Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Beauty Of Union County Georgia

Nature presents itself in one of its beautiful best in the Union County, North Georgia. The county, which is famous for its Blue Ridge Mountain and sorghum syrup, is also the backdrop for many festivals and the stage for a number of theaters, concerts, parades, and more. It has all the signs that are inherent in any busy, thriving town. But most importantly, the Union County is adorable for the variety it offers to every resident and traveler. On one hand it is one of the choicest canvases of Nature and on the other it is one of the most-loved destinations for many activities including camping, hiking, fishing, or simply vacationing.

The Unicoi State Park in Helen has some of the most awesome camping spots. Depending on the campsites chosen, one may avail of such facilities as water, electricity, fire ring, picnic tables, and the space for two RV’s or tents. One of the sites even has covered platforms and makes tents redundant. Most of the campgrounds have an easy access to a store located in the middle of the loop road. Various items including drinks, snacks, souvenirs, nature books, basic camping and fishing supplies, firewood, and ice are available in the store.

At the foothills of the Blood Mountain in the Chattahoochee National Forest stands the oldest and one of the most fascinating state parks of North Georgia, the Vogel State Park. Hikers have a number of options when it comes to trails. The popular ones include the four mile Bear Hair Gap loop and the thirteen mile Coosa Backcounty Trail. Out of these two trails the Bear Hair Gap is easier to explore and leads to the Trahlyta Falls. The park is not only beautiful in itself but driving up to it presents another wonderful experience. Visitors driving from the south come through a beautiful mountain pass located near Brasstown, Neel Gap. The riot of Fall colors that adds a new appeal to the Blue Ridge Mountains makes this park in the Union County particularly popular. People flock to the park during this time to drink in the beauty of the reds and oranges that drape the Blue Ridge Mountains and make it look like a rolling blanket of a thousand splendid shades. Cottages, campsites, and backpacking sites designed to resemble a primitive look adds a generous amount of adventurous appeal to the place.

The most beautiful falls finds its home in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Known as the Anna Ruby Falls, it is created by two creeks: the Curtis Creek and the York Creek. Out of these two the former drops one-hundred-and-fifty-three feet while the latter is comparatively much shorter yet it drops an awesome fifty feet. The water that is found at the bottom of the falls is known to be a part of the Smith Creek which eventually forms the Smith Lake. This Lake is the centerpiece of the Unicoi State Park.

The beauty that blossoms around the Anna Ruby Falls has come to be known as the Anna Ruby Falls Scenic Area. There are many interesting trails in the area which make it particularly popular among adventurous hikers. And after a long day in the lap of nature what better way to unwind than stay in the beautiful resorts that redefine the whole experience!

Big Things Happening In Tourism

I have great news to share this week for all those who appreciate the impact of tourism on our local economy.  We are off to a great start.  Lodging tax revenue, which is one of our best gauges of tourism impact, was up in the first quarter of the year.   The traffic through the welcome center has increased considerably in the last month, and the Scottish Festival just wrapped up a very successful 10 year anniversary event.  The following items are a few additional brag-worthy happenings.

The Chamber is proud to announce that we now have copies of the North Georgia Farm Trail brochure available to our guests.  The North Georgia Farm Trail is a collection of agritourism destinations along the Georgia Mountain Parkway – a four county territory along Highway 515 from Ellijay to Hiawassee.  The brochures are packed with agritourism activities including working farms, u-pick orchards, wineries, farmer’s markets and farm to table restaurants.  Pick up your copy today!

Six travel writers from across the Southeast recently toured the Byron Herbert Reece Farm & Heritage Center as part of the state’s Travel Media Marketplace.  A great article on the farm appears in the summer edition of Northeast Georgia Living.

The Chamber and local business partners hosted a well respected travel writer, Doc Lawrence, during the month of June.  We expect great publicity for our community to be forthcoming.  I would like to thank Paradise Hills Resort & Spa, Noontootla Creek Farms, the Union County Historical Society, FATZ Café, Rib Country, GnG Bakery and Café and the Union County Community Center for helping make his trip a success.

Union County will be featured in the July issue of Georgia Trend magazine.  Georgia Trend is a statewide publication focusing on all aspects of economic development which will serve as a great avenue for sharing the story of Blairsville-Union County.

All in all, things are looking good in 2013.  We invite you to be part of the network of businesses that are the driving force for economic prosperity in Union County by becoming a member of the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce.  For more information about our Chamber call 706-745-5789 or email me directly at

Name That Union County-Blairsville Business

Let me start this week with a quick thank you to those of you who read my column and to those of you who have given me feedback over the last six months.  I love the interaction and hearing from my readers.  With that in mind, I have created the following Name That Business trivia game.  See how many businesses you can guess and read on to find out how to enter prizes from the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce.

1.    This Union County business is famous for its “not yet famous” tomato sandwich.  Ordering the yummy sandwich “all the way” includes slaw and hot sauce.
2.    This Union County business was started in 1948 by three brothers – one of whom served as a Georgia State Representative.
3.    This Union County business, owned by a former radio personality, made headlines with their Green Bean Festival jingle that asks listeners, “Have you BEAN to Blairsville?”
4.    This Union County business, owned by a former senior artist and model-maker with Disney, is a fairytale land of fanciful gardens and enchanted dwellings where hobbits, gnomes and gremlins seem right at home.
5.    This Union County business is home of the mouth watering 32-ingredient Morning Glory muffin.
6.    This Union County business operates in a unique historic building circa 1885 which can be found on the National Historic Register of Georgia.
7.    This Union County business features a husband and wife team who jointly produced beautiful hand carved candles.
8.    This Union County business often seen at the local Farmer’s Market sells their product internationally and was once featured on the TODAY show.
9.    This Union County business was recently nominated for Georgia’s 2013 Manufacturer of the Year Award.
10.    This Union County business moved to a beautiful, new facility in December 2012 and works diligently on behalf of its 550+ business and organization members.

Think you know all the answers?  Submit your responses to the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce.  All correct answers are businesses that can be found on the Blairsville-Union County Chamber website.  Answers can be submitted via email to, by calling 706-745-5789, in person at our office, or by live chatting with us at  Good Luck!

“I Didn’t Know You Had That!”

One of the first things visitors to our Chamber’s Welcome Center often say is, “Wow, this is a lot of information.” It is true.  Our Welcome Center is fully stocked with a variety of brochures, magazines, flyers, and maps.  You never know what you might find or learn when visiting with us.  With that in mind, I wanted to share with you some of most requested pieces in case you might have a need for them in the future and never even knew they existed.

Visitor’s Guide – One of our most requested brochures is our visitor’s guide.  This tri-fold brochure gives a quick glance at attractions and festivals offered in Union County.   This piece serves as a great addition to wedding guest bags and event attendee bags.

Community Guide – This full color magazine offers an in depth look at a variety of aspects of Blairsville-Union County including tourism, recreation, healthcare, education, housing, and religion.  It also serves as a handy guide for important phone numbers and our Chamber business directory.  This publication is also available to view in a digital format on our website at

Hiking Trails and Waterfalls Guides – For those who love to explore the great outdoors, the Chamber offers both a hiking and a waterfalls guide that help you easily navigate your way throughout the area.

Restaurant, Shopping, Lodging, and Real Estate Guides – The Chamber maintains an updated brochure listing of each of the aforementioned groups of businesses that are part of our Chamber membership.  These are very handy for quick reference or to share with those not familiar with what Blairsville-Union County has to offer.

Maps – There are many people who still like the security of a printed map when their trusty GPS fails them.  The Chamber offers a variety of tourism related maps with identified points of interests as well as a detailed city/county map for those who need to know the back roads.

The Welcome Center is now open Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm and Saturdays from 10am to 1pm.  Come see us to explore all the great information available to residents and visitors alike.  For more information about the Chamber, call us at 706-745-5789, visit us online at, or email me directly at

Union County Chamber of Commerce Trip – Irish Splendor

Those of you who are avid readers of my column, and I’m hoping there is at least one or two, will recall my previous mentioning of a group travel opportunity to Ireland being offered by the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce.  It is amazing how quickly time passes and now we are almost three months closer to our October departure.  I want to share with you additional details of the trip in case you or someone you know is interested in this chance-of-a-lifetime experience.

Irish Splendor is an upcoming community travel trip offered by the Chamber in partnership with leading tour operator Collette Vacations.  The Irish Splendor tour departs October 30, 2013 for eight days. Spend a night in Ashford Castle, stroll along the streets of Dublin and experience old Ireland at its finest. Travelers will explore the Guinness Storehouse, Ireland’s number one attraction; travel to Dingle Peninsula, and view one of the world’s most beautiful coastal routes; stand in awe of nature’s power on the Cliffs of Moher; experience a sightseeing tour of Dublin with a local guide, including O’Connell Street, Grafton Street and Phoenix Park; and enjoy an evening of fun and Irish music at a local Dublin pub.

In addition to the remarkable stops on the tour, Collette Vacations is including a variety of services to make this trip one of pure leisure.  Transportation will be provided to travelers from Blairsville to the Atlanta airport.  Collette will handle all flight and hotel arrangements as well as luggage transfers between hotels.  Nine total meals are also included in the tour pricing which starts at $2,699 per person for double occupancy. Those wishing to use accumulated sky miles can purchase a land only package.

This trip is open to the entire community – business owners, families, retirees, etc.   For more information about the Irish Splendor tour or to reserve your spot, please call the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce at (706)745-5789 or email