I’m not one of those people who is sentimental about things and I’m definitely not about my hometown. I have friends and know people who love their hometown, just not me. I’ve always wanted to leave it and I did the first time when I was seventeen.
Don’t mistake the sentiment to mean I had a bad childhood. Just the opposite. I would not change growing up in LaFayette. I roamed the hundreds of acres of woods around the house, There were great places to take girls parking. Summers on Queen City Lake where my best friend lived. It was a mostly safe place to grow up where we would bike miles to town and back without an adult.
No, I’m not mad at LaFayette, Georgia or Chickamauga, Georgia for anything in my childhood experience. It’s just not the adult experience that I want and I would never choose to live here again. I love the Chattanooga area and would live there, but I’m also ready to explore beyond this small dot on the North American map.
However, there is a quaint gem nestled about two miles from my childhood home that I can recommend if you need to camp in the area for a few days. Round Pond Retreat. Now, when I was growing up here it was a trailer park in the traditional, non camping sense of the term. A bunch of old metal single wide trailers around this nearly perfect round pond, aptly named Round Pond.
Before I was born my parents knew the people that owned it before the trailer park but for my lifetime if was a trailer park. However, there were legends that the pond was bottomless. Stories of divers going down as far as the could and cars that crashed into the pond and were never found. Well I’m pretty sure those are not true.
A year or two ago the trailer park was purchased and the new owner proceeded to clean it up. He has converted it into a quaint RV resort in a spot you would not expect to find a campground.
The thing that stands out the most is the size and spacing of the campsites. This lends itself to the name “retreat” as you will not be looking at the back of your neighbors camper when you stay here. The sites are massive in relation to other campgrounds and RV parks.
The spacing a layout leaves everyone with a nice view of the pond. The sites are all wooded and shady but limbs have been appropriately trimmed so that parking on a site is not difficult.
There are 18 full hookup RV sites, 3 tent sites, two tiny homes (one built on an old truck and one floating on the lake), Two bathhouses, a pavilion and a small beach.
As I sit here and type I can hear water streaming into the water feature from the grill of an old truck into the small fish pond. Probably the most unique take on a fountain I have seen. The birds are chirping and it’s quite except for a small amount of car pollution from Round Pond Road, which is barely noticeable and sporadic.
Round Pond Retreat is located on Round Pond Road between LaFayette (pronounced “Law-Fay-at”), Georgia and the tiny community named Catlett. It’s about 45 minutes from the Tennessee Aquarium in downtown Chattanooga. However, there’s hiking, paddling, fishing and other outdoor activities within 20-30 minutes in almost any direction.
One thing that has changed about LaFayette in the years I’ve been away is food choices. There are two or three places offering cuisine that is not fast food or Mexican now. A really great BBQ place, A fancy restaurant and a cafe. We were pleasantly surprised to find a new German Bier Garten just a few miles from the retreat. German food and beer in LaFayette. I never would have thunk it.
There is nothing tourist wise to draw anyone to LaFayette but there are tourist attractions nearby. The Chickamauga Battlefield being one of the closest. Round Pond Retreat might not be my first choice in the greater Chattanooga area to stay but it is a hidden gem if the location works for you and I recommend it. Definitely skip Battlefield Campground, Holiday Travel Park and the others in Rossville and come here. You will have a lovely, quite and peaceful stay for the same price or less.