It’s rustic, crude and somewhat unkempt … but it’s a great little summer day-trip getaway.
The Simms family has been enjoying a little “staycation.” My daughter, Priscilla, tracked down a rather obscure little gem in McMinn County called Blue Cove Hideaway. It’s an abandoned rock quarry out in the boondocks.
The property is owned by the Womack family. Ms. Womack said the quarry was created when construction crews were digging rock to build Interstate 75. She said the family was sort of coerced to open it to the public.
“It got where we couldn’t keep people out, so we finally just decided to open it up and charge people,” she said.
It costs $5 a person to go swimming. That gets you deep blue water to enjoy, a changing room, a few canvas mats that keep you from walking on gravel, a rope swing, floating docks-basically a great place to escape the summer heat. Your $5 does NOT get you a lifeguard. They charge for access to the property, but it is still clearly “swim at your own risk.”
Speaking of risk, your $5 also gets you a bunch of great, big, tall cliffs to jump (or dive) off of. The height of the cliff you choose is basically dependent upon the level of your intestinal fortitude. Years ago, I would have gone for a 30-foot jump in a heartbeat. Now, I’m only good for a 15-footer. The Womacks estimate the quarry is about 200 feet deep, so provided you can jump away from the rocks, there’s not much concern about banging into the bottom.
Now for the hard part-how do you get there?
“Hideaway” is a very appropriate name. You’ll be taking Exit 42 off of I-75 and finding your way to County Road 116. For specific directions beyond that, I suggest you go to their Facebook page, click “map” and then “get directions.” Half the fun is always getting there, and besides, Siri (on your iPhone) will talk you right in.
However you figure it out, Blue Cove Hideaway is worth the short drive up I-75.