Families Rule in Blairsville-Union County
Blairsville’s lakes beckon families, from the crystal clear 18-acre Lake Winfield Scott in Suches to the 4,180-acre Lake Nottely. Each offers boating, swimming, fishing, picnicking, hiking and camping – and Lake Nottely has 106 miles of shoreline, two marinas and public boat ramps. Vogel State Park – one of Georgia’s oldest and most popular state parks – has a 20-acre lake and a swimming beach, plus picnic shelters, children’s playground and miles of hiking trails. Families can trek the 300-yard trail to Helton Creek Falls to see twin cascades set in a deep hardwood forest and head to nearby Brasstown Bald Mountain, Georgia’s highest elevation and one that offers a view of four states. On land, family-friendly attractions include, Mountain Life Museum, Sleepy Hollow with its fairytale dwellings, and a miniature collection of castles and palaces at the Old Courthouse Museum.
Everyone goes to play in the park! Bring your family and meet your friends for a picnic at one for 4 covered pavilions or several picnic tables situated along the banks of beautiful Butternut Creek. Children rejoice with 4 baseball fields, 2 softball fields, 2 all-purpose fields, batting cages, a skate park, basketball court, 4 tennis/pickleball courts, community pool and splash pad. Multiple walking trails meander through the park and allow you to explore the Appalachian Sculpture Project and restored waterwheel. Paddle the Nottely River with a canoe/kayak access ramp or play a round of Disc Golf or let your pooch frolic at the dog park. One (1) mile west of Blairsville on Highway 515. For more information call 706-439-6074 or online at www.unioncountyga.gov
Georgia Mountain Research and Education Center
Established in 1930, this research farm is home to several CCC Era structures like the Jarrett Apple House, pottery shed, fruit stand, rock office building, brown house, and the root cellar. Guided tours are available for the Ethnobotanic Gardens, Woodland Medicine Trail, and the Cannery Interpretive Center on Mondays from 9am-1pm, May through September. For more information please call 706-745-2655 or online at www.gmrec.uga.edu
The 4,180-acre TVA-controlled Lake Nottely is a fisherman’s paradise, offering ample opportunities to land largemouth bass, spotted bass, crappie and striped bass, among others. With 106 miles of pristine shoreline nestled in the mountains just northwest of Blairsville, this unspoiled lake offers a breathtaking alpine experience for residents and visitors. Construction of the dam was completed in 1942. It is 184 feet high and stretches 2,300 feet across the Nottely River.
Joshua Dream Ranch
JD Ranch is an animal-assisted therapy ranch dedicated to providing an atmosphere and resources to promote healing, courage, and hope. This includes persons with disabilities by allowing them to experience agility, mobility, and strength vicariously through the animals. Along with those disconnected from society who have a need to gradually reconnect through animals. Veterans of war, for example oftentimes find it beneficial to spend time on the ranch before jumping back into society.
Anyone who is looking for a therapeutic way to de-stress, relax, heal or find inspiration. For more information please call (706) 333-5363 or online at www.jdranch.org
Sleepy Hollow Enterprises
Children of all ages will enjoy this delightful little enchanted park and garden created by former Disney artisan, Art Millican. Peek in the fairy and hobbit houses and observe whimsical figures, whirligigs and more! Visitors can also purchase any of the fairy houses, fairy doors and figurines in the artist's shop or watch the artists at work. For more information please call 706-379-9622 or online at www.whimsicalfairygarden.com
Lardworks Studio at Lasso The Moon Alpaca Farm
Visiting Lardworks Studio/Lasso The Moon Alpaca Farm is a fun, educational, and tactile experience. Have a close encounter with a gentle alpaca and learn about their gorgeous fiber. Watch a glass bead making demonstration or shop in the Farm Store where you will find alpaca yarn, hand dyed silk scarves, felted scarves, hand crafted jewelry, lampwork glass beads and more. Schedule an appointment by calling 706-835-1837 or online at www.alpacamoon.com
Jerae's Unity Alpacas
For an unforgettable experience, come meet these 'hummers'! Walk among them, touch their soft fleece, feed them treats, and learn about their luxurious fiber. Browse the farm store where you will find alpaca items like yarn, socks, hats, gloves, scarves, purses, toys, and more. Please call 706-889-2185 or 478-278-0147 to schedule your alpaca encounter or online at www.jeraesunityalpacas.com