Young Harris, Hiawassee and Blairsville, Georgia are 3 small towns in the Northeastern part of Georgia. My sister and her family and my parents all live there. We attempted to but the job market is pretty slack and it's mostly retirement folks, except for the Young Harris Performing Arts College, which is the majority of the popluation in Young Harris.
Anyway, it's a beautiful place to visit and it's totally relaxing. There are plenty of things for a family to do, but since you are high in the mountain tops, your cell phone reception is a little lacking, but you do get it, based on where you are.
This area is marketed as being 2 hours from everywhere - meaning, Atlanta, Chattanooga and Knoxville. So the mall isn't very close unless you drive south into Gainesville, Ga. There is a little German Alpine town called Helen, that has quite a few hotels and is only about 20 minutes away from Young Harris. But you will have to drive over a curvy mountain top to go back and forth. I don't particularly enjoy that route, but it's beautiful. I just get a little queezy and never knew I'd get that way in the car. But mountains can do that to you.
There is a local vineyard that is small, but cool. It's called, Crane Creek Vineyards, so it's a pleasant stop. Just call ahead and make sure they are open. During the winter time, many roads close down due to areas that get sudden snow, but for the most part, it's not bad.
There are a few restaurants in town. Enrico's Italian Restaurant is owned by my sister and her husband; the Mexican restaurant is Monte Alban, and several pizza shops, McDonald's, Mary Ann's Country Kitchen, and really a nice selection of other cuisines, but many of the restaurants offer lots of fried chicken and buffets. In the town of Blairsville, which is where my parents are and only 3 miles away, there are larger grocery stores, a KFC, Zaxby's Chicken, Waffle House and more. Oh, and a brand new Wal-Mart - THAT was the talk of the town.
The Cabbage Patch Babyland General Hospital is just under an hour away and south. It's definitley a place to visit and it's free. It's hysterical when a Cabbage Patch Baby is harvested from the patch.
If you like vacationing rustic, you can bring a camper or rent a cabin. Or, if you prefer high style, stay at the Brasstown Valley Resort, which is where most of the pictures I included are from.
This area of NE Georgia is definitely worth checking out if you are ever on Hwy 515/76 and heading to North Carolina or Tennessee.
Half of the pictures are from this past May and the "winter" ones are from this Thanksgiving.
Update On Apr 18, 2010: We'll be headed back up to the Georgia Mountains for our other niece's graduation. We are really looking forward to seeing the area again and taking more pictures. Very peaceful and maybe this time we can check out the vineyard.