Monthly Archives: August 2016

Mtn Heritage

Mountain Heritage Festival

The Mountain Heritage Festival brings together both natural and cultural heritage in the beautiful town of Blairsville, Georgia. Natural heritage is depicted through resources like the mountain laurel growing through the woods, farmers sowing their land, and the variety of animals that thrive in the beautiful mountain landscape. The cultural roots run deep through Union County and are showcased through music, quilting, and the native’s way of life.

The Union County Historical Society is the number one resource to preserving the rich cultural heritage of Blairsville-Union County. Ran solely through the dedication of volunteers and funded only by donations, their four museums – the Historical Courthouse, the Mock-Butt House, the Payne Cabin, and the Haralson/Carr Law Office contain documentations, artifacts, and tons of genealogy. You can learn more about the Union County Historical Society by visiting their website at www.UnionCountyHistory.org or by visiting in person Monday through Friday from 10am-4pm and Saturdays from 11am-3pm.

On Labor Day weekend, a great mountain arts and crafts festival that showcases living history activities and demonstrations for the young and the young at heart alike will take place in the Mountain Life Museum, located just one block south of the Blairsville Square. On both Saturday, September 3rd and Sunday, September 4th from 9am to 5pm you can enjoy many different musical performances both on stage at the Mock House and at the Historic Courthouse, the children can pet farm animals and participate in gold panning activities, and everyone can enjoy some of the best mountain food while you shop for handcrafted treasures.

For 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, or visit us online at www.VisitBlairsvilleGa.com.

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Union General Hospital

Union General Hospital is located in Blairsville, Georgia. This rural hospital may be small, but it offers a broad range of high quality services. Since 1959, Union General has been providing healthcare services to the residents in and around Blairsville. It has a state-of-the-art 45-bed facility, and all of the rooms are private. Additionally, the Blairsville health system includes Chatuge Regional Hospital, a 25-bed critical access hospital, two nursing homes, and several outlying medical clinics. The hospital prides itself on its family of warm professionals who strive for the best possible experiences for all patients and visitors.

While Union General is a considered a medium-sized hospital, it still faces the same organizational and management challenges of other health systems around the country. To promote better communication and continue efficiently delivering services, Union General developed and implemented a business intelligence strategy.

Through a partnership with Sisense, a business intelligence software vendor, a data analytics technology platform was developed that facilitates greater communication between clinicians and case managers. This new system enables the rural hospital to more efficiently report data and improves the overall workflow. The single dashboard system allows users to see more information on a patient in just one place.

Union General received praise from Georgia Trend Magazine last year in its hospital review. Union General Hospital was named a top medium-sized hospital out of 35 other hospitals. The ranking was determined by data based from the U.S. Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The CMS tracks 40 quality-related indicators that measure the quality of healthcare services. Union General shared the 7th placed position with two other hospitals.

Photo Courtesy of Scott Michael Anna

Best Camping Sites in Northeast Georgia

You don’t need to look far to find the perfect place to set up camp in Northeast Georgia. From small campgrounds to state parks, the Blairsville-Union County area has plenty to offer for every camping adventure. Read more to discover four of the best camping sites in Northeast Georgia.

Trackrock Campground & Cabins
Located between Blairsville and Hiawassee, Trackrock is 300 acres of meadows, hayfields and woodlands. This campground is great for families, with lots of amenities and natural beauty. Nearby is a pond where visitors can swim and fish. For kids, there are two playgrounds as well as hiking trails the whole family can enjoy. The Chattahoochee National Forests surround the campground on three sides, keeping the campsites secluded from the city hustle and bustle. Trackrock campground offers camping for everyone: RVs, tents, and pop ups are all welcome. One and two bedroom cabins are available for those who prefer not to camp.

Vogel State Park
Vogel State Park is one of Georgia’s oldest and most beloved state parks. It is located at the base of Blood Mountain, a part of the Chattahoochee National Forest. During the fall, Vogel is transformed by the red, yellow, and gold leaves. There are many options for camping and cottages are available for rental. There are 85 campsites you can drive up to and 18 walk-in campsites for tents only. What makes this campground special is its location to other parks and hiking trails. Brasstown Bald is nearby, as are many popular trails such as the 4-mile Bear Hair Gap loop, an easy lake loop that leads to Trahlyta Falls, and the challenging 13-mile Coosa Backcountry Trail.

Lake Winfield Scott
This recreation area overlooks the beautiful Lake Winfield Scott located in Blairsville, Georgia. Here visitors can picnic, boat, fish, and hike. There are two camping loops with 36 campsites that can be claimed on a first come, first served basis. Nearby are popular hiking trails including the Lake Winfield Scott Trail, the Jarrard Gap trail, the Slaughter Creek Trail, and the Appalachian Trail.

Cooper Creek Campground
Cooper Creek Campground is located in Suches, Georgia in the North Georgia mountains. Fifteen campsites are laid out across the forest, with five of those sites nestled on the banks of the Cooper/Mulky Creek. Both creeks are trout streams with wild and stocked trout. Each campsite has a tent pad, grills, lantern pole, and a picnic table. Nearby there are five interconnected trails with plenty of tree coverage to keep the paths cool, even during the summer.

Photo Courtesy of Scott Michael Anna

Spotlight on Union County Schools

Union County Schools serve more than 2,700 students in the Blairsville and Suches area. Fueled by the vision of “Cultivating the Leaders of Tomorrow,” this school system is working hard to identify and meet the needs of every student. Recognized as a part of Georgia’s Charter School Systems, Union County Schools are able to provide academic, artistic, athletic, and a number of community opportunities.

The county public school system operates five schools in total. Those buildings are some of the most up-to-date in the area. The faculty and staff are consistently held in high regard. In fact, about 70 percent of the top professional staff hold advanced degrees. That level of excellence is also exemplified by Union County’s students. At Union County High School, students have the opportunity to take AP courses and participation is currently at 20 percent. The school’s graduation rate is very high at 91 percent.

Union County Schools are consistently ranked as a top rural school system. Both high schools have received awards by the U.S. News and World Report. Woody Gap High School was named a top high school in the country and Union County High School was  ranked as one of the best high schools nationwide – the ranking was based on the school’s performance on state-required tests and how well they prepare students for college. UCHS also received the Bronze award and the Gold Award from the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement.

In addition, the Mountain Education Charter High School is an accredited public school that offers afternoon and evening classes, perfect for part-time students. Students work at their own pace and are allowed as much time needed to master the subjects.

The high standards, ample opportunities in academia and beyond, and compelling learning environments make Union County’s schools the perfect launchpad for our children’s future!

Family on Boat

Let’s go to the Park!

Summer is the perfect time for family fun! If you are looking for things to do with your crew, we’ve got plenty of options for getting outside and enjoying the fresh air! Blairsville has many parks in the area that are perfect for outdoor fun. From hiking trails and lakes, to picnic areas and campgrounds, these Blairsville-area parks are perfect for your family’s next outdoor adventure.

Vogel State Park
Spend a day exploring all that Vogel State Park has to offer, or stay overnight at a camp site. There are activities for all ages. Seventeen miles of trails of varying difficulty are available for hiking, including the Appalachian Trail. Lake Trahlyta is at the center of the park and is formed from Wolf Creek. Surrounding the lake is an easy 1 mile trail, providing access to fishing docks and the boathouse. A side trail will take hikers to Trahlyta Falls, also known as Spillway Falls, a beautiful tiered waterfall. Reservations are recommended for camping. The park is at an elevation of 2,500 feet, making it a perfect place to cool off during the hot summer days.

Poteete Creek Park and Campground
Another option for camping and outdoor fun is Poteete Creek Park and Campground. This park has 59 campground sites and is just 13 miles north of Blairsville. The park is situated right next to Lake Nottely, providing a beautiful backdrop to your outdoor adventures. Campgrounds vary in size, and both camper and tent sites are available. Fire rings, dump stations, power and water are available at most sites. The recreation area has a boat ramp, picnic tables, swimming beach, pavilion, fishing. Reservations are recommended for both camping and beach pavilion rental.

Meeks Park
Described often as one of the most beautiful parks in North Georgia, Meeks Park is the perfect place for some family fun. The park features open meadows, shady areas, and playing fields for sporting activities. The athletic facilities include seven ball fields, four batting cages, a basketball court, tennis courts, swimming pool, disc golf course, and much more. Be sure to spend some time walking along the nature trails that lead to a tree-lined walkway near the banks of the Nottely River. Along these trails are sculptures by local artist and resident Al Garnto. Though not allowed in Meeks Park, dog are welcome to enjoy The Dog Park across the street from Meeks Park.