A 50- mile drive north from Atlanta on I-85 puts you in Jackson County. Here, you'll discover a thriving region, urban comforts, and small town appeal. It is a place that is increasingly attracting bot those in search of affordable homes and relaxed lifestyles, as well as companies needing a strategic location to drive business. To read more, click here.
A visit to Washington in Wilkes County is a step back in time. With its pleasant tree-lined streets, well-kept antebellum homes and the historic town square, this Georgia city in a testament to modern life and business lived amidst history. And, history is a big part of why people come to visit, and often, end up staying here. Click here for the full article.
Newton County has undergone a transformation in the last five years. This eastern Georgia County located about an hour from Atlanta is growing and reaping the benefits of new development projects. For the full article, click here.
Pay a visit to Bowman and Bostwick and you quickly realize reports of small town America's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Each of these small cities - Bowman in Elbert County and Bostwick in Morgan County - embody the qualities of community, civic pride and patience with progress. People, both natives and newcomers, hold a deep love of the charms of small town life. They also possess a strong determination to preserve the best in each town. Click here for the full story.
Barrow County is back and open for business. Located on the northeastern edge of Metro Atlanta, it has long attracted those seeking affordable homes and a slower, more rural pace of life. As a result, residential growth soared in past decades and home building became a major growth industry until the hit of the Great Depression. And now Barrow is as attractive as ever; home building has returned along with retail and the stirrings of a manufacturing sector. "We are now one of the top 60 fastest growing counties in the nation," proclaims Barrow County Chamber of Commerce President Tommy Jennings. "It could be debated whether that's good or not. We think it is because it's bringing more residents and more opportunities here." To keep reading, click here.
Walking Rutledge's downtown streets is like stepping back in time, and residents here like it that way. This small town of 850 souls in western Morgan County prides itself on being a congenial close knit community with a careful preservation of the past. "It gives you that little appeal of a small town, and yet we're close enough to drive to the bigger cities if we don't have it here," observes Brenda Thompson, a city council member and mayor pro term who has lived it almost 45 years. "There are so many people who say they love to live here and have relocated here. May of them drive to Atlanta every day for work, but yet want to live in a small town like this." Click here for the full story.
Located in northeast Georgia, Walton County was carved out in 1818, when it was created by the Georgia Land Lottery Act. Named for George Walton, one of three Georgia men who signed the Declaration of Independence, Walton County initially began as a farming county along with a number of textile mills. Today, it is one of Georgia’s most attractive communities to not only visit but also to settle into and call home. In just the last 25 years, Walton County has experienced a 65-percent population increase that has fueled the county’s evolution into a bedroom community not far from Metro Atlanta. “People choose to live here because of the quality of life,” says Kevin Little, chairman of the Walton County Board of Commissioners. “People like the small-town feel of our cities.” While strong industries, quality schools and excellent recreational activities are a key component of Walton County, none of that would matter without its residents. “The greatest thing about our county is our people,” continues Little. “We are a Southern community and along with that comes Southern charm.” For the full story, click here.
First of all, Oxford is a college town. The small town in Newton County owes its founding to the liberal arts college that bears its name, but today it remains its most prominent – and dominant – citizen. Owing to its size and close proximity to the much larger city of Covington, Oxford has seen little in the way of change over the years. It is a town of tree lined streets and historic homes and churches. Its population has been mostly stable over the years with most of the growth coming at Oxford College, which has increased its student body and modernized its campus to the tune of more than $150 million by one estimate. Out of Oxford’s current population of 2,100, nearly a thousand are students in the college’s two year program. The town was a thriving community as early as 1835 when land from the Georgia Methodist Conference was used to establish the local college. Click here to read more.
Downtown Stone Mountain Village is bustling on a Saturday. People crowd the sidewalks going in and out of cafes and shops nestled in a long collection of mostly low slung turn of the century buildings. Automobiles roll slowly down Main Street which fronts the railroad tracks that first gave birth to this community. This small city in Metro Atlanta’s DeKalb County is quickly becoming the place to be. There are plenty of first time tourists joining the throngs of locals enjoying coffee and conversation in the popular cafes and coffee shops. This community of 6,000 looks like the popular vision of traditional small town America. For the full story, click here.
Madison and Oglethorpe Counties lie to the east and northeast of Athens. These are places where rural traditions and rich history thrive. Largely by-passed by urbanization, they have sought to capitalize on the resources that have long sustained them – the land and the residency of their people. Click here to read the full article.
The many small towns that dot rural Georgia often go unnoticed. They are places you pass through on the way to somewhere else and their unchanging pleasures are known only to locals. For some - like Walnut Grove and Bishop - discovery comes with changing patterns of growth. For the full article, click here.
Dirt roads, ancient oak trees and Spanish moss make up the fabric of Liberty County and to natives and visitors alike, are some of the most beautiful aspects of this beloved community. Those dirt roads can take you to the best spot for fishing or to a quiet Colonial cemetery. You may wander down a path to discover Revolutionary War history or the Gullah-Geechee culture. The rich history of Liberty County can be traced back before the Revolutionary War, yet its history is ever evolving. Click here to read more.
The Northeast Georgia counties of Elbert and Greene along with many others were hit hard by the recession of 2008. Both experienced job losses and disappearing industries. Now, both are fighting hard to use their location and natural resources to reclaim economic prosperity and the hard work is showing. For the full article, click here.
Auburn in Barrow County is the classic small town in every sense of the word, and locals here are determined to keep it that way. Drive up U.S. 29, and you’ll come upon a row of still preserved buildings that make up old town on the other side of the tracks. There are storefronts and even a red caboose sitting in front of city hall. “Here in the city we are doing a lot of projects that are focused on bringing folks into downtown and into our Fourth Avenue area right here,” says city planner Alex Mitchem. To find out more, click here.
The East Georgia counties of Jasper and Putnam were hit hard b y a Great Recession that shuttered big plants and emptied main streets. And like many other communities that have experienced the same downfall, this region is starting to see the stirrings of a real recovery. The signs of economic life are found in big, new companies that have located in the region and started to bring down the unemployment rate. To read more, click here.
Drive north on Interstate 85 and as the sprawl of Atlanta starts to fall away, the traffic thins, the roadside grows greener and you find yourself in Jackson County. Take a right on the Ga. 129 exit and a scenic drive through the country will bring you to Jefferson. This county seat is the traditional small town of yore. Wide sidewalks with benches and trees front neatly kept stores. Brightly colored murals adorn historic buildings that date from the early years of the twentieth century when the town was rebuilt after a devastating fire. To read more about Jefferson, click here.
There's a story that in the early 1800s when state officials were seeking a location for the University of Georgia, they stopped first in Watkinsville in Oconee County. Those plans changed soon after they spotted the Eagle Tavern, one of the most prominent establishments in the small Northeast Georgia community. And they moved the University over to Athens so that the young folks weren't exposed to alcohol, says Watkinsville Mayor Charles Ivie with a laugh. And today Watkinsville has roughly 2,900 people and Athens has 80,000. To read more of this article, click here.
Porterdale is a small town suspended in time. Walk along its small main street and through neighborhoods filled with neatly maintained and mostly newly renovated historic homes, and you're seeing a village not so different than it was in the early years of the last century. "It's unique in being a nearly intact mill town in the southeast," observes Travis Byrd, a local resident who chairs the Porterdale Historic Preservation Commission. "Most of the mill towns were enveloped by the cities around them and when the mill closed many of the homes were destroyed or lost." Read more about this classic southern village by clicking here.
It's easy to think the Classic City - as it likes to call itself-is all about the University, if not football itself. Yet, look a little deeper and you'll find a diverse city. Sure, the University is the biggest employer in the smallest county in the state and its outsized influence can be felt just about everywhere, but Athens is so much more than just a college town with a long history. It's also a manufacturing center with a budding tech sector. Its healthcare industry is first rate - especially for a small sized city. There is a surprising diverse economy that has weathered economic storms far better than most. Athens is the University and so much more, say locals. Read more about this in the article found here.
For some, Bethlehem is just a wide spot in the road between Winder and Monroe. But Thomas Jennings, president of the Barrow County Chamber of Commerce, is quick to point out why Bethlehem makes an ideal place to call home. “The location of Bethlehem makes Athens and Atlanta an easy access for residents. It has the small town feel with many amenities. For the past five years, Bethlehem has seen growth. There is the Barrow Crossings shopping center. The center is almost to capacity and the retailers are gaining footing as the economy is showing signs of recovery.” To continue reading about this great little town, click here.
Located east of Atlanta and just south of Athens, Morgan County is rich in southern history. Residents and visitors may feel as if they’ve stepped back in time as they stroll by antebellum homes or bask in the rural scenery. “Morgan County has a lot of everything, plus we don’t have to put up with the headache of Atlanta. We’re really fortunate to have a balanced economy, agricultural influences, rural landscapes and tourism,” says Bob Hughes, president of the Madison-Morgan Chamber of Commerce. The county is bustling with development. In addition to a booming economy and job availability, there are many downtown development efforts and tourist attractions happening in 2015. Find out more about what's happening in Morgan County by clicking here.
A place where people matter. That is the city of Loganville. With its sights on the future, Loganville strives to maintain its hometown feel and sense of community. The renovation of the Rock Gym is one of those ways. Construction for the gym was halted in July 1934 due to lack of federal funding. Forty-eight citizens reported to work following the announcement, each volunteering their labor to finish the building. The efforts of these volunteers made it possible for the community to celebrate its opening four months later in November with the building being dedicated by the first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. To read more, click here.
Covering 324 square miles, Jackson County residents get to enjoy all the benefits of a small town, with all the conveniences of a big city being just a car ride away. "You really get the best of both worlds—a small town community with Athens or Gainesville l5-to-20 minutes away. It's perfect," says Vicki Starnes, Crawford Long Museum manager. To read more about Jackson County, click here.
It only happens four times a year. Once each season, Main Street in downtown Greensboro is closed off to vehicular traffic so pedestrians can have the right of way. Locals and out-of-town visitors ply the pavement and experience small town Southern life and hospitality at its best at one of Greensboro’s four major seasonal events -- the Southland Jubilee in April, Pickin’ On the Greene in late June, the Rock ‘N Roll Cruise In in September and the Lighting of the Tree in early December. To find out more about Greensboro, click here.
Located just 35 miles outside of Atlanta, Newton County has all the advantages of the big city, but holds onto its small-town charm. In fact, it’s the county’s small-town feel that has been bringing more and more residents to the area. With antebellum architecture (including a luxurious bed and breakfast inspired by Gone with the Wind), tree-lined sidewalks and a gorgeous town square in Covington, Newton County encompasses the quintessential American dream. To read more, click here.
Bogart is on a mission for growth and renewal. With significant regional growth and a local community wanting to play an integral part in that continued advancement, Bogart began its community enhancement by concentrating on its history. Many of their historic resources remain in the downtown area, and with its community straddling both Clarke and Oconee counties, the revitalization committee looked to the heart of the city for direction. To find out what was restored in Bogart, click here.
Who doesn’t love a sweet spot? It’s the intersection of perfection. For Barrow County, their sweet spot merges education, construction and revitalization into the ideal confection. To learn more about this amazing spot in Barrow County, click here.
The casual traveler passing through Jackson County, Georgia, along I-85 or US 441 might mistakenly assume that Commerce's neighboring retail outlet center of Banks Crossing is the main attraction. While the business communities enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship, the City of Commerce boasts much more than initially meets the eye. To learn more about the City of Commerce, click here.
Walton County has deep roots in the nation's history. Named for George Walton, one of the three Georgians who signed the Declaration of Independence, Walton was designated as a county in 1818. The community takes pride in the county's history, but looks forward by focusing on education, tourism and economic development. To find out more, click here.
According to Site Selection magazine, one of the nation's top economic development trade publications, Georgia has the best business climate in the country. To receive such an honor reflects the hard work of the towns, businesses, and people that make up the state. Georgia has created a desirable and welcoming environment for new investors, and the City of Monroe is no exception. To find out more about Monroe, click here.
As a train rolls by the welcome sign to Statham, Georgia, it's not hard to imagine the beginnings of this small town some 100 years ago. Located not far from Athens is this small gem in Barrow County. A glimpse of years gone by can be found in its old homes and buildings including a train depot turned antique store. Listed on the National Historic Register, Statham endeavors to preserve its past while preparing for its future. To learn more about Statham, click here.
Madison and Elbert counties, both located in northeastern Georgia near the South Carolina state line, are areas marked by an emphasis on education, vibrant tourism and recreational opportunities and a booming state of industry. But while these elements continue to be common threads for both, Madison and Elbert counties tell the same story with different words. To find out more about Madison and Elbert, click here.
Greene and Jasper Counties, located along Interstate 20, are in a state of renewal. Both are embracing their past while working for the future through the renovation and reuse of historic buildings. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), historic preservation provides an avenue for small towns to enrich their lives and communities by creating jobs, revitalizing downtown areas, and stimulating businesses while making communities vital. To find out more about these amazing counties, click here.
There’s only ONE city located here. It is the SECOND smallest county in Georgia. But, its TRIO slogan - Heritage, Horses, and a touch of Heaven- triples the charm of the Conyers-Rockdale landscape, proving there’s no need for multiple cities or a hefty land mass to reach perfection. To find out more about Conyers-Rockdale, click here.
When Harrison Braselton, a poor dirt farmer, courted and married Susan Hosch, daughter of a rich plantation owner in the Jackson County area, the future took root. After their marriage in 1867, they remained on Hosch Plantation, started a family, and soon purchased 786 acres that would later be known as the city of Braselton. To find out more about Braselton, click here.
ONE IS ONE OF THE LARGEST COUNTIES IN LAND MASS IN Georgia. The other, one of the most economically thriving counties in the State. For Oglethorpe and Oconee counties, their economic and sustainable foundation is built ultimately by the residents who live there and work there. And it is their passion for their communities that these citizens continue pushing toward its prosperity. To read more about the future of these thriving counties, click here.
Hal Dally is a man in love with his city. He speaks more like a proud father than a man going into his second year as mayor of Social Circle. Walking the historical downtown main street and meeting the residents, it becomes obvious that Dally is simply the champion behind a community that believes in its town’s greatness. To learn more about this special town, click here.
Big things are happening in the smallest county in Georgia. Just in the past year, Athens-Clarke County (ACC) has made major economic strides with construction of a Caterpillar plant, opening of the University of Georgia (UGA) Health Sciences Campus and expansion of The Classic Center. To find out more on the explansion of this small county, click here.
MORGAN COUNTY proves that big things can come in small packages.
Less than two hours east of Atlanta, Morgan County borders the Oconee National Forest and is home to a mere 20,000 residents.
The towns are barely larger than a minute - Bostwick boasts less than 400 residents - and Madison, the county seat, isn't much bigger. But, what the county lacks in size, it makes up in ambition and ingenuity.
Making a transition from rural small towns to hubs for manufacturing and investment can be difficult. But, officials have put forth impressive plans that strengthen partnerships, promote tourism, nurture its agricultural past, and promote economic development for its future.
Click here to find out why Morgan County and its county seat, Madison, Georgia, is such a vibrant community to live, work, and raise a family.
National economic news has been disconcerting over the past five years. Glum headlines spread news of high unemployment, slow gross domestic product growth, struggling homeowners unable to afford their mortgage payments, poor consumer confidence and threats from faltering economic systems abroad.
However, some pockets of the country are faring well, and Northeast Georgia’s Jackson County is one such place. The county seems to have rallied some of its Southern charm and tenacity to attract big businesses, small entrepreneurs and tourists near and far. This combination of investment and revenue has led Jackson County to bypass many of the worst hurdles of the recent national economic recession and promises an even brighter future ahead.
Learn more about the appeal and successes of Jackson County by clicking here.
The future hinges upon its answer.
In a nutshell, “the future is now at our front door,” proclaims Ronnie Johnston, mayor of Covington, Ga., and just as projected, Covington and Newton County are answering the knock.
With the State’s economic climate firing up, Newton County is experiencing a heat wave. More and more small businesses are opening doors while major players in national and international industries are snatching up open spaces right next door. It’s a melting pot of local entrepreneurs and global business leaders, all calling this growing county east of Atlanta home.
Newton County is booming; click here to find out why.
“WELCOMING VOICES, FRIENDLY FACES, AND SERIOUS BUSINESS,” is what Barrow County is all about according to Tommy Jennings, Chamber of Commerce president. Positioned between the hip-and-happening college town of Athens and the bustling international city of Atlanta, Barrow County, Georgia remains poised for continuous growth. Barrow’s tri-fold personality may be in part a result of its positioning, but further exploration reveals the area is much more than a corridor.
Like the Chamber president explains, the standard of living in Barrow County is unmatched, “combining a low tax base, a wide range of reasonable housing options, plenty of retail choices and an ability to enjoy big-city life in Atlanta, college funk in Athens or the pastoral beauty of the countryside.” Thus, the seemingly contradictory idea of a community that can be both welcoming and friendly while getting down to serious business is a pleasant reality in Barrow.
Click here to find out about what is happening in Barrow County.
IT’S A BASIC NEED FOR ANY FORM OF LIFE. Kids do it. Dogs do it. Even plants do it.
It’s something that’s inherent to everyone. A necessity that’s almost as important as eating, sleeping and breathing, yet somehow it’s something most neglect to do. A simple feeling or deep yearning that eventually yields to that moment when individuals pay heed to that natural instinct to take a second . . . and stretch.
This brings to mind Walton County, Georgia, located mid-way between Atlanta and Athens, where there’s plenty of room to stretch. This quiet community offers ample room, physically and mentally, for anyone looking to expand their business or their life. Here lives an abundance of undeveloped land, a surprisingly affordable cost of living and a special kind of small town warmth. It’s a relaxed pace and a freedom to meet endless opportunities.
To learn about the way of life in Walton County and their possibilities, click here.
Athens is a tale told through the thoughtfulness of art and the sweat of perseverance. As an artist portrays the delicate balance between light and dark, bitter and sweet, or fact and fiction, the “Classic City” offers equilibrium between commerce and community, safety and adventure, and a sense of the modern set against a backdrop of rich history.
It’s a place where residents and visitors can live and play, but it’s also a town where people work hard to keep their business and industry alive. Such a balancing act relies on the poise of all its players, as well as the ability to remain open to dynamic possibilities. Though differing in political opinion, lifestyle, and hairstyle, area residents share the similar goal of preserving, as well as growing, their community in a way that maintains harmony.
To know more about the two cornerstones that are being celebrated, click here.
Oconee’s strong quality of life provides the main attraction...
Encompassing the municipalities of Watkinsville, Bogart, Bishop, and North High Shoals, Oconee County draws residents and visitors with its first-rate school system, strong arts community, and a “nice mix” of rural and developed areas, says Rusty Haygood, economic development director for Oconee County.
“We’ve seen countless people who have relocated from metro areas because of the schools,” Haygood states.
To find out more about what makes Oconee County a county of choice, click here.
A county embarks on a journey of re-growth and takes its rich heritage along for the ride...
A veritable page out of the South’s history book, Oglethorpe County still boasts the good life of a rural existence spent on green acres and nourished by the free-flowing waters of a crystal clear river. From its pine forests to its rolling hills, Oglethorpe is an area rich in both history and resources. As the largest county in Northeast Georgia, it has more acreage of timber than any other county in the area. And while Oglethorpe County’s varied landscape is undeniably inviting, the old homes and historical buildings peppered over the area equally contribute to the charm and relevance of the cities within it.
To learn more about the largest county in Georgia, click here.
...With the granite industry providing a stable base, Elbert County adapts to ever-changing economical, educational, technological and cultural environments by recognizing and marketing its strengths while paying homage to its history.
Click here to learn more about Elbert County.
(Photo by Elbert Count Chamber of Commerce)
It is not an easy task – creating a strong sense of community while managing to be progressive simultaneously. For one, most often, weighs the other down and a balance is never found. However, just off I-85, droves of people can be seen in a shopping mecca, migrating from one building to the next in search of the season’s greatest bargain while a few miles down the road, at Bouchard Farms, workers are harvesting the freshest vegetables in order to put them directly in the consumer’s hands.
In Jackson County, the balance is working. To know more about great Jackson County, click here.
(Photo provided by the Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce)
With a sense of rural heritage complementing its opportunities for growth, Madison County is primed for the good life indicative of its small town, slow paced world.
All six small neighborhoods – Carlton, Comer, Colbert, Hull, Danielsville and Ila – are representative of old-fashioned charm. Albeit slow-paced, Madison County holds a central location in that the big city attractions are as close as Athens, home of the University of Georgia, and as far away as Atlanta, some 80 miles in the distance.
To learn why you should visit Madsion County, click here.
(Photo by Judy Garrison)
Originally a sawmill, cotton farming, and textile community, Newton County has grown significantly from its humble beginnings as government offi cials and citizens prepare for the projected twenty thousand plus citizens estimated to call Newton County their home in 2012. Growth is not a question for the area; how much growth, how it will impact the county, and how fast it will happen are the topics of discussion... to learn more about Newton County, click here.
(Photo by The Center for Community Preservation and Planning)
Some 75 miles east opf Atlanta exists a "little piece of heaven." Enjoying the best of all worlds, the serene rural Georgia with its agricultural and residential wonders coupled with the resort experience of Lake Oconee, residents believe that it just can't get any better than this...the 21st Century Greene County is strengthened by what has come before...is a resilient town thriving as an agricultural and resort community....
To learn more about Greene County, click here.
(Photo by the Greene County Chamber of Commerce)
In the heart of the Oconee National Forest, some fifty-six miles east of metropolitan Atlanta, lies a county with “room to spread out”. With its close proximity to Macon and Atlanta, Jasper County waits for those who desire a slower pace and a family atmosphere....
To learn more about Jasper County, click here.
(Photo by the Jasper County Chamber of Commerce)
...Barrow has quickly become one of the fastest growing counties, not just in the state, but in the country. Local leaders have worked hard both at recruiting a good mix of industrial, commercial and retail and at maintaining the rural and small town character that drew many here originally....
To learn more more about Barrow County, click here.
(Photo by Barrow County Chamber of Commerce)
The winter weather may be frightful, but during the holiday season, the antebellum homes and storefronts of downtown Madison are delightful. Christmas is always accompanied by festive décor and memorable settings, but the historic town turned winter wonderland is a special treat for all who visit....
To learn more about Morgan County, click here.
(Photo by Madison-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce)
People come from around the world to eat at the Blue Willow Inn Restaurant in Social Circle, serving over 200,000 guests annually. Families, friends and tourists have been gathering over the sweet tea and Southern hospitality at this destination restaurant since 1991. Others come to Walton County to admire the historic homes. Whatever the many reasons, Walton County continues to grow in every direction….
To learn more about Walton County, click here.
(Photo provided by Monroe Downtown Development Authority)