... You’ll be Captivated By it’s Charms Blairsville Georgia has the energy of con-temporary life combined with traditions of the history of the Appalachian Mountains. Every year people travel to visit this quaint little town and are captivated by it’s charming downtown city and friendly hometown hospitality. Visitors are immediately drawn to the Courthouse, located in the center of a traffic circle built in 1899. Although the original clock tower has been removed it is still visible on display with a Museum open to the public. The Union County Historical Society has nightly bell music from the tower and Friday Night Concerts of local bands and Gospel singings May – October. Blairsville was incorporated in 1835 & named for Frank (Francis Preston) “Blair”, who was a Washington, D.C. newspaper editor. History abounds in downtown Blairsville at the Mountain Life Museum, which replicates life in the early days. The Mock House circa 1906 and Payne Cabin. Other historical sites include The Reece Farm & Heritage Center, homestead of the famous poet Byron Herbert Reece. Continuing South on Hwy. 129 is the Walasi Yi Center; located at the top of Blood Mountain where the 2,175-mile-long Appalachian Trail passes through. Visitors will relish the ever-changing panorama of this breathtaking scenery of the many opportunities of Recreational activities including golf, hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding, as well as fishing and watersports. Lake Nottely Reservoir, a 4,180-acre lake has a dam reservoir that features a beach, camping area and is a popular place forviewing wildlife. Many Watersports outlets provide fishing supplies seasonal boating & jet ski rentals to help you enjoy this beautiful scenic mountain paradise. The Chattahoochee National Forest in Union County covers more than 98,000 acres. Adventurers can explore eight wonderful waterfalls, including Vogel State Park just south of town, as well as petroglyphs left by ancient natives in the soapstone at Trackrock Archeological Area, just east of Blairsville. Brasstown Bald offers a 360 degree view of breath-taking sights at 4,784 ft. with an Observation Deck and Visitors Center open May– November. The Downtown area has many events including the Spring Arts, Crafts, & Music Festival held Memorial Day weekend. The heart of the town has cruise-in on the square, parades, concerts, great shopping, and restuarants. Other annual events include The Blairsville Scottish Festival and Highland Games held each June with Bagpip Bands, dancing, Scottish food, children’s games, Historical Re-enactors and atheletes. The Butternut Creek Festival held in July with local and regional handmade Arts & Crafts. The Sorghum Festival in October that showcases Sorghum Syrup making, great food and live entertainment. Year round events and beautiful scenery invite people to lodge in cabins, retreats, and campgrounds located throughout Blairsville for family vacations, weddings, and weekend getaways. Local wineries and distilleries offer tastings for agri-tourism and often have entertainment on weekends. Where ever you travel in Blairsville, you will want to come back to the “Charms” that this town has to offer! For more information visit www.VisitDowntownBlairsville or www.VisitBlairsville.com [...]
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If you're looking for remote beauty in the National Forest; just over the North Georgia border, you will find Fires Creek Recreation Area, nestled in the quiet wilderness of Clay County, N.C. Sheltered in abundant flora and fauna are dozens of springs that unite to create Fires Creek and Leatherwood Falls that flow into the Hiwassee River. Fires Creek Rim Trail is 23.4-mile hiking and horseback riding trail within Nantahala National Forest that travels around the rim of Fires Creek Wildlife Management Area and is an ideal location for picnicking, swimming, horseback riding, and trout fishing. It offers several side trails and access roads and is generally entered from the Fire's Creek Picnic Area along the trail to a 0.7-mile loop, that goes to Leatherwood Falls. Upon reaching Leatherwood Falls, Fire's Creek Rim Trail travels right as it climbs to the ridge. The trail offers vistas as it crosses several high elevation balds and tight passages through hardwoods, pines, hemlock, ferns, mountain laurel, and rhododendron. The Leatherwood Loop trail is a 3.5-mile moderate hike that takes approx. 3 hours and begins at Fires Creek Picnic Area and follows Leatherwood Branch up to the ridge top. At this point, the trail connects with the original Rim Trail and loops back into Fires Creek Picnic Area. Carver Gap has an elevation of almost 3,000 ft. and is a 3.5-mile moderate hike that takes approx. 2 hours with good views of Lake Chatuge. Dispersed camping sites, more difficult trails, and access to primitive camping areas are located at Bristol Campground, Huskins Branch, Chunky Gal, and Bald Springs. Fires Creek is a designated bear sanctuary and visitors should be cautious for black bears, wild boars, mountain goats, as well as copperhead and timber rattlers. Many visitors typically see small game such as squirrels, wild turkey, white-tailed deer, warblers, and ruffed grouse. A two-plus-mile section of Fires Creek is designated by N.C. State as Delayed Harvest Stream and is restocked of wild Rainbow, Brown, and Brook Trout. These streams are designated as catch and release, single hook, artificial lures, from October 1st till the first Saturday of June. From the first Saturday in June till October 1st, Delayed Harvest Streams follow hatchery-supported regulations and waters are open year-round. 30 minutes from downtown Murphy and roughly 20 minutes from downtown Hayesville. Fires Creek is part of the Nantahala National Forest, Tusquitee Ranger District, and is managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. Located just 30 minutes from Murphy & 20 minutes from Hayesville off US 64. Directions: From US 64 turn at Fires Creek Rd. onto NC 1302. (Citgo service station) After about 4 miles, make another left (also marked) onto NC 1344. It's about 1 mile to Hunters Camp and another .7 mile to the Leatherwood Falls parking area.
Rated as one of America’s 20 Best State Parks by Adventure Journal and one of Georgia’s seven wonders, Tallulah Gorge draws admirers as one of the most breathtaking sites. The Niagara Falls of the Southeast is a 1,000-foot gash in Tallulah Dome that drops the Tallulah River over six waterfalls in one mile. Mountain biking and hiking are popular here, as well as some serious multipitch rock climbing. But the real deal here is boating, rafting and kayaking the Tallulah when the upstream Georgia Power Company opens its dam, a few times a year. Tallulah Gorge State Park has spectacular 1,739 acres of wilderness with recreational opportunities from Georgia’s State Parks. Highlights of Tallulah Falls include: The Jane Hurt Yarn Interpretive Center that highlights the rich history of this Victorian resort town, as well as the rugged terrain and fragile ecosystem of the area. Additionally, an award-winning film takes viewers on a dramatic journey through the gorge. Recreation abounds with picnic areas, campgrounds, overlooks, 6 Hiking trails, stairs leading down into the gorge and even a suspension bridge that crosses the canyon 80 feet above its bottom. There is shore and boat fishing on all 3 lakes: Tallulah, Tugalo, & Yonah. Spend the afternoon picnicking at Terrora Beach, or play on the tennis courts. There is a public beach for swimming on Tallulah Lake & public playground located at the day use area of Tallulah Gorge State Park. Tallulah Gorge State Park is open daily from 8 a.m. until dark. There is a parking fee. The entrance is on U.S. 441 in Tallulah Falls, GA. Access to the canyon bottom is by permit only. Permits are free and can be obtained at the interpretive center, but note that ONLY 100 permits are issued per day. The park is extremely popular and the quota of permits is often filled first thing in the morning. For more information call 706-754-7981 or visit gastateparks.org/TallulahGorge.
Becky Branch Falls This 20-foot cascade is located just five minutes from downtown Clayton and is easily accessible. Clayton/Rabun County Area: From Clayton, drive east on Warwoman Road for 2.8 miles and park on the left side of the road. Walk up the right side of the branch on the trail for about 200 yards to a bridge at the base of the falls. Estatoah Falls Estatoah Falls is a large, open waterfall that may be viewed from the highway. Directions: It is about 1/2 mile beyond Dillard. Turn right on Highlands/Sky Valley Road (GA 246). Start looking for the falls on the right after 1 mile. There is a pull-out vantage point near the falls about 1 mile up the mountain. Hemlock Falls The scenic two-mile trail leading to Hemlock Falls teases visitors with the sounds of rushing water during the entire hike. From Clayton: take 76W to HWY 197. Follow HWY 197 to Moccasin Creek State Park/ Lake Burton Fish Hatchery, turning right onto Andersonville Lane, the gravel road across from the hatchery. Continue 0.5 miles until the road dead ends at the trailhead. Follow the trail along Moccasin Creek. You will cross a bridge above one set of falls and will pass another small set of falls on your left before continuing up the trail to the larger Hemlock Falls. Horse Trough Falls A succession of five waterfalls graces this 170-acre scenic area. These falls have an estimated total vertical drop of 300 feet. Helen/Hiawassee Area: Take GA 75 north from Helen for 11.4 miles. Turn right on Forest Service Road 283 at the High Shoals sign. Go 1.5 miles on this road to the High Shoals Scenic Area. Martin Creek Falls This two-tier waterfall is 35 feet high with aquatic plants covering the weeping rock wall on the left. This 20-minute walk (.5 mile) follows the Bartram Trail along the west side of the creek. Clayton/Rabun County Area: From Clayton, go east on Warwoman Road for 3 miles. Turn left onto Forest Service Road 152, and drive past the Game Checking Station. The park drive is .5-mile. Park in a small cleared camping area on the left bend in the road. Walk west from the camping area. Cross Martin Creek, then travel uphill for about .4 mile to the top of the falls. Minnehaha Falls The Minnehaha Trail, .4-mile in length, follows Fall Branch until it dead ends at Minnehaha Falls. This waterfall is approximately 100 feet high (falling and shoaling). Clayton/Rabun County Area: Take U.S. 23/441 north from Tallulah Falls for three miles to the Rabun Beach Recreation Area sign. Turn left onto Old 441. Go 2.5 miles and take a left on Lake Rabun Road. Go 1 mile past Recreation area. Take a left on Low Gap Road. Follow Bear Gap road which forks to the left. Go 1.5 miles to the sign marking the trail on the right side of the road.
Track Rock Gap Archaeological Area is the location of a series of soapstone boulders covered with petroglyphs made by Native Americans over 1,000 years ago. There are hundreds of carvings in a wide range of figures. It’s one of the most significant rock art sites in the Southeastern United States. Track Rock was a place of power within the sacred landscape of the American Indian Nations where the activities of ancient humans were influenced by spirit beings. It sits at the threshold of the spirit world. Rocks carved with footprints and tracks signified a doorway into the domain of dangerous spirit beings. Depictions of footprints and tracks are physical testimony that spirit beings were there at some time in the past, that they could still be lingering somewhere close by in the present, and that they may return unexpectedly at any time in the future. As early as 3,600 years ago, Native Americans were removing pieces of the soft but durable soapstone to make bowls which were particularly well suited for cooking as they held and radiated heat without breaking. The picture carvings were made by Native Americans during repeated visits over several hundred years beginning around A.D. 1,000. Most likely, the Cherokee, Catabwa and/or Creek tribes made the carvings. In the 1800’s, early American explorers discovered the Track Rock site and it has fascinated people ever since. Recording, studying and preserving of the site began in earnest in 2009. The carvings at Track Rock were made in one of two ways. Many of the figures were created by repeated blows in the same spot using hammer stones to create the desired shape. Some of the figures were created by rubbing a hard stone back and forth to carve the design into the rock. Although soapstone is considered a soft rock, it is still rock and rather hard to carve. It took a lot of time and effort to create these figures that have lasted a thousand years. Some of the shapes that can be seen include: 252 cupules, 22 oval shapes, soapstone bowl extraction scars, deer, horse, bird, squirrel, and bear tracks, cross-in-ring motifs and nested ring design, human figures, human footprints (one with 6 toes!), and one giant’s, footprint, maze-like networks, squares, tridents, zigzags, curved and straight lines, and scalloped edges. Unfortunately, signs of vandalism can be seen throughout the area in the form of square shaped depressions with flat topped pedestals in the middle that are left behind when looters chisel out the petroglyphs. There are also several areas when vandals have carved their initials over the top of the ancient marks forever destroying those petroglyphs. Track Rock Gap is open to public visitation and no fee is charged. When visiting the site, remember that the intensity of natural lighting can influence how much you are able to see. Bright mid-day sun makes it hard to see most of the figures, and the best times to visit are early or late in the day, when the light [...]