Monthly Archives: October 2016

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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.