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Frame The Importance of

Commercial Truck Insurance in Blairsville, GA

  • Let's face it - truckers in America have always been the backbone of our great country. They still are in modern times. On any given day, thousands of trucks traverse our highways and local roads, delivering goods and products on time so that businesses and consumers have what they need to live life. And while commercial trucking can be an incredibly lucrative way to make a living and put food on the table, it can also be risky and expensive.
  • Whether you're the owner of a fleet, an independent trucker, or have a business that uses big rigs to transport goods, you need commercial trucking insurance to protect you and your client's investments, shield you from liability, and more.
  • That's where working with a reliable truck insurance agency comes into play. Unfortunately, for many commercial truck insurance providers, serving the needs of truckers is low on the proverbial totem pole. At Independence Insurance Agency, nothing could be further from the truth.

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Insurance Agency in Blairsville, GA You Can Trust

Much like you pride yourself on running a successful trucking business, Independence Insurance Agency prides itself on its years of experience providing truck insurance for hardworking men and women across the country. And in our experience, insurance rates for truckers are just too high - so high, in fact, that they eat away at their bottom line, making it more difficult to run a business and make a profit. Fortunately, at Independence Insurance Agency, we provide truckers the freedom they need from astronomically high insurance rates so they can stay on the road and keep driving America forward.

As one of the most trusted commercial trucking insurance agencies in the U.S., we understand the challenges that you face daily as a trucker. We also know how important it is to protect your business. That's why we go above and beyond to find you the best-priced coverage available, whether you're an operator, own a small fleet, a large fleet, or something in between.

Commercial Truck Insurance Blairsville, GA

We Put Truckers First Because Others Don't

 Truck Insurance Blairsville, GA

Truckers across the country choose to work with Independence Insurance Agency because we put their needs first before anything else. As experts in transportation insurance, we proudly offer a range of quality insurance products that are both practical and affordable for them. Our industry-leading carriers provide coverage that caters to the unique challenges faced by the trucking industry, ensuring that your business is protected at all times.

At our core, we are committed to finding the best possible price for your coverage without compromising the quality of service you deserve. The truth is, we understand how essential truckers are to the United States and take pride in making their insurance experience more streamlined and affordable.

One way we do so is by simplifying the insurance process. Our transportation specialists take the time to understand your specific needs and budget to tailor a comprehensive plan that works for you. You won't ever have to worry about cookie-cutter plans or uninterested agents when you work with our commercial trucking insurance agency. We take an educational approach to ensure that the entire big rig insurance process is quick, painless, and easy to understand. If there's something you don't understand, we're happy to take the time to explain. After all, the success and safety of your business are on the line.

Looking to the future, we are committed to providing innovative new products that cater to the ever-changing needs of truck drivers. As your one-stop shop for commercial trucking insurance, we are dedicated to your success, one policy at a time.

If you're a commercial trucker looking to ensure your rig, you can rest easy knowing that Independence Insurance Agency provides:

  • Affordable Trucking Insurance Plans for Any Budget
  • Exemplary Customer Service
  • Seasoned Transportation Specialists Who Customize Plans to Your Needs
  • A+ Carriers Across the Country
  • Simple, Easy Quote and Bind Process
  • Multiple Insurance Carriers Quoted to Find You the Best Rates
  • Truck Insurance for New Ventures

Call us or send us a message today to learn more about the best 18-wheeler insurance options for your trucking business.

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Common Types of Big Rig Truck Insurance in Blairsville, GA

At Independence Insurance Agency, we offer several types of insurance coverage for local, intermediate, and long-haul trucking needs. Here are just a few categories of trucking insurance coverage that our agency offers.

As the foundation of your insurance policy, liability coverage is required by law in most states in the U.S. It provides coverage for damage or injuries caused to properties or other people if your 18-wheeler is responsible for the crash. Without liability coverage, it's almost impossible to drive a truck or run a trucking business without major legal consequences.

Having physical damage coverage is an essential component that shouldn't be overlooked. This insurance is responsible for covering the expenses related to repairing or replacing your truck in situations such as accidents, theft, vandalism, and other damaging events. By having this coverage, you can rest assured that your business won't be affected significantly by unexpected incidents, and you can continue running your operations smoothly even in challenging times.

For trucking companies, the goods they transport are crucial to their operations. To protect these goods from damage, loss, or theft while in transit, cargo insurance is essential. This coverage provides much-needed peace of mind for both you and your clients, allowing you to reimburse clients for any losses sustained while protecting your reputation and brand identity.

Non-Trucking Liability Insurance is designed to cover property damage or bodily injury that may occur during personal time when the driver/truck is not under dispatch. This coverage can be applied with or without a trailer and is added to a commercial policy as an endorsement.

While Independence Insurance Agency has built a reputation of excellence in serving the needs of truckers, we also offer general liability. Also known as Truckers General Liability, this coverage insures for bodily injuries or property damage that happen due to business activities that are NOT the cause of operating a truck. It covers accidents that occur in parking lots, rest stops, also while loading or unloading. General liability can also cover losses related to theft and vandalism. Most brokers and shippers will require this coverage to work with you.

Bobtail insurance is a type of coverage that is comparable to non-trucking liability, which is designed to offer protection when driving a truck without a trailer attached. This is commonly referred to as "bobtailing." With bobtail insurance, the tractor is covered at all times, even when it is not attached to a trailer, regardless of whether or not the truck is under dispatch.

Trailer interchange insurance is a must-have if you're involved in a trailer interchange agreement. This essential coverage offers protection for trailers owned by other parties that you're using under a contractual agreement. It covers damages caused by collisions, fire, theft, and vandalism, providing assurance to all parties involved.

Curious whether our commercial truck insurance agency in cityname, state offers additional coverage? The following options can be bound in your insurance policy:

  • Business Interruption Insurance
  • Reefer Breakdown Insurance
  • Occupational Accident with Contract Liability Insurance
  • Rental Reimbursement Insurance
  • Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Insurance
  • Towing Insurance
  • Electronics Insurance
  • Much More

Three plus 3 Safe Driving Tips to

Lower the Cost of Truck Insurance in Blairsville, GA

Keeping your drivers safe on the road is crucial not only for their own well-being but also for the safety of other motorists and the financial stability of your business. The Department of Labor has identified the trucking industry as one of the most hazardous sectors in the U.S. In fact, trucking and logistics fleets are known for their high injury and fatality rates. By improving how safely your truckers drive, you can help reduce expenses related to claim payouts, accidents, and insurance premium hikes.

Whether you own a large fleet or you're the owner and operator of a single rig, keep these safe driving tips in mind to help lower your insurance costs.

Implement Preventative Maintenance Plans

Ensuring the safety of your drivers begins with the safety of their vehicles. Trucks and tractor-trailers that do not receive regular maintenance, such as oil and brake pad changes, are more likely to experience breakdowns while on the road. Telematics devices provide real-time insight into engine and odometer data, including fault codes.

This information enables your mechanics to create comprehensive preventative maintenance schedules based on mileage, history of previous breakdowns, days, and more. Additionally, they can receive immediate notifications for critical fault codes. By implementing routine maintenance and proactive repair schedules, you can ensure that your vehicles are in top condition, minimizing the likelihood of breakdowns, which can help reduce the cost of trucker insurance.

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 Trucking Insurance Blairsville, GA

Practice Defensive Driving

This approach aims to mitigate the risk of fatal crashes and injuries by proactively identifying and responding to potentially dangerous situations and making informed decisions while driving. By adopting defensive driving techniques, drivers can reduce their likelihood of accidents, thereby minimizing the need for expensive repairs, claim payouts, and increased insurance premiums.

Some of the easiest ways for you or your drivers to practice safe driving include:

  • Be Wary of Blind Spots: Operating a reefer or tractor-trailer means driving high off of the ground, which can make visibility limited, especially in blind spots. To check your blind spot, look over your shoulder and out of your windows while changing lanes.
  • Be Ready for Emergencies on the Road: It's important for drivers to be ready for unexpected situations when driving, especially during long trips. They should be equipped to handle emergencies such as poor driving conditions or big rig breakdowns.
  • Use the Three-Second Rule: Truck drivers should try to maintain a three-second gap between their vehicle and the car in front of them. This means that the truck driver should reach a certain point on the road three seconds after the car in front of them has passed that same point.
  • Always Use Right and Left Turn Indicators: It's important for drivers to always use their turn signals when changing lanes or exiting highways, even if they don't see any other cars around. This is not only required by law, but it also reduces the chances of accidents occurring on the road.
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 Commercial Liability Insurance For Truckers Blairsville, GA

Find Ways to Prevent Distracted Driving

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), distracted driving is the primary reason behind truck driver accidents. Any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road or the steering wheel is considered distracted driving. Distractions can come in various forms, such as eating while driving or gazing at a billboard outside the window. However, the most frequent form of distracted driving is the use of cellphones, specifically texting while driving.

Assuming you or your driver's rigs are equipped with dual-facing cameras, try reviewing footage of an unsafe driving incident. Coach your drivers on ways to correct their unsafe behaviors or look up ways to do so yourself if you're the one operating the big rig. The bottom line is that when your drivers aren't distracted, they drive safer. And when they drive safer, the cost of 18-wheeler insurance in cityname, state can be reduced.

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 Commercial Truck Insurance Quote Blairsville, GA

Ensuring the safety of your drivers begins with the safety of their vehicles. Trucks and tractor-trailers that do not receive regular maintenance, such as oil and brake pad changes, are more likely to experience breakdowns while on the road. Telematics devices provide real-time insight into engine and odometer data, including fault codes.

This information enables your mechanics to create comprehensive preventative maintenance schedules based on mileage, history of previous breakdowns, days, and more. Additionally, they can receive immediate notifications for critical fault codes. By implementing routine maintenance and proactive repair schedules, you can ensure that your vehicles are in top condition, minimizing the likelihood of breakdowns, which can help reduce the cost of trucker insurance.

 Low Priced Commercial Truck Insurance Blairsville, GA phone Call Now

This approach aims to mitigate the risk of fatal crashes and injuries by proactively identifying and responding to potentially dangerous situations and making informed decisions while driving. By adopting defensive driving techniques, drivers can reduce their likelihood of accidents, thereby minimizing the need for expensive repairs, claim payouts, and increased insurance premiums.

Some of the easiest ways for you or your drivers to practice safe driving include:

  • Be Wary of Blind Spots: Operating a reefer or tractor-trailer means driving high off of the ground, which can make visibility limited, especially in blind spots. To check your blind spot, look over your shoulder and out of your windows while changing lanes.
  • Be Ready for Emergencies on the Road: It's important for drivers to be ready for unexpected situations when driving, especially during long trips. They should be equipped to handle emergencies such as poor driving conditions or big rig breakdowns.
  • Use the Three-Second Rule: Truck drivers should try to maintain a three-second gap between their vehicle and the car in front of them. This means that the truck driver should reach a certain point on the road three seconds after the car in front of them has passed that same point.
  • Always Use Right and Left Turn Indicators: It's important for drivers to always use their turn signals when changing lanes or exiting highways, even if they don't see any other cars around. This is not only required by law, but it also reduces the chances of accidents occurring on the road.
Commercial Truck Insurance Blairsville, GA phone Call Now

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), distracted driving is the primary reason behind truck driver accidents. Any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road or the steering wheel is considered distracted driving. Distractions can come in various forms, such as eating while driving or gazing at a billboard outside the window. However, the most frequent form of distracted driving is the use of cellphones, specifically texting while driving.

Assuming you or your driver's rigs are equipped with dual-facing cameras, try reviewing footage of an unsafe driving incident. Coach your drivers on ways to correct their unsafe behaviors or look up ways to do so yourself if you're the one operating the big rig. The bottom line is that when your drivers aren't distracted, they drive safer. And when they drive safer, the cost of 18-wheeler insurance in cityname, state can be reduced.

 Truck Insurance Blairsville, GA phone Call Now

check light FAQs About

Independence Insurance Agency

If you're looking for a commercial trucking insurance agency for your business, chances are you have some questions - and we've got answers. Keep reading to learn more about some of the most commonly asked questions we hear from truckers like you.

Why go with a "jack of all trades" when you can work with specialists who focus exclusively on transportation insurance? We have excellent relationships with major trucking insurance carriers and, as such, can provide the best assistance and reasonable rates.

Typically, companies will look at claims that date back three years or less.

We proudly work with more than 20 carriers to provide our clients with the most advantageous options at competitive prices, catering to the needs of owner-operators and big fleets alike.

Permit filings are typically done by insurance companies on the next business day. Federal (FMCSA) filings are completed online and updated immediately, while some states may take up to three weeks to process.

Independence Insurance Agency: Committed to the Trucking Industry

There's no question about it - you've got to protect your staff, your rig, and your trucking business with insurance. But choosing the right insurance partner isn't always easy. Thankfully, with Independence Insurance Agency by your side, you can rest easy knowing you're covered no matter where the road takes you. If you're in need of a commercial truck insurance agency in Blairsville, GA that caters to truckers like you, pick up the phone and contact one of our transportation specialists today. That way, you can get back on the road with confidence tomorrow.

 Trucking Insurance Blairsville, GA

Latest News in Blairsville, GA

Fireworks and Fourth celebrations around Northeast Georgia

Fireworks and all sorts of festivities are planned across Northeast Georgia this weekend to celebrate America’s 247th birthday. Here’s a list of some of the places where you and your family can enjoy a fun Fourth:Atlanta offers a wide range of July Fourth activities and places to celebrate, including ...

Fireworks and all sorts of festivities are planned across Northeast Georgia this weekend to celebrate America’s 247th birthday.

Here’s a list of some of the places where you and your family can enjoy a fun Fourth:

Atlanta offers a wide range of July Fourth activities and places to celebrate, including Stone Mountain Park.

Blairsville will host a daylong celebration with bounce houses, face painting, food, and fun for all ages at Meeks Park. Food trucks on the North Georgia Tech campus will serve up boiled peanuts, cotton candy, pork rinds, kettle corn, and lemonade. Fireworks at dusk. Free admission and parking. Meeks Park is located at 11 Pool Lane in Blairsville, Georgia.

Blue Ridge will host its Old Timer’s Parade at 10 a.m. on July 4th downtown. And at 9:30 p.m., the night sky over Lake Blue Ridge will light up with fireworks. Best places for viewing: Morganton Point Recreation Area, from a boat in Lake Blue Ridge near the Lake Blue Ridge Dam, and the Lake Blue Ridge Marina.

Braselton will host a family Independence Day celebration with a patriotic parade, festival, and fireworks show. Food trucks open at 5 p.m. The parade on Hwy. 53 is scheduled from 6-6:30 p.m. There will be a concert on the Town Green from 6:30-9:30 p.m. featuring The Soul Purpose Band. Fireworks start at dark.

Dahlonega will host a day full of events, including a car show, parade, and concert. The Downtown Patriotic Parade begins at 3 p.m. There will be a free concert in the park at 6:30 p.m., followed by fireworks on the University of North Georgia drill field at dark.

Demorest will host its annual Glorious Fourth celebration with a daylong event. The Torch’s Run for Glory 5K kicks things off at 8 a.m. Then, starting at 2 p.m., there will be free children’s activities in Demorest Springs Park. The Fly Betty Band from Gainesville headlines this year’s Glorious Fourth concert in the park from 6-9 p.m. After the concert, at dusk, the city will launch fireworks from the Brent Lee Moore Memorial Baseball Field behind city hall at 250 Alabama Street (old Demorest Elementary School).

Dillard will host a free fireworks display on July 4. These fireworks are visible for miles around. Park your car along Highway 441 North and get out your lawn chairs. The fireworks will begin around dusk. The Dillard House restaurant is hosting a cookout and live concert featuring Hunter Grayson of Athens before the fireworks. Stick around to enjoy the fireworks. Visit them online for details and pricing.

Hall County will host a daylong Fourth of July celebration with vendors, music, food, and fun at Laurel Park. Gates open at 9 a.m. The fireworks begin at dark. Laurel Park is located at 3100 Old Cleveland Highway in Gainesville.

Helen will celebrate Independence Day with a fireworks display. The show will launch at dusk (9-9:30 p.m.) behind the Alpine Village Shoppes and Helen Welcome Center on Brucken Strasse. The fireworks can be seen from almost any location in downtown Helen.

Hiawassee will host an afternoon and evening of family fun at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds. Festivities begin at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, July 4th. New this year, there will be kids’ activities with games and a bounce house. Enjoy live music from 6:30-9 p.m. with a special performance by the Vintage Vixens. Fireworks begin at 9:45 p.m. Admission and parking are free.

Homer will host its Independence Day celebration at the Banks County Recreation Department multi-purpose field by Banks County Middle School. The Homer Fire Department will present a fireworks display. Bring your lounge chairs and family for a fun-filled evening. Fireworks will start at dusk, around 9 p.m.

___________

Find more July Fourth events at www.exploregeorgia.org/calendar-of-events.

(Photo courtesy Kyle Shook Photography)

This Is The Most Scenic Town In Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains

Blairsville, a city located in the northern reaches of Georgia, serves as the proud county seat of Union County. This scenic town was founded in 1835, and is situated within the Chattahoochee National Forest and surrounded by the towering peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Blairsville is a haven of natural beauty.Blairsville, a charming, picturesq...

Blairsville, a city located in the northern reaches of Georgia, serves as the proud county seat of Union County. This scenic town was founded in 1835, and is situated within the Chattahoochee National Forest and surrounded by the towering peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Blairsville is a haven of natural beauty.

Blairsville, a charming, picturesque town with a population of approximately 700 residents, distinguishes itself from the more bustling Georgia mountain towns like Kennesaw, Dahlonega, and Rome. One of the notable features of this scenic town in Georgia is Lake Nottely, a reservoir formed in 1942 as part of the Tennessee Valley Authority project. The town boasts proximity to Lake Winfield Scott, further enhancing its status as a natural wonderland. Adding to its allure, the famous Appalachian Trail winds its way through this region, making it a prime destination for outdoor fans and hikers. Here's what to know about the most scenic town in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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Top Attractions In Blairsville

When it comes to discovering the top attractions in Blairsville, two gems immediately stand out: Brasstown Bald Mountain and Vogel State Park.

These are just the beginning of an incredible journey through the many captivating attractions that Blairsville has to offer, promising an adventure that combines the beauty of nature with a touch of local history.

Brasstown Bald Mountain, proudly holding the title of the highest point in Georgia, graces the northeastern region of the state. Situated within the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains, this majestic peak straddles the border of Towns and Union counties, just south of the charming city of Hiawassee.

Earning its name from the native Cherokee people, who refer to it as Enotah, Brasstown Bald's lofty elevation of 4,784 feet above sea level commands attention and admiration. It stands as an iconic natural landmark within the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests and is easily accessible via a short and scenic drive from the neighboring towns of Blairsville, Hiawassee, and Helen (a picturesque spot with many activities to offer visitors).

Brasstown Bald stands tall as one of the most beautiful destinations to visit in the state of Georgia. Spring, in particular, transforms Brasstown Bald into a must-visit destination, where visitors are treated to an endless expanse of greenery extending as far as the eye can behold.

The Bald boasts a number of attractions to fascinate visitors. Picnic areas, strategically positioned to offer breathtaking views, beckon those seeking a tranquil al fresco experience. For the adventurous souls, three trailheads conveniently located near the parking lot serve as gateways to exploration and adventure. The mountaintop hosts a natural science and history museum showcasing the rich heritage of the area.

Finally, the observation deck stands as the crown jewel, offering an unrivaled 360° panorama of the surrounding landscape. On a clear day, lucky visitors can gaze upon the skylines of four states: Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina, a sight that lingers as a cherished memory of Brasstown Bald's scenic beauty.

Lake Trahlyta In Vogel State Park, Georgia, USA

Vogel State Park, cherished as one of Georgia's oldest and most iconic state parks, graces the foothills of Blood Mountain within the expansive Chattahoochee National Forest. Spanning 233 acres, Vogel State Park offers a scenic dreamland featuring babbling streams, a dazzling waterfall, and the beautiful Lake Trahlyta.

Located at an elevation of 2,500 feet, it ranks among Georgia's highest-altitude state parks, a distinction that sets it apart.

As travelers approach from the south, they traverse the picturesque Neel Gap, a mountain pass located in proximity to Georgia's highest point, Brasstown Bald.

The park's splendor is particularly pronounced during the autumn months when the Blue Ridge Mountains undergo a breathtaking transformation, painting the landscape with vivid hues of red, yellow, and gold, making it a prime season for visitors.

Nature lovers and hikers are spoiled for choice with a selection of trails catering to various skill levels. Among these is the scenic 4-mile Bear Hair Gap loop, offering a delightful excursion. For those seeking a more leisurely experience, the lakeside trail leading to Trahlyta Falls provides a serene setting.

Adventurous hikers can tackle the challenging 13-mile Coosa Backcountry Trail.

Things To Do In Blairsville, The Most Scenic Town In The Blue Ridge Mountains

In this scenic Georgian town, natural beauty abounds, offering a range of activities. For outdoor fans, culinary explorers, and those who appreciate supporting local enterprises, Blairsville has it all.

Located on Old Smokey Road, just a stone's throw from Home Depot in Blairsville, Georgia, visitors will find the bustling Union County Farmers Market. This bustling hub of local commerce and community spirit opens its doors to eager shoppers every Saturday from 7:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.

And if that's not enough, Tuesday evenings offer an additional opportunity to explore its products from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., or until the farmers' goods run out! The market boasts a delightful array of handmade crafts from talented local artisans, along with an assortment of plants and flowers to enhance gardens and homes.

Located in the heart of north Georgia, Helton Creek Falls is a beautiful gem of nature. It showcases a fascinating pair of waterfalls, gracefully descending through a verdant valley adorned with hemlock trees.

While the trail to these scenic cascades is notably short, it offers a splendid escape into the woods, making it an accessible day hike for both visitors to Helen and those exploring Vogel State Park.

The dual waterfalls' charm and the opportunity to cool off with a swim at their base render Helton Creek Falls an ideal destination, whether as a side trip on a longer excursion or a delightful family-friendly adventure.

Step inside the wonderland of a former Disney Imagineer at Georgia’s secret fairy garden

Just off the highway in Blairsville, Georgia, partially enclosed by a crooked picket fence, a cluster of tiny homes and even tinier residents populate a strange but inviting landscape. Turn up the steep incline to the parking lot, and you’ll step into “fantastical worlds,” as promised by the storybook left open at the entrance to Sleepy Hollow Enterprises.This promise br...

Just off the highway in Blairsville, Georgia, partially enclosed by a crooked picket fence, a cluster of tiny homes and even tinier residents populate a strange but inviting landscape. Turn up the steep incline to the parking lot, and you’ll step into “fantastical worlds,” as promised by the storybook left open at the entrance to Sleepy Hollow Enterprises.

This promise brought me two hours north of Atlanta, a trip planned with the sole purpose of discovering this unusual place—and maybe capturing a little magic of my own.

For young and old

Sleepy Hollow is no ordinary gift shop. Near the entrance, a garden path winds through the woods and into a fairy village. Here, flowers overflow from Lilliputian window sills, and elves and pixies come out from hiding. “Watch where you step,” warns one sign posted to a tree. A fairy painted on it, wearing a hard hat and a cheeky grin, waves her wand at me.

The houses themselves are whimsical: candy-colored paint, awnings askew, walls and roofs with a tendency to curve. Each one is unique and handcrafted by Art Millican, Jr., a Disney Imagineer turned entrepreneur who transplanted his love for fantasy from Orlando to the Blue Ridge foothills 16 years ago. He doesn’t think my quest for magic is at all ridiculous.

“Magic is all around us,” Millican says. “Sleepy Hollow brings this magic to the young and old. That’s why I opened the place.”

Inside, Millican sells his creations, from fairy doors to gnome chalets, along with the diminutive characters that accompany them: mermaids, dragons, and the like. Outside, the garden, originally built to showcase the playhouses, birdhouses, and yard art, has grown into something more: a destination that draws people from as far away as Finland and Australia, a setting for proposals, and a roadside attraction that keeps visitors coming back, year after year.

“People are surprised at what they see,” Millican explains. “When you’re walking through the fairy village, you’re reminded of your youth … when you saw the world through the eyes of a child, where all things were magical.”

Making magic

Millican says he’s always loved fantasy, but he learned how to craft it from Disney. He started working at Orlando’s Magic Kingdom Park right out of high school in 1974, selling popcorn on Main Street.

“They wouldn’t hire a kid that thought he was an artist, so I took whatever job they offered,” he says. “That got my foot in the door. From there, I was able to find where all the artists were and talked and bugged them until they gave me a chance.”

They taught him the fundamentals of the art he practices today: sculpting, sewing, welding, woodworking, robotics, and electronics. It was everything he needed to take his two-dimensional drawings to a 3D reality.

With his newfound skills and a flair for the fantastic, Millican eventually left Disney to work with Michael Jackson on building his Peter Pan-themed Neverland Ranch. At the time, Millican’s home base was in Florida and he traveled frequently for work, escaping for weekend trips to Blairsville whenever possible. In 2004, he decided to make it permanent. He moved to the mountains, married his wife Wendi, and got to work building his dream.

“I found this magical spot and created Sleepy Hollow Enterprises, a place where parents and children can come and play and use their imaginations,” he says. “It’s a place they don’t have to grow up.”

Twisted garden

It took Millican about six months to finish the fairy village. It features more than a dozen homes, from playhouses large enough for a curious child or two (or a young-at-heart adult) down to pixie-sized dwellings. You can peer into tiny doors and windows. Sometimes there’s furniture inside.

While the Disney influence is unmistakable, it’s Millican’s quirky imagination that makes the place memorable. “It’s nice to be able to build what you want and not have somebody dictate to you,” he says. “I like being able to put my own twist on things.”

Those twists include a troll wishing well, chimneys that turn into mini houses, and several half-circle hobbit homes dug into a leafy cliff. A cat with a Looney Tunes air about him dangles precariously from a towering building, his head caught in a birdcage. When I ask what happened to the cat, Millican says, somewhat cryptically: “The cat in the cage was put there by the mean gremlins to show what happens to naughty creatures that try and hurt the fairies and their friends.”

I find that’s part of the charm of Sleepy Hollow. It’s not all gingerbread trim and whirligigs, though there’s plenty of both. Disembodied gloves point toward mysterious places like a goblin camp and troll hideout. Above a waterfall looms a ramshackle hut, which strikes a pleasantly sinister note. Millican tells me the design for that house is intentionally rustic.

“This isn’t Toontown,” he adds. “If you were an elf or a leprechaun, you would want something that would blend with the scenery.”

His favorite piece? A miniature turreted castle crowning a toadstool-studded hill. It was a wedding gift to his wife. “She has always been my inspiration,” Millican says. “She is the Wendi to my Peter Pan.”

The future of fairyland

Maintaining the village takes a lot of work; Millican refurbishes houses and restores figurines to their original location after they’ve wandered off—either supernaturally or with the help of little hands, it’s hard to say. It requires constant upkeep, Millican says, not all that different from a theme park.

But despite his best efforts, the fairy trail may prove as ephemeral as the sprites who inhabit it. The nearly 3-acre property, which includes the Millicans’ home, is currently under threat of imminent domain, though they’re contesting the state’s valuation of the land. Millican says if he has to abandon the fairy garden, he doesn’t know if he’ll be able to recreate it.

“It needs the ambiance of being in the woods,” he says. “You can’t just put this in a neighborhood or a strip mall and expect it to work.”

Meanwhile, Millican is staying busy—whimsy is in high demand right now, and the shop has a backlog of orders. He still does some work for theme parks, including Disney, Universal, and Dollywood, creating props and models for product development. He also crafts complex steampunk contraptions for conventions across the country. Most days, though, he’s doing what he loves most: building fairy homes and helping others glimpse a world beyond their own.

“Seeing isn’t believing. Believing is seeing,” Millican says. “There is so much magic in the world that if you truly believe, your eyes and heart will open a magical world before you. Stay young and believe and you, too, shall see the wonders of Sleepy Hollow.”

Sleepy Hollow is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with some COVID-19 precautions in place. Admission to the fairy village is free, but donations are welcome.

ArtGeorgiaOffbeatPeopleUSA

Cheryl Rodewig is an award-winning journalist with a transient address, most often somewhere in the U.S. Southeast. You can read her bylines in The Guardian, Fodor's, USA Today, Thrillist, and MarketWatch. A frequent roadtripper, she coordinates her travels around things that are offbeat or beautiful, preferably both.

North Georgia city halts liquid landfill deliveries following I-Team Investigation

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga. - The Blairsville City Council has voted to halt all deliveries of potentially toxic landfill wastewater known as leachate to its wastewater treatment plant.The vote followed an I-Team investigation that raised questions about a powerful state senator striking the deal with very little publicity to deliver the leachate to the city.It took only minutes to end a year's worth of environmental controversy. The Blairsville City Council in North Georgia voted last week to stop all deliveries of landf...

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga. - The Blairsville City Council has voted to halt all deliveries of potentially toxic landfill wastewater known as leachate to its wastewater treatment plant.

The vote followed an I-Team investigation that raised questions about a powerful state senator striking the deal with very little publicity to deliver the leachate to the city.

It took only minutes to end a year's worth of environmental controversy. The Blairsville City Council in North Georgia voted last week to stop all deliveries of landfill wastewater to their local treatment plant.

(Is that success for your group?) "I think it is a major success," says Lake Nottely Improvement Association President Doy Lively.

Lively couldn't believe his ears as he listened to the council meeting on Zoom.

"I was absolutely elated. My wife and I were sitting there together we were high fiving, hoping our mute button was working," said Lively.

This is how it happened. Around May of 2019 powerful State Senator Steve Gooch - who represents this district - proposed trucking leachate from a landfill 35 miles away in Forsyth County to the Blairsville Waste Water Treatment Plant.

Leachate is when rain mixes with landfill waste and creates a sort of toxic soup from all the decomposing chemicals and waste products. By law, it has to be removed and treated.

"You may get pesticides from people's homes, you may get carpet scraps, these kinds of things that contain chemicals," said Bert Langley a former EPD official.

Blairsville Mayor Jim Conley said he did it for the 5 cents a gallon Senator Gooch's company would pay the city.

(Was politics at play at all in this decision?) "Absolutely not," said Conley.

Sen. Gooch would not do an interview but issued a statement explaining his long time wastewater treatment company, TWA, has been "traveling the state" offering leachate removal services to landfills across Georgia. He says his payments to Blairsville were based "solely on market rates."

Last week, the Blairsville city council met for the first time since our report aired. The council voted unanimously to officially halt all leachate deliveries after Senator Gooch's company stopped making leachate deliveries. Mayor Jim Conley offered no explanation.

Senator Steve Gooch wrote us saying he halted shipments due to lake owner’s concern in spite of meeting all "federal and state water quality standards" and EPA laboratory testing finding "no evidence of contamination" Gooch added he has "no intention of revisiting this issue in the future."

"I think we have had our voices heard," said Ross Malme of the Lake Nottely Improvement Association.

Lake Nottely homeowners, who have met with Senator Gooch, written letters to the local newspaper editor, put up a Facebook page and even ran ads are cautiously optimistic.

"We want to take a long term view on this. This body of water behind me here is very pristine, and we want to see it stay that way for years to come," says Malme.

Lake Nottely homeowners say the won the battle but not the war. They plan to fight the city's application to the EPA to increase the amount the plant can release from 400,000 gallons to a million gallons a day. That application includes the processing of leachate.

Head to Blairsville, Georgia, For a Socially-Distanced Mountain Getaway

Relax and refresh at a cabin in the mountains inside Vogel State Park. (©Georgia Department of Natural Resources)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 e...

Relax and refresh at a cabin in the mountains inside Vogel State Park. (©Georgia Department of Natural Resources)

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.

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