On July 15th the Tennessee Valley Authority started its long-term, deep-water drawdown of Lake Blue Ridge. This drawdown will take approximately four months to get the lake to the lowest level needed for work to repair the penstock, a gate that controls water flow from the lake, and the dam itself. The water will be held at about 1,625 feet, about 60 feet lower than summer pool, for approximately six months beginning in late October. There will be no boat ramps available once the lake reaches its lowest level. However, during the drawdown, TVA and the owners of the Lake Blue Ridge Marina have negotiated a deal to allow free launching at the marina - which has the best low-water-access ramp on the lake - until the ramp becomes unusable. They are going to try and keep the marina open as long as they can, but there will come a point where they will have to shut it down. Just a note ~ launching a boat from the low-water ramp will probably require a 4x4 truck.
While drawing down the lake, fish populations will obviously be condensed into a smaller area, potentially making them easier to catch. DNR is encouraging everyone to keep their limit of spotted bass. They are an invasive species that compete with the native smallmouth and walleye. At the same time, anglers are encouraged to practice catch-and-release with smallmouth bass. Small boats (boats you can carry) may still be launched on the lake during the period when the low-water ramp is closed. The lake is NOT going to be shut down completely during any of this project.
The hours of wadable time for fishermen on the tailwater will not be significantly different during the drawdown than it has been in the past. The main reason the project must be completed is safetly and stability of the dam. Originally built in 1931, the dam and penstock are decades behind in the need for renovation. Once the penstock is repaired, the dam itself will be strengthened with more materials like rock, gravel and earth.
The entire project is estimated to be completed, and the lake should be back close to full summer pool by the end of August 2011.
Blue Ridge, GA is famously known as one of the very few places in the world that you can find "Staurolite". The offical state mineral of Georgia, "Staurolite" (often called "Fairy Crosses" or "Cross Rocks") were believed to be created by the tears of fairies who could not help but cry when they heard of Christ's crucifixion. While this is obviously an old christian myth, it has stuck with the stone. Only found in very few regions of the world like New Mexico, Russia, and North Georgia, these stones are much sought after as good luck pieces, charms, lavalieres, and natural curiosities. Every stone is in some shape of a cross, and millions of people are now wearing them in various forms of good luck jewerly. No two Fairy Crosses are the same. Each has its own unique shape, most commonly broken down into three categories.
The Maltese Cross - a perfectly formed cross that is the most difficult to find and thus most highly prized by collectors. The second is the more common Saint Andrews Cross, a more angled cross rather than a horizontal and vertical shaped cross. And the third is the Prismatic Cross, while less than perfectly shaped, it is in the form of a cross, and is the most common and readily found variety. These crosses can be found on old trails around the metamorphic rock region, such as game, hiking or hunting trails.
Georgia is becoming a celebrated place to not only produce traditional sweet muscadines....but premium winegrapes as well. "Georgia's Wine Country" stretches from Savannah to Young Harris. Fruit Wines, Muscadines, American & European winegrapes are grown all over Georgia. Although Georgia may not be known nationally for its wines, the Wineries in the North Georgia Mountains are becoming popular weekend jaunts for locals & visitors. Good for a day trip or stay in a luxury North Georgia Cabins. Georgia's wine country offers a great escape from the city. Although it may not be Napa, the scenery is gorgeous and the wines - some which are poured at top-notch resturants - are worth the drive.
An e-mail from a recent guest who stayed at Riverview Lodge:
Gary and Lissa,
I know you must hear this a lot but I needed to let you know how incredible your homes are. My husband and I were in awe of the breathtaking view, it was as if we were living in a postcard every day. You have thought about every need that your guests could possibly have and your attention to the little things comes though. You have a gift, an art, which is a blessing for all who visit the homes that you build. This gift of joy you provided us, as well as all the other guests who stay in the cabin, will come back to you and your family two fold.
Mario and Leida