Playing in Wide Open SpacesEllijay, which is located in Gilmer County is the idyllic peaceful valley that is surrounded by majestic Blue Ridge Mountains. Every Fall it is “The Pick” for everyone to enjoy being the “Apple Capital” of Georgia, providing more than 600,000 bushels of delicious mountain grown apples each year.What makes Ellijay more unique is the variety of outdoor recreational opportunities that makes it a great place for playing in wide open spaces.One hundred plus miles of single-track mountain biking trails have earned Gilmer County the official designation as Georgia’s “Mountain Biking Capital” No off season here, with maintained year-round trails that are kept by volunteers and biking associations. Trails like Bear Creek or Pinhoti offer six to ten mile rides for intermediate to advanced riders.The beautiful waterways of the Cartecay Rivers as they come together to form the Coosawattee River. Smaller creeks like Turniptown and Mountaintown offer outdoor enthusiasts another scenic backdrop. The Cartecay’s natural progression form flat-water to Class III rapids and many of the waterways have plenty of play spots for paddlers, kayaks, canoeing, or tubing.Nearby Carters Lake is one of the deepest reservoir lakes in the North Georgia Mountains, at a depth of 450 ft., surface area of 3,200 acres and 62 miles around the shore. The lake is fed by the Coosawattee River out of Ellijay and is located in both Gilmer and Murray Counties. The sparkling waters offer a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities including camping, hiking, bird watching, boating, mountain biking, fishing, hunting and picnicking.Several campgrounds with many amenities are located around Carters Lake including Doll Mountain, Woodring Branch, and Harris Branch Beach. Hiking and biking trails are located in various areas around the lake. Big Acorn Trail (easy) begins at the Carters Lake Visitor Center that displays incredible views of the lake and information on area wildlife, flora, and fauna. Talking Rock Nature Trail (moderate) is one of the longest at two miles and boasts a variety of trees and ferns on the lake. Oak Ridge Nature Trail (moderate) is located in Woodring Branch Park and splits into two loops that are both about half mile walks. Tumbling Waters Nature Trail (easy/moderate) is off Ridgeway Park and overlooks the cascading waters of Tails Creek, just slightly over a mile. Hidden Pond Songbird Trail (easy) begins in various areas around the lake for the novice to the advanced to have a day to enjoy the scenic beauty.Local Agra-culture includes over six wineries in the Gilmer County area and each year the Winegrowers Association of Georgia hosts a Wine Highway Weekend. Fall brings Corn Mazes, Pumpkin Patches, and the many apple orchards that open to the public. The picturesque valley along State Hwy. 52 East, known to locals as “Apple Alley”. Other apple orchards are located on Hwy. 76 North / S.R. 282 and Hwy. 515. They offer a year-round selection of baked goods, including apple pies, fritters, cookies, breads and local crafts. Orchard houses also include fresh grown local peaches, nectarines, [...]
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High above the hills, just about cloud level, hides the rural North Georgia community encompassed by Blairsville-Union County. Far from the screeching strains of city life and even farther from morning rush hours and evening commutes, this mountain town hosts some of the finest eating, lodging, wineries, hiking, and waterfalls in all of Georgia. Here’s the best part: It’s a bit of a secret. Boasting camping, cabins, Lake Trahlyta and her waterfall, Vogel State Park, one of Georgia’s oldest and finest parks, is reason alone to visit. But Blairsville also sits as an anchor to Brasstown Bald, Georgia’s highest peak, as well as Blood Mountain whose views will leave you breathless. Hankering for a hike? Jump on a stretch of the infamous Appalachian Trail, hunt for arrowheads as you walk the Arkaquah Trail, or take a walk through Sosebee Cove where some of the regions largest trees stand sentinel preserving the surrounding forest. Lake Winfield Scott and Lake Nottely offer swimming, boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, and some of the best fishing around. Within a short drive of Blairsville are majestic waterfalls, mountain biking, and breathtaking vistas in every direction. After a day of adventure, head into town where you’ll be warmly greeted by locals whose roots run deep and whose hospitality is contagious. These mountain people roast amazing coffee, serve up incredible farm-to-table eats, and grow grapes for native wines like nowhere you have ever been. It’s astounding to stop at the Farmer’s Market where the produce is piled in the back of pick-up trucks straight from the field where it was freshly harvested. Shopping is equally exciting as merchants offer locally crafted, one-of-a-kind items you just won’t find in any big box stores. Perhaps though, the thing that beckons travelers back to Blairsville-Union County time and again is simply that this community does more than ask you to come for a vacation. It quietly invites you to come fall in love all over again with a place that just feels like home. You won’t want to leave; we promise. www.VisitBlairsvilleGA.com or www.VisitDowntownBlairsville.com
Drive to the quaint cities of Clarkesville and Cornelia to discover one of the most historic towns in northeast Georgia. Visitors are welcomed in both towns with walking friendly brick lined streets to see shops, restaurants, galleries, and antique stores to feel that small town atmosphere. Habersham County takes pride in it’s community by preserving history and natural resources of outdoor recreational parks. Clarkesville Mauldin House - at the corner of E. Waters & Jefferson Street. This large Victorian cottage and adjacent millinery shop date from the late nineteenth century. It serves as Clarkesville’s Welcome Center and the beginning of a walking tour of the Greek, Gothic, Victorian, & Plantation style homes in this beautiful historical district. Scenic Hwy 197 Sam Pitts Park - beside the beautiful Soque River for walking trails, picnic, and playground. Soque River – This winding drive follows the unique tributary of the Chattahoochee River and is over 28 miles long. Use caution as you travel, as at one point on Scenic 197 there will be a dip in the road (clearly marked by a road sign) where the river can flow over the road, this is humorously known as a “Low Bridge”. Many trout fisherman love this watershed, as the Soque River‘s cold temperatures are the secret to the large Rainbow, Brook, & Brown trout that inhabit it. Batesville – has a General Store several area galleries of regional handmade arts and crafts. Mark of the Potter is a scenic and historic grist mill was built in the 1930’s and has a beautiful 25 foot falls from the Soque River that flow beside it. Cornelia The Chenocetah Fire Tower is the last rock-constructed, working fire lookout tower in the east. Built by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) in 1936 for the Chattahoochee National Forest, the stone tower is 40 feet high and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Downtown Cornelia Train Depot as the original terminal was damaged in a fire, and rebuilt in 1914 to it’s current appearance. Inside the terminal is a museum of early railroad memorabilia, model of the Tallulah Falls train, and two restored cabooses by the depot. The “Big Red Apple,” stands near the train depot as a monument that is seven feet tall, 22 ft. in circumference and weighs 5200 lbs. It was shipped from Virginia in 1926 to celebrate the apple industry. Loudermilk Boarding House on Foreacre St. Built in 1908 and listed on The National Register of Historic Places features Joni Mabe’s Panoramic Encyclopedia of Everything Elvis. Lake Russell Recreational Area is situated along the peaceful shore of the 100-acre Lake Russell, this developed recreation area offers 42 campsites that accommodate both tent and RV camping and a picnic shelter with seating for 30 is available on a first come first serve basis. Hiking trails are available year-round and a 4.6 mile loop goes around the shore of this beautiful 100-acre lake.
Fort Mountain takes its name from a peak that has remnants of a stone formation around part of that peak. These mysterious piles of non-native rock, many of them large, form a long discontinuous zig-zag wall that runs more than 928 feet and varies in height from two to six feet.