Monthly Archives: April 2018

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Check out the new Downtown Blairsville App!

Downtown Blairsville now has a great new app that lets you stay connected to everything happening in Blairsville-Union County! Update your calendar with upcoming events, explore all of the restaurants, shopping, and other businesses in the area, learn about some of the local history, and much more! The FREE Downtown Blairsville app is available for download on both Apple and Google. Check it out and let us know what you think!

Cabin Coffee owners, Wayne and Judy Jolley

Cabin Coffee Co. Loves Calling Blairsville Home

Blairsville has been the perfect location for Cabin Coffee Co. and its owners, Wayne & Judy Jolley. Check out their story below.

Learn more about starting or moving a business to Blairsville-Union County at www.visitblairsvillega.com/business.

Bil Lepp telling at the 2017 Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival -- photo by Nathan Baerreis

Become Part of the Story at the Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival!

Many travelers don’t realize that Georgia has mountains–wild, beautiful, and home to a rich legacy of Appalachian culture. Minutes away from Brasstown Bald, the highest peak in Georgia, but only two hours from Atlanta, Union County Schools Fine Arts Center in Blairsville, GA, will celebrate Appalachian culture, particularly the spoken word tradition, by hosting the fourth annual Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival on 13-14 April 2018. The festival will showcase the art of Southern storytelling with a particular focus on Appalachian stories, both traditional and contemporary. The GMSF offers storytelling and musical performances, children’s events, and workshops.

In addition, The Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival will offer a free workshop for veterans titled “Story Medicine: Healing through Storytelling.” “As part of our mission of bringing storytelling to underserved audiences, we are developing community outreach programs to meet the needs of specific groups in our region for whom storytelling can be a source of healing: veterans, those affected by terminal illness, and victims of domestic abuse, for example. This year, we will offer an intensive workshop for military veterans,” said Ruth Looper, festival co-director. “Sharing stories about wartime experiences, whether verbally or in writing, is widely recognized as an important mechanism for healing. New York City’s Warrior Writing Project, the Veterans Writing Projects at VA medical centers in San Diego and Washington, D.C., and The Telling Project in Seattle have enabled thousands of veterans to speak about and come to terms with their experiences. Veterans living in rural communities like ours have less access to these kinds of programs, and we aim to change that.”

This interactive workshop will combine listening, writing, sharing, and discussion in small and large groups. Participants will be given the tools to increase mindfulness and develop a sense of belonging, a capacity for personal reflection, healthy emotional outlets, and a livelier imagination. The workshop will be led by Regi Carpenter (www.regicarpenter.com), a professional storyteller and workshop facilitator who has presented her therapeutic workshops throughout the United States, South America, and Asia for hospice organizations, non-profits, hospitals, veterans, cancer treatment centers, and bereavement organizations.

This free workshop will take place Sunday, April 15, from 2-5 PM at the Union County Community Center in Blairsville, Georgia. Seating is limited, so please sign up early by emailing info@gamountainstoryfest.org. Workshop participants will also receive free tickets to this year’s Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival.

About Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival, Inc.

Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to providing meaningful opportunities for an underserved audience to engage with storytelling through hearing stories and attending workshops that will develop their cultural intelligence through the arts of listening and speaking. We celebrate a variety of diverse traditions while showcasing the voices of Appalachia.  For more information, go to www.gamountainstoryfest.org.

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North Georgia Wine Country

Did you know that Blairsville-Union County is part of an official American Viticultural Area (AVA)? You’ve probably heard of AVA’s before, but just didn’t realize exactly what it encompassed. Are you familiar with names like Napa Valley and Sonoma in California or maybe you’ve heard of Martha’s Vineyard or the Finger Lakes region? In a nutshell, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau defines specific regions that are distinguishable by a unique natural boundary and growing conditions unlike any other neighboring region. For us, that region is the Upper Hiwassee Highlands AVA region which includes parts of Clay County and Cherokee County in North Carolina and Towns and Union Counties in Georgia. The Upper Hiwassee Highlands AVA region makes the fourth designation for North Carolina and the first ever for Georgia!

An American Viticultural Area designation is not an easy process and they are not freely given out. It took a group of dedicated wine growers, spearheaded by Eric Carlson of Calaboose Cellars, four years of paperwork, petitions, and substantial evidence that Western North Carolina and Northeast Georgia features the Upper Hiwassee Watershed as a perfect natural boundary and has growing conditions unlike any other neighboring region for the eight wineries that fall into the Upper Hiwassee Highlands AVA.

So, what does this mean to the wineries? It means that each vineyard in the Upper Hiwassee Highlands has a way to point vintners and consumers to a special characteristic or overall quality of grapes grown in the region.  Additionally, they have permission to use a tag on their label called an appellation of origin, which proudly states the wine was made in the Upper Hiwassee Highlands region.

The vineyards that are included in the region are:

Clay County: Eagle Fork Vineyards

Cherokee County: Calaboose Cellars, Valley River Vineyards, and Nottely River Valley Vineyards

Towns County: Crane Creek Vineyards, Hightower Creek Vineyards

Union County: Paradise Hills Farm Winery, Odom Springs Vineyards

Having the AVA designation assures wine enthusiasts of a product’s quality and characteristics. So, take a ride around and get to know the wines of your region. Most vineyards offer tastings and typically have music or other fun events as you sniff, sample, and enjoy each unique vintage.

For a full listing of wineries or other activities in Union County and the North Georgia Mountains 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.