Thanks for coming back for the second reason why you should consider Blairsville in Union County as one of your Top Picks of places to consider retiring. I believe that Art has some very compelling reasons why you should do just that.
Reason 2: Why You Should Retire In The North Georgia Mountains
Union County is a scenic wonderland of mountains, forests, lakes, streams, waterfalls, and wildlife. For those who love the outdoors and discovering natural beauty, we have a lot to offer. The Union County Chamber of Commerce receives around 3,000 visitors each year looking to relocate, retire, or vacation. Come, relax and enjoy our Beautiful North Georgia Mountains and friendly people.
On January 9, 2008, the City of Blairsville was officially designated as a Better Hometown Community through the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. Core areas of attention include Organization, Design, Economic Restructuring and Promotion. The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is continuing their efforts toward downtown revitalization by adding new and exciting downtown festivals, organizing clean-up days on the square, identifying and recruiting attractive downtown businesses, and planning appropriate streetscape. The DDA was recently awarded a Transportation Enhancement Grant through the Georgia Department of Transportation to assist with their streetscape efforts.
Union County is known for its Blue Ridge Mountain beauty and world-famous sorghum syrup, and Union is one of the three Northeast Georgia counties situated completely within the Chattahoochee National Forest. Union County has 204,736 acres of land, 97,843 of which is Chattahoochee National Forest. Blairsville, the County seat, is located 112 miles north of Atlanta, and about a 2 hour drive from Chattanooga, Tennessee and Asheville, North Carolina. Union County is easily accessed by well-developed highways and an area airport.
Union County boasts several structures on the National Register of Historic Place. The Old Historic Courthouse, located on the square in downtown Blairsville, is a Romanesque style brick and granite structure built in 1899. Unique in its Appalachian Georgia setting, the Old Courthouse was recently restored, adding a new bell tower and clock that chimes each day, replicating the look and charm of the original building. The courthouse now serves as a local history museum and cultural center. On Friday nights during summer and fall the beautifully restored courtroom on the second floor serves as a concert hall, filled with the sounds of local bluegrass, country and gospel music. Others include the Old Blairsville Jail (currently Blairsville City Hall), the Walasi-Yi on the Appalachian Trail and the Raburn Casteel House.
Butternut Creek Golf Course and Meeks Park are both part of the Union County Recreation Department. The golf course includes a clubhouse, Pro Shop, large picnic pavilion and 18 challenging holes. Meeks Park is a beautiful recreation complex with paved scenic walking trails bordering Butternut Creek. The park also includes picnic areas and a public pool offering senior water programs, such as water aerobics. Meeks Park is home to the Butternut Creek Festival, Blairsville Scottish Festival and Highland Games, Fourth of July fireworks, The Sorghum Festival and many other community activities.
Misty Mountain Model Railroad, America’s largest 0-gauge train display is a 3,400 square foot layout with 14 0-gauge Lionel trains traveling on a mile of track over 12 bridges and 4 trestles and through 15 tunnels. This model railroad is a sure to delight all.
Union County is unsurpassed for natural beauty. Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia, delights with a 360 degree vista of four states atop Georgia’s highest elevation of 4,784 feet. The Museum offers a film about the Bald and the area. Hiking trails and picnicking areas are available. The observation tower at the summit has panoramic daytime views and nighttime vistas that delight astronomers.
The Appalachian Trail winds through the heart of Union County. At the top of Blood Mountain, is the Walasi-Yi Center, a historical stone structure built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The trail itself passes through the Walasi-Yi Center marking the only covered portion of the Appalachian Trails 2100 plus miles.
Vogel State Park, located 11 miles south of Blairsville, is Georgia’s second oldest state park. Within the park is a beautiful lake and waterfall as well as a CCC Museum. Hiking, fishing, paddle boats, and mini-golf are some of the activities available at the park. Vogel is also the location of music & cultural events throughout the year.
Helton Creek Falls is just one of our local area waterfalls. Helton Creek Falls is a beautiful double falls set in deep hardwood forest. The total vertical drop of the falls is more than 100 feet. A 300 yard trail leads to the falls. Other waterfalls include DeSoto Falls, and Blood Mountain Falls.
Lake Nottely, is a 4,180 acre lake with 106 miles of shoreline. Originally built by the Tennessee Valley Authority, for the purpose of flood control and power generation, Lake Nottely serves as recreation for boating, swimming, fishing, picnicking, and camping. There are two marinas and several public boat ramps along the lake.
In addition to its natural beauty, the area provides plenty of recreation and entertaining events for all ages and interests including festivals, concerts, parades, and civic and cultural organizations.
The Blairsville Scottish Festival and Highlands Games was designated a Southeast Tourism Society “Top 20 Event” for spring of 2008. The festival, which takes place the 2nd weekend in June, includes bagpipes, bands, highland dancers, genealogy information and athletic competitions along with Scottish gifts and food. The Butternut Creek Festival, a July event, is in its 10th year. The Festival is limited to 65 of the finest artists and hand craftsmen from throughout the mountain area of North Georgia, western North Carolina, and eastern Tennessee.
Hungry? There a variety places to dine in Blairsville, offering a little something for everyone. From country cooking to fine dining and everything in between Blairsville’s array of family-run restaurants are a great place to find just what you want for a country-style breakfast, a hearty lunch or a relaxing dinner.
If you missed Reason 1, be sure to catch up on it and check back real soon for #3 of 10 Reasons Why You Should Retire In The North Georgia Mountains.
Meanwhile, if you have any questions or concerns about Blairsville or Union County, please feel free to Contact Me or simply pick up the phone and give me a call at 706.633.8186, I would love to talk with you. I hope you are enjoying these series of articles, and I look forward to having you back on The Porch.
Make it a GREAT Day!