Tag Archives: hiking

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.

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.

 

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!

 

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.

 

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!

 

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.

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.

 

Geocaching, a Treasure Hunt in your own Backyard

Looking for an outdoor activity that the whole family can enjoy? Geocaching is a great family fun excursion that is inexpensive and gets you outside. The North Georgia mountains are meant to be explored, so plug in those coordinates and go hunting for treasure!

The creation of geocaching came shortly after the improvements were made to GPS accuracy by the U.S. government in 2000.  GPS enthusiast Dave Ulmer wanted to test the new system, and so he hid a container in the woods and noted the GPS coordinates. He called it the “Great American GPS Stash Hunt” and encouraged others online to participate and posted his stash coordinates so others could look for it. This was the first instance of what we now call Geocaching.

What do you need?
For this high tech hiking trip, all you need to participate is your own GPS device – a smartphone with a GPS app will work as well. At the Geocaching website you can find geocaches (“caches” for short) all over the world to hunt. The Blairsville list even includes a cache that takes you in and around the Union County Public Library. The container may be hard to find, but keep following the coordinates and clues. The cache may include a log book to write your name in, and some “treasures” to take as a prize. Remember to bring your own small item to leave behind!

Where to go?
You can find geocaches all over the world! But you don’t have to travel far to find adventure. Geocaching is a great way to explore North Georgia, including the areas you might have overlooked. There are trails all over Georgia, including Blairsville’s own Vogel State Park. For an outdoor activity with lots of family fun, geocaching can’t be beat.

Fun Family Activities in Blairsville

When you hear the phrase “family fun”, what comes to mind may be the stress, long days, and lots of money. But that doesn’t have to be the case! Blairsville has activities for all ages that are free and don’t require detailed scheduling. We’ve compiled five free activities so you can spend less time thinking about time and money, and more time enjoying the beautiful North Georgia mountains with your family!

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 at our spring hikes guide [insert link to spring hikes guide blog when available].

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.

 

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.