Tag Archives: Brasstown Bald

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.

fishing at vogel_credited

Spring Break Adventure Agenda

It’s Spring Break season, and there’s no better place for your spring break adventures than Blairsville-Union County! From exploring the Greater Outdoors to experiencing all of the food, culture, and shopping that Blairsville has to offer, we’ve got everything you need for the perfect spring break trip. Ready to book your mountain getaway? Great! Here are just a few things that should make your Spring Break Adventure Agenda…

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

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.

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.

Disc Golf
Play 18 holes of Frisbee Golf at Meeks park’s excellent 18-hole course. Learn more here.

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! Browse listings and see a map of restaurants in the area 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.

Shop ‘til You Drop
Blairsville offers a unique shopping experience, from local artisans to designer duds! Plan your shopping trip here.

As you can see, Blairsville-Union County offers something for everyone! This little list is just the tip of the iceberg, so call us today at 877-745-5789 or visit us online to learn more about all the fun your family can get into over spring break!

 

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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.

 

kabra-daughter-at-meeks-park_credited

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!

 

Spring Itinerary

Helton Creek Falls

Helton Creek Falls

The weather has warmed and the sun is shining over Blairsville-Union County. Spring is finally here! Are you ready to spend time in the great outdoors? Here are a few ideas for putting together a wonderful spring itinerary.

Venture out on one of our three lakes, Nottely, Winfield Scott, or Trahlyta, and choose your activity. Boating, fishing, skiing, kayaking or pedal boats make great lake activities. If waterfalls are more your style, we have plenty of those too. A waterfalls guide can be obtained in the Chamber’s Welcome Center or requested online at www.VisitBlairsvilleGA.com.

Are you ready to see Union County from a new perspective?  Try taking in the views atop Brasstown Bald or exploring the lovely countryside while horseback riding. Many of the hiking trails that wind throughout the county offer incredible views that just might take your breath away. If history is your cup of tea, Union County has a lot to offer. Have you ever toured the Historic Union County Courthouse or the Mountain Life Museum? Have you seen the Trackrock Petroglyphs up close? How about the Byron Herbert Reece Farm & Heritage Center or the CCC Museum at Vogel State Park? Here is one you might not have thought of – the historic cannery and interpretive displays at the Georgia Mountain Research & Education Center.   While you are there, you can browse the ethnobotanical and native plant gardens.

There is definitely no shortage of festivals and events to attend this time of year. Weather you prefer arts and crafts, green beans, or bagpipes, you need not look any further than right here at home in Union County. Also, consider one of a host of other local events that offer music, dining, gift items, and educational activities. Those can be found on our online Chamber events calendar or by signing up for our weekly or quarterly events newsletter.

The Chamber is always ready to assist with planning your next weekday or weekend escape right here in Union County.   Check out our preplanned itineraries online at www.VisitBlairsvilleGA.com or call us at 706-745-5789.

Engage Your Senses This Fall

Observation Deck of Brasstown Bald in the fall

Observation Deck of Brasstown Bald in the fall

Autumn is my favorite season of the year. There are so many wonderful, fun, exciting ways to engage your five senses right here in Union County and enjoy experiences of which city folk can only dream! Here are a few of my suggestions for great autumn activities.

See – Take a ride along any of our scenic byways or mountain roads and delight in the explosion of autumn color – Richard Russell, GA 180, and US 129 South are a few of my favorites. This is a great time of year to make your way to the top of Brasstown Bald and see unmatched natural beauty. Finally, everyone will be able to enjoy the many scarecrows around town as part of our Scarecrow-Ville event.

Touch – Why not take a trip to an alpaca farm and pet these lovable creatures?   You’ll find a great selection of alpaca fiber clothing and accessories to keep you warm as the temperature drops. How about Southern Tree Plantation with their petting zoo and pumpkin patch?

Taste – This will be your last chance to pick up fresh, local produce at the Union County Farmers Market to make your own perfect autumn meal. Contact the Chamber for a list of old time general stores where you’ll find the perfect ingredients to complete your recipe.   Or if you are like me and prefer someone else do the cooking, try one of our many delicious restaurants including our newest Farm To Table restaurant, The Sawmill Place. Stock up on Sorghum Syrup to enhance your morning biscuit or make your way to our local winery or craft beer shop for a sip of the season.

Smell – Stop by a local retailer and pick up your favorite scented candle. The smell of apple or pumpkin pie will lift your mood. Step foot into one of our local bakeries and inhale autumn yumminess!

Hear – This is a great time for music in the mountains. Visit one of our many upcoming festivals – the Indian Summer Festival in Suches, the Sorghum Festival at Meeks Park, and the Fall Hoedown at Vogel State Park. There are concerts each Friday night at the Historic Courthouse on the square or check out our online events calendar for local music events around town.

Be sure to pick up a copy of the North Georgia Farm Trail guide in the Chamber of Commerce/Welcome Center and explore all of the agritourism sites in the area. This is the perfect time of year to get up, get out, and get happy!

For additional shopping, dining, lodging, and attraction information, contact the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce at 706-745-5789, online at wwwVisitBlairsvilleGA.com, or me directly at President@BlairsvilleChamber.com.