Hidden gems of Fulton County

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Hidden gems of Fulton County

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Photo by Jason Getz

Some are steps away from bustling city streets. Others are on roads you've probably taken at least once. Still others are hidden in plain sight. They are the hidden spots you might not know about in Fulton County.

Unusual homes

The Dwarf Castle (aka Cagle Castle), Highway 140 at Cagle Road (12570 Arnold Mill Road), Alpharetta

Built in 1950 by a long-distance trucker for his wife, this 1,400-square-foot home looks like a castle, complete with a swimming pool that doubles as a moat and two garages accessible by a drawbridge. The couple used marble from Ball Ground and granite from Stone Mountain to make their two-bedroom home their castle, literally.

Atlanta White House, just off I-85 on Briarcliff Road (3687 Briarcliff Road), Atlanta

In 2002, when the housing boom was on, real estate businessman Fred Milani built a three-quarter replica of the White House. He called the 16,500-square-foot home a tribute to democracy and the U.S. Not only does the home look like the White House, but it also even contains an Oval Office, a movie theater and a replica of Lincoln's bedroom. When the real estate boom went bust, the home landed in foreclosure in 2011. It was last sold in 2013.

Hidden waterfalls, springs

Vickery Creek Trail, Mill Street, Roswell

A waterfall roars close to busy Roswell streets along the Vickery Creek Trail. And it's just one of the attractions you'll see as you hike it. You'll find a covered bridge and the ruins of a mill dating to the Civil War on the 5-mile trail that winds along the banks of Big Creek, also known as Vickery Creek. The waterfall pours from the mill's spillway dam.

Cascade Springs Nature Preserve, 2851 Cascade Road, Southwest Atlanta

In the 1860s, the Civil War battle of Utoy Creek was fought on this site. At the turn of the 20th century, two natural springs helped it become a resort with a hotel and restaurant. Water from those springs was bottled and sold until the 1950s. Today, the preserve in southwest Atlanta offers hiking trails through 120 acres of woodlands, an outdoor auditorium and picturesque ruins from the land's historic past.

When you're done reveling in the beauty of those two, try another one of these five easy hikes to Atlanta's hidden waterfalls.

Signposts to an alternate universe

Adalanta Desert, Westside Urban Market, 1198 Howell Mill Road N.W., Atlanta

By the power panels of the building Star Provisions and Bacchanalia call home, you'll find a signpost to another world, Kcymaerxthaere. It commemorates the building of roadways that crossed a desert in that world, the brainchild of Eames Demetrios. The plaque is one of many markers placed in our world that Demetrios says connect with the alternate world of Kcymaerxthaere.

Speakeasies

The War Room, 3323 Cains Hill Road N.W., Atlanta

It looks like the bunker where Churchill strategized and rode out Nazi attacks during World War II. And it's supposed to. This watering hole is in the basement of Churchill's British bar. To get there, walk past Churchill's main bar and head down a staircase near the bathrooms. Once there, enjoy the vintage decor, play some darts and map out your own campaign to tackle the beverages you'll find.

Looking for more speakeasies around the metro Atlanta area? There's plenty to choose from.

Edgewood Speakeasy, 327 Edgewood Ave. S.E., Atlanta's Old Fourth Ward

If you love great pizza, the address is familiar. This speakeasy is tucked away in Pizzeria Vesuvius. To get inside the small bar and performance space, head toward the bookshelf to the left of the bathroom. Hint: The bookshelf is a door you push to get inside. Once there, enjoy generous cocktails. And you can chase them down with a slice on your way out.

The Chapter Room, 5600 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs

Once known as the "Fred," this "secret" bar and lounge offers cutting-edge craft beers, cocktails and a menu featuring five-cheese blue crab dip and a mac and cheese Kobe beef burger. It's nestled beneath Taco Mac's flagship location in the Prado shopping center. Enter by walking down the street to the side of Taco Mac and down a ramp to an unmarked door. Knock and you too can enjoy your favorite game in one of the booths or leather chair groupings that make the Chapter Room so cozy.

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