Category Archives: Scenic Drive

Best Fall Drives

We are in the thick of Autumn and the trees are really showing off here in Blairsville-Union County! Whether you prefer to hike, bike, or drive, there are some pretty amazing opportunities to come on up and bask in the brilliant fall color. For those who love get out and explore the outdoors, the trails and views around Brasstown Bald, Vogel State Park, and Blood Mountain offer and up-close-and-personal experiences with the natural beauty of our area. However, if you prefer a leisurely drive through the mountains, here are a few of the best routes for enjoying the seasonal scenery…

  • Vogel State Park to Suches via GA-180
  • Vogel State Park to Neel’s Gap via US 19/129
  • Neel’s Gap to Richard B. Russell Scenic Byway via US 19/129 and GA-180
  • Richard B. Russell Scenic Byway to Brasstown Bald
  • Brasstown Bald to Track Rock Gap

For a very detailed account of these routes and some of the history of the sites nearby, check out this great comprehensive guide from The Blue Ridge Highlander. For more details on things to do here in Blairsville-Union County like outdoor activities, festivals, and other events, call the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce at 706-745-5789 or visit our Autumn Activities page.

2018 Fall Leaf Peeping

“When is the best time to see the leaves?” We get this question a lot, and the answer is not exactly cut and dry. Usually, the third and fourth week in October is a safe bet. However, there are scientific reasons determining the amount of color we are privileged to see in the autumn season. Let’s take a closer look.

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.” While variations in these two factors ensure that no two autumns are alike, the consensus is that “A warm wet spring, favorable summer weather, and warm sunny fall days with cool nights should produce the most brilliant autumn colors.”

With that said, this fall is sure to be a brilliant one! Make your plans to come visit the North Georgia Mountains from October through November. Some of the best leaf peeping spots in Blairsville-Union County are:

  1. Brasstown Bald – Highest natural point in Georgia. You can see beautiful colors for miles!
  2. Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway – Stunning, meandering road with breathtaking views.
  3. Lake Winfield Scott – The secret of Suches. Take a ride on Hwy 180 for delightful colors.
  4. Vogel State Park – Every angle provides exquisite vegetation for the leaf connoisseur.
  5. Blood Mountain – From the top of the Appalachian Trail, both the views and colors are sublime.

There are no shortages of activities in and around Blairsville-Union County this time of year. From festivals to fundraisers, music to motorcycles, and concerts to culture heritage, there is truly something for everybody! A full list of all the events and event details happening in and around town are available online at www.VisitBlairsvilleGa.com. Here’s a small sampling of upcoming events:

  1. Blairsville Sorghum Festival – Oct. 13th, 14th, 20th, & 21st from 9am-5pm at Meeks Park.
  2. Fall Festival – Oct. 28th from 12pm-7pm at Vogel State Park.
  3. Joshua Dream Ranch Corn Maze – Weekends in October on Hwy 76 just past the VA Clinic.

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.

Blairsville Love Connection

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, you may be looking for a fun retreat for you and your special someone. Well look no further, because lovers and visitors alike can unplug, unwind and unite with each other while exploring the untouched, natural beauty of Blairsville-Union County! Nestled in the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest, amidst North Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, lovebirds can take advantage of outdoor adventure and unique attractions in a calm and refreshing environment away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

With gorgeous winter mountain scenery on full display, Blairsville is the perfect setting for couples seeking a getaway. This authentic pre-Civil War mountain community is only a two- to three-hour drive from cities like Atlanta, Ga., Chattanooga, TN, and Greenville, S.C. The many cabins, B&B’s and cabin resorts offer city amenities in a country setting. Couples can enjoy relaxing in a hot tub after exploring waterfalls or taking a hike on the Appalachian Trail. There is no better place to make a wish under the stars and take in the beautiful mountain sky than from Georgia’s highest peak – Brasstown Bald. Couples may decide to propose a toast to their rekindled future at a local winery or moonshine distillery or just enjoy each other’s company sitting by the fire in a cozy cabin.

Outdoor activities are plentiful and culture and heritage run deep. Whatever you seek, the mountains will provide. Blairsville-Union County is the perfect destination to rekindle and strengthen a couple’s romantic bond.

Information: Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce, 1-877-745-5789, www.VisitBlairsvilleGA.com; or contact Tobie Chandler directly at tourism@blairsvillechamber.com.

Fall Leaf Peeping 2017

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.” While variations in these two factors ensure that no two autumns are alike, the consensus is that “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 2017 is going to be a brilliant one! Make your plans to come visit the North Georgia Mountains from October through November. Some of the best leaf peeping spots in Blairsville-Union County are:

  1. Brasstown Bald – Highest natural point in Georgia. You can see beautiful colors for miles!
  2. Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway – Stunning, meandering road with breathtaking views.
  3. Lake Winfield Scott – The secret of Suches. Take a ride on Hwy 180 for delightful colors.
  4. Vogel State Park – Every angle provides exquisite vegetation for the leaf connoisseur.
  5. Blood Mountain – From the top of the Appalachian Trail, both the views and colors are sublime.

There are no shortages of activities in and around Blairsville-Union County this time of year. From festivals to fundraisers, music to motorcycles, and concerts to culture heritage, there is truly something for everybody! A full list of all the events and event details happening in and around town are available online at www.VisitBlairsvilleGa.com. Here’s a small sampling of upcoming events:

  1. Blairsville Sorghum Festival – Oct. 14th, 15th, 21st, & 22nd from 9am-5pm at Meeks Park.
  2. Fall Hoedown – Oct. 21st from 12pm-7pm at Vogel State Park.
  3. Joshua Dream Ranch Corn Maze – Weekends in October on Hwy 76 just past the VA Clinic.

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, 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.

 

 

Fall Activities 2017

While Blairsville-Union County truly has something exciting going on all year long, Autumn is a particularly lively season for us. In addition to leaf peeping, hiking, and other outdoor activities, there are also a number of festivals and special events that only happen this time of year. We’ve got so much going on that we had to devote an entire page of our website to it – check it out!

From families to couples to friend groups and solo trips, you’ll find something for everyone! If fall and pumpkin everything is your jam, there’s no better place to celebrate the season than right here in Blairsville. What are you waiting for, get up here!

Christmas Lights & Displays

Every year, many of our friends and neighbors put a lot of time and effort into crafting the perfect Christmas light display at their home or business. If you and your family are looking for Christmas light displays to enjoy this year, we have properly stalked all our Facebook friends to pull together this list for you. If you have other locations, please share them with us!

Blairsville:
Visit The Browns  and have your kids leave a letter for Santa! Take Old Blue Ridge Highway out past Mulkey Gap. Right on Ed King Road. Just before the solar panel field. Note: if you  leave a letter to Santa in the mailbox, you just might receive a reply!

Down the Old Blue Ridge Hwy. Near Reds gas station, you can find The Whites at 10806 Blue Ridge Hwy in Blairsville.

Check out the beautiful Nativity Scene at Stonehenge Assisted Living, located Hwy 129 North towards Murphy, about 7 miles north of Hwy 76/129 intersection.

Come and see Downtown all lit up On the Square & at Season’s Inn Plaza.

You’ll find lots of lights on Murphy Hwy, just past the Owen Glenn entrance.

There’s a beautiful display at The Duckworth’s. Go 129 south to Arkaqua Rd. and take a right on Gene Nix Rd.

Look out for the Jones’ great display located on Jones rd off of Mulkey Gap.

Don’t forget about the display at Meadows of Ivy Log off Hensen Rd.

Last, but not least – there’s the Sprayberry’s, located at 257 Windy Hill Rd. in Blairsville. It’s the 2nd street past Wendy’s on the left going towards Young Harris.

Morganton:
On certain nights, you just might see Santa at the Williams’ on Forge Mill Road off Hwy 515 across from Cucina Rustica.

Santa can be found on certain nights at Spur 60, between Mineral Bluff and NC State line.

Hiawassee/Young Harris:
Through the town of Hiawassee, but before the School, there are some fantastic displays on Bugscuffle Road. After you see Uhaul & Parker Oil, Bugscuffle is the next road on the left.

There’s a red glow on Scataway Road that’s worth checking out. About 5 minutes past the Towns County School, see sign for Mount Zion Church on left and follow the red glow. 

Be sure to visit the display at Panter House, located on the Towns County side of Gumlog.

For lights and much more, go to the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds Mountain Country Christmas in Lights, Thur, Fri, Sat & Sun, 6-10 PM. Food, music, arts & crafts, hot chocolate and Santa. ($5 per person)

North Carolina:
On Hwy 75, just across the NC/Ga line, you’ll find the lovely display at Penlands.

There’s much to see on Harshaw Road,  near Cherokee Hills Golf Course.

santa-jesus

Embrace the Cold

Blairsville-Union County, in the heart of North Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, is one of Georgia’s best kept secrets. Only a two- to three-hour drive from cities like Atlanta, Ga., Chattanooga, TN and Greenville, SC., it is worlds apart – an authentic pre-Civil War mountain community located deep in the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest and enveloped in North Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. It is a setting that lends itself, beautifully, to plenty of outdoor adventures.

Almost anywhere you go in Union County, you’ll find a hiking trail. Visitors may choose easy routes through our picturesque Meeks Park or choose a hardcore trail that traverses streams, scales mountains and descends into deep gorges. The most famous trail in the area is the Appalachian trail. Accessible from several locations within Union County, the AT winds 80 miles through the Chattahoochee National Forest.

There is pure seduction to the outdoor pursuits of Blairsville-Union County; this Georgia gem is uncrowded, serene and overwhelmingly picturesque. From its high peaks to its green valleys to its verdant forests to its bubbling creeks and streams, Blairsville acts as a lightning rod for those who want an outdoors escape. Shadowed by Brasstown Bald – Georgia’s highest peak – and the ancient Blue Ridge brimming with Cherokee Indian lore, it’s easy to spend a few days exploring all there is do in this magical mountain town.

There is plenty to do in the mountains. Sometimes it’s challenging to motivate for outdoor fun when it is so chilly outside. However, being active outdoors is a great way to enjoy the mountains in a whole new way. Not only is it less crowded, but there are no bugs to contend with! To make the most of your outdoor fun and not be cold and uncomfortable, layer your clothing so you don’t wimp out and head back for the cabin. Here are a few ideas to keep you active during our winter months:

  1. Winter Hiking – There’s no better place to take in the beautiful mountain sky than from Georgia’s highest peak – Brasstown Bald.
  2. Winter Camping – Build a bonfire, roast some marshmallows, and enjoy a hot cup of cocoa.
  3. Winter Picnic by Helton Creek Falls – Take blankets, sandwiches, and hot soup in a thermos.
  4. Photo Expedition – Snow, ice, and the crispness that comes with freezing temperatures can add a new dimension to your photos.

Are outside activities not really your speed? No worries. Blairsville-Union County offers several options during the winter season for fun and entertainment.

  1. Made from scratch donuts and pastries, farm to table menu selections, and the best coffee bar in the mountains.
  2. Book a couples’ massage at one of our many luxurious spas.
  3. Visit the tasting room at our local moonshine distilleray or one of our two local farm wineries.
  4. Discover quaint shops on the 22-mile Artisan Corridor full of arts and craft shops, galleries, and boutiques.

Blairsville-Union County is a perfect location for destination weddings. There are multiple venues to choose from and the best part is your photos will have a backdrop of the beautiful North Georgia Mountains.

Learn more about all of the winter fun that awaits you in Blairsville, GA here!

 

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.

Ch ch ch changes…

The seasons change, the years change, the days change, and time changes. With the summer drawing to a close, we can look forward to the crisp autumn and its beautiful colors. And as Blairsville-Union County grows and changes there are many new and exciting things ahead. New restaurants are opening, new retail stores are coming and new tourism assets are being developed.

Listed below are many activities perfect for getting back outside with your friends and family this fall.

Lake Nottely Bike & Hike Trail
The Tennessee Valley Authority in conjunction with Union County have created a mountain biking and hiking trail along the banks of Lake Nottely. As the path develops, picnic spots will be created along with varied levels of difficulty on the 1- 1.5 mile bike/hike loops. The access point, if you are heading west, is just past Nottely Dam on the left.

Festival-ville
The new season brings a new crop of festivals and events to experience and enjoy. At this fall’s Mountain Heritage and Sorghum Festivals, you can find yourself fully immersed in arts, crafts, heritage, and music. These are only a few select highlights; there are many more great festivals and events to choose from. A complete listing is available under the Event Calendar on www.VisitBlairsvilleGa.com or you can pick up a hard copy in the Welcome Center.

History Trail
The Union County History Trail is a newly developed trail that highlights seventeen of Union County’s oldest landmarks and businesses for you to explore. Whether you are interested in tracing your roots at the Historic Courthouse or sampling some of the deliciousness at Logan Turnpike Mill, the History Trail meanders through Union County with historic and educational locations along the way.

Outdoor wonders
We are fortunate to have the Appalachian Trail and a variety of hiking trails branching off from the AT right in our back yard. Before you know it, the lakes will be back to full pool offering all of your favorite watersports like boating, paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and swimming. Pack a picnic lunch and choose a new hike that you haven’t explored yet.

A full hiking trail guide and fishing guides are available for download on www.VisitBlairsvilleGa.com or you can pick up a hard copy in the Welcome Center. Another great tool is to download the FREE North Georgia Waterfall app for IOS and Android. The app will let you search both waterfalls and points of interests in 9 North Georgia Mountain Communities including Blairsville-Union County.

North Georgia Farm Trail
This jewel of a trail allows visitors and residents to enjoy the agricultural aspects of not only Union County but also of our friends along the Georgia Mountain Parkway in Jasper, Ellijay, Blue Ridge, Hiawassee, and of course beautiful Blairsville. From farm to table restaurants, farmers markets, u-pick vineyards, alpaca farms and more, the North Georgia Farm Trail has stops for everyone to enjoy. You can pick up your copy of the North Georgia Farm Trail in any of the Welcome Centers along Highway 76 or flip through the digital guide at www.gafarmtrail.com.

Playtime
Blairsville-Union County has a new playground including swings at Meeks Park for the youngsters to enjoy along with a new splash pad for the toddlers to play in by the community swimming pool. Poteete Creek Campground has a new playground for the young campers or daytime swimmers to frolic on. Very soon Union County will have our very own shooting range for the rifle team and BB gun teams along with the general public to target practice in a safe and controlled environment.

One thing that never changes is the beauty of this humble town. As a mecca for outdoor lovers, a sanctuary for retirees, a strong business environment for established and up and coming businesses, and the most ideal place to raise a family; Blairsville-Union County has it all. Believe It.

For more ideas on activities and events or detailed local area information including dining, lodging, and shopping 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.

 

Track Rock Gap

Looking for a road trip or hike with an added layer of adventure? Head to the Track Rock Gap Archeological site.

The site is located south of Blairsville and is the only set of petroglyphs in north Georgia. According to the U.S. Forest Service, the rock carvings were made 1,000 years ago by Creek and Cherokee people. Although, the discovery of Woodland Indian sites nearby indicates that this group could also possibly be responsible for the petroglyphs.

The carvings can be found on six pieces of soapstone that are near the road in Track Rock Gap. Today, they are covered by metal cages in an effort to protect the stones from vandals. The carvings on the stones include animal tracks, feet, human-like stick figures and grid-like drawings that may be depicting village maps.

To get to the site during your road trip, you can take the Georgia Mountain Parkway 5 miles east of Blairsville, then turn right on Track Rock Gap Road. Follow it for a little more than 2 miles and the rocks will be on the right. Parking is available near the site.

Alternatively, the Arkaquah Trail is an 11 mile hike that will also take you to the rocks. Starting from Brasstown Bald, the trail takes you across a ridge for breathtaking views of North Georgia and ends at the Track Rock Gap site.