years ago as my family and I were making a list of pros and cons for moving to Georgia, we placed Georgia’s abundance of state parks right up under the Atlanta Braves on the pro side. We’ve enjoyed so much about these protected spaces of green goodness and historic wonder since we’ve lived here. There’s nothing quite as frugal and fabulous as a trip to a Georgia State Park, friends. One of our favorites is just a hop, skip and a jump from Covington and is rife with history and fun. 

Indian Springs is a 528 acre state park nestled in the town of Flovilla, very close to I-75 and only 35 miles from downtown Covington. Before I tell y’all about all the cool things you can do there with your family, I want to share some of the amazing history of the place. I was most intrigued by the museum located at the site which is open seasonally. I encourage you to check the museum out while you’re there. You'll learn more there than I can tell you in one little old newspaper story, that's for sure.

Indian Springs is named for a collection of springs used by the Creek Indians for centuries to heal the sick. How cool is that? I wanted to go as soon as I read about that. The site was obtained by the state of Georgia in two illegal treaties in 1825 and 1826; the first signed and the second orchestrated by the Creek Chief William McIntosh who was first cousin to Georgia’s Governor, George Troup. Troup also supported the idea of “civilizing” Native Americans. McIntosh was killed for this capital crime against the Creeks when the rest of the Creeks didn’t take to kindly to his giving away their lands. 

Troup had some trouble of his own with keeping the land when John Quincy Adams threatened to stop the eviction of Creek Indians from the site. Troup organized the Georgia militia, Adams backed down and Georgia became the first state to hold land specifically designated as a public park. It wasn’t until 1931, however, that Indian Springs became official and the Civilian Conservation Corps descended on the area to build cottages. There’s so much more to tell, y’all. I haven’t even talked about how the area was a resort town in the 19th century and the photographs in the museum of folks drinking the spring water and living it up are just incredible. 

If you don’t want to step foot in the museum or feel like I’ve told you all you could ever want to know about the history of Indian Springs (and I can’t imagine that to be true of anyone, because really it’s such a fascinating place), you can hit the ground running when you go visit the park. 

My family also likes to swim there when it’s warmer, but that’s just one teeny, tiny reason we like to visit Indian Springs. Let’s start with the continuously stocked lake. Not one of us are fishers, but we love to go fishing at Indian Springs. It’s a fun time for novices like us, and the old timers we meet while we’re there. Keep your eye out for ducks and turtles while you’re at the lake, and boat rentals are available.

Because we live so close to the park, we really hadn’t thought of camping there until we saw the campgrounds. As you can imagine, my family aren’t only novice fishermen, we’re novice campers, too. Indian Springs offers level pads with electricity and cable television, too. You can tent, RV camp or you can rent one of their adorable cottages that comes equipped with everything your family needs. 

These are the same cottages built in the 1930s by the CCC during the Great Depression. It’s just fascinating and lovely to experience these places with the whole family and it’s a frugal getaway that makes everyone happy.

Whether we’re there for a day or overnight, our Littles always have to hit the playground and play a game or two of miniature golf. It’s like the icing on the cake after hours of playing in the beautifully kept natural springs. We also like to wade in the springs, walk to 3/4 mile nature trail, do a little Geocaching, too! A picnic lunch and/or supper is always enjoyed at one of the many shelters or right next to the water when we visit Indian Springs. 

For more information about Indian Springs State Park, visit www.gastateparks.org/IndianSprings.

 

Beth McAfee-Hallman lives in Covington and can be emailed at mamabee@onefabulousmama.com.

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