Category Archives: Blue Ridge Mountains

Watercraft at Vogel

School’s Out! Now What? 5 Free Things to Do in Blairsville-Union County

Students all over the state are rejoicing in the freedom and carefree schedule of summer, while parents all over the state are scrambling to figure out what to do with these students now that they’ve got with a LOT more free time on their hands. Never fear, Blairsville-Union County is here with some great FREE suggestions for things to do with your kids this summer! Whether you’re trying to fill a long weekend or in dire need of a day trip, here are just a few options for free family-friendly fun in our area…

Outside adventure: Picnic and a hike
When planning a trip to North Georgia, take some time to enjoy all the picturesque nature sites. There are so many free activities waiting for you just outside your door. Helton Creek Falls is south of Blairsville off of Hwy 19/129. This hike is only 0.6 miles long, perfect for kids of any age. Be sure to pack a lunch because the falls offer a great site for a picnic. See more options on our Hiking page.

Learn something new: Alpaca Farms
Spend an afternoon getting to know an animal not common to North Georgia, Alpacas. At the Lasso the Moon Alpaca Farm or Jerae’s Unity Alpacas you can do just that. Be sure to stop by the gift stores for a selection of handcrafted jewelry and products made from Alpaca fiber. Entrance is free to both farms, but donations are welcomed. For both locations, please call or email ahead to make an appointment.

Treasure hunt: Geocaching
Geocaching has become an international pastime for family fun. Using a GPS device, enter in coordinates and follow the clues to a hidden cache. This is a fun way to get to know a new area, or appreciate all that your own neighborhood has to offer. There are plenty of Geocaches to discover in Blairsville, including one that takes you in and around the Union County Public Library.

Relax on the water: Lake trip
Lake Nottely offers a breathtaking alpine experience for residents and visitors just northwest of Blairsville. Or stay on shore and have a picnic at one of the parks surrounding the lake. Another option is Lake Winfield Scott which offers hiking, swimming, boating, and camping year round.

Fun times at the festival
In a tight community like Blairsville, there are festivals all year round where you can enjoy local crafters, fair food, and activities for the whole family (though not everything at these festivals is free). Check out our Festivals page for more information on upcoming festivals.

people with flags at scotish festival

Scottish Festival 2018

It’s here! The time has come once again for Blairsville-Union County’s most popular festival, the annual Blairsville Scottish Festival and Highland Games! At this event, We highlight our area’s heritage with traditional games, Highland music and dancing, food with a Scottish flare, and much more! Visit workshops to learn how to play the bagpipes. Discover your “clan” and learn about the rich Scottish roots of the area. Watch animal demonstrations like border collies herding sheep and falcons swooping on their “prey”. Take your wee ones to get their faces painted or go on a train ride. This festival gets bigger and bigger every year, and this year there’s a Gaelic Gallop Race and Fun Run to get things started!

The festival starts on Saturday, June 9 and continues through Sunday, June 10, so clear your schedule and head to Blairsville-Union County this weekend! Visit www.blairsvillescottishfestival.org or contact the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce for more details.

Parade Float Square

Celebrate Memorial Day Weekend in Blairsville!

Still working on your plans for Memorial Day weekend? Come and celebrate with us in Blairsville, we’ll have something for every member of the family to enjoy! Here’s a quick rundown of just a few of the events happening in our area this weekend…

2018 Spring Arts, Crafts and Music Festival
Saturday, May 26 & Sunday, May 27 – 10am – 5pm
Downtown Blairsville comes alive with arts, crafts, music, food and more! This festival features over 60 vendors and a variety of food and music to enjoy.
Learn more about the 2018 Spring Arts, Crafts, and Music Festival.

Memorial Day Parade 
Saturday, May 26 – 10am
Join us in Downtown Blairsville for a patriotic event you won’t want to miss!
Learn more about the Memorial Day Parade.

For a full listing of events and other happenings in Blairsville-Union County, visit our events page.

Hiking Mother Daughter Pic

5 Ways to Celebrate Mom in Blairsville-Union County

Friendly reminder: Mother’s Day is THIS Sunday! Looking for the perfect way to celebrate the Mom in your life? We’ve got you covered! There are some great ways to show your love and appreciation right here in Blairsville-Union County…

Go to Lunch (…or Brunch…or Dinner)
We have a vibrant food scene here in Blairsville, featuring cuisines for every kind of eater. From traditional Southern food to Cuban and Italian fare to Farm-to-table sophistication, there’s something here Mom is sure to enjoy. Learn more about there restaurants in our area here.

Take a Hike
For the outdoorsy Moms, there are several excellent trails in our area perfect for experiencing the splendor of Mother Nature. Check out our Hiking Page for a complete list of trails in the area.

Shopping Spree
The local shops and markets here feature expertly crafted art, crafts, decor, apparel, and more, so Mom can shop ’til she drops. Check out our Shopping page to learn more.

Relax
There are a number of amazing spas and luxury experiences in our area, perfect for pampering the special lady in your life. Explore the resorts and spas in the area here.

Sip Something
If your Mom prefers something with a good vintage, the wineries and distilleries in Blairsville-Union County are second to none! The soil in our area has the same AVA designation as the soil in Napa, and the wineries and distilleries deliver modern excellence with flavors rooted in the history and heritage of our region. Learn more about our Wineries and Distilleries.

To learn more about everything that Blairsville-Union County has to offer call 877-745-5789 or visit our website.

 

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.

PHW_no date

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.

 

Bg-easter-eggs

Blairsville Easter Egg-stravaganza!

Can you believe that Easter is just around the corner? Make sure your kiddos don’t miss the Blairsville Easter Egg Hunt this coming Saturday, March 24 at Meeks Park! Kids ages 2 to 12 years old can hunt for over 8,000 eggs placed on three fields at the park. There will also be a drawing for an Easter Basket.

The hunt begins at 11:00 am and admission is FREE, so grab your kids and their baskets and head to Meeks Park this Saturday! In the event of rain, the makeup date is March 31 at 11:00 am. Call 706-439-6074 for more information.

kayaking at meeks park-lowres

4 Tips for the Perfect Spring Break

Still figuring out what to do with your kids over Spring Break? Look no further than Blairsville-Union County! Explore the Greater Outdoors and experience all of the food, culture, and shopping that Blairsville has to offer. Here are a few tips for having a perfect Spring Break Adventure in Blairsville-Union County…

1. Have an Outdoor Adventure

Blairsville-Union County is the perfect place to unplug and reconnect with your family, and there’s no better way to do that than Exploring the Greater Outdoors!

Brasstown Bald
Get an unforgettable view of four states from Georgia’s highest peak. Learn more about Brasstown Bald here.

Hiking the Appalachian Trail
Union County boasts the only covered portion of the famous Appalachian Trail. You can also hike to the peak of Blood Mountain or brave one of the many other connecting trails. Learn more about hiking and other outdoor activities in Blairsville-Union County here.

Waterfalls
We have many waterfalls here in Blairsville-Union County, like Helton Creek Falls and Wolf Creek Falls, to name a few. Learn more about our waterfalls and where to find them here.

Horseback Riding
Riders of all ages and levels can experience the countryside on horseback. Find out more about riding and a listing of stables here.

2. Get Your Park On

We’ve got some of the finest parks in the state, complete with activities for every member of the family to enjoy.

Vogel State Park
Enjoy swimming, fishing, hiking, paddle boats, and more at Vogel. Learn more about Vogel State Park, and other parks in our area here.

Meeks Park
Play 18 holes of Frisbee Golf at Meeks Park’s excellent 18-hole course, let the kids play hard on the playground, batter up at one of four batting cages, let your pups have a ball at the dog park, and much, much more! Learn more about Meeks Park here.

3. Eat Well

Dine at one of Blairsville’s many amazing restaurants. There’s something to please every palette, from traditional southern food to fine dining! You will be absolutely amazed at the quality and variety of different cuisines available in our area. Browse listings and see a map of restaurants in the area here.

4. Shop ‘til You Drop

Blairsville offers a unique shopping experience, from local artisans to designer duds! Plan your shopping trip here.

Ready for your Spring Break Mountain Adventure? Call us today at 877-745-5789 or visit us online to learn more about all the fun your family can get into in Blairsville-Union County!

Come Play at Vogel in 2018!

Craving some outdoor fun after all of this crazy weather? Look no further than Vogel State Park, Georgia’s Favorite State Park! There’s truly something for everyone to enjoy at this gorgeous and historic mountain park. Learn more about Vogel State Park here.