Relax and refresh at a cabin in the mountains inside Vogel State Park. (©Georgia Department of Natural Resources)
By Jennifer McKee
Located approximately four hours northwest of Augusta, Blairsville beckons with small-town charm and serene natural surroundings. It’s home to Vogel State Park, the second oldest state park in Georgia, and Brasstown Bald, Georgia’s highest peak.
This gem in the North Georgia mountains affords gorgeous views at every turn. To maximize its peacefulness, make a cabin at Vogel your home base, where you can wake up to a babbling brook and wildlife right outside your front door. It’s stocked with everything you need—kitchen implements, comfy seating to sink back into and a bin full of games should you wish to forgo the complementary Roku.
You may find it hard to leave your cabin, but there are many more wonders to explore. The downtown area is just eight miles away, and a leisurely day of shopping is at hand. It’s easy to make a loop of the boutiques as they’re centered around a town square, with the Union County Historical Society’s 1899 Courthouse as the centerpiece. We suggest parking in one spot, such as the convenient (and delicious) Cabin Coffee Company, to start your journey, and later refuel to press on!
Downtown boutiques to put on your radar are Keen Creations, Rustic Mountain Decor, Sunflowers on the Square and Blue Ridge Cotton Company. And don’t miss Granddaddy Mimm’s Distilling Company, which recently moved into a larger location and produces the best moonshine we’ve ever tasted, from an original family recipe. It’s also released a new line of vodkas, Owltown, which come in original, raspberry guava and citrus (perfect for a lemon drop martini).
A few miles from downtown lies an antiquing paradise, Victoria’s Antique Mall. Be prepared to spend half the day here! With its multiple rooms and two floors, you’ll be hard pressed not to leave without an armful—or boxful—of goodies. The mall’s even got its own greeter, a friendly feline named Red Butler, who enjoys belly scratches.
All that shopping got you hungry? There are plenty of great food finds in Blairsville as well. The Aviator Cafe is on route to Victoria’s and has inexpensive soup and sandwich combos, burgers, wraps and smoothies. The Sawmill Place is THE place for biscuits, farm-fresh breakfasts and a divine brisket hash. For dinner, the creative Mexican dishes at Lucky’s Taqueria are among the best we’ve had in Georgia.
Of course, no visit to Blairsville would be complete without a stop at Brasstown Bald. Take the shuttle to the visitor center from which you can get a 360-degree view of four states: Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. On a clear day, you can see the skyline of Atlanta, 100 miles away. On your way out of town, don’t miss the gentle creatures at Lasso the Moon Alpaca Farm. You’ll learn about fiber art and get to pet the alpacas and other barnyard animals.