It is that season when I ponder most often on that for which I’m grateful.  A lot of what I’m grateful for centers around where we live here in Northeast Georgia.  I was born here in Gainesville, Georgia.  I grew up and went to high school in Dawson County (Dawsonville) over near where the North Georgia Premium Outlet Mall now is.  Most of the changes I’ve witnessed have been positive.

What makes North Georgia the best place in the world to live and raise a family:

-Four distinct seasons.  We are experiencing unseasonably cold weather for Thanksgiving here in North Georgia.  As I sit typing this by the fire, the thermometer says it's 29 degrees outside and snow flurries are forecast for the mountains just north of here.  I hate being cold and cold weather, in general.  But this will make me appreciate spring and my favorite season, summer, even more.  Fall is a close second as to a favorite season.  The fall color this year was just spectacular.  This photo was taken on a walk in the neighborhood by the Hiawassee River at Hi River Country in Hiawassee just a few weeks ago.

-Hiking and Natural Beauty.  Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve, a 2,500 acre park in South Hall County offers miles of nature trails along with the Elachee Nature Science Center, a wildlife garden and host of nature activities.  We are close to the Appalachian Trail in North Georgia, as the 3782 foot summit of Springer Mountain in Dawson County is its southern terminus.  The Hike Inn is a great hiking destination.  Start at the top of Amicalola Falls and end up at the inn for a relaxing dinner and camaraderie.  I took the photo below one evening at dusk at The Hike Inn.  The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is a just a short drive away and offers a plethora of opportunities for day hikes.

-Kayaking and Canoeing.  I live just a stone’s throw from the site of the 96 Olympic Rowing Venue, now known as the Lake Lanier Olympic Center.  The US Girls Rowing Team rented my house during the 96 Olympics.  As a result of the Olympics being held here in Hall County, we now have a world class venue that hosts several major competitions annually.   The Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club and the Lake Lanier Rowing Club offer lessons and events for teams and individuals.  Here's a photo I took from the air a few weeks ago of the rowing venue where the Chattahoochee River comes in to Lake Lanier.

-Golfing. I am amazed at the number of golf courses in North Georgia.  There are still courses out there I haven’t played.   Some of my favorites are Chattahoochee Golf Club and Chicopee Woods Golf Course in Gainesville, White Path Golf Club in Ellijay and Butternut Creek Golf Course in Blairsville.

-World class medical care.  With the Ronnie Green Heart Center at the recently renovated and expanded Northeast Georgia Medical Center, we are privileged to have some of the best health care providers in the world right here in Gainesville, Georgia.  Two clients have recently told me that living here near this high-tech heart center literally saved their lives.  I predict that we will have people move here and buy second homes near Gainesville in the future simply to take advantage of this world class care.

-Lake Lanier.  The 38,000 acre lake encompasses 59 square miles of water and has 692 miles of shoreline in Hall, Forsyth, Dawson, Lumpkin and Gwinnett Counties.  It’s one of America’s most popular lakes with several million visitors annually enjoying its recreational facilities, the newest of which is the Don Carter State Park in North Hall County off Clarks Bridge Road.  I visited there for the first time a few days ago and was amazed at the beauty and tranquility of this 1,000 acre waterfront park that offers camping, cabins and picnic facilities.  These are a few shots I took at the Don Carter State Park…

-Lake Chatuge.  Absolutely and without a doubt, the prettiest lake I've ever seen.  Surrounded by mountains, this small TVA Lake spans just 7,500 acres from Northeast Georgia into North Carolina with 132 miles of shoreline.  It's easy to spot Georgia's tallest mountain peak, Brasstown Bald Mountain from many spots on the lake.  Hiawassee and Young Harris are the northeast Georgia cities located closest to the lake.  This photo was snapped last winter from our boat there.

-Wineries.  North Georgia is now home to a host of wineries.  A couple of my favorites are Wolf Mountain Vineyards just out of Dahlonega and Crane Creek Vineyards in Young Harris.  Most all of them are now popular sites for weddings and they host tastings every weekend.  For more information on North Georgia Wineries, visit www.georgiawine.com.  Crane Creek Vineyard hosts several tastings and festivals each year.  This is a photo from a recent festival and tasting.

-Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.  As an avid traveler, I’m thankful that I can be on the Park N Fly van in just an hour.  In talking to friends across the country, I’ve learned that almost everyone has to come through Atlanta’s airport traveling at some point, since it’s the busiest airport in the world and an international hub.

-Sweet tea.  I’ve learned in traveling that you can’t get sweet tea just anywhere.  I am thankful for institutions like Poor Richard's in Gainesville, in business for over 35 years and Crossroads Deli, in business for over 20 years in Gainesville.  Both serve delicious, sweetened iced tea and are among my favorite spots to eat in North Georgia.

-Rotary in District 6910.  Atlanta will be host to the Rotary International Convention in 2016-17.  I was recently chosen by a nominating committee as District Governor candidate for Rotary District 6910 in 2016-17.  My home club is Rotary Club of Hall County.  I am excited about introducing and showing off our District in North Georgia to the World in 2016-17, along with all North Georgia has to offer.  Shown here with our District 6910 Governor Elect Bill Strickland, I am holding the beautiful flowers the club surprised me with in a celebration that made me queen for a day at last week’s meeting.

If you need help with real estate in North Georgia, whether buying or selling, contact me via my website at KimWaters.com.  I hope you and your family enjoy a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.


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