Community Spotlight on Rabun County

Explore Rabun County where Summer-time Living is Easy If outdoor adventure with small town charm is what your looking for this Summer – then Rabun County is your destination. Conveniently located just 90 miles from Atlanta this small northern corner of Georgia is bordered by South Carolina and North Carolina. All roads lead to wilderness and the great outdoors in Rabun County, as approximately, 60% of the land is in National Forest and State Parks. Scenic lakes area a major part of recreational activities and almost 20% is held by by Georgia Power for Lake Burton, Rabun, Seed, and Tallulah. Visitors traveling through the area may miss these waterways as the lakes highlighted are not visible from the major roadway of Hwy. 441 Traveling from north to south, the lakes and dams are: Lake Burton & Burton Dam The largest lake in the series at 2,775 acres and 62 miles of shoreline. Offering three activity areas: Jones Bridge Park with two sheltered picnic areas, Timpson Cove Beach has white sand beach, picnic area, and restrooms. Murray Cove Boat Launch Area has paved boat ramp for small- and medium-sized boats. Lake Seed & Nacoochee Dam 240 acres, 13 mile of shoreline, and two activity areas. The Lake Seed Boat Launch Area has gravel boat ramp for small boats and the Lake Seed Campground offers a white sand beach, wilderness campsites, picnic area, and latrines. Lake Rabun & Mathis Dam The second largest lake at 834 acres, 25 miles of shoreline, and host to Nacoochee Park. Located on the north end of the lake, Nacoochee Park recreation area is perfect for a picnic, fishing on a river-like setting or just relaxing. Located just off of Lake Rabun Road is Rabun Beach recreation area overlooking beautiful Lake Rabun and mountains. It offers camping, hiking, swimming, boating and fishing. 80 tent and trailer campsites are available, some with electrical and water hookups. Hike the 1.3-mile Rabun Beach Trail which ends at Angel Falls. Tallulah Gorge Tallulah Lake, Terrora Plant & Tallulah Falls Dam 63 acres, 3.6 mile of shoreline and home to the Terrora Center. The Terrora Park and Education Center offers a camping area that includes 50 campsites with electrical/water hookups, tables and grills, playground, and pavilion. The Center also has a park with white sand beach, lighted tennis courts, nature trails including trail to Tallulah Gorge overlook & State Park. Visitors should stop in the historic town to see The General Store and enjoy the Jane Hurt Yarn Interpretive Center for more information. Rabun County boasts having “three Georgia State Parks” with Moccasin Creek State Park on Lake Burton, Black Rock Mountain State Park to the North and Tallulah Falls State Park to the South of it’s border. The area has numerous hiking trails in both State Parks plus a portion of the Appalachian Trail winds through on the western border and a 37-mile portion of the Bartram Trail. Picturesque waterfalls abound and many can be easily reached by relatively [...]

Community Spotlight on Rabun County2021-04-23T13:04:03-05:00

Road Trip to Blairsville

From Atlanta, GA 116 mi From Chattanooga, TN 100 mi From Asheville, NC 120 mi From Greenville, SC 124 mi Trackrock Archeological Area - Visit this special site where the people of long ago carved their stories into the boulders of Track Rock. Petroglyph site of ancient Indian origin from which this mountain gap gets its name. Several hiking trails are located in this 52 acre area that is located off Trackrock Gap Rd. Lake Nottely Reservoir - This beautiful 4,180-acre lake has a dam reservoir that features a beach, camping area, hiking and is a popular place for viewing wildlife. Many water sports outlets provide fishing supplies seasonal boating & jet ski rentals to help you enjoy this beautiful scenic mountain paradise. Take Hwy. 129 North and turn left on Nottely Dam Road. Meeks Park - Scenic Nottely River runs through the park making for scenic picnic spots. Located directly off Hwy. 515, the park has ball fields, batting cages, a playground, skateboard park, basketball court, tennis courts, swimming pool, disc golf course, walking trails, nature trails, and dog park. Seasonal events are held here regularly and plays host to the Butternut Creek Festival held in July with local and regional handmade Arts & Crafts. Historic Courthouse & Museum - built in 1899 this beautiful restored building is located in the center of a traffic circle in downtown Blairsville. Although the original clock tower has been removed it is still visible on display with a Museum open to the public. Downtown Blairsville - Stroll the beautiful brick lined sidewalks to shop, eat, and enjoy this friendly small town! Many of the shops have handcrafted arts, souvenirs and flavors from the mountains that are just waiting for you to discover. Mountain Life Museum - The Mock House circa 1906 and Payne Cabin replicates life in the early days. Located just off the town square. The Reece Farm & Heritage Center - is homestead of the famous poet Byron Herbert Reece. Property is on Nottely River and features restored barns, corn crib, chicken house, smokehouse, spring house and petting farm.  Art exhibits tell the story of Byron Herbert Reece, the farmer, writer, and poet who lived on this site located on Hwy. 129. Vogel State Park - also on Hwy. 129, is a 233-acre Sate Park located at the base of Blood Mountain in the Chattahoochee National Forest. The park offers Hiking trails, campsites, cabins, picnic facilities, and activities like geocaching. The 22 acre lake is great for fishing or non-motorized boating activities. During the summer, visitors can cool off at the mountain-view beach. Appalachian Trail & Walasi Yi Center - is located at the top of Blood Mountain on Hwy. 129 where the 2,175-mile-long Appalachian Trail passes through. Listed on the Register of Historic Places, this center offers a hostel and has incredible views from the overlooks. The Woody Gap School - This unique small school K-12 is located off Hwy. 60 in Suches. The Mountain Heritage Preservation Program also has [...]

Road Trip to Blairsville2021-04-23T13:03:53-05:00

Georgia Trails

Many visitors come to explore the hundreds of  trails through North Georgia’s National Forest. Whether you want to see a waterfall, like to go hiking, biking, or horseback riding, here are some suggestions for a trail adventure: Lake Blue Ridge Trail Length 0.6 mile - this loop trail follows the shoreline of Lake Blue Ridge and offers a great view of the lake. It is flat and a good trail for families with young children. From Blue Ridge, take Old Business 5/Old US 76 east for 1.5 miles to Dry Branch Road. Turn right and go 3 miles to the entrance of the Blue Ridge Recreation Area. The trail begins and ends in the picnic area. Talking Rock Nature Trail Length - 2.6 miles roundtrip. The trail meanders through the woods near the dams of Carters Lake. The trail passes a small pond, its branch upstream, over a short ridge, to a small loop at trail’s end to reverse course back to the beginning trailhead.  From Ellijay take Old Hwy 5 4.3 miles south, turn right onto Hwy 382, follow this road 10 miles until its end at Hwy 136. Turn right, go 3.2 miles to turn right at Carters Lake Dam Visitors Center. The trailhead is on the left, on the road leading to Northbank Park. Long Branch Loop Length: 2.0 miles • Rating: Easy. Hiking and mountain bicyclists only. From Blue Ridge travel east (toward Blairsville, GA) on GA Hwy 515, approx. 0.8 miles past intersection with GA Hwy 5. Turn Right at Windy Ridge Rd., go 0.2 miles to dead end with Old U.S. 76. Turn left, go 0.2 miles to Aska Road on right. Continue south on Aska Read 5.9miles to Shady Falls Road. Turn left, proceed 0.2 miles to parking area on left. Three Forks Trail: To the left (North) on the trail is Long Creek Falls (2.3 miles round trip) . To the right is a beautiful section of old growth forest along Stover Creek. Directions: Take 52 East from Ellijay about 4.8 miles. Turn left on Big Creek Road at the Dollar General. Follow this road about 15.4 miles (the final .4 miles are dirt) to Forest Service 58 and turn Right. This road follows Noontootla Creek to Three Forks. Parking is available where the trails cross the road.  

Georgia Trails2021-04-23T13:03:33-05:00

Bald Eagles

A beautiful Bald Eagle has often been seen in the Hiawassee area. Keep your eyes open around Lake Chatuge, and maybe you’ll see him, too! About Bald Eagles • Bald eagles reach full maturity in four to five years. • The female bald eagle is 35 to 37 inches, slightly larger than the male. • Wingspan ranges from 6 to 7 1/2 feet! • Bald eagles can fly to an altitude of 10,000 feet. During level flight, they can achieve speeds of about 30 to 35 mph. • Several eagles soaring in a thermal together is described as a kettle of eagles. • Bald eagles weigh from ten to fourteen pounds. • Bald eagles have 7,000 feathers. • Wild bald eagles may live as long as thirty years. • The bald eagle is a strong swimmer, but if the water is very cold, it may be overcome by hypothermia. • Hunting area varies from 1,700 to 10,000 acres. • All eagles are renowned for their excellent eyesight. • Once paired, bald eagles remain together until one dies. • Bald eagles lay from one to three eggs. • The 35 days of incubation duties are shared by both male and female. • Nesting cycle - about 20 weeks • Today, there are an estimated 9,789 breeding pairs of bald eagles. • Eagles molt in patches, taking almost half a year to replace feathers, starting with the head and working downward. • The bald eagle became the National emblem in 1782 when the great seal of the United States was adopted. • Causes of death - Gun shot wounds, electrocution, poisoning, collisions with vehicles, and starvation. June 28, 2007 - The Department of Interior took the American bald eagle off the endangered species list.

Bald Eagles2021-04-23T13:03:25-05:00

Hamilton Gardens at Lake Chatuge

Spring will soon be here and beautiful trees, shrubs, and flowers will soon be in bloom. Quietly tucked away in the North Georgia Mountains, sits a rare and special treasure. A botanical paradise of walking trails that burst with dogwood, tulip magnolias, native azaleas, wild flowers, trillium, and rhododendron. Located on the banks of Lake Chatuge is Hamilton Gardens, a truly enchanted spot, boasting the largest collection of rhododendrons in the state of Georgia. Hamilton Gardens welcomes visitors to stroll tranquil pine bark trails as they wind through lush foliage of over 400 varieties of rhododendron. Beautiful overlooks, park benches, sculptures, and the stunning views of Lake Chatuge and the majestic mountains surround this 20 acre woodland garden. How did this extensive collection form to develop this garden? Hamilton Gardens initially began in the 1980s with rhododendrons and azaleas that were gifted to Towns County by Fred and Hazel Hamilton. The Hamilton's were collectors of both native azaleas and rhododendrons as well as propagators of the same. Many of the plants located in the gardens are hybrids from their work. They traveled extensively and added to their collection whenever possible. “A Blooming Affair” is held annually from mid-April to mid-May and offers a spectacular visitor experience. Wildflowers, native azaleas, rhododendrons and many other plants come into full color. Our Garden Ambassadors will greet you at the front entrance on Saturdays and Sundays to tell you more about the Gardens and answer any questions you may have. You can also purchase your own rhododendrons and azaleas on Saturdays and Sundays while supplies last. Please visit our website for more information. Outdoor enthusiasts are welcome to study the huge diversity of native wildflowers, plants and trees. There is also a ‘Let’s get growing’ lecture series held twice monthly June – September. There are a variety of topics and are presented by guest speakers who are experts in their field. The lectures are usually held on the first and third Friday of the month at 11am. Moonlight Concerts are also popular at Hamilton Gardens. Bring your chair and favorite snack, relax on the West lawn and enjoy the music by popular artists like Dr. Paul and Teddy Baker. Events may be cancelled due to inclement weather, please follow us on facebook or call for last minute updates. All are welcome to experience the great outdoors at Hamilton Gardens at Lake Chatuge, because beauty surrounds us and everyone loves to walk in a garden to enjoy nature at it's best. Hamilton Gardens at Lake Chatuge is a 501(c)3 Georgia Corporation and donations are appreciated. Open Year Round, 8 AM – Dusk. CDC social distancing rules are in place. Pets are not allowed. Located at 96 Pavilion Rd. in Hiawassee, GA 30546 at the top of Georgia Mtn Fairgrounds, Honor system entry fee, for more information call 706-970-0011, visit hamiltongardens.org or follow us on facebook.

Hamilton Gardens at Lake Chatuge2021-04-23T13:02:06-05:00

Feeling at home in Hambersham

As everyone travels for the Spring and Summer, shouldn’t you feel welcomed and experience the comforts of home in a beautiful and friendly area? Habersham County encompasses many “Feel Right at Home” communities within it’s broad 270 plus miles of pastureland, mountains, river and streams that include the Chattahoochee National Forest. Explore the towns of Clarkesville, Cornelia, and Demorest for a variety of lodging including hotels, cabins, and B&B’s. Lake Russell and Tallulah Falls State Recreational areas invite camping and RV sites. Walking friendly brick lined streets in these towns invite you to see shops, restaurants, galleries, and antique stores to experience that small town atmosphere. Habersham County takes pride in it’s community by preserving history and natural resources of outdoor recreational parks. Long ago, the Cherokee and Creek Indian tribes made these foothills their homeland as settlers came to the area. Habersham County was officially chartered in 1818 and named for Joseph Habersham, a Revolutionary War hero and the first Postmaster General under President John Quincy Adams. Clarkesville was named after General John C. Clarke, governor of Georgia in 1819 – 1821. It was chartered in 1823 as the county seat of Habersham County and was the first of the major resort towns with wealthy families escaping the heat of the coasts of South Carolina & Georgia. Visitors are welcome in the middle of May in the downtown square to enjoy the Mountain Laurel Festival that include activities for the whole family. Northeast Georgia’s Oldest Arts & Crafts event has a parade, duck race, live music, and food. Historical sites in downtown Clarkesville usually start with the Mauldin House, at the corner of E. Waters & Jefferson St. It services as the Clarkesville’s Welcome Center and is the beginning of the towns walking tour of the Greek, Gothic, Victorian, and Plantation style homes in this beautiful historical district. Neighboring Sam Pitts Park located by the beautiful Soque River offers a place for walking trails and picnics. Travel down the road on Scenic Hwy. 197 that follows the river for trout fishing and the small community that feature many regional handmade arts and crafts. Just South of Clarkesville is Demorest, home of Piedmont College which founding roots date back to 1897. The 266 acre campus welcomes the public to visit The Mason- Scharfenstein Museum and Johnny Mize Museum that commemorates the legendary baseball player. The Swanson Center for performing Arts holds periodical shows and events for entertainment. The town of Cornelia was first settled around 1860 for transportation and the railroad along the East Coast. Visitors can now step back in time to downtown Cornelia and see the beautifully restored Train Depot. The museum includes early railroad memorabilia, model of the Talullah Falls train, and two restored cabooses by the depot. The nearby City Park also offers a Splash Pad and Club Canine for family fun. The “Big Red Apple,” stands near the train depot as a monument that is seven feet tall, 22 ft. in circumference and weighs 5200 [...]

Feeling at home in Hambersham2021-04-23T12:58:55-05:00

Waterfalls of Northeast Georgia

Amicalola Falls The highest waterfall in Georgia, falling 729 feet in seven cascades. At the base of the falls, there is a parking area, a reflection pool, and 3/10-mile paved trail leading to an observation deck at the top of the falls. Directions: from Dahlonega, Amicalola State Park’s entrance is on GA Highway 52, east of Ellijay or west of Dahlonega. Anna Ruby Falls Curtis Creek falls 153 feet and York Creek drops 50 feet down the slopes of Tray Mountain in twin waterfalls. The very steep 4/10 mile Anna Ruby Falls Trail is paved and has benches along the trail for sitting or resting while enjoying the beauty of the area. Directions: from Helen, take GA 75 North one mile. Right on GA 356 for 1.5 miles, left on the entrance road to the falls. DeSoto Falls Three falls along a 3 mile section of the DeSoto Falls Trail are maintained for the Hiker’s viewing convenience, and are designated as the  lower (cascading 20 feet), the middle (falls  about 80 feet) and the upper (about 200 feet) DeSoto Falls. Directions: From Dahlonega travel north on US 19 for 13.5 miles to Turners Corner. At this intersection, turn left and proceed on US 129 for 4.2 miles. Shortly after the Walasi-yi Center is a left turn for the park. Becky Branch Falls The 20 foot Becky Branch Falls is easily observed from a wooden bridge which crosses the stream. Becky Branch Falls is accessed via the Bartram Trail. Directions: From Clayton, Georgia go east on Warwoman Road (County Rd. 5) for just less than 3 mile to Poll Creek Road. Park on left side of road by a small branch. Follow the trail on the right side of the branch for about 200 yards to a bridge at the base of the falls. Minnehaha Falls Reported to be one of the most picturesque waterfalls in the region, Minnehaha Falls is 100 feet high. Directions: Travel along 441 toward Clayton Georgia, after crossing the Tallulah Falls Bridge travel 1.7 miles and turn left onto Old Hwy 441. Continue along Old 441 for 2.5 miles to Lake Rabun Road. Turn left onto Lake Rabun Road and travel 5 miles to the Rabun Beach Campground. From the Area 2 campground entrance travel west on Lake Rabun Road for 1.6 miles to Low Gap Road. Turn left onto Low Gap Road and travel 0.2 miles to Bear Gap Road. Turn left onto Bear Gap Road and continue for 1.6 miles to Minnehaha Trail. Raven Cliff Falls The first fall drops 60 feet, then rushes through a split in the face of a solid rock outcropping and drops 20 feet into a deep pool, and then falls another 20 feet to Dodd Creek.  3 other waterfalls can be found on Dodd Creek. Directions: from Helen, take GA 75 north for 1.5 miles. Turn left onto GA 356(75 Alternate) and travel 2.3 miles to the Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway. Turn right and travel 2.8 [...]

Waterfalls of Northeast Georgia2021-04-23T12:58:27-05:00

Warwoman Dell

Warwoman Dell was named to honor a Cherokee Warwoman. Some believe it could have been named for Nancy Hart, the Revolutionary War era woman who may have fought at the Battle of Kettle Creek with her husband and sons. Most likely, though, it was named to honor Nancy Ward, a highly-respected “beloved woman” of the Cherokee Nation who frequented the dell and advised the Cherokee tribal council on war and peace. She was very powerful in the Cherokee clan rule, for she was the last Warwoman in the East. When the Cherokee chiefs voted to go to war, it could only happen if the Warwoman approved. The 66 steps lead to the abandoned Blue Ridge Railroad. Two moderately easy, family-friendly trails lead through this beautiful pocket of wilderness showcasing tall trees, dense vegetation, mosses, wildflowers, and three waterfalls. The hike visits the popular Becky Branch Falls, historic areas of Warwoman Dell and several smaller waterfalls on a 1.4 mile loop. While it’s not a long hike, it’s an exceptionally beautiful one. This is a fairly moderate, short trail, with parking and a roadside picnic spot. Directions: Traveling north US Hwy 441 in downtown Clayton, one block after US 76 comes in from the left, go east on Warwoman Dell Road for 2.8 miles. When the road makes a sharp curve to the left, watch for Warwoman Dell Recreation Area entrance on the right. Follow the gravel road to the first parking lot.

Warwoman Dell2021-04-23T12:58:35-05:00
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