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Social Circle Wellness Walk mixes health with history

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

SOCIAL CIRCLE -- Exercise is good for the body, and now in Social Circle, it can also be a learning experience.

The Wellness Walk through historic Social Circle has been established. Formed as a partnership between Walton Wellness, Social Circle Better Hometown and the Historic Preservation Society of Social Circle, the Wellness Walk consists of two separate routes through the Social Circle downtown, each marked with various points of interest.

For example, the East Loop is 1.8 miles long and winds past the former Monroe Telephone Exchange on Sycamore Street; the Depot and Georgia Railroad near the intersection of Sycamore and S. Dogwood streets; and the Dukes of Hazzard Bridge on East Hightower Trail, where the famous jump scene from the popular television show The Dukes of Hazzard was filmed.

The West Loop takes walkers or joggers through 2.5 miles of Social Circle history. This route passes by the Abercrombie-Thomas House on West Hightower Trail; the historic cemetery on Lakewood Drive; and the Co-operative Department Store and Mill Village on South Cherokee Street.

DeDe Harris, Walton Wellness coordinator, worked on the project and put together a brochure that outlines the two routes. But it offers more than just the maps.

The brochure describes each of the points of interest that walkers will pass along the way. For instance, walkers along the East Loop who pass by the Coaling Tower on Sycamore Street can learn that coaling towers stored the coal used to refuel steam engines that traveled the railroads.

"Once numerous, they are now vanishing," the brochure states. "This tower is one of only six left in the state of Georgia."

Those traversing the West Loop can learn that the back portion of the attic in the Knox-McKibben House at 336 W. Hightower Trail is believed to have been "used in the Underground Railroad. This happens to also be the exterior set for Cuba Gooding Jr.'s movie, 'The Fighting Temptations,'" according to the brochure.

Snippets of history and basic health and wellness information are also provided in the pamphlet, including "5 Tips To Wellness" and nutrition information.

Bicycle enthusiasts are provided a map and 52.4-mile route for the Social Circle Buffet Rambler. This route begins at the Blue Willow Inn and winds through Walton County, including the cities of Rutledge and Good Hope.

Harris presented the Wellness Walk brochure Tuesday to the Social Circle City Council.

"This is a project I very much enjoyed doing, and I have wanted to do this for a long time," she told the council. "Hopefully, we can do a kick-off event and I'd like to do a couple of guided tours."

Harris also helped establish a Wellness Walk in Monroe, which also consists of a 1.5-mile loop and a 2.5-mile route.

Brochures will be available at the Social Circle Welcome Center and City Hall. For more information, call Social Circle Better Hometown at 770-464-1866 or DeDe Harris with Walton Wellness at 770-856-1251.