Category Archives: Weekend Getaway

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Scottish Festival and Highland Games 2017

It’s June, which means that it’s time for the biggest festival of the year – the Blairsville Scottish Festival and Highland Games! We’ll be highlighting 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. There’s truly something for every member of the family.


The festival kicks off with a concert on Friday, June 9 and continues through Sunday, June 11, so clear your schedule and get over to Blairsville-Union County this weekend! Visit www.blairsvillescottishfestival.org or contact the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce for more details.

Photo courtesy of Jason Clemmons

Guest Blog: Jesica Clemmons of Sunrise Grocery

I grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta, but it always seemed as if my heart was born in the mountains. My mom and dad used to bring me to the mountains of North Georgia every chance they got; sometimes it was to hike & other times it was just to have a break from the chaos that always surrounded us. I found a comfort in that peace that we received when traveling for a weekend getaway. I loved it so much that when I turned sixteen and got my license, I would often come up to Blairsville for a hike and to see all the beautiful scenery rather than hang out in the city.

My love for these mountains and the town of Blairsville ended up building the path for me meeting my future husband. So, not only did I snag the perfect guy for me, but I also ended up living in what is for me, Heaven on earth. Not a bad deal, huh? These mountains and the town of Blairsville gave me the love of my life, an amazing job working at the oldest business in the county, and many great friends in my new hometown. Not to mention, I don’t have to drive up anymore for a weekend getaway. My weekends are now much more laid back and fun-filled.

Photo courtesy of Jason Clemmons

Photo courtesy of Jason Clemmons

Jason and I feel so lucky to live here. We live in a spot where most people come for vacation, and they come with good reason. We try to use every free moment we have to explore. Most evenings after we close Sunrise, we take a drive around our mountain town to take in the views. Rather than sit in traffic, we take in the fresh mountain air. We both always say it is better than sitting at home watching T.V.  We usually either drive up to Brasstown Bald and look for all the bears along the way or we drive up Richard Russell to watch the sky change into an array of colors from the setting sun.

Courtesy of Jason Clemmons

Courtesy of Jason Clemmons

Of course, the weekends are our favorite and are never dull. On Saturdays we are at the historic Sunrise Grocery all day. Luckily, Sunrise isn’t just a job for us, we absolutely love being there. We sell Jason’s photography, my mother in law’s knitting, my homemade soap, and lots of local goodies like jams, jellies, honey and t-shirts. So, it’s all fun things and fun people. We get to catch up with a lot of locals who come in to see us, and we also get to meet many new people from all over who are here visiting.  We strike up the fire for our boiled peanuts pretty early and from there it is usually pretty nonstop dipping up peanuts and chatting with our customers all day. It’s never a bad day at the office.

On Sundays we are able to take some time off and usually take full advantage of all this beautiful place has to offer. Sometimes we set out pretty early, as in four o’clock in the morning. Jason is a photographer and I am a nature lover so we will occasionally go somewhere to catch the sunrise. One of our favorite places is Brasstown Bald, which is the highest spot in Georgia. We’ll get up, make a BIG pot of coffee to throw in a thermos, and head out the door to hike up to the tower. A time or two we have been above the clouds and it is unbelievable! What beauty! We watch the clouds below us turn a golden orange before the sun peaks over them. One thing is for sure, we have never regretted getting up early to see a sunrise. As a matter of fact, it is a pretty amazing way to start the day.

Photo Courtesy of Jason Clemmons

Photo Courtesy of Jason Clemmons

We’re not always so ambitious when it comes to getting up early, but we definitely are both eager to get out of the house to go find some fun. Whether it is going to grab coffee at Cabin Coffee, popping into Sunrise to say hello, or head up to Mountain Crossings to check out their outdoor gear or walk a little of the Appalachian Trail, we make our rounds and then find something to do outside. A lot of times we’ll head to Helton Creek waterfall, especially if we have just had a good rain or if it snows. Other times we may go to Vogel State Park for a picnic or to walk around the lake. Vogel is both mine and Jason’s favorite state park in Georgia. You just can’t beat the view there with the lake and mountains as its backdrop. I got to say, it is a great place for a date. We went on one of our first dates there and we have the photo Jason took of the waterfall that day hanging in our room.

In the evening, we sometimes head to town to go out to eat at one of the restaurants. We have a lot of great places to eat in Blairsville so we usually just take turns going to different places. Other times we’ll go hike up to Wildcat to watch the sun go down. It is by far the absolute best place to catch a sunset that I’ve ever been to. It’s a pretty small hike, maybe about a mile, and the view is more than worth every step. It’s a great place to take a picnic or bottle of wine, sit out on the rock and toast to a stunning sunset.

Blairsville Arts, Crafts, and Music Festival 2017

Blairsville Arts, Crafts, and Music Festival 2017

This Memorial Day weekend, celebrate arts, crafts, and music from around our region at the annual Blairsville Arts, Crafts, & Music Festival! Taking place on Blairsville’s historic Town Square, there will be over 60 arts and crafts vendors to visit, yummy mountain fair food available for purchase, and lots of great bluegrass, gospel, and country music for you to enjoy. While you’re downtown, be sure to stop in the quaint shops and delicious restaurants on the square.

The Blairsville Arts, Crafts, and Music Festival will take place from 10am to 5pm on May 27th and 28th. Learn more about the festival at www.visitblairsvillega.com/fun-things-to-do-in-blairsville-ga/festivals/.

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Spring Festival Season 2017

Spring has finally sprung and so has festival season in Blairsville-Union County! With the warmer weather upon us activities abound in these here hills. 

Make sure you don’t forget Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 14th. Several restaurants around town will have specials so you can treat your Mom and make sure she knows how important she is to you. Later that week on Thursday, May 18th the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce hosts their annual Buy Local Extravaganza! This is an opportunity for Union County businesses to showcase themselves and to remind residents how important it is to Buy Local. The event will be held at North Georgia Technical College with FREE parking, FREE admission, and something for every member of the family to enjoy from 4pm-7pm.

Saturday, May 20th features an Armed Forces Day celebration in Downtown Blairsville at 11am. In the afternoon, enjoy the sounds of the flamenco guitar as only Curtis Jones can play them at Paradise Hills Winery. End your day perusing classic cars at the Cruise In on the Square hosted by the Blairsville Cruisers. This is a great way to enjoy the Downtown Blairsville area dining around town, shopping at the stores, and enjoying music in a lively atmosphere!

May wraps up with the 2017 Blairsville Arts, Crafts, and Music Festival! On Saturday, May 27th and Sunday, May 28th from 10am to 5pm, downtown Blairsville will be bustling with arts and crafts vendors, delicious food, an endless amount of musical performances, quaint shops to visit, restaurants to sample and the friendliest people in the mountains! Saturday morning there will be a Memorial Day Parade at 10am and immediately following will be the first annual North Georgia Bed Race benefiting Habitat for Humanity. It is going to be a hoot and a half, y’all!

For more outdoor fun consider exploring a waterfall, visiting Vogel State Park, or hiking up to Brasstown Bald – Georgia’s highest peak! The Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce is happy to help build you a custom itinerary. For local area information, lodging, and additional upcoming events please stop by The Welcome Center located in the Union County Community Center at 129 Union County Recreation Road, or call 706-745-5789, or visit us online at www.VisitBlairsvilleGa.com.

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Cinco de Mayo – Mountain Style

Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican celebration to commemorate the Mexican Army‘s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. American’s mistakenly believe that it is Mexico’s Independence Day. We believe it is a great day to celebrate the Mexican-American culture and really, who doesn’t love a taco?

Blairsville-Union County offers you a variety of ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo regardless of the true meaning of the date:

  1.  Armadillo Grill: Tex Mex done right is what you’ll get when you come out to the ‘dillo for Cinco de Mayo. Sukoshi & Terry will be jamming some tunes for you on the patio while you enjoy Cinco de Lim-O Tacos for lunch or Enchilada Casserole for dinner. It may or may not be a rule that you have to try a Fresh Strawberry Margarita and/or a Fresh Mint Mojito to complete your celebration. For more information, please follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/armadillo.grill/
  2.  The View Grill: The name alone should make you want to come and dine at The View Grill featuring breathtaking views of Butternut Creek Golf Course. They have a fun day planned beginning with Mexican inspired lunch specials at 11am. From 5pm-8pm, enjoy a full Mexican buffet for only $10 including sweet tea. A full bar is available with margarita and pina colada specials, but you can’t leave without trying a Mountain Sangria featuring Grandaddy Mimms moonshine! You’ll even have a chance to win up to $500 in giveaways when you play their fun piñata games. For more information, please follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/The-View-Grill-at-Butternut-Creek-1654395681507288/
  3.  Tri State Business Women’s Cinco de Mayo: If you are looking for enthusiasm, you won’t find a better group to celebrate with than the Tri-State Business Women. Their first Cinco de Mayo event last year sold out, so they moved to a bigger venue – North Georgia Technical College. Amazing Grace Catering & Events will be serving up a terrific Mexican feast and live music will be playing for your entertainment. All proceeds from the event go to support local charities and scholarships. For more information, please follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/TriStateBusinessWomen/
  4. Monte Alban: The most authentic place in Union County to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Put on your sombrero and celebrate with food and drink specials and lots of giveaways! For more information, please follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/MonteAlbanMexicanRestaurantBlairsville/?hc_ref=SEARCH&fref=nf

If Cinco de Mayo celebrations don’t really appeal to you, we have a variety of other options to enjoy your Friday evening:

  1. Kilted Golf Classic: The Blairsville Scottish Festival & Highland Games hosts a golf tournament annually known as the Kilted Golf Classic. However, no kilts are required to play, they are simply encouraged. The event is held at the Old Union Golf Course beginning at 11am with a tee time of 1pm. Enjoy food and prizes and lunch from Chick-fil-A. For more information, please follow this link: http://blairsvillescottishfestival.com/golf-classic/
  2. Girls Night Out: Enjoy one stop shopping at The Hackney Warehouse. Grab your girl friends for a fun night out while supporting local vendors. The event begins at 5pm with yummy food and drinks available. Don’t forget that Mother’s Day is coming up so this is the perfect opportunity to find something for Mom! For more information, please follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/events/2064447500448802/
  3. Cruise In to the Farmers Market: The Blairsville Cruisers have big hearts and cool cars. Head over to the Union County Farmers Market from 4pm-7pm for music, food, trophies, door prizes, and of course some of the coolest rides in Northeast Georgia. For more information, please follow this link: http://blairsvillecruisers.com/
  4. Reservoir Dogs @ Copperhead Lodge: If you’re not really in the mood for mariachi then maybe some good ‘ol classic rock will get your toes tapping and your hands clapping. Not only does Copperhead Lodge feature a full restaurant and bar, but there is also lodging on site. For more information, please follow this link: http://www.thelodgeatcopperhead.com/index.cfm?content=1&Menu=1
  5. Old Courthouse Concert: It’s time for the summer concert season to begin in The Old Courthouse on the Square in Blairsville.  They have secured local resident and Hiawassee native, Alan Kendall for the first concert on Friday, May 5th, at 7:00 PM. Alan’s music is steeped in ministry, but he also performs a wide variety of musical styles from traditional and contemporary country to popular standards.  He easily presents a clean, family-oriented variety program for all ages. The summer concerts are presented by the Union County Historical Society as a public service and to keep alive the tradition of music in The Old Courthouse,  There is never an admission charge to the concerts.  Voluntary contributions to the maintenance fund are always welcomed and appreciated.

There is always something going on in the mountains from the peace and solitude of nature to events all around town. Keep up with the latest happenings by signing up for weekly events e-newsletters that will be delivered to your inbox every Monday morning by Clicking Here, or bookmark our event calendar and check back often: http://members.visitblairsvillega.com/events/calendar/2017-05-02

 

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Hiking the Appalachian Trail in Blairsville

It’s impossible to walk in the woods and be in a bad mood at the same time. Fortunately for us, Union County has a plethora of hiking trails to choose from. You can choose from moderate trails like those in our beautiful Meeks Park, the new Nottely Dam Reservoir Trails, or the scenic trail down to Helton Creek Falls. You may also choose more strenuous hikes like the Duncan Ridge Trail, the Arkaquah Trail, or the Coosa Backcountry Trail. The most famed trail, The Appalachian Trail, also crosses through Union County at Woody Gap and Neel Gap. In fact, the only covered portion of the white blaze 2,181 mile trail passes right through the structure of Mountain Crossings at Walasi-Yi.

Blairsville-Union County was designated an Appalachian Trail Community in March of 2011. This designation recognizes our community as one that is committed to promoting and protecting the AT and are neighborly to those who trod the Trail. A core group of volunteers have been working hard on several projects including compiling a FREE Union County Hiking Guide, a FREE Union County History Guide, and most recently a project showcasing the History of the AT in North Georgia which is displayed on a kinetic sculpture at Mountain Crossings created by Blairsville’s own local artist, Al Garnto.

In preparation for the hiking season this spring, Mountain Crossings is preparing for their Thru Hiker Kick Off party on Saturday, February 25th and everyone is invited!  Festivities will include bluegrass music from 1 pm to 5 pm, a gear raffle, hot dogs on the grill with all the fixin’s, a S’more making station, face painting and a scavenger hunt for the kids, unique photo ops, gear rep booths and much more! Proceeds from the gear raffle go to funding the Appalachian Trail History Project in Union County as well as Disaster Relief Efforts in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevier County, Tennessee. Raffle tickets are only $10 and enter you into a chance to win gear or bundles of gear ranging from daypacks, t-shirts, Keen hiking shoes, water bottles, stickers and much, much more. Tickets can be purchased at Mountain Crossings in advance and on the day of the event or at the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce. Tip: car pool with your friends and family, parking is limited.

For more information about your business becoming an AT Community supporter or to pick up a Union County History or Hiking Trail Guide 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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Three Ingredients for the Perfect Romantic Weekend in Blairsville

With Valentine’s day coming up next week, now is the time to start planning your romantic mountain getaway in Blairsville, GA. Whether you are a couple seeking a relaxing spa day, or you’re looking to catch some outdoor action together, Blairsville has the right accommodations, activities and eats for you and your Valentine. We’ve put together a list of the top three things you need to ensure a romantic Valentine’s weekend.

A Romantic Retreat
Dotting the beautiful mountain scenery all throughout Blairsville are clusters of cozy cabins and relaxing resorts. For a romantic Valentine’s Day stay, we recommend the Your Home in the Woods Bed and Breakfast. Perfect for couples wishing to get off the grid for a few days, this B&B is the perfect place to curl up with a book and wish for snow, and of course, a delicious hot breakfast is provided. For couples seeking romantic scenery, the cabins at 2’s Company Farm Creek and Cabins have a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside making staying in or venturing out a sightseeing adventure.

A Relaxing Stay
After checking in, start to unwind and treat yourself to a spa day or wine tasting. Odom Springs Vineyards has a vast selection of award winning wines, perfect for an afternoon of sampling. Pamper yourself at Paradise Hills, Resort and Spa with a couples massage, and then enjoy their “Couples Crush Celebration” for a night of great music and delicious food. When you make your reservation with Paradise Hills, make sure to ask about the Touch of Romance package to make your stay even more special! The Copperhead Lodge also offers premier lodging and will be hosting a “Saxy” Valentine’s Day Special featuring saxphonist Michael Hulett.

Delectable Dining
Blairsville has great local restaurants for you to enjoy the perfect meal with your Valentine. For a warm breakfast, visit Hole in the Wall for delicious down-home cooking. Hole in the Wall is a Blairsville staple, and was even voted the No. 1 Cafe in the city. Come lunchtime, have a casual meal at the Aviator Cafe, and make sure to try one of their signature sandwiches or smoothies! To satisfy a sweet tooth, the G&G Bakery and Cafe has an assortment of fresh donuts and goodies to snack on. When evening rolls around, and it’s time for a more romantic atmosphere, we recommend Michalee’s Italian Life Caffe. This Italian restaurant is known for its flavorful pasta dishes and gourmet meals and is a perfect way to end your day of relaxation.  

Call 877-745-5789 or visit http://www.visitblairsvillega.com/tourism/ for more ideas and information on how to have the best romantic getaway possible in beautiful Blairsville, GA!

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Top 10 things to do in Blairsville-Union County for 2017

  1. Eat collard greens & black eyed peas
    After all, it’s a southern tradition. Eat these as your first meal for the New Year and you will increase your luck and prosperity for the year ahead. Let the Chamber connect you with local farmers so all your meals are sure to be fresh.
  2. Hike Brasstown Bald
    Experience the wonders of nature at 4,784 feet above sea level. Get your blood pumping and oxygen flowing through your lungs with this moderate difficulty 0.6 mile Summit hike.
  3. Wear a kilt at the Scottish Festival
    You don’t have to be Scottish to wear a kilt. Find out your tartan colors, enjoy the Highland Games and nosh on some Scottish delicacies the second weekend in June.
  4. Fly fish on the Nottely River
    Brown trout, rainbow trout, and native trout are abundant in our freshwater mountain streams. Stop by Southern Highroads Outfitter shop for some flies and a pole and head out to the headwaters of the Nottely River, Coopers Creek, or Rock Creek for premier trout fishing.
  5. Sip Moonshine
    You can’t visit the south without tasting our famous moonshine. Grandaddy Mimms’ moonshine recipe has been passed down through the generations since the days of prohibition. Swing by the moonshine museum and learn about the history of this beverage.
  6. Take a garden tour at GMREC
    Meander through a .25 mile loop of The Woodland Medicine Trail and discover numerous woodland wildflowers, herbs, fern and shrubs that were used extensively by Native Americans and early settlers. Then enjoy the Ethnobotanic Gardens containing plants that were harvested and often cultivated by early inhabitants of the region for medicinal, food, and craft uses.
  7. Get wet at Helton Creek Falls
    A rock slide for the kids and a veil of water to stand behind make Helton Creek Falls a must do activity for the young and young at heart. A short hike allows you to explore the beauty of both the upper and lower falls of Helton Creek.
  8. Enjoy some grits & boiled peanuts
    Highway 129 South hosts Logan Turnpike Mill and Sunrise Grocery, home to the best stone ground grits and world famous boiled peanuts, respectively. Grab a couple of bags of each and enjoy with your family and friends.
  9. Discover past & present ghosts
    History is alive in Union County. With abundant heritage tracking resources at the Union County Public Library, the Historic Courthouse on the Square, and a plethora of cemeteries, exploring your heritage back to the pre-Civil War era is a great way to connect with the past.
  10. Sop up some sorghum biscuits
    Nothing says Union County like the sweet smell of sorghum syrup cooking. Join the festivities of the Blairsville Sorghum Festival the second and third weekends in October for biscuit sopping, pole climbing, rock throwing, horseshoe throwing, and log sawing fun!

For more information about any of the above or various other activities available in Blairsville-Union County, please contact the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce at 706-745-5789, online at www.VisitBlairsvilleGa.com, or by visiting the Welcome Center inside the Union County Community Center at 129 Union County Recreation Road.

 

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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!

 

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Ho Ho Ho, What do you know?

Blairsville-Union County is not your average sleepy mountain town. There seems to always be something going on in these mountains. As we wind down on a fun, fall season, full of festivals and music, we look ahead to cooler days, crackling fires and special holidays.

Cooler days mean outdoor adventures and exploring. Choose one of many hiking trails on or adjacent to the Appalachian Trail, down to waterfalls, or even up to the highest peak in Georgia. From moderate to extreme and short to long, hiking trails are abundant in and around Blairsville-Union County. Consider a short hike to Helton Creek Falls or Wolf Creek Falls at Vogel State Park. Maybe choose a more moderate hike to the summit of Georgia’s highest mountain, Brasstown Bald rising 4,784 ft above sea level. For a more strenuous challenge, hit the Appalachian Trail at the top of Neel’s Gap and conquer Blood Mountain.

Whether you decide to camp or rent a cozy cabin, a warm crackling fire is in order this time of year. From rustic to chic, you can find a cabin on the banks of the Nottely River or on a mountaintop with endless vistas. With 90% of the county protected by the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, you have your choice of prime campgrounds. The act of gathering around a fire dates back to prehistoric times. So, unplug your phone, grab a bag of marshmallows and enjoy that mesmerizing glow of the fire with your loved ones.

So, now you know that as the last leaf falls off the trees and cold air nips at your nose, you can keep busy or unplug, shop till you drop or rejoice with the holiday season. Blairsville-Union County has everything you need for a well rounded mountain vacation with your family and friends. For more information about camping, hiking, lodging, events or area information call 706-745-5789, check out www.VisitBlairsvilleGa.com, or stop by the Welcome Center at 129 Union County Recreation Road in Blairsville.