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Blairsville Tour of Trees

Take your family and friends on an unforgettable Christmas experience – the Blairsville Tour of Trees! Starting December 1 and running until New Years Eve, view more than 45 beautiful and expertly decorated large and small Christmas Trees and wreaths in the Blairsville Welcome Center, open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. Celebrate Christmas in the mountains and find inspiration for your own Christmas decor.

The Blairsville-Union County Welcome Center is located at 129 Union County Recreation Road. You can also call 706-745-5789, email tourism@blairsvillechamber.com, or visit us online at www.VisitBlairsvilleGa.com.

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Union General Receives Patient Safety Award 2 Years in a Row!

In Blairsville-Union County, you can rest assured that we’ll take care of you. Even in the event of a medical emergency, you’re in good hands here. The capable and highly qualified doctors and staff at Union General Hospital are here for you!

In fact, Union General was recently recognized with a Patient Safety Award for the second year in a row! This year’s award was in recognition of the hospital’s project to reduce hospital readmissions. Union General even received 2nd place in the Hospitals Under 100 Beds category!

This award is given by the Georgia Hospital Association Research and Education Foundation and PHA congratulating Union General for outstanding efforts in creating and maintaining a culture of safety and encouraging the prevention and reporting of errors to improve healthcare in Georgia.

Way to go Union General, keep up the great work!

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What we’re thankful for…

Thanksgiving is the time to pause and reflect on everything we have to be thankful for. Here at the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce, we are so thankful that we couldn’t possibly fit it all in one blog post. 2016 has been a big year for our area, and as we take stock of a year that has seen growth all around, we just wanted to take a minute to say a huge “Thank You” to everyone who made that possible. From record-breaking crowds at events to the many new businesses that opened their doors this year and the continued success of so many existing businesses, none of that would be possible without the good people of Blairsville-Union County.

Business owners, employees, customers and patrons all play a vital role in keeping our community not just up and running, but growing and thriving. All of the festivals and special events that go on in our area wouldn’t amount to much without the people who care enough to put in the time and effort it takes to make those events so special. Whether you’re graciously volunteering your time or just doing your job, people here genuinely care about their town and getting things done the right way, and that’s part of what makes Blairsville so special. We are truly blessed to live in a place where people take the idea of community so seriously.

There’s nowhere quite like Blairsville, and that has as much (if not more) to do with the amazing people who make up this community as it does the beautiful mountains and lakes that surround us. So, as you gather with your family, friends, and loved ones this Thanksgiving, remember to give thanks for the big things, the little things, and everything in-between. We’re certainly counting our blessings this year, and it’s all thanks to YOU!

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Hometown Holiday Shopping Event

The Christmas season is fast approaching, and so is the biggest shopping day of the year – Black Friday. It seems like the sales, and in some cases the crowds, get crazier every year! While we certainly salute the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping warriors, the local businesses here in Blairsville offer a unique opportunity to get ahead on your Christmas shopping. Just prior to Thanksgiving, the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce hosts a Hometown Holiday Shopping event where patrons to participating business can get a jump start on seasonal shopping. To get your coupons for participating merchants, you can either:

  1. Go to www.VisitBlairsvilleGA.com, click on “request a Newsletter” and subscribe to Buy Local Coupons & Events.  The coupons will be emailed to you prior to the Buy Local Holiday Shopping Event Weekend.
  2. Give us a call at 706-745-5789.
  3. Visit the Chamber offices to pick up your coupons.

This year, the Hometown Holiday Shopping event takes place from November 17th-19th. This provides the perfect opportunity for our local retailers to beat the “big guys” to the holiday rush. So, before you wait in the long Black Friday lines or cross your fingers that your internet connection is fast enough on Cyber Monday, make your lists, check them twice, and Buy Local this holiday season!

In addition to the Hometown Holiday Shopping event, the Mountain Regional Arts and Crafts Guild will host their annual Mistletoe Market on November 19th and 20th where you can buy the finest in mountain arts and crafts. Whatever your style of “shop ‘til you drop” might be, Blairsville-Union County has plenty of options during this wonderful season! For more information about these events and more, contact the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce at 1-877-745-5789 or visit us at www.VisitBlairsvilleGA.com.

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Ho Ho Ho, What do you know?

Blairsville-Union County is not your average sleepy mountain town. There seems to always be something going on in these mountains. As we wind down on a fun, fall season, full of festivals and music, we look ahead to cooler days, crackling fires and special holidays.

Cooler days mean outdoor adventures and exploring. Choose one of many hiking trails on or adjacent to the Appalachian Trail, down to waterfalls, or even up to the highest peak in Georgia. From moderate to extreme and short to long, hiking trails are abundant in and around Blairsville-Union County. Consider a short hike to Helton Creek Falls or Wolf Creek Falls at Vogel State Park. Maybe choose a more moderate hike to the summit of Georgia’s highest mountain, Brasstown Bald rising 4,784 ft above sea level. For a more strenuous challenge, hit the Appalachian Trail at the top of Neel’s Gap and conquer Blood Mountain.

Whether you decide to camp or rent a cozy cabin, a warm crackling fire is in order this time of year. From rustic to chic, you can find a cabin on the banks of the Nottely River or on a mountaintop with endless vistas. With 90% of the county protected by the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, you have your choice of prime campgrounds. The act of gathering around a fire dates back to prehistoric times. So, unplug your phone, grab a bag of marshmallows and enjoy that mesmerizing glow of the fire with your loved ones.

So, now you know that as the last leaf falls off the trees and cold air nips at your nose, you can keep busy or unplug, shop till you drop or rejoice with the holiday season. Blairsville-Union County has everything you need for a well rounded mountain vacation with your family and friends. For more information about camping, hiking, lodging, events or area information call 706-745-5789, check out www.VisitBlairsvilleGa.com, or stop by the Welcome Center at 129 Union County Recreation Road in Blairsville.

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‘Twas the month before Christmas

‘Twas the month before Christmas, and all through the town
People were shopping and running around
The smart ones bought local, and others online
There were some amazing hot deals from the Chamber you see
Some are 50% off and some are Buy One, Get One Free!

Hometown Holiday Shopping is just before Thanksgiving
With 31 participating businesses, you’ll see how much you’re saving.
In early December there is a Stop and Shop at the Civic Center.
Get your coats and gloves out, because now it’s winter.
During that time, we are proud to say
The Kris Kringle Market will be under way.
From crafters and vendors and lots of live music,
enjoy a s’more, see Santa, it’s really therapeutic.

The Tour of Trees can be seen at the Union County Community Center
The doors are open 7 days a week so feel free to enter.
The Historical Courthouse has plenty to see
With an Open House, Christmas Parade and concerts for free!
Trees will be lit from Blairsville to Vogel
Christmas is simply a great time to be a Union County local.

Our favorite event of the year
is the Holly Jolly Christmas,
An event that is filled with cheer.
There will be games, refreshments and trees
but best of all is Mr. and Mrs. Claus
for all the big and little kids to see.

Festive and fun with savings galore
There’s even Caroling on the Square,
Blairsville-Union County has it all!
There is so much around you can’t even perceive it
Blairsville-Union County – Believe It!

Hometown Holiday Shopping – November 17th, 18th, & 19th
Three days of holiday shopping excitement and savings from your favorite Chamber member businesses! For more information, visit www.VisitBlairsvilleGa.com.

Tour of Trees – December 1-31, 9am-5pm, Union County Community Center
Over 30 beautifully decorated trees and wreaths by local businesses on display throughout the Union County Community Center.

Blairsville Stop and Shop – Friday December 2nd and Saturday December 3rd from 11am – 7pm at the Union County Civic Center.
There will be over 50 home-based business vendors there to cover all your shopping needs.  SANTA CLAUS WILL BE THERE FRIDAY NIGHT FROM 5PM – 7PM. For more information, contact Sharon Penner at 770-789-2044.

Kris Kringle Market – Saturday, December 3rd from 10am-3pm at the Union County Farmers Market.
Enjoy a visit to the European Outdoor Holiday Market right here in the North Georgia Mountains! Music, Children’s Area, more than 60 Vendors with Produce, Crafts, Art, Handmade Gifts & Delicious Food Creations, Roast Chestnuts, Sing Carols, Sit on Santa’s Lap, Warm up by a Bonfire with S’mores. For more information, visit www.UCFarmersMarket.com

Christmas Parade/Open House/Pictures with Santa – Saturday, December 3rd, Downtown Blairsville.
Restored Butt-Mock House (1906) at the Mountain Life Museum Center open house from 11am-4pm. Included in the Open House will be the Payne Cabin (1861) which represents Union County life in the mid-1800’s. Complimentary refreshments will be served. Enjoy cookies, cakes and drinks! All of the exhibits at The Old Courthouse will be open during the day. Pictures with Santa are from 1-3 in the Historic Courthouse, the Christmas Parade with the arrival of Santa Claus is at 4pm, the Tree Lighting Ceremony on The Square to follow the parade.

Concerts at the Courthouse:
Friday, December 2nd – North Georgia Symphony
Friday, December 9th – Christmas Handbell Ringing with The Valley River Ringers
Friday, December 16th – Special Christmas Concert with W. Gordon Graff
For more information, visit www.UnionCountyHistory.org

Holly Jolly Christmas – Saturday, December 10th, 3pm-6pm, Union County Community Center.
Beautiful decorated trees, face painting, storytelling, children’s crafts, Santa Claus, and refreshments. For more information, visit www.VisitBlairsvilleGa.com

Christmas Tree Lighting at Vogel State Park – Saturday, December 10th, 4pm-7pm
Enjoy the tree lighting, caroling, hayrides, a bonfire, and Santa Clause!

Caroling on the Square – Tuesday, December 20th, 5:30pm-6:30pm. Downtown Blairsville.
Join us for some old-fashioned Christmas Caroling in downtown Blairsville. Sing with us or sit and enjoy the sounds of the season! For more information, visit www.downtownblairsville.com

For more ideas on winter activities and detailed local area information including dining, lodging, and upcoming event information please stop by The Welcome Center located in the Union County Community Center at 129 Union County Recreation Road, call 706-745-5789, email tourism@blairsvillechamber.com or visit us online at www.VisitBlairsvilleGa.com.

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Beautiful Downtown Blairsville!

Blairsville-Union County is widely known as an outdoor destination, and for good reason! There are countless opportunities for outdoor exploration, recreation, and relaxation. With that said, there’s far more to Blairsville than the great outdoors, like our beautiful downtown district. This inviting and thriving area of our town is host to many businesses, shops, restaurants, museums, attractions, and special events while preserving the character and heritage that makes Blairsville so special.

For locals, downtown is a central place in the community to get a coffee, grab a bite to eat, and do business – it’s easy to be on a first-name basis with just about everybody! For tourists, downtown Blairsville boasts fantastic local shops and restaurants as well as museums and historic places just ready to be explored. For businesses, it’s a picturesque centralized location with sites that would suit the needs of several types of businesses and lots of foot traffic. There are also lots of festivals and special events that take place on the Square, including the Downtown Spring Arts, Crafts, & Music Festival, the Memorial Day Parade, Corner Concerts, Outdoor Movie nights, the Sorghum Parade, Hometown Halloween on the Square, the Christmas Parade, and much more. There really is something for everyone!

The revitalization and resurgence of Downtown Blairsville has taken place largely due to the efforts of the Downtown Development Authority of Blairsville. Thanks to the hard work of Program Manager Darren Harper, the DDA Board of Directors, committee chairs, and many amazing community volunteers, Blairsville was recognized as a Georgia Better Hometown in 2007. That spirit of collaboration remains as many of the businesses inhabiting the area share a tight-knit kinship, feeding patronage and business to each other instead of engaging in bitter competition. While our gorgeous Downtown Square is certainly a wonderful area for businesses to thrive and for tourists and visitors to enjoy, it’s also a compelling reminder of how Blairsville-Union County is a community of dedicated individuals and organizations who work together to make our area a wonderful place to live, work, and visit.

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Where’s Blairsville? Our Centralized Location to these Southeastern Hubs

For those unfamiliar with the area, Blairsville-Union County may seem like a beautiful mountain oasis hidden far away from “the big city.” While you certainly can’t see skyscrapers from your backyard, we’re actually not very far from many larger cities. Blairsville is uniquely situated in a centralized location that is only a short driving distance from many Southeastern hubs. So, if you are interested in moving yourself or relocating a business to Blairsville-Union County, you’re hardly “in the middle of nowhere.” Here are 5 “Southern Hubs” just a short drive away from Blairsville:

Atlanta, GA
We’re less than 100 miles from Georgia’s capital city, meaning that you can be there in about two hours (depending on their traffic).

Greenville, SC
Approximately 130 miles away is Greenville, SC, which boasts more than 250 international firms and was one of the Top 10 fastest growing cities in the US in 2012. If you’ve got business in Greenville, you’re only two and a half hours away.

Chattanooga, TN
About 100 miles to the west is the 4th largest city in Tennessee – Chattanooga. That’s an easy two hours to this manufacturing hub.

Knoxville, TN
Less than 125 miles away is the home of the University of Tennessee. We’re about two and a half hours from this southern college town.

Charlotte, NC
North Carolina’s Queen City is a bit further away, about 230 miles. That puts you about four hours away from the second largest banking hub in the country.

As you can see, you can easily get to most anywhere you need to be from Blairsville-Union County. Our proximity to major highways like GA 515 and 76 as well as US 129 keep us connected to many of the great cities around us. The problem is that once you’re here, you may never want to leave!

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Blairsville’s Up & Coming Food Scene

As one of Georgia’s best kept secrets, Blairsville-Union County is full of pleasant surprises. Obviously, the incredible scenery, the near-endless options for outdoor activities, and the kind, welcoming members of our community bring people back to visit time and time again – so much so that some folks even decide to move here! One of the more overlooked aspects of Blairsville-Union County is the fantastic food scene that has developed in our area. We take food seriously here, and while you certainly won’t go home hungry, you might just find your new favorite restaurant.

If you like to eat, then you’re going to love Blairsville. While there are plenty of franchises and chain-restaurants in town, there are several unique locally-owned and operated restaurants that will absolutely knock your socks off. There are options for every kind of eater, from “meat and potatoes” people to adventurous diners who are always looking for new and exciting dishes.

Looking for a local restaurant committed to farm to table ideals and practices? We’ve got you covered. Looking for Italian cuisine like no other? Look no further. From southern cooking and barbecue to Cuban and Mediterranean fare, we’d put our local restaurants up against anyone else’s. Check out our restaurant listings to find the Blairsville-Union County restaurants that speak to your palate!

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Fall Color in Blairsville-Union County

One of the most commonly asked questions at the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce is “when is the best time to see the leaves?” The answer to that question is difficult. The most common response is “the third and fourth week in October” However, there is a very scientific reason that determines the amount of color we are privileged to see in the autumn season. Let’s take a closer look at this.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, “The amount and brilliance of the colors that develop in any particular autumn season are related to weather conditions that occur before and during the time the chlorophyll in the leaves is dwindling. Temperature and moisture are the main influences.

A succession of warm, sunny days and cool, crisp but not freezing nights seems to bring about the most spectacular color displays. During these days, lots of sugars are produced in the leaf but the cool nights and the gradual closing of veins going into the leaf prevent these sugars from moving out. These conditions-lots of sugar and lots of light-spur production of the brilliant anthocyanin pigments, which tint reds, purples, and crimson. Because carotenoids are always present in leaves, the yellow and gold colors remain fairly constant from year to year.

The amount of moisture in the soil also affects autumn colors. Like the weather, soil moisture varies greatly from year to year. The countless combinations of these two highly variable factors assure that no two autumns can be exactly alike. A late spring, or a severe summer drought, can delay the onset of fall color by a few weeks. A warm period during fall will also lower the intensity of autumn colors. A warm wet spring, favorable summer weather, and warm sunny fall days with cool nights should produce the most brilliant autumn colors.”

We believe that the autumn of 2016 is going to be a brilliant one! Make your plans to come visit the North Georgia Mountains from the end of October through the beginning of November. Some of the best leaf peeping spots in Blairsville-Union County are:

  1. The Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway is a nationally designated Scenic Byway that is 40.64 miles in length and makes a loop through the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest.  http://www.exploregeorgia.org/listing/3955-russell-brasstown-scenic-byway-cnf
  2. Lake Winfield Scott offers a myriad of fall color along with a small beautiful lake. http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/conf/recreation/camping-cabins/recarea/?recid=10528&actid=29
  3. Brasstown Bald rises 4,784 feet above sea level and is Georgia’s tallest mountain. Visitors to this place on high find an observation deck which allows a spectacular 360-degree view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, exhibits, a film, hiking trails, and gift shop. http://cfaia.org/brasstown-bald-recreation-area-visitor-centers-in-georgia/
  4. Vogel State Park One of Georgia’s oldest and most beloved state parks is particularly popular during the fall when the Blue Ridge Mountains transform into a rolling blanket of red, yellow and gold leaves. Hikers can choose from a variety of trails, including the popular 4-mile Bear Hair Gap loop, an easy lake loop that leads to Trahlyta Falls, and the challenging 13-mile Coosa Backcountry Trail. http://www.gastateparks.org/Vogel
  5. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail stretches over 2,146+ miles from Georgia to Maine.  With over 74 miles of the southern route in North Georgia, the Appalachian Trail offers the ultimate in hiking opportunities.  http://www.appalachiantrail.org/home/explore-the-trail/explore-by-state/georgia
  6. The Southern Highroads Trail can be traveled in its entirety or in sections.  This very scenic route travels through four national forests (Chattahoochee, Nantahala, Cherokee, and Sumter) and four states (North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia).  http://www.southernhighroads.org/

To keep an eye on the leaf changing over the next few weeks, check out http://gastateparks.org/LeafWatch or https://smokymountains.com/fall-foliage-map/. Both of these websites, and many others, will keep you up-to-date on the expected peak of fall for the North Georgia Mountains.

For detailed local area information including maps, directions, dining, lodging, and upcoming event information please stop by The Welcome Center located in the Union County Community Center at 129 Union County Recreation Road, call 706-745-5789, email tourism@blairsvillechamber.com or visit us online at www.VisitBlairsvilleGa.com.