Monthly Archives: April 2013

North Georgia Farm Trail – Agritourism

Have you ever heard the term agritourism? Agritourism is a beautiful blend of Georgia’s top two revenue generating industries – agriculture and tourism.  For some, this evokes thoughts of experiencing a day like a true farmer by milking cows, tending animals, or picking fresh fruit.  Others imagine touring wineries, taking a hayride on a working farm, or navigating a challenging corn maze.  No matter what your perception, combining these two industries offers a unique experience to travelers and one that is quickly gaining popularity.  With the recent emphasis on agritourism throughout the State and the fact that our mountain region naturally offers these types of experiences, I present to you the North Georgia Farm Trail.

The Chambers of Commerce in Gilmer, Fannin, Union, and Towns counties are collectively working on focusing increased attention on tourism along Georgia Highway 515.  Because this is an easy and direct drive from Atlanta, we feel there is a great opportunity for cooperation in our advertising efforts.  Therefore, we have named the stretch of road from Ellijay to Hiawassee the Georgia Mountain Parkway.  Previous efforts included a tear off map of a variety of attractions along the Parkway.  From those discussions, we have begun work on the next phase of promotion which focuses specifically on agritourism.

The North Georgia Farm Trail will highlight agritourism attractions along the Georgia Mountain Parkway.  Union County alone has over 25 sites and events to be listed.  Our listings will include places like the Union County Farmer’s Market, Georgia Mountain Research & Education Center, Southern Tree Plantation, Logan Turnpike Mill, the Union County Horse Arena, Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery, horseback riding stables, alpaca farms, and roadside markets.  We will also feature overnight farm stays and festivals that celebrate Appalachian food and heritage.  Promotions of the trail will include the creation of a pocket guide for distribution throughout the State as well as many online promotions.  The anticipated launch of the trial is scheduled for Summer 2013.

If you have any questions regarding the North Georgia Farm Trail or other offerings by the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce, you may contact me directly at president@blairsvillechamber.com or contact us at 706-745-5789.  You may also interact with us online at www.VisitBlairsvilleGA.com.

Blairsville history told through yesteryear structures

The vestiges of this pre-Civil War community may still be seen in two of Blairsville’s historic structures: its old trading posts and general stores. Union County, created in 1832 from a parcel of acreage in the Georgia Land Lottery, and settled primarily by the Scots-Irish mountain people of the Appalachians, was rugged and inaccessible. The trading posts and general stores were not only a place to buy and barter goods – furniture and other household goods and items, foodstuffs, gifts and souvenirs – but to meet neighbors and swap news. Recalling these early days are Pappy’s Trading Post and Sunrise Grocery. The former lives up to its self-billing as “the post with the most” in its delightful hodgepodge of rustic furniture, antler chandeliers, locally made gifts and a selection of local jams, jellies, honey and sorghum – even animal mounts. The latter is a produce stand/gift shop combo that was established in the 1920s and stocks fresh fruits and veggies, locally made pottery and irresistible gift items in charming tumbledown digs. Just like in the old days, owner Jason Clemmons will swap the news of the day with you while weighing your oranges or beans and bagging your detergent and dishes.

Blairsville Fun Facts!

Blairsville, population 700, is the county seat of Union County and is the only incorporated town in the county. It was named after Kentuckian Francis Preston Blair, a supporter of Andrew Jackson and editor of the Washington Globe.

Union County’s name has nothing to do with the Civil War or residents’ sympathies toward the Conflict Between the States as the county was created in 1832.

Union County is one of three northeast Georgia counties situated completely within the Chattahoochee National Forest.

Blairsville is world-famous for its sorghum; in fact, it is the only area in Georgia which grows sorghum especially for syrup making due to its unique climate and soil conditions, and the Blairsville Sorghum Festival, celebrated annually in October, is designated as the official Sorghum Festival of the state of Georgia.

The Walasi-Yi Center atop Blood Mountain is the only place where the 2,175-mile-long Appalachian Trail passes through a man-made structure.

Famous residents include Byron Herbert Reece (1917-1958), author of four books of poetry and two novels, recipient of two Guggenheim awards and a poet-laureate of Georgia.